Monday, January 31, 2011

The Fed Crowns Itself ‘Too Big To Fail’

Pamela Anderson with Dutch magician Hans Klok.

Finally, It’s the Fed That Has Become Too Big to Fail

By Rick Ackerman, Rick's Picks

We’re still not sure whether CNBC was making a joke or simply advertising its ignorance with a recent headline, “Accounting Tweak Could Save Fed from Losses.” This was a tweak about as subtle and ingenuous as Bernie Madoff’s balance sheet. What the central bank did was revise and advantage its own rules so that if some financial catastrophe were to inflict huge losses on the Federal Reserve System, the U.S. Treasury would take the hit, not the Fed itself. Oh, and taxpayers needn’t be concerned about the presumptuousness of this coy arrangement, since the changes provide for the Fed to pay back the losses with future profits. Do we really need to point out to CNBC et al. that any such profits would have to come almost entirely from… interest income on Treasury bills, bonds and notes held by the Fed?

Who would have believed that the nation’s banking system would one day be powered by the feather merchants’ version of a perpetual motion machine, or that the bulk of America’s liquid “wealth” could be stored on a few computer chips no bigger than a piggy-bank’s snout? As we now know, all it takes to pull off this scam is a credulous press, an ignorant Congress, and central bankers so cynical that they actually believe the public is too stupid to understand what’s going on. Thus is Helicopter Ben able to say with a straight face: “Under a scenario in which short-term interest rates rise very significantly, it’s possible that there might come a period where we don’t remit anything to the Treasury for a couple of years. That would be I think a worst-case scenario.” Hello!!!! Are we actually supposed to believe that the day this Zimbabwean twist on quantitative easing is announced, that it won’t send the dollar into a death dive, making Americans poorer by a third, or even half, overnight?

Media Fell for Ol’ Switcheroo

News reports noted that the Fed rule-change was announced on January 6 but that it took a couple of weeks for its significance to sink in. Significant in what way? In Reuters’ words, it is significant because “It makes [the Fed’s] insolvency much less likely.” This explanation is darkly funny for two reasons. In the first place, by accepting the Fed’s spin at face value, the news media have trained their eagle eye not on the crafty magician’s hands, but on the breasts of his assistant, just as the Fed might have hoped. And second, the notion of insolvency’s being “much less likely” is a blatant cop-out that as much as admits the news media don’t know what the hell the rule change is going to accomplish. They are telling us the Fed’s three-card-Monte switcheroo is significant because it supposedly will protect the Fed against going belly-up. But is that what is significant here? In fact, when the day comes that the Fed is forced to acknowledge the worthlessness of its vast mortgage holdings – a day that is surely coming — even the village idiot will understand that Treasury is powerless to set things right (other than by ginning up hyperinflationary quantities of cash). In the meantime, don’t expect the working press to delve into the actual significance of the “accounting tweak”; for if they were to expose it for the brazen fraud it is, the resulting epiphany of a failing economy with no political route to recovery would be too painful and bewildering to bear.

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Related: Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of January 26 - $1.129 Trillion In UST Holdings

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For those whose brains are about to explode from the shock of how a handful of private bankers essentially voted themselves kings and queens of America, check out this clip of Dancing With The Stars Pammy and Hans performing on the Ellen DeGeneres show. ;P

Pam Anderson Makes Magic with Hans Klok

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Indigenous Native American Prophecy

Indigenous Native American Prophecy (Elders Speak part 1)

Indigenous Native American Prophecy (Elders Speak part 2)

Jake Shimabukuro - Bohemian Rhapsody

Jake Shimabukuro plays "Bohemian Rhapsody"

"What the world needs now is ukulele music." -- Jake Shimabukuro

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body's aching all the time
Goodbye everybody - I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooo - (anyway the wind blows)
I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning - very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro - magnifico

But I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go - will you let me go
Bismillah! No - we will not let you go - let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go - let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go - let me go
Will not let you go - let me go (never)
Never let you go - let me go
Never let me go - ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no -
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
for me
for me

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh baby - can't do this to me baby
Just gotta get out - just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters - nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt Has Gone Offline

Egypt's Internet goes dark during political unrest

By Declan McCullagh, Elinor Mills via CNET

Egypt has gone offline.

In a stunning development unprecedented in the modern history of the Internet, a country of more than 80 million people has found itself almost entirely disconnected from the rest of the world.

The near-disconnection--at least one Internet provider is still online--comes after days of street protests demanding an end to nearly three decades of autocratic rule by President Hosni Mubarak. Those followed this month's revolution in Tunisia, another country with little political freedom and high levels of corruption, and reports of overnight arrests and clashes with security forces.

Jim Cowie, chief technology officer at Internet-monitoring firm Renesys, said that at approximately 2:34 p.m. PT, his company "observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table." (See CNET's earlier coverage of network disruptions.)

"Virtually all of Egypt's Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide," Cowie wrote in a blog post this evening.

A major service provider for Egypt, Italy-based Seabone, reported that there was no Internet traffic going into or out of the country after around 2:30 p.m. PT (12:30 a.m. local time), according to an Associated Press dispatch.

Al Jazeera English reported that the Mubarak government "denied disrupting communications networks" in advance of widespread protests planned at more than 30 mosques and churches on Friday, which is a day off in Egypt with banks and many businesses closed. (A spokesman for the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C. also denied earlier reports that Facebook and Twitter were selectively blocked.)

While the cause of the disruption remains unknown, it seems clear that yanking Egypt's Internet addresses was a conscious decision, not the result of a fiber cut or a natural disaster. That means Egypt will be conducting a high-profile experiment in what happens when a country with a $500 billion GDP, one that's home to the pyramids and the Suez Canal, decides that Internet access should be restricted to a trickle.

That trickle can be found at the Noor Group, which appears to be the only Internet provider in Egypt that's fully functioning. (Cairo-based bloggers are speculating that its unique status grows out of its client list, which includes western firms including ExxonMobil, Toyota, Hyatt, Nestle, Fedex, Coca-Cola, and Pfizer, plus the Egyptian stock exchange.)

An analysis posted by network analyst Andree Toonk, who runs a Web site devoted to monitoring networks, shows that yesterday there were 2,903 Egyptian networks publicly accessible via the Internet. Today, there are only 327 networks.

Noor is "the only provider that doesn't seem to be impacted by this," Toonk wrote.

That's led Egyptian Internet users, at least the ones still connected, to go on Twitter to urge others to use Noor's dial-up numbers if their own network was down.

