Lajia is an important archaeological site in Qinghai province on the Yellow River in China associated with the Qijia culture and was discovered by archaeologists in 2000 and has been compared to Pompeii where life 4,000 odd years ago was hit by a sudden catastrophe. "Based on the geological and archaeological evidence, there was a catastrophic earthquake and immediately following the quake, the site was subject to flooding by the river," says Professor Kam-biu Liu, from Louisiana State University, US.
Most buildings are cave dwellings and some 250 are spread across a large site which has yielded stone musical instruments, cast bronze mirrors, and jade tools and jewellery.
This year the Professor Lu Houyuan and colleagues at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (also Nature (vol.437: p.967-968) have claimed to have discovered the oldest noodles ever discovered.... the oldest record of them previously has been traced to a book written during the East Han Dynasty sometime between AD 25 and 220.
50cm. long, yellowed strands, which have been radio carbon dated, (o are evidently not the discarded lunch of an excavator) had been made from 2 species of millet grass , foxtail (Setaria italica - known from China , it wasn't until the mid 19th Century it was introduced to Europe and is known as German or Italian millet) and broomcorn (Panicum miliaceum which is known from Chinese sites up to 7,000 years ago and is regarded as a weed in North America) and were found trapped in an air pocket by mud in an upturned earthenware bowl with a basket weave pattern. Identfication of the species was possible by the seed husks left in the bowl and amylum or starch analysis.
Unlike the familiar wheat noodle made today, these noodles resemble the La-Mian noodle,which is a type of traditional Chinese noodle that is made by repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand. Millet is a grain used for a gluten free diet.
Momofuku Ando, was born in Taiwan in 1910 and moved to Japan in 1933,and founded the Nissin Food Products Co after World War II and is credited with inventing the instant noodle Chicken Ramen, in 1958.The company now has 25 plants located in 8 countries and their noodles are consumed in over 70 countries.
It was the introduction of waterproof ,low cost , easily formed, sealable polystyrene containers in 1971, that thrust the easily prepared food snack on world markets. Although he retired in 2005 Mr Ando was still working until he died last week aged 96 of a heart attack. Healthy calories controlled living with noodles here.
Ace UK chess player, Harriet Hunt is a Research Fellow in Archaeogenetics, at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, who is using genetic markers to explore the patterns of diversity in broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum).
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Lajia is an important archaeological site in Qinghai province on the Yellow River in China associated with the Qijia culture and was discovered by archaeologists in 2000 and has been compared to Pompeii where life 4,000 odd years ago was hit by a sudden catastrophe. "Based on the geological and archaeological evidence, there was a catastrophic earthquake and immediately following the quake, the site was subject to flooding by the river," says Professor Kam-biu Liu, from Louisiana State University, US.
Friday, January 05, 2007
The UK Foreign Office today revised its travel advice for Fiji.
"We advise against all but essential travel to Suva. On 5 December, the Fiji Military Commander dismissed the elected Prime Minister and Government of Fiji and announced that he had assumed control of the country. A state of emergency is now in place in Fiji and curfews could be imposed without warning. Although the security situation in Fiji is currently calm, it could deteriorate at short notice. The British High Commission in Suva is monitoring events closely. If you are in Fiji, you should register with the British High Commission."
Previous posts (5) by Lord Patel on progress of military coup here
Please pray for Margaret Beckett as she faces the problems of this far flung Commonwealth outpost. Those who don't hang on her every word may be fascinated by this remark reproduced at the FO website she made to the ITV program (pic) 'THE MORAL OF THE STORY' today concerning Iraq and it's recent history.
" .....And, you know, still now from time to time these mass graves turn up but really nobody's terribly interested because the world has moved on."Which must really comfort the widowed, fatherless, the orphaned ..... and other victims of the Terror of Tikrit. Blessed Margaret, the right word, in the right place ...at the ..er...right time.
Condileezza Rice will be discomforted reading "Failure Personified: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" in a blistering piece at AntiWar by Doug Bandow who served as a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and as a senior policy analyst in the 1980 Reagan for President campaign.
In conclusion he states ...
" ...statesmen ultimately must be judged on results. In this regard Secretary Rice, and the president she serves, have failed. They launched a conflict which has killed tens of thousands of people, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, spawned more terrorists the world over, and created a more dangerous and uncertain world. A good person she may be, but a terrible American secretary of state she most certainly is."After reading this (which Lord Patel strongly recommends) a friend explained the loyal support for her was, because she has a bush between her legs. What on Earth does that mean ?
White House pic today , as she watches Negroponte take on role as her side kick.
Police are on the hunt for a thief who stole a urinal from a pub in Hampshire.
screams the BBC Online headline...
Ho.Ho.Ho..... CCTV pictures (video here) show Lord Patel visiting the urinal of Alan Dreja's, Royal Oak pub in Houndwell Place, Southampton and relieving himself first, and then Alan of a urinal.
Plod was quickly on the trail and high quality CCTV film has quickly appeared on Channel 4 (disregarding Lord Patel's rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 etc.,) ... OK Guv it's a fair cop ... put the bracelets on ... now we know that 4 bombs can kill 56 people and injure hundreds in central London and we NEVER see the moving CCTV pictures ... but Lord Patel takes a leak (and a fine ceramic Royal Doulton urinal) and Plod is instantly on the case. Too right my son, escaped murderers photofits ? NO way My Son ...
Sir Ian Blair (of that Ilk) will be making a statement shortly. Newsnight have been notified. ITV News at Ten is straining at the Leash.
Alan Dreja is 46.
Lord Patel admits to stealing the Urinal to re-create "The Fountain" Marcel Duchamp's famous Dadaist artwork (8 copies of which he made) to celebrate the first anniversary of the destruction on January 4th last year, in the Paris Pompidou Art Centre,by by hammer wielding old age pensioner, 77 year old Pierre Pinoncelli, of one of the "originals". He got a three-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay a $245,490 fine. Signed R.Mutt.
