Friday, April 30, 2010

Goldman Sachs Will Be Judged

Dogma - Mooby Massacre

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Criminal Probe Launched Into Goldman Sachs

Time for the media circus to go nuts. The AP reports that the Feds have just opened a criminal probe into Goldman: now it is getting interesting. And everyone was thinking that Eric Holder is a toothless puppet (well, that still has to be refuted). -- Zero Hedge

Word of the Justice Department action came a day after a group of 62 House lawmakers, including Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., asked Justice to conduct a criminal probe of Goldman. "On the face of the SEC filing, criminal fraud on a historic scale seems to have occurred in this instance," the lawmakers, mostly Democrats, said in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. -- AP

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Skin Deep

Artificial Skin That Stretches like Real Skin Has been Created

Scientists at Spain’s University of Granada have created artificial skin with the resistance, firmness and elasticity of real skin.

It is the first time artificial skin has been created from fibrin-agarose biomaterial. Fibrin is a protein involved in the clotting of the blood, while agarose is a sugar obtained from seaweed, commonly used to create gels in laboratories. The new material could be used in the treatment of skin problems, and could also replace test animals in dermatological labs.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roz Savage: Why I'm rowing across the Pacific

Five years ago, Roz Savage quit her high-powered London job to become an ocean rower. She's crossed the Atlantic solo, and just started the third leg of a Pacific solo row, the first for a woman. Why does she do it? Hear her reasons, both deeply personal and urgently activist.

Roz Savage: Why I'm rowing across the Pacific

Understanding Earthquakes

Understanding Earthquakes

Most of the Earth is hot, molten metal and rock. In fact, the inhabitable part makes up less than 1% of the planet's mass.

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Earthquake Prediction from the USGS

Our Sun Is Not Alone: Meet Tyche

h/t: Next Big Future, Centauri Dreams

New Scientific Paper Suggests Our Sun Has A Companion

"We present an updated dynamical and statistical analysis of outer Oort cloud cometary evidence suggesting the sun has a wide-binary Jovian mass companion. The results support a conjecture that there exists a companion of mass with one to four times the mass of Jupiter orbiting in the innermost region of the outer Oort cloud. Such a companion could also have produced the detached Kuiper Belt object Sedna."

"The putative companion could be easily detected by the recently launched Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)."

"To help mitigate popular confusion with the Nemesis model (Whitmire and Jackson ( 1984), Davis et al. ( 1984)) we use the name recently suggested by Kirkpatrick and Wright (2010), Tyche, (the good sister of Nemesis) for the putative companion."

-- John J. Matese and Daniel P. Whitmire, Department of Physics, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Persistent Evidence of a Jovian Mass Solar Companion in the Oort Cloud - PDF

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Endeavour Sails the Inside Passage

Strange Pennants Fly as Endeavour's Mate Hangs Out the Wash - Rain falls so often in the Inside Passage that days when clothes would dry were not frequent. Scarcity of water on shipboard for clothes washing was another factor causing laundry to pile up and produce a flapping bumper crop when conditions were favorable.

National Geographic, June 1947: Endeavour Sails the Inside Passage

I had not seen my ship since Pearl Harbor. For five years she had ridden to mooring at Seattle with no steering pressure or salt water against her staunch oak rudder.

I had come back now to sail her from Olympia, Washington to Cape Spenser, Alaska -- a thousand mile voyage among the covered mountainous islands that shelter the Inside Passage.

For larger text, click "Fullscreen" (top center) then "Zoom +" (lower left).

Endeavour Sails the Inside Passage

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If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. -- Jim Rohn

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Gone fishing. - c

Today's Coronal Hole

A dark hole has formed in the sun's atmosphere. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft photographed it just hours ago.

It's a "coronal hole," a vast region where solar magnetic fields have opened up and allowed some of the sun's atmosphere to escape. The runaway atmosphere is heading our way in the form of a solar wind stream. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when it arrives on or about May 3rd. -- Space Weather

Related: The Sun-Earth Connection

Monday, April 26, 2010

Somali Pirates Disclose They Are A Subsidiary Of Goldman Sachs

Via The Borowitz Report, h/t: Zero Hedge

Eleven indicted Somali pirates dropped a bombshell in a U.S. court today, revealing that their entire piracy operation is a subsidiary of banking giant Goldman Sachs.

There was an audible gasp in court when the leader of the pirates announced, "We are doing God's work. We work for Lloyd Blankfein."

The pirate, who said he earned a bonus of $48 million in dubloons last year, elaborated on the nature of the Somalis' work for Goldman, explaining that the pirates forcibly attacked ships that Goldman had already shorted.

"We were functioning as investment bankers, only every day was casual Friday," the pirate said.

The pirate acknowledged that they merged their operations with Goldman in late 2008 to take advantage of the more relaxed regulations governing bankers as opposed to pirates, "plus to get our share of the bailout money."

In the aftermath of the shocking revelations, government prosecutors were scrambling to see if they still had a case against the Somali pirates, who would now be treated as bankers in the eyes of the law.

"There are lots of laws that could bring these guys down if they were, in fact, pirates," one government source said. "But if they're bankers, our hands are tied."

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Pirates of the Caribbean - The Kraken Battle

2012 Hoax

CCSU Professor Debunks 2012

By Jennifer Abel, Staff Writer, The Bristol Press

Worried about the national debt? Concerned over the long-term performance of your retirement account?

Stop fretting!

None of it matters, since there’s less than three [or two, but who's counting?] years left before the end of the world.

At least so say proponents of the Mayan doomsday prophecies, the idea that the Maya predicted the world would end in 2012. Kristine Larsen, an astronomy professor at Central Connecticut State University, is not one of the believers.

She’s one of the debunkers, giving talks and writing articles showing how the prophecies make sense only to people wholly ignorant of science — and what the Mayan calendar was really about.