Unconfirmed reports from Egypt suggested widespread telephone outages as well. Early in the morning in Cairo, a series of complaints of mobile phone outages said Mobinil, the country's largest mobile provider, was no longer providing service. Other reports said only land lines were working. Complaints about SMS outages have become common.

There are some parallels. Wired magazine's HotWired, succeeded by, reported in 1996 that "the U.S. government has quietly pulled the plug on Iran's Internet connection." During a state of emergency in Bangladesh in 2007, satellite providers were ordered to cease airing any news shows. And in Burma later that year, the country's ruling military junta pulled the plug on the nation's limited Internet access.

Twitter and Facebook have become effective communications tools during social unrest and protests--in Iran and Moldova, along with Tunisia and Egypt, more recently. YouTube videos, too, have documented the massive street protests in Cairo.

Egypt's Internet disruptions coincided with activist action. Anonymous, the group that launched distributed denial-of-service attacks on Web sites of financial institutions and others opposing WikiLeaks last year, released a video in which it threatened to launch DoS attacks on Egyptian government Web sites if the authorities did not curtail censorship efforts. Earlier today, five people were arrested in the U.K. in connection with those attacks.

The threats weren't necessary. Egypt's new firewall has brought down almost every entry on a list of the 25 most popular Web sites in the country, including,,eg, and The exceptions are ones like, which are hosted in the United States. The Web site for the U.S. Embassy in Egypt was unreachable.

In a YouTube interview today (see transcript), President Obama stressed that Mubarak has "been an ally of ours on a lot of critical issues" and has "been very helpful on a range of tough issues in the Middle East." Obama added, however, that political reform "is absolutely critical to the long-term well-being of Egypt."

Egypt receives over $1.3 billion annually from U.S. taxpayers in the form of military aid, according to the U.S. State Department.

Update 9:10 a.m. PT Friday: A check of Egypt's top 25 Web sites shows that they're still offline, with the exception of a few like Chrysler's that are hosted in the United States.

Update 9:15 a.m. PT Friday: Vodafone has confirmed in a statement that "all mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas," and its chief executive said at a conference that the wireless provider was directed to "turn down the network totally."

Update 9:20 a.m. PT Friday: European networking organization RIPE has posted a telling graphic showing how Egypt's network went dark. After the normal noise of networks being added and deleted, there was a sharp spike yesterday between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. ET, and virtually no activity since.

Update 9:22 a.m. PT Friday: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Twitter: "Very concerned about violence in Egypt - government must respect the rights of the Egyptian people & turn on social networking and internet." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech that "we urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications."

Update 9:45 a.m. PT Friday: Our sister site has posted this remarkable video of clashes between protesters and security forces.

Update 10:00 a.m. PT Friday: Here's a telling chart of how many Egyptians are using the Tor anonymizing network. There's a dramatic spike around January 24, which coincided with the beginning of widespread protests. A second chart shows Tor traffic from Egypt going back through November 2010.

Update 10:22 a.m. PT Friday: Al Jazeera English's online chief, Mohamed Nanabhay, is reporting that "nearly 45 percent our of current web traffic to our @AJEnglish Egypt coverage is coming from America."

Update 10:40 a.m. PT Friday: There is no evidence, contrary to some reports, that Syria's Internet connection is down. Compare this chart from an Egyptian provider showing the network going completely dark with this one from the government-owned Syrian Telecommunications Establishment that depicts normal activity. Web sites in Syria remain accessible. The rumors originated a few hours ago when Al Arabiya news service said that "Syria suspends all Internet services," and followed up with a denial from the authorities. Reuters reported earlier this week that Syrian authorities have banned programs that allow access to Facebook Chat from cellphones.

Update 10:50 a.m. PT Friday: Al Jazeera's frequently-updated blog is reporting that military vehicles have entered the streets of Cairo and the president's party headquarters is on fire. The network has also created a roundup of its Twitter-ing correspondents, who have just reported that "protesters appear to be looting the ruling National Democratic Party headquarters in Cairo." The NDP is chaired by Mubarak and has for decades maintained an iron grip on political power in Egypt.

Update 11:20 a.m. PT: And now, U.S. economists analyze how social networks influence protests. Jeff Ely, an economics professor at Northwestern University, writes: "Communications networks affect coordination. Before committing yourself you can talk to others, check Facebook and Twitter, and try to gauge the momentum of the protest... If it looks underwhelming you stay home, go to work, etc. And therefore so does everybody who gets similar information as you. All of you benefit from avoiding protesting when the protest is likely to be unsuccessful." George Mason's Tyler Cowen adds that the security forces' response "increases the likelihood that the Egyptian government sees these protests as very serious indeed."

~ ~ ~

Dramatic video as thousands clash with Egypt riot police in Cairo

The Egyptian capital Cairo was the scene of violent chaos on Friday, when tens of thousands of anti-government protesters stoned and confronted police, who fired back with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons. It was a major escalation in what was already the biggest challenge to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak's 30 year-rule. They are demanding Mubarak's ouster and venting their rage at years of government neglect of rampant poverty, unemployment and rising food prices.

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Number of dead rises to 18, 13 in Suez, in Egypt protests

~ ~ ~

Suez Canal Closure Concerns Go Viral

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Data Gap Arriving!

"Yup: Followers of the Shape of Things To Come reports from, please stop sending me notes about the INTERNET BEING TURNED OFF IN EGYPT. It's a few days early (Feb 8 was the target date in predictive linguini (sic), but we expect it will grow from here, once one country has 'pulled the switch."

"And we hear that there's a 'citizens group' demanding the net get turned on in Egypt by Sunday, or here comes the rev. [revolution]" -- George Ure, Urban Survival

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Follow The Egyptian Revolution Live Via Al Jazeera

Update from Egypt: The Al Jazeera broadcast live from Egypt is about to be shut down as the police are literally knocking on their office door in Cairo.

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AFP Video: Egypte: le centre de Suez transformé en champ de bataille

~ ~ ~ Not Responding: Has The E(gyptian)CB Been Plundered?

Bank Bailouts Explained

Bank Bailouts Explained

The story of the bank bailouts, and what we've gotten so far in return.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Planet X - Is it really out there?

Planet X - Is it really out there?

By Marshall Masters via YOWUSA.COM

When discussing Planet X, one inevitably encounters this knee-jerk rejectionist rant. "Well, if Planet X really did exist, our government would tell us about it."

They have, so those of us who actively research the topic ignore these rejectionist rants because we know that they know.

However, for those of you who are new to the topic, or are trying to discuss the subject with others, here are three undeniable speed bumps you can toss under those fast-moving rejectionist rascals. One of which, happens to be a smoking gun!

