New Years Weekend 2016 Links, Jan 1, 2 & 3


Australian Home, 1993, Howard Arkley, Hamilton Art Gallery

Happy New Year to All

…the MacroBusiness Cup is on the way…




United Kingdom

United States


Terra Incognita


Capital markets

Global Macro

…and furthermore…

Science Tech & Climate


Plus the Christmas 2015 LvO, DLS and me Podcast again




Latest posts by Gunnamatta (see all)


    • Guess the same crew that counted the votes from their November 2014 gold referendum will be working that shift also.

      • Good on them. Meanwhile, Argentina declares ‘national statistical emergency’.

        LOLOLOL – perhaps “national statistical emergency” will become the phrase of 2016.

    • It is not just the Swiss who are reconsidering the wisdom of ceding control over money creation to private banks who use that power to drive new money into asset price bubbles and to create a growing army of debt serfs.

      The era of obsessive reliance on monetary policy and the Merchants of Debt is coming to a close but there is still a lot of brainwashing that needs treatment and the FIRE sector will fight hard to protect their privileges.

      A few free reads on the topic that may be of interest to those tired of the rotteness baked into our current “debt centric” approach to economic management.

      • Whats the difference between banks being enabled by incoherent ideology, forwarded by Corporatist, and Government suffering the same issues, it was the way it unfolded imo.

      • When you conflate private bank control of money power where credit is treated as money with control by govt and essentially argue that one is no worse than the other what are the examples of the later you have in mind?

        Apart from a few instances – mainly early Rome and a couple of times in the US – banks and their fellow travellers have done a pretty good job of blocking full chartalism and running the argument that instead of trusting public institutions with the money supply we should trust banks and their fraudulent business model

        I can’t think of any good reason for doing so – especially after they managed to avoid post GFC a full reimposition of the regulations introduced in the 1930s after the last time bank controlled money managed to drive the economy off a cliff (i.e. massive expansion followed by contraction aka austerity)

        The only way to get banks firmly back on the leash is to completely remove their money supply power. Let them make their money by connecting savers with borrowers.

      • 007… I am well aware of Stephen Zarlenga and have been for sometime, whilst I share a dislike for AET et al I also disagree that creation can be limited to government issuance of credit. History is chocker block with counter examples and the consequences.

        Although what proceeded our currant dramas had nothing to do with banks, it was the agenda forwarded by corporatists and supplied cover by sophist philosophers under the guise of “economic science”. Banks are a subset of a much larger problem, politically and socioeconomically, thus fiddling with the payments system at this juncture has absolutely no effect on the foundation issues. Banking, pay to play politics, egregious wealth, and a whole cornucopia of problems are the output of the aforementioned, as such is a wee bit weak tea to think money crankery is the solution to all our problems. Hell Congress has always had the power to remedy the worst effects the system enviably dishes out, to those vulnerable, so why do they not. Its no different to Smedley Butler observations and experiences, practically boo’ed out of congress as well as the hair pulling and gnashing of teeth at the pecora commission. All commie socialist plots to diminish freedom and liberty with totalitarianism… groan…

        More than anything its a human tool user problem, not the bloody tool, the tool has no agency….

      • If you aware of Zarlenga but have not read the book it is worth a read. Unfortunately, there is no e-version and the hard copy is pricey.

        “..History is chocker block with counter examples and the consequences…..”.

        Examples of what you had in mind would be good. The reason I ask is that Zarlenga goes through many of the popular anti-govt tropes of the bankers …from before and after Adam Smith …which essentially boil down to a generally unsubstantiated claim that bankers are more trustworthy than govt.

        Not sure why you are trying to downplay the significance of banking. The monetary system is at the very core of the problem and the claims of the economic ‘scientists’ centre on no role for govt – thus the enthusiasm for independent central banks who consider banks as their true ‘clients’.

        It is no coincidence that deregulation of the controls placed on banking in the 1930s has been core part of the neo-liberal playbook since the 1950s. The constant agenda has been to castrate fiscal policy (role of govt) and boost monetary policy (role of private banking).

        Diverting attention from banking and private sector money creation is part and parcel of the whole neo-liberal govt is communist schtick.

        This schtick has been around a lot longer than AET and Adam Smith.

        If you want to reduce the power of corporate interests on the political process and good place to start is with their access to credit and those that supply it.

        Follow the money is always good advice.

      • Credit has been the main mechanism of exchange since Ag, banks are only one aspect of the entire sphere of activity. The drama is guidance, too much and it goes underground [criminal activity] and not enough means the retail market goes irrational.

        Skippy…. never the less neoliberalism currently owns both public and private issuance… not that their are not factions infighting, old vs. new blood, neocon, libertarian, liberal, national and multi-transnational…. no more virgin continents w/ increasing market maturity thingy…

  1. Apartment rents show downward trend in Hong Kong | Hong Kong Free Press

    Property agency Centaline has reported a recent decrease in apartment rents in multiple districts in Hong Kong, with at least two deals made this week in which landlords slashed prices by about 30 percent.

    A three-bedroom flat in Taikoo Shing was rented out for HK$18,500 a month on Tuesday, nearly 34 percent lower than the asking price of HK$28,000, Centaline said in a press release. The rent level was the lowest since March 2012. …

    … Hong Kong is home to some of the most unaffordable housing in the world. According to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey ( ) , Hong Kong’s median home price was 17 times the median pre-tax household income in 2014, making it the most unaffordable of 378 major cities surveyed worldwide. … read more via hyperlink above …

    Hong Kong braces for economic chill ahead of new rate hike cycle | Reuters

    • Canada’s new PM is being far to honest – from links above:

      “Trudeau suggests he’d love to tackle unaffordability – just as soon as he’s sure that doing so won’t bring down prices.

      That, Hugh, applies….everywhere. You know it, I know it, Blind Freddy does too. Only Justin has been naive enough to actually infer it!

      • Janet … since when did politicians control markets ?

        Did they just make a few ‘technical errors’ back in ’07 ?

        Pity for them there has NEVER been a sustainable bubble in history.

      • California housing cash sales surge while total sales plunge … Dr Housing Bubble … h/t Skip P

        Blame it on too much paperwork. The house humping cheerleaders are blaming the drop in sales volume on too much paperwork instead of the true underlying culprit. The real reason that sales collapsed was that prices are largely becoming unaffordable to most families. In virtually every part of California home prices are out of reach for families without them diving into massive mortgage debt for a piece of crap stucco box. Taco Tuesday baby boomers of course would like home prices to remain inflated but now they are getting a taste of economic karma when their boomerang kids move back home as adults. An indication of this insanity in California is based on the volume of investors buying homes. Last month 30 percent of home purchases went to all cash buyers. This was the highest amount going back to 2012. However, sales volume took a big dive. In other words, a large portion of those that can buy are investors. Is this trend sustainable? … read more via hyperlink above …
        The Return of the (United States) Affordable Starter Home – Bloomberg Business

        … extracts …

        … D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest builder, now collects 14 percent of its revenue from its Express brand, which it started last year and plans to expand in 2016 to most of its 79 markets. LGI Homes Inc., a Texas-based builder of entry-level houses that became a public company two years ago, has been the best-performing homebuilder stock this year. It reported an 88 percent increase in revenue in the third quarter from a year earlier. …

        … “Most builders say land prices are so expensive it doesn’t pencil out,” said Alex Barron, an analyst with Housing Research Center LLC in El Paso, Texas. …

        … Meritage has been expanding a segment it calls “entry-level-plus,” which starts in the low $200,000s in the Houston area. D.R. Horton’s Express brand and LGI have an average price of about $190,000 across their U.S. markets. …

        Houston New Homes – 11,037 Homes for Sale

      • Hugh you don’t know the first thing about RE, you just spruik….

        Jason of Lafayette, CO on Oct. 16, 2015

        Do Not buy from this builder. You will regret it. Don’t let the sales people fool you. We purchased more than nine months ago and have had problems ever since. It’s not worth the headache. All they want to do is get your money, build a low quality house, and then provide the worst customer service you can imagine. I could go on and on about the problems we have had and the ongoing issues we continue to deal with. You can also ask anyone else in the Lafayette, CO, Silver Creek development and I guarantee you will hear the same. Check all reviews first before you buy and make a large mistake that will be a headache for a long time.

        1 Yr Return -5.56%

        Skippy…. Hugh do you have any building knowlage or first hand experience wrt RE, outside pushing scams and ideological agendas.

    • I am thinking supertall buildings in HK will help increase supply of housing?

      Plus the High Speed Rail might help. You could live on the mainland next to a HSR station and commute to HK 5 days per week.

      And does HK really need a sea port. You could replace the sea port with skyscrapers.

    • HKD 28k per month = AUD 4946.76 per month = AUD 1236.69 per week

      Wow, crazy rents. Almost double sydney rent.

    • Interesting that the only buyer in the market according to these articlesappears to be Evergrande.

      Highly geared with billions of dollars of unsold inventory held at dubious valuations remaining on an buying spree.

      I can no longer get borrow to short it.

      Was a cracking short trade last year after Credit Suisse executed a placement and the market fell through the issue price. The government rampaloosa changed the dynamic somewhat – but gravity will prevail again.

  2. TailorTrashMEMBER

    “What amazes me is the extent of such a huge black economy, firmly entrenched within the city, and part and parcel of the whole business of the international student industry,” she said……………..
    Go you good thing !………..the services economy is booming ……… “education export ” model for the world to envy …not to mention all that “foreign investment ” ….that is good for us …………….”a Taiwanese national owns 30 apartments which she lets out ” ………………….who needs mining ?………straaya mate …..apples!!

  3. When Currencies Collapse – Peterson Institute…worth noting…
    I always like reading Peterson Institute reports BUT I must admit I’m usually left wondering just who benefits. cui bono
    I can definitely see the attractiveness of the idea that universal access to solid fundamental Economic research is indeed a modern-day form of Philanthropy, but is it really? The answer is a obvious YES for anyone like Peter Peterson, although it’s less obvious for the rest of us.
    For me it’s great to see someone releasing reasonable models like their fundamental equilibrium exchange rate (FEER) estimates. I dont necessarily agree with the conclusions / calculations but at least it is a reasonable model that anyone familiar with Excel can understand and use…a starting point for debate ..if you like. That said, like all Equilibrium models it’s fundamentally wrong even dangerously wrong… Minsky 101.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      ‘ I must admit I’m usually left wondering just who benefits’

      I dare say this will sound crazy but I ask this of just about every piece I ever look at (and I look at zillions). Even the pieces from Bloomberg Reuters etc will be in someones interest (and in someones interest not to know/be thought about), it gets more true of every last smaller outlet sending pieces into the public domain, and countless smaller outlets, generators (call them what you will) are there solely to try and influence shape inform (distort?) public opinion one way or another. I actually go through vast quantities of actual bank (financial institution) research, which that same question gets asked of every time as well.

      I think the PIIE set often have some very good pieces, as do other institutes like Brookings, Levy, Bruegel, VoxEU etc

      My general rule of thumb in loading anything as a link is that it has something in it which is plausible (even if I personally dont agree with it) and is worth thinking about (IMO), or has something else about it which makes it interesting (well written, good charts or use of graphics etc).

      • Gunna, dont get me wrong I love what they’re doing, some great cutting edge work with a real global economic perspective.
        I really like this Exchange rate Intervention stuff, it’s high time the world moved on from the post Bretton Woods stupidity that most Central Bankers try to pass off as informed public policy.
        William Cline does some great work, same goes for Joseph Gagnon.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      looky here what’s happening to that Imaginary Economy you spoke so eloquently about:.
      And it’s into this cut throat environment our fat, lazy, massively subsidised and cosseted scumbag Sydney version of it that’s going to become the main international propeller of our economy?
      HA, HA, HA!!!
      It’s going to be an interesting year.

