Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

This dismissory song now used throughout the English-speaking world. In Scotland, it gradually displaced the century-old 'Good-night and joy be wi' you a'.' In spite of the popularity of 'Auld Lang Syne', it has aptly been described as 'the song that nobody knows'. Even in Scotland, hardly a gathering sings it correctly, without some members of the party introducing the spurious line: 'We'll meet again some ither nicht' for the line which Burns actually wrote: 'And we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet'. To say nothing of adding 'the days of' to the line 'For auld lang syne'!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Commodity Prices

Texans Approve Move to Close Oil Production

Midcontinent oilmen today looked for better times in a distressed industry due to a conservation bill passed by the Texas Legislature and eight days of enforced shutdown of Oklahoma production by Gov. W.H. Murray.

The Texas measure designed to put a stricter curb on oil production was overwhelmingly approved by both houses and signed by Gov. Ross S. Sterling last night a few hours before the adjournment of a 30-day session called by the governor to enact oil legislation. The governor had threatened to follow Murray's example and use martial law to enforce a shutdown if legislators took no action.


The refiners were refusing to pay $1 per barrel. There are 42 gallons per barrel. Emphasis mine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cough cough

The Hong Kong government said a dead bird found in New Territories tested positive for the H5N1 avian flu virus, the second case in a week.

The carcass of the Oriental magpie robin, a common resident bird in Hong Kong, was found at Tin Shui Wai on Dec. 17, the government said.
The government added it will continue to conduct inspections of poultry farms to ensure that precautions against avian flu have been implemented.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong health authorities culled all 17,000 live poultry in a wholesale market after a dead chicken there tested positive for H5N1, the first new case since 2008.

The city's government has raised the alert level regarding the virus to "serious" from "alert," and suspended live poultry imports for three weeks.

Hong Kong has occasionally detected bird flu in poultry, but there have been no major outbreaks since 1997, when the virus killed six people and led to the slaughter of 1.5 million birds in the territory.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Occupy the Army?

...if history is any guide, the raid on Occupy Wall Street and the destruction of the tents and sleeping bags the protesters left behind is not likely to have the effect the movement's foes want. The Great Depression offers a striking parallel to this week's attack on Occupy Wall Street.

In 1932, a police and Army raid on the Bonus Army of first world war veterans, who had come to Washington, DC to ask for immediate payment of their Adjusted Service Certificates (whic everyone called their bonus), resulted in an Occupy Wall Street-like rout.

But in the end, the vets were the ones who prevailed and gained public sympathy.
The 1932 raid reached its peak of violence on 29 July when Washington's commissioners and President Herbert Hoover gave the Army the authority to evict the marchers from empty government buildings near the Capitol and from their makeshift camps along the Anacostia River. The Army chief of staff, General Douglas MacArthur, aided by Major Dwight Eisenhower and 600 troops, backed up by tanks and cavalry, confronted the vets, tear-gassing them and setting fire to the shacks they had been living in.


Occupy Army
And it has arrived. Bradley Manning's hearing set for Dec 16.
21 Nov

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Rhodium coins are very difficult to make but we finally found a way to reliably make them. The metal is hard and fairly brittle making metal forming difficult. In addition to being one of the most expensive metals in the periodic table, the amount of manufacturing time to make the coins results in a high price. First issue is standard thickness, a 1/10 troy ounce variety may be offered in the future.

Rhodium was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1803 in crude platinum ore. Wollaston removed platinum and palladium from the ore to leave a red salt - sodium rhodium chloride [RhCl6]Na3.12H2O from which he extracted rhodium metal. The element name comes from the Greek word 'rhodon', meaning rose. 

Abundance earth's crust: 1 part per billion by weight, 0.1 parts per billion by moles Abundance solar system: 2 parts per billion by weight, 0.02 parts per billion by moles


Wollaston also performed important work in electricity. In 1801, he performed an experiment showing that the electricity from friction was identical to that produced by voltaic piles. During the last years of his life he performed electrical experiments that would pave the way to the eventual design of the electric motor...

His optical work was important as well, where he is remembered for his observations of dark Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum (1802) which eventually led to the discovery of the elements in the Sun. He invented the camera lucida (1807), the reflecting goniometer (1809), and the Wollaston prism...