#1 — NASA and Are We Alone in the Universe?

In a 1992 video, Zecharia Sitchin first offered a revealng excerpt from a 1992 NASA press release.

The Are We Alone in the Universe? video was originally released in 1992 and was poorly re-mastered in 2003. The minute you play it, you know it’s authentic because of Sitchen’s typically wooden performance. Nonetheless, it is a treasure trove for Planet X (Nibiru) researchers.

Towards the very end of the program, the following CGI text appears, as though it were a last minute find, inserted during the final edit.

NASA Press Release 1992

"Unexplained deviations in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune point to a large outer solar system body of 4 to 8 Earth masses, on a highly tilted orbit, beyond 7 billion miles from the sun."

Sitchin is extremely precise in such matters and this NASA quote is a bombshell. Nonetheless, we vetted this so that we could use this quote in Planet X Forecast and 2012 Survival Guide. To do that, we started with a 2003 interview article on our site by Steve Russell. In that interview Sitchin states:

Will Planet X / Nibiru Return in 2003?

“Some ten years ago the US Government itself, through its Naval Observatory, led the search for "Planet X" and the team's leader, Dr. Harrington, agreed with my ancient evidence. At that time even The New York Times wrote that all that is left regarding the existence of such a post-Plutonian planet is to name it...

I have no doubt that at the right time right in the eyes of whoever decided these matters the existence of Nibiru will be officially confirmed.”—Zecharia Sitchin

When discussing Planet X with rejectionists, expect the Eris retort. “Well they found it silly and it’s called the Eris, the Tenth Planet.” Ugh… there seems to be this enduring misperception that this lifeless rock is the Planet X / Nibiru that we’ve been looking for since the discovery of Uranus. Wrong.

Eris object is slightly larger than Pluto and little better than 60% the size of our own moon. That means it has nowhere near enough mass to be Planet X. Ergo, it was designated a dwarf planet along with Pluto.

However, in fairness to this object, it really did get a bum rap. It was originally named Xena in honor of a certain mega-hot TV babe. Cool name, but now there’s this Eris renaming nonsense. What’s with that: Revenge of the socially challenged astro-geeks, part deux?

Back to Sitchin...

In Steve Russell’s interview, Sitchin refers to The New York Times. Since he lives in New York, Sitchin follows that newspaper with great interest, as do others.

One in particular is John DiNardo. A few days ago, he emailed me two JPEG images of a 1983 article that appeared in the New York Times. It turned out to be a wonderful bit of synchronicity.

#2 — IRAS, Planet X and the New York Times

On January 26, 1983, NASA launched the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) was launched on January 26, 1983. Independent Planet X researchers have long held the idea that the IRAS satellite imaged Planet X during its sky survey.

With that thought in mind, enjoy the following New York Times article published just 4 days after the IRAS launch.

The New York Times
Sunday, January 30, 1983
Clues Get Warm in the Search for Planet X
John Noble Wilford

JPEG Images courtesy of John DiNardo: Page 1, Page 2

Something out there beyond the farthest reaches of the known solar system seems to be tugging at Uranus and Neptune. Some gravitational force keeps perturbing the two giant planets, causing irregularities in their orbits. The force suggests a presence far away and unseen, a large object that may be the long-sought Planet X.

Evidence assembled in recent years has led several groups of astronomers to renew the search for the 10th planet. They are devoting more time to visual observations with the 200-inch telescope at Mount Palomar in California. They are tracking two Pioneer spacecraft, now approaching the orbit of distant Pluto, to see if variations in their trajectories provide clues to the source of the mysterious force. And they are hoping that a satellite-borne telescope launched last week will detect heat “signatures” from the planet, or whatever it is out there.

The Infrared Astronomical Satellite was boosted into a 560-mile-high polar orbit Tuesday night from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. It represents an $80-million venture by the United States, Britain and the Netherlands. In the next six or seven months, the telescope is expected to conduct a wide-ranging survey of nearly all the sky, detecting sources not of ordinary light, but of infrared radiation, which is invisible to the human eye and largely absorbed by the atmosphere. Scientists thus hope that the new telescope will chart thousands or infrared-emitting objects that have gone undetected – stars, interstellar clouds, asteroids and, with any luck, the object that pulls at Uranus and Neptune.

The last time a serious search of the skies was made, it led to the discovery in 1930 of Pluto, the ninth planet. But the story begins more than a century before that, after the discovery of Uranus in 1781 by the English astronomer and musician William Herschel. Until then, the planetary system seemed to end with Saturn.

As astronomers observed Uranus, noting irregularities in its orbital path, many speculated that they were witnessing the gravitational pull of an unknown planet. So began the first planetary search based on astronomers’ predictions, which ended in the 1840’s with the discovery of Neptune almost simultaneously by English, French and German astronomers.

But Neptune was not massive enough to account entirely for the orbital behavior of Uranus. Indeed, Neptune itself seemed to be affected by a still more remote planet. In the late 19th century, two American astronomers, William H. Pickering and Percival Lowell, predicted the size and approximate location of the trans-Neptunian body, which Lowell called Planet X.

Years later, Pluto was detected by Clyde W. Tombaugh working at Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Several astronomers, however, suspected it might not be the Planet X of prediction. Subsequent observations proved them right. Pluto was too small to change the orbits of Uranus and Neptune; the combined mass of Pluto and its recently discovered satellite, Charon, is only one-fifth that of Earth’s moon.

Recent calculations by the United States Naval Observatory have confirmed the orbital perturbation exhibited by Uranus and Neptune, which Dr. Thomas C. Van Flandern, an astronomer at the observatory, says could be explained by “a single undiscovered planet.” He and a colleague, Dr. Robert Harrington, calculate that the 10th planet should be two to five times more massive than Earth and have a highly elliptical orbit that takes it some 5 billion miles beyond that of Pluto – hardly next-door but still within the gravitational influence of the Sun.

Some astronomers have reacted cautiously to the 10th-planet predictions. They remember the long, futile quest for the planet Vulcan inside the orbit of Mercury; Vulcan, it turned out, did not exist. They wonder why such a large object as a 10th planet escaped the exhaustive survey by Mr. Tombaugh, who is sure it is not in the two-thirds of the sky he examined. But according to Dr. Ray T. Reynolds of the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, other astronomers “are so sure of the 10th planet, they think there’s nothing left but to name it.”

