Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Prions are a very basic form of "life" just above the protein molecule. Prions cannot be destroyed: by heat, radiation or hitting with a stick. Comets (pictured above being hit by a 400 lb copper bullet we fired at it) are probably the horse we (life) rode in on.
Did Life Begin In Space? New Evidence From Comets
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and colleagues at the University's Centre for Astrobiology have long argued the case for panspermia - the theory that life began inside comets and then spread to habitable planets across the galaxy. A recent BBC Horizon documentary traced the development of the theory.
Now the team claims that findings from space probes sent to investigate passing comets reveal how the first organisms could have formed.
The 2005 Deep Impact mission to Comet Tempel 1 discovered a mixture of organic and clay particles inside the comet. One theory for the origins of life proposes that clay particles acted as a catalyst, converting simple organic molecules into more complex structures. The 2004 Stardust Mission to Comet Wild 2 found a range of complex hydrocarbon molecules - potential building blocks for life.
The Cardiff team suggests that radioactive elements can keep water in liquid form in comet interiors for millions of years, making them potentially ideal "incubators" for early life. They also point out that the billions of comets in our solar system and across the galaxy contain far more clay than the early Earth did. The researchers calculate the odds of life starting on Earth rather than inside a comet at one trillion trillion (10 to the power of 24) to one against.
Professor Wickramasinghe said: "The findings of the comet missions, which surprised many, strengthen the argument for panspermia. We now have a mechanism for how it could have happened. All the necessary elements - clay, organic molecules and water - are there. The longer time scale and the greater mass of comets make it overwhelmingly more likely that life began in space than on earth."
The new paper, The Origin of Life in Comets, by Professor Wickramasinghe, Professor Bill Napier and Dr Janaki Wickramasinghe is to be published shortly by the International Journal of Astrobiology.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
"This is a one-in-a-100-year event in which there are extremely unusual correlations that no one prepared for," one banker warned. "We are in a situation where everyone is very scared."And you thought your money market savings were safe:
For example, one European money market fund was closed after reportedly losing 30% of its value because it held commercial paper backed by subprime loans. Money market funds are of course supposed to be safe and without price risk. In other words, the principal one invests is not supposed to be diminished, and when shareholders decide to cash-out, everyone expects to receive their principal and interest because money markets funds only buy interest-bearing paper and not equities. But as the shareholders of this European money market fund have now found out, their fund's net asset value dropped substantially because the fund owned commercial paper backed by subprime mortgages. So the question arises, how many more money market funds around the globe are going to be infected by the growing subprime contagion because they own commercial paper backed by subprime loans?
Saturday, August 11, 2007
By way of GATA:
The Morning After the Open-Ended Bailout
By Michael Kosares
Centennial Precious Metals, Denver
http://www.usagold.com/Saturday, August 11, 2007
This time it IS different.
In past financial bailouts, the destruction was limited to one or two institutions. A group was put together in the private sector, or the central bank stepped in, and the troubled entity was bailed out.
When the Fed, the European Central Bank, and Bank of Japan moved last week to bail out the entire financial industry worldwide, they offered the equivalent of a credit card with no limit and subsidized rates 1 or 2 percent below what would have been the free-market rate had they not stepped in.
What's more, it was done on a global basis to the tune of hundreds of billions in "liquidity." Thus the central banks have set a dangerous precedent.
One of the points made repeatedly in the financial press today is that no one in the banking industry or the central banks knows the extent of the losses. Take it a step further and you have to assume that no one knows the extent of the ongoing bailout either.
The bailout could end up being open-ended -- AND without borders. All commercial banks and hedge funds around the world will feel that it is their birthright to be given unlimited credit -- and now, it appears, the central banks, as a matter of fairness, will be at their mercy.
When CNBC's Jim Cramer experienced a meltdown of his own on national television in the United States last week and actually screamed for a bailout by the Fed, he spoke for the financial industry as a whole. Most of the nation's trading rooms were nodding their heads and saying, "Give 'em hell, Jimmy!"
Now, in the heat of the moment, comes the bailout. As its open-ended nature begins to be recognized, we will see how the markets react -- the morning after.
What, for instance, will all this credit translate to in the real world, the real economy? This is a question that I am sure is being entertained right now at the meeting tables of the world's financial engineers.
But what the press has failed to point out in its treatment of the financial crisis is that the actions of the Fed, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan last week amount to printing money.