Wollaston used his Bakerian lecture in 1805, On the Force of Percussion, to defend Gottfried Leibniz's principle of vis viva, an early formulation of the conservation of energy...

Wollaston's attempt to demonstrate the presence of glucose in the blood serum of diabetics was unsuccessful due to the limited means of detection available to him.


Friday, December 2, 2011

This Is News?

...Corvus corvax -- those canny black birds... may have communication abilities and intelligence that puts them on par with bonobos.

By repeatedly demonstrating a kind of “look at that” gesture thought to be at the foundation of human language -- behavior seen in human infants beginning at about the age of 1...

Humans begin gesturing long before they can hold a conversation. Think of how babies will point to food or toys as a way to direct a parent’s attention. These “triadic interactions” -- involving two people and one object -- are more complex than one might assume, involving eye contact and other social behavior. The focus isn’t on using the object but on drawing the other person’s attention to it...

About the only similar gesturing documented in the wild involves chimps indicating where they want a partner to groom them...

The ravens probably evolved and then practice the ability because of their complex social life, including the long courtship that leads them form permanent pair-bonds. Ravens mate for life, and the partners must work together to dominate large territories against other ravens.

And so marriage -- at least the corvid kind -- may be responsible for turbo-charging the raven knack for communication.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If I had a Nickel...

Researchers at HRL Laboratories, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of California at Irvine have created what they say is the lowest-density material, a lattice of hollow tubes of the metal nickel.

Its volume is 99.99 percent air, and its density is 0.9 milligram per cubic centimeter--not including the air in or between its tubes. That density is less than one-thousandth that of water...

"The trick is to fabricate a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness of 100 nanometers, 1,000 times thinner than a human hair," said Tobias Schaedler, the HRL researcher who's lead author of the paper...

After a 50 percent compression, it rebounds to 98 percent its original height...

The lattice is constructed through several steps... beams of ultraviolet light shine through a holes in a mask into a reservoir containing a resin that forms polymer fibers when the light hits it. 

The fibers follow the path the light takes, and using multiple beams creates multiple interconnected fibers.

Next, the rest of the resin is washed away, the polymer fibers are coated with a very thin layer of nickel, and the polymer fibers are then dissolved, leaving only the metal lattice.


Non Nuclear Time

The principle of operation of an atomic clock is not based on nuclear physics, but rather on atomic physics and using the microwave signal that electrons in atoms emit when they change energy levels...Currently, the most accurate atomic clocks first cool the atoms to near absolute zero temperature by slowing them with lasers and probing them in atomic fountains in a microwave-filled cavity. An example of this is the NIST-F1 atomic clock, the U.S. national primary time and frequency standard.

The accuracy of an atomic clock depends on the temperature of the sample atoms—colder atoms move much more slowly, allowing longer probe times, as well as having reduced collision rates—and on the frequency and intrinsic width of the electronic transition. Higher frequencies and narrow lines increase the precision.

...UTC is derived from TAI, but approximately synchronized, by using leap seconds, to UT1, which is based on actual rotations of the earth with respect to the solar time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Hello!

Do I have a crazy popular inbound link? The traffic spike the last few hours

Anyone willing to share what dragged you in the door, please post a comment.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Colloidal Commerce

Patrick MontesDeOca: Mr. Sprott, can you please give us the current situation in terms of price in the silver market? What you might see in the short term as it unfolds in the next six to twelve months, what is your forecast?
Eric Sprott: Sure, I take a longer term view than six to twelve months. I’ve been involved in silver for about probably almost ten years now and of course the price of silver has done wonderful things in that time period even though recently it has come under a lot of pressure. My thesis being that even though the last decade has been the decade of gold, this decade will be the decade of silver. I can only imagine that it will go back to its historical relationship to gold of 16 to one in term of price. And as an example of 16 to one, with gold at $1600 it would suggest that the silver price should be $100. And most of the data that I look at certainly as it pertains to day to day markets, and I don’t mean the Comex, we're not talking about that, we're talking about the physical market for silver, and we have data points that suggest that buying for silver by the public is almost on a ratio of dollars of silver being bought to dollars of gold being bought. We can see that the U.S. Mint’s data that comes out every month, and pretty much every day, so for example, the amount of silver coins being bought through the mint’s service - they sold 50 times the number of silver to gold coins. This month it’s actually running around 70 to one. This really means people are putting as many dollars into silver as they are into gold. But there is nowhere near the amount of silver to invest in as there is gold.