“The Mayan calendar ran in cycles. One of their cycles is ‘Bak-tun,’ called the ‘long year’ or ‘great year,’ which is 144,000 days long,” Larsen said. “Think of it like a decade or century ending for us. It’s much bigger than the end of the year.”

The current Long Year ends in 2012, but the end of one year predicts nothing more than the beginning of a new one. The Mayan doomsday prophecy is basically the equivalent of looking at this year’s calendar and saying “Since the calendar ends on Dec. 31, the world ends too.”

So how did the Mayan doomsday idea get started?

“I forget his name — Jose Arguelles, I think — the same guy who started the ‘Harmonic Convergence’ is credited with being the first person to say the Mayans predicted the world’s end.”

Jose Arguelles was a prime believer in the Harmonic Convergence, which was supposed to end the world in August 1987 after the other planets in our solar system lined up just so.

Arguelles got the idea after studying Mayan cosmology. “Of course, he also said the Mayans were an alien experiment,” Larsen said. “He’s got issues.”

Among those who don’t credit the Maya with powers of prophecy, there is still a widely held belief that their calendar was far more advanced than what anyone could reasonably expect a pre-technological culture to have. Larsen dismisses that idea, too.

“It’s a misnomer to say the Maya were ahead of other cultures. They did have an advanced calendar, recording the lunar cycles, cycles of the planet Venus, but other cultures knew about moon cycles and Venus cycles too. We either give the Maya too much credit, or don’t give other pre-technological cultures enough credit.”

It is true, however, that the ancient astronomers “knew more about the night sky than the average citizen today — they took time to look at it,” she said. Modern people don’t need to study the sky to figure out what time it is. We have watches and computers to keep track of that for us. “We don’t have the will to do (what the Maya did with their record keeping), so we think it’s mystical, we think aliens taught them — no!”

Though Larsen does not expect the world to end anytime soon, how does she think the doomsday believers will react when they wake up on New Year’s Day, 2013 (or Dec. 22, 2012, the day after the winter solstice [not to mention my birthday!]), and discover the world stubbornly continuing to exist?

“Some people will take credit for it, like they always do — ‘it was because I prayed, it was because I made a sacrifice.’ In 1910, Halley’s Comet came astronomically close to earth. People committed suicide. One man in California somehow managed to nail himself to a wooden cross — don’t ask me how — and offered himself as a sacrifice for the planet. Fortunately, someone found him in time, and took him to get medical care.”

[I saw a man carrying a cross, walking down the highway yesterday!]

“My biggest fear is someone will be hurt, either by their own hand or someone else’s.”

She has given frequent talks on the subject, and while she’s never had an audience member challenge her doomsday skepticism, “I’ve had a lot of people genuinely concerned. If I don’t debunk a specific point — Planet X will destroy the earth, solar flares will — they will ask about it. Even if I debunk 27 points, they’ll ask about 28 ... parents want to know how to address their children’s fears. A colleague of mine heard two students outside class discussing whether they should stay in college if the world is ending. Don’t know if they were serious.”

Those two students might not have been serious, but many clearly are.

“I’ve had student essays predict matter-of-factly, ‘The Mayans said the world would end in 2012.’ No, they didn’t. They’re taking it at face value, no skepticism. It demonstrates the lack of critical thinking in our society ... people are already claiming the Haiti and Chile earthquakes are ‘proof’ of the prophecies, or a warning – no. They’re proof of plate tectonics.”

She sighed.

“Every time I’m in the newspaper, there’s a man who will send me long hand-written letters. The gist of the last one is he’s praying for my soul; there’s something satanic about astronomy.”

Larsen is a contributor to the website, which she describes as “a one-stop shop for 2012 debunking.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

EMF Dangers

EMF Dangers - playlist

Environmental consultant Cindy Sage discussed the dangerous health effects of electro-magnetic fields (EMF) radiating from a variety of sources. Of particular concern are the exponentially popular cell phones and cordless phones. Symptoms from EMF exposure include interrupted sleep, headaches, memory impairment, loss of concentration, dizziness, sinus problems and tinnitus. There is also the increased risk of brain tumors and cancer, she warned.

Many people may have a chronic low level exposure to EMF even if they aren't using equipment, through others' cell phones, wireless devices, and WIFI-- an "elecotromagnetic soup" that is kind of like second hand smoke, she explained. To reduce risk, use a corded phone or speaker phone, Sage suggested.

She also spoke about problems associated with EMF from power lines, such as increased risk of childhood leukemia. The cost of 'undergrounding' lines is insignificant compared to the health issues, she said, adding that more powerful transmission lines that aren't practical to place underground, should be built away from populations. In addition to the BioInitiative Report, she recommended the EMR Policy Institute as a good source for further information.


Click image to clear/enlarge.

From Wikipedia

Operation Northwoods, or Northwoods, was a false-flag plan that originated within the United States government in 1962. The plan called for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or other operatives to commit genuine acts of terrorism in U.S. cities and elsewhere. These acts of terrorism were to be blamed on Cuba in order to create public support for a war against that nation, which had recently become communist under Fidel Castro. One part of the Operation Northwoods plan was to "develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington."

Operation Northwoods included proposals for hijackings and bombings followed by the introduction of phony evidence that would implicate the Cuban government. The plan stated:

"The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere."

Several other proposals were included within the Operation Northwoods plan, including real or simulated actions against various U.S. military and civilian targets. The plan was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and sent to the Secretary of Defense. Although part of the U.S. government's Cuban Project anti-communist initiative, Operation Northwoods was never officially accepted and the proposals included in the plan were never executed.

High resolution scans from the National Archives:

The Full Operation Northwoods document in both JPEG and fully searchable HTML format.

Secrets of the Illuminati

“Secrets of the Illuminati” - Radio program with Robert Anton Wilson and E.J. Gold.

