Obama’s Gift To You: ANRZ Alpha Natural Resources Bankrupt. Next?…

Just a quick note that Alpha Natural Resources, once a very good investment, has filed for bankruptcy. Yes, partly due to fracking and cheap natural gas. But, IMHO, much more due to Obama and the EPA and their “war on coal”.

Here is a chart of Alpha Natural Resources showing where they were 5 years ago, near the start of the Obama Reign Of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – a strategy popularlized by IBM in the ’60s and now well worn by the Democrats, U.N., and Global Fear Mongers pushing “Global Warming” fear – though with less room for doubters in their tent).

Original from: http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui

Alpha Natural Resources 5 years under Obama

Alpha Natural Resources 5 years under Obama

Starts out near $60 a share. Now it’s at about 4 ¢ a share. Now that’s wealth redistribution alright. All the stockholder wealth redistributed to the banks and bond holders.

Here’s the story behind it:


Alpha Natural Resources files for Chapter 11
By Matt Jarzemsky

Published: Aug 3, 2015 12:56 p.m. ET

The ailing U.S. coal industry got another black mark Monday morning, when Alpha Natural Resources Inc. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Bristol, Va., company filed for chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Va., brought down by plummeting coal prices and high debt from its 2011 acquisition of Massey Energy.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Alpha, with assets of $10.1 billion and liabilities of $7.1 billion, would be entering chapter 11 as part of a plan to cut its debt load, another victim of the severe slump in coal prices that continues to wreak havoc on the industry.

“While a difficult decision, this voluntary Chapter 11 filing is the right strategy at the right time for the future of our business,” said Alpha Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Crutchfield Monday.

Alpha, one of the largest U.S. coal producers, isn’t entering chapter 11 with a restructuring plan in place, but did say in a filing accompanying its bankruptcy petition that it doesn’t want to immediately sell itself “at a low point in the coal market.” The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the company will likely sell some of its best mines or turn them over to creditors and close others during bankruptcy, citing people familiar with the matter.

The buy of Massey no doubt added the debt load that made it hard to just coast through the coal price collapse (due to coal power plant shutdowns and conversion to natural gas). But the night is young… and others without that excuse look quite similar on the charts.

Arch Coal under Obama and the Democrats

Arch Coal under Obama and the Democrats

From $32 / share to 18 ¢ in one smooth flow. Thanks Obamanomics!

Coming soon to an industry employing you…

Please note that this is not unique. Alpha N.R. isn’t even the first in the group to actually declare bankruptcy. The whole group (all of our real energy companies, actually) is under strong pressure and government driven threat of destruction. BTU Peabody coal, one of THE largest, is at $1.09 today (so forbidden for many funds to buy as it is under $5 / share) down from $16 a year ago and $70 just four years back. Yup, that Obama quote about coal fired power and “bankrupt” shows he is a man of his word…

Is that the job of Washington D.C.? To destroy wealth? How many pensioners just lost their pension? How many mine workers their jobs? How about other folks? The stock specialist who traded Alpha Natural? The middleman who bought and sold their coal? The trains and drivers who hauled it? The powerplant workers who used it? Just how many were taken out back and economically shot in the head by an egotistical President who was just so sure he was right and they were wrong?

Stupidity knows no bounds… And Ms. Clinton want’s to do that on steroids, per her Global Warming speech.

More on Arch, and the question of “are they next?”, here:


Arch Coal – Additional Thoughts On Debt Exchange, Bankruptcy, And Coal Prices
Aug. 3, 2015 8:31 AM ET | 10 comments | About: Arch Coal Inc (ACI)


Debt exchange is essential for Arch Coal.

The company’s earlier contracted coal will mitigate the impact of current coal prices.

Arch Coal won’t proceed with an Alpha Natural Resources-like early bankruptcy filing.

In my view, conference calls are even more important than earnings reports for companies in Arch Coal’s (NYSE:ACI) situation. The tension around the company increased after the release of the Bloomberg report, which stated that fellow miner Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) could file for bankruptcy as soon as this Monday. In this light, it was very interesting to hear what Arch Coal’s executives have to say about the future of their company, whose stock is trading for cents after being above $3 a year earlier.
Another item of particular interest is whether bankruptcies of miners like Walter Energy (NYSE:WLT) and Alpha Natural Resources will lead to the reduction of coal supply. The above mentioned report by Bloomberg suggests that the bankruptcy plan included shutting mines. Arch Coal’s CEO stated that he thought supply from the companies that emerge from bankruptcy would be a lot lower. This topic has been a source of major debate recently. The perceived catastrophic scenario implies that miners emerge from bankruptcy debt-free, don’t cut production, and pressure the remaining players to file for bankruptcy protection in order to gain the same competitive advantage.

Note the reference to Walter Energy, also bankrupt. Their ticker is now WLTGQ as they have been moved to the Pink Sheets and given the “Q” ending indicating bankruptcy filed.

That “Marketwatch” article also mentions Walter:

The slump has a number of coal companies at risk. Walter Energy Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection last month with a plan to hand control of the company to senior creditors, after chapter 11 filings by Patriot Coal Corp. and Xinergy Ltd. earlier this year. Arch Coal Inc., meanwhile, is working with bankers and lawyers who specialize in helping struggling companies, The Wall Street Journal has reported, and is facing lender pushback on a proposed debt-for-debt exchange meant to reduce its borrowings and interest costs.

Alpha has posted four straight annual losses and disclosed in May that a Wyoming regulator had notified the company it no longer qualified for a “self-bonding” program that had freed the company from buying insurance to cover future mine cleanup costs. Given the financial burden, the company opted to file for bankruptcy rather than repaying a convertible bond due at the start of this month, despite having $476.3 million in cash as of March 31.

Which adds Patriot Coal and Xinergy to the list.

I note in passing that Obama was 100% in favor of a “bail out” of General Motors to preserve that union’s pensions, but I guess he doesn’t like conservative miners as much as liberals from Detroit. That, too, is part of the problem with letting government pick favorites. ALL are supposed to be treated equally under the law, but with bailouts, some are more equal than others.

Any Republican with 1/2 a brain ought to be running clips about Obama and the Democrats war on coal, and madam Hillary’s plan to continue it, throught out Coal Country and into the industrial heartland. Then just ask “Is your industry next?”

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Posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Political Current Events, Stock Charts | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

ARMing Tails – An Incremental Raspberry? Pi please…

Just a small note and modest suggestion.