At a scientific meeting last summer, 10th-planet partisans tended to prevail. Alternative explanations for the outer-planet perturbations were offered. The something out there, some scientists said, might be an unseen black hole or neutron star passing through the Sun’s vicinity. Defenders of the 10th planet parried the suggestions. Material falling into the gravitational field of a black hole, the remains of a very massive star after its complete gravitational collapse, should give off detectable x-rays, they noted; no X-rays have been detected. A neutron star, a less massive star that has collapsed to a highly dense state, should affect the courses of comets, they said, yet no such changes have been observed.

More credence was given to the hypothesis that a “brown dwarf” star accounts for the mysterious force. This is the informal name astronomers give to celestial bodies that were not massive enough for their thermonuclear furnaces to ignite; perhaps like the huge planet Jupiter, they just missed being self-illuminating stars.

Most stars are paired, so it is not unreasonable to suggest that the Sun has a dim companion. Moreover, a brown dwarf in the neighborhood might not reflect enough light to be seen far away, said Dr. John Anderson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Its gravitational forces, however, should produce energy detectable by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite.

Whatever the mysterious force, be it a brown dwarf or a large planet, Dr. Anderson said he was “quite optimistic” that the infrared telescope might fine it and that the Pioneer spacecraft could supply an estimate of the object’s mass. Of course, no one can be sure that even this discovery would define the outermost boundary of the solar system.

Shortly after we posted this article, John DiNardo must have toasted his library card to the max, because he sent in another great clipping. Oh yah baby, this is the one. The smoking gun!

#3 — IRAS, Planet X and the U.S. News and World Report

A core premise of recent book, Planet X Forecast and 2012 Survival Guide is that Planet X is a brown dwarf. Dark Star Author, Andy Lloyd who is a frequent guest on Cut to the Chase, also insists that Sol's companion in a brown dwarf.'s stand in the matter is based on the detailed historical accounts of previous Planet X flybys contained in The Kolbrin Bible. These prescient accounts of the Egyptian and Celtic authors clearly describe a brown dwarf.

With that in mind, read this sidebar printed in the U.S. News and World Report on 1984, detailing an early IRAS find.

U.S. News and World Report, September 10, 1984
Planet X — Is It Really Out There?

JPEG Images courtesy of John DiNardo: Sidebar

Shrouded from the sun's light, mysteriously tugging at the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, is an unseen force that astronomers suspect may be PLanet X a 10th resident of the Earth's celestial neighborhood.

Last year, the infrared astronomical satellite (IRAS), circling in a polar orbit 560 miles from the Earth, detected heat from an object about 50 billion miles away that is now the subject of intense speculation.

U.S. News and World Report, September 10, 1984

"All I can say is that we don't know what it is yet," says Gerry Neugenbaur, director of the Palomar Observatory for the California Instititute of Technology. Scientists are hopeful that the one-way journeys of the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes may help to locate the nameless body.

Some astronomers say the heat-emitting object is an unseen collapsed star or possibly a "brown dwarf" a protostar that never got hot enough to become a star. However, a growing number of astronomers insist that the object is a dar, gaseous mass that is slowly evolving into a planet.

For decades, astromers have noted that the orbits of two huge, distant planets Neptune and Uranus deviate slightly from what they should be according to the laws of physics. Gravitational pull from Planet X would explain that deviation.

Morever, says Neugebaur, "if we can show that our own solar system is still creating planets, we'll know that it's happening around other stars, too."

The next time a knee-jerk rejectionist rants on with "Well, if Planet X really did exist, our government would tell us about it," you've got him by the short hairs. Happy tugging!

~ ~ ~

Nibiru planet X 2012 PROOF of Government conspiracy

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Webbot Clif High: 2012, 11:11, the Mayan Calendar and the Roman Catholic Church

Webbot Clif High: 2012, 11:11, the Mayan Calendar and the Roman Catholic Church

The Shape of Things to Come (2011/2012) - Issue Nine (9) is available now.

An Irishman abroad tells it like it is!

An Irishman abroad tells it like it is! [NSFW Language]

Celtic Tiger is a term used to describe the economy of Ireland during a period of rapid economic growth between 1995–2007, which underwent a dramatic reversal by 2008, with a GDP contraction of 14%[1] and unemployment levels at 14% by 2010. -- Wikipedia

Related: Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Earth may soon have a second sun

Earth may soon have a second sun

The red supergiant star Betelgeuse is getting ready to go supernova, and when it does Earth will have a front-row seat. The explosion will be so bright that Earth will briefly seem to have two suns in the sky.

The star is located in the Orion constellation, about 640 light-years away from Earth. It's one of the brightest and biggest stars in our galactic neighborhood - if you dropped it in our Solar System, it would extend all the way out to Jupiter, leaving Earth completely engulfed. In stellar terms, it's predicted to explode in the very near future. Of course, the conversion from stellar to human terms is pretty extreme, as Betelgeuse is predicted to explode anytime in the next million years.

But still, whether the explosion occurs in 2011 or 1002011 (give or take 640 years for the light to reach Earth), it's going to make for one of the most unforgettable light shows in our planet's history. For a few weeks, the supernova will be so bright that there will appear to be two stars in the sky, and night be will indistinguishable from day for much of that time. So don't count on getting a lot of sleep when Betelgeuse explodes, because the only sensible thing for the world to do will be to throw a weeks-long global supernova party.

Physicist Brad Carter explains what Earth (and hopefully humanity) can look forward to:

"This is the final hurrah for the star. It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up - we'll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time for a couple of weeks and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all."

Although there'll be no missing the explosion, Carter points out that the vast majority of material shot out from the supernova will pass by Earth completely unnoticed:

"When a star goes bang, the first we will observe of it is a rain of tiny particles called neutrinos. They will flood through the Earth and bizarrely enough, even though the supernova we see visually will light up the night sky, 99 per cent of the energy in the supernova is released in these particles that will come through our bodies and through the Earth with absolutely no harm whatsoever."

Indeed, just in case anyone is concerned, Betelgeuse is way too far away from Earth to do us any damage. There's been some doomsday speculation of late around the eventual supernova - which might not happen for a million years, it bears repeating - but, as with pretty much all doomsday speculation, you can just ignore it.

In any event, the Betelgeuse explosion will likely be the most dramatic supernova Earth ever witnesses - well, unless our Sun eventually explodes and destroys our planet, which would probably leave Betelgeuse the runner-up. Either way, it isn't the first, as history has recorded the appearance of several so-called "guest stars." Most of these just looked like short-lived stars in the night sky, but some were bright enough to be seen in the day.

