Archive for February 26, 2008

Nobarbies! En Vivo! Crank Those Speakers!

February 26, 2008



Previously here:

You Need To Hear Them

BC Wasn’t So BC (Before Computers)

February 26, 2008

Mysteries of computer from 65BC are solved

A 2,000-year-old mechanical computer salvaged from a Roman shipwreck has astounded scientists who have finally unravelled the secrets of how the sophisticated device works.

Get this:

Using modern computer x-ray tomography and high resolution surface scanning, a team led by Mike Edmunds and Tony Freeth at Cardiff University peered inside fragments of the crust-encased mechanism and read the faintest inscriptions that once covered the outer casing of the machine. Detailed imaging of the mechanism suggests it dates back to 150-100 BC and had 37 gear wheels enabling it to follow the movements of the moon and the sun through the zodiac, predict eclipses and even recreate the irregular orbit of the moon. The motion, known as the first lunar anomaly, was developed by the astronomer Hipparcus of Rhodes in the 2nd century BC, and he may have been consulted in the machine’s construction, the scientists speculate.

Remarkably, scans showed the device uses a differential gear, which was previously believed to have been invented in the 16th century. The level of miniaturisation and complexity of its parts is comparable to that of 18th century clocks.

Emphasis added by me.

And here’s the kicker:

No other civilisation is believed to have created anything as complex for another 1,000 years.

— via Matthew St Amand

What Would You Do For Money?

February 26, 2008

Tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth?

Fox has a new show called Moment of Truth. Last night was devastating.

Watch and cringe:

And so justice (TV gameshow style, at least) seems to prevail.

Yet I can’t help wondering what would have happened if she had answered that final one truthfully and gone on.

I have a suspicion they might have been along these lines:

1) Have you even wished your husband was dead?

2) If you could get away with it, would you ever kill your husband ?

(Fox, however, says only: “Do you think you are your parents’ favorite child?” Yeah, right, Fox!)

The Worst Buzz Term: Food Security

February 26, 2008

World Grain Demand Straining U.S. Supply

Consumers usually reduce their purchases of goods and services if prices become too high. Buyers of United States corn, soybeans and wheat seem to be ignoring that economic principle, however, as the nation‘s grain stocks reach critically low levels, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist. With global demand for grain and oilseeds at record levels and a weak U.S. dollar, foreign buyers are outbidding domestic buyers for American grain. While the higher commodity prices are good for crop agriculture there are disconcerting downsides, Hurt said. “Food consumers worldwide are going to have to pay more,” Hurt said. “We ended 2007 with our monthly inflation rate on food nearly 5 percent higher. I think we‘ll see times in 2008 where the food inflation rate might be as much as 6 percent. “I also think we‘ll have discussions about food security in 2008. We‘ll have discussions about whether we should allow the foreign sector to buy our food. Is food a strategic item that we need to keep in our country?”

Which of the three stooges mainstream sellouts prominent candidates for the Presidency have mentioned this?

Indeed These Are The End Times

February 26, 2008


‘splainin done.

Stagflation: That 70s Show

February 26, 2008

Weak confidence, PPI jump stoke U.S. stagflation fear

“It looks like there is no confidence in an economy where inflation is getting out of control,” said Andrew Brenner, market analyst at MF Global in New York. “This is a classic stagflation scenario.”

In the face of fresh signs of economic weakness, a top Federal Reserve official played down the risks presented by current price growth, saying the danger the U.S. economy will weaken further is a bigger worry than higher inflation.

“I do not expect the recent elevated inflation rates to persist,” Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said in a speech at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

“In my view, the adverse dynamics of the financial markets and the economy have presented the greater threat to economic welfare in the United States,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Is this some sort of bad transcription or just bad leadership:

“In my view, the adverse dynamics of the financial markets and the economy

The economy is the people. Weren’t we told to spend ourselves into victory post-9/11? Isn’t that what this faux “stimulus package” of “rebates” is all about?

Say hello to the repo man …

A Slow Leak Is Better Than A Pop

February 26, 2008

Gradual home price drop good: Yale’s Shiller

“We can’t have millions of low-income people be thrown on the streets because of some financial dealings. That would be disastrous to our sense of fairness and cause damage for years to come.”

Years of double-digit price gains put homes out of the reach of many consumers, and a correction is necessary.

“In major cities, we see often the service people can’t live there any more, the firemen, school teachers. This is not the way we want our society. We want affordable housing,” he said.

A little over a month ago he was preaching outright doom.

He seems to have modulated his tone.