      • I dont really know much about the Australian retail banking scene. At one point in time I did some M&A work with Macquarie, they were OK but definitely technically out of their depth for the project, I think at the time it was a growth problem for them with all layers of the management being fairly thin on experience. I also talked with B&B and frankly they were a bunch of clowns, for me the only surprise with B&B collapse was that no one got jail time. As for other Aussie banks I have no experience, I have one retail account with Commonwealth and that’s about it.
        I get the feeling that plenty of International banks would like a slice of the Aussie motrgage sector but I’ve never heard of anyone wanting a big slice of suburban retail banking, but I’m the wrong person to offer any opinion.

    • Wow I was certain that Skippy would be all over any Peterson Institute call out, guess he must be really hung over!
      Where’s the top 0. 1% Observer bias shamelessly passed off as some greater global good quip. Blackstone philanthropy bah humbug! come on.

      • As requested…

        ” What is Neoliberalism?

        Neoliberalism is an evolving ideological paradigm which can be traced back to the work of Hayek and von Mises in the 1920s and even earlier than that. I won’t however, do a historical survey here of the various developments and nuances. Instead, I’ll just rely on the definitions and specifications of this body of thought that seem to me to be the clearest statements of the current state of the paradigm. Let’s begin with this contemporary definition and characterization of neoliberalism by Thorsen and Lie (2007):

        Neoliberalism is, as we see it, a loosely demarcated set of political beliefs which most prominently and prototypically include the conviction that the only legitimate purpose of the state is to safeguard individual, especially commercial, liberty, as well as strong private property rights (cf. especially Mises 1962; Nozick 1974; Hayek 1979). This conviction usually issues, in turn, in a belief that the state ought to be minimal or at least drastically reduced in strength and size, and that any transgression by the state beyond its sole legitimate purpose is unacceptable (ibid.). These beliefs could apply to the international level as well, where a system of free markets and free trade ought to be implemented as well; the only acceptable reason for regulating international trade is to safeguard the same kind of commercial liberty and the same kinds of strong property rights which ought to be realised on a national level (Norberg 2001; Friedman 2006).

        Neoliberalism generally also includes the belief that freely adopted market mechanisms is the optimal way of organising all exchanges of goods and services (Friedman 1962; 1980; Norberg 2001). Free markets and free trade will, it is believed, set free the creative potential and the entrepreneurial spirit which is built into the spontaneous order of any human society, and thereby lead to more individual liberty and well-being, and a more efficient allocation of resources (Hayek 1973; Rothbard [1962/1970] 2004). Neoliberalism could also include a perspective on moral virtue: the good and virtuous person is one who is able to access the relevant markets and function as a competent actor in these markets. He or she is willing to accept the risks associated with participating in free markets, and to adapt to rapid changes arising from such participation (Friedman 1980). Individuals are also seen as being solely responsible for the consequences of the choices and decisions they freely make: instances of inequality and glaring social injustice are morally acceptable, at least to the degree in which they could be seen as the result of freely made decisions (Nozick 1974; Hayek 1976). If a person demands that the state should regulate the market or make reparations to the unfortunate who has been caught at the losing end of a freely initiated market transaction, this is viewed as an indication that the person in question is morally depraved and underdeveloped, and scarcely different from a proponent of a totalitarian state (Mises 1962).

        Thus understood and defined, neoliberalism becomes a loose set of ideas of how the relationship between the state and its external environment ought to be organised, and not a complete political philosophy or ideology (Blomgren 1997; Malnes 1998). In fact, it is not understood as a theory about how political processes ought to be organised at all. Neoliberalism is for instance silent on the issue of whether or not there ought to be democracy and free exchanges of political ideas. This means, as Harvey (2005) indicates, that policies inspired by neoliberalism could be implemented under the auspices of autocrats as well as within liberal democracies. In fact, neoliberals merely claim, in effect, that as much as possible ought to be left to the market or other processes which individuals freely choose to take part in, and consequently that as little as possible ought to be subjected to genuinely political processes. Proponents of neoliberalism are therefore often in the “critical literature‟ portrayed as sceptics of democracy: if the democratic process slows down neoliberal reforms, or threatens individual and commercial liberty, which it sometimes does, then democracy ought to be sidestepped and replaced by the rule of experts or legal instruments designed for that purpose. The practical implementation of neoliberal policies will, therefore, lead to a relocation of power from political to economic processes, from the state to markets and individuals, and finally from the legislature and executives authorities to the judiciary (cf. Østerud et al. 2003; Trollstøl and Stensrud 2005; Tranøy 2006).

        Thorsen and Lie’s view of neoliberalism as an encompassing system of thought with the above characteristics is the best account of it I’ve seen. This view is a general statement about neoliberalism. And it lets us see how dangerous and anti-humanistic neoliberalism is in its broad implications for many spheres of life. But, of necessity, it can’t cover the finer points, and isn’t specified to economic neoliberalism’s take on the role of, and constraints on, Government policy in its relations with the economy. So, we need to go more deeply into the economic side of this. That further specification of one aspect, the economic side of neoliberalism, is called the Washington Consensus.

        The Washington Consensus

        Wikipedia offers a good statement of the 10 points in the Washington consensus specified by John Williamson, of the Peter G. Peterson funded Institute for International Economics. The points were used by the World Bank, the IMF, and other financial institutions to guide their relations with developing nations, and also as a set of principles or guidelines to inform the policies of Eurozone central authorities.

        — Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP;” – do read on…

        To bring that up to speed…

        “HUDSON: Well, the failure of the U.S. economy and the European economies to recover. The continued austerity programs that they have. And what is going to be the political response to this austerity? At what point are voters going to say, wait a minute, we’re not going to vote the establishment mainstream parties if both the Republicans and the Democrats here, or in Europe the Conservatives and the Labour Party and the social democratic parties, they’ve all moved to the right wing of the spectrum, to pro-Wall Street. And either you save the economy, or you save Wall Street and the 1 percent. And so far both parties, both sides of the spectrum in Europe and America, are saving the 1 percent, not the 99 percent.

        And you know, 200 years ago the solution to all this was to restore prosperity by extending democratic parliamentary reform, thinking that people were going to vote in their own self-interest. But that hasn’t happened. Instead of voting for self-interest, people get to vote which party supporting Wall Street do they want to watch on television, when the president and the cabinet come on and promote one tax cut on the 1 percent after another. One tax increase on the 99 percent after another. As they gut environmental laws. Which party do you want to actually administer this move to the right? A friendly Democratic face, or a sort of frowning Republican face, in the world of Orwellian doublethink rhetoric. At what point are voters going to see through all this?”

        Michael Hudson
        January 1, 2016 at 1:25 pm

        The political choice for 2016 (It’s singular)
        Here’s what I MEANT to post (I copied the wrong text above; apologies). The choice for 2016 in Europe as well as America will be between “Yes” (independents), “Yes, please” (Democrats), and “Yes, thank you!” (Republicans). All yes to further tax cuts for the wealthy, bank bailouts to “save the system,” downsized social security and other social spending, and a smaller non-military budget as “balanced budgets” mean cutbacks for what is left for the civilian economy after Wall Street and the FIRE sector siphon off their subsidies.
        NC remains the best summary of how this scenario is unfolding day to day (AM and PM installments). The gap between its and other internet reporting and mainstream media seems to be widening.

        Nice summery –

        Skippy… then unpack it a bit more with Philip Mirowski and put it in Technicolor with Michel Foucault…

        PS. don’t get hang overs, I only drink the good stuff [Reinheitsgebot et al] and then don’t over do it, plus a few aspirin and 3 glasses of water before bed.

      • more fun…

        — Redirection of public spending from subsidies (“especially indiscriminate subsidies”) toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;

        — Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;

        — Interest ratesthat are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;

        — Competitive exchange rates;

        — Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;

        — Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;

        — Privatizationof state enterprises;

        — Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions;

        — Legal security for property rights.

        It’s said by many that the Washington Consensus is dead now because of the Crash of 2008 and events since then. But I think it’s plain that its influence lives on in the thinking of people like Erskine Bowles, Peter G. Peterson, David Walker, President Obama, media organizations such as CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and The Washington Post, many media commentators and reporters, think tanks around Washington such as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, The New America Foundation, AmericaSpeaks, The Brookings Institution, so-called non-partisan organizations formed to influence the two major parties and even spawn a third party, such as Americans Elect, and No Labels, and many in Congress including the “Gang of Eight,” which Virginia Democratic Senate candidate and former Governor Tim Kaine says he will immediately join, if elected.

        I think it’s influence is felt even in liberal or progressive organizations, and among progressive commentators and writers, who all share ideas like fiscal policy discipline, and tax reform, as well as more specific ideas derived from these principles which we will turn to now.

        The Washington Consensus and the drive for Fiscal Sustainabiity/Responsibility Interpreted as Austerity and Long-term Deficit Reduction

        The influence of the Washington Consensus is reflected in the myths and fairy tales being told by the continuing Fiscal Sustainability/Responsibility/Austerity political movement being driven by the above groups and people and many others. This movement has developed a more specific “Washington Consensus” in the form of myths and fairy tales derived from further specifying Williamson’s Washington Consensus. In another place I’ve listed and debunked them. Here, I’ll simply list them so that their relationship to more general neoliberal principles and the original Washington Consensus can be seen:

        — The Government is running out of money

        — The Government can only raise money by taxing or borrowing

        — We can’t keep adding debt to the national credit card.

        — We need to cut Federal Government spending and make do with no more money.

        — If the Government borrows more money, the bond markets will raise our interest rates

        — If we continue to issue more debt, then our main creditors may refuse to buy it, an event that would lead us to insolvency and severe austerity

        — Our grandchildren must have the heavy burden of repaying our national debt

        — There is a deficit/debt reduction problem for the Federal Government that is not self-imposed.

        — The Federal Government is like a household and that since households sacrifice to live within their means, Government ought to do that too.

        — The only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it.

        — We should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations

        — We face a crushing burden of Federal debt. The debt will soon eclipse our entire economy, and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead

        — The next generation will inherit a stagnant economy and a diminished country

        — The United States is in danger of becoming the next Greece or Ireland

        — Fiscal Responsibility means stabilizing and then reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio and achieving a Federal Government surplus.

        — Federal Government austerity will create jobs.

        Each of the links provided refutes a claim offered by the more specific fiscal sustainability/responsibility/austerity version of the Washington Consensus. That version began to gather urgency in Washington soon after President Obama assumed office, and became a major force early 2010 with the President’s appointment of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. After nearly four years of the Obama Administration, these myths and fairy tales dominate the Washington conversation about fiscal responsibility, fiscal sustainability, and deficit reduction, and still push these issues to the center of our concerns, even after years of high unemployment, and the destruction of 40% of the accumulated wealth of middle class Americans, the continuing decline in the quality of our schools, our collapsing infrastructure, the continuing decline in social and economic mobility in the United States, the continuing subversion of the political system by monied elites, both personal and corporate, the continued failure of our health care system to deliver health care that works to all Americans, and doesn’t economically devastate those who enter the health care system, and the continued exacerbation of many of our other problems. Why do the neoliberal partisans of austerity and long-term deficit reduction say that the fiscal responsibility problem is a more important problem than all of the others, or even a problem at all? Why do they prioritize fiscal discipline over everything else?

        It’s because they say that the US Government is constrained in its spending by its need to raise revenue from taxing and borrowing, and its dependence on the bond markets for reasonable interest rates when it borrows. This is the Government Budget Constraint (GBC) which is at the very center of their story, and which drives their reasoning to the conclusion that unless we get the national debt under control, so that the debt-to-GDP ratio stops growing and stabilizes at some reasonable level, our financing from the bond markets will carry prohibitive interest rates. And that if we continue borrowing beyond that our credit will finally collapse preventing us from funding many of of our essential programs and even our common defense.