The first supernova that history records is thought to have occurred in 185 CE, when a star 8,200 light-years away exploded. Chinese astronomers make explicit note of the sudden appearance of a star and its subsequent disappearance several months later, and the Romans may also have made more cryptic references to it. Astronomers have since located the remnants of the exploded star, confirming the accuracy of the ancient accounts.

Earth may soon have a second sun

The two most dramatic supernova explosions occurred in the 11th century. A supernova in 1006 - you can see its modern remnant above - is the brightest star ever recorded, appearing in the records of China, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland. There's even some thought that a rock painting by the Hohokam, a Native American tribe in what is now Arizona, represents the first recorded sighting of a supernova in the Americas. Here's the petroglyph in question, which might well record the presence of an unexpected bright light in the sky:

Earth may soon have a second sun

The various observations even allow us to pinpoint what specific type of supernova it was. In all likelihood, it was a Type Ia supernova, which for a few weeks burn as brightly as five billion suns. Astronomer Frank Winkler explains that we can work out from that supposition:

"By knowing this distance and the standard luminosity of Ia supernovae, we can calculate, in retrospect, just how bright the star must have appeared to 11th century observers. On the magnitude scale used by astronomers, it was about minus 7.5, which puts its brightness a little less than halfway between that of Venus and that of the full Moon. And all that light would have been concentrated in a single star, which must have been twinkling like crazy. There's no doubt that it would have been a truly dazzling sight. In the spring of 1006, people could probably have read manuscripts at midnight by its light."

The supernova of 1054 wasn't quite as dramatic, and it seemed to go almost entirely unrecorded in Europe, although there's some thought that records of the new star made by Irish monks got corrupted into allegorical accounts of the Antichrist. Still, the rest of the world saw it just fine, with records popping up in China, Japan, Korea, Persia, and the Americas. Astronomers of the time period wrote that it could be seen in daylight for over three weeks and remained visible in the night sky for nearly two years.

A pair of supernovas in 1572 and 1604 were extensively studied by two generations of legendary astronomers, Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. Since then, the Milky Way hasn't had any supernovas visible from Earth, and so our night sky has remained rather tediously ordinary.

Earth may soon have a second sun

There's about sixteen known candidates in our galaxy for a future supernova explosion, and quite a few of them would have a dramatic effect on our skies. But Betelgeuse is by far one of the closest, and its huge size means its explosion will be particularly dramatic. This is one cosmic disaster that we actually want to see happen sooner than later, because there may never be a sight quite like this ever again.

[via; artist's conceptions of Betelgeuse explosion via AstroRed and CBC News]

Send an email to Alasdair Wilkins, the author of this post, at

Canoe Hull Design

Canoe Hull Design #2

Related: Anatomy of a Canoe [pt 1]

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Gunslinger and the Oldtimer

An old prospector shuffled into town leading an old tired mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon to clear his parched throat. He walked up and tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?" The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance... never really wanted to."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet.

The old prospector --not wanting to get a toe blown off-- started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the oldtimer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's behind?" The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir..... but... I've

always wanted to."

There are a few lessons for us all here:

Never be arrogant.

Don't waste ammunition.

Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.

Always, always make sure you know who has the power.

Don't mess with old men, they didn't get old by being stupid.

Mozart - The Marriage of Figaro [The Shawshank Redemption Version]

Mozart - The Marriage of Figaro [The Shawshank Redemption Version]

Contrary to what TPTW would have you believe, DESPAIR IS NOT HOPE. Watch The Shawshank Redemption again for inspiration. You’ll get it.

Mozart - The Marriage of Figaro Duettino - Sull 'Aria [w/o movie clip]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Three Wishes

Boy! I tell ya. People these days are just about as ignorant as dumb can be. Why just this Sunday morning, while I was settled in my easy chair, snuggled beneath my fleece blanket and enjoying a good read, here comes some crazy lady bounding up the stairs to my front door upon which she proceeds to knock furiously until I un-cocoon myself and get up to answer.

“Your house is on fire!” she shrieks.

Attempting to tone her down 1,000 notches I whisperingly replied, “The smoke is from a wood stove. It’s how I heat my house.”

I wait for my words and tone to register. 1… 2… 3 seconds… 4. Bing!

But, still 100 times too loud for my peaceful morning she at last embarrassingly shouted, “Oh! Sorry!” then turned and left.

Watching her retreat, I notice in the corner of my vision, her husband (?) trotting through my yard toward their truck. Apparently he had deduced that the smoke was coming from the black 6” stove pipe and was eager to take his leave of trespassing.

Drama over, I return to my book, Foxfire 2: Ghost Stories, Spring Wild Plant Foods, Spinning and Weaving, Midwifing, Burial Customs, Corn Shuckin's, Wagon Making and More Affairs of Plain Living.

Though often uneducated past the fourth grade, the simple country folks who tell the tales in this book can certainly out-reason many of today’s lot.

The woman and man in my story were about sixty years of age. They should have known better. Their grandparents would have.

I guess I shouldn't be so hard on them. After all, they thought they were helping me.

Perhaps I’m just getting too caught up in the way things were before and during the Great Panic (Great Depression) because I see those times coming again.

I want to be as prepared as I can be so, I’m studying, learning and doing as much as I can.

The ribs are healing well enough to let me practice with the chain saw and use a small axe to break up kindling – skills the woman this morning no doubt lacks. She certainly wouldn’t know the proper way to light a wood stove, as no one on YouTube does either. If only I had a video camera… Perhaps I can do that story justice with still photos… but, I digress.

Though if I could I would wish us all back to living in simpler times, I now realize that utopia is impossible. People have changed too much. Today they often lack the character, morals, ethics and horse sense to live like those in the 1880’s did.

If the entire country were suddenly without electricity, as I am living, they would likely tear each other apart for want of basic necessities or from a lack of knowing how to live.

One oldtimer in Foxfire 1 believed that if America were to ever again fall on hard times like the Great Depression that the country would see the greatest war it had ever seen. He said this in 1970. An amazing statement from a simple Appalachian mountain man.

I wish I’d known him and the others I’m reading about. I with they had been my neighbors so that I could have learned from them first hand. I wish I didn’t share that oldtimer’s vision of the future.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunspot 1149

New sunspot 1149, circled above, is crackling with C-class solar flares. This spot didn't exist barely a day ago, but now it is a growing sprawl more than 100,000 km across. Click on the image to view an 8MB movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The magnetic field of sunspot 1149 is jumbled, with positive (+) polarity pressing against negative (-) polarity in many places. This could set the stage for magnetic reconnection and solar flares; NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of strong M-class eruptions during the next 24 hours. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the region for explosive developments.