TAILS Source Code

I was looking to see if the Tails source code is easily downloaded. It is available, but via GIT, that may be a great thing and is currently trendy, but not an archiving / source control system I’ve ever used… It has some alien ideas in it that likely are good for massively distributed code development, but not so good for “just let me un-tar this and look at the source”… The learning curve doesn’t look too steep, but when you have maybe 30 minutes to spend on a “Is this idea worth it?” question, sinking a day or two into installing and learning a source code control system and how to navigate it is, er, a show stopper.

Source tree starts here: git clone https: //git-tails.immerda.ch/tails

The good news is that they have a “web interface” (that I’ve not explored so can’t comment on ease of use… due to my browser wanting to use a higher level of security than they accept, or maybe the other way around):


Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to git-tails.immerda.ch.

Unable to generate public/private key pair.

(Error code: sec_error_keygen_fail)

* The page you are trying to view can not be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.

* Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem. Alternatively, use the command found in the help menu to report this broken site.

Or maybe the NSA is trying do a “man in the middle” on it and fumbled things so I’m locked out instead of tracked… (Hey, NSA Guy! Fix your MITM code, will ya? I just want to browse the Tails sources and see if it is a load of work or not. Thanks!)

I’ll likely try a few other platforms, browser and source IP addresses and see if I can find a combo that works… (Hey, NSA guy! Starbucks, near the HP Pavilion, downtown San Jose. I’ll be the one with the Sharks hat on…)

ARM Port Status?

I then did “the usual” of looking to see if anyone was already doing an ARM chip port. The mail thread on it says “kinda sorta slowly maybe”. The folks are focused on portable and phones / tablets, not on ARM as ARM. That puts a giant road block in the front end as you need things like touch screens and ‘boot from unusual media’ glued in before you can even get started. This is typical:



My R&D group has actually been doing some work along these lines. I’ve
been working to get our current work open sourced so we can share some of
the lessons we have learned and some or all of our relevant code. I’m not
sure how long it will take for me to get permission, but I am hoping it
will be some time this month. Keep me in the loop on this discussion (if
it moves outside of this list, I already read this list).

One of the key issues here is that the “boot off CD” model for desktops /
laptops translates poorly into the main model of SD card boot on Android
devices. Most Android devices will not boot automatically from an SD card,
which means that in general traces must be left on the phone (we are
currently just working with phones) of the fact that you use / have used
Tails. We can ensure that anything that happens during a Tails session is
encrypted before it can touch persistent store, but we want the same level
of deniability offered by CD or USB boot on a laptop. If possible on an
un-rooted phone even.

On the same note: If someone has or wants to build a list of devices that
will automatically boot from SD card if it is inserted, or if some magic
key combination is pressed during boot, I would be insanely happy. I think
we have part of such a list which is one of the things I want to open up
when I can. I know there are some, but we want to build a solution for a
broader range of devices, and it seems like auto-SD boot is rare on phones.

On Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 1:56 PM, Nathan of Guardian wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Hello, everyone. Finally joining this list.
> I’d like to start an overdue discussion on how we can bring TAILS to
> smartphone or tablet hardware in a usable way. I know we can produce a
> firmware/ROM based on Android or possibly Ubuntu Touch that matches
> the TAILS spec, but the question for me has been how do we match the
> “boot from CD/USB” aspect of TAILS.
> There are two interesting developments on this front:
> 1) An increasing amount of devices allow you to mount USB storage [0]
> from the Micro USD port. This might be an opportunity to create a
> recover/bootloader that can load a TAILS Mobile image from attached
> storage.
> 2) Ubuntu has just released a dual boot system[1] that allows easy
> switching between Android and Ubuntu on one device. If TAILS Mobile
> were to be based on Ubuntu Touch, then this would allow for a nice
> device with a standard Android system for daily use, and then an easy
> to access TAILS mode for more sensitive work.
> Apologies if I have missed any discussion or progress on TAILS Mobile
> distribution, but better late than never!
> All the best,
> +n8fr8

There were a couple of messages “upstream” of this one that specifically just called out ARM, but it very rapidly moved to “phones and tablets” and not just ARM. No mention of ARM Chromebooks that can be made to boot Linux and are “good to go” as platforms, for example.

The FAQ is even less interesting:


Does Tails work on ARM architecture, Raspberry Pi, or tablets?

For the moment, Tails is only available on the x86 and x86_64 architectures. The Raspberry Pi and many tablets are based on the ARM architecture. Tails does not work on the ARM architecture so far.

Look for a tablet with an AMD or Intel processor. Try to verify its compatibility with Debian beforehand, for example make sure that the Wi-Fi interface is supported.

They also are rather absolutist about wanting 100% of every security feature with that meaning repudiation of Tails being on the box, so no Tails on an installed media. I think there ought to be a ‘middle ground’ where you can have a Tails box, like the Pi, but where the chip comes out and nothing is left on the box (just like pulling your USB drive from a PC…)

By using the Chromebook or Raspberry Pi, you get a keyboard, mouse, boot from SD card (IMHO just as able to be kept anon via pulling it) and all, and without taking on the hard bits of the cell phone “up front”. That gives an easier and likely quicker path to a phone port (IMHO). Stir in that all the main Linux and Onion bits are already ported, just how big is what’s left to port / adapt?

So my “modest suggestion” is just that maybe doing a Tails port to Raspberry Pi would be a lot easier place to start. It already has the ARM port of Debian done so has ported bits for pretty much all the bits that TAILS uses and has an existing TOR Router port.

Onion Pi turns Raspberry Pi into Tor proxy and wireless access point
“Foil the NSA and Prism with a Tor proxy,” Raspberry Pi Foundation says.

by Jon Brodkin – Jun 18, 2013 2:40pm EDT

There are folks talking about it on the Pi boards:


Though mostly complaining about paying for a DVD of the source archives. And some “Must be hard” negative waves.

by kamikazejoe » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:04 pm
I don’t think there is any technical reason someone couldn’t port Tails to the Raspberry Pi. The biggest hurdle is likely the memory requirements. It would likely be unusable slow.

As they are both Debian based, and retrofitting the Tails mods into the Raspbian version of Debian ought to be straight forward, I fail to see why memory would be a significant hurdle. ( I’ve run Tails in small memory machines ) nor why a browser would be any slower than normal Tails.

But you get the picture. Both sides of the fence interested, two sides not talking, both thinking the other side is too hard. Sigh.

And Me?

