The Day After the Dollar Crashes

By Kain on Mon 26 December 2011

Completely the opposite from the other books, this one by Damon Vickers is almost entirely a right-wing tirade, talking about the emerging “New World Order”, and all that. Well, what do you expect if it has a “gold star” of praise from Glenn Beck on the front cover?!?

It is at least correct about the crash of the dollar. However, they put the blame on “liberals” and the “move to the left” of finance and politics. In actual fact, as we know, it is the opposite. The exact same policies that this book criticises against, that is the cause of the impending collapse of the dollar, are all implementations of right-wing régimes… Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushies.

Having said that, if you visit the book’s website, the publishers will send you a $50-trillion Zimbabwe dollar note.

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The Coming Collapse of the Dollar…

By Kain on Sat 24 December 2011

…And How to Profit from It: Make a Fortune by Investing in Gold and Other Hard Assets is a book by James Turk and John Rubino, about the coming hyperinflation. The entire book can basically be summed up in two words: BUY GOLD. It has more than just that, of course. It goes into the details of other metals, such as silver, palladium, and platinum; as well as exploring alternatives such as stock in gold mining companies.

Given that this book was published in 2004, it does seem a bit dated, but some of its predictions did come true. Gold is currently around US$1600 per ounce, nearly a fourfold jump from eight years ago. There was, of course, the economic downturn from 2008, which is still going on, which fuelled the rush for gold.

I am no analyst, or advisor, but looking at these numbers… the really scary one being the US unfunded liabilities, the sum of the social security, prescription drug, and medicare liabilities. This is to pay for all the pensions and medical needs of the soon-to-be-retiring baby boomers. This was not a problem, of course, as with more people entering the system and working, it was able to cover the pensions of the pre-WWII generations. That will no longer be the case. This pot of money is emptying faster than it can be filled, to the tune of about $1 million every ten seconds, currently at $117 trillion. In other words, those of Gen X’ers and beyond will have to work until we drop, to pay for the pensions of the boomers.

Of course, what this means is, massive hyperinflation, probably (but hopefully not) to the extent that Zimbabwe has just seen. Even so, in Zimbabwe, they were able to use more stable currencies, such as the US dollar, the euro, and the pound sterling. So, what will users of these currencies do when they’re faced with the same hyperinflation? What sort of stable standard will they turn to? Chinese yuan? Maybe, but yuan aren’t (yet) openly tradeable. I guess we’ll have to rely on the 79th element.

Between 1918 and 1924, the value of the Reichsmark fell by a factor of 1 trillion versus gold. Let’s take the same period (hypothetically, I hope!), 2018 to 2024. For the sake of simplicity, call gold $1600 per ounce at the start; and take a commodity, say, a $2 loaf of bread, or 40 mg of gold for a loaf. By 2024, it will still be 40 mg of gold for the bread, but it will be $2 trillion. If you diligently save(d) $1000 per month for the 40 years starting in 1984, and using a very generous 12% savings interest rate, you’d have about $15 million dollars. about enough to buy a few milligrams of bread.

Honestly, I don’t see the reason to invest in anything other than gold or silver, or something tangible, rather than this paper — or worse, electronic — money, which doesn’t even have physical form. And by this, I mean to actually have the gold in your hand, and say, leave it in a safe place, say, a tin buried in the garden. Not a safety deposit box, because as Turk & Rubino said, the government can order another gold seizure, and crack open the bank vaults. This is also a reason to use small coins rather than large coins or bars; easier to conceal from snooping G-men. Even with the currently rapacious markup on a 1/20-ounce coin (35%), or half that at 17% on a 1/10-ounce coin, that’s still nothing compared to the value once the fiat currency economy crashes.

Incidentally, at the abandonment of the Zimbabwean dollar on 12 April 2009 (using an exchange rate of 250 fourth-revision ZWD (2.5×1027 original ZWD) to 1 USD, gold at 880 USD per ounce, and 9.51×1022 atoms per ounce, it would have been over 23 million (original) ZWD per atom of gold! And in 1994, an old girlfriend expressed amazement that the little £1 coin was a huge 13 dollars in Zimbabwe!

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The Sopa Bubble

By Kain on Fri 23 December 2011

You know, this video is perversely the exact reason for SOPA to go ahead.

Why? there’s enough ammo in that video to shut down the websites of Big Media, the main proponents of the bill… and cut off their funding… part of the bill’s requirements include US-based payment processors, such as Visa and Mastercard to cut them off. Watch how quickly they will reverse their position, once they are the target of this legislation,

The irony is, you don’t even need any ammo; the idea is, for only an allegation to be made to shut a site down. This leaves it open to all kinds of abuse, which is no doubt the real intention of Big Media. Any site publishing a less-than-glowing review of a media production can just be shut down. It is then the onus of the site owner, to demonstrate that they didn’t have any pirated content; this will involve extensive (and expensive) legal costs, more so than the average individual blogger can bear — it’s a case of guilty until proven innocent. Besides, all they need to do is have one of their own agents-provocateurs post a comment containing a pirate link, for the site to be in violation.

