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"How to Live on
$10,000 a year
Very interesting doings on the legal front to be aware of as Google has been sued by a group of web sites that are not happy about their rank in listings from the search engine operator. A couple of points: First, the suit might bring to light some of the closely guarded secrets of how Google compiles its rankings. Secondly, the suit promises to make a ton of work for SEO (search engine optimization) firms.
Student and union activists are expected to be out in force today as national protests continue over a government jobs program. The government is trying to make the labor market "more flexible and less protective" say reports. Which means, longer working hours and fewer bennies, so here come the protests.
Iran: Pick a Headline
If you are sitting down with your coffee this morning trying to figure out how "real" the threat of war with Iran is, good luck. You can find some headlines that suggest that war is coming if Iran doesn't stop its uranium enrichment program. One such headline declares "The Countdown Begins." On the other side, the BBC reports that the press in Iran is backing the idea of talks to avert war. You're welcome to use the ultimate UrbanSurvival forecasting methodology to divine what's next: Flip a coin.
We're How Broke?
So how big is the US debt? Take 28 Eiffel Towers made of gold and you'd be close says one report.
Our extremely unscientific way of monitoring the web bot's "encounter with scarcity" arrival this spring/summer shows that shortage reports dropped by 300 overnight to 13,200 presently.
On this last point, a reader sent in the following about their adventure trying to get pellets in the area up north of Seattle:
Just so we can have a running tab on shortages, I'll start keeping a chart:
Another email worth passing on:
Naw. I just figure that if wisdom comes from making mistakes and I must be wiser than most, having made more mistakes than most people I know...
St. Patrick's in the Rearview
Our neighbors across the road has us over for an incredibly good St. Patrick's Day dinner: A couple of vodka martinis, corned beefs with all the trimmings, home made wine (which would be an award winner, if they ever made more - as it is, I'm volunteering to procure their annual output). All this was followed with blueberry pie and ice cream, and a handshake to buy a pickup truck. About the only thing missing was a winner lottery ticket...
Flu, shortages and whatever - this week our topic for Peoplenomics.com topic is to go through (step-by-step) how to develop your own home inventory list. Complete with a spreadsheet for the Excel literate.
Heck of an article for subscribers this week about the dangers of our very short, tight, supply lines. The article is "Death by JIT" and a subscription to a year's worth of such gems will set you back only $30. Details here.
Live Well, Cheaply
"How to live on $10,000 a year or less" is a runaway best seller at our bookstore. The entrance is over here.
Spread the Word
Please help get the word out about this free site. Click here to tell a few friends about it. Just fill in their emails.
Friday March 17, 2001
Looks like the Boston Legal closing arguments story is still online - To see the video which has people buzzing like crazy try this link: http://www.boston-legal.org/ and hit the "Stick It" closing arguments video. The text is here. It's awesome.
(story outdated) Truth - Over Quickly
That episode of Boston Legal with the great speech has been removed due to copyright infringement. Darn! "I wonder if there's any way to get a legal copy? asks one reader.
outdated) The Truth on TV????
As one reaction poster noted on the "You Tube" site: "This is what i have been saying for sometime but it is hard to get this message across especially the main stream presstitutes."
Production, Capacity, Utilization
The Federal Reserve this morning released its Industrial Capacity & Utilization report for February. You can read the whole report and come to your own conclusions:
My only observation is that manufacturing was up 4.2% YoY while manufacturing capacity utilization was up 2.3% leading me to conclude that things are looking up a bit in manufacturing. Seems to me that'd be a good thing.
Balancing that out this morning, we see GM is increasing its reported losses, which will weigh.
Money for Nothing
CONgress has raised the federal debt ceiling again - this time by $781 billion of your earnings.
Mystery Fever of India
With the world's attention now turning to bird flu, which we expect will shortly morph into concerns about viability of the globalist business model, I was intrigued this morning to read that a "mystery fever" has hit the town of Malagaon, India. The report out of Nashik is not terribly enlightening, but it's a data point to consider.