I’m interested, and likely could “do it”, but my kernel and OS code exposure was 25 years ago and BSD / SunOS / Ultrix / Unicos. Not ARM and Linux. And no GIT.

So a slow ramp up and learning curve. Add in that I’m not exactly “rich” on free time, and it’s looking like a big time sink with unclear success parameters. The Project Manager in me thinks more and different “resource” would do it better and faster…

Don’t know if I’ll ever get a “round tuit”. I’m going to at least explore how hard it would be to extract a source code set for “diffing” against the base code. But once I’m over “one day” whacking on it, I’m likely to move on.

If anyone “has clue” on this already, give a holler.

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Store of Value vs Worth vs Labor vs Debt

The “modern” economy and modern economics make several assumptions that I think are not true. For some of these, the results are economic dislocations (IMHO) and there are a few “products” that depend on these confounding of understandings for their existence.

I’m going to present a “thought paradigm” or “explanation in a box” that I think might help illustrate some of the issues. I’m not sure this is the best way to look at things, but I think it helps to remove some of the “crap” that passes for generally accepted truth.

Store Of Value and Money

There is a common confusion over what is a ‘currency’ vs what is a ‘money’. IMHO much of it ‘by design’. Governments love to issue “paper money” when what is really being issued is “paper currency”. Why do I say that? The definitions I learned getting the ‘ol Econ degree.

Currency is a “medium of exchange”. Doesn’t matter what it is, you can swap things for it, and swap it for things.

Money is a medium of exchange, but also has a “store of value” function. People want to “put something away for later”.

So in a prison, cigarettes are often used as both money and currency. They store well, have high value to unit size, are always in demand, and can be easily traded in sizes from individual cigarettes to packs to cartons. (They also have the feature that the “money supply” is constantly consumed so inflation can not build up ;-)

Over time, all sorts of things have been used for money, from carved stones to precious (and semi-precious) metals and stones. These fairly universally involve significant embodied labor in the extraction / creation processes and have high value / unit or density. (Though the giant carved stone donuts used by one tribe were questionable on that front, they did have high embodied labor). Traditional money was a form of embodied labor that was durable over time.

Also, as a side note: The historic 16 : 1 ratio of value of sliver to gold was based on the relative costs to mine them in antiquity. The reason that does not hold today is that the mining of both has “moved on” to other technologies and the relative costs have shifted. I mention this simply because it is still commonly brought up by “hard money bugs” as an advocacy position when they advocate for hard money and the preferred ratio of sliver to gold prices / values. There is a long economic history on this too, so it ought to be mentioned as a well thrashed out point. It was, once, a major political topic and ignoring it would be undeserved. It has some humor available too:


Wizard of Oz

Since the 1960s historians and economists have explored the bimetallism symbolism in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz/ The original 1900 book centers on a yellow brick road (gold), traversed by magical silver slippers (the 1939 movie changed them to ruby slippers), as Dorothy leads a political coalition of farmers (Scarecrow), workers (Tin Woodman) and politicians (Cowardly Lion) to petition the President (Wizard) in the capital city of Oz (the abbreviation for ounce, a common unit of measure for precious metal). The real enemy of the little people (Munchkins) is the giant corporation or Trust (Wicked Witch of the West), whom Dorothy dissolves, just as the progressives of the era tried to dissolve the corporate trusts.

As opposed to metals and stones and other things that “embody labor” and have an “intrinsic value”, we have the more common means of exchange today. The fiat currency. Often called a “paper currency” since that was the major manifestation until computer bits took over. Now much of our “money supply” really consists of computer bits storing accounting entries for currency inventories.

IMHO, what makes a fiat currency or paper currency different from hard money is that it simply is not a “store of value” as it has no embodied labor to speak of. (Actually, with modern mining, embodied labor and capital consumption) In short, an ounce of gold will always be an ounce of gold and baring any miraculous breakthrough in mining or transmutation of elements, has a stable embodied work content. It may slowly change over time as technology advances, but that is limited to just a percent or 2 a year (and sometimes not at all) by the rate at which new inventions and discovery happen.

Just to be clear: I am not a “Gold Bug” nor am I a “hard money advocate”. The “worth” of a commodity can shift rapidly with economic demand, and gold is just another commodity. This means that use as money means prices can shift rapidly based on the demand for gold industrially and not on inherent value. I’m not particularly fond of paper currencies either, and have my own ideas about a better money then either (but that’s in a prior posting – the commodity basket backed debit card). I’m doing descriptions, not advocacy, here.

Fiat currency costs nearly nothing to manufacture and has nearly no intrinsic value. Sure, some is collected as art, of a sort, but usually long after the use as a currency has waned. It retains exchange value and use only so long as someone strongly backs it with willingness to do various exchanges with it. Typically the Central Bank (that swaps it for mortgages, insurance contracts, and sometimes real goods like metals – gold, silver). Economics typically glosses over the point that a mortgage is very different from gold when it comes to a central bank taking “assets” in exchange for currency. IMHO, that is in error. The two have very different natures, and in the long run, that bites. Both the mortgage and the currency are just paper promises.

Just keep in mind that history is littered with broken currencies as nations and banks came and went. In the early years of the USA, there was no central bank and each bank could issue their own currencies. These often took the form of deposit receipts for gold or silver. This practice carried forward into the Federal Reserve System up until Nixon killed it. He wanted to spend a LOT more money than was available with gold backing, and did so. The French, knowing this meant the $US was going to drop value, started trading them in for Gold and Sliver as the contract said could be done. Eventually (many many tons of gold shipped to France later…) Nixon gave up and decoupled the $US from gold and removed silver from our coins. Since then, the $US has lost roughly 95% of the “value” it had then.

I can verify this from personal observation over that span of time. Stamps were 3 cents, moving to 5 ¢ and now have moved from 35 ¢ toward 1/2 dollar. Bread was a dime, and is now about $1 to $3 a loaf. Cars were about $1500 to $2000 and now run closer to $20,000 to $30,000. So it goes. So in many ways the $US is already a “broken currency”, but since it took 50 years, we haven’t noticed so much. This will be forced to accelerate going forward due to the ghastly debt level being racked up, but is presently in check as our demographics does not have folks looking to cash those checks just yet. And that is the thesis presented below. That TIME is the missing element in “store of value” vs “store of labor” (or “store of work”)

The key point about gold vs paper currency is that gold is a “store of value” and a “store of work”, where paper currency is only a “store of value” in the short run, and is never a “store of work”. I think this matters. So much of modern economic though tries to portray paper currency as having some “store of value” and therefor being a “money”; while I’m of the opinion that “store of work” matters and that paper money is only a “store of hope” and is only worth what someone else will give you for it. Gold, silver, copper, even iron and land have intrinsic worth and so can not be reduced to zero (or even much below the cost to mine or produce). They can be bid up to higher than reasonable levels, and so have volatility issues as a currency.