“Secrets of the Illuminati” is a satirical, postmodern, science fiction-influenced adventure story; a drug-, sex- and magic-laden trek through a number of conspiracy theories, both historical and imaginary, which hinge around the authors' version of the Illuminati.

Illuminatus! has been adapted for the stage, and has influenced several modern writers, musicians and games-makers. The popularity of the word "fnord" and the 23 enigma can both be attributed to the trilogy. It remains a seminal work of conspiracy fiction, predating by years such novels as Foucault's Pendulum and The Da Vinci Code. -- Wikipedia

Hawking: Don’t talk to aliens

via Times Online

The aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.

The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”

The answer, he suggests, is that most of it will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals — the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history.

One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans thought to underlie the thick ice coating Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.

Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

The completion of the documentary marks a triumph for Hawking, now 68, who is paralysed by motor neurone disease and has very limited powers of communication. The project took him and his producers three years, during which he insisted on rewriting large chunks of the script and checking the filming.

John Smithson, executive producer for Discovery, said: “He wanted to make a programme that was entertaining for a general audience as well as scientific and that’s a tough job, given the complexity of the ideas involved.”

Hawking has suggested the possibility of alien life before but his views have been clarified by a series of scientific breakthroughs, such as the discovery, since 1995, of more than 450 planets orbiting distant stars, showing that planets are a common phenomenon.

So far, all the new planets found have been far larger than Earth, but only because the telescopes used to detect them are not sensitive enough to detect Earth-sized bodies at such distances.

Another breakthrough is the discovery that life on Earth has proven able to colonise its most extreme environments. If life can survive and evolve there, scientists reason, then perhaps nowhere is out of bounds.

Hawking’s belief in aliens places him in good scientific company. In his recent Wonders of the Solar System BBC series, Professor Brian Cox backed the idea, too, suggesting Mars, Europa and Titan, a moon of Saturn, as likely places to look.

Similarly, Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a lecture earlier this year that aliens might prove to be beyond human understanding.

“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive,” he said. “Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”

Stephen Hawking's Universe begins on the Discovery Channel on Sunday May 9 at 9pm.

50 Time-Tested Tips for the Kitchen

via Life Hackery

You know all of those helpful kitchen-related suggestions that old-timers are so willing to share with the younger generations? These little tips and tricks might be called “kitchen hacks” these days, but they’re still the same good old nuggets of wisdom that they always were. As with any old wives’ tale, hack, or tip, your mileage may vary. Some of these gems have been around for several lifetimes - and according to most grandmas, they really work.

1. For cleaning smelly hands after chopping onions or garlic, just rub them on a stainless steel spoon. The steel is supposed to absorb the odor.

2. Fresh coffee beans can also absorb nasty odors from your hands.

3. If you happen to over-salt a pot of soup, just drop in a peeled potato. The potato will absorb the excess salt.

4. When boiling eggs, add a pinch of salt to keep the shells from cracking.

5. Never put citrus fruits or tomatoes in the fridge. The low temperatures degrade the aroma and flavor of these persnickety fruits.

6. To clean cast iron cookwear, don’t use detergents. Just scrub them with salt and a clean, dry paper towel.

7. Will milk curdle if it is allowed to boil? It turns out that this age-old piece of wisdom isn’t true, after all. Milk that has been boiled is perfectly safe to consume.

8. To clean an electric kettle with calcium buildup on the heating element, boil a mixture of half white vinegar and half water, then empty.

9. When storing empty airtight containers, throw in a pinch of salt to keep them from getting stinky.

10. If you are making gravy and accidentally burn it, just pour it into a clean pan and continue cooking it. Add sugar a little at a time, tasting as you go to avoid over-sugaring it. The sugar will cancel out the burned taste.

11. Burned a pot of rice? Just place a piece of white bread on top of the rice for 5-10 minutes to draw out the burned flavor. Be careful not to scrape the burned pieces off of the bottom of the pan when serving the rice.

12. Before you chop chili peppers, rub a little vegetable oil into your hands and your skin won’t absorb the spicy chili oil.

13. If you aren’t sure how fresh your eggs are, place them in about four inches of water. Eggs that stay on the bottom are fresh. If only one end tips up, the egg is less fresh and should be used soon. If it floats, it’s past the fresh stage.

14. To banish ants from the kitchen, find out where they are coming in and cover the hole with petroleum jelly. Ants won’t trek through the jelly. If they are coming under a door, draw a line on the floor with chalk. The little bugs also won’t cross a line of chalk.

15. Before making popcorn on the stove or in an air popper, soak the kernels in water for 10 minutes. Drain the water, then pop as normal. The additional moisture helps the popcorn pop up quicker and fluffier with fewer “old maids.”

16. Don’t store your bananas in a bunch or in a fruit bowl with other fruits. Separate your bananas and place each in a different location. Bananas release gases which cause fruits (including other bananas) to ripen quickly. Separating them will keep them fresh longer.

17. To keep potatoes from budding in the bag, put an apple in with them.

18. If you manage to have some leftover wine at the end of the evening, freeze it in ice cube trays for easy addition to soups and sauces in the future.

19. To clean crevices and corners in vases and pitchers, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. The bubbles will do the scrubbing.

20. After boiling pasta or potatoes, cool the water and use it to water your house plants. The water contains nutrients that your plants will love.

21. When you clean your fish tank, the water you drain can also be used to water your house plants. The nitrogen and phosphorus in fish droppings make aquarium water a great fertilizer.

22. When defrosting meat from the freezer, pour some vinegar over it. Not only does it tenderize the meat; it will also bring down the freezing temperature of the meat and cause it to thaw quicker.

23. The substance in onions that causes your eyes to water is located in the root cluster of the onion. Cut this part out in a cone shape, with the largest part of the cone around the exterior root section.

24. Taking the top layer off of a onion can also reduce the amount of eye-watering misery.

25. Toothpaste is a great silver cleaner.

26. Baking soda isn’t as effective a deodorizer for the fridge as that baking soda company would like you to believe. Activated charcoal is much better at absorbing fridge and freezer odors.