A reader calls to remark that stealing the urinal for such a stupid, vain, obtuse artistic venture was not a good reason for stealing the Urinal ... any better suggestions for stealing one ?
Canadian Broadcasting Corp report a teacher in Quebec is on stress leave after two students posted a video of him shouting in class. Two 13 year old girls provoked him and then posted the resulting film they made on YouTube - who have since removed the film.
In Brazil, the lovely lissome beauty, Daniela Cicarelli, ex boyfriend of Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo and host of a show on Brazilian MTV was filmed "frolicking" with her boyfriend Brazilian banker Renato Malzoni in an intimate embrace in beachside surf. Her lawyers, who have been at work since September, have finally had copies of the film removed from various sites (one of which was trying to sell copies - see pic) and finally a Brazilian judge has ruled YouTube remove the film or face a daily fine of US$119,000.... which won't have done her modelling career much harm...
Reginald Oliver Denny (born April 21, 1953 in San Pedro, California) a white construction truck driver who was dragged from his truck and nearly beaten to death by black rioters during the Los Angeles riots on April 29, 1992.The videotape was filmed by Marika Tur from a helicopter piloted by her then-husband, reporter Bob Tur with whom they jointly operated Los Angeles News Service - which licenses this notable piece of film .
Robert Tur sued YouTube in US Federal court for copyright infringement in July 2006 as a posting of the film to the site had received 1000 hits in a week and claims this hurt his ability to license the use of the video. Tur hadn't asked for removal of the clip but claimed US$150,000 and an injunction.
YouTube removed the clip but said his claim
"had no merit as the company is a service provider that complies with all the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and therefore is entitled to the full protections of the safe harbor provisions of the Act."
Which given the volume of postings and viewers is remarkable. An interesting clip is available about the case on YouTube here
The price for carbon closed last night 04 January 2007 at €4.88 - (remember it was in excess of €30 in April 2006!) a further collapse in this fantasy market - is lost on the Environment Minister Ian Pearson who upbraided Ryanair in a Guradian interview as "Ryanair are not just the unacceptable face of capitalism, they are the irresponsible face of capitalism" and also called it's founder and chief pilot the small, tallented but perfectly formed (and recently married) Michael O'Leary, as "completely off the wall" ... which anybody who can inspect his bank balance can see is evidently nonsense.
Carbon is released from fossil fuels, oil, gas, coal into the atmosphere, it with many other factors affects, the global climate, which is currently warming ever so slightly.
If you want to cut carbon emissions. Simply stop burning fossil fuels.... carbon trading does nothing of the sort .... it is merely a casino which enriches the financiers and their henchemen, accountnats, lawyers, money jugglers who designed it .... dazzling stupid politicians on the way, like Mr Pearson and his even dimmer predecessor Margaret Beckett.
There is another scheme that the politicians love called Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC's) which have put £1 Bn in the City's pockets to produce, so far, some 220 Mw of electricity from wind energy in the UK = roughly half the capacity of one of the nuclear reactors (480Mw) just closed down at Sizewell and Dungeness.... not forgetting Siemens (one of the world's largest engineering companies) getting £10.4 Mn of Lottery money to help build Burbo Bank off Liverpool.
The Italian Daily paper Corriere claims on the basis of Arabian press reports that Moqtada al Sadr was present at the lynching of Saddam.
"The two Saudi daily papers "al-Riadh" and "al-Watan" cite eyewitnesses. "I have seen al-Sadr to wear knitted caps black ski caps inside the room - the witness explained - also present it is claimed was Abdulaziz al-Hakim"
al Hakim (seen in picture welcoming war criminal George Bush) is the leader of the Iranian backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and was leader of the Badr organisation. He is the brother of Brother of the Shia leader Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, who was killed in Najaf in August 2003. Seven of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim brothers have been killed, six of them on the orders of Saddam Hussein.
al Hakim figures a great deal in Paul Bremer's "My Year in Iraq" (see Index) and he met Ex Secretary and war criminal Donald Rumsfeld ...Page 245.
PS. Reports, copied here about the lynching of Saddam's half brother and a judge were incorrect and premature - Louise Arbor has called for a delay as has the UN Secretary General.
The BBC Today programme "Today", reminds us all that the British Medical Journal search for the most important medical advance since the Journal was founded in 1840 will be announced on 18 January 2007 on the BMJ’s "new look website."
Lord Patel brought this to readers attention in September , now you can read the details of the 15 most important advances - and an excellent potted history of recent medical science . Anyone, anywhwere in the world can vote here http://www.bmj.com / from ;
Anaesthesia / Antibiotics
Chlorpromazine / Computers
Discovery of DNA structure / Evidence-based medicine
Germ theory / Immunology
Medical imaging (x-rays, etc.)
Oral contraceptive pill / Oral rehydration therapy
Risks of smoking / Sanitation(clean water and sewage disposal)
Tissue culture / Vaccines
Lord Patel has voted for Vaccines. First described and produced for rabies by Louis Pasteur in 1855 ( Portrait Albert Edelfelt, en el Musée d'Orsay) . Vaccines have seen the end of (often fatal) childhood diseases like diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, rubella, polio, mumps, and rubella rare and distant memories - and now for cervical cancer which is now seen to be the result of a communicable STD. Championed by Michael Worboys, Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester
Teachers at all levels - there is valuable resource material here.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Energy Trends and Q3 2006 Quarterly Energy Figures and Prices were published by the DTI today - fascinating - but extraction of meaningful information is tedious , here are the edited highlights.
Energy Trends has articles on:
"World production, consumption, reserves and trade in natural gas"
World gas reserves are estimated to be about 180 trillion cubic metres or 62 years of production at 2005 rates. Russia has 27 %, Iran 15 %, and Qatar 14 %t (Where US CENTCOM is located) . 23% of gas is transported as LNG = 100% in Japan.