Money was created out of thin air. When you do this, it tends to force down the value of your currency against everyone else's. But wait a minute. Practically the WHOLE WORLD, not just the United States, is printing money to put the crisis at bay. How can the dollar go down against the euro when the people in charge of the euro are printing just as much currency as the people in charge of the dollar?
Where the rubber meets the road, the open-ended bailout may translate into a massive depreciation of the world's major currencies against goods and services globally.
In other words, chances are that the cost of living is about to erupt higher -- much higher than expected, and globally.
As a result, gold demand is likely to rise considerably, driven by safe-haven buying globally -- and gold supplies are already strained.
On the other side of the ledger, paper assets -- anything denominated in and linked directly to the major currencies being printed furiously -- will be seen as suspect. Will this inflation evolve into hyperinflation? Only time will tell. But the open-endedness of the bailout is troubling. Where do the central banks stop? Who, if anyone, is going to get cut off?
When no one knows how deep the damage is, there is no way to know how much money will need to be printed.
All this is the result of just one small sector of the massive derivatives market going haywire. There are similar time bombs buried all over the markets -- more bailouts to come now that the precedent has been set.
Real Money. You've still got time.
Friday, August 10, 2007
If you have any interest in finance/investment you've probably noticed that yesterday the world's central banks started kicking in great wads of money "in order to provide liquidity." European, Asian, and US central banks, creators of "flying" money, (as the Chinese called it when they first invented paper money way back when), have announced the addition of approximately $300 billion worth of "liquidity".
I'm guessing that there is no printing going on here. These are all computer transfers of ones and zeros into "money market accounts" all living on computers. What it really means is that system banks can avail themselves of these funds at lower than usual interest rates. These banks pay interest to the central bankers (who got the money for free by merely adding zeros) and turn around and loan it out to us at a higher interest rate. The spread, or difference, is their gross profit. So we got the central bankers and the system bankers living off of our backs - instead of congress running the show as dictated by our Constitution.
Adding the zeroes is supposed to calm the money elite down, and to discourage them from "trying to get their money back" which would mean selling the "instruments" when nobody wants to buy. But the addition of zeroes diminishes the value of all of them, so increased liquidity actually means decreased value and you should be getting all "Mogambo" right about now because your dollars are shrinking in your wallet as we speak!
Why are we collectively paying this "inflation" tax to these small groups of thieves? Ron Paul promises to stop this theft, but most Americans can't really understand what is being done to them, or what needs to be stopped.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
ECB in €95bn move on market turmoil
By Gillian Tett in London, Richard Milne in Frankfurt and Krishna Guha in Washington
Published: August 9 2007 12:59
The European Central Bank scrambled to head off a potential financial crisis on Thursday by making an emergency injection of €94.8bn ($131bn) worth of funds into the region’s money markets, after signs that liquidity was drying up.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 9:54am BST 08/08/2007
The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.
Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.
Monday, August 06, 2007
You can see the mean-spirited, toad-exploding, Decider Dog inside of GW. He’s getting ready to come out for the final act.
Well now, you were kinda hoping that Congress would save us from the Decider, eh? But now they’ve caved on FISA and you are not so sure.
Well, belly up to the bar here and have yourself a good read. I assure you the following book review will open your eyes to the fact that Congress and maybe even the courts will not be able to stop Decider Dog (appearing soon in a neighborhood near you).
Lundberg destroyed the popular myth of a government constrained by constitutional checks and balances. In fact, it can and repeatedly has done anything judged expedient, with or without popular approval, and within or outside the law of the land. In this respect, it's no different than most others able to operate the same way and often do. It's done through "the narrowest possible interpretations of the Constitution," but it's free to "operate further afield under broader or fanciful official interpretations" with history recording numerous examples.
A key point made is that "government is completely autonomous, detached, in a realm of its own" with its "main interest (being) economic (for the privileged) at all times." In pursuing this aim, "constitutional shackles and barriers (exist only) in the
imaginations of many people" believing in them. Regardless of law, custom or anything else, sitting US governments have always been freelancing. They've been unresponsive to the public interest, uncaring about the will and needs of the majority, and generally able to finesse or ignore the law with ease as suits their purpose. As Lundberg put it: "forget the mirage of government by the people," or the rule of law for that matter, with George Bush only being the most extreme example of how things work in Washington all the time under all Presidents. go read...