Thursday, September 22, 2011

our smartphones ourselves

The Atlantic | The United States is a diverse place. Across the nation, there is substantial variation in demographics, political views, and health. Add technology to the list of our differences. Cell-phone makers have not had the same level of success in every state. iPhones sell really well in Oregon and Louisiana, not as well in Idaho and Florida. Phones loaded with Google's Android operating system are doing great in California, but not as well in Michigan.

It's not always clear what's driving regional preferences, but this interactive map lets you see how your state stacks up.

For best results, select one phone operating system at a time and any pair of variables.

A guide to the map:
Phone operating-system data comes from Jumptap. They show which operating system exceeded the national average by the most in each state. There are several uncoded states for which data was not available.

For the demographic data, we show 15 to 20 states at each end of the distribution for each variable. For the curious, here are the cut-off points we used:

Race (source: US Census):
Caucasian states are those with populations that are more than 80 percent white non-hispanic.

Minority states are those with populations that are less than 64 percent white non-hispanic.  

Income (source: US Census):
Wealthiest states are those where median income is more than $55,000 per household.
Poorest states are those where median income is less than $45,000 per household.

Age (source: US Census):
Youngest states are those where the median age is 36.6 or younger.
Oldest states are those where the median age is 38.8 or older.

Weight (source: CDC):
Obese states are those where more than 30 percent of the population is obese.
Thin states are those where less than 25 percent of the population is obese.

Population density (source: US Census):
Dense states are those with more than 190 people per square mile.
Sparse states are those with fewer than 55 people per square mile.

The political breakdown shows the 2008 presidential elections results.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

rotflmbao, uh, it really takes one to know one....,

Video - Methods of a peeper 5

Video - Methods of a peeper 6

what big don and his peeps are worried about....,

The problem with public housing is that the residents are not the owners.
The people that live in the house did not earn the house, but were loaned the property from the true owners, the taxpayers.
Because of this, the residents do not have the "pride of ownership" that comes with the hard work necessary.
In fact, the opposite happens and the residents resent their benefactors because the very house is a constant reminder that they themselves did not earn the right to live in the house.
They do not appreciate the value of the property and see no need to maintain or respect it in any way.
The result is the same whether you are talking about a studio apartment or a magnificent mansion full of priceless antiques.
If the people who live there do not feel they earned the privilege, they will make this known through their actions.
What do all these pics have in common?

They all show a basic disrespect for The White House and its furnishings!
The Resolute Desk was built from the timbers of the HMS Resolute and was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes.
It is considered a national treasure and icon of the presidency.
The White House belongs to the People of America and should be more revered than to use anything and everything for a foot rest! What all these shots have in common is that they continue to prove that this man has no class!
Mr. Obama, you are not in a hut in Kenya or Indonesia, or public housing in Chicago.
With all due respect, get your ------- feet off our desk!

WSJ embraced peak-oil denialism...,

The Grist | Daniel Yergin is to peak oil and limits to growth what Richard Lindzen, Anthony Watts, Christopher Monckton, the Heartland Institute and Exxon Mobil are to climate change. That is, Yergin's entire reason for being in the public eye is his rejection of the possible arrival of this calamity.

So of course it's perfectly logical that the Wall Street Journal, long a bastion of climate change denial, would give Yergin a stage on which to spew his unique brand of half-truths. The simple fact is that people who are invested in the status quo like hearing that everything is hunky dory and that nothing out there will ever threaten their privilege, so there will always be an audience for the Yergins of the world.

Despite all evidence to the contrary -- namely, that world supplies of oil have not budged for some time even as prices have skyrocketed -- Yergin argues in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that more and more oil will be available until "perhaps sometime around midcentury" at which point supply will hit a "plateau."

The thing is, Yergin has been demonstrably getting it wrong about oil for years. There are countless examples, well chronicled here, but he is so wrong, so often, that it only takes about 5 minutes with Google to find an egregious example.

Here's Yergin in 2005, when oil was $60 a barrel, predicting that world oil production would grow from 85 million barrels a day to 101 million by 2010, "reliev[ing] the current pressure on supply and demand." It's 2011, and we're still only producing 89.1 million barrels a day. Meanwhile the cost of a barrel of oil is hovering around $90, and that's with a depressed world economy keeping prices in check.

So why does the WSJ publish the rantings of a repeatedly-discredited crank? Well, he runs Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which does a fine job of promoting itself, running a conference on energy, and just generally telling people what they want to hear. They peddle the exact same variety of denialism on peak oil that others peddle on climate change, and to the exact same customers -- namely, Exxon Mobil and its ilk.

inside the trillion dollar underground economy

One of my favorite spots in the whole world!!!
Alternet | The United States continues to suffer from mass unemployment. People have had to adjust their lifestyles to the new reality—fewer jobs, lower wages, mortgages to pay that are now more than their homes are worth. Millions have dropped out of the job hunt and are trying to find other ways to sustain their families.

That's where the underground economy comes in. Also called the shadow or informal economy, it's not just illegal activity like selling drugs or doing sex work. It's all sorts of work that doesn't get regulated by the government or reported to the IRS, and it's a far bigger part of the economy than most of us are aware—in 2009, economics professor Friedrich Schneider estimated that it was nearly 8 percent of the US GDP, somewhere around $1 trillion. (That makes the shadow GDP bigger than the entire GDP of Turkey or Austria.) Schneider doesn’t include illegal activities in his count-- he studies legal production of goods and services that are outside of tax and labor laws. And that shadow economy is growing as regular jobs continue to be hard to come by—Schneider estimated 5 percent in '09 alone.