You can expect to pay anywhere from the value of the silver up to about a 5% premium to buy "junk silver" coins.  There is a lot of silver sold on ebay and you should familiarize yourself with the categories under the US coins category.  Often there are buys there for NO PREMIUM over the spot silver price in my experience. I just bought 7 rolls of dimes ($35 face value) yesterday for $359.  This is a multiple of 10.26 times face which if you divide by 0.715 tells you that I paid $14.35 per ounce of silver which was 14% below the silver value.
Keep an eye out for deals like this on ebay and buy them when you can...
Silver Eagles
American SIlver Eagle one ounce
Another widely used form of silver is the $1 Silver Eagle which is a very beautiful coin that contains exactly 1 Troy ounce of silver.  They typically sell for a premium over the silver price of 10% or so.
I would purchase these if you can find a good price but try to avoid paying a large premium.  Junk silver is a better bet for most survival/barter situations because it comes in smaller denominations.  These silver eagles would end up being more like your $50 or $100 bills that are used for large purchases.


How beneficial is a fully recognizable money to the economy? This paper answers this
question for the commodity money system. We build a model in which money is made of
precious metal coins, yet its intrinsic quality is imperfectly recognizable by sellers. Based on
historical evidence, we allow buyers to resort to a fixed cost coin certification technology.
known as coin assaying.that fully reveals the quality of coins to sellers. We show that
the two inefficiencies associated with imperfectly recognizable commodity money. lower
quantities traded or lower trading frequencies. are reduced thanks to this technology. We
characterize pure and mixed strategy equilibria in which agents certify their coins, and show
that certification coexists as a pure strategy equilibrium with the low-quantity inefficiency
but does not coexist with the low-frequency inefficiency. The coin inspection technology is
welfare improving when it removes the low-frequency inefficiency, but welfare deteriorating
when it removes the low-quantity inefficiency.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Measured Commerce

This one is made of Mahogany with a hand rubbed matte finish. These large pieces can be made to run for up to 72  hours or more perhaps even 1 week. Different woods can be use but may affect cost. Over all size with base is 41” tall and 42” wide with a depth of 6.5”. Can be set on a wall mounted shelf or on the floor. A fire place mantle would be an ideal place to set it as well.   Please call for pricing and further details on shipping on these very large glasses.  


...the time has come to consider the clock's antithesis, the hourglass. First, how old do you suppose the hourglass is: two thousand years? Four thousand years? Engineer/historian Robert Balmer goes looking for the answer. He finds no evidence of the hourglass until the early 1300s. Oddly enough, it came into use at almost exactly the same time as the first mechanical clocks. The hourglass is only about seven hundred years old.
Of course the hourglass is kin to the water clock. Both depend on a medium flowing out through a hole. But the hourglass has its own technological personality. On the positive side, it's far simpler and cheaper than the mechanical clock or the earlier water clock. Resetting it after it runs down couldn't be simpler. It doesn't vanish the way a graduated candle does. Its accuracy isn't bad once you solve some problems. You can't load just any old sand into it. You have to find a free-flowing material that doesn't absorb water on a humid day and clog up.
On the downside, an hourglass is a short-term timepiece. The very name says it's hard to make one that runs more than an hour. The other big drawback is that it can't be calibrated. Sand moves downward in jerks. The edge of the sand is uneven. If you mark five-minute intervals on the glass, the sand will hit those marks differently each time you turn it. An hourglass shows only when an hour is up.
Hourglasses found their place in setting off blocks of time. The time between canonical hours in a monastery, or between watches on shipboard. They ran neither long enough nor accurately enough to be of much use in marine navigation. They were a poor person's timepiece -- a kind of clock for everyman.
Both the mechanical clock and the hourglass found powerful symbolic roles during the Renaissance. The complex mechanical clock with its rotary gears became a metaphor for the heavenly spheres or for the wheel of fortune. But the hourglass, whose sands run out, was a thing of this base earth. It became a metaphor for the running-out-of-sands we all inevitably face. It became, and it remains, a universal symbol of death.