      • “— The Government can only raise money by taxing or borrowing

        — We can’t keep adding debt to the national credit card.

        — We need to cut Federal Government spending and make do with no more money.

        — If the Government borrows more money, the bond markets will raise our interest rates

        — If we continue to issue more debt, then our main creditors may refuse to buy it, an event that would lead us to insolvency and severe austerity

        — Our grandchildren must have the heavy burden of repaying our national debt”


        So print your way to prosperity?

        Stop skirting around your ‘obvious solution’

        Massive money printing and therefore, replacing taxation with money debasement.

        How many countries have pulled that off?

      • 8~

        Out of a comprehensive unpacking of both how we got here, how those that did so intend on using the same failures [or successes depending on your views] to correct the dramas purely out of ideological pathway dependency, your – one and only – statement of effect is casually to say “money printing” bad….. how droll….

        No I’m not nor does MMT suggest massive spending [totally different to your printing projection]. MMT only states the currant monetary system architecture and what is possible. MMT has no agency, that is left to the ‘engineers’, advocacy groups [political bribes] and those that can project their desires beyond voting every few years.

        Some advocate a JG and Government expenditure [vetted and with future in mind] rather than increasing austerity and the stronger medicine decried above [doubling down on fail].

        Skippy…. I always find the totalitarian paranoid end up being the very thing they say their trying to protect everyone from….

        PS. BTW you know there is historical precedent… being coy does not cut it…

      • MMT is the ultimate can-kick.

        It is a theory with variable levels of reality across different economies depending on external demand apparently assumed away by a US group of advocates.

        Japan – engineering a 30 year soft landing.

        How neoliberalism can be blamed for the outrageous profligacy of global government spending is absurd.

        “Small government” by definition doesn’t impose itself beyond its means.

        You define the enemy and correlate to the problems – but disregard whether your enemy ever got a chance behind the wheel

      • 8~

        You seem historically confused and to only subscribe your environmental biases to everything 8.


        Renegade Economists October 1, 2014: DOUBLETHINK TANKS, TAR SANDS, WATER & IMPERIALISM.

        Karl Fitzgerald: This week on the Renegade Economists we’re joined by Professor Michael Hudson, the author of The Bubble & Beyond, Super Imperialism, and a host of other books. You can read his work at Certainly our favourite guest here on the Renegade Economists and Michael, today we’re going to have a look at the role of think tanks in sculpting the American mind and the public policy that flows from that. What’s your take on the role of think tanks in American economic history?

        Michael Hudson: Well, today they’ve become basically public relations organisations and they’re subsidised by groups with political agendas. The first major think thank was in the 1930s and it was a very good one at that time: the Brookings Institution, headed by Harold Moulton. They wrote America’s Capacity to Produce & to Consume which, without being Keynesian, made the same points that Keynes was making about the need for consumer spending and the need for economic revival. And that was really the main think tank one heard about during the 1930s and even the ‘40s.

        Later, think tanks began to be formed on the right-wing. A military think tank, the RAND Corporation, was founded in California. Herman Kahn came from there, and then the Department of Defense funded his ideas at the Hudson Institute at Croton-on-Hudson, New York. He was the model for Dr Strangelove. I joined him as the number two man and economist in 1972, just as my Super-Imperialism was published. It proved to be a big hit with the Defense Department in Washington, which used it as a “How to do it” book. My first job was to explain just how America was using monetary imperialism to get a free ride from other countries. Herman said that this was part of the “good news” that he wanted to spread. ”

        Skippy… your personal opinion really does not carry much gravitas mate, you actually have to back it up with something more substantial to be taken seriously.

      • Maybe you are right – I should reference more nobody cranks like Bill Mitchell.

        I also have a new year’s resolution – no more references to ‘money printing’ – ‘money conjuring’ is more apt.

        I keep asking, but never get a response – how much more than the current $4 trillion should be conjured by the Fed to ‘fix’ the economy. I know you love empiricism.

      • “Small government” by definition doesn’t impose itself beyond its means.

        What are its means ?

        I keep asking, but never get a response – how much more than the current $4 trillion should be conjured by the Fed to ‘fix’ the economy.

        Have you stopped beating your wife yet ? Yes or no ?

      • 8~

        Bill is not the end all be all of MMT and I do disagree with him on some of his personal views, this does nothing to change the reality of MMT tho.

        Skippy…. once again you fixate on one thing and not the totality, especial in historical context, more quasi religious than informed introspection… why – ???? Its not like you don’t have the ability or something…

      • My what a strange world you live in when Michael Hudson’s rambling rant’s become the glue that connects all economic evils. Peterson institute, Cato, Rand ….all cut from the same cloth…indistinguishable…with liberty and justice for All well all 1%ers anyway.
        I’ll be the first to admit that in Global business “only the paranoid survive” but I suspect Michael’s sipped a little too much of this Kool-aid and needs a little chill-out time or maybe a refresher course on the “Law of unintended consequences” I’d suggest a quick chat with Michael Gorbachev….Solicialist theory makes for great reading, it truly lifts the human spirit, trouble is it results in lousy policy, with terrible outcomes especially amoungst the poor. Capitalism isn’t much better and as for religious fundamentalism well lets be honest that’s just for nutters and those that would manipulate nutters to their own end. In the end analysis we’ve created a shitty dog-eat-dog world and I’m the first to admit that this is a suboptimal outcome, trouble is I’ve tried all the alternatives and shitty as it is, it’s still the best available system. As for those that would spend their wealth creating or even just dreaming of a better system I’d simply caution that they also understand the….law of unintended consequences because IMHO nobody set out to create this mess it's just what happened.

      • China-Bob….

        Seriously mate what can I make of a rolling non sequitur in the form of a poorly substantiated diatribe, which in summation ends in Pavlovian bells of socialism [gorbi] and monolithic capitalism [environmental bias (MY Capitalism) plus some cog dis] e.g. quasi religious good vs. ev’bal or light against dark. FYI if your not knowledgeable about the Chicago schools involvement pre and post soviet collapse I can understand your ignorance [lack of information].

        I can’t even reconcile your account, no historical data, no perspective, no attribution, nada…. just drive by projections which are not vindicated about your personal feelings wrt those mentioned. Its like you have a stake in the ground and your persona is irrevocably tied to it, to move in a mm is akin to loss of gravity and you will spin off into space.

        Skippy…. whats with the bipolar thingy wrt capitalism or totalitarianism shtick….

      • The word “socialism” gets thrown around with a great deal of imprecision.

        To me “socialism” includes a whole bunch of things which I think most people would agree have produced good outcomes, like publicly-funded roads and schooling.

        When people say socialism is a failure, then point at, say, the USSR or North Korea rather than the Nordic countries or, indeed, Australia, it’s usually an indication they’re not interested in any sort of proper discussion.

  4. So I made this petition and posted it where people have strong opinions on refugees. Here, pro and anti refugee facebook pages.

    It has just one signature and I think it’s mine.

    What have I learned?

    Both sides of the refugee debate are liars. They don’t want to solve anything.

    The pro refugee group want them to come here.

    The anti refugee group are just haters.

    Have a good look at yourselves. Before you write one word, for or against refugees, remember you chose to do nothing. I’m even more disgusted in human nature than I was last year.

    • BoomToBustMEMBER

      i’m quite sure that bringing in hordes of refugees from war torn nations is a bad idea, especially as we are doing it currently. Like soldiers who come home from war and are expected to integrate into society normally the refugees need to be properly debriefed and screened. They need to be initially housed in closed communities and taught how to live in Australia. They need to be placed under pressure over time to see how they react, those who react badly need to be further re-rehabilitated or sent back to country of origin should further rehabilitation fail.

      Refugees should pass written and verbal English tests before release.

      Refugee’s from violent nations should be on good behavior bonds for 5 years, any criminal conviction will have you deported.

      Refugees should be placed in employment and expected to work while on probation, no government welfare should be available until probation has finished.

      Refugee intake should be slowed to allow proper assimilation into our communities so our way of life can be maintained and the life they came for maintained..

      These people didn’t come to Australia because they liked where they came from, they came for a change. Lets ensure our communities stay a desirable place to live.

      • Better still.

        From the petition;

        Reality: It’s become politically difficult for more refugees to enter the west

        Solution: We ask our Federal Parliament to approach the UN to build a safe, globally funded, productive city for PERMANENT SETTLEMENT of refugees at an existing camp.

        The problem: There are millions of displaced refugees sitting in terrible conditions in camps all over the world, waiting in vain it seems to be resettled in western countries. Meanwhile there is political pressure to reduce numbers entering the west. Ask the UN to change tack from this failed policy. Build a safe productive city at an existing camp in the middle east with infrastructure where refugees from all over the world can settle and make permanent lives for themselves and family.

      • BoomToBustMEMBER

        @Richard, I doubt that will ever happen. The conspiracy theory part of me says the “refugee crisis” is being used to weaken EU countries like Germany. Refugee’s like global warming are a political puppet to make the people dance. Whether there is truth to them or not is irrelevant. (understand the point i’m making, if it wasnt refugees or global warming it would be something else to manipulate the masses). Its all about money, power and control. Nothing will be done about a situation is there is no gain for the 3.

      • I agree with you. At the same time I think if electorates globally pushed their politicians into doing something proactive about refugees it would expose what you’re saying. I so much agree with you, I think every politician, every single one of them are corrupt scum.

        Germany will be pushed in to war again.

      • “Refugees should be placed in employment”?

        Um, what about unemployed voters who miss out on jobs due to law-breaking foreign “students”.

    • interested party

      “some advice…… put a helmet on. You will need it when you start bashing the wall with your head”

      I Agree

      • Richard,

        The approach to refugee solution/settlement you made is flawed and naive.
        Here’s some points where your approach is fundamentally flawed:
        * People want life, not a 5 star refugee camp.
        * If you make a 5 star refugee camp into a living city, why would you spend exuberant amount of money on infrastructure and business stimulation on a greenfield settlement whilst existing cities are emptied with every passing day.
        * Take an example of Syria: before US intervention via proxy (ISIL/ISIS/Daech) Syrians had trivial issues in comparison to today and hardly any refugees.
        * At the rate of US geostrategic intervention, there are not enough host countries NOR there is enough money in this world to create settlements for prospective refugees.

        @ Boom to Bust
        “Refugee’s from violent nations”

        What is your definition of a “violent nation”?

      • Djenka

        No what’s flawed and naive is flooding a place like Germany with Muslims. It will end in tears.

      • Djenka

        “existing cities are emptied with every passing day” semantics. Secure and use the existing city then.

        “At the rate of US geostrategic intervention, there are not enough host countries NOR there is enough money in this world to create settlements for prospective refugees” Precisely what I said. A new approach is needed. Settle them in the middle east in an existing city. Secure it with military and house refugees there.

        The word “naive” is getting thrown around a bit loosely.

        “@ Boom to Bust
        “Refugee’s from violent nations”
        What is your definition of a “violent nation”?”

        Every one of them. That’s why they’re refugees.

      • What is your definition of a “violent nation”?”

        Every one of them. That’s why they’re refugees.


        I’ll keep this framed on my desk

    • AUS can house refugees in tents. Like Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, and Pakistan do.

      A genuine refugee would rather live in a tent instead of becoming a slave of ISIL.

      A Syrian escaped to Turkey and got a job as a mechanic but was paid 30% less than Turkish mechanics. So he went to Europe on a refugee boat.

  5. Happy New Year!!

    Now that 2015 is officially in the rear view mirror, it is time to award the corporate overeating award for 2015. The prestigious award for 2015 goes to SGH. A classic case of bite off more than one can chew – like RIO did with Alcan back in 2008 – and has since been having digestive problems. It could cause diarrhoea, but I think SGH will eventually recover.

    May the Force be with us.