The Young Women's Empowerment Project [PDF] describes the “street economy” as “... any way that girls make cash money without paying taxes or having to show identification. Sometimes this means the sex trade. But other times it means braiding hair, babysitting, selling CDs/DVDs, drugs or other skills like sewing and laundry.”

D.A. Barber explained:
“This underground economy goes beyond the homeless collecting aluminum cans or clogging day labor halls. It includes the working poor getting cash for all forms of recycling: giving plasma, selling homemade tamales outside shopping plazas, holding yard sales, doing under-the-table work for friends and family, selling stuff at pawnshops, CD, book and used clothing stores, and even getting tips from restaurants and bars--to name a few.”
That means nearly all of us have participated in some way in the underground economy.

Yet little is known or discussed about this area of our lives, even though it touches many of us as we try to make ends meet.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

yergin's WSJ peak-oil propaganda rebutted...,

Video - Pootie Tang chastisement

EnergyBulletin | Contrary to Mr. Yergin’s assertion that advocates of Peak Oil have been wrong at every turn, six years of annual global production data show flat to declining crude oil and total petroleum liquids production data.

The EIA shows that global annual crude + condensate production (C+C) has been between 73 and 74 mbpd (million barrels per day) since 2005, except for 2009, and BP shows that global annual total petroleum liquids production has been between 81 and 82 mbpd since 2005, except for 2009. In both cases, this was in marked contrast to the rapid increase in production that we saw from 2002 to 2005. Some people might call this "Peak Oil,” and we appear to have hit the plateau in 2005, not some time around mid-century.

Only if we include biofuels have seen a material increase in global total liquids production.

In the US, there are some good stories about rising Mid-continent production, and US (C+C) production has rebounded from the hurricane related decline that started in 2005, but 2010 production was only very slightly above the pre-hurricane level that we saw in 2004, and monthly US production has been between 5.4 and 5.6 mbpd since the fourth quarter of 2009, versus the 1970 peak of 9.6 mbpd. Incidentally, US net oil imports of crude oil plus products have fallen since 2005, primarily as a result of a large reduction in demand, because of rising oil prices (which Mr. Yergin predicted would not happen), but EIA data show that the US is still reliant on crude oil imports for two out of every three barrels of oil that we process in US refineries.

However, the real story is Global Net Oil Exports (GNE), which have shown a measurable multimillion barrel per day decline since 2005, and which are measured in terms of total petroleum liquids, with 21 of the top 33 net oil exporters showing lower net oil exports in 2010, versus 2005. An additional metric is Available Net Exports (ANE), which we define as GNE less Chindia's (China + India’s) combined net oil imports. ANE have fallen at an average volumetric rate of about one mbpd per year from 2005 to 2010, from about 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 35 mbpd in 2010 (BP + Minor EIA data, total petroleum liquids).

At the current rate of increase in the ratio of Chindia's net imports to GNE, Chindia would consume 100% of GNE in about 20 years. Contrary to Mr. Yergin’s sunny pronouncements, what the data show is that developed countries like the US are being forced to take a declining share of a falling volume of GNE. In fact, our work suggests that the US is well on its way to “freedom” from its reliance on foreign sources of oil, just not in the way that most people hoped.

In a November, 2004 interview in Forbes, Mr. Yergin asserted that oil prices would be back to a long term price ceiling of $38 by late 2005--because of a steady increase in global crude oil production. It turned out that Mr. Yergin’s predicted price ceiling has so far been the price floor. The lowest monthly spot crude oil price that the EIA shows for post-November, 2004 is $39.

I suspect that just as Mr. Yergin was perfectly wrong about oil prices, he may be confidently calling for decades of rising production, just as we come off the current production plateau and just as an accelerating decline in Global Net Exports kicks in.

nanoscience and nanotechnology

MIT | Nanotechnology’s impact will one day rival that of electricity, transistors, antibiotics, and the Internet — thanks in part to MIT research.

“There is increasing recognition that we can apply our knowledge of the very small to solve some of the world’s very big problems,” says Ian Waitz, Dean of MIT’s School of Engineering. “Very important engineering challenges and domains — such as energy, the environment, and health care — will benefit from nano-science and -technology.”

Nanotechnology is enabling MIT researchers to develop, for example, substantially more effective and inexpensive solar cells; greener, more sustainable materials for infrastructure; tiny biomedical sensors that can monitor health in real time; and electronic devices that could greatly increase computing power using minimal energy. And a great adventure is now under way at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT as the science of cancer is joined with the engineering of nanoparticles and new materials to help create new knowledge about cancer and new treatments.

Since it emerged as a field roughly 25 years ago, nanotechnology — which harnesses the remarkable properties of matter at the scale of billionths of a meter — has been heralded for its potential to revolutionize materials, manufacturing, energy, security, and health care. Nano-enhanced materials are already used in hundreds of products — sunscreen, sports equipment, and surface coatings for vehicles, among others. And semiconductor manufacturers have fabricated nanoscale components to push the boundaries of chip efficiency for over a decade.

But the truly transformative advances that nanotechnology promises — from large-scale storage and conversion of renewable energy, to staggeringly powerful quantum computers, to sophisticated biomedical implants that monitor and treat disease — are still years if not decades away.