Emphasis mine.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Aurum Paradoxium

The principal source of tellurium is from anode sludges produced during the electrolytic refining of blister copper. It is a component of dusts from blast furnace refining of lead. Treatment of 500 tons of copper ore typically yields one pound (0.45 kg) of tellurium.

Tellurium is used in cadmium telluride solar panels...lab tests using this material achieved some of the highest efficiencies for solar cell electric power generation. Massive commercial production of CdTe solar panels by First Solar in recent years has significantly increased tellurium demand...If some of the cadmium in CdTe is replaced by zinc then (Cd,Zn)Te is formed which is used in solid-state X-ray detectors.


Tellurium was discovered in a certain gold ore from Transsylvania. This ore, known as "Faczebajer weißes blättriges Golderz" (white leafy gold ore from Faczebaja) or "antimonalischer Goldkies" (antimonic gold pyrite), was according to professor Anton von Rupprecht "Spießglaskönig" (argent molybdique), containing native Antimony (note). The same ore was analyzed by by Franz Joseph Müller Freiherr von Reichenstein (1742-1825) (note), chief inspector of mines in Transsylvania, he concluded in 1782 that the ore did not contain Antimony, but that it was Bismuth sulphide (note).

A year later he reported that this was erroneous and that the ore contained mainly gold and an unknown metal very similar to Antimony (note). However, Müller was not able to identify this metal. He gave it the name aurum paradoxium or metallum problematicum because it did not show the properties predicted for the Antimony he was expecting.


The yearend price for tellurium in 2000 was $14 per pound.


Tellurium has the same abundance as platinum and is $400 a kilo.

Friday, November 4, 2011

All that is under Heaven

The famous alchemists Michael Sendivogius, Botticher, and Paykull all spent part of their lives in prison, and many men suffered death for no other crime than the study of alchemy. If a great number of these seekers were impelled by ambition or if there were among them charlatans and impostors, it does not diminish the fact that a great many of them cherished a genuine ideal of moral development. In any event, their work in the domain of physics and chemistry formed a solid basis for the few wretched fragmentary scraps of knowledge that are called modern science and are cause for great pride to a large number of ignorant men.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And now a word from our sponsor...

The bottom produces everything and the top prints money to buy it wholesale and then marks it up and sells it to the bottom retail...and it's up to the bottom to pay the difference between the wholesale cost and the retail price to supply the top with the yield they demand.

And if you all can't.

Then you are going to have to be fired and replaced with more productive workers.

You were fired over the past few decades and Chinese workers were hired...but now they can't even support the top supports the bottom delusion you all depend upon.

I have no idea when the real yucky mindblowing soul destroying stuff is going to begin having an impact...but as long as you have a few years of existence will see the day.

As far as I can tell we are a long ways from the actual bottom where the milking operation reaches its maximum potential and the shorting method of extraction of yield from the dying USA and world system is still an effective way to make money.

If that is what turns your crank.

The bottom supplies the top.

Stocks will storm back if the bottom can support the ability for the top to cover. The bottom is the leverage the top use to increase the value of their assets.

Master what is my purpose? Your purpose is to slave till the day you die making me rich...

The top lives off the yield from the speculators.

There's two kinds...aggressive...Those that are personally involved...they are a minority...then there are the passive...they supply the agressive speculators.

The top does all the buying and selling...the bottom follows along and speculates.

The top is following a plan...the bottom is trying to figure it out.

The top must keep the bottom in the dark.

The top can see the bottom's demand.

The bottom supply the top with everything wholesale...the top then mark everything up and supply it to the bottom retail.

Eliminate the ability for banks to inflate the money supply to make up the difference between the wholesale cost and retail price...and the economy can't grow.

It's why the world basically went nowhere for's why the primary method of travel was riding around on the back of an animal or pulled around in cart by an animal for 1000's and 1000's of years until the 20th century.

Consumers use their current income which is composed of previously created money which is debt or an asset inflated in price by previously created money which is debt as collateral backing their request for a commercial bank to create new money which is debt.