    Cash = corporate blood

    Dividend = blood donation

    Capital raising = blood transfusion

    Trading halt = coma

    Receivership = transformation into the Force

    Easter = corporate phoenixing

  6. For those who might be interested: Das was on the most recent “The Disciplined Investor” podcast (see iTunes or wherever) and the host (Andrew Horowitz) pretty much just let him speak his mind on things like QE for maybe 40 minutes.

  7. The 5c piece became redundant the moment a single strawberry and cream lolly could not be bought with it.

    If anyone drives through Rokewood in Victoria you need to stop at the General Store and Post Office. It has the best lolly set-up I’ve seen. My workmate and I needed to whip out our cameras to prove to everyone back at the office that a place like this can exist.

  8. I was just at Tarrawarra Estate winery a couple of days ago where they had an exhibition of Howard Arkley’s work. He did quite a few portraits of the average suburban home, before we had real estate porn on the Internet they would illustrate the property (drawing) and put it in the local newspaper, that’s what he used to build his paintings / art work.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      In the late 1980s for about 2 years or so, while at Uni, I ran a wine/booze shop on the corner of Chapel and McIlwrick streets in Windsor (it isnt there any more but a couple of years ago you could still see an ancient McWilliams pearl sign painted onto the back of the building – not there any more, just checked google street view). Arkley used to come down every day from his abode on Hornby Street, often with his girlfriend or other arts set people, almost invariably to buy a bottle of Minchinbury champagne (but often something else to go with it – he was an impecunious man who an eye for value in terms of alcohol content). I had no idea who he was then but having some arts background I fell into discussion (and his friends) about his work, and more than once went around to his place and shared some joints (though even then he was onto the heroin which ultimately killed him) and drinks, and saw loads of them in various stages of completion. He loved the RE advertisements you would see in the press then (even the photographs) which often heavily focussed on the exterior of the abode.

      I finished Uni and lost contact with him when I went to the UK for a few years, but he was just starting to become genuinely noted and widely known when he was invited to show for a Venice (from memory) show in the late 90s. He was always a man who liked to celebrate when things were going well, and when I saw he had died from an overdose maybe a month or so later I just assumed he had overdone it. Magnificent paintings though.

  9. Alabama v Michigan Cotton Bowl game is good stuff

    The imperfections compared to the NFL make College ball somehow compelling

    • always find pro sport a bit plastic, for want of a better word, but there is a heap of high level amateur and semi-pro stuff out there…

    • Collage has been a more expansive and dare I say Rugby like format vs. Pro, problem is the sport has taken on a undue focus on collage campuses e.g. coaches being payed more that academic staff and sports facilities having higher budgets.

      Yet the movie Concussion and looming – growing legal ramifications [shades of tobacco industry] suggest troubled times ahead.

      Skippy… kinda funny when Roosevelt by presidential decree enforced the head gear protection and other modifications in game play… too many wealthy kids were dying or suffering CHI – DAI….

    • Is it really surprising?

      The only amazing thing is that there were so many useful fools like 3d1k that lapped up their propaganda.

      • You’ll find that 3d1k is a producer of propaganda, not a consumer of it.
        From the article:
        “There is nothing inconsistent about Exxon Mobil managing potential environmental risks while speaking publicly about the limits of scientific knowledge and advocating for effective public policy approaches,” said Exxon Mobil’s spokesman, Jeffers, referring to all of the company’s projects at the time, including those in Canada. “Any suggestion to the contrary would be inaccurate and a distortion of the company’s position.”
        3d could not have said something so meaningless any better himself.

        If fact, it would be interesting for 3d to go through and rate the effectiveness of the denial statements in the piece. Like a chef sampling and commenting on the meals of others.

  10. interested partyMEMBER

    Thanks Gunna for a good year of links. Fine job.

    Now, several links today are related to health and associated issues…. and one to add is this.
    “Dr. Richard Olree is a brilliant mineral and genetics expert, as well as a sought out chiropractor.  He has studied the interactions of minerals for over 30 years, and has made some incredible discoveries. He has found that our genome calls for 64 minerals. If a trace mineral is unavailable to make the amino acid required by the DNA code, the human system will try another way, using a different set of amino acids and minerals. This can have profound impacts on health.”

    “Many diseases are a result of a mineral deficiency or a mineral toxicity. It’s very easy to have minerals out of balance. Supplementing with calcium for instance, may cause a magnesium deficiency, which in turn can cause heart disease. Too much fluoride can cause an iodine deficiency, which may result in diseases such as hypothyroid and breast cancer. High levels of aluminum can displace boron, and result in Alzheimer’s Disease.
    Minerals play a crucial role when it comes to our DNA. Proper genetic expression is impossible if there are too many, or too little of any particular mineral. In other words, you need to have the right minerals in the right balance in order for your genes to produce healthy cells.”

    A book review with valuable comments below it.

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Just more propaganda from 3d and the Minerals Council. 😉
      Thanks for the post though. Seriously fascinating.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        Dude, sober up!
        Should this comment be below in darkmatters thingo?
        if so…. yeah, more of the same. You can smell it before you start reading most days.

        If you are referring to this post…. then you and I shall part ways right now. I have read the book, and use the information as another link in my permaculture work. I do think you are mistaken if you are responding to this post though. I have personal results to lean on with this subject.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        Sigh… 3d spends a lot of his time telling us how essential minerals are for us… just like the referenced article. I guess if you need to explain them they’re not that funny. Maybe I should just stick to my day job. 🙁

      • interested partyMEMBER

        ok….. then I will stop drinking….
        I just opened that beer……damn

        mama did always say I wernt the bright one…..

        on a more serious note…… join the dots from modern farming practises that are similar to just mining the soil… and the info in that link! apologies regarding my response… it makes sense what you did. My bad.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        @IP no worries mate. Completely understandable. I am the John Cleese of internet posting (and day trading) – no matter what my intent I’ll either confuse or offend someone. Or both. Especially if that somebody is my wife. So I’ll take my disproportionately long legs and go for a long walk. Possibly silly. Fortunately, there are no piers in the vicinity. Short, or otherwise.

      • IP and TTW, what can I say? As a farmer, we have completely shot the living shit out of this land both with our practices and crop/livestock selection and growth methods. Try something new? Too far into cocktail hour for a coherent response 🙁 Just mad as hell that articles like this just 20 years ago were relegated to the fringe medicine movement. Science has a lot to answer for, for every ground breaking discovery and commercialised advancement, there are countless examples of science being so dogmatic in its views that research like this that can benefit countless generations and force ag practice changes is deemed to be fringe. MAD AS HELL

      • interested partyMEMBER

        John, not all is lost.
        I am looking at big things here to turn it around. Watch this space. It will take a bit of time, but well worth it in the end.

        One thing though… science has no ethics.

      • Try telling that to R2M though. Of course it has no ethics. I did my PhD in Micro and never went back – too much politics and other crap. Tow the line, don’t rock the boat….. Screw that for a bad joke, if the boats not a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’

      • I think the Nuremberg war trials set a precedent on ethics in Science and Medicine. Also the funding of research by certain tobacco companies to discredit the link between toxins in cigarette smoke and various forms of cancer can be used to show the need for ethics is science

      • Well Science does not have emotive bias, tho the “banality of evil” sure does, Nuremberg ref… Hannah Arendt.

      • emotive maybe but it sure as hell has a financial bias. Given some of the debates we have seen, I am not so sure about the emotive bias, though I could be persuaded that the emotive piece is not from the doers so much as the adherents and assorted groupies caught up in the initial cult of personality

      • interested partyMEMBER

        The cult of techno-chemical salvation maybe….
        or the cult of financially engineered enviro-myopia
        take your pick.

      • OJ/IP

        Wrt science and agency – too reiterate…

        This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II.

        During the Cold War, the U.S. government amply funded basic research in science and medicine. Starting in the 1980s, however, this support began to decline and for-profit corporations became the largest funders of research. Philip Mirowski argues that a powerful neoliberal ideology promoted a radically different view of knowledge and discovery: the fruits of scientific investigation are not a public good that should be freely available to all, but are commodities that could be monetized.

        Consequently, patent and intellectual property laws were greatly strengthened, universities demanded patents on the discoveries of their faculty, information sharing among researchers was impeded, and the line between universities and corporations began to blur. At the same time, corporations shed their in-house research laboratories, contracting with independent firms both in the States and abroad to supply new products. Among such firms were AT&T and IBM, whose outstanding research laboratories during much of the twentieth century produced Nobel Prize–winning work in chemistry and physics, ranging from the transistor to superconductivity.

        Science-Mart offers a provocative, learned, and timely critique, of interest to anyone concerned that American science—once the envy of the world—must be more than just another way to make money.


    “It is one of life’s mysteries that being wrong about everything has never been much of a barrier to success.” – so says the economist Alister Heath (he moved to the UK to study economics at the London School of Economics (1995-1998) ) – who then goes on to give Malthus a good kicking and declare that growth forever is perfectly reasonable because historically, we just get better at everything to keep up.

    No mention of the fact that despite Malthus not accurately predicting the immediate future, he was the first to identify the dynamics of exponential growth in a finite resource system. This principle is essentially the same as Minsky used to describe financial instability. Of coarse, mainstream economists don’t believe in instability either.

    It struck me that Allister Heath pretty much represents the conservative, backward thinking that dogs our modern world. He says cheap oil is a great thing as it will make sure the wheels don’t fall off for another few years. What could go wrong?

    I am also intrigued by his hatred of poor old Mathus – an 18th century cleric and mathematician whose failings in foretelling the future surely pale into insignificance compared to some of the howlers unleashed upon us by the recent batch of Economists.

    • I wonder if he is willfully misunderstanding modern agriculture?

      You cannot escape the constraint that if you remove nutrients from the soil faster than they are replaced, then your agriculture is unsustainable on *some* timescale. What does the future for phosphate and potash look like?

    • interested partyMEMBER

      from the link…
      “Jesse H Ausubel, an academic at the Rockefeller University in New York, has calculated that an area the size of the Amazonian forest could be returned to wildlife when the average farmer around the world becomes as productive as their US counterparts. Ausubel calls this the Great Reversal: nature’s chance to restore land and sea to their original use. It is an intriguing and exhilarating prospect, made possible by the wonders of capitalism, innovation and human ingenuity.”
      What a complete and utter imbecile…… he needs to stick to academia…… he is just an oxygen thief when it comes to this stuff…. or a shill for Monsanto.

      Yep… though so

      One of the authors listed at the bottom.

    • “He moved beyond acting to see serious success later in life as a money manager and investor. In 1988 and 1990 he appeared as an expert witness before the House judiciary Committee to speak in favour of maintaining the Glass-Steagall banking laws of the 1930s.”
      no wonder he’s dropped off poor beggar …he’d be puce with rage

  12. The Traveling Wilbur

    By 2050, There Could Be as Many as 25 Million Poor Elderly Americans living in Australia – The Atlantic. Fixed.

    Thanks for today’s links Mr G., especially the bonds ones. Awesome.

  13. New Years day has always been a quiet day of introspection in my house. Spend the morning in thought and generally sailing in the afternoon/evening. This day, my thoughts have turned to 3 topics, the Australian situation, health and different interpretations of the same data.

    It was alarming to watch the Australian situation (misallocation of funds to houses and holes) continue to be ignored by smart Australians through out the year. But towards the end of the year, whispers turned louder, could there be a housing bubble? Even with the RBA and other cheer squads in full voice, that niggling little thought could not be put to bed. Then the hounds of hell were unleashed (well the ATO) to quell the foreign surge is foreign purchases. We are all waiting with anticipation to see which way this goes (or maybe just for Rocky to finish his song). At the very least, the implication of removing the illegal purchases from the pool of possible buyers is starting to sink in as auction clearance rates decline in Sydney. The scary review by the ATO of 32 years of data will catch quite a number of little landlords this year. Silly people who changed their loan status from IP to OO just waved a red flag at a hungry ATO team looking to get those big bonuses. I still see February as the last hurrah unless the government really steps in to prop up the housing sector. It is hard to see this working for long without some form of mass migration change or removal of the ATO hounds. My worst case scenario has always been the Spanish model, foreign buyers dried up, settlements of new properties failed and developers blew up leaving shells of developments across the landscape.