Those types of advances require the ability to precisely assemble and manipulate matter at the atomic level — in other words, “from the bottom up. And that remains very difficult,” says Marc Kastner, Dean of MIT’s School of Science. To grasp the challenges posed by the nanoscale, consider that the comparative size of a nanometer to a meter is the same as that of a marble to the size of Earth. The researchers profiled in this issue are leading science’s effort to overcome those challenges.

“To do anything outstanding in this field, you need people who really understand chemistry, physics, and engineering,” says Kastner. “There are very few institutions in the world that have the breadth and depth of expertise that MIT has in these areas.”

Kastner and Waitz say that nanotechnology will be key to a new era in manufacturing that could fuel a 21st-century industrial revolution. With MIT President Susan Hockfield, whom the Obama administration recently appointed co-chair of its Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, they are positioning MIT to lead this new era.

Waitz says he is awed by the pace of nanotechnological innovation at MIT. “I find it amazing that we’re engineering things at that scale, and then using them to solve very challenging problems. I’m excited about the prospects for the ‘world of the small.’”

distributed couch potato computing

Video - Jane McGonigal - gaming CAN make a better world

TheScientist | A small group of diverse individuals living on at least three continents, who call themselves The Contenders, have solved the structure of a protein that has stumped scientists for more than 10 years. And they did so from the comfort of their own homes, playing on online protein folding game called Foldit.

The Contenders’ solution and its validation were published today (September 18) in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

“This is the real deal,” said biophysicist Rhiju Das of Stanford University, who was not involved in the work. “I think this paper really shows how this is a new way of doing science that is more powerful than what a handful of experts could do.”

The protein in question was a retroviral protease of the Mason-Pfizer monkey virus, which causes an AIDS-like disease in monkeys. Over the last decade, many researchers had tried a variety of techniques to determine the protein’s structure, but kept coming up empty handed. “This viral protein…has really evaded the efforts of expert crystallographers and the very best automated tools,” Das said.

So one frustrated scientist, Mariusz Jaskolski of A. Mickiewicz University in Poland and the Polish Academy of Sciences, turned to an online game called Foldit. The program was designed by computation biologist David Baker of the University of Washington as an extension to his Rosetta@home program, which allows Baker to use home computers around the world to do complex calculations on protein structures. While the program ran, users would see a screen saver of the computations, Baker said, and before long, he began to get some emails about how the program wasn’t always accurate. “The protein, when it’s folding up its helix, is going left when should be going right,” users reported.

So Baker designed Foldit to allow users to alter the course of Rosetta calculations, and try to solve protein structures on their own. The goal: fold up the protein so it has the lowest energy, just as molecules tend to do in real life.

A Foldit screenshot of a protein puzzle posed to Foldit players.Center for Game Science, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Univ. of Washington

In the past year and a half, users of the program had demonstrated their potential to solve real protein-folding problems, Baker said, so when Jaskolski came to him with this enigmatic viral protease, they decided to put the gamers to the test. Baker posed the problem to the Foldit players, and watched the responses flood in.

About 600 players from 41 teams submitted more than 1.25 million solutions. Narrowing those down to 5,000, Jaskolski and colleagues subjected them to a computational technique called molecular replacement (MR), which tests the models against X-ray crystallography data. For MR to work, the proposed structure has to be very close to accurate, in which case the MR calculations can help perfect the details. But previous attempts at MR for this protein had failed because the protein models were too far off the mark.

But The Contender’s proposed protein structure was a winner. “When we took [their] model, it was a beautiful fit to the X-ray data so we knew [they] had solved it,” Baker said. “We were just totally blown away. This is the first time that a long-standing scientific problem has been solved by Foldit players, or to my knowledge, any scientific gaming participants.”

The final breakthrough came from Foldit user mimi, a member of The Contenders and a science technician at a high school near Manchester, UK, who has been playing Foldit for about 3 years. She “tucked in a flap” of the protein that was sticking out, she explains, to make the protein more “globular.” But she emphasizes that “the achievement was very much a group effort,” noting that it wasn’t possible for her to tuck in the flap until others in the group had made their key adjustments to the protein’s structure.

“It’s kind of an unprecedented case of using computing non-specialists to solve a longstanding scientific problem,” said Alexander Wlodawer, chief of the Macromolecular Crystallography Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute.

what is entosis?

TheScientist | Though the mechanisms of engulfment may differ among cell and cancer types, the end result is nearly indistinguishable—a whole, living cell is housed within a large vacuole inside a tumor cell. Internalized cells usually follow one of three paths. They can continue living, at least temporarily, within the host cell, even dividing within their vacuole homes. Occasionally, they escape from the host cell to once again become a single, individual cell in the extracellular space. By and large, however, death is the most common fate for cells engulfed by tumor cells. Wang and colleagues demonstrated evidence of the apoptotic death of NK cells following their uptake by tumor cells. Nearly 90 percent of the internalized lymphocytes underwent traditional, programmed cell death, as evidenced by the activation of caspase 3. Work by Overholtzer’s group, on the other hand, suggests that cell engulfment between tumor cells represents a different type of cell death altogether—one mediated by lysosomes. The vacuoles housing the internalized tumor cells, his group observed, became acidic and surrounded by lysosomal membranes, indicative of fusion with lysosomes. Furthermore, when the researchers overexpressed B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) to inhibit apoptosis, it had little effect on the death of internalized cells. On the other hand, inhibiting lysosomal acidification of the vacuoles could rescue the captured cells, when it was combined with apoptotic inhibitors. Interestingly, when only the lysosomal inhibitors were introduced, more cells appeared to undergo an apoptotic death, suggesting that apoptosis serves as a backup mechanism to the more common lysosomal death of the internalized cells.