I spent a few minutes this week chatting with my friend Robin Landry in Shawnee, Oklahoma, one of the best trend experts I know. He mentioned in passing that he had a recent experience with some kind of a mystery illness, if I can label it such, that hit in Oklahoma. No national press about it, but emergency rooms he reported were somewhere between chockablock full to overflowing. So when I read about the case this morning in India, I start to wonder.
Bird Flu Moving
The latest country it has shown up in seems to be Israel, which has now ordered a poultry quarantine as a result. Meanwhile, the web bot predictions of "restrictions on travel" are coming into focus as a Scottish researcher says global animal transport may need to be halted. I figure it may only be a matter of time until the "animal" category includes humans.
Not a Pass
One of my friends told me that I was far too easy on the administration for blowing the Katrina and Rita responses. "You've got this "monolithic view of government," he noted, "And it was like you were giving them [the administration] a pass because of bird flu." Well, no, it was a think piece and wasn't meant as a pass at all. All I was suggesting was that at some point, multiple problems come up the governmental "food chain" to a very few people that make major decisions, and it was possible that government couldn't deal with multiple crisis simultaneously. Too many problems and too few channels - that kind of thing. But a pass? Nope - at least not intended. A bad record is still a bad record.
You can read the Marc Siegel piece in the Boston Globe this morning, if you are looking for someone to warn about the "Cost of Bird Flu Hysteria." History three years from now will judge whether he's right, I guess...
However, as we pointed out yesterday, it is unheard of for the government to warn in advance about "social disruptions" to come on a government web site. If there's one link to click on this morning (if you haven't already) it's this one.
Whether it's the bird flu, or some other highly contagious disease to come, I have asked my son (another George Ure) to write a book, complete with diagrams and references, that would give a regular person a quick lesson in how to set up green zones, red zones, decontamination procedures, and the kind of stuff my son goes on endlessly about, as he operates an on-call instant HIV testing business in the Seattle area. He's my "expert" on dealing with communicability. Selfishly perhaps, I wanted a plain-speaking book on biological decontamination. If you'd like to be notified when it comes out, click here to get on the list. I'm just guessing about 40-50 pages.
That's the big operation in Iraq right now, with 1,500 troops engaged in rooting out insurgents. It's expected to continue through the weekend.
A Hawaii reader sends us this:
Search engine returns, at 12,900 yesterday jumped up to 13,500 today - and increase of 600 returns in one day - compared with an increase of 100 the day before.
Also: I canceled my order for more rounds of 9 MM Luger ammo at CDT: They were out of stock on large quantities it turns out.
NYC's Soft(?) Dictators
NYC Police have joined the dictatorship - as word of proactive arrests at political demonstrations in 2002 have come to light. Not that anyone will care...
The Rebellion Meme
(A meme is a thought virus.) French students have been raising hell this week with their protests over a new youth labor law. A quarter of a million took to the streets yesterday. What's interesting to us is the phrase "political rebellion by the country's younger generation" that popped up in the Washington Post's coverage.
The concept of rebellion (as web bot subscribers know) has been rising out of the data for several months of runs, and I ran into it first hand this week as an inter-generational feeling when I was talking to a customer service rep. While waiting on a computer, and talking about the weather, politics, and whatever, the 31-year old who was assisting me said "That's refreshing - to hear a Baby Boomer own up to screwing up the world." Well, we haven't done as well as we should have, so why not admit it, right? It struck me, though, that there are millions of 30-and-unders who are seriously angry with us 50-and-overs because we have stolen the dream from them.
OK, what do I mean stolen? Well, the oceans are out of fish. The sky is full of whatever. The economy is based on least cost labor with virtually no thought of sustainability - something we only started talking about in the 1960's and were co-opted from by the greeds and needs of the 80's and 90's. Young people today who want to buy a home feel like they are being conned into "buying at the top" of the housing bubble, which seems to be in the process of bursting. You get the idea, right? Anger with old folks - and that's before they figure out how badly CONgress and the administration are screwing them over with intergenerational tax transfers. Oh boy, wait till they get the bills we're leaving them. You think they're mad now?