"Electricity transmission across Europe in 2004".
Detailed information from the International Energy Agency's "Electricity Information" volume which shows that within the EEA only 1% of electricity is imported,but flows between countries can be very large and significant - and result in major disruptions as has been seen in the last two years . Emphasising the synergy between countries such as France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Slovak Republic are very important to the integrity of the European grid.
The UK imports less than 3 per cent of its electricity consumption and exports only 1/2 per cent of its production - solely with France.
As a Very Important adjunct to reading this, Europe’s principal grid authority the "Union for the Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity" (UCTE) published a detailed interim report into the grid disturbance that left 15 million households without power, and came close to resulting in a pan-European blackout in the autumn. UTE reported that " the causes of the event were multi-factorial, but that the key trigger was an unexpected rise in the load on the Landesbergen-Wehrendorf grid link, which joins the grid control areas of E.ON Netz and RWE. The precise causes of this increase are at present not clear, or have not yet been published, but the role of an unpredicted rise in wind generation (documented by E.ON Netz) appears to be a potentially important feature." Further more UCTE makes it clear that the subsequent behaviour of uncontrollable wind generation was a significant factor in the development of the crisis and the difficulties that the grid operators experienced in restoring the service. UCTE notes (p. 25) that 60% of wind units tripped in response to the emerging crisis, and then began automatically reconnecting (p. 26ff) exacerbating an already grave situation (p. 30). The E.on / Netz report into the event is available here
All of which might indicate , that at last, someone should be wakening up to the threats to UK Energy Security and place less reliance on wind power ..... See FOOTNOTE
As well as these articles, there are tedious self congratulatory details of changes in reporting to meet the DTI's commitment (which have holes in due to the sell off of the National Grid) in the February 2003 Energy White Paper to produce more information at regional and local level - for what it's worth.
The UK Quarterly Energy statistics for the 3rd Quarter of 2006 throws up some startling comparisons with the same Quarter in 2005 (to which all comparisons relate) ;
1 Indigenous production of primary fuels was 42.4 Mn. tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) a reduction of 7.8%
2. Energy consumption was 1.9 % lower
3. Consumption on a primary fuel input basis (on a Seasonally adjusted
and temperature corrected - annual rate ) 220.0 was 220.0 Mn TOE up a marginal 0.4%.
4.Other solid fuel (coal, petcoke,biofuels) consumption rose by 21.2 %.
5 Oil consumption decreased by 1.8 per cent.
6 Gas consumption fell by 5.2 per cent.
7 Primary electricity consumption decreased by 7.1 per cent.
Noticeably the generators are shovelling coal as long as possible whilst they can and keeping gas production in mothballs - lower input costs using well depreciated plant and minimal maintenance. It also suggests that the impact of higher consumer and industry prices is having an effect on consumption. Which is not suprising as squirelled away are the figures for Domestic fuel prices ...
Overall the price paid for all fuel and light by household consumers has risen by 25.1 % in real terms between Q3 2005 and Q3 2006, the highest rate in the last 30 years.
Domestic electricity prices, including VAT, in Q3 2006, were 22.4 per cent higher in real terms than in Q3 2005. The price of domestic gas rose by 34.2 per cent in real terms over the same period, with the price of heating oils rising by 5.4 per cent.
Estimates from the International Energy Agency suggest that in October 2006, UK domestic electricity and gas prices, including taxes, remained below the EU15 median although average annual gas bills rose 19.8% (approx £87 per household) and electricity 15.7 % ( £55 per household) year on year. ( i.e wholesale prices at the Year end still have to work through into Quarterly bills). Many UK Domestic consumers have operated on capped and fixed length tariffs many of which end in Jan 2007. See BBC Story here So many consumers can expect a very sharp increase in prices in the first 2007 Quarterly bill.
Broken down into their constituent parts the figures produced show ;
COAL: QUARTER 3 2006
1. Provisional figures for Q3 2006 show coal production down 24.1 % at 3.6 Mn Tonnes (deep mined production 23.4% down and opencast 25.6% down..
2. Whilst coal imports grew 18.8 % at 13.0 million tonnes, a new quarterly record.
3 Coal consumption for Q3 2006 was up 18.5% @ 13.5 million tonnes ( electricity generators consumption up 23% in period)
4. Coal stock rose 3 MN tonnes to 18.5 Mn tonnes (say 4 months usage)
Remember the heady days when we used to dig this stuff out of the ground ? Mrs Thatcher's Reganomics put an end to that old son.
OIL: (Crude + NGL's) QUARTER 3 2006
1 Total indigenous UK oil production down by 10.2 % to 17.3 million tonnes. 2 new fields started up in September - insufficient to make up for production declines in older fields.
2. Again the UK was a net importer of oil and oil products in Q3 2006 by 2.5 Mn tonnes. (Q3 2005 = 2.3 Mn tonnes)
3 Overall primary demand for oil products in Q3 2006 was down 2.6 %.(19.9 Mn tonnes)
4. Motor spirit (petrol) fell 2.4 % = 4.63 Mn tonnes)
Derv rose by 5.8 % = 5.2 Mn tonnes (God knows what it was in Northern Ireland where dodging duty is a 3rd religion)
Aviation turbine fuel was down by 1.8 % = 3.52 Mn tonnes
Road fuel Prices show that in mid December a litre of unleaded petrol was on average 87.4 pence per litre unchanged from a year earlier and Derv was 93.0 pence per litre, 1.2 pence per litre higher than a year earlier. which gave "green" Gordon a chance to add a penny or so on the duty with impunity.
GAS: (Terawatt hours TWh) QUARTER 3 2006
1 UK indigenous production of natural gas in Q3 2006 was down 2.4 %
2. UK was a net importer Q3 2005 (9.3 Twh) and moved into being a net exporter again in Q3 2006 ( 1.9 Twh) exports and imports of natural gas increased by 62.8 % and 14.2 %.