Operating expenses are composed of previously created money which is debt and profit or yield is composed of newly created debt.

Within a constantly growing or yielding system...Once the bottom reaches their maximum potential to sustain the expansion...contraction follows. The roaring 6 decades was the greatest boom in the history of the 600 year old credit system...The past 6 decades was a massive blow off.

So in order to sustain this...the bottom has to supply the power that is required to sustain perpetual blow off.

Due to the construction of the system...that is impossible.

The top is the rider and the bottom is the horse...for the past six decades the top has been whipping the bottom...demanding more yield a year...faster...faster...faster...

Until the horse became exhausted slowed and finally stopped. Now the top is basically whipping it to death.

That's Greece

Eventually it will be those higher in the hierarchy.

Eventually there will be nowhere to put what you perceive to be money to acquire a positive yield.

Unless you short sell your countrymen and country to those higher in the hierarchy in Greece did.

You think Obama gives a rat's ass about any of you?

They are all using insider information to short sell you all to oblivion.

They are the first class ticket holders on the Titanic...

Obama was hired to tell the clowns trapped below decks that everything is a ok and that there's plenty of lifeboats.

Obama was installed to supply hope...To buy more time...A qualitative easing.

So those higher in the hierarchy can suck the last succulent drops of power you have left.

What do you think the real purpose of the video game industry was all this time? Most teens think you just re-spawn when you die and that mowing down people with mini-guns is ...all that you can be...cannon fodder in the army.

The top has not been trying to cure the problem...just treat the symptoms...

The top is the cause and the bottom is the effect...

The top is instigating all the revolutions and war outbreaks globally...

In the end there is going to be a maelstrom of chaos...a blizzard of effects to promote as the cause of the effects so that the culprits can escape.

While the top did all gleefully followed...paid to follow...

At the end the Germans said...we were just following orders...according to the judges...that is not an excuse. So I'm sorry to all are going to suffer the consequences the top or your employers hired you all to suffer.

But I'm a civilian...too bad so sad...

Rich people cause wars that they employ poor people to suffer the consequences of.

The battle against deflation is a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.

The top is not the most productive. The bottom is...

until they are sucked dry.

Well the top becomes the top and maintain their position by always taking more than they's the divine right of kings. Oh you think you gained independence from kings? nope...never all just think you did...and if you think therefore you's magic...Hyper my teacher said I did and all the history books said I I must have...

The sucked dry wreckage at the bottom cause problems...the bottom cries to the top about the effects.

The top is not going to pay the cost of dealing with the consequences at the bottom...that's what the top employs all of you to do....the top doesn't pay its credit cards...the bottom does...

The employer doesn't pay for anything...the employees's what your purpose within the enterprise is. It's your purpose on Earth within the system you all are in...That's not what they tell me at church...

The bottom is already being supplied the minimum in order for the top to obtain the's the middle that ultimately has to do with less in order for the top to obtain the power required to deal with the effects at the bottom that are causing the bottom to bawl like babies.

It's like your brains which are supposed to be capable of thinking according to rumor...have been programmed to be unable to.

Rich people are the biggest welfare cases of society...The entire bottom...billions of people globally have to slave till the day they die supporting the welfare cases at the top and the bottom...

At the extreme bottom of the global hierarchy far away from your sight...10's of 1000's are being sucked dry and dying to support your asses...

If the farmers stopped producing 1000's of times more food than they need to sustain their existence and decided to just produce enough to sustain themselves...all the welfare cases being sustained by the welfare system would die off in massive numbers.

Double digit growth rates for 30 years...hint hint.

Ten percent is a doubling every 7 sustain will take double the inputs the next 7 years...then 4 times...then 8 times....then 16 times...or China will implode to oblivion.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Markup is a Bitch

At the end of 2009, it was estimated that all the gold ever mined totaled 165,000 tonnes. This can be represented by a cube with an edge length of about 20.28 meters. At $1,600 per ounce, 165,000 tons of gold would have a value of $8.8 trillion.

The average gold mining and extraction costs were about US$317/oz in 2007, but these can vary widely depending on mining type and ore quality; global mine production amounted to 2,471.1 tonnes.


Incidentally, silver comes out of the ground for under $7 an ounce.