27. Baking soda is an extremely effective cleaner, though. Use it with vinegar to deodorize drains and clean stovetops and sinks.

28. A favorite tip of thousands of grandmas: when you nick your finger while cutting veggies, wait until the bleeding stops and paint on a layer of clear nail polish. It will keep juices out of the wound and won’t fall off into the spaghetti sauce like a bandage.

29. The jury is still out on what to put in the bag of brown sugar to keep it from going hard: a slice of apple, a piece of bread, and a shard of a terra cotta pot have all been used.

30. Got a nasty invisible splinter from your kitchen tools? Put a piece of adhesive tape on the area and then pull it off to remove the splinter.

31. When you burn yourself in the kitchen, just spread mustard on the affected area. Leave it for a while and it will ease the pain and prevent blistering.

32. For aluminum pans that are looking dull, just boil some apple peels in them. This will brighten up the aluminum and make your house smell yummy.

33. To keep cookies fresh, savvy grannies like to put some crumpled-up tissue paper in the bottom of the cookie jar.

34. If your salt is clumping up, put a few grains of rice in with it to absorb excess moisture.

35. To clean fruit stains off of your fingers, rub them with a fresh, peeled potato. White vinegar can also do the trick.

36. Keep iceberg lettuce fresh in the fridge by wrapping it in a clean, dry paper towel and storing lettuce and paper towel in a sealed baggie in the fridge.

37. If your loaf of bread is starting to go stale, just put a piece of fresh celery in the bag and close it back up. For some reason, this restores a fresh taste and texture to the bread.

38. Always keep an aloe vera plant in your kitchen. It’s invaluable when you scrape your arm or burn your finger. Just break off a leaf and rub the gel from the inside on the injury.

39. When making a soup, sauce, or casserole that ends up too fatty or greasy, drop in an ice cube. The ice will attract the fat, which you can then scoop out.

40. To reuse cooking oil without tasting whatever was cooked in the oil previously, cook a 1/4″ piece of ginger in the oil. It will remove any remaining flavors and odors.

41. If your milk always goes bad before you can finish it, try adding a pinch of salt to the carton when you first open it. It will stay fresh days longer.

42. Water that has been boiled and allowed to cool will freeze faster than water from the tap. This comes in handy when you’re having a party and need ice pronto. [So, use distilled water for cubes.]

43. Remove tea or coffee stains from your fine china by mixing up a paste of baking soda, lemon juice, and cream of tartar. Rub it over the stains and they’ll come off easily.

44. If two drinking glasses become stuck together after stacking, it’s not impossible to unstick them. Just put ice in the inner glass and dunk the outer glass in warm water. The warm glass will expand and the cold glass will contract, making the glasses separate easily.

45. For splinters under the fingernail, soaking the affected finger in a bowl of milk with a piece of bread in it is said to draw out the splinter.

46. Did grandpa ever give you a drink of cola for an upset tummy? It turns out that this is actually a pretty effective remedy. The sugar and carbonation can soothe many tummy problems - but it can also exacerbate others.

47. Putting salty bacon on a boil is said to “draw the poison out” of boils.

48. To help old wooden drawers (without runners) open and close smoothly, rub a candle on the tracks.

49. A cotton ball soaked in white vinegar and applied to a fresh bruise will reduce the darkness of the bruise and help it disappear sooner.

50. Drinking cranberry juice and eating blueberries regularly will help stave off urinary tract infections.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kobe Beef: Yeah, It's That Good

Cow being abducted

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The Wagyu cattle that produce this highly prized meat were introduced into Japan in the second century as work animals, used in rice cultivation. As beef consumption became more prominent in society, farmers began hiring workers to massage the animals' backsides to improve meat quality. The mountainous topography of the islands of Japan resulted in small regions of isolated breeding, yielding herds that developed and maintained qualities in their meat that differ significantly from all other breeds of cattle. Herd isolation and distinctive feeding techniques which resulted from the limited land availability have led to distinguishing features that make the meat both superior in marbling and in the ratios of unsaturated versus saturated fats. -- Wikipedia

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How To Make Steak Teppanyaki - [video & ingredients]

Friday, April 23, 2010

Woody Guthrie - So Long, Its Been Good To Know Yuh (Dusty Old Dust)

Woody Guthrie - So Long It's Been Good to Know You

I've sung this song, but I'll sing it again,
Of the place that I lived on the wild windy plains,
In the month called April, county called Gray,
And here's what all of the people there say:

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin' my home,
And I got to be driftin' along.

A dust storm hit, an' it hit like thunder;
It dusted us over, an' it covered us under;
Blocked out the traffic an' blocked out the sun,
Straight for home all the people did run,

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin' my home,
And I got to be driftin' along.

We talked of the end of the world, and then
We'd sing a song an' then sing it again.
We'd sit for an hour an' not say a word,
And then these words would be heard:

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin' my home,
And I got to be driftin' along.

Sweethearts sat in the dark and sparked,
They hugged and kissed in that dusty old dark.
They sighed and cried, hugged and kissed,
Instead of marriage, they talked like this:

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin' my home,
And I got to be driftin' along.

Now, the telephone rang, an' it jumped off the wall,
That was the preacher, a-makin' his call.
He said, "Kind friend, this may the end;
An' you got your last chance of salvation of sin!"

The churches was jammed, and the churches was packed,
An' that dusty old dust storm blowed so black.
Preacher could not read a word of his text,
An' he folded his specs, an' he took up collection,

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
This dusty old dust is a-gettin' my home,
And I got to be driftin' along.