3 Demand for gas in Q3 2006 was down 10.3 %.
4 Gas use (Provisional figures) for electricity generation was down 11.7 % and domestic use 11.4%
ELECTRICITY (TWh) : QUARTER 3 2006
1 Electricity generators fuel consumption was down by 1.1% and electricity supplied (77.4 TWh) .was 0.5% lower than Q3 2005 (Domestic (23.76 TWh) down 0.5% / Industrial (23.76 TWh) 0.2% down / others - street lights, telecomms etc., (23.36 TWh) down 0.4% )
2. Coal usage was up 22.9 %
Gas use was down 11.6 %
Nuclear production was down 8.1 % ( maintenance and outages)
"Renewable Hydro" was down 6.1%
3. For those curious to know wind , energy has an installed capacity of 630 MW which mean (if 30% efficient - which is optimistic) = 210 MW see British Windy Energy Association site
experience is starting to show that production from wind farms is never at the level forecast before the projects begin.
Also see Renewable Energy Foundation reports on wind farms 9/12/06 - report on actual data via ROC's claimed. (actual efficiency UK wide = 28.4%) Quote "the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector"
Remember ! Indirect subsidy approaching £1 billion a year is being channelled towards renewable energy by the Government’s Renewables Obligation - wind farms, farm ROC's, not wind.
ENERGY PRICES: QUARTER 3 2006
1. In Q3 Average industrial gas prices, were 20.0 % higher in real terms compared to Q3 2005 (incl CCL) coal was lower by 10.5% and heavy fuel oil up 10%.
2 In Q3 Average industrial electricity prices were 27.9 % higher in real terms, in Q3 2006 compared to Q3 2005.(incl CCL)
3 The International Energy Agency provisiona figures suggest that in 2005, average UK industrial gas prices were below the EU/G7 median, and industrial electricity prices were around the EU/G7 median.
4 DTI Estimates suggest that in October 2006, industrial gas and electricity prices in the UK including taxes were above the EU15 median for all consumers available from this source.
If you want more - Energy Trends and the Quarterly Energy Prices bulletins, are available in hard copy from DTI on subscription, price £40 per annum or are available for downloading at http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/statistics/publications/index.html
Subscription form is also available @ http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/statistics/publications/trends/index.html
More detailed annual data on energy production and consumption for the years 2000 to 2005 are available in the DIGEST OF UNITED KINGDOM ENERGY STATISTICS 2006, published by the Stationery Office on 27 July 2006, priced £39.50. or @ http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/statistics/publications/dukes/page29812.html
The well scrubbed and smartly dressed, but remarkably dumb, Mike O' Brien, one of the many short lived New Labour Energy Ministers 25.10.04, Hansard
“To achieve that target, we need to make use of all renewable sources. We expect 7 or 8 per cent. of the 10 per cent. generation to come from wind energy. Other technologies will be hard pushed to produce the rest.”
John Shelnut and colleagues at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque as well as the University of Georgia in Athens have developed a novel system for developing , hollow, porous platinum nanospheres which might enable researchers to identify where drugs react within cell structures.
Liposomes are familiar biological structures, that are effectively balls of fat that enable the contents to be carried in the body, isolating and insulating the contents until they are released to act. For example liposomes have an ability to target cancer because typically less than 400nm, they can rapidly enter tumour sites from the blood, but are kept in the bloodstream by the endothelial cell walls which they cannot permeate. Currently available anti- Cancer drugs such as Doxorubicin (Doxil a liposomal injenction for ovarian cancers)) and Daunorubicin (Daunoxome - a liposomal injection for treating AIS related Karposi's sarcoma) utilise this "liposome delivery".
Shelnut and his colleagues utilised a manufactured liposome containing a light activated porphyrin catalyst (the active part of photosynthetic proteins) containing tin - placed in a platinum salt solution and irradiated with light - this precipitates or stimulates the photocatalyst to transfer electrons to the platinum ions and as the atoms build up sheets or dendrites of the metal are formed as hollow metal spheres. Dissolving the liposomes reveals the structures (see pic) which have the shape of the liposomes of up to 200 nm aggregates of foam like structures. The trick to developing the structures depends upon the initial levels of tin so that sufficient platinum is deposited. The size of the nanostructures can be altered by changing the porphyrin concentration, the concentration of platinum in solution, the amount of light illuminating the reaction and the length of time the light was on.
One application is "nanotagging" of biological structures such as drug molecules.
"This would involve labeling the drug by attaching a porphyrin molecule and, after allowing the drug to bind to a cell, using light to grow a nanometer-sized particle. The nanoparticles can then be imaged with electron microscopy to reveal the location of the drug receptor molecules on the cell," Shelnut says. "This type of nanotagging technique might be used in non-biological applications as well - such as finding flaws in semiconductor surfaces."
Tantalisingly they suggest that "Further, nanocages composed of other metals and alloys can be made."
Sandia Labs are of course part of Lockheed Martin and see that can manipulate the nanoscale structure of platinum to have control over the size, porosity, composition, surface species, solubility, stability and other functional properties, they can redesigned nanometric platinum structures for use other applications, including catalysis, sensors and optoelectronic and magnetic devices. Find out more about this fascinating use of photochemistry at the Shelnut team website (http://jasheln.unm.edu/)
Platinum mining in the US
Stillwater Mining Company (NYSE:SMC) is a company controlled by Norimet Limited and Russian state owned, MMC Norilsk Nickel under NYSE Rule 303A.00 and is is the only U.S. producer of palladium and platinum. It is the largest primary producer of platinum group metals outside South Africa and Russia. Mining commenced in 1987, west of Nye, Montana. Platinum Group Metals (pgm) are extracted from the J-M Reef, which contains very high grades of pgm - about 20 g per tonne. Palladium accounts for about three-quarters of the pgm extracted, with the remainder largely platinum.