Silver Price
Figure 1-3. compares the World silver extraction rate with the silver price in $ per troy ounces.

Figure 1-3. World silver extraction rate in 10^6 troy ounces per year compared to silver price in $ per troy ounce.

I see no obvious correlation between the extraction rate and the price.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Important enough to my dissertation to post here

  • Seems to me, the fly in Rifkin's ointment, is he still seems to be relying upon that whole extractive network to get him where he wants to be. Hydrogen  and the internet to manage it, all well and good, but, uh, you still need exotic metals and rare earths for all that shit. Aside from that island up in Sweden for some of rare earths, it looks like they need Africa, Asia, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Australia, etc. etc. to sustain their green utopia. Not that he can't expand his vision globally, but, he's ending using carbon a lot, LOT longer than he thinks he is.

    Call me a cynical optimist... and I am... I wish anyone well who wants to try it. I just want them to look at that giant smoke and oil slick snail track you make to get there.

  • and there it is, BAM!!! cold, hard, and right smack between the eyes...,

  • Yes my sensei, but you forget that everything else is just conversation.
    Let me Cliff Notes MY entire thesis. The US is the world's largest exporter of:

    1) food
    2) weapons

    EVERYTHING else is just conversation. You may not like the reflection in the mirror, but the collapse will be relatively gentle for you and yours. As an extremely HARD realist, I expect and hope you will take comfort in that brutal fact.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And now a word from our host...

So, most of my readership is new (helllloooo Subrealism fans) or nonexistant.

But, I have decided, after several months of consideration and an unreasonable amount of whisky, to drive four hours to see my boss tomorrow and resign my position, striking out on my own.

So I guess what I'm saying, is: pray for me, wish me well, curse me, or hope I fail, but at least throw some psychic energy, or cold hard logic (whatever floats your boat) at it. I want to go out with a bang, not a whimper.

This is the last I'll mention it, so anyway. There you go.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cash is a Peasant

Down in Louisiana, a recently passed law completely outlaws the use of cash in transactions for secondhand goods. When I read the story, I thought it was so crazy that it had to be a misunderstanding. I looked up the bill, and the original version of the bill actually does not have this clause.

Instead, it requires that anyone selling secondhand goods make a detailed recording of any cash transaction. But somewhere along the way, that bill was amended, and the final version (embedded below) does, in fact, appear to ban cash transactions:

    A secondhand dealer shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property. Payment shall be made in the form of check, electronic transfers, or money order issued to the seller of the junk or used or secondhand property and made payable to the name and address of the seller. All payments made by check, electronic transfers, or money order shall be reported separately in the daily reports required by R.S. 37:1866.

I do wonder if that's even legal. Our cash clearly says that "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." While businesses may have the right to refuse cash, can a government outlaw the use of cash? That seems pretty extreme.

The state representative behind the bill, Rickey Hardy, seems to think it's no big deal, admitting that this is purely to make life easier for law enforcement in response to criminals who steal stuff and then sell it off


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The science of Scotch

...And so we have a teenage spirit, grown up from its babyish beginnings in a warm bath. What our 12th century monks did not know is that uisge beatha is not the end game. Place the young spirit in a wooden womb and something really comes to life. After three years or more in an oak cask, the water of life is reborn.

“We do not know exactly what happens in the cask, it is still a mystery that science is yet to fully understand,” says Professor Paul Hughes, Director of the International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Edinburgh. What the Centre’s scientists do know is that chemical compounds in the oak enrich and transform the spirit.

Tannin, which makes tea brown, gives whisky its golden glow. Oak lactones also mingle in, giving a hint of sweet coconut. The carbon lining of charred whisky helps to release vanillin from the oak. The active carbon filters out undesirable substances like sulphur that cause an eggy taste. Gaps and pores in the cask’s wood let in air. Gently, gently, this air oxidises the alcohols, breathing new life into the spirit. Ethanol reacts with acids during this maturation process, giving rise to zesty esters – more commonly found in pear drops.

The final result is an aged concoction so loved worldwide that in 2010 Scotland’s whisky exports earned the UK £109 a second. That’s a staggering 1060 million bottles sold. And while the chemistry of whisky-making stops at bottling, the science is far from over. Whisky is made for tasting, not examination under the spectrometer. The human brain is possibly the most remarkable detector of all.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do you have 7 minutes?