    Health is the one thing we can’t live without (obvious huh). But my thoughts turn to a friend in China who went to a doctor this time lastbyear and was advised to see a cancer specialist because of a risk his doctor saw. With the challenges in the Chinese economy, my friend put it off while he focussed on his business. Now 12 months later he has been diagnosed with inoperable metastasized cancer of the bowel and liver. If it had been found and treatment started 12 months ago, chances were good for recovery. Priorities…..

    I was reading this piece from AEP and couldn’t help thinking about the way we interpret data. 2 people can be presented the same empirical facts and see 2 very different possible explanations based on many factors. It is something I always try and find is the counter argument to my point of view. Does not mean I always change but armed with the different view can better help in anticipating how to trade this data.

    Happy new year and lets hope that this is not anywhere near as bad as we can see for all our sakes.

    • Introspection and priorities? Now there’s a topic for conversation for into the wee hours over a glass of red ( I always find red brings out the unvarnished views from people!). Mum died of bowel cancer. She was 69, and weighed 34 kilos at the end of 4 years of futile medical intervention. I hope your friend is spared that. But that experience gave me Priorities. At 36 I determined not to go the same way, and if I did to make sure that my final words weren’t those of my mothers – “Was that it?” she said, and relapsed into a final drug induced sleep. And several decades on now, how did my prioritisation go? At this stage, I do things differently, and probably have stuck to the path well trodden than ventured off piste! But that’s the thing. We never know what the right priority should be, and won’t until that last day when hopefully we will look back and say “That worked well, didn’t it!”.
      A good 2016 to you and all as well…..

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Heart breaking words Janet.
        Hopefully you and your family have a good new year and keep up the great posts.

      • Words escape me – too many good people taken too soon and too many bad people not taken at all

      • There is some pertinence in the adage ‘we tend to regret what we DON’T do not what we do’!

        For me the comments make me think of so many of my retiring colleagues who have put so much of life on hold ‘until they have enough’ for a comfortable retirement.

      • Thanks – sent to my wife to forward via WeChat. Do you think they are available for use yet? Links are all for trial but very promising results. I know that my friend has tried chemo and it went no where 🙁

      • I am actually familiar with selenium as a medical treatment. It was “prescribed” in the ’80’s and ’90’s to help “leech” mercury from patients suffering from a number of non-specific fatigue syndromes that linked back to mercury filings from the ’70’s. Most people are not aware that “gold” fillings have a good healthy dose of mercury in them and over time the filling can degrade releasing the mercury in a number of different forms that can be swallowed or absorbed. The American dental association proclaimed this to be bunkum so a generation wanders the earth with mercury in their mouths.

        Anyway, selenium acts to disassociate the mercury from its bound form in micro doses and mercury can be measured being released from the system. Thanks for the link, China is not well know for good quality foods but definitely has some whacky alternate therapies (and some good ones that work).

      • interested partyMEMBER

        Olree is backed ( the author of the book is the founder? of acres usa iirc) by the organic farmers mob in the USA called Acres USA.

        It goes hand in hand with re-mineralization of the land so we get the full compliment of minerals required for optimum health. My results here have been very good with this stuff.

      • When I was a kid, my Grand pop taught me the German ways of land management, important in that was never grow the same crop 2 years in a row and always have a high “soil” value crop to plow back in during the fallow years (3 years was his preferred time), alfalfa was his fav. Funny that years later some research was done to show that diversification of crops changes what is leeched from the soil and returned to the soil improving the rhizosphere while the alfalfa had a whole bunch of trace minerals it made available in an activated form that were more readily absorbed by subsequent crops. Nice to see these articles as it does offer some hope for the future

      • @OJ – isn’t it amazing that what we learn instinctively or from experience can often be backed up years later with science. For example many dog owners know our dogs love us back, but science was able to recently prove they do via brain scans of dogs. Amazing stuff but goes to show we often know more than what we can prove today.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        Dr Ingham does good work,…. in fact have some of her stuff on the desk here.

        The idea of balance is apt, but difficult to achieve with modern farming practises.
        Hippocrates once said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and most would agree that that make perfect sense…. yet in the way food is now produced through depleted soils and chemical life support systems for those crops, food is/has become our poison…… either through chemical residues and/or through mineral deficiencies.
        Dr Olrees work has exposed the deficiencies in the chem-ag, pharma-medical nexus that we rely on.

        The book ( minerals for the genetic code) details the issues the human body has in metabolising and handling the complex molecular structures that are inherent with chemical farming as these structures for the most part did not exist before the advent of hydrocarbon based fertilisers and biocides…. they are alien to our physiological control processes, so there should be little wonder at the problems we face health-wise. And the cherry on top is we then use a cocktail of new chemicals to treat the diseases that are very likely to originate or at least be triggered by chemical usage in the first place.

        I side with Hippocrates.

      • The book ( minerals for the genetic code) details the issues the human body has in metabolising and handling the complex molecular structures that are inherent with chemical farming as these structures for the most part did not exist before the advent of hydrocarbon based fertilisers and biocides….

        Is the premise here that the fertilisers and pest sprays use fundamentally change the biology of the plants, that they are absorbed into the flesh, or that they are impossible to wash off ?

      • interested partyMEMBER

        “Is the premise here that the fertilisers and pest sprays use fundamentally change the biology of the plants?”

        This one is debatable..…depending on the application and growth stage……….. and genetic modification ie: roundup ready is also part of the equation. More so the pest sprays than the fertilisers. They ( ferts ) are the trigger for the mineral deficiency and hence the trigger for problems.

        “that they are absorbed into the flesh,?”

        Yes, they are stored in body fat, as the body is confused on how to deal with them…. then with a particular mineral deficiency that controls that part of our body function, it can trigger problems.

        “or that they are impossible to wash off ?”

        Depends on the crop and also the chemical…. but in general, yes. A late crop application has a reasonable chance of washing off where a systemic chemical is taken into all parts of the plant.

        I highly recommend the book. There is a section at the end that details the plants that supply the minerals required…. but this goes with the disclaimer that to benefit from these plants, they must be grown naturally, or else it is just more of the same problem,,,circ-ref stuff. That is why I get this……. it is the missing data that I need to complete the case for permaculture and nutrient dense food. Organic is good though.

    • Very cool toys.

      You might also be interested in this piece from a few years ago.
      In 1930 a Geelong taxi driver accepted a fare to go around Australia.
      He didn’t have every trick under the sun, just a car and some perseverance.
      To get over the sand dunes he’d roll out tennis nets, drive to the end of them, roll out two more, and off he’d go again.
      That is some seriously impressive off roading.

      As I re-watched the clip I realised that this is perfect fodder for a movie.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        Fantastic story. I was unaware of this one so thanks for sharing.
        I spent some time driving for an exploration mob in WA some years back, helping geo’s mark out heritage survey paths in anticipation for drilling programs. These were based on compass bearings and gps points and no roads at all, with 5-10 mtr deviations only from the designated paths…. some days were “interesting” so to speak……. so from that experience, I can only admire what these folks went through. It would have been an incredible trip.

    • And what myth has the journalist writing the article unwittingly accepted as process?
      “The traditional functions of a bank are pretty simple: taking deposits… and lending money to borrowers.”

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        yes well he could have looked a little more closely at that…..

        the angle about the data following on customers was what I was more interested in

        more like

        “The traditional functions of a bank are pretty simple: on a fictional basis creating money backed by ‘reserves’ creaming a profit off the allocation of it and minimising the cost to the bank of holding deposits … all while playing a willing part in distorting the economy to spur borrowing for any purpose the banks can profit from regardless of whether it is economically productive or not.”

  14. ISIS is not Islam against the West, it carries a threat to the established order everywhere. If a ruthless revolutionary on the scale of Lenin, Trotsky or Stalin gains control it could have greater effects than now seem possible. That is why both Russia and the US are trying to stop it. Imagine ISIS still around when the limits of growth really hit home.

    Personally I always thought of them as a cross between nihilists and land pirates ( with rewards similar to the British Empire, sex slaves and prize money ) but the author seems to make his point.

    • interested partyMEMBER

      I imagine that they will still be around, and I also believe that we are already getting the headwinds of the limits to growth already. I am concerned that the sinking economic environment will only fuel this type of action and that there is no antidote to it, it is something that will happen in one form or another.
      An elderly local gentleman in Port Moresby once said to me that a hungry man is an angry man, and that has stuck in my mind for many years. It is very very accurate.

      If you sit and think about it, an ill wind this way blows… and it will affect us all.

      • @ interested party…….. Yes, I am trying for a low tech living space in the bush. Despite the allure of Mr Musk et al, I feel safer with tech I can repair myself.

        By the way going on your old posts, can I ask if you have any experience with rammed earth buildings ?

      • interested partyMEMBER

        I have no personal experience with those materials, but do find the straw/cob mix quite alluring. Depending on the area you are intending to build, keep overhangs and sun angles in mind as well as thermal air flow.

        Look up continuous sand bag construction also. Images of that will give you some ideas.

        If you are near The Channon in NSW Australia or can get there, PRI ( Zaytuna farm) have farm tours at times and they have much of their built infrastructure built of cob over straw with lime wash finish. They hold up well, easy to work on and repair if needed… and cheap…. really cheap. Also very quick to put up. Our next larger project will include this method, but engineered for cyclonic. Post and beams, with infills of straw and cob. Couple of years out yet though.

        Have a look at these clips, might help some….

        then part 2

        about 9 mins in or so ( part 2 ) there is stuff on straw bale methods… but the whole clip is well worth watching.
        My place is a micro version of all of this. Hard to take… I know, but someone has to do it.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        Many years ago I helped friends at Horseshoe Ck (near Kyogle), make rammed earth bricks, 15000 of them , one at a time. They used local sandy soil with a bit of cement in a cement mixer, then into the ram
        The end result was a very good brick, larger than a commercial one.
        They built a 2 family home on concrete slab, 2 bricks thick , no gap ws incredibly good insulation.

    • This raises an interesting point about what future path we take. It does look like a new Dark Age is looming with religious fundamentalists armed with automatic weapons causing havoc.

      What happens if WW3/Jihad comes along before we can make the transition to a post fossil fuel economy? Islam seems to actively discourage science and technology (apart from using it as a weapon). What if we almost make it, but then the Dark Age descends and we are condemned to another thousand years of stumbling along with 20th century coal and oil technology (with Sharia Law)? Doesn’t sound appealing to me.

      • interested partyMEMBER

        We have to offer some beneficial outcome to todays youth…. give them a reason to be, or we risk supplying more extremely dissatisfied cannon fodder to the troubles.
        Taking a view that is shared by some of the youth, the last 2 or 3 generations have made a complete mess of this planet……… water, air, soil, health, happiness……. all for what? Digits in a bank account somewhere that allows the holder to convert a bit more of the planet into more of the waste and damage. I get their anger.

        To turn this around, the youth need to be included in the discussions on repairing the damage so some sort of future can be envisioned by them, but how likely is this? When the generations that have caused the greatest amount of damage still think along the lines of “what’s in it for me”, there is absolutely no way to turn this tide around…. in fact, the more entrenched this behaviour of greed and narcissism is, and goes unchecked…… then the faster the trouble will visit your door.

        Give the youth a clear pathway to reverse the environmental degradation with all the associated funding that is required, then they have a reason for living, and are less likely to turn on society. They are the solution….not the problem.