~ ~ ~

Turning the Corner

by F.J.B. via Survival Blog

Today there seems to be any number of reasons for the average American to turn the corner towards preparedness and being self-reliant. Back in 1993, I would have been able to give you just as many reasons based on my observations through the 1980s. Not surprisingly there are twice as many reasons for the average man to not start around that corner. The reasons I have heard the most include the cost factor and objections to living so primitively. Simply put: today's average American is too poor and soft to endure hardships like camping, physical labor, and no TV. These were the same objections we had to overcome and did.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to measure latitude and longitude without GPS

This tool is an improved version of the Graphic Training Aid 5-2-12 Coordinate Scale and Protractor used by United States and NATO military forces around the world. By using a slot on one side of the tool for access to the map, the tool can be more compact than the traditional GTA tool. The tool features several additional map scales, including 1:24,000, which is the most common topographic map scale found within the United States. The 1:100,000 scale now spans 5km grid lines, making it much more usable. Plus, the overall dimensions of the tool have been reduced so that it is the size of a music CD, easily fitting into a pocket or any slot where you could store a CD. The inner protractor is marked in degrees and the outer protractor is in mils. -- Map Tools

Compass and map skills are fundamental to warfighter readiness. The compass has been a basic instrument for unit leaders, artillerymen, and scouts since colonial times. A trained soldier with map and compass is never lost and will reach his planned objective. Magnetic compasses are suitable for military units for reconnoitering, determining direction, orienting maps, fire control and other uses. -- USMC 1st Recon

Review: Latitude, Longitude, and Time Zones

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How to measure latitude and longitude without GPS!

[suggestion: mute audio]

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Read the "crawl, walk, run" method from Survival Blog - Map Reading and Land Navigation for G.O.O.D. Planning, by SSG Q.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Implants: Run, Logan! Run!

The next generation of implantable medical devices will rely on a high-tech material forged not in the foundry but in the belly of a worm. Tufts University biomedical engineer Fiorenzo Omenetto is using silk as the basis for implantable optical and electronic devices that will act like a combination vital-sign monitor, blood test, imaging center, and pharmacy--and will safely break down when no longer needed. -- Read more from Next Big Future.

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Logan's Run - Party at Logan's (1976)

[nice ankh]

The Sun: SDO's First Images

MUST-SEE IMAGES OF THE SUN: At a press conference today, researchers unveiled First Light images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA's "Hubble for the Sun." There are huge erupting prominences, crackling solar flares, and gigantic shock waves shown with a clarity ten times better than HDTV. The images must be seen to be believed. Go directly to NASA for the full story:

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LYRID METEOR SHOWER: The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on April 22nd when Earth passes through a stream of debris from Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). The best time to look is during the hours before dawn on Thursday morning. Forecasters expect as many as 20 meteors per hour. Check for more information.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eat The Weeds: The (Eastern) Coral Bean

Eat The Weeds: Episode 116: The (Eastern) Coral Bean

One of the more unusual wild edibles, the young flowers (and leaves) of many species in the genus are a common vegetable. Edibility varies from species to species and they can be narcotic. Properly prepared they are a tasty addition to any meal. The beans are toxic and not edible.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earthquake Prediction: Astrotometry

Earthquake Watch for Northern Hemisphere - AV-2010-04-04


Earthquake Watch thru April 12th, 2010

Weak solar x-ray emissions and Astrotometry of recent coronal disturbances indicate intense Northern Hemisphere seismic events the coming week.

A severe seismic event with several strong aftershocks, is indicated in the northern hemisphere before April 12th 2010. The event may produce severe shaking through a broad latitude from 1 degree north latitude to 25 degrees north latitude plus or minus 10 degrees. The event maybe accompanied by a very strong event 30 additional degrees north plus or minus 10 degrees.

The exact location of the events is unknown.

Recent activity along the San Andreas fault and at the seams of the Philippine Plate indicates one of those regions as the most likely location. The shape of the coronal disturbances, however, seem to fit the features of the San Andreas fault.

Analysis of activity in other coronal features indicates a possible tsunami in the northern reaches of the effected region.

The most likely days for the event, are April 4th 5th and 6th.

This experimental log is a service of the Cosabio Virtual Institute and is not suitable for emergency response. Emergency managers are encouraged to use all available data, including other earthquake indicators, in consideration of appropriate action.

An annotated video version of this forecast will be available at:

Results of this watch will be annotated at the end of this video.


[this week]

Earthquake Watch thru April 25th, 2010 - AV-2010-04-18b

Earthquake Watch thru April 25th, 2010

Weakening solar x-ray activity and Astrotometry of recent coronal disturbances indicate a significant seismic event in the coming days.

The exact location of the event is unknown.

An experimental technique for differentiating and mapping mirrored coronal features indicates a very strong seismic event, near 6.9 in magnitude, is possible in a region near 36 degrees North latitude plus or minus 15 degrees.

Based on characteristics of the disturbance and recent seismic activity, possible locations are: California, the New Madrid fault region, the Spanish African border region, or one of the quake-prone regions in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or China.

The most likely days for the event, are April 20th, 21st and 22nd 2010.

This scientific log is a service of the Cosabio Virtual Institute and is not suitable for emergency response. Emergency managers are encouraged to use all available data, including other earthquake indicators, in consideration of appropriate action.

An annotated video version of this watch will be available at:

Results will be annotated at the end of this video.

[results to be posted later this week]

Read more about Astrotometry

h/t: Ozark Light

Irish Rovers - Drunken Sailor

Irish Rovers - Drunken Sailor

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h/t: Jim Sinclair

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Majority of Americans distrust the government

Nearly 80 percent of Americans say they do not trust the government to do what is right, expressing the highest level of distrust in Washington in half a century, according to a public opinion survey.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lunar Polar Craters May Be Electrified

NASA | Lunar Polar Craters May Be Electrified

New research from NASA's Lunar Science Institute indicates that the solar wind may be charging certain regions at the lunar poles to hundreds of volts. In this short video Dr. Bill Farrell discusses this research and what it means for future exploration of the Moon's poles.