The biggest sunspots of the year are putting on a show for amateur astronomers. From his backyard observatory in Brazil, Rogerio Marcon photographed a maelstrom of hot gas swirling around the dark cores of AR1147-1149 on Jan. 22nd:

"I took the picture using a small refracting telescope and an H-alpha filter tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen," explains Marcon. -- Space Weather

Throwing the Tomahawk

Throwing the Tomahawk

Friday, January 21, 2011

Developing Coronal Holes

Developing Coronal Holes

Two coronal holes that develop over several days stand out in this image and video clips of the Sun from SDO's AIA instrument (Jan. 9-12, 2010). In the movie one dark coronal hole intensifies just above the Sun's equator and a second one appears lower down and to the left near the end of the clip. Coronal holes are magnetically open areas from which high-speed solar wind streams out into space. They appear darker in this wavelength (the extreme UV wavelength of 193 Angstroms) because there is just less of the material that is being imaged, in this case ionized iron. When rotation carries a coronal holes past the Sun center, the solar wind stream begins to be aimed towards Earth where it can begin to generate aurorae on Earth, especially in the higher latitudes.

Related: The Sun-Earth Connection

Coins vs. Bags: Comparing Two Options in Physical Silver

Coins vs. Bags: Comparing Two Options in Physical Silver

By Doug Eberhardt via Seeking Alpha

Financial advisors always compare the advantages of one stock, ETF or mutual fund over another and write articles explaining their position. Gold dealers are no different. It’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of metal you purchase before making the decision to buy.

Add to this the fact that the price of silver has risen remarkably in the past few years and investors are wondering the best way to take advantage of this price movement.

For this analysis, I have left out any comparisons to silver bars, as I believe investors should own silver coins as a basis for their portfolio. Silver coins, as will be explained later in the article, can provide the means of profit as well as be used for barter should the economy slip to those depths in the future.

39 Million Silver Eagle Coins Bought in 2010

Many people want to buy the one-ounce American Eagle Silver bullion coins, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why they want to pay such a high premium for owning them. Yet U.S. Mint sales figures show they have already sold over 39 million one-ounce Silver American Eagle coins in 2010, surpassing 2009 sales by over 11 million and 2008 sales by 20 million.

In my book Buy Gold and Silver Safely, I go into detail about the advantages and disadvantages of owning various gold and silver bullion coins and bars. I point out that when investing in silver, there is one clear winner for coins: 90% silver bags. This may come as a surprise to those who bought one-ounce Silver American Eagles ... although the Silver Eagles sure are beautiful coins.

You Want the Most Silver for Your Money

When making a decision to buy silver, you want to purchase the most silver for your money. This means that you want to buy silver as close to the spot price as possible. For new investors, the “spot price” is simply what the price of silver is at any given moment in time, as priced on the exchange. You want to buy silver as close to this price as possible, taking into account there will be fees paid to the dealer for acquiring the silver (shipping, handling, commissions to dealer).

The problem is that not all silver purchases are alike. With certain types of silver coins, you have to pay more to acquire them. The question I ask of buyers is, Why would you want to pay more? Isn’t the goal of acquiring silver to obtain as much as possible of the metal for your Federal Reserve Notes?

The best thing to do is to compare the pricing of the two most popular silver coins side by side.

Comparing Pricing of the Two Most Popular Silver Coins Paints a Clear Winner

The most popular silver coins are the one-ounce American Eagle bullion silver coins and the 90% silver bags of pre-1964 silver quarters and dimes. The 90% silver bags have a face amount (value of the quarters and dimes) of $1,000 and contain 715 ounces of silver.

The following table shows the extra premium one pays to acquire American Eagle bullion silver coins through most any gold dealer. I use an investment of $100,000 and show the additional ounces of silver that can be obtained by buying 90% silver bags instead of one-ounce Silver American Eagle coins with this amount.

*This price is currently under spot price

** Note: The dealer commissions would be added to the price. These fees can rage from 1% to 10% or more, depending on which dealer you speak to.

The Buyback on American Eagle Silver Coins Is Higher Than Spot; However …

What’s interesting is that as of today, the buy-back price on one-ounce American Eagle Silver coins is higher than spot. However, the overall advantage to 90% silver bags is in the fact that you can acquire 282 more ounces of silver that can go to work for you as seen in the following table:

(This table shows liquidation proceeds and pricing assuming the price of silver doubled in the years to come with American Eagle one-ounce silver coins and 90% Silver Bags.)

Wouldn’t you prefer to have that extra $6,000 in your pocket? If so, then the 90% silver bags are a superior investment to one-ounce American Eagle Silver coins.

Gold Dealers Need to Do What’s in the Best Interest of Their Client

Why aren’t other gold dealers directing clients to what makes the most sense? Sure, a good “salesman” listens to the prospect and then gives him what he wants, just to make a sale. But every person who calls into a company that wants to buy silver should be educated on what makes the most financial sense. If they still want to buy the one-ounce American Eagle Silver coins, then at least they have heard what makes more sense for their portfolio first.

There Are More Reasons That 90% Silver Bag Coins Make Sense

The 90% Silver Bags consist of coins -- dimes and quarters -- that were once used as money in the United States. In 1964, one could take a dime to the store and buy a loaf of bread (if you are old enough to remember). Today, that same 90% silver dime is worth $2.10, enough to buy a loaf of bread.

These American coins would become the type of coin used in barter if our monetary system ever deteriorated to the point of hyperinflation. It wouldn’t hurt one’s portfolio to pick up a bag or two at a minimum for this reason. At least you’ll know your dime can still get you some bread … unlike the dimes printed by the U.S. Mint today.

Disclosure of author: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Additional disclosure by author: Long Physical Gold and Silver Bullion

Disclosure by covertress: No positions, 1 silver Morgan dollar. ;)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Austerity In America

Austerity In America: 22 Signs That It Is Already Here And That It Is Going To Be Very Painful

Via The Economic Collapse

Over the past couple of years, most Americans have shown little concern as austerity measures were imposed on financially troubled nations across Europe. Even as austerity riots erupted in nations such as Greece and Spain, most Americans were still convinced that nothing like that could ever happen here. Well, guess what? Austerity has arrived in America. At this point, it is not a formal, mandated austerity like we have seen in Europe, but the results are just the same. Taxes are going up, services are being slashed dramatically, thousands of state and city employees are being laid off, and politicians seem to be endlessly talking about ways to make even deeper budget cuts. Unfortunately, even with the incredibly severe budget cuts that we have seen already, many state and local governments across the United States are still facing a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see.