    • ISIS is not Islam against the West, it carries a threat to the established order everywhere apart from US. If a ruthless revolutionary on the scale of Lenin, Trotsky or Stalin gains control it could have greater effects than now seem possible. That is why both Russia and the US are is trying to stop it. Imagine ISIS still around when the limits of growth really hit your home.

      Really OLD news but help your self with a starter to the information:

      Now the truth emerges: how the US fueled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq
      The sectarian terror group won’t be defeated by the western states that incubated it in the first place
      “In reality, US and western policy in the conflagration that is now the Middle East is in the classic mould of imperial divide-and-rule. American forces bomb one set of rebels while backing another in Syria, and mount what are effectively joint military operations with Iran against Isis in Iraq while supporting Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen. However confused US policy may often be, a weak, partitioned Iraq and Syria fit such an approach perfectly.
      What’s clear is that Isis and its monstrosities won’t be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. It’s the people of the region who can cure this disease – not those who incubated the virus.”

      Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US “Created” ISIS As A “Tool” To Overthrow Syria’s President Assad
      According to investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed in Medium, the “leaked document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

      For more –>
      and here –>

    • I doubt anyone will ever be able to convince me that aged-care along with health and education is an area that ‘for profit’ should be operating in.

      The place my mum was in was not too bad (Mercy).

      • Vasey has been very good for my demented in laws. Just out of curiosity,where is the bond money being invested to generate returns-almost a million dollars in our cases. Given the number of people in care,it must add up overall to a significant sum,much of which is supposed to be paid back on the death of residents.
        I’m not altogether certain that it will all be paid back industry wide(not casting aspersions at Vasey who have really been fabulous).

      • A lot of those business models have failed.

        People living too long, costs rising and investment returns bashed by Central Banks.

        Some ‘bigger boys’ appear to be getting some traction now – though I do wonder what will happen in the next asset market correction.

        Challenger Financial is one business model (annuities) that I would also caution being too exposed to.

      • js, I know it’s restricted as to where it can go, I believe it’s interest bearing deposits etc. I guess 5_8’s CB comment is referring to the low rates on deposits.

        I wouldn’t invest in the area for a number of reasons, one being the same as gaming/alcohol and the other is a former partner at an old accounting firm went off to the area and to me it appeared to be money driven only.

      • BoomToBustMEMBER

        @8888, I do work with a bloke who told me a funny story about Challenger Annuities. His wife’s uncles all have a history of dying early from heart conditions etc in their 60’s-70’s, however one of them who has done quite well financially pumped a lot of money into a Challenger Annuities fund, the bloke is now in his 80’s, still going strong and getting a fortune back. Challenger are loosing badly on him !

  15. The dissembling ramble that is Joschka Fishers’ Fascism of the Affluent is a great piece of hypocrisy and self loathing. I don’t know where to start, but when someone criticises identity politics and then uses it to further their own specious argument, you know you’re in for a treat.
    During the Ukraine conflict Fischer co authored a piece reiterating that a European value was the inviolability of sovereign borders. Square that with this piece arguing against it!
    But then, when European elites want to partly solve their demographic decline with refugees from MENA, they’ll say anything racist and sexist to do it – “White Mans World” whatever that means. Well, it actually means corporations want workers and consumers and if you oppose mass immigration, guess what? You’re a racist. And a mysoginist.

    Nonsense like this is seductive to the budding Critical Theorist I admit.

    But the title alone cleverly misdirects. It’s not the wealthy elites that could in any way be fascist. You are.

  16. Damn Windows 10 to HELL!

    Why oh why I moved from 7 is beyond me – I really thought the six months or so of active release would have sorted out the issues.

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Why anyone would move from XP to 7 is beyond me. Anyone who upgraded from 7 to 7.1, understandable – shame they nobbled as much as they fixed in 7.1. And yes, 88888, why upgrade to 10 at all? A salient siren warning for the youth of our time is your story. But I’m betting that you feel you should have known better – correct me if I’m wrong.

      Disclaimer: still using XP. Grabbed all the patches and kits in the last week before MS stopped supporting it. And I still think DOS6.0 is pretty cool. That said, I am posting this from my Android phone. That was a conference freebie. It’s pretty cool too.

      And no, I didn’t forget 8. Not worth discussing. Ditto Vista.

      • when asked why he wouldn’t upgrade to windows 10, arnie replied “ah still love vista, baby”

        thank you and good night ladies and gentlemen.

      • Indeed I did know better and that is the most annoying part. Stolichnaya, the ‘quiet season’ and a lot of positive reviews caught me in a weak moment.

        36 hours later I have essentially reloaded every piece of software, rebuilt the registry and now await Monday for when the markets open for the inevitable fuckery with my trading platform.

        7 was fantastic – never had a problem

        Now it appears my NVIDIA drivers on my two GPUs simply collapse everytime on rebooting. It isn’t like I’m running dinosaur gear either

        Mister Softy help desk has been pretty good though. I left them play with the thing for 4 hours last night but they were pretty ruthless uninstalling things.

      • I run Mac OS X on my main rig with vmware Windows 7.1 for trading platform. Took an hour to upgrade to Windows 10 x64 but for me the results were worth it. Don’t forget to turn off all the tracking crap in it. Speed in the virtual shell was around 20-25% faster, a lot to do with vmware improvements. Hackintosh forever

      • 88888, me too. The kernel issue? I did a clean install of my drivers, seems to be working for now.

      • I’ll offer only one word of advice, try : Mint
        seriously try Mint17.2
        Apart from Mint everything else is in Virtual boxes on servers, I run VMware at work and VirtualBox at home.
        Running Virtual boxes is a great way to lighten the client side load while still delivering serious computing power when it is demanded of both worlds really.

      • I really do wonder what people do to their Windows machines to screw them up.

        My main Windows 10 machine has been upgraded from 8.1, which was upgraded from 7. Not even a clean install (I was feeling lazy) and it’s running fine.

        Several other PCs in the house running Windows 10 (most upgraded from 7 or 8.x) are also fine.

        Windows 8.1 is worth the upgrade for just the new file copy dialogs and task manager.

        If you’re still running XP on modern PCs with multicore, HT CPUs, lots of RAM and SSDs, you’re crazy. There’s been major changes under the hood in scheduling and memory management.

      • I can second that recommendation for Linux Mint. I have been using it for about 4 years and with Virtual Box (for legacy windows programs) and Dropbox to sync between machines, it provides a stable system. My preference is the Mate flavour of desktop layout – which is like an improved version of what XP used to look like.

        It is a simple thing, but one feature I can’t live without is the Workspace switcher – you set up four (or more) separate desktops which you can switch between with a mouse click. One can have the browser, another can be for editing stuff etc. Once you get a system set up, it sort of makes your computer much bigger and easier to navigate. Win10 finally has this, but it doesn’t seem as easy to use.

        Making the transition to Mint can be hard, so the best way, I think, is to get a second machine (it doesn’t have to be super powerful) and do a clean install of Mint 17.3. Set it up away from your windows machine, and try stuff out on it. Don’t go cold turkey and try to move your life to Linux abruptly – that will cause pain. Getting Chrome or Firefox working for browsing is a good start. You may find that Mint (or other variant) starts to grow on you and windows becomes less appealing.

        A couple of things to watch out for.
        Older laptops can have odd bits of hardware in them which might be tricky. Google helps here.
        Try and avoid AMD Radeon graphics as it is not that well supported for linux.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        Why anyone would move from XP to 7 is beyond me. Anyone who upgraded from 7 to 7.1 8 to 8.1, understandable – shame they nobbled as much as they fixed in 7.1 8.1. And yes, 88888, why upgrade to 10 at all?

        Sigh… fixed. To put all that another way, I’ve upgraded IBM and clone devices multiple times with a variety of operating systems. Because we got to the point in the life-cycle where we had to. We had no choice. None of the MS upgrades were worth the effort. Except 8.1 from 8. And to NT/XP (i.e. NT with new UI) None of the IBM upgrades were worth it. Except OS/2. Apple and Unix platforms a different story.

        So, if you own a PC type computing device and run vanilla MS OS of some kind on it, why voluntarily risk your device’s stability/integrity for little, possibly negative, gain? What am I missing?

      • Wilbur…. that’s why I only run MS Ultimate on my rig, having high end hardware and not the same level of software is silly. It did have some conflicts with my HD Radeon and Xonar sound card with 10 upgrade, plus as an early bird did have fun being a de-bug lab rat.

      • Sigh… fixed. To put all that another way, I’ve upgraded IBM and clone devices multiple times with a variety of operating systems. Because we got to the point in the life-cycle where we had to. We had no choice. None of the MS upgrades were worth the effort. Except 8.1 from 8. And to NT/XP (i.e. NT with new UI) None of the IBM upgrades were worth it. Except OS/2. Apple and Unix platforms a different story.

        Oh, come on. These upgrades were all worth it:

        DOS 3.3 -> 5 and 5 -> 6.2.

        Windows <3.0 -> 3.0 and 3.0 -> 3.1.

        Windows 3.1 -> 95 (or 98SE). 95 -> 98SE.

        Windows NT <4.0 -> 4.0.

        Windows NT 4.0 -> 2000 (or XP).

        Windows 9x -> XP.

        Windows XP -> 7.

        Windows 7, 8, 8.1 -> 10 (since it’s free).

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        LOL re DOS upgrade point. I concur actually, but was only thinking of true UI OSs in my earlier post. Comparable with Apple IIe etc. 🙂

        Windows 3.0 and 3.0 -> 3.1. True re 3 to 3.1, and was considered, but rejected, as I’m the only person I know who ever handled a 3.0 install floppy. Maybe it was different here.

        Windows 3.1 -> 95 (or 98SE). 95 -> 98SE. No, Dog no. Take that back!

        Windows NT 4.0. 3.51 was one of MS’s best builds ever. I installed it on every PC and company server it would run on. So no.

        Windows NT 4.0 -> 2000 (or XP). Yeah, I said this one already re XP. As to 2000 – hahahahahaha ha

        Windows 9x -> XP. Please explain.

        Windows XP -> 7. Drugs, it must be the drugs, the ones that killed River Phoenix.

        Windows 7, 8, 8.1 -> 10 (since it’s free). I liked 8.1 but would have preferred to retain XP with extras. Moving from 8.1 to 10 is good? Great. Why? That’s what, in part, I wanna’ know please. And if it’s so f’n good. Why is it free. And why, if it’s free, can’t you uninstall the f’er after a month. Note the absence of question marks. We both know why. Sigh… I still have my 486 and I refuse to install 10 on it. Must get my loaned out XT back one day soon. Won’t be long before hard disk will need defragging.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        So, having remembered I forgot Win 3.11, the sensible upgrade path for most users, for value for money, would have been:
        DOS 3.0 -> 3.3 -> 5 -> 6.1 [ONE] -> Win 3.1 -> 3.11 -> 3.51 -> XP -> 8.1 [grudgingly]… then what? 10? Why? ‘Cause it’s free. And then MS own your ass. It will be like Apple. Without the Jobs factor and with 0 for design style. Kudos to all those who install their own shells, VMware and open source layers over whatever the latest MS release happens to be. More power to you. But the mere mortals out there don’t have the skills for that.

        @skippy, given your last post about your rig, why, when you seem to have so much in common with Mig, didn’t you get along with him? Cooking, baking your own PC parts, drones… both of you, and that’s just in the last week. Seriously.