They’re even going as far as trying to ban VPN software, making things like Hide My Ass just for foreigners with Roku boxes or trying to use Hulu or US Netflix. But, such bans will be about as effective as Chinese anti-gambling laws (“It’s not very effective.”).

Unless used against Big Media first, the bill will do nothing to stop media piracy, but instead will stifle any sort of free speech that is remotely critical of Big Media.
(Oymyakon update: -52°C)

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Coldest town in the world

By Kain on Wed 21 December 2011

Oymyakon, Russia. Last time I checked, they were “supposed” to warm up to about -25°C about now. Yes, that’s right, warm up. But things didn’t turn out that way. Currently, it’s a “balmy” -50°C … OUCH!!! And a far, far cry from the sweltering +33°C that it was this past August. (Or if you want more impressive numbers, that range is -58°F to +92°F!)

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RIP Dear Reader (Juche 30-100)

By Kain on Wed 21 December 2011

Topics: Geopolitics, Humour | No Comments »

Existential Pleas and Resignations Mad Libs

By Kain on Tue 20 December 2011

This is by Ed Murray, and is taken from The 4-Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferris. It just screams “4chan meme” that I can’t help but post it!

Dear [preferred deity of choice],

I realised something very [adjective] today as I was washing my [animal], and that something is this: You are a/an [adverb] cruel [personal expletive pronoun].

Last night, after drinking seven shots of [least favourite spirit] and [smoking/snorting/shooting] enough [drug] to make [politician] blush, it became clear: It really is them, and not me.

I am the one who is completely [helpless state of being] when it comes to the [favourite colour] personal relationships in my life, and yet, I share my innermost [type of candy] with no one else on this [adjective] planet … because they are all [insulting adjective] [extinct animals].

I [emotion] them all, and I hope they meet a [adjective] demise choking on a platter of their own [Applebee’s appetiser].

This [adjective] catharsis made me feel [smiley emotion] and strangely alone, simultaneously. How can I connect with these [herd animals] I am surrounded by on a daily basis? I am just so sick of [synonym for “crying”] in the [part of house] every day … Maybe it would help if I shoved a fistful of [vegetables] into my [bodily orifice]. It makes my heart [verb] when I see the defeat in my parents’ [body parts], and it becomes [adverb] clear that they love the [type of car] more than [sibling’s name] … Maybe I should stab my [genitalia] with a [sharp object].

Today I have decided to buy a [noun], which will serve as a [metaphor], and as a [timeless adjective] symbol for the [expletive]-faced servitude I am bound to in this life … no more in control than the most [adjective]-minded of [farm animals]. I am trying desperately to [“st_p”] myself from [active violent act] all of my cow-orkers … except [person in the room]. I’ve always wanted to [forceful sexual act] him/her/it. I didn’t ask to be [verb].

If reincarnation does exist, please leave me out of it.

Topics: Book Reviews, Finance, Humour | 1 Comment »

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

By Kain on Sat 17 December 2011

This is a sudden shock, well, to me anyways. Christopher (the) “Hitch” Hitchens died of complications arising from cancer of the oesophagus, which he’d had for about a year and a half. I guess I was too wrapped up in what he had to say, to realise how close he was to death’s door. And, what he had to say was quite something, during his life! I think, as far as the freethinker “movement” goes, he ranks a close number 2 behind Richard Dawkins. He had a rather, er, shall we say, unique collection of viewpoints. He was, unlike most people, supportive of the US invasion of Iraq, probably because getting rid of the Ba’ath party meant more Johnnie Walker Black (ugh!) for him. Still, he seemed to do an about-face when things didn’t go according to plan (like they were ever going to). I guess undergoing waterboarding confirmed to him that the W strategy included torture. He was also opposed to W’s support of “intelligent design”, like anyone intelligent.

But what really propelled him into the spotlight, at least for me, must have been his book god is not Great, coming as it did on the heels of Dawkins’ The God Delusion. It goes over much the same material, but in a manner that I find more accessible to the general public, as opposed to Dawkins’ more scientific language.

It is seen as ironic by some religionists that he went to an evangelical Christian cancer specialist. But, going to Dr Francis Collins may simply be the result of going to the best, regardless of religious belief. Even so, I am certain that there was no “deathbed conversion”, and he remained a staunch antitheist right to the end. (And yes, I do believe that word should be used more.)

Of course, he was aware of his mortality, as are we all. However, he didn’t see some sort of “pearly gates” at the end of it, it is simply a breakdown in the machinery that is the human body.

He will, however, live forever, in the minds of those he has touched, whether through his writings, speeches, or appearances, or just those lucky sods who knew him personally.

Topics: Antitheism, Book Reviews | No Comments »

Game Theory

By Kain on Sat 17 December 2011

Ken Binmore from his book Game Theory (page 106) says:

The fat cats who get regulated squeal a great deal about the virtues of the free market, but they know that the pleasant properties of perfectly competitive markets only apply when there are large numbers of small buyers and sellers. When there are only small numbers of [large] sellers, they always end up [ab]using their market power to screw the consumer unless restrained by government regulations.

[words in brackets added by me]

Topics: Book Reviews, Finance, Science/Mathematics | No Comments »