Demographics As Destiny

It is a common theme of political economics. Nations with growing populations can grow. Nations with stagnating / declining populations can not. Nations with dramatic influx of foreigners will be changed into something else.

For the USA (and perhaps the EU as well), there is a “Baby Boom” generation. Born after W.W.II when the G.I.s came home. I’m part of it, though at the trailing edge. My older siblings are the start of it and the middle. The “boomers” have often defined economic trends and style fads as they moved though “the system”. They will do that, too, when they retire. (That is happening now, with my older siblings already retired and me about 5 years out). As we move from the most productive years to the retired years, the “bubble” of production will move with the boomers to a bubble of consumption. Our economics will move from “saving for retirement” to “cashing it in”.

That is the fundamental problem facing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal and State Retirement systems, and Corporate Retirement plans. The Corporate Retirement plans have faced this before the rest, with many going bankrupt, or being eliminated entirely. It is my opinion that a similar issue faces all the rest. Further, that it is not possible to solve it. Why? Simply because paper “assets” are not real labor. There is a fundamental fraud in thinking that a T-Bill can grow food or make cars. It is a “store of value”, but not a “store of labor”. We will have a bubble of ‘takers’ and no supporting bubble of ‘makers’.

Don’t look to China to bale us out on this with their ‘makers’. Thanks to the “1 child policy” they face a demographic wall of their own.


Health Policy Report

The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years

Therese Hesketh, Ph.D., Li Lu, M.D., and Zhu Wei Xing, M.P.H.

N Engl J Med 2005; 353:1171-1176September 15, 2005DOI: 10.1056/NEJMhpr051833

China’s one-child family policy has had a great effect on the lives of nearly a quarter of the world’s population for a quarter of a century. When the policy was introduced in 1979, the Chinese government claimed that it was a short-term measure and that the goal was to move toward a voluntary small-family culture.1 In this article, we examine to what extent this goal has been achieved and the implications for the future of the policy. First we explain why the policy was introduced and how it is now implemented. We also examine the consequences of the policy in regard to population growth, the ratio between men and women, and the ratio between adult children and dependent elderly parents. Finally, we examine the relevance of the policy in contemporary China and whether the time has come for the policy to be relaxed.

In 1979, the Chinese government embarked on an ambitious program of market reform following the economic stagnation of the Cultural Revolution. At the time, China was home to a quarter of the world’s people, who were occupying just 7 percent of world’s arable land. Two thirds of the population were under the age of 30 years, and the baby boomers of the 1950s and 1960s were entering their reproductive years. The government saw strict population containment as essential to economic reform and to an improvement in living standards.2 So the one-child family policy was introduced.

Figure this really had impact starting with births in 1980. That’s 35 years ago. Add 20 years for start of child bearing, the last of those pre-1 children are now about 55 years old. In the next decade, they age out into retirement. All those “2 parents” being supported by all those “1 child” workers.

IMHO, this is a large part of why both Republicans and Democrats have largely ignored the influx of illegal aliens and often granted “amnesty” for the flood over the border. Having spent 2 generations berating us to stop having children “for the planet” and us generally having “at replacement” or below rates of reproduction; they have decided to flood the place with imports to make up for the labor shortage that makes the retirement promise a hollow one. Need more taxes? Just bring in more workers… Legalities be damned and that stuff about stopping population growth ignored. Something similar plagues the EU and UK, but with muslim influx from North Africa and the Levant & Pakistan areas instead of Mexicans and Central Americans. Having done as you were told “for the good of the planet”, you are now to be replaced.

But what happens when those new imports decide they don’t give a damn about paying for a bunch of old folks that they hate to live a life better than theirs? Are they really going to honor “retirement” benefits for folks who borrowed the money from their future? Can they, even just as a practical matter?

National Debt – Money borrowed from future labor

Nations love to borrow money. IMHO, the best thing a nation can do is forbid national debt. Just make it a zero. Why?

National debt is borrowing from the future. It robs those who are not a party to the contract.

Right now, in the USA (as an example) we have Obama and his Republican Congress racking up about $1 Trillion per year on average of National Debt. This is “value” that is being consumed today. Embodied labor and capital stock depreciation, gone into pet projects. The folks who will pay this bill will be working in 30 years when the 30 year bonds come due. Those folks will be about 40 to 50 years old then. That makes them 10 to 20 years old now. Generally speaking, not involved in the decision to borrow from their future wealth to spend now. The notion that this “stimulates the economy” so is somehow free is simply wrong. Perhaps if it were spent on fundamental wealth building projects, it could, but generally it is not so spent. We are not building steel mills, coal mines, or automobiles with the money. It is going to welfare payments (“EBT” cards and food programs), retirement benefits, bribe money foreign aid expenditures, expenditures on political staffs, and wars. Hardly any of the Federal budget is for economic production.

In short, this is increasing consumption today at the expense of future consumption. While that might be an existential thing during a time of war (real national survival war, not the petty adventures of personal prestige that most “leaders” indulge in); it is very hazardous to future wealth at any other time.

The simple fact is that labor is in its essence an ephemeral thing. It exists at the moment of production and is consumed and gone. Once gone, it can not be recovered. This matters.

A borrowing today of money from someone else, spent today on consumption today; also consumes the embodied labor from the here and now. In some future time it is not sufficient to hand over pretty pictures on paper. The repayment is expected to obligate labor and capital stock in return. That must be the labor of those in the future, especially for 30 year government bonds.

This leads to the fundamental fallacy of “investing for retirement” in paper assets of governments.

While hard assets like gold and silver have “embodied labor” in them, so in some future date can be exchanged for other labor (avoiding the labor needed to mine and refine gold and letting it make cars instead); this is not the case for a government bond or a box of currency. Handing that to someone does not replace some other labor. When that bond is cashed in, the currency paid will expect to command the consumption of labor and capital depreciation. That can only come from actual labor then.