Fais suggests it is simply the acidic environment of the tumor-cell vacuoles in metastatic melanoma cells that kills the internalized lymphocytes, though lytic enzymes may help to further digest the cell, he says. He argues that the engulfment and subsequent killing of cells such as lymphocytes is cell cannibalism in the most literal sense—one cell eating another. Once the victim is digested, the tumor cell can theoretically derive nutrients from it, promoting cancer survival and growth.

“We know that nutritional stress is a common feature of tumors,” says Eileen White, a cancer biologist at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers University. “We know they’ll undergo this process of autophagy where they’ll eat themselves. If they have the capability of eating each other or other cells—that would open a whole new door for tumors to sustain themselves.”

As evidence for this hypothesis, Fais showed in vitro that cell cannibalism increased under starvation conditions, and that the ingestion of T cells promoted the survival of melanoma cells. “The T cell is great because it has all these wonderful complex carbohydrates on the surface,” says cancer biologist Thomas Seyfried of Boston College. “They can all be degraded to glucose and other fuels [that tumor cells] could be using.”

But even if cells are deriving nourishment from their cannibalistic activities, it’s likely not the only benefit of the behavior, says immunologist Yufang Shi, who studies apoptosis at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Child Health Institute of New Jersey. “For one cell to digest another cell and to get energy . . . this is very uneconomical,” Shi explains. “You have to really make the cell into amino acids and polysaccharides. It’s very hard to use that as energy.” The fact that cell cannibalism increased when the cells were starving may simply be due to the fact that nutrient deprivation can cause cells to become detached from the extracellular matrix, Shi added—an event that Overholtzer’s group suggests could promote cell engulfment as a result of imbalanced cell-cell adhesion forces.

Another possibility is that the engulfed cells are driving the process. Internalized immune cells, for example, may have the potential to suppress tumor growth. During his initial graduate studies in the 1980s and again when he resumed this work more recently, Wang observed that some NK cells internalized by tumor cells can actually kill their host cells from the inside out. “After they enter into the tumor cells, they make the tumor cells erupt,” Wang says. “When [these NK cells] die, they also release a lot of enzymes,” Shi explains. “They are cytotoxic cells, so they can kill by releasing directly into the target cell, like the suicide bombers.”

But whether the internalized NK cells are initiating the engulfment is still unclear. If, on the other hand, the tumor cells are actively consuming the lymphocytes, it could provide a way for cancer to evade attack by the immune system. “I have a suspicion that maybe tumor [cells] in some conditions can kill the NK cells as a way to escape the surveillance of the immune system,” Wang says. This may become particularly important as the cancer metastasizes, Yao adds. “One of the physical challenges for those tumor cells will be how to survive in the new sites. One way is by taking [up] those NK cells and other immune cells to damage the immune response of cancer [patients].”

The bizarre phenomenon may also contribute to the genetic instability of cells, perhaps contributing to the formation of cancer early on. This March, Overholtzer and colleagues published the finding that cell-in-cell structures can act as cleavage barriers that disrupt cell division, leading to changes in ploidy—the number of sets of chromosomes in the cell—which are known to drive tumor progression.5 Conversely, cell engulfment may act to suppress tumor growth, such as when tumor cells eat other tumor cells. “Entosis has a dual nature,” says Overholtzer. “It clearly can kill [tumor] cells, but also, it can disrupt ploidy—one is predicted to be tumor suppressive, one is tumor promoting.”

For now, the question of function remains “a puzzle,” Fais says, and “I don’t have all the pieces.” But with evidence growing for significance of cell engulfment in tumor pathogenesis, researchers are now considering whether the phenomenon could serve to aid in diagnosis or in the development of new cancer treatments. “I think in the next few years this will be a very active field,” Shi says.

Monday, September 19, 2011

why no credit crisis perpetrator is going to go to jail...,

financialsense | Jim welcomes Professor of Economics and Law William Black to Financial Sense Newshour. He explains to Jim why no one has gone to jail four years after the beginning of the historic Credit Crisis. Professor Black believes that the level of corruption and fraud is so pervasive that very few of the guilty will ever be brought to justice.

Bill Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Jim Puplava: Joining me on the program is Professor William Black. He is a Lawyer and an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He was a Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005 to 2007. He taught at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. He was also a Litigation Director for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. He is also author of the book “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.”

And Professor, you played a critical role during the S&L crisis in exposing congressional corruption. During that period of time, a lot of corruption was exposed; a lot of people in the financial sector went to jail, including Charles Keating. I wonder if you would contrast that to the last credit crisis, let us say from 2007 to 2009 where a lot of money was lost, a lot of things went wrong, but nobody went to jail. Instead of going to jail, they walked out instead with multi-million dollar bonuses. What was the difference, what was behind this in your opinion?

William Black: Well, I say the both of them were driven by fraud. The Savings & Loan crisis was a tragedy in two parts. First part was not fraud, it was interest rate risk. But the second phase, which was vastly more expensive, was to defraud and the National Commission that looked into the causes of the crisis said that the typical large failure fraud was invariably present. And there were real regulators then. Our agency filed well over 10,000 criminal referrals that resulted in over 1,000 felony convictions and cases designated as nature. And even that understates the grade in which we went after the elite. Because we worked very closely with the FBI and the Justice Department, to prioritize cases—creating the top 100 list of the 100 worst institutions which translated into about 600 or 700 executives—and so the bulk of those thousand felony convictions were the worst fraud, the most elite frauds.