St. Patrick's Day
I thought I would pass on this fine thought from the Irish:
Thanks to our friends at Oppenheimer for reminding us.. 2-million people (which infers 4-million eyes) will watch the NYC parade today. Lemme see, here in Texas that'd call for a "yeee haw and b'gorah"
Thursday March 16, 2006
Government avian flu preparation is really impressive so far, but there's now a question in my mind whether devoting the large amounts of government planning resource to bird flu may have been - what we called in business school -"the hidden variable" behind the federal government's apparently slow response to the late August 2005 Katrina disaster in New Orleans. If it was, we may never know for sure, because telling the American people (and especially those in Louisiana) words to the effect that "we're working a bigger problem" would not have been politically acceptable at the time - and it likely not today. Nevertheless, there's a chance that's what was going on.
First, the bullet points that you need to know - with our emphasis on personal economics and planning - that I've pieced together:
I want you to keep this date in mind for a few minutes - the White House had a plan on November 1st 2005. But when did Bird Flu start popping up in headlines?
Now here's the point of today's research: I'd guess there's a 50-50 chance that while George Bush and his administration are being taken to task almost daily for failing to react in some massive way to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, they may have had a potentially far worse problem on their plate and been devoting huge amounts of resource to it at the time. While nurses are faulting the response, and while Joe Lieberman has lost his bid for Katrina documents from the White House, I suspect that bird flu planning may have held center stage
You see, Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. And the National Strategy for bird flu was unveiled on November 1, 2005. That would have given government (White House, FEMA, and lots of other agencies) just 60-days to come up with a realistic threat assessment and comprehensive plan to deal with a coming pandemic. I don't know about your experience, but in all my time as a reporter I have never seen government come up with a detailed plan or move that fast on a potential threat. I expect itt takes many months to get the kind of consensus reflected in the plan.
I'd place a sizeable wager that Katrina and Rita took a back seat to planning for the arrival of avian flu. Naturally, it's not being reported this way yet, because it would be a political crapstorm to have it widely reported this way. But that's my best guess right now.
I think you'll see in our late March "context shift" arriving, the federal government has been devoting huge amounts of planning and preparedness to the flu - possibly at the expense of other items. And the government pandemic web site didn't just pop up overnight - it's part of a Bigger Plan. As I pointed out earlier: For the US government to speak in a predictive manner of "social disruptions" and "impossible to work" is absolutely unheard of.
Bird Flu Resources
With the federal government putting together a huge web site, and with the Federal Reserve concerned about the threat to the nation's economic system, I thought you might want to have a list of "official" flue resources. Here's a list - mostly from the Federal Reserve/Comptroller of the Currency advisory to institutions:
Government's Main Pandemic Flu site
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) [http://www.dhhs.gov/nvpo/pandemics/index.html]
Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (DHSS) [http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/pdf/businesschecklist.pdf]
Avian Flu Website (DOD) [http://deploymentlink.osd.mil/medical/medical_issues/immun/avian_flu.shtml]
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) [http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm]
World Health Organization (WHO) [http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/]
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [http://www.publichealth.va.gov/flu/pandemicflu.htm]
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) [http://www.osha.gov/dsg/guidance/avian-flu.html]
Department of State [http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html]
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) [http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/home/News/news_items/avian_influenza.html ]
You might want to read everything at the government's main site: www.pandemicflu.gov as well as check out the Red Cross and print out this section of today's report, or hit some of the links and add them to your "favorites" file.
Web Contingency Plans
I have been making at many contingency plans as possible: What I'm trying to get set up in the next month will be "triple redundancy" for internet access: dial-up (done), satellite (done) and wireless access at 2 MB (pending) with a static IP so I can hang a backup server on it.
One of the questions you should be asking at work is "How can we operate this business if two conditions are imposed on it? One would be a limitation of human-to-human contact. The other would be minimal contact with other humans in face-to-face encounters.
So how much business that you're doing now can be pushed over onto the web? Can you do sales with a good PowerPoint, web-sharing software, Skype, and so forth? If you're in the intellectual property arena, can you handle most of your business over the net? I realize that there is a lot of paperwork in the court system, for example, but there ought to be some way of filing all court papers electronically... Put this on your to-do list under things to think about at work...