To read more about this story, visit:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Splashing Ella

Ella diary: Heading off to splash Ella this morning. It's been five years since she's seen the sea. If all goes well today, I'll be towing her / sailing her (depending on the condition of the main) to her new home port for more repairs before officially launching her. Thanks readers for keeping good thoughts in your minds today for our safe passage. See you next port! - c

10:30 P.M. Update: Thanks for your good wishes, friends. Calm winds and seas turned into a 7 hour tow without incident. Ella didn't leak a drop and her tiller handled easily, though I can tell I'll be quite sore tomorrow. I think she enjoyed the journey as much as I did. We both got plenty of sun and sea for one day. Tonight she's safe at the dock in her new home port and I'm home again and headed to a quick shower and then bed. Night! - c

Friday, April 16, 2010

Goldman Smacked!

SEC Charges Goldman Sachs With Fraud On Subprime Mortgages, Paulson & Co. Implicated
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Goldman, Sachs & Co. and one of its vice presidents for defrauding investors by misstating and omitting key facts about a financial product tied to subprime mortgages as the U.S. housing market was beginning to falter. Read more including the full lawsuit at Zero Hedge.
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"If you think that Goldman’s problems are not shared by the entire derivative market, you are bonkers."
"If you see the Goldman situation as negative to gold you are a total fool."
"If you see the Goldman situation as being bullish to the dollar, you are hopeless." -- Jim Sinclair
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Bug Out Bag

By James Wesley Rawles, Survival Blog <-- A fantastic TEOTWAWKI resource!

When I think on the “Bug out Bag” I am not thinking of a basic survival kit. The survival kit is designed to be small, portable, and with you whenever you venture out into the woods. The bug out bag is a larger version of the same but designed for a totally different scenario. When you know you are going to be on your own for an undetermined amount of time.

First off it will be larger than a survival kit; usually a small backpack or duffle will suffice to carry all you will need for an extended stay away from civilization. It will also need to carry the basics in shelter, first aid, clothing, food and cooking, as well as means to procure food from natural resources. With this in mind, let’s list the things necessary to any kit and then you can tailor it to your specific needs.

Shelter: One can do well with a tarp and some imagination. I would recommend one about 10’x 8’ as a minimum. There are also small camping tents that are very roomy and light weight that added with a tarp would make a very comfortable camp. Don’t forget a bedroll or a couple heavy wool blankets.

First Aid: In any situation one must be capable of dealing with physical injuries from minor cuts and scrapes to sprains and broken bones. A good commercial first aid kit will cover most of these as well as contain a booklet on how to treat these conditions I consider this as an essential.

Also don’t forget a supply of medications you are taking, as well as a supply of throat lozenges, pain relievers (Advil or Tylenol), and yes, a small bottle of whiskey or other strong spirits can come in very handy as both an anesthetic and antiseptic.

Clothing: Depending on where you live and where you plan to go the proper clothes are essential. I would recommend a set of clothes that can be layered and rely on natural fibers like wool to help retain heat in cold and cool in hot weather. ‘Nuff said.

Food and water: First, you can’t carry enough. I would stock up on MREs. Being light weight and easy to fix carrying enough to last a week or two should not take up too much room in your pack. Water is heavy, but necessary carry as much as you can and also carry a water purification system be it tablets or a filtration system. For cooking a small Boy Scout cook kit is great it contains a pot, plate, cup, and a fry pan that nests together and takes up very little space. Also don’t forget the basics like dry flour, sugar, tea bags, salt, pepper, hot sauce, dry beans, corn meal, oil, et cetera.

And lastly we come to the means of obtaining food in the wild:

The first thing that comes to mind to me is a small telescopic spinning rod and reel with a small box filled with a few lures, hooks and sinkers. You should be able to find bait and be able to fish the local streams and rivers in your area. The next thing I would have is a book showing the edible plants growing in your area. And lastly, choosing a firearm. This has been covered by so many different writers that it would be an individual’s choice of the best to bring. I will stick my neck out and say that my Ruger 1022 .22 rifle, NEF .410 shotgun, and my Ruger .357 magnum Blackhawk, or a smoothbore flintlock musket and a .44 cap and ball revolver would fill most of my foraging and protection needs.

Along with a couple flashlights, matches, lighters, extra cordage, your basic survival kit and a healthy dose of common sense you should do well wherever you happen to take off for.

There is nothing wrong with being prepared. For it is better to have something and not need it than to need and not have it.

Related: Evacuation Plan for Societal Meltdown

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Astro Economics

h/t: Urban Survival

Rare “Cardinal Climax” Planetary Alignment This Summer Puts Stocks at Risk, says Veteran Sky Watcher

By Hewitt Heiserman, Seeking Alpha

This summer the planets form a rare “Cardinal Climax” alignment, which puts financial markets at risk, says Arch Crawford. Publisher of Crawford Perspectives since 1977, the veteran sky watcher uses a mix of technical analysis and astrology to gauge which way equities and other asset classes are headed. To learn more about this unorthodox investment process, I recently spoke to Mr. Crawford about some of his best calls, what day the Cardinal Climax strikes, and how to prepare for the turmoil he expects. Here is an edited version of our conversation.

We want to talk about the upcoming Cardinal Climax, which you say puts stocks—and perhaps humanity—in jeopardy. But first, explain to Seeking Alpha readers how you invest?

Certain planetary alignments put people under extra stress. And one way this stress manifests itself is in financial markets. After all, financial markets are a mix of fundamentals and emotion. Since astrologic events affect our emotions, I find it profitable to study the planets.

Tell me more.

It is common knowledge that when there is a full moon, there are more car accidents and other forms of aggressive behavior. Since financial markets partly reflect our hopes and fears, these markets are prone to mood swings. If you can anticipate these mood swings, you gain an edge over investors who focus solely on interest rates, growth forecasts, debt loads, and other traditional yardsticks.