In the current crisis, of course they appointed anti-regulators. And this crisis goes back well before 2007 and of course it is continuing, it does not end at 2009. So the FBI warned in open testimony in the House of Representatives, in September 2004—we are now talking seven years ago—that there was an epidemic of mortgage fraud, their words, and they predicted that it would cause a financial crisis, crisis being their word, if it were not contained. Well no one thinks that it was contained.

All right so you have massive fraud driving this crisis, hyperinflating the bubble, an FBI warning and how many criminal referrals did the same agency do, in this crisis. Remember it did well over 10,000 in the prior crisis. Well the answer is zero. They completely shut down making criminal referrals and whichever administration you hate the most, you can hate because while most of this certainly occurred in the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration has obviously not changed it. Obviously did not see it as a priority to prosecute these elite criminals who caused this devastating injury.

huge jump in foreclosures coming up...,

Mish | Mortgage Default Notices Surge 33% Nationwide, 55% in California, 200% by Bank of America; Corresponding Jump in Foreclosures Will Follow. At long last, the robo-signing scandal may have finally played out. As evidence, please note the August Surge in Mortgage Default Warnings
The number of U.S. homes that received an initial default notice -- the first step in the foreclosure process -- jumped 33 percent in August from July, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The increase represents a nine-month high and the biggest monthly gain in four years. The spike signals banks are starting to take swifter action against homeowners, nearly a year after processing issues led to a sharp slowdown in foreclosures.

Foreclosure activity began to slow last fall after problems surfaced with the way many lenders were handling foreclosure paperwork, namely shoddy mortgage paperwork comprising several shortcuts known collectively as robo-signing.

Many of the nation's largest banks reacted by temporarily ceasing all foreclosures, re-filing previously filed foreclosure cases and revisiting pending cases to prevent errors.

Other factors have also worked to stall the pace of new foreclosures this year. The process has been held up by court delays in states where judges play a role in the foreclosure process, a possible settlement of government probes into the industry's mortgage-lending practices, and lenders' reluctance to take back properties amid slowing home sales.

In all, 78,880 properties received a default notice in August. Despite the sharp increase from July, last month's total was still down 18 percent versus August last year and 44 percent below the peak set in April 2009, RealtyTrac said.

Some states, however, saw a much larger increase.

California saw a 55 percent increase in homes receiving a default notice last month, while in Indiana they climbed 46 percent. In New Jersey, where last month a judged ruled that four major banks could resume uncontested foreclosure actions in the state under court monitoring, homes receiving a default notice increased 42 percent.
Huge Jump in Foreclosures Coming Up

Reality Check reports Huge Surge in Bank of America Foreclosures

america and oil declining together..,

Video - Frank Sinatra Love and Marriage mashup

commondreams | America and Oil. It’s like bacon and eggs, Batman and Robin. As the old song lyric went, you can’t have one without the other. Once upon a time, it was also a surefire formula for national greatness and global preeminence. Now, it’s a guarantee of a trip to hell in a hand basket. The Chinese know it. Does Washington?

America’s rise to economic and military supremacy was fueled in no small measure by its control over the world’s supply of oil. Oil powered the country’s first giant corporations, ensured success in World War II, and underlay the great economic boom of the postwar period. Even in an era of nuclear weapons, it was the global deployment of oil-powered ships, helicopters, planes, tanks, and missiles that sustained America’s superpower status during and after the Cold War. It should come as no surprise, then, that the country’s current economic and military decline coincides with the relative decline of oil as a major source of energy.

If you want proof of that economic decline, just check out the way America's share of the world's gross domestic product has been steadily dropping, while its once-powerhouse economy now appears incapable of generating forward momentum. In its place, robust upstarts like China and India are posting annual growth rates of 8% to 10%. When combined with the growing technological prowess of those countries, the present figures are surely just precursors to a continuing erosion of America’s global economic clout.

Militarily, the picture appears remarkably similar. Yes, a crack team of SEAL commandos did kill Osama bin Laden, but that single operation -- greeted in the United States with a jubilation more appropriate to the ending of a major war -- hardly made up for the military’s lackluster performance in two recent wars against ragtag insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. If anything, almost a decade after the Taliban was overthrown, it has experienced a remarkable resurgence even facing the full might of the U.S., while the assorted insurgent forces in Iraq appear to be holding their own. Meanwhile, Iran -- that bête noire of American power in the Middle East -- seem as powerful as ever. Al Qaeda may be on the run, but as recent developments in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and unstable Pakistan suggest, the United States wields far less clout and influence in the region now than it did before it invaded Iraq in 2003.

is there any point in repeating this propaganda?

WSJ | Since the beginning of the 21st century, a fear has come to pervade the prospects for oil, fueling anxieties about the stability of global energy supplies. It has been stoked by rising prices and growing demand, especially as the people of China and other emerging economies have taken to the road.

This is actually the fifth time in modern history that we've seen widespread fear that the world was running out of oil.

This specter goes by the name of "peak oil."

Its advocates argue that the world is fast approaching (or has already reached) a point of maximum oil output. They warn that "an unprecedented crisis is just over the horizon." The result, it is said, will be "chaos," to say nothing of "war, starvation, economic recession, possibly even the extinction of homo sapiens."

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dan Yergin says the global supply of oil and gas has risen in the last 20 years, defying the predictions of "peak oil" theorists. In the Big Interview with WSJ's David Wessel, he looks at the world's energy future.