Adventures in Ammunition
A reader wrote in to remind me of the ABC News story headlined "How will Bird Flu change your life?" and suggested that I could have written the story for them. Perhaps.
Shortages of the Day
In keeping with our expectation of an "encounter with scarcity" which will likely come in tandem with a growing awareness of bird flu, we've spotted a couple of new shortages today.
Shortage references on one of my news hunting engines is up to 12,900 - a gain of 100 in the past day. (Noted for benchmarking purposes)
While we have seen reports that Iran's oil bourse may be put off until later this year (lots of rumors flying around this), the administration's SecState Condi Rice is still promoting the idea that Iran is the central banker for terrorism.
One of the best articles on the Iran oil bourse I've read in a while which takes the "big picture" approach is one in the India Monitor says as a threat to US dollar hegemony, Iran is way down the list of threats.
Lots of discussion starting to pop up over the movie "V for Vendetta". I mentioned yesterday that I tend to "map" everything mentally in three dimensions. And for something like this, the mind space could be gridded something like this - put the subject anywhere you like:
I'm not assigning the movie a position yet, but in terms of how I'd dimension it in "holographic mind space" I'd probably find someplace to "file it" in this kind of matrix.
New York's Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has taken on H&R Block over sales of an IRA with big fees. H&R Block is planning to fight it.
And a NYC reader sends this along: "Regarding oil, I'm part of a peak oil meetup group in nyc and our group is putting on a conference the end of April. All the biggies, Kunstler, Ruppert, Fitts, Savinar, Klare, Pfeiffer, etc., etc., will be there. You can find the info at www.energysolutionsconference.org. I'd really appreciate it, if you mention the conference, and also it would be great if you found the time to attend." OK, mentioned it - but I won't be able to attend due to client commitments.
Wednesday March 15, 2006
Ides of March
"Beware the Ides of March." A few people know that this was issued as a warning to Julius Caesar, but the truly informed today need to run around the office asking really important questions like "Did you know that "Ides of March" was a song done by Iron Maiden (the album Killers, 1981), not to be confused with the band "Ides of March" which did the song Vehicle in 1970?" A one-hit-wonder, if I recall correctly....
Strangely, the Ides of March has not been commercially exploited to the same extend as St. Patrick's Day this Friday. I would have thought there would be a Caesar Salad Association or some such, but guess not. Elaine is not much of a meat eater, but as a life-long omnivore, I've got plans for beer and corned beef and cabbage Friday afternoon. You might want to remind yourself to wear something green on Friday, unless of course, your social life really sucks...
If you know anyone who is an engineer (hardware, software, other except Civil) you need to know that St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers. Why not civil engineers? Well, as the old joke went when I started off on the BSEE track years ago, there's no such thing as a civil engineer! Get it? Ha! Doubly so Friday, huh? How did we get off on this tangent? Oh yeah, trying to plan for the worst and hope for the best..Pass the Bushmill's will ya?.
We'll be watching the market closely, as always, but it seems like it will be a perfectly normal trading day. Still, you never know, Julius.
Shortages Ahead? Read A Book
One of the interesting dangers of the information age is that people often miss the important distinction between "data" and "information." It was a popular subject back in business school and it's important that folks differentiate between data (collection of facts) and information which is actionable. Many folks don't consider the distinction.
I mention this because Canadian News Hound Tim B (a many times daily news tipster) sent in this thoughtful email"
Yup, the US is headed toward being a net food importer, alright, if we're not already. It seems that the marvelous Just-In-Time inventory system, which has been great in terms of allow corporate profitability to be puffed up here and there, doesn't offer much elasticity.
I've started searching news outlets for the word "shortage" - and the results are interesting because it's a different way to grid current events. I run these matrices in my head all the time and they look like this:
Some of the current "shortage" stories out and about:
Occasionally, readers will suggest that I am too much of a "glass half empty" kind of fellow, so as a nod to that reader, here's what is plentiful:
There, I feel fairly balanced, now. (Whew!) My point in this exercise is to do a little benchmarking for later reference (later on this year) to see if there is much change in the "shortages" meme. One news search tool shows 12,800 results for the search term "shortage" right now, and 2,270 for the term "plentiful." Roughly a 6:1 ratio of news coverage in the shortage/plentiful sphere should be noted for future consideration as well.