MMC Norilsk Nickel is the world's leading producer of nickel (19% share of world mined production) and palladium (52% share of world mined production) and is Russia's leading gold producer Ranked 4th for Platinum (12% share of world mined production)and among top 10 copper producers.
They signed agreements for mining in Western Siberia with bhp Billiton on June 12th, 2006 and with Rio Tinto Zinc on January 27th, 2006 for mining in Eastern and Far Eastern Siberia - More here.
Synthesis of Platinum Nanocages by Using Liposomes Containing Photocatalyst Molecules
Yujiang Song, Robert M. Garcia, Rachel M. Dorin, Haorong Wang, Yan Qiu, John A. Shelnutt
Angewandte Chemie Volume 118, Issue 48, 2006. Pages 8306-8310
Also here in pre-publication form from the Shelnut Group.
Mike Ashley who owns Sportsworld, the highly successful and profitable discount sports retailer, Lillywhites, Slazenger/Dunlop and Donnay racquets, scooped up 29% of Blacks Leisure Group plc recently. Quietly, before Christmas he also relieved August Equity Trust of Kangol the quirky globalised hatter favoured by the unsmiling Samuel L. Jackson. (Pic Kangol kool and Sportsworld staff) for a mere £12 Mn.
Puma are rumoured to have refused Sportsworld supplies and majors like Nike and Adidas are getting nervous that he could reverse into Blacks - he is also rumoured to have some major stakes in JJB and JD. (Lonsdale by Lord Patel here)
As the appettite for sportswear is matched by an eye for a bargain .... maybe ther's a bargain to be had.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
"The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth."-- Alan Blinder, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, on PBS’s Nightly Business Report in 1994.
Your New Year Cut out 'N' Keep New year supplement for 2007
Here are some charts stolen from the always excellent Signs of the Economic Apocalypse (SEA) which show (briefly) that in 2006 gold rose in price whether paid for in dollars (23%) Euros (10%) and as oil (from 8.5 to 10.5 barrels of oil for an ounce of gold).
Now to let you in on a US Gubment secret - well not much of a secret (where to hide a pebble, but ona beach ?) but way back on March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve System announced that they .....
Now SEA says , " Inflation (which you might estimate as being the relationship of the number of dollars in circulation compared with the value of available goods and services) is commonly thought of as having something to do with Gross Domestic Product versus cash money in circulation". i.e GDP (Growth of )M1 = inflation.
" will cease publication of the M3 monetary aggregate. The Board will also cease publishing the following components: large-denomination time deposits, repurchase agreements (RPs), and Eurodollars. The Board will continue to publish institutional money market mutual funds as a memorandum item in this release.......
...... M3 does not appear to convey any additional information about economic activity that is not already embodied in M2 and has not played a role in the monetary policy process for many years. Consequently, the Board judged that the costs of collecting the underlying data and publishing M3 outweigh the benefits."
Which of course it doesn't, because it relates to all effective money in circulation - M3 - which is the broadest measure of money supply in the U.S. It includes coins, currency, checking accounts, money market funds, time deposits and institutional money market accounts.If the Fed no longer publish it we rely on (say Bart over at Financial Sense University) who has calculated M3 - and again here at (Now and Futures)
The above is presented for educational and/or entertainment purposes only. Under no circumstances should it be mistaken for professional investment advice, nor is it at all intended to be taken as such.
So M3 inflation is running as of today in excess of 11% - now does that agree with your personal circumstance ? Energy / Food / Fuel / ? ... no wonder the Fed wants to hide the M3 figures..... "is an evident and growing disconnect between what people are told the rate of inflation is, and what they experience in their own lives "(Tim Iacano)- and not just for energy. Healthcare, tuition, and many other service categories have been rising sharply in the US.
"the costs of collecting the underlying data and publishing M3 outweigh the benefits" ... yet Bart can do it (see the site for how it's done) and the Fed have square miles of bright economists, statisticians and other ne'er do wells littering their payroll. The cost ? When they pay our US$20 Bn a year in interest on Treasury Bills ?
Dr. Mark Skousen, Chairman, Dec.8th Investment U tells of having lunch (see pic) with the 93 year old Milton Friedman, and still very alert and knowledgeable about current geo-politics.This is what old MIlt said ..."“I don’t know why the Federal Reserve discontinued the M3 chart,” he said. “But inflation is clearly a problem right now.”
The Prudent Investor has published the corresponsence (originally in WSJ online) between Senator Jim Bunning who asked (the new) Fed Chairman Bernanke why M3 was no longer published - who persists that it is merely a cost saving exercise.
This elementary housekeeping is however watched with great care in Europe , because the European & Asian Reserve banks take considerable notice of M3.
SEA sees this (as do many others - follow the links - have strong coffee handy) as the Big Con. The Fed knows money supply is out of control so we won't re-define it, we'll just ditch the component which everyone has found handy to use and rely ojn the funny money component - as SEA calls it "the real estate boyz and derivatives players weren't making money all day hand over fist through the process of loan creation. A splendid damn miracle. And government - having hidden M3 where it can't see daylight can argue "Ain't no measure of digidollar inflation...that's all speculative."
If you live in the US ... the only thing you will buy cheaper in a year's time is your house.
If you live in the UK ...expect interest rates 1/4% to rise when the Monetary Committee meet 2nd Thursday in Janaury... highest ever under Gordie as bhe battles soaring inflation which new energy bills which have been capped for many wil flutter through the letter box.
The M3 "Grease Gun" (more formally United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M3/M3A1) was a WW2 sub machine gun developed by the US as a cheap substitute for the THompson or "Tommy Gun". It was nicknamed the Grease Gun because of its resemblance to an automotive grease gun. Absolutely nothing to do with The Fed's M3. EXcept that it is no longer in use.