Similarly, stock in a company may represent a share of working capital stock (real production, land and machinery with their embodied labor); it may also represent a fantasy in a fraud, or a share of a dying enterprise being mined of all real productive assets, and similar. So to some extent ownership of stock in productive capital via corporate stocks and shares can contain an embodied labor component. Similarly, a corporate bond is expected to be used to grow the company and make added production capacity. To the extent this is true, it is investment in actual production and when redeemed can claim actual production. IMHO, this distinction (nearly universally ignored) also matters.

Why is fairly simply illustrated. China is borrowing money to build manufacturing facilities and expand farming (and mechanize). This increases their future production of goods. It “embodies labor” into a productive asset. The USA is borrowing money from China to fund wars and consumption expenditures. (Look at the US Budget – dominated by military and transfer / welfare / social security / healthcare spending). Now in 10 or 20 years when the Chinese look to cash in their US Treasuries (or in 5 to 10 when Japan looks to do the same) to fund their retirement: They will be wanting to buy food, clothes, medical care, vacations, etc. etc. ALL of those will require real labor THEN, not promises from now. From where will that labor come?

The USTreasury bond implies that it will come from someone in the USA. Via taxing a portion of their income to pay interest and principle on the bond so that money can be used to buy food, clothes, etc. etc. But we have a giant bubble of retiring folks (in the USA, and China, and Japan…) and no matching bubble of labor that’s 30 years younger. Despite the signatures on the bonds, someone will come up short at cashing time on the labor front.

I think much of the EU is in the same boat. The UK I’m not so sure about.

We see this playing out in Greece.

Historically too much borrowing (for consumption that long ago disappeared in the rear view mirror). A current generation of retirees being told “sorry, no retirement for you” (by several means, from cutting benefits to increased taxes to higher prices). ‘Austerity’ plans saying to increase taxes (so as to pay the bond holders) yet the already high taxes drive out private productive capacity and push personal services into a black market. More taxes decrease production, right when more production is needed. That, then, increases unemployment especially among the young. Just those folks who had no say in the original expenditure, and who are expected to provide the labor to make the food, serve the meals, and provide the medical care to that retiring group. With even less labor in productive use, the cycle deepens.

Even more State Dependency via welfare / the dole / unemployment payments, leading to yet more borrowing to pay it. Increasing the “roll forward” of that labor debt in the future. A debt that can never be paid as the labor sitting idle is lost forever, as the system grinds to a halt. The only real question is the form that the repudiation will take.

One can simply decline to pay the bond holder. Tell them THEY don’t get a retirement on someone else’s labor.

One can tell those currently living on government payments that they get nothing. ( Part of “austerity”, but also sometimes a motivation to provide labor).

One can roll the debt even further into the future (“rescheduling”) and make it the people of 20 years further on who are out of luck.

Or one can recognize that currency is a fluid thing that doesn’t embody stored labor and just inflate away the value of both the debt and the welfare / retirement claims. Essentially a combination of the first two by more subtle means.

What you can not do is make more productive capacity and labor appear to provide those expected goods and services without paying for them with something that does have embodied value… i.e. real money. If you pay them with printed currency, it is just an indirect form of ‘inflate away’. Though sometimes this is the best solution if coupled with significant tax and regulatory “reforms”.

IFF the idle labor is made cheap compared to world competition (usually via currency exchange rate reduction) and taxes on it are low enough to encourage business to hire and labor to work, then the labor will be productively empoyed. (Especially so if burden of wasted labor via regulatin and taxation are reduced as well.) That, then, begins to supply real productive labor.

IFF taxes are lowered to where private enterprise can see a profitable endevor, then productive capital stock will be formed.

IFF regulatory burden is reduced to where most labor is spent productively instead of on “make work” compliance, both the cost savings and efficiency will flow through to more product.

In that context, a recovery can start. BUT, only if the “demand” for goods and services from the non-productive portion of the country does not drive productive capacity to insolvency via excess taxation. So some “shortfall” of available labor and goods will fall on a very large dependent class ( for example the Baby Boom retirement bubble) when there is not sufficient working age to support them. You can’t make enought “stuff” without enough “labor”.

And that is the fundamental problem.

For Greece. For the EU writ large. For the USA. For China in a few years.

Worth vs Value vs Labor & Work

Gross Domestic Product is the usual way to measure economic performance. It is deeply flawed. I’ll mention just 2 of the many for illustration.

1) Inflation is poorly handled.

2) War expenditures are positive GDP.

Let’s take the second one first. As we make $100 Billion expenditures on bombs, and drop them on cities destroying productive capacity, that is added to GDP. Soldiers paid to stand around, dig holes and fill them up, or kill people and blow up buildings; add to positive GDP.

I think it is quite obvious that does not add to productive capacity. Part of The Broken Window Fallacy; the basic issue is that destruction is a net cost, and money spent on it is not available for productive investment.

For item 1, how do we value things that change over time? I recently bought, for $60, a computer with more total compute power than a supercomputer from earlier in my career. Do we value it at $60? Or at the multiple $Millions of compute value for the predecessor? Is producing an ounce of gold “worth” $300 as a decade back, or the $1800 of a couple of years back, or the $900 of now?

I would add to this that GDP does not recognize at all the relative time scales on which labor and physical stock create and lose value.

In short, GDP is time blind and can’t tell value from worth from price. It has no idea about embodied labor nor consumed capital stock and thinks destruction is a positive good.

I’d like to illustrate a different point of view on that. While this is my own creation, and only half finished at that, I’d not be surprised at all if someone else, likely more famous, has observed the same things. I was trained as a Keynesian, and only lately began catching up with the Austrian School (who I think are much more right).

First, lets put a few things on a “Store Of Value” spectrum. The first line is a heading that gives an idea of the degree to which things store value. Then I’ve made guesses about where some things belong on that scale.

Store Of Value

Destructive     Neutral         Wasting            Durable
war             crypto currency stored grains      Gold, metals
some demolition labor           paper currency     Oil development
                                iPhones, computers Lifetime credentials & licenses

The idea here being that some things destroy value, like demolition of a working sports stadium (where demolition of a waste dump might create value, the stadium is still usable, so has some value). Wars clearly destroy value as it is all about “killing people and breaking things”.

Some things are neutral about storing value. Labor is ephemeral. It produces something or it doesn’t. The value of the labor is embodied in the work, or is lost to “beach time” or “R&R”. In either case, the labor itself is not storable.