AND... speaking of shortages, as we were a moment ago, people in Iraq are stockpiling food, weapons, ammo, fuel and everything else they figure they will need in the soon to be appearing (in mainstream media) Iraq Civil War.
Saddam in Court
Same guy (or same stand-in?) and same rap. "I'm the president of Iraq..." Blah blah blah.
Bird Flu Odds
ABC News is reporting the odds of Bird Flu going human-to-human at about 50-50. While some otherwise fairly balanced media have been lagging (or ignoring) the government's low-key advice to stock up, ABC has been on the leading edge of the story.
One other news-about-news note today: Mike Wallace is retiring from "60-Minutes."
Web Bots: No Changes
Thanks for voting in the poll (if you did) on whether I should include more, the same, or less content about the forward-looking (future predicting?) web bot project over at www.halfpasthuman.com. I received 1,616 emails as of tabulation time (6:11 AM) and that will be when things get "frozen." 54% (868) of respondents want more, 39% (632) said it was about right as it, while 7% (116) said I was devoting too much focus to it. Looks something like this visually:
So, no changes. I figure the people who want more detail can ante up for a subscription to the project.
Dangerous Drug Test
Two people may die as a result of trials of a new anti-inflammatory drug being tested in England. Reuters reports "The trial was set up by U.S. drug research company Parexel International Corp. on behalf of German pharmaceutical company TeGenero AG" So why the adverse reaction? Well, this isn't exactly aspirin they're testing. According to the TeGenero web site:
Tuesday March 14, 2006
Context Shift Arriving?
Let's start this morning with a very curious email that I need to discuss with you - and seek your guidance on - because it raises very interesting questions:
If you're a long-time reader of this site, you already know about the "web bot" technology pioneered by www.halfpasthuman.com, which among other things, has predicted major features of everything from 9/11 (link to July 2001 article) to the Northeast power Outage (link) and it has accurately captures lots of aspects of other events such as the Columbia disaster, the Tsunami, the DC Sniper Case, and others.
Most recently, for almost a year, the technology has been speaking of "restrictions on travel" and for about six months, it has been sounding the alarm about a coming "encounter with scarcity." It has also captured mood shifts of the country darned well, such as the growing period of "rebellion" which will break out into "conflict" at the end of August first part of September. And we get two major international crisis between now and then.
I won't review how the technology works as we have posted that elsewhere on this site, and yes, there have been many pretenders come along and claim to have the technology. Since we started advising you of the context shift around the end of March (21-29). This is not something I just pulled out of my hat - you can click here to read the references I was making to the context shift a month ago - and that was long after the web bot project subscribers got word of what's coming.
Not to freak you out about how good the technology is, but we began reporting publicly about the coming "encounter with scarcity" way back at the beginning of November 2005 - and so yes, we have been quietly preparing since that report. The People's Economist wouldn't be worth a damn if he didn't follow his own advice. I will admit our timing sucks as that's the hardest part of the bots. Here's what I wrote about in November 2005:
November 2005 - got that? What bothers me is that the longer the lead time we get on major context shifts and tipping points is the further ahead of events things show up in linguistic analysis, the more severe they are in terms of impacts on our personal lives.
Now, to get to the point of this email I received: Yes, the main theme of UrbanSurvival is about economics and how we are, in my opinion, on the front edge of a massive economic depression, the likes of which will match (or perhaps exceed) 1929 in scope, being played out against a vastly different background. And yes, the web bots are a real "stretch" but nevertheless, they seem to work and do a fine job of giving us a heads up about what's coming next.
So here's the question I want to ask you - and please click one or the other to vote - when you click the (Vote) next to your feelings, it should pop up a email with a pre-filled subject line that will route it into my automatic vote tabulator:
I will tab the result tomorrow morning and will try to be guided by reader input like yours - Thank you!