Noam Shalit, the distraught father of abducted IDF soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit גלעד שליט is reported in Haaretz today calling on Syrian President Assad to ask Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, exiled in Syria, to carry out a small, humanitarian gesture, because he holds the key to his son's release.
Asked is Shalit was in a good health recently , Meshaal grinned, and told a reporter for asharq alawasat: "He is good and he sends his regards." on November 11th 2006.
In a report on December 6th president Mubarak was quoted in the quasi official Egyptian newspaper Al Gomhouria , "Negotiations on releasing him are in their final stage and waiting for Hamas' approval."
Was he kidnapped ? Is he alive ? Is he dead ?
What is certain, is that a lot of Palestinians have been killed by the shelling, strafing, rocketing and bombing of Gaza since it is claimed he was captured.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
It was through ever fascinating Gizmodo that our attention was drawn to the discovery by Ryan a particularly shy young reader who wants only to be known as "Ryan" who had been trawling through Google's new US Patent search application and found that a John Dequer of Los Angeles had filed in 1928 - (which the Editors consider was the first vibrator patent) - "Electric Therapeutic Appliance".
Here is the patent - the accompanying drawing is above.
Whilst aware that purchase online of these items was not difficult online , it was a member (as it were) of staff who brought our attention to interest in the mainline press were interested in how the suburban world - especially the suburban lady is equipping herself .....this er.... festive season. Dildoes have , whilst not come out of the closet are well and truly to be found in the panty drawer... apparently.
The season kicked off with Sexy Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1 and Sexy Holiday Gift Guide: Part 2 which was the Village Voice's, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Tristan Taormino (?) trawling the web for everything for autoeroginists to spankophiles with links (over 50) to the more salubrious websites - she seems to have an obsession with the glass dildoes from blowfish - and an even more exotic diamond-encrusted titanium dildo from mi-su that comes (as you might say) for a mere US$6,400.
Not content with this online haul our Rachel decided to party and in The Village Voice on December 28th, 2006 held forth enthusiastically about passion parties ..."When ladies dish about icy-hot clits and tingling tits" under the unlikely title " The Twat Thickens" ...when at Courtney's apartment in the East Side , Hannah Harpoontang, Eileen Dover, Gabby Buttocks, and other sassy ladies were ready and wired for a passion party. One of 10,000 Passion Parties that take place every month across the US.
Reaching their zenith (or nadir depending upon your passions) when company' s "consultant" Joanne Webb (pic) in Clebane, 50 miles from Dallas, TX was charged in 2004 with a misdemeanor for hawking her battery-operated handjob helpers (she sold a vibrator to undercover narcotics officers posing as a dysfunctional married couple in search of a sex aid) — although the case (possibly as a result of an attempt to get her company membersof the local Chamber of Commerce) was eventually dismissed.
Patricia Davis, a 59-year-old grandmother and president of Passion Parties, told CNN at the time: "We are very proud of Joanne Webb. She believes in the mission of the company and she is doing a really nice job of representing us."
Der Spiegel has a wonderful story of modern marketing and entrpreneurship this week concerning "German Firm Penetrates Sex Market : Dolphin shaped Dildos from Deutschland" (Doch ein Bremer Mittelständler hat sich mit deutschen Tugenden zum Branchenführer aufgeschwungen) about Dirk Bauer who started making dolphin-shaped dildos in his kitchen a few years ago and now has a thriving international business churning out 4,000 ..er ...sex toys a day. (See QA Depot pic)
So successful that Germany's principal pornographers Beate Uhse AG from Flensburg, northern Germany, bought a 25 % stake in Dirk's Fun Factory 2 years ago.
Even Amazon are cashing in this Christmas - ensuring everything goes with a "swing"
If you want to find out how the muddle classes are catching on to the penetrative joys of plastic just search Google News on "dildo" ... for example SX News of Australia in "Using both hands" has fascinating insights into the nature of ambidexterity and erotic techniques ...and ... well find the rest for yourself.
...BUT ladies beware, "two for the price of one" doesn't necessarily mean it's a discount offer.
Fathidin Mukhsiddinov of the Tajik state-owned gas company says that Uzbekistan has almost doubled the price of gas it sells to Tajikistan to US$100 usd per 1,000 cubic metres from Jan 1 2007. A contract for 700 Mn cubic metres is said to have been concluded.
In May Uzbekistan reduced its exports to Tajikistan, (one of the poorest in central Asia), because bills of US$4.5 MN had not been paid which caused industrial and commercial chaos until payment were made.
In Moscow at Gazprom's HQ, Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky 's representative First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko of Byelorussia signed a midnight deal to pay Gazprom GAZP.MM: Quote,$100 per 1,000 cubic metres of gas. More than double last years US$46 but less than the US$105 demanded.
For the next four years, Belarus would pay a portion of the cost in shares of Beltransgaz(Белтрансгаз). Which ends several years of negotiation over ownership of the company., now valued at $5 billion by ABN Amro but which Gazprom says is really US$3.5Bn.
Semashko, however, said Belarus would pay US$100 in cash in 2007 (half the US$200 demanded) and that Gazprom would pay for half of Beltransgaz and it's 6000 km's of pipelines in cash. He said the price would increase by US$11 annually after 2007, reaching US$144 in 2011.
In Minsk there had been threats to cut power to pump stations on the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which carries all Russian gas transiting Belarus to Western Europe.
Germany -- for whom Russia is a main gas supplier and the EU have used diplomatic pressure on Moscow and Minsk to reach a deal quickly and avoid any disruption to supplies to germany and Europe.
It appears that agreement has been reached but it has only moved the hand on the spigot to Moscow from Minsk... Moscow can now look to having used the gas supply weapon on deals directly with Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine and now Byelorussia and Karimov has moved in concert over Tajikistan.