The date of the predicted peak has moved over the years. It was once supposed to arrive by Thanksgiving 2005. Then the "unbridgeable supply demand gap" was expected "after 2007." Then it was to arrive in 2011. Now "there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020."

But there is another way to visualize the future availability of oil: as a "plateau."

In this view, the world has decades of further growth in production before flattening out into a plateau—perhaps sometime around midcentury—at which time a more gradual decline will begin. And that decline may well come not from a scarcity of resources but from greater efficiency, which will slacken global demand.

Those sounding the alarm over oil argue that about half the world's oil resources already have been produced and that the point of decline is nearing. "It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer-drinker understands," said the geologist Colin Campbell, one of the leaders of the movement. "The glass starts full and ends empty, and the faster you drink it, the quicker it's gone."

This is actually the fifth time in modern history that we've seen widespread fear that the world was running out of oil. The first was in the 1880s, when production was concentrated in Pennsylvania and it was said that no oil would be found west of the Mississippi. Then oil was found in Texas and Oklahoma. Similar fears emerged after the two world wars. And in the 1970s, it was said that the world was going to fall off the "oil mountain." But since 1978, world oil output has increased by 30%.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

handy little post-apocalyptic construction tip...,

Video - Solar lighting in otherwise dark 3rd world shacks

dabbling with non-carbon based replicators

ScienceDaily | Scientists at the University of Glasgow say they have taken their first tentative steps towards creating 'life' from inorganic chemicals potentially defining the new area of 'inorganic biology'.

Professor Lee Cronin, Gardiner Chair of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering, and his team have demonstrated a new way of making inorganic-chemical-cells or iCHELLs.

Prof Cronin said: "All life on earth is based on organic biology (i.e. carbon in the form of amino acids, nucleotides, and sugars, etc.) but the inorganic world is considered to be inanimate.

"What we are trying do is create self-replicating, evolving inorganic cells that would essentially be alive. You could call it inorganic biology."

The cells can be compartmentalised by creating internal membranes that control the passage of materials and energy through them, meaning several chemical processes can be isolated within the same cell -- just like biological cells.

The researchers say the cells, which can also store electricity, could potentially be used in all sorts of applications in medicine, as sensors or to confine chemical reactions.

The research is part of a project by Prof Cronin to demonstrate that inorganic chemical compounds are capable of self-replicating and evolving -- just as organic, biological carbon-based cells do.

The research into creating 'inorganic life' is in its earliest stages, but Prof Cronin believes it is entirely feasible.

Prof Cronin said: "The grand aim is to construct complex chemical cells with life-like properties that could help us understand how life emerged and also to use this approach to define a new technology based upon evolution in the material world -- a kind of inorganic living technology.

"Bacteria are essentially single-cell micro-organisms made from organic chemicals, so why can't we make micro-organisms from inorganic chemicals and allow them to evolve?

"If successful this would give us some incredible insights into evolution and show that it's not just a biological process. It would also mean that we would have proven that non carbon-based life could exist and totally redefine our ideas of design."

The paper is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

science and the "free" market of ideas

dailybell | While the Daily Bell focuses mostly on the political, economical and social repercussions of the mercantilist policies of the banking power elite, it is important to realize that the elites' manipulations have reached far deeper into the cultural and scientific spheres than is generally acknowledged. (Thus we have expanded our platform to include this weekly Arts, Music and Science Column, which will be featured each Saturday.)

The argument has often been made in these pages that any kind of State or central banking intervention distorts prices and leads to a flawed price discovery mechanism, which eventually results in unprofitable business sectors in need of being propped up by State intervention, as well as a host of other dysfunctional aspects associated with a mercantilist system.

Unsurprisingly, the price distortions evident in the marketplace have their analogous effects in any other sector in which State meddling becomes a significant factor. One such sector is science and institutions of higher knowledge. Universities and colleges, which were mostly under the control of the Church until the Renaissance, gradually became more and more associated with the State apparatus. This process accelerated during the 19th Century with the rise of positivism and an increased awareness of the game-changing character of modern science. Elites realized that they could direct the orientation of future scientific developments by controlling the funding of scientific research and the institutions where scientific knowledge was disseminated. It is perhaps not unexpected to find that, as with many other historical developments, the great banking families and their globalist allies exerted their influence from behind the scenes, or sometimes even overtly, in an effort to secure for themselves a greater role in the flourishing scientific revolution. They did so not only by directly influencing the course of scientific developments, but also by striving to gain financial control over scientific research by placing it under the aegis of State-funded institutions. (Needless to say, by the middle of the 19th Century the great banking families already exerted a significant covert influence over most European governmental institutions, such that these were in fact increasingly used as levers to convert their financial power into political influence.)

To illustrate this process, let us look more closely at two intellectual revolutions that took place in the 19th Century that fundamentally reshaped modern science: Darwin's theory of evolution and Pasteur's "germ theory." Nowadays, Charles Darwin's model of natural selection is a core tenet of all life sciences, and it is fair to say that the gradual acceptance of Darwinism led to a complete reconfiguration of these disciplines. It would seem that the globalist elites realized very early the potential impact of Darwin's theories: We thus find Darwin closely associated with T.H. Huxley (Darwin's famous "bulldog"), whose grandsons Aldous Huxley (author of the futuristic dystopia Brave New World) and Julian Huxley (founder of the UNESCO) were at the forefront of the globalist movement of the 20th Century. Indeed, Darwinism was instrumental not only in breaking the stronghold that the Church, while gradually losing its dominance in the secular domain since the Renaissance, had kept relatively intact on the minds of most citizens of Western nations, but also in preparing the rise of scientism and technocracy. Interestingly, the great 20th Century philosopher of science Karl Popper, who proposed a comprehensive model of scientific research, recognized that, according to his own definition, Darwinism was "not a testable scientific theory" in that it could not be falsified experimentally. Rather, he saw it as a "metaphysical research programme." In light of Popper's comments, one might almost be tempted to say that, under the guise of scientific discovery, what occurred during the second half of the 19th Century was merely the engineered replacement of a religion, whose vocabulary had become obsolete and useless to the reigning elites, by a metaphysical system which was more amenable to their interests.