Since you have high-speed internet, I'm guessing you do. Revolutions always start with the richest members of any society. That's you.

Further reading.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Maui, but not until next year...

An internal New York Police Department review has found a senior police officer violated NYPD guidelines when he used pepper spray on Occupy Wall Street protesters last month, ABC confirmed.

According to a person with knowledge of the investigation, Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna faces discipline of a loss of 10 vacation days as a result of the incident on Sept. 24.

According to officials, after the demonstrators left their base in Zuccotti Park and spilled over into the streets, blocking traffic, Bologna approached a group already corralled by police and sprayed the group with pepper spray.

I get 10 vacation days a year in toto. And I'm quite upper-middle class.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ready for Tomorrow

First Things First

Before you begin to prepare, pray. As a Christian, I put my trust in God's guidance, providence, and protection. You can and should do the same...

...Other important items for your food storage:
- Canning lids and rings—buy plenty of extras for barter.
- Sulfur for drying fruit.
- Vinegar-Buy a couple of cases of one-gallon bottles.
- Spices....

...Chem/Nuke Defense List
Dosimeter and rate meter, and charger, radiac meter (hand held Geiger counter), rolls of sheet plastic (for isolating airflow to air filter inlets and for covering window frames in the event that windows are broken due to blast effects), duct tape, HEPA filters (ands spares) for your shelter. Potassium iodate (KI) tablets to prevent thyroid damage.(See my recent post on that subject.) Outdoor shower rig for just outside your shelter entrance....

...Hunting/Fishing/Trapping List
...Night vision gear, spares, maintenance, and battery charging
Salt. Post-TEOTWAWKI, don’t “go hunting.” That would be a waste of effort. Have the game come to you. Buy 20 or more salt blocks. They will also make very valuable barter items....

...Security-Firearms List
Guns, ammunition, web gear, eye and ear protection, cleaning equipment, carrying cases, scopes, magazines, spare parts, gunsmithing tools, targets and target frames, et cetera. Each rifle and pistol should have at least six top quality (original military contract or original manufacturer) full capacity spare magazines. Note: Considerable detail on firearms and optics selection, training, use, and logistic support are covered in the SurvivalBlog archives and FAQs....

...Barter and Charity List
For your barter list, acquire primarily items that are durable, non-perishable, and either in small packages or that are easily divisible....ammo will be worth nearly its weight in silver. ...Two cycle engine oil (for chain saw gas mixing. Gas may still be available after a collapse, but two-cycle oil will probably be like liquid gold!)
Gas stabilizer.
Diesel antibacterial additive.
50-pound sacks of lime (for outhouses).
1 oz. bottles of military rifle bore cleaner and Break Free (or similar) lubricant....

Emphasis His.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


In 954, Seborga's territory was ceded by the counts of Ventimiglia to the monks of Lerino, when the Cistercian monastery was founded. In 1079 its abbots were also made Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, temporally in chief of the principality of Seborga.

On 20 January 1729, however, it was annexed to the Savoy dynasty's Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. Since then it has never been recognized by any state or admitted to an international organisation...

... Law enforcement, public health, telecommunications, school services and all other public services are provided as in the rest of Italy. Seborgans regularly pay taxes, participate in the Italian administrative life, and vote in local and national (Italian) elections

I suppose if you pay taxes, vote, and submit to police and military dominion you can start your own nation too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Final Frontier, or, Astronomical Au

It’s become quite popular to talk about the price of gold . . . in blogs, the press, at dinner parties.  The latest topic of debate is not about the price of gold as a commodity, but about gold as the one and only king money.  The basic argument is that 5,000 years of tradition will overwhelm the tyranny of modern government and the fiat printing press.  The barbaric relic will defeat socialism, fascism, Obama-ism,  and restore liberty to the world, after a terrible economic collapse in which gold-owning visionaries become fabulously wealthy.

Perhaps they are correct—or perhaps not.  I don’t know what will happen in 10 years.  However, unless civilization utterly collapses (which is what gold hoarders seem to want), the gold bubble will collapse.  And I don’t mean the 10 year “bubble” . . . I mean the 5,000 year bubble.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sly as a Fox?