Most Americans tend to think of "government debt" as only a problem of the federal government. But that is simply not accurate. The truth is that there are thousands of "government debt problems" from coast to coast. Today, state and local government debt has reached at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP. It is a crisis of catastrophic proportions that is not going away any time soon.

A recent article in the New York Times did a good job of summarizing the financial pain that many state governments are feeling right now. Unfortunately, as bad as the budget shortfalls are for this year, they are projected to be even worse in 2012....

While state revenues — shrunken as a result of the recession — are finally starting to improve somewhat, federal stimulus money that had propped up state budgets is vanishing and costs are rising, all of which has left state leaders bracing for what is next. For now, states have budget gaps of $26 billion, by some estimates, and foresee shortfalls of at least $82 billion as they look to next year’s budgets.

So what is the solution? Well, for state and local politicians from coast to coast, the answer to these financial problems is to impose austerity measures. Of course they never, ever use the term "austerity measures", but that is exactly what they are.

The following are 22 signs that austerity has already arrived in America and that it is going to be very, very painful....

#1 The financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools, Robert Bobb, has submitted a proposal to close half of all the schools in the city. His plan envisions class sizes of up to 62 students in the remaining schools.

#2 Detroit Mayor Dave Bing wants to cut off 20 percent of the entire city from police and trash services in order to save money.

#3 Things are so tight in California that Governor Jerry Brown is requiring approximately 48,000 state workers to turn in their government-paid cell phones by June 1st.

#4 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to completely eliminate 20 percent of state agencies.

#5 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has closed 20 fire departments at night and is proposing layoffs in every single city agency.

#6 In the state of Illinois, lawmakers recently pushed through a 66 percent increase in the personal income tax rate.

#7 The town of Prichard, Alabama came up with a unique way to battle their budget woes recently. They simply stopped sending out pension checks to retired workers. Of course this is a violation of state law, but town officials insist that they just do not have the money.

#8 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently purposely skipped a scheduled 3.1 billion dollar payment to that state's pension system.

#9 The state of New Jersey is in such bad shape that they still are facing a $10 billion budget deficit for this year even after cutting a billion dollars from the education budget and laying off thousands of teachers.

#10 Due to a very serious budget shortfall, the city of Newark, New Jersey recently made very significant cuts to the police force. Subsequently, there has been a very substantial spike in the crime rate.

#11 The city of Camden, New Jersey is "the second most dangerous city in America", but because of a huge budget shortfall they recently felt forced to lay off half of the city police force.

#12 Philadelphia, Baltimore and Sacramento have all instituted "rolling brownouts" during which various city fire stations are shut down on a rotating basis.

#13 In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.

#14 Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts has announced that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer. The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.

#15 In Connecticut, the governor is asking state legislators to approve the biggest tax increase that the state has seen in two decades.

#16 All across the United States, conditions at many state parks, recreation areas and historic sites are deplorable at best. Some states have backlogs of repair projects that are now over a billion dollars long. The following is a quote from a recent MSNBC article about these project backlogs....

More than a dozen states estimate that their backlogs are at least $100 million. Massachusetts and New York's are at least $1 billion. Hawaii officials called park conditions "deplorable" in a December report asking for $50 million per year for five years to tackle a $240 million backlog that covers parks, trails and harbors.

#17 The state of Arizona recently announced that it has decided to stop paying for many types of organ transplants for people enrolled in its Medicaid program.

#18 Not only that, but Arizona is do desperate for money that they have even sold off the state capitol building, the state supreme court building and the legislative chambers.

#19 All over the nation, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain. The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

#20 The state of Illinois is such a financial disaster zone that it is hard to even describe. According to 60 Minutes, the state of Illinois is six months behind on their bill payments. 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft asked Illinois state Comptroller Dan Hynes how many people and organizations are waiting to be paid by the state, and this is how Hynes responded....

"It's fair to say that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people waiting to be paid by the state."

#21 The city of Chicago is in such dire straits financially that officials there are actually toying with the idea of setting up a city-owned casino as a way to raise cash.

#22 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is desperately looking for ways to cut the budget and he says that "hundreds of jurisdictions" in his state could go bankrupt over the next few years.

But everything that you have just read is only the beginning. Budget shortfalls for our state and local governments are projected to be much worse in the years ahead.

So what is the answer? Well, our state and local governments are going to have to spend less money. That means that we are likely to see even more savage budget cutting.

In addition, our state and local politicians are going to feel intense pressure to find ways to "raise revenue". In fact, we are already starting to see this happen.

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, over the past couple of years a total of 36 out of the 50 U.S. states have raised taxes or fees of some sort.

So hold on to your wallets, because the politicians are going to be coming after them.

We are entering a time of extreme financial stress in America. The federal government is broke. Most of our state and local governments are broke. Record numbers of Americans are going bankrupt. Record numbers of Americans are being kicked out of their homes. Record numbers of Americans are now living in poverty.

The debt-fueled prosperity of the last several decades came at a cost. We literally mortgaged the future. Now nothing will ever be the same again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Building Traps Without Tools

Building Traps Without Tools - pt 1

Building Traps Without Tools - pt 2

Monday, January 17, 2011

WikiLeaks Receives Swiss Bank Data

A former Swiss banker has passed on data containing account details of 2,000 prominent people to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The data covers multinationals, financial firms and wealthy individuals from many countries, including the UK, US and Germany, and covers the period 1990-2009, according to a report in Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag.

"Once we have looked at the data... there will be full revelation," said Mr Assange, who is currently on bail and confined to the UK due to an extradition request from Sweden. -- BBC News

California told to prepare for biblical 'ARkStorm'

ARkStorm Scenario

In 2008, the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project (MHDP) brought together over 300 experts to create ShakeOut the most comprehensive earthquake scenario and the largest earthquake drill ever. Over 5 million people participated in the event.

The MHDP is now preparing for its next major public project, "ARkStorm," a scenario to address massive West Coast storms analogous to those that severely impacted California in 1861/62.

Related Story: Walls of water 10ft high in a month-long mega hurricane: California told to prepare for biblical 'ARkStorm'

USGS Report: Overview of the ARkStorm Scenario

STRATFOR: 2011 Annual Forecast

STRATFOR: 2011 Annual Forecast

Vice President of Strategic Intelligence Rodger Baker previews STRATFOR's in-depth 2011 Annual Forecast by focusing on China, Russia and the United States.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Meatloaf Experiment

The Meatloaf Experiment

Recipes, whether from books or online, in my opinion, are meant to be played with. Since everyone’s taste is different, more often than not it should be advantageous to tweak a recipe to suit one’s self.