Similarly, we find that Louis Pasteur's research, which led to the development of the modern "germ theory" that is central to mainstream Western medicine, was financially sponsored by the brothers Alphonse and Gustave de Rothschild, members of the French arm of one of the most illustrious banking dynasties. Pasteur's research predictably led to a therapeutic approach essentially based on an all-out attack against microbes, and which provided tremendous support for the introduction of statewide vaccination campaigns. Both policies incidentally proved to be very fruitful for the pharmaceutical industry, in addition to calling for increased governmental control over public health issues. It is worth noting in that respect that eminent contemporaries of Pasteur, such as Antoine Béchamp and his pleomorphic model, had offered sophisticated alternative theories but proponents of the germ theory prevailed. From its very beginnings, a scientific endeavor that was going to have a huge impact on modern medicine was closely followed, perhaps even directed, by members of a dominant elite family.

In both Darwin's and Pasteur's cases, elites helped foster the birth of a new theory and nurtured it, and the acceptance of both theories led to an increased State control over key epistemological memes of the modern Western society. Although these scientific developments may seem on the surface to be nothing more than typical "paradigm shifts" (to borrow from Thomas Kuhn), we see that a political vision, armed with substantial financial backing, informed and influenced them right from the outset.

Coming back to our initial point, it can be argued that State intervention distorts the "idea market" in the intellectual sphere just as severely, if not more, than it distorts the perceived value of goods in the marketplace. It is not simply that scientific research supporting the elites' memes is financed more generously than research that does not. The process is much more insidious and goes much deeper. For instance, researchers endorsing alternative theories have difficulties getting funding, obtaining tenure, or even getting published. Consequently, these alternative theories are practically never discussed, or else dismissed offhandedly as the work of charlatans. An artificial consensus is thus created around certain scientific models due to the artificial intellectual vacuum brought about by the State-sponsored stifling of alternative theories and when debate is tolerated it is within strictly defined boundaries. This phenomenon parallels in many ways what we can observe in the mainstream media, as astute readers would have doubtless noticed.

In fact, before the advent of the Internet, the potent one-two combination of the peer-reviewed process (whose outcomes influence not only the type of scientific findings published but also affect decisions regarding tenure and research funding) with the State-supervised funding of most scientific research ensured that scientific debates were safely enclosed within perimeters that were totally under the control of the elite. For example, there is practically no debate on the validity of Pasteur's findings in contemporary science, even though rumors of scientific misconduct have circulated since his laboratory notes were finally opened to historians in 1964. Similarly, although intense debates are still raging regarding the origins of life, Darwinism exerts, for all intents and purposes, a quasi-monopoly over 21st Century mainstream biology. Indeed, the casual observer may believe that in both cases, as in many others, science has spoken its definitive word, so to speak, and that there is nothing else of substance to add.

In conclusion, let us contemplate for a minute a world in which a true free market of ideas would be allowed to prosper. In the absence of undue governmental influence, and especially of the undue financial clout conferred to central banks by their ability to print currency at will, we would once again see ideas being valued according to the ability of their proponents to convince not only other scientists but also, and crucially, private citizens and businesses whose financial generosity would be sought, of the validity of their ideas. This would be vastly different from the current situation in which scientists working within academic confines are more or less forced to follow the mainstream agenda, with perhaps only minor disagreements, since it is the only one that ensures tenure, funding and the possibility of publication. To be sure, wrongheaded theories would still be proposed once in a while, and errors, as well as egregious mistakes, would remain an occasional nuisance. Moreover, there is no doubt that political agendas would still try to influence the scientific discourse, although the playing field would be much more even, on the financial plane at least, than in current conditions. But, all other things being equal, we would have the opportunity to enjoy a rare treat, one that most of us have never had the privilege of truly appreciating: An authentic scientific debate in a free intellectual marketplace.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

deliberate impoverishment of the western world?

dailybell | U.S. poverty totals hit a 50-year high Census Bureau's grim statistics show recession's lingering effects, as young adults move back home and 1 million more Americans go without health insurance ... In a grim portrait of a nation in economic turmoil, the government reported that the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million — the most in at least half a century — as 1 million more Americans went without health insurance and household incomes fell sharply. – Los Angeles Times

Dominant Social Theme: These things happen. No reason. Depressions spontaneously occur. They are "market mistakes."

Free-Market Analysis: We've spent considerable time in the past three years (the past decade, actually), analyzing how the powers-that-be have reorganized society, especially American society, in a way that relentlessly reduces prosperity. Figures released yesterday from the US Census provide a startling illustration of just how effective elites have been. (See excerpt above.)

Why would a handful of wealthy central banking families want to impoverish the US and render its citizens penniless? Our conclusion is simple: World government is on the way and the American culture is still resistant to the kind of hyper-regulatory corporatism that is necessary to support this kind of governance.