Which helps to maintain high world prices for gas, and factors in a security factor in all future negotiations.
We wait to see what happens when Gazprom offers to buy out Centrica (up 1% today @ 358p).. or Mr V Alekperov does through LUKoil.
Let's not forget the scene in Firdos Square on the afternoon of April 9th 2003. In a scene wholly contrived by the US, an M33 Abrams tank recovery vehicle toppled Saddam's statue.
The images of outraged Iraqi's flooded the world news media.
Saddam in a hastily arranged and furtive lynching of the man, contrived, like his mock trial by the US was pulled down on the end of a rope ....
In both cases the US, the UK were on the other end of the rope.
This my child is called liberation.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Buzz Aldrin and Arthur C Clarke will address the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial celebrations at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center & Westin Crown Center Kansas City, Missouri – July 6-7-8, 2007.
Sign up online now to celebrate the works of American author, atheist, futurist, philosopher and spaceflight advocate Robert A. Heinlein. Jobs also available ....
Managing Editor/Content Manager
Plus Short Fiction Writing Contest for the Heinlein Centennial - closing date - Midnight (12:00 a.m.), February 15, 2007.
Meanwhile a few of his well crafted apercus to drive you to re-rerad or have the exquisite joy of finding his stories and books for the first time.
"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly."
“History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help."
"Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”
“No matter where or what, there are makers, takers, and fakers.”
“To get anywhere, or even live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer.”
“Do steers sign treaties with meat packers?"
"Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events".
“A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.”
“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.”
“When one teaches, two learn.”
"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics."
"The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H.Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history."
"God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills."
“Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way.”
"The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive. "
Californian writer John Scalzi will be there - more on his website
For the really prurient. General Pinochet died in his sleep, with the eternal blessings of
Barenness Margaret Thatcher ringing in his ears .... let us not forget Ariel Sharon, another unhung butcher, Mengistu, spirited away by Uncle Sam, now aiding President Mugabe in destroying Zimbabwe and it's people. General Dostum of the Northern Alliance, drug trafficker extraordinaire and Minister in the Afghan Gubment ... George Bush and Tony "Miami Vice" Blair... etc , etc.,
Tagbulb is a neat tool - it's a search engine that simply searches on tags and aggregates content from various sources. Users can browse by content type - e.g. images, videos, blogs, bookmarks, podcasts, products, books etc.
So if you want to see the more than 400 sources of videos of "Saddam executed" this gives you an easy to use and convenient interface.
There is also TagJag which is klutzy and clunky.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
media lens is a website.
It claims to correct the distorted vision of the corporate media. It's a haven for humourless, muddle aged, muddle class, muddle brow media shit stirrers. These dysfunctional mutual back slappers maintain a cautious and Buddhist inspired and untroubled resevoir of careful comment - that spends endless time berating the BBC , Independent and Guradian Newsdesks over arcane points of textual analysis. They must absolutely fucking hate them.
About us, outs their tedious philosophy by their juvenile and unformed and uninformed ideas of which they say revealingly ..."We have to acknowledge the debt we owe to Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, and in particular to their brilliant (and largely ignored) text, 'Manufacturing Consent - The Political Economy of the Mass Media'. (Pantheon, 1988) " ... you can just smell those socks and sandals and hear the scratchy Santana albums.
In truly Damascean fashion they have however finally understood that the whole post Kyoto scaremongering and deployment of the insane emissions trading scheme is a capitalist scam, perpetrated by capitalist scum.
The revelation .... "New Book Exposes Scandal of Carbon Trading" they belatedly recognise .. this is the unhandy sized "Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power" a product of the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation.Which they ca;; their Development Dialogue 2006:September, no.48
You can download (PDF alert) the whole 350 odd pages or (recommended) 6 seperate chapters. OR better still obtain a free copy by e-mailing Kajsajsa.email@example.com or (in Britain only) firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or Fax: +46-18-12 20 72
This is how they outline the plot in an arch and quaint fashion but does give you an idea of the content - read and judge for yourself.
Chapter 1 A new fossil fuel crisis
In which the growing climate crisis is traced mainly to the mining of coal, oil and gas; the dangers to survival and livelihood are outlined; the political nature and implications of the problem explored; and reasonable and unreasonable solutions sketched.
Chapter 2 ‘Made in the USA’
A short history of carbon trading In which the surprising story is told of how corporations, academics, governments, United Nations agencies and environmentalists united around a neoliberal or ‘market’ approach to climate change emanating from North America.
Chapter 3 Lessons unlearned
In which carbon trading, contrary to slogans about the universal eff ectiveness of markets in dealing with environmental and social problems, is shown to be ill-suited to addressing climate change. The experience of the US in pollution trading is demonstrated to be an argument not for, but rather against, making carbon markets the centrepiece of action on global warming.
Chapter 4 Off sets
The fossil economy’s new arena of conflict In which it is shown how projects designed to compensate’ for continued fossil fuel use are helping to dispossess ordinary people of their land, water, air – and futures.
Chapter 5 Ways forward
In which the claim that ‘there is no alternative’ to carbon trading is dissected and set aside, and emerging alliances for a more democratic and effective climate politics are explored.
Pollution trading the authors have belatedly recognised is a completely new idea, foisted on the world by a small circle of neoliberal institutions in the US. Surprise - Surprise !! Pollution trading’s main appeal is that it promises to
save make money for the rich over the short term. As a pollution control policy, it is sure to fail.
.... ahem .. in Europe where it HAS been tried ...it has FAILED ... the ETS market closed on Friday at just 6 Euros, the lowest ever....having made a lot of traders, lawyers, accountants, banks very rich on the way and many credulous investors much poorer.
All credit to media lens for finally realising what twats they have been all these years as the wool has been ever so gently pulled over their eyes... quite how difficult is it to deprive children of their candy ?