I have examined every substantial move in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1896, and I find that when planets are at difficult angles, then owning stocks and commodities is riskier.

What is a “difficult” angle?

When two planets form a 45-, 90-, 135-, or 180-degree angle, with earth as the midpoint between the two planets.

Why do difficult angles cause difficult markets?

The reasons are partially understood. In the 1940’s, radio propagation specialist John Nelson studied planetary alignments to time sunspot activity and solar flares, and thereby help his employer, RCA, reroute shortwave radio transmissions efficiently. Years later, when I got interested in alignments and became friendly with John, he would tell me when a flare was in progress. I would then call a broker and find that, typically, stocks were dropping and gold was rising. In concert with new and full moons, where the tidal forces brought the atmospheric disturbances closer to the earth, extreme volatility would ensue in markets where a significant emotional component was already in progress.

For instance, the highest sustained period of ionospheric electrons measured by geosynchronous satellite took place the week before and during the October 1987 crash, and then dropped back on the day of the stock market low.

Recent studies by physicists, biologists and cosmologists show gravitational and electromagnetic activity affects the growth patterns of many species here on earth. Much of this data was collected and correlated by the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, in Albuquerque, NM.

I once did a study of the worst days in the stock market. Two-thirds of those days occurred in one-third of the calendar year, centered on the Fall Equinox, around Sept. 22-23. Maybe there is a symmetry that governs the universe that we haven’t yet figured out.

How did a physics and math major from the University of North Carolina get interested in planets?

I read about it on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1963, while a technical market analyst at Merrill Lynch. I was the first assistant to the legendary Robert Farrell, who was repeatedly voted best on the Street by his peers in the annual Institutional Investormagazine poll. My curiosity piqued, I looked into this subject and found that difficult alignments correlated with difficult markets. The correlation was too well-defined to be chance.

Give us examples when difficult alignments correlated with difficult markets. Let’s start with the Great Depression.

During 1929-1932 there were several difficult planetary alignments.

What about the October 1987 crash?

On Aug. 24, planets were in the tightest five-body “conjunction,” or same ecliptic longitude, in at least 800 years. “It doesn't get any better than this,” I reasoned. Therefore, “A severe decline will follow,” I told subscribers. Turns out, Aug. 24 was the top. From that alignment high to the Oct. 20 low, the Dow fell 33%. A difficult planetary alignment preceded a difficult stock market.

What about the 2008 Crash?

Our research showed a Mars-Uranus “crash cycle” beginning Aug. 6, 2008 and ending in late-Mar. 2009. So beginning several months before Aug. 6, we repeatedly told subscribers, “Neither Wall Street nor our Government will be able to hold markets up against the 'deluge'!"

Further, on Sept. 2 we told subscribers that the worst part of the crash would occur on Oct. 10, plus or minus three trading days. We repeated this forecast on Oct. 2. Our headline was: “Market Crash – Dead Ahead.” Turns out, Oct. 10 had the largest number of new lows on the NYSE ever, at 1203.

Why did you choose Oct. 10?

There was a full moon after the market closed on Oct. 9. Also, there was a “Grand Cross” alignment at this time, with the sun opposite the moon, and squaring Uranus opposite Neptune.

So this is another example of when a difficult planetary alignment preceded a difficult stock market.

Did the planets or your technical analysis forecast the rebound in stocks which began March 9, 2009?

Our March 2 headline was: "Best Bet - Nearby Low!"

Then on March 12 we told subscribers: "We believe this rally confirms a strong buy.”

Does energy from difficult alignments reveal itself in ways that go beyond financial markets?

In April 1986 we had a Lunar Eclipse conjunct Pluto. The close proximity with Pluto is rare. So we told subscribers, "If you don't feel this one, you're not alive!" We were prophetic, as the April 26th Chernobyl accident raised radiation levels worldwide.

By the way, we have another Lunar Eclipse conjunct with Plato on June 26. Pluto “rules” nuclear power, debt, interest rates, and the use of force, say the astrologers. Maybe June 26 is the de facto start of the Cardinal Climax.

In November 1989, we observed a Saturn conjunct with Neptune, both opposite Jupiter to the day. This alignment happens every hundreds of years; i.e., it is extremely rare. Several days later the Berlin Wall fell.

In our July 1990 we told subscribers, “This will be one of the worst days of the century. There will be coercion, the use of force, a large explosion and heartlessness or cruelty August 2-7." On Aug. 2, Saddam Hussein unexpectedly attacked Kuwait. What alarmed me was the Lunar Eclipse forming another Grand Cross, this time with Mars opposite Pluto.

What about September 11, 2001?

In our letter mailed Sept. 4 we wrote that when Mars hits the solar eclipse point on Sep. 7th or Sep. 8th, then the U.S. will be at war.

Do the planets ever fool you?

We are still in the 'covered wagon days' of this as a science. Much of the time is without major significance. Also, the “big alignments” can be tricky to interpret. But some alignments—this summer’s Cardinal Climax, for instance—are unambiguous.

Let’s talk about the Cardinal Climax.

On August 1, give or take a week, we’ll have the most five-planet alignments in perhaps thousands of years. Known as the “Cardinal Climax,” this is the meanest, nastiest, most challenging and most transformational of any planetary phenomena in all of written history!

What do you see?

This [chart above] is the view of the planets from New York City on Aug. 1, at 6am. We have the most planets in the tightest alignments and at the supposedly 'sensitive' Zero degrees of Cardinal signs. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I looked at records going back to the 1800’s, and this is the most difficult alignment I found. When I was at a conference in Boston last month, someone said this was the most difficult alignment they have seen in the last "1,000 years." Another person told me this is the worst alignment in "10,000 years."

What are possible consequences?

Worst cases include a nuclear accident. Nuclear war. Massive societal collapse. Maybe a pole flip, which can wipe out nearly everything.