America (the West, generally) has apparently been under attack by an organized cabal of inter-generational banking families and corporate, business and military enablers for at least 200 years now, and perhaps 300 years. In the past 50 years, the pace has accelerated.

One by one, the UN, IMF, World Bank, BIS, ICC (international court), WHO and countless other globalist organizations have been put in place. The mainstream media treats this evolution as inevitable. It cannot be. Each evolution must be planned, funded and promoted. When it comes to politics of this sort, there are no coincidences, as FDR once observed.

We have taken to calling what has evolved "directed history" – in which events including wars are planned to ensure maximum destruction of the culture as it is in order to further militarize, globalize (and impoverish) what remains.

Because America was a "great exception" – founded as a republic with a culture that was relentlessly entrepreneurial and agricultural – America has been under sustained attack to ensure that its culture is Europeanized and recreated as what we call "regulatory democracy."

Regulatory democracy is one word for what has evolved. Corporatism is another. Fascism (of a sort) would be a third. No matter what word is used, the current Western model for nation states relies heavily on unelected bureaucrats, intelligence agencies and a military industrial complex that basically reports to the aforementioned elites and is not affected by voting or other democratic elements.

The modern nation state is funded by central banks, also seemingly controlled by these elite families, and the ultimate goal is formal global governance. Some question why a formal international government is necessary. The answer is that the elites like to work within a "lawful" environment of their own creation. The more that reality corresponds to their notions and plans, the easier it is to continually consolidate power.

Nothing else – no other sociopolitical model – seems to explain what has happened to America and Europe. The EU is a disaster and the euro has proven to be a currency that has brought ruin on the Southern crescent of that artificial entity. The one-size-fits all central banking policies of the union continue to collapse jobs and economies – something we've been forecasting for several years now.

European elites are on record as anticipating the disaster and welcoming it because it will allow for the creation a closer "political union." But in the Internet era, people are not so easily manipulated as they were in the 20th Century. The pushback to elite plans is extreme. The fate of the EU is by no means pre-determined. Events could easily spin out of control.

In the US, the great merger between Canada, Mexico and America has been all-but-abandoned – for the time being. However, one of the primary figures behind that putative merger is Texas governor Rick Perry who spent much time and political energy in the early 2000s trying create a "North American Union." In our view it is no accident that he is a front-runner for the presidency at this juncture.

FRANK depicts the collective food mood...,

Google Trends result for the search terms "apply food stamps"

And here is a Trends result for the search terms "buy seeds"

leisurely deterioration has left masses in a mess

culturechange | Greetings from Oklahoma City, where I came to speak at the University of Oklahoma on "Natural Gas: a Bridge to Nowhere?" More on that in a later post.

My reflection this evening is on the transformation of USAmericans into a leisure society of individuals. It began in the 1950s and flowered in the '60s and early '70s. It developed into guitar playing rebels, surfers -- "Baw dip da dip dip" -- and, above all, television watchers, as prominent types among the new affluent generation. Institutions such as school and church weren't offering much cohesion. So the new generation of young people were distinguished sharply from their parents who had experienced the Great Depression, worked rather hard, endured World War II, and had witnessed their own parents' having more skills and tradition than they did.

The importance of this change between generations was ultimately not so much the luminescence of the Counterculture, but instead a weakening of the population. The direction of the population was not toward liberation and enlightenment or a return to more natural living (except for some hippies). Instead, as has become clear over the decades since, the population was becoming less healthy, more alienated, possessing fewer skills, controlled by the top of the pyramid, and losing knowledge of elders' traditions and sense of community.

I believe the above explains how a modern middle aged person in the U.S. today is little more than a graying replica of previous generations' resilient, wiry-strong citizens. While a factory job of yesteryear may not make more sense or be more healthful than a service-job today at a corporate chain store, the factory worker nevertheless used his hands and made something, and knew intimately of his parents' or grandparents' rural roots and simple values. One can deride the ignorance or lack of imagination of the generation of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, but minimizing the strength of that generation -- because it may not have been as technologically sophisticated or able to stop the corporatization of the nation -- as we applaud women's liberation and the slackening of church going, misses the overall change for the worse in the population during the last several decades. (Growth in population did not help anyone but the few profiting off growth, nor did reliance on ever-more-expensive, dwindling petroleum give us more than a short-term jolt of energy.)

For it is the mass denial today of our ecological plight and the increasingly obvious domination by unworthy, greedy masters that raises the question, "What accounts for the current generation's putting up with the imbalanced economy and total lack of connection to the life-giving land?" As I have a look at Oklahoma this week, I see the cloned, exacerbated sprawl development, automobile dependence, and acquiescence to ever more costly, senseless militarism. Simultaneously there is little acknowledgment of climate change when the state is experiencing the hottest summer in history. The people, as with almost USAmericans, are more dependent than ever on technology and being dictated to by government in more and more areas of daily living. Perhaps, though, the kindness and directness of the people of Oklahoma will be the biggest local resource -- beyond the vaunted petroleum industries and cattle ranching. And the famous Oklahoma Food Coop is the envy of the nation.

Where is this societal trend -- six decades of leisurely deterioration for the U.S. masses -- going? Times are tougher and tougher for more people, as the system shows itself to be failing. Eventually the number of people that the system is rewarding will be so small that they will be dealt with harshly by a hungry, landless mass of frustrated, mostly confused people who also had led soft, often empty lives. One can hope for a good outcome when things settle down, but we are running out of Mother Nature's patience.

wall st. drives world hunger