Crypto Currencies, like Bitcoin, have no inherent “value”, they are only worth what people think they are worth. Paper currencies typically have the “full faith and credit” of a country or union of countries behind them. This means that a Central Bank or Government is willing to exchange something else for them (often yet another paper currency or sometimes ‘specie’ meaning gold or silver). While this tends to support the “value” stored in currencies in the short run, it is a ‘wasting’ asset as politicians simply never saw a dollar (or euro) they could resist spending, even those from the future via deficit spending, and thus inflation consumes the value over time. While the case can be made that theoretically that need not be so, there is no existence proof ever… All that changes is the timing.

Finally, some things have inherent value. They may change slowly over time (gold, for example, as mining techniques improve) but are generally durable. I’ve listed oil development here as the discovery and build out of an oil field creates a durable value that may last for decades. Saudi has been pumping how long?…

Note that stored grains slowly go bad, computers decay on a Moore’s Law schedule (double the power at the same cost every 18 months means value is 1/2 every 18 months) and then there are things like the iPhone. Hot today, but in 5 years? So these store value, but on various decay rate schedules.

Now, for a currency, where most “exchange” happens in days to months, that it is slowly wasting away as a store of value doesn’t matter too much. Thus central banks targeting a 2% inflation rate. That just means they are only stealing 2% of future value in any one year. It also means that future obligations, like retirement payments, are being repudiated at 2% / year. (Unions try to get inflation escalators to claw back that repudiation, which lead to redefinition of the inflation rate calculation method. And the lier’s Race goes on…)

I’ve also included lifetime credentials and licenses as an example. Though ever more rare, at one time you could get a “Lifetime Teaching Credential” or similar licenses and those entitled the worker to lifetime benefits in employment. Ever more licenses and credentials require “ongoing continuing education” and similar upkeep, so have moved into the “wasting asset” category.

So for something to be “money”, it needs to be a “durable store of value”. I’ll leave it for folks to think up what fits that right most column, is easily divisible, transportable, and durable. As an example / hint, whiskey was a way to embody the value of grains (that would otherwise be subject to rats, rots, and oxidation) into a more compact, tradable form.

Anything not so “durable” may be a currency, but is not a real money.

There are other implications from this chart. Where would you place a Government Bond, for example? And since labor is ephemeral, how does labor today pay off that future bond when it comes due? Can it really ever be paid in a decaying currency?

There is an inherent disconnect on “stored value” between the labor pool and the paper asset pool. IMHO this is very important for understanding the theft via government bond of future value of labor (and capital stock – as I don’t subscribe to the Marxist idea that goods produced are 100% embodied labor…)

A government today may issue a bond (perhaps bought by folks working in China) and spend the value of that labor, but expect it to be repaid with the value of labor from some future citizens. If it is not repaid (or repaid with inflated currency devoid of value) the government has effectively stolen the future citizens labor (via future taxes) or stolen the labor of the foreigner via repudiation / inflation. This is a necessary consequence of the differences in stored value of labor vs government bonds. (This also extends to capital stock owners, but constantly putting “and/or capital stock” in every sentence is tedious… and doesn’t add much to clarity.)

Is it immoral to steal their future labor (and through it, liberty) in that way?
Is it immoral for them to repudiate a contract they never entered?

Both of those questions are being played out in the EU today.

Next, lets look at storage of work.

Storage Of Work vs Labor

In this case, I’m using “work” to mean getting something done, be it by machine, by capital stock, or by labor; while labor means human effort only. Any or all of these can create value, or create things with no inherent value. I think this distinction matters too. Also note that “worth” and “value” are often used to mean the same things. There is an inherent value to a lump of gold. It took labor, machines, energy, buildings, land, and know-how to win it from the ground; and can always be made into attractive jewelry. Yet the “worth” on any one day depends on who is selling how much, and how much is to be bought.

Similarly, a crypto-currency has embodied work. That is the entire basis of them. Computers are used to search out the solution to a puzzle. As you present your solutions to the manager of the currency, you are assigned credit for that work unit. You, and only you, may claim ownership of that unit of work. But does that work have value? And if not, what is it worth?

OTOneH, that stored work is forever yours. OTOH, it really is useless. It is not like gold (that also is ‘stored work’) in that gold may be made into jewelry or tooth crowns or computer chips. Gold has “inherent demand”. Not so a crypto-solution. That is why I’ve never gotten excited about bitcoin. In some ways better than a paper currency, and much better if backed by a Nation as national currency; but not at all like a metal (despite the analogies made by the supporters of it…)

Store Of Work

Destructive     Neutral         Wasting            Durable
war             paper currency  stored grains      Gold, metals
demolition      labor           cars               crypto currency
eating          services        Adult Workers      iPhone, computers
redistribution  oil production  companies          New Graduate

Note that I’ve taken “some” from in front of “demolition”. Even an eye-sore hovel has embodied work. It may be of “negative worth” or “negative value” even, and removal may in fact improve the economics of a property, but it STILL is a destruction of prior work. Depreciation is just nature doing that destruction while we watch.

It is forgetting the “embodied work” when indulging in “creative destruction” that is the large flaw in “renovation” projects and much of “mergers and acquisitions”. The worth may be going up, even as ‘work’ is destroyed and sometimes even as ‘value’ is destroyed with it. This difference has made the plot of many a movie, despite being poorly articulated in practice. Folks “get it” at an emotional level. It is the basis on which many historical preservation laws are built. As one example.

Note that here paper currencies are a neutral while crypto currencies are durable. That work unit is always yours in a crypto currency. While the paper currency has nearly no embodied work to store. IMHO this paradigm illustrates the difference between a paper currency, a crypto currency, and gold as money.

Eating is a necessary, but essentially destructive act. It does not matter if you cook at home, or eat at a 5 Star restaurant. It consumes work and does not store it.

Labor and “services” are used in the moment, and not storage vessels. Grains, cars, and even many companies slowly degrade over time. If constantly fed, some companies may “store work” for a long time; but mostly they consume work and fade into history. That, BTW, is why the “Nifty Fifty” stocks are not talked about today (that 50 stocks you could just buy and own ‘forever’) and why history is littered with names like Polaroid, DeSoto, Long’s Drugs, Wards, etc. etc.