About Them Scarcities
While the web bot predictions have been including the references to "encounter with scarcity" and "restrictions on travel" for some time, we are nevertheless surprised to see the government officially mentioning to people to "stock up on provisions" just in case.
If our reading of the 'bots is right, this is just the "leading edge" of what's coming, and it should arrive in full force within a week to 10-days. Right on schedule for the context shift.
This past weekend, we advised our subscribers to the $30 a year www.peoplenomics.com reports that stocking up is doubly important because the modern Just-In-Time manufacturing and distribution system (that has allowed corporations to take "money out of inventory" [by keeping very little inventory on hand]) has a distinct downside: When extraordinary demand pops up, there's nothing left in the supply chain (technical a lack of supply chain elasticity) so what would in the 1950's have been an inventory drawdown swells out of proportion and becomes what the 'bots are talking about - an encounter with scarcity.
I know that's got to be a mind stretch for you, but language shifts really do seem to presage fundamental shifts in how internet communicating humans live, and as a result, we get a great long-range "heads up" on such things and communicate them to those who are interested.
The death toll from the avian flu is continuing to climb. In Azerbaijan, the death toll is now reported at 100. In Southeast Asia, Myanmar is issued a call for international help following reports of its first outbreak.
The International Monetary Fund says the economic impacts of the bird flu could be tremendous. No one is saying just how bad it will be, but think bad and you'll be in the ball park. You're not really still in the stock market are you?
Money and Bird Flu
Not to put a purely capitalist face on these developments, which we expect will catch hold of the US emotionally within a week or two and we may see in that timeframe our first reports of store shelves being wiped clean by consumers, but there might be some ways to profit.
For example, I found myself asking the other day, "What pharmaceutical companies rely most heavily on egg supplies to grow vaccines, that won't be able to culture cures because eggs might go into short supply due to bird flu?" I was also pondering: "If there is a huge die-off of the bird population globally, then what will be the pesticide companies that will keep going?"
Our colleagues at www.halfpasthuman.com threw some cold water on my "get short and get rich quick" notions, though by appropriately asking "If the dinosaurs died off in a period when 20-spcies a day were disappearing from the planet, why do you think you will be able to survive a 50-species a day die-off?" Hmmm...maybe bugs will inherit the earth.
Beef: Food Chain Jitters
Just in case you were planning to stock up on lots of beef in order to have a readily available protein source for the period of possible scarcity ahead, you might be interested to learn that a cow in Alabama has tested positive for Mad Cow. This one was put down by a veterinarian, and didn't enter the food supply, but the fear is that where there is one, there may be others.
Again, to return to the "money" side of matters, this has already had an impact on fast food operations and protein processor shares.
Oil investment banker Matt Simmons said something several months ago that is still ringing in my head (gotta have it looked at maybe?). He said something to the effect that the only thing that would keep the world's economy from crashing onto the rocks due to Peak Oil would be a good sized Depression, or words to that effect.
We're beginning to see how a combination of Bird Flu and an economic recession, already in the cards due to the recently inverted yield curve, would get us to exactly that place: a defacto depression of sorts.
The latest data point
to stir into your thinking is that the International Energy
Agency says that weaker demand this year could moderate oil
consumption. What's interesting (and shows me how slow
most economists are when it comes to incorporating new thought)
is that the IEA forecast isn't based on Bird Flu or concepts
like home quarantines, etc.
It's based on high prices.
Here's an interesting email from a reader in Maryland, that is once again on the theme of "encounter with scarcity"
So, if you go to Starbucks and want a dusting of cocoa powder on your latte this morning (a great waker-upper) let me know if you run into missing cocoa powder? Thanks. Could just be a coincidence, but then again...it fits the forecast of scarcities arriving that we have been telling you about for weeks and weeks...
Frankly, I'm now about 90% confident that the predicted context shift at the end of this month will be a widespread public recognition that it's time to stock up, and because of the dangerous lack of supply elasticity in Just-In-Time Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, this will almost instantly cause encounters with scarcity in as little time as a week to 10 days, the other news events of today pale in comparison and potential impact.