Cardinal Climax is especially intimidating because of the proximity to the widely touted Mayan Calendar End Date. Plus, the Christians are looking for the Return of Jesus and/or the Rapture, the Muslims await the return of the umteenth Imam, the White Buffalo has been born, and Jews are fighting over the right to rebuild Solomon's Temple on the 'temple mount' in Jerusalem. These are all signs of “end times” by many different cultures.

The one thing most convincing to me is that there are more people alive on the planet today than all who have ever lived in recorded history. So it may be that every soul is on board for this event!

At a recent 1180, did the S&P 500 already peak for 2010?

The top may be this month or in May, based on normal seasonal and astrologic patterns.

Will Cardinal Climax cause just U.S. stocks to fall? Or is this a global meltdown?

Definitely global.

If I sell my stocks, as you advise, where do I put my money?

The best money will be made on the downside in shorts, stock index futures, negative ETF’s, and put options. However, we do not recommend that subscribers buy options—especially if they are not seasoned traders. With options, you can get the direction right but then maybe not get paid in usable currency before the whole system melts down.

Inflationists advise buying commodities, to protect against the 21% year-over-year increase in Federal Reserve assets, and the 15% year-over-year increase in U.S. public debt.

We are probably seeing a peak in general optimism about the economy and commodity prices. When suspicion arises that a double dip or worse is about to return, we will see the commodity averages slip into the tank. Even assets in the ground will not hold against a worldwide depression that is well on its way.

Deflationists say buy long-term U.S. Treasuries, because it will take years to reduce a 375% debt-GDP ratio, and because the M1 money multiplier is barely pulsing, at 0.8x.

We’d rather be long German, Swiss or Australian bonds, although U.S. bonds will probably do well on the initial declines. Do not overstay as the U.S. Dollar will come down hard. The United States will come apart in this Depression!

Besides selling stocks, what other precautions do you advise?

Our markets may be the least of our worries, given this powerful and chaotic frame. The Mormon mandate of keeping two years worth of food and water in your home is common sense.

How do we know when it is safe to own stocks again?

"When CNBC becomes a sports station!,” to quote my friend Jim Grant.

You have 55 years of investing experience. What have you learned?

Nearly all of our frustrations in the market result from our unfulfilled expectations about what we thought a market ‘should’ do. No one knows the future.

Also, investing is probabilistic. So if you think knowing how to ‘read’ planetary alignments increases your probability of success, then get planetary literate.

Thank you, Mr. Crawford.


As described in my book It’s Earnings That Count (McGraw-Hill, 2004), I look for companies that have authentic earnings power, durable competitive advantages, and sell at a discount to intrinsic value. So why write about a technique that is diametric to my Ben Graham-inspired formula? (To learn more, please read this column by Tim Beyers of The Motley Fool.)

First, this unorthodox investing method fascinates me, and I figure other market-obsessed Seeking Alpha readers are interested, as well.

Second, Mr. Crawford has made some brilliant calls. So if he thinks mid-2010 is difficult, that's newsworthy.

Third, the planetary outlook on U.S. stocks is similar to my view, although our approaches differ. From my price-and-earnings perch, the Wilshire 5000 sells at a lofty 23 times earnings, and the S&P 500 sells at 21 times the average of the last ten years’ worth of profits (i.e., the Shiller CAPE ratio). If you plan to own a stock index fund for the next decade or two, do not expect to get richer buying at these levels.

U.S. Government bonds are even less attractive. In terms of valuation, the 30-year Treasury sells for 21 times earnings (the reciprocal of its earnings yield), and the flagship 10-year issue sells at a Himalayan 26x. Also, since Federal debt and contingencies like Social Security and Medicare are now at fifty times annual tax receipts, our triple-A credit is a downgrade "lock," which will push bond prices lower.

In sum, let's hope Mr. Crawford's dour outlook is wrong. But what's the risk of taking a few precautions?, "just in case." So please, pass the MRE.

Disclosure: No positions.

Mitch Battros: Earth & Solar Changes

Future North America as predicted by Edgar Cayce.
[May 12 2008] Author & researcher Mitch Battros discusses his work on the history and current state of earth changes, including the Sun/Earth connection and the implications of Solar Cycle 24. We'll see an escalation of earth changes and extreme weather as we move into this solar cycle, and there'll likely be a mass migration of people moving inland from coastal areas in our lifetime, he said.
There are four major earthquake 'swarms' currently active running from Alaska to Mexico and these could be related to plate shifts in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, he noted. Ancient texts suggest certain patterns to earth changes, a kind of "science of cycles," said Battros, who believes the Mayans were attuned to such cycles.
He noted that Solar Cycle 24 will be reaching its apex around the start of 2012. Solar changes and geomagnetic storms have an affect on the magnetic field around us, he pointed out. An increase of charged particles can affect people's psychological being, in both positive and negative ways, he added.


Solar Rain is an account of how solar activity, such as sunspots, solar flares and coronal mass ejections affects Earth’s weather. It details the mechanics of how the Sun works, and the physics of interplanetary space, plus the specific impacts on our planet’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. The book analyzes weather patterns and whether they are getting more intense and/or more frequent.

It also discusses the El Niño phenomenon and how it affects our weather, and how solar activity triggers and/or enhances hurricanes, tornadoes, straight-line winds, microbursts, and other effects. Although the book contains hundreds of maps, charts, graphs, diagrams and photos, plus the achievements of dozens of experts in their field, one chapter leaves the scientific world, and enters the realm of ancient prophecy, specifically looking at Mayan and Hopi legends of the origins of our world and its ultimate destiny.

Solar Rain presents arguments against the so-called “Greenhouse Effect,” which claims that human activity is responsible for any increase in the average temperature of the globe, and points the finger firmly at the Sun as the principal driver of any global warming. It points out that the Sun undergoes many cycles of intensity, ranging from 11 years to 100,000 years, and that it is how these cycles combine that drives our weather and global temperatures.
Related: The Sun-Earth Connection