An adult worker is a wasting asset. They diminish in stored work each year as they are obsoleted and used up. A new graduate can be thought of as a durable store of work. They have many decades of working life ahead of them and have spent 2 decades being filled with the work of child rearing and education. (Reminder: Worth is not work…) To some extent, all “durable” things wear out. Gold has a few atoms rub off each time handled. So a new graduate will eventually be ‘used up’, but a few decades of ‘stored work’ in the future, thus durable. IMHO this illustrates the basis for ‘age discrimination’ in workplaces. One could consider infants and children to be ‘destructive’ of work as they simply consume it for a decade… as any parent will attest…

Things (companies) like Youtube and Twitter are not stores of work. The entire service industry (of which video and tweets are examples) stores nothing of work. (And some would assert little of value…) While a movie is more of a “wasting store of work” as it DOES store work, but slowly decays in the can. (TCM making a business out of reversing that loss by restoration). WATCHING a movie, being a service, stores nothing.

IMHO, this is why a “service economy” can never survive. It does not store work, nor value, and that breaks the intergenerational contracts (not to mention government bonds…)

Note that while creating an oil field is durable value, production of that oil is neither stored value nor stored work. The oil is out and gone in too short a time scale to store anything. Yet that old computer or iPhone from 4 years back still has all the embodied work in it. It may be of little value as the replacement is soo much better, but yet the work is still in it and it still functions. Functional obsolescence is simply when “stored value” drops below the alternative, despite “stored work”… and worth heads to zero.

Grains, cars, and similar manufactures slowly decay (faster in the rust belt than in Arizona ;-) as to many other ‘assets’.

Then we have ‘redistribution’. Why do I have it as “destructive” of stored value? “Marginal propensity to invest”. Rich people buy companies, plants, equipment, oil fields, gold mines, and do R&D that increases our “intellectual capital” or “know how” that is also a durable store of work (and often a durable store of value). When their wealth, money, and labor is given to poor people, it is used for food and services and cars and clothes. All things they need, but not “investments”. The stored work and value in the society decreases and the consumption increases. We become more poor, collectively.

That, IMHO, is why such schemes always result in the eventual failure of the economy.

Please note: I don’t have to like that to recognize that it is reality.

In Conclusion

This is a general sketch of a way of looking at the economy that I think has merit.

It makes clear many things that folks intuitively grasp, but lack a structure for explaining. I think it also illustrates where Progressives go off the rails, and also where all politicians make horrible economic errors.

Like Solindra and building a “bridge to nowhere” (Or Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown’s high speed rail to nowhere). It isn’t enough just to put the label “infrastructure” on it. Does it create durable value? Is it enabling embodied labor to pay future debt payments? If it just redistributes wealth (even from poor to rich as many government boondoggles do: wind farms anyone?) it is still a gross under optimal thing to do with national treasure. Worse, borrowing “stored labor” or “stored value” from someone else, sticking it in a hole in the ground after destroying “stored work” in an existing structure and then expecting the children of today to pay back that labor in 30 years is nearly criminal stupidity.

Yet that is the accepted “consensus” of economics as practiced by governments around the world. It is also, IMHO, why capitalism works and socialism doesn’t. Folks running businesses who make those mistakes go out of business. Folks in government just run for higher office. Often funded by the benefactors of their largess. At least until the bonds come home to roost and a Greece Moment happens.

In the ’60s through to the ’80s or so, we had a bubble of productive age folks making excess production. That labor bubble is over and done. Now that bubble expects someone else to do the work. AND provide for their retirement with goods and services. To compensate those providers, they have stacked up all sorts of paper with promises. But promises do not a dinner make nor a heart bypass perform.

There are simply not enough laborers to provide the promised claims on goods and services. Not in the USA. Not in the EU. Not in China. Not in Japan.

Importing a load of Mexicans or Muslims or building a load of robots is not going to fix it. (Well… the robots might, IFF they ever work right). What will happen is simply that once they are a majority, they will repudiate the obligations that they never contracted to accept. We see that today via “voting with their feet” as a flood of young folks abandoned Detroit for “greener pastures”. The same thing is happening in California as folks with money leave and folks wanting welfare move in.

Demographics may be destiny, but it also has feet and a vote.

Hopefully there are some ideas or points of view in this that are helpful to folks. It is a level of abstraction that I use in looking at companies, countries, economies, etc. etc. that I’ve not seen in formal form anywhere. If it has been done by others too, I’d love a pointer to their works.

I find it a useful way to sort things (like crypto currencies vs paper vs gold) and understand future probabilities ( like $18 Trillion that will NEVER be repaid in real value terms – not enough future labor to do it….) and I hope it is of use, or at least entertainment, to others.

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Posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Political Current Events | 28 Comments

Raspberry Pi GIStemp – It Compiled

I’ve not done any testing yet, just a first cut “unpack and compile”.

The good news is that it did, in fact, compile. And STEP0 ran.

I had the same two “Makefile” issues from the port to Centos (Red Hat for the Enterprise). No surprise as it was an unpack of the same tar file archive with the same two issues in it. A bogus “:q” from a botched exit from the editor in one source file, and the need to remove a trace directive from the compile statement on another. After that, it compiled fine with one warning.

That warming might be a significant bug in the GIStemp code. I’ll need to investigate it further. I don’t remember if any of the other compilations found that type mis-match. The importance of it is still TBD and might be nothing.

Here’s the captures on what I did:


Whereas in the Centos install, FORTRAN is part of “build-essentials”, it was not included in the R.Pi version. That required a specific call out of gfortan as a package. Here’s the call to “apt-get install gfortran” and the result.

root@RaPiM2:/WD/home/BUPSfromGTemp# apt-get install gfortran

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
Suggested packages:
gfortran-doc gfortran-4.6-doc libgfortran3-dbg
The following NEW packages will be installed:
gfortran gfortran-4.6
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 4,834 kB of archives.
After this operation, 12.0 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y
Get:1 http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org/raspbian/ wheezy/main gfortran armhf 4:4.6.3-8 [1,134 B]
Get:2 http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org/raspbian/ wheezy/main gfortran-4.6 armhf 4.6.3-14+rpi1 [4,833 kB]
Fetched 4,834 kB in 34s (140 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package gfortran-4.6.
(Reading database … 89899 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking gfortran-4.6 (from …/gfortran-4.6_4.6.3-14+rpi1_armhf.deb) …
Selecting previously unselected package gfortran.
Unpacking gfortran (from …/gfortran_4%3a4.6.3-8_armhf.deb) …
Processing triggers for man-db …
Setting up gfortran-4.6 (4.6.3-14+rpi1) …
Setting up gfortran (4:4.6.3-8) …
update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/gfortran to provide /usr/bin/f95 (f95) in auto mode

root@RaPiM2:/WD/home/BUPSfromGTemp# which gfortran

So I’ll need to add that “apt-get install gfortran” to my Raspberry Pi software build script.