      • Mig-i wants me to incur his risky behavior and any outcome of that is post facto, remember the speed limit at night quip. Whilst he might be well read for someone of his age, he has a recursive propensity for regressive adolescent risk management, which does not square with a broader reading base nor life experience. This is why so many of his halo effect authors tragically reverted latter on in life, once the indestructibility of youth starts to wane, he only reads their thoughts, with out fleshing out the entire spectrum of them and never the human’s journey at the end.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        @skippy – so the alternative world view is what, waiting for Godot by fiddling with drones while the merchant bankers destroy the temples built by the politicians to house the money lenders as there’s no mechanism by which to induce meaningful change in the political establishment? That’s truly depressing. I’m no greenie, leftie, hippie or zealot, but even I reckon both of us can do better than that. That said, yeah, long view thinking wasn’t what Mig wrote about most. But when your points about current events are accurately made the only enemy you have is time.

      • Wilbur more than not in human sociology the enviroment dictates change, contrary to the classical assumption that all of humanity ills are self inflicted [see AGW denial]. My personal view would be for a inclusive transition period based on informed goodwill and not survival of the fittest.

        This is acerbated by ideological path dependency after decades of grooming successive generations and a system architecture which owns almost all nodes of influence and power. Only China and Russia are outsiders w/ Europe stuck in the middle, even then their oligarchs [on leash by the state] still have to play the international game.

        The bad new is global markets are so tightly coupled butterfly’s could spontaneously take wing, everywhere at once, pointing fingers at that point to keep the mobs from going feral on local oligarchs is the oldest trick in the book and could get out of hand.

        The sad bit is over the years hyperinflation was the boogie man, when serious deflation was the real concern and as such the palliative was negated i.e. a broad base recovery from the bottom up instead of a top being propped up or expanded. It was never the Feds job to direct disbursements, only to provide liquidity, congresses job is direction and we see how that works [thank you SCOTUS citizens united].

        Skippy…. its interesting the parallel between AGW deniers and currant dominate ideological paradigm… eh… like a bit of antiquarian Rome…

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      “Stolichnaya” – Well there’s your problem. You shouldn’t drink and drive. 🙂

      As to GPU driver failures, weird and a little scary. Definitely worth unplugging from the net, disabling your anti-virus software and rebooting (to see if the issue persists).

      PS Good luck with your trading platform. Keep your fingers golden and your crosses trading.

    • BoomToBustMEMBER

      I am quite fond of Win10, I run it on my old Lenovo T510 (6 years old enterprise grade, runs 16+ hours/day since I bought it, no issues), have upgraded all my devices to it and am working on a deployment image for 1000 devices. I skipped Win8, 8.1 wasnt to bad but a vast improvement over 8.

      IMO Win10 is highly worth updating to, it is the last major update where a wipe and reload is needed, updates will now be delivered more like OS X.


    This is vexing for me.

    My high school maths (early 1990s) was watered down and presented as fun or creative. I hated it.

    University maths (statistics in particular) was right and wrong. Learn and understand the formulas – get the right answer – I got 7s and enjoyed it.

    I think the ‘soft’ maths teaching was aimed at increasing girl’s enjoyment of the subject.

    It certainly almost broke my interest.

    Did anybody else notice this difference between school and university? I would hate to know what it is like now. A trophy for trying I assume.

    • I can see what is going on – they are lowering the bars because there is so much emphasis on STEM education these days. Then, in the haste to mass produce STEM-ready population they are instead creating a mess.

      The “Lies, Damned Lies and Physics” link above, and the links therein, contains variations of Bayes’ theorem without ever mentioning the theorem by the name. I think it is good to think in tangible examples, so perhaps they may be doing the right thing. Still, one needs to be able to (and willing to) think. Without it, nothing will help.

      • Unwillingness to think is probably the most difficult aspect of teaching maths today. Most students just want spoon fed answers and formulae to solve problems. When it becomes hard they stop thinking and write off the subject, many dropping it or doing low level in senior school. The reason they don’t like to think is that they have been conditioned to think if I don’t like it then I don’t have to do it and should just do whatever I like. It may have something to do with complete lack of hardship in life given Australia’s run of economic growth.

    • Maths 1 and maths 2 were as a dry as a chip when I did them in 94/95, but we were out in a regional area and the trendy new teaching methods were a bit slow to arrive (we were still taught the roots of words and how to manipulate fractions, for example). Our maths 2 class started grade 11 with 10ish students and ended grade 12 with 6ish, 2-3 of which were girls. I wouldn’t have called the bloke teaching it “fun”.

      • Maths Methods 1-4 was pretty arid when I did them in a school close to the centre of Melbourne at precisely the same time. Checked the curriculum last night – only change I noticed was now they learn how to add and multiply matrices , which doesn’t seem to up the fun quotient.

    • First year, first semester, not advanced by an means – but covered the senior high school stats curriculum in two hours.

      My description of ‘right or wrong’ is probably off. But it was more maths than ‘feelings’ or ‘guessing’.

      All through the context of Finance statistics too BTW. The more advanced it became the more ‘wrong’ became the outputs.

      Doing too much of that crap has given me my extremely low sense of respect for ‘climate modelling’ and the results of the last 20 years have only cemented this disdain.

      Same goes for financial modelling.

      • I guess where I’m coming from is that the two main questions statistics as a discipline tries to answer – what data should we collect? What is the data telling us? – rarely have definitive answers ; if they did you wouldn’t be using statistics to begin with.

      • Sure, totally agree.

        My point goes to how kids react to teaching methods in maths.

        I know a lot of super intelligent guys who went on to do mechanical/financial engineering, geo/astro physics that only just passed by in high school maths because of the way it was dumbed down and made soft.

        I’m too old now to have any idea how math is taught (or received) by today’s students. I just remember it was shit in the early 90s for a lot of smart boys.

      • Disdain for Financial modelling
        Heresy I say Heresy!…quick burn the Heretic before word spreads beyond these confines. My raison d’etre has been challenged, a world without simulatable models, what’s the point I say! honestly…what’s the point!

      • @cb,

        Financial models are the best example of Box’s saying “all models are wrong but some are useful” seeing as they are amongst the most wrong of models but at the same time most useful in view of their ability to move money out of client bank accounts into the bank accounts of modellers – a process that involves large quantities of fun and creativity as all maths should.

      • But but But ….Isn’t all economic financialization ultimately about creating a system where the hovering up of client assets is not simply rewarded it’s also applauded and therefore considered morally righteous ipso facto. Continuously creating Additional level’s of obscurity and abstraction is essential if you want the clients to remain clueless, which is probably the main function of most economic Models. Unfortunately imperfect models create fantastic opportunities for those that can see the imperfections others create AND mine these errors for somewhat more clued-in clients…mind you the system is circular, so refer to the first sentence if you’re in search of a final solution.

      • I shouldn’t have thrown all of us upstanding patrons of financial models under a bus – ‘financial modelling’ is a very broad term.

        I build ‘valuation’ models everyday. Very simple stuff.

        ‘Risk’ modelling is one area I find laughable. The correlations of the assets in my (rather concentrated) portfolio move around so much – I don’t bother looking at anything apart from gross exposure and net long/short. Most of it is ‘feel’ – try marketing that…

        The last quarter of this year must have sent a bunch of models crazy. The massive divergence in the SP500 components where a mere handful of outrageously overvalued stocks kept the index near highs while the vast majority of stocks (good and bad) wallowed below the 50/200 DMAs. This would have made a mess of a lot of portfolio positioning models.

        Trading options around models is very similar. I never personally sell vol. Though have managed money / executed for some serious sellers of vol. Probably why I don’t PA. Anyone who thinks they can model vol is not long for this solvency world. The biggest blow ups I have seen in options have usually been from some of the ‘smartest’ guys. Ask many a hardened options trader over 50 what his gamma looks like and he will ask you to buy him a coffee.

        Having been in the belly of the structured product beast in 2007 – we saw a daily stream of deals (particularly in Asia) where there was huge assymetry of knowledge between client and bank rocket scientist – with the ‘adviser’ just marketing the 10% yield.

        Lots of the stuff was just strips of sold puts. But it got more and more complex with knockout events – this is just referencing the equities side – the credit stuff was completely nuts. Again though – correlation became the killer.

        The only way to really make money out of that episode from where I sat was to work out what the model looked like and either avoid it or steal it from another bank and price it cheaper for a client who couldn’t help themself!

        Borrow was extremely limited on the listed deals. Obviously the sharp guys (of size) managed to get some OTC trades taking the other side of such nonsense – but I couldn’t name any in Australia. The story of Steve Diggle’s mob in Singapore is cool.

        A certain Australian investment bank must have issued at least 10 ‘products’ to retail investors that went to zero. If 5% of the investors (and their advisers) understood the models behind the trades – I am Jim Simons.

        Speaking of which – Renaissance is the example that blows a lot of my theories to pieces!

        But at least I know what I don’t know – I’m not nimble enough and I certainly don’t have the cumulative brain/computing power to consider investing ‘model based’. Occams Razor all the way for me – we luckily live in an enormous ‘opportunity set’ – so I’m not forced to play anywhere.

        Econometrics is the area most attracting of my disdain and is where the climate modelling reference emerges. I must say though that in the last 20 years the market appears to have moved well away from such activities – learnt lessons I assume.

      • 8~ I completely agree with you on the econometric modeling tho completely disagree on Climate modeling e.g. one is based more on rational expectations with in a bracket of historical events, where as Climate modeling is based on observed physics – royal science w/ up to at least 30 variations and constantly updated.

        Skippy…. econometric is like trying to model gawds picks where climate only models Newtonian reality…

      • Citi: 2015 was the Year of the fat tail, of events that should happen every 100,000 years or whatever

        I actually caught two of these.

        Swissy – only cash trade sadly and the CNH deval – (bought 6 month calls at < 4% vol…seriously mispriced) – but I barely made any money as the market reversed taking away a lot of the initial move and my calls expired too early.

    • I’m heading out – but quickly, if money had been invested on the back of the last 20 years of climate modelling the abject failure when compared to actual outcome would have sent the modeller’s company broke.

      • And therein lies the rub 8~…. your optics on performance and how to measure it…

        Skippy… that Science Mart thingy

      • You side step the OP i.e. measurement optics and compound it with evoking Judith Curry, Special to Financial Post e.g. conflicts of interest and a thoroughly debunked “Merchants of Doubt” apparatchik.

        “How do you explain a person seemingly legitimately trained in science drifting off and becoming more and more of a science denier?

        In the case of Judith Curry I was unwilling to think of her as a full on science denier for a long time because her transition into denierhood seemed to be going very slowly, methodologically. It was almost like she was trying to drift over into denier land and maybe bring a few back with her. Like some people seem to do sometimes. But no, she just kept providing more and more evidence that she does not accept climate science’s concensus that global warming is real, caused by human greenhouse gas polution, involves actual warming of the Earth’s surface, and is important.

        And lately she has added to this slippery sliding jello-like set of magic goal posts yet another denier meme. She is certain, after a convoluted review of “evidence” that one of the classic examples of deniers lying, deniers making stuff up to confuse and mislead policy makers, reporters, and the public, is real.

        It is not real but she says it is real. If you were looking for a last straw required to place Judith Curry plainly and simply and undoubtedly in the category of Climate Science denier, this straw has fallen heavily on the camelid’s aching overburdened back. If you were looking for that one last fact that determines the balance of argument in favor (vs. against) Judith Curry being either nefarious (as all those who intentionally deny this important area of science must be) or just plain (and inexcusably) stupid (the only alternative explanation for pushing climate science denialism) than that fact has arrived.

        What the heck am I talking about? This.