In his heyday, he lived at 783 Bel Air Road, a four-bedroom, 5,432-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion that once belonged to John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas.

The Tudor-style house was tricked out in his signature funky black, white and red color scheme. Shag carpet. Tiffany lamps in every room. A round water bed in the master bedroom. There were parties where Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Miles Davis would drop by, where Etta James would break into “At Last” by the bar.

Just four years ago, he resided in a Napa Valley house so large it could only be described as a “compound,” with a vineyard out back and multiple cars in the driveway.

But those days are gone.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's not just circuses, bread is on the way

Saudi Arabia will spend $43 billion on its poorer citizens and religious institutions.

Kuwaitis are getting free food for a year. Civil servants in Algeria received a 34 percent pay rise. Desert cities in the United Arab Emirates may soon enjoy uninterrupted electricity.


Coming soon to an easily appeased nation near you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mine's 5mm Short

In 1668, Wilkins proposed using... a pendulum with a half-period of one second to measure a standard length....

...The other approach suggested defining the metre as one ten-millionth of the length of the Earth's meridian...the French Academy of Sciences selected the meridional definition over the pendular definition...measurements of this meridian more accurate than those available at that time were imperative.

The French Academy of Sciences commissioned an expedition...

However, in 1793, France adopted as its official unit of length a metre based on provisional results from the expedition.

Although it was later determined that the first prototype metre bar was short by a fifth of a millimetre because of miscalculation of the flattening of the Earth, this length became the standard.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


 Osmiridium is very rare, but it can be found in mines of other platinum group metals...

It can be isolated by adding a piece to aqua regia, which has the ability to dissolve gold and platinum but not osmiridium. It occurs naturally as small, extremely hard, flat metallic grains with hexagonal crystal structure.


Abnormally high amounts of iridium have been found in rocks dating to the K-T boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods (65 million years ago). This has led to a widely held view that an iridium-containing comet struck the Earth at that time, which led to the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other forms of life. 

I have some Osmium and Iridium lying around. They are both about 40x rarer than gold in the Earth's crust. Gold is for pikers and scrooges.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Prices in the $150 billion fertilizer market are lagging behind gains in food costs, providing farmers another incentive to boost production as grains and oilseeds advance.

Urea, the most common nitrogen fertilizer, is down 33 percent from June 2008 when corn rose to a record, according to data from ICIS, a commodity-pricing company. Potash is 36 percent cheaper. Food prices gained 4.3 percent over the same period, an index of the United Nations shows.

Crops require nitrogen, phosphorus and potash for growth.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grid Down, Community Up

Yesterday at about 15:40 local time, San Diego lost power—along with many other parts of Southern California, Arizona, and Mexico. Our power was out for 11 hours. The experience was fascinating for me, because it changes the rules of the game suddenly, and exposes certain fragilities in our system...

I headed for the bus, but saw right away that “normal” operations did not apply, and that waiting for my bus may have me sitting idle on campus for some time.  So I took the first bus that came along to get part of the way home, and rode it for 1.3 mi (2.1 km)—taking 20 minutes, after which I walked the remaining 5.7 mi (9.1 km) home in 1.5 hours: same speed as the bus had been. It took a neighbor a full hour to drive the same route I walked. Only one bus passed me the entire time—normally running on a 15 minute schedule.

Traffic lights were out, forcing traffic to a crawl. Gas stations could not pump gas, so I passed several cars pulled over to the side of the road out of gas during my walk. If I wanted to stop somewhere for food or drink, I was out of luck: the places I passed were closed...
When I arrived home, the neighbor across the street was setting up chairs in the front yard, and a spontaneous block party erupted...

The sky was clear and dark, so I hauled out my 10-inch telescope for the first time in a very long while and entertained kids and adults with mind-blowing vistas (lots of satisfying oohs and ahhs)....

So while many fractures were exposed, and our society ceased to function in many ways, some things functioned better than they had in decades. Community has largely been lost in modern America. Our houses are little castles provisioned with all the entertainment, appliances, tools, and food that we need. We don’t need each other, so we don’t bother interacting. Last night, I was delighted to see just how quickly a community spirit re-emerges.