While the number of war dead in what's becoming Iraq's Civil War has been climbing, to 65 in 24-hours, and the Prime Minister of Korea has resigned in a scandal centered around golf, I'd suggest that such stories are useful more or less for entertainment value only at this point. (Although, given that Tom DeLay has also been having problems with his golf game lately, it makes me feel better about leaving my clubs in our storage building!)
My view is that you have an important opportunity over the next week or so to get ahead of the curve in terms of public recognition of the context shift.
The choice here is to be ahead of the crowd, or possibly be trampled by it.
Current Account Deficit Up
Say, this is no surprise to anyone who looks at country of origin labels:
Monday March 13, 2006
Will Food be al Qaeda's Next Target?
We've been pondering how to present this, as it is a potentially important, but there may not be much that can be done about it. I'll start at the beginning: On Saturday came word that Rakan Ben Williams, a convert to al Qaida, is quoted widely on Islamic web sites as giving America is "last warning" before events that will 'bring Americans to your knees."
The interesting thing about the Williams speech was that our acquaintances at www.halfpasthuman.com (which developed the future predictive web bot software) also use a highly specialized form of linguistic analysis called "SKED" analysis, short for "subject matter elucidated domain."
The way it works is this: If you have a speech from a single author you can often get much deeper meanings are substituting words and crossing out words. But the technique doesn't work when statements are written by "groups of people." This is why we can't apply the technique effectively to things like Federal Reserve policy statements which are group efforts.
By going through a SKED analysis of the Williams remarks, our colleagues believe they have detected a shift that may indicate something other than explosives will be the next mode of attack. Perhaps it will be food.
Now, consider what an attack on our nation's food supplies would do, especially if it occurred at about the same time that H5N1 bird flu may cause the removal of poultry from the human food chain. With humans already numbering 6.5 billion souls, there has been some speculation that removing poultry would increase the number of starvation deaths globally by perhaps several million, as poultry is one of the the globes chief sources of protein. In Africa, for example, it's a large source.
The web bot developers have also seen scattered reports in their data streams that give us cause for concern. Unconfirmed reports that French fish mongers are now hiring guards, for example, may surface in more conventional (mainstream) media over the coming week or two.
So with a SKED analysis of the latest al Qaida threat, coupled with the already developing change in economics due to consumer consumption changes around poultry, in places like France, we suspect that the coming "context shift" we've been writing about emergent toward the end of the month may be related to American's becoming hungry. It's not a certainty, but things seem to shade in that direction.
It's sort of like a game of Texas hold 'em: Russia says Iran can still negotiate a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis and Iran is saying no, they don't care to.
As a result of this, the US is keeping military options open.
Is it the "quiet before the storms"? A lot of scientists are watching the lack of sunspots and predicting that the next solar cycle with be a wild romp. Fun for us ham radio hobbyists, but sunspots and solar storms could also threaten power grids.
Mongolian dust is being blamed for pink snow falling in Russia this weekend. Although drought is also a problem in the US, at least there's a small silver lining to it: Northeast Texas may see some reduction in fire ant populations. Local hunters tell us fire ants have decimated the wild turkey population in Texas because the birds build their nests on the ground.
17 dead in a China mine disaster, more missing. We're not surprised by the uptick in mining casualties this year - and others have noticed, too. For example, there's increasing awareness within the US government about the general risks to the Heartland from the New Madrid fault and its potential for a massive earthquake. Quakes like the one in the Admiralty Islands today are not the fear. It's movement of ground in the Midwest of America, such as the weekend quake in Ohio that worries FEMA. And the FEMA concerns are echoed out West where CalTrans is working on upgrades to California bridges.
Bigger Card Charge Offs?
Email to Ponder
Still thinking about this one:
Those Banner Ads
No, I don't have much editorial control of the ads that appear on this site as they are supplied by Google's Adsense service. Still, I can block specific ad sites (it takes time to do). Occasionally I get notes from readers like this one:
So if you see an offensive URL, please send it along.
News from Elliott Wave International
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Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
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