Pssssst.... want to stop somebody doing something? - tax and regulate, admittedly it has limited itility eg. European fuel taxes cf USA ... but of course it depends what you do with the taxes you raise.. the European Gubments just piss them up against the wall.
Anyway read the report - 350 pages but it's big type on artfully landscaped pages and the text boxes a la US textbooks makes reading easier ... the Bibliography is excellent.
Thanks to the two Daves .. welcome to the real world.
See also ....See also "Obscenity' of carbon trading" by Kevin Smith in the BBC Green Room , he is a researcher with Carbon Trade Watch, a project of the Transnational Institute which studies the impacts of carbon trading on society and the environment.
Also by him "Stern Words While in Europe They are trading Hot air" also at (www.thepolitician.org)
"Labour MP Gerry Steinberg described the scheme as a ‘mockery’ and an ‘outrageous waste of public money’."
"A massively generous allocation resulted in windfall profits for some of the UK’s most polluting companies, to the collective value of £940 million according to Franck Schuttelar, an analyst at the energy-trading firm Gaselys."
"Waiting yet more years to learn further lessons from the next round of ineffective emissions trading is a luxury we don’t have."
See also his "Carbon Cop outs" - He is also co-author of The Carbon Neutral Myth: offset indulgences for your climate sins, forthcoming in January 2007.
See also Climate Fraud and Carbon Colonialism: The New Trade in Greenhouse Gases (pdf alert)by Heidi Bachram CAPITALISM NATURE SOCIALISM VOLUME 15 NUMBER4 (DECEMBER 2004)
"The changes necessary to avert climate catastrophe are simple enough, namely, a switch away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy like solar and wind, along with a reduction in energy use generally."
SinksWatch is an initiative to track and scrutinize carbon sink projects that has useful information on CDM project scams.
Houston Chronicle Online
Dec 29th 2006 Biometric Intelligence & Identification.
The human iris has a unique pattern of flecks, colours and spots that can provide 235 identifying characteristics that are unchanging after the age of 1 and providing a claimed 1 in 200 million match.
Dubai uses these easily phographed, encoded/decoded and read personal identitifiers to keep track of Asian labourers entering and leaving the country, The US Marines keeps track of the poor bastards who call Fallujah home the same way.
Now Galveston on the sunny coast of the Gulf of Mexico is intending to keep track of missing children and wandering Alzheimer patients using the same remarkable technology.Pic shows Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo, of the Galveston County Sheriff's Department in charge - I wouldn't put HIM in charge of my child.
The Galveston County Sheriff's Department is the first sheriff's department in Texas and (incredibly) the 47th nationwide to join the Children's Identification Database, or CHILD Project.
Robert Melley, vice president and CEO of Biometric Intelligence & Identification leads a campaign to image the irises of 5 million children into a nationwide database over the next few years. "We have 1,800 sheriff's departments representing 46 states who have committed to participating," he claimed last week. 26 States are fully signed up so far in 18 months.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that, on average, more than 2,000 children are reported missing every day across the US.
In Galveston the $35,000 cost of two imaging machines would come from private donations.
Eventually, it is intended to buy a separate system for the county jail to use during bookings. The system would prevent the wrong prisoner from being released, which is in use in Massachusetts and Las Vegas curently.
Quite how a child makes an informed decision to be included on the database or can express a preference not to be included is left hanging.
Here are some sites to explore and review the way technology is being used to document, watch, record and ultimately control children.... and get them ready for a lifetime of it.
http://www.leavethemkidsalone.com/ updated and greatly expanded - required reading for ALL parents.
http://www.michaelpbyron.com/ (Author of Infinity's Rainbow: The Politics of Energy, Climate and Globalization. - ) also see his blog http://myblog.michaelpbyron.com
See also Lord Patel
Sunday, October 29
Biometric control of schoolkids starts up in Scottish Schools
Wednesday, October 4
The UK Department for Education and Skills builds Paedophile's database
Now watch the demonstration ...
For a lengthy, detailed and authoritative discussion of biometrics read the position paper of the Electronics Frontier Foundation here on the legal / ethical / moral / socvial aspecys of sing biometric data...."Deploying biometric systems without sufficient attention to their dangers makes them likely to be used in a way dangerous to civil liberties."
Daniel McGrory and Tony Halpin at Rupe's Rag of Record the Funday Times have finally caught up with the tale that for the murderer of Alexander Litvinenko Plod need look no further than Leonid Nevzlin.
They could of course, have caught up with that strand of this tortured tale by reading what Lord Patel had to say 4 weeks ago on December 4th.
"Now why did Mr Litvinenko travel to Israel immediately before his meetings in London with his ex KGB chums and the shady Scaramella to have a chinwag and a latke or three with Leonid Nezvlin ?
It may be worth testing the very comfortable seating of the first class areas of Heathrow bound Boeing 777 El Al flight LY 315 from Tel Aviv on October 30th - or even the aircon filters which are so easily accessible ?
Or it may not. The El Al cleaners are VERY thorough."
Sensibly they turn to that wonderful invention that Plod truns to , for the solving every crime "Mystery man caught on CCTV" ... apparently Plod is examining the inevitable CCTV footage which they don't release on which a mystery "Russian busniessman" (see pic) was ....
"...spotted on a flight from Hamburg sitting beside Dimtri Kovtun, another Russian whom German police are investigating for trafficking the radioactive material used to poison the former KGB spy.
Officers have studied CCTV footage from airports at Hamburg and London and are understood to believe that the two men were travelling together. However, the mystery figure disappeared after leaving Heathrow with Mr Kovtun."
Might one reasonably ask that like the 7/7 bombers CCTV tapes they might be broadcast ...stuck up on You TUbe for God;s sake so they can obtain the help of the worldwide public to help them solve this puzle.
They could of course simply read what Lord Patel says ... on a regular basis.