Not long ago, I decided to play with a meatloaf recipe I found in Ann Willan’s book Look & Cook: Meat Classics.

I began by nixing the spinach the recipe called for (because I had none) and by adding a red pepper to make the meatloaf a hair sweeter. I also enjoy lot of onion and garlic in my meals, so I added more of those too.

You will find my meatloaf recipe much jucier than the original recipe because of the purée blended ingredients I’ll highlight below. First, the book recipe:

[original recipe] Meatloaf

6 ounces fresh spinach
1 ½ pounds ground chuck steak
8 ounces boneless veal shoulder
12 ounces sliced bacon
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 garlic cloves
2 eggs
6 slices white bread, toasted
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

follow directions (minus blending) as in my recipe below
bake at 350 degrees for 1-1 ¼ hours

[my recipe] Juicy Meatloaf

1 ½ - 2 pounds 80/20 hamburger or ground chuck
1 medium onion
1 medium red pepper
2 eggs
3 tablespoons or 4 splashes of Worcestershire sauce
6 slices of white bread or 4 slices of heavy grain bread, toasted
6 cloves garlic
dash of salt
dash of pepper

Slice toasted bread into 1” chunks and pulse blend them into bread crumbs (or use your hands!)

In a casserole pan, combine meat, ½ of the onion coarsely chopped, ½ of the red pepper coarsely chopped and the bread crumbs.

In the blender, combine eggs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic cloves (or not!), the other ½ of the red pepper, the other half of the onion, add dashes of salt and pepper and blend the whole mixture to a purée.

Add the purée to the meat mixture in the casserole pan and mix thoroughly. Use your hands!

Form the mixture into a loaf.

As an option, place strips of bacon across the top of the loaf (or not! Remember, as you work that this recipe is an experiment in what tastes good to you!)

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 1 – 1 ½ hours depending on your elevation (less time is required at sea level.)

Check doneness with a chopstick, wooden spoon end, or thermometer (165 degrees at the center is done.)

If using a wood implement, the wood should come out without meat attached (or if you have neither wood nor thermometer, slice the loaf in half and inspect the center for doneness. It should not be in the least bit red. Scoop out some meat from the center for a closer inspection, if necessary. You aren’t going to hurt it.)

Let stand for 15 minutes then slice and enjoy!

Experimenting with food can often result in the best or sometimes the worst food you’ve ever put in your mouth. Fortunately, I found this the most awesome meatloaf I’ve ever enjoyed.

My next experiment will be to find a way to cook this recipe atop a wood stove. I’ll get back to you. ;)

Bon Appétit!

Gamma Ray Thunderstorms

Gamma Ray Thunderstorms

A big surprise has come from the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope. It detected beams of antimatter produced above thunderstorms on Earth, a phenomenon never seen before.

Scientists think the antimatter particles were formed in a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF), a brief burst produced inside thunderstorms and shown to be associated with lightning. It is estimated that about 500 TGFs occur daily worldwide, but most go undetected.

"These signals are the first direct evidence that thunderstorms make antimatter particle beams," said Michael Briggs, a member of Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

Fermi is designed to monitor gamma rays, the highest energy form of light. When antimatter striking Fermi collides with a particle of normal matter, both particles immediately are annihilated and transformed into gamma rays. The GBM has detected gamma rays with energies of 511,000 electron volts, a signal indicating an electron has met its antimatter counterpart, a positron.

Although Fermi's GBM is designed to observe high-energy events in the universe, it's also providing valuable insights into this strange phenomenon. The GBM constantly monitors the entire celestial sky above and the Earth below. The GBM team has identified 130 TGFs since Fermi's launch in 2008.

The spacecraft was located immediately above a thunderstorm for most of the observed TGFs, but in four cases, storms were far from Fermi. In addition, lightning-generated radio signals detected by a global monitoring network indicated the only lightning at the time was hundreds or more miles away. During one TGF, which occurred on Dec. 14, 2009, Fermi was located over Egypt. But the active storm was in Zambia, some 2,800 miles to the south. The distant storm was below Fermi's horizon, so any gamma rays it produced could not have been detected.

"Even though Fermi couldn't see the storm, the spacecraft nevertheless was magnetically connected to it," said Joseph Dwyer at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. "The TGF produced high-speed electrons and positrons, which then rode up Earth's magnetic field to strike the spacecraft."

The beam continued past Fermi, reached a location, known as a mirror point, where its motion was reversed, and then hit the spacecraft a second time just 23 milliseconds later. Each time, positrons in the beam collided with electrons in the spacecraft. The particles annihilated each other, emitting gamma rays detected by Fermi's GBM.

Shooting the AR-15

Shooting the AR-15

Modern Defensive Training Systems training director, Chris Fry demonstrates the proper stance and four points of contact when defensively shooting AR-15-style rifles.

Related: Tacticool - M4 SOPMOD: It's like Barbie for men

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Power Out Party Reminder

Belarus: On the Farm

A friendly reminder to prepare for your own power outage event... but first a little detour... to Belarus...

The Soviet Union collapsed a long time ago and the promise to build the infrastructure to deliver electricity to every house has been broken in the former Soviet Republic of Belarus.

In Belarus, there are still villages where people live without electricity. The government has promised to deliver basic needs in the past, but the citizens are not very hopeful under the current presidential regime.

Galina Ripinskaya still uses lamps and irons that date back to 80 years ago. She also uses the local pond as her refrigerator. She puts the products in the basket and lowers it into the water. The top is covered in grass. Her meat can be stored for 3-4 days and sausage for one. The water is always cold in Belarus.

The family has asked for help from the President of Belarus, but recently they replied that rural electricity is not planned at this time.

Ripinskaya Galina lives proudly and contently but would someday like to watch this documentary about her on the internet at her house on a computer.

~ ~ ~

We can live like this. We're Americans! Right?

If you haven't held an EMP Party in sub zero weather, I highly recommend it. What you learn just might save your life.

If I can do it, so can you!

My local Northern Florida forecast:

This Afternoon: Partly sunny, with a high near 48. Northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 29. Northwest wind around 10 mph.

Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 46. Wind chill values as low as 19 early. Northwest wind around 10 mph.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 24. North northwest wind around 5 mph.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 45. North wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 25.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 52.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 30.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 56.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 36.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.

Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 46. (Yeah!)

Get prepared now, people! The sun can do any moment what an EMP can.

As the Sun Awakens, NASA Keeps a Wary Eye on Space Weather

Keep warm! - c