        I’ve talked about it here. Go read that and the 100+ comments on it. In that post I contextualize and quote the following words from this source:

        One e-mail Phil Jones of CRU sent to my coauthors and me in early 1999 has received more attention than any other. In it, Jones both made reference to “Mike’s Nature trick” and used the phrase “to hide the decline” in describing a figure … comparing different proxy temperature reconstructions. Here was the smoking gun, climate change deniers clamored. Climate scientists had finally been caught cooking the books: They were using “a trick to hide the decline in global temperatures,” a nefarious plot to hide the fact the globe was in fact cooling, not warming! …

        The full quotation from Jones’s e-mail was …, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” Only by omitting the twenty-three words in between “trick” and “hide the decline” were change deniers able to fabricate the claim of a supposed “trick to hide the decline.” No such phrase was used in the e-mail nor in any of the stolen e-mails for that matter. Indeed, “Mike’s Nature trick” and “hide the decline” had nothing to do with each other. In reality, neither “trick” nor “hide the decline” was referring to recent warming, but rather the far more mundane issue of how to compare proxy and instrumental temperature records. Jones was using the word trick [to refer to] to an entirely legitimate plotting device for comparing two datasets on a single graph…

        The reconstruction by Briffa, (see K. R. Briffa, F. H. Schweingruber, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn, S. G. Shiyatov, and E. A. Vaganov, “Reduced Sensitivity of Recent Tree-Growth to Temperature at High Northern Latitudes,” Nature, 391 (1998): 678–682) in particular …

        …was susceptible to the so-called divergence problem, a problem that primarily afflicts tree ring density data from higher latitudes. These data show an enigmatic decline in their response to warming temperatures after roughly 1960, … [Jones] was simply referring to something Briffa and coauthors had themselves cautioned in their original 1998 publication: that their tree ring density data should not be used to infer temperatures after 1960 because they were compromised by the divergence problem. Jones thus chose not to display the Briffa et al. series after 1960 in his plot, “hiding” data known to be faulty and misleading—again, entirely appropriate. … Individuals such as S. Fred Singer have … tried to tar my coauthors and me with “hide the decline” by conflating the divergence problem that plagued the Briffa et al. tree ring density reconstruction with entirely unrelated aspects of the hockey stick.

        In her most recent post, Judith Curry says:

        In hindsight, the way the Climategate emails was rolled out, after very careful scrutiny by the targeted bloggers, was handled pretty responsibly. Lets face it – “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline” means . . . “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline.”

        That statement by Curry is demonstrably wrong. That is a fact borne of logical and scientific examination of the information, and information is not lacking. Curry is wrong.

        Beyond that, I think, as implied above, she is either doing something here that is morally wrong (lying to slow down action on climate change) or stupid (she is not smart enough to understand what she is looking at). Here, I want to be clear. The argument that Curry is wrong is logical. Ends there. She’s wrong. The idea that she is either immoral or stupid is both my opinion and NOT an argument about her wrongness. I am not making an ad hominem argument. If you think that is an ad hominem argument then you don’t know what an ad hominum argument is (and isn’t).

        And yes, I understand that this is a rather insulting thing to say, that one is either immoral or a dumbass. But it is my children’s future that is at risk here. Expect insults.

        See also this: – snip

        Skippy…. Newtonian ontology yes, as applicable to atomic vs. human modeling [econometrics].

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      But that was before Joe fixed the budget emergency. Everything’s OK now. The adults are in charge – saw a lot of reminders of that on Charlie Pickering’s The Yearly, with PM Abbot repeating ad nauseum how much better he was than all those labor PMs who had come before. Happy times ahead.

    • Interesting..
      From the article:
      So at the same time as we congratulate ourselves on escaping from the consequences of the property bust in the United States, the resources boom that underpinned our strong economic performance is itself based on another debt-fuelled property boom in China.

      What comes to mind is “that was then, this is now”.. He was not PM then and could say what he wants..

      • What I took away from this article is that Turnbull knows….. they all know. Turnbull, Stevens, Byrnes; Treasury, RBA….. but they want to keep the ball in the air. When this blows it will be blame game on!!!

      • They all know.. but they also know that the majority of the sheeple *do not* want to know.. How do you solve this conundrum?

      • For over a week over the holidays, SMH had the following article at the top of their Money section:
        ‘Breeding bludgers’: work hard and avoid the sharemarket, says billionaire Con Makris
        At first glance, it appears to have a reasonable message: work hard (who can dispute with that..) until you reach the key point of the article:
        “Nobody loses on land.”
        Welcome to the new journalism. Subtle messages embedded in what seems to be an ordinary story with sound advice (work hard), but more powerful than any RE advertisement out there. Fairfax is not telling you (at least not directly) that RE is good for you. It’s using an interview with a billionaire (i.e. someone you should listen to because he knows what he’s talking about) to tell you that RE is good for you and shares are bad for you.

        “Nobody loses on land.” …. Try telling that to the Japanese, the Spanish, the Irish, the Americans..

    • You know, until it fails I won’t believe it’s going to happen. I like to live in the moment like everyone else at the moment and pretend nothing bad is going to happen. No recession, no real estate bubble burst, no bad times ahead. Just good times. It’s easier this way, to bury my head in the sand and watch the government keep the ball in play. Maybe this country really is different, maybe Australian exceptionalism is true and at home here?

      The only place I see people talking negative is here, everyone else seems oblivious and certain they are invested well now and forever. Maybe I’m just a Debbie downer that needs to get with the program?

      Maybe Reusa is right!

      • And the turkey thinks his owner loves him and the world is wonderful and he gets confirmation of this every day… Until thanksgiving day. The fact that Australian RE has defied all odds so far does not mean we’re invincible. It just means we’re reaping the benefits of being next door to the biggest boom in world’s history and we’re willing to sell anything to preserve our “lifestyle”. Nothing much more than that.

      • It’s really not a matter of Negative or Positive, Gavin. It’s just a matter of personal opinion and what we each individually choose to do about it. Yes, it’s easier to unquestionably follow The Pack, and yes, it has worked well for a long time. We’ve all been a part of The Pack at some stage of our lives; mostly for the same reason that it’s followers are today – we were/ they are too busy working to think about much else, let alone question the sense of what’s happening.
        It doesn’t mean that what we have won’t continue or that it won’t end. It’s only a matter of ‘what if’- the same Sensitivity Analysis that any responsible organisation runs on a regular basis, and decides what plans to have in place. That’s not Negativity! On the contrary, it’s positive, routine, responsible management.

      • It is not that I don’t agree with the consensus here, rather I’m sick of telling people around me why I think it is a bubble ready to burst, it certainly makes someone unpopular and my bigger concern is that by waiting it may cost me several hundred thousand of dollars extra if this bubble never does pop and defies logic.

        It seems we have successive governments unwilling to change preferential tax treatment for investors, willing to sell out its youth to foreign investors and ticket clip the population at every opportunity there is. Why does anyone think this would change?

        Let the good times roll…

      • Why not take an each way bet? Buy something small in a desirable location for where you work unless of course you work in Sydney. I have a friend we use as a gauge on property prices for housing. His last 3 properties were sold within weeks prior to the official tops. His current house settles on Jan 16 so we are all predicting Feb as the top

      • @OJ – I currently live in Sydney, my partner and I have a large dog. So apartment living isn’t for us. Not to mention ~$700K is not unusual for an apartment in Sydney’s inner west. I’ve looked at Melbourne and considered all sorts of options like living in country Victoria, or Wollongong on the coast but the problem is I currently have a job in Sydney. So I can’t move into any place I buy right away. I don’t think rent in rural areas or Wollongong would cover cost of mortgage so I’d need to be that which I despise (a negative gearer).

        Basically I don’t have the guts to jump into property at this stage, but I do question if I’m making the correct decision. I hope MB and I are proved correct this year and property does come down in price but for now it’s wait and see… Until then I’ll continue to look at things from the other side (investor side) because I need to keep balance in perspective. I think it’s healthy if everyone does.

    • Josh MoorreesMEMBER

      I found it interesting how quickly the surge multiplier changed, basically constantly. Within the span of minutes I saw it go between 1 to 3.5 back down to 1 and so on. I got one for 1.4 in the end so can’t complain terribly

    • LOL. I could see this coming a mile away. If there were one thing surprising about this it would be that they did it earlier than I had thought.

  18. St JacquesMEMBER

    Only a short time ago a police drone chased a private drone in the UK. Now articles like this are appearing:
    The drones are quickly getting on peoples’ nerves everywhere; becoming a menace to privacy, quiet, and even air safety. Pretty soon I reckon the only drones allowed will be for official police business. If not, people will soon start to take matters into their hands to destroy them. I predict there will soon be anti-drone drones, flying around, knocking drones out of the sky.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      I should also have added that as drones increase in number and capability, they also have great potential for criminal and terrorist uses. It is time our useless parliamentary clowns took some time off from new ways to screw our society to pump the RE bubble and acted decisively against this emerging menace in its early days, or to be silent when people start destroying these things and bashing their operators.

      • But our freedumbs ! Not being able to fly a remote controlled camera anywhere we want, anytime, without consideration or consequence, is just a short step away from everyone being barcoded !

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      This is a problem that could be eliminated immediately by simply allocating a high powered slingshot or bb gun to all children aged 11 to 16 years of age and could be a real vote winner if we lowered the voting age to 12.

    • Yep. As usual a handful of fuckwits wanting to spy on the neighbour’s daughter or fly across an airport will ruin it for the rest of us.

      I remember watching this about six months ago:

      It looks (and is) awesome, but it only takes a few minutes thinking to realise what a nightmare the ski slopes would be with dozens or hundreds of these things flying around, because you can guarantee there’ll be dickheads competing to get their drones to fly between chairlift seats, trees, outrun it, etc.

      • You can get an armband for higher end models which will then enable the drone to follow you, not to mention the Flight Recorder add on which is programmable by GPS.

      • Failed Baby BoomerMEMBER

        Yup, quadcopter drones can be irritating and invasive.
        However, the flight controllers are an marvel of control engineering. The sensors, mathematics and microprocessor coding that goes into making an inherently unstable flying configuration easily controllable is amazing.
        Drones could make an excellent STEM education module.
        Apart from irritating people they are an industry game-changer – cheap inspections, aerial photography, 3D scanning, delivery systems – we will be seeing a lot more of them!

  19. In one lifetime, GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, has ballooned from a narrow economic tool into a global article of faith. It is our universal yardstick of progress. As The Little Big Number demonstrates, this spells trouble. While economies and cultures measure their performance by it, GDP ignores central facts such as quality, costs, or purpose. It only measures output: more cars, more accidents; more lawyers, more trials; more extraction, more pollution—all count as success. Sustainability and quality of life are overlooked. Losses don’t count. GDP promotes a form of stupid growth and ignores real development.

    How and why did we get to this point? Dirk Philipsen uncovers a submerged history dating back to the 1600s, climaxing with the Great Depression and World War II, when the first version of GDP arrived at the forefront of politics. Transcending ideologies and national differences, GDP was subsequently transformed from a narrow metric to the purpose of economic activity. Today, increasing GDP is the highest goal of politics. In accessible and compelling prose, Philipsen shows how it affects all of us.

    But the world can no longer afford GDP rule. A finite planet cannot sustain blind and indefinite expansion. If we consider future generations equal to our own, replacing the GDP regime is the ethical imperative of our times. More is not better. As Philipsen demonstrates, the history of GDP reveals unique opportunities to fashion smarter goals and measures. The Little Big Number explores a possible roadmap for a future that advances quality of life rather than indiscriminate growth.

    Dirk Philipsen is a German- and American-trained professor of economic history, senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and a Duke Arts and Sciences Senior Research Scholar at Duke University. He is the author of We Were the People: Voices from East Germany’s Revolutionary Autumn of 1989. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

    Skippy…. incentives thingy…

    • BoomToBustMEMBER

      *feeling scared* I clearly understood what you said !! (must be the Rhodiola I started taking !! (looks in Gunamatta’s way (Russians use it a lot))) I couldnt agree more, and I think the writers of this site are of the same opinion.

      • So it’s just like GDP then!
        “Rhodiola is POSSIBLY safe when used short-term. The safety of long-term use is not known. The potential side effects of rhodiola are not known.”