Here’s the change to the top of the Makefile to tell it to use gfortran instead of the FORTRAN compilers of old:



I inserted “script variables” to use gfortran for all three of “generic FORTRAN”, “FORTRAN 95″, and “FORTRAN 77″ compilers. Commenting out the older assignments that used g95 for the first two, and a real f77 for the third. (gfortran being smart enough to do F77 things with F77 code). But at least, due to having made that Makefile, I didn’t have to edit every single script that their version used where each program was complied anew each time it was run, so EVERY run script had a call out to the compiler to use… Really crappy “technique”…

Now with gfortran installed and located as in /usr/bin/gfortran, I went to the GIStemp src directory (remember that I moved sources to one directory and made a “Makefile” as opposed to leaving them scattered all over the place in run-scripts as built). At that point, the two edits were done and I typed “make”.

Here’s the errors that showed the two things I had to fix. Yes, the compiler nicely tells you what you screwed up:

/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/toANNanom.exe ./toANNanom.f

Error: Non-numeric character in statement label at (1)


In the program “toANNanom.f” when last I’d edited it back in about 2010, I’d tried to leave the “vi” (visual editor) and not realized I was in “insert” mode. That “:q” is the vi command to “exit”. So I’d exited from edit mode, and then saved and exited the program, but left that artifact inserted. OK. Took it out. (And yes, one then needs to go regression test the code against earlier copies to make sure nothing important got messed up).

The next run found the trace directive in the Makefile and didn’t like it.

pi@RaPiM2 /WD/home/BUPSfromGTemp/gistemp/src $ make
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/sorts.exe ./sorts.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/antarc_comb.exe ./antarc_comb.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/cmb2.ushcn.v2.exe ./cmb2.ushcn.v2.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/cmb.hohenp.v2.exe ./cmb.hohenp.v2.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/dump_old.exe ./dump_old.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/hohp_to_v2.exe ./hohp_to_v2.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/USHCN2v2.exe ./USHCN2v2.f
#echo “USHCN2v2.f is compiler senstive at run time. 1 digit rounding variation
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/dif.ushcn.ghcn.exe ./dif.ushcn.ghcn.f
#echo “Still a custom makefile inside STEP1″
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/flags.exe ./flags.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/padjust.exe ./padjust.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/toANNanom.exe ./toANNanom.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/PApars.exe ./PApars.f ./tr2.f ./t2fit.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/split_binary.exe ./split_binary.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/text_to_binary.exe ./text_to_binary.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/trim_binary.exe ./trim_binary.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/invnt.exe ./invnt.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/trimSBBX.exe ./trimSBBX.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/toSBBXgrid.exe ./toSBBXgrid.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/zonav.exe ./zonav.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/annzon.exe ./annzon.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/convert1.HadR2_mod4.exe ./convert1.HadR2_mod4.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/convert.HadR2_mod4.upto15full_yrs.exe ./convert.HadR2_mod4.upto15full_yrs.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -ftrace=full -o ../bin/SBBXotoBX.exe ./SBBXotoBX.f
f951: error: unrecognized command line option ‘-ftrace=full’
Makefile:91: recipe for target ‘SBBXotoBX’ failed
make: *** [SBBXotoBX] Error 1
pi@RaPiM2 /WD/home/BUPSfromGTemp/gistemp/src $ vi Makefile

I have a couple of notes to myself about STEP1 having it’s own makefile that I need to go set up and test ( it uses Python for some special things and needs some more complicated set up) and that USHCN2V2.f has a rounding error sensitivity to what compiler is used (so needs specific testing / validation).

Then, down near the bottom, you can see that it complains about the -ftrace=full directive. OK, some compiler flags are different for doing traces. For now I just pulled that trace out. I don’t remember why I wanted to trace it 5 years ago anyway ;-) Then the compile ran to completion:

pi@RaPiM2 /WD/home/BUPSfromGTemp/gistemp/src $ make
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/sorts.exe ./sorts.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/antarc_comb.exe ./antarc_comb.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/cmb2.ushcn.v2.exe ./cmb2.ushcn.v2.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/cmb.hohenp.v2.exe ./cmb.hohenp.v2.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/dump_old.exe ./dump_old.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/hohp_to_v2.exe ./hohp_to_v2.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/USHCN2v2.exe ./USHCN2v2.f
#echo “USHCN2v2.f is compiler senstive at run time. 1 digit rounding variation
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/dif.ushcn.ghcn.exe ./dif.ushcn.ghcn.f
#echo “Still a custom makefile inside STEP1″
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/flags.exe ./flags.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/padjust.exe ./padjust.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/toANNanom.exe ./toANNanom.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/PApars.exe ./PApars.f ./tr2.f ./t2fit.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/split_binary.exe ./split_binary.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/text_to_binary.exe ./text_to_binary.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/trim_binary.exe ./trim_binary.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/invnt.exe ./invnt.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/trimSBBX.exe ./trimSBBX.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/toSBBXgrid.exe ./toSBBXgrid.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/zonav.exe ./zonav.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/annzon.exe ./annzon.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/convert1.HadR2_mod4.exe ./convert1.HadR2_mod4.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/convert.HadR2_mod4.upto15full_yrs.exe ./convert.HadR2_mod4.upto15full_yrs.f
/usr/bin/gfortran -o ../bin/SBBXotoBX.exe ./SBBXotoBX.f

Warning: Type mismatch in argument ‘itrl’ at (1); passed REAL(4) to INTEGER(4)

Here’s the relevant part of the Makefile:

all: inputsort step0 step1 step2 step3 step4_5

step0 : antarc cmb2 cmbho dumpold hotov2 u2v2 dif.ushcn.ghcn

#echo “Still a custom makefile inside STEP1″

step2: flags padjust toANNanom PApars split_binary text_to_binary trim_binary invnt

step3: trimSBBX toSBBXgrid zonav annzon

step4_5: convert1.HadR2_mod4 convert.HadR2_mod4.upto15full_yrs SBBXotoBX

“Make”ing all does the input sort, then steps in order ending with step4_5. Further down, we see that step4_5 includes three parts, the last of which was SBBXotoBX that complained about a type mis-match with a warning. So it got through the compiles OK.

Since sometimes it is OK to pack a real into an int, and sometimes it is an error, I’ll need to get very familiar with that code to see which it is. As that’s part of the very last grid box portion, I’m not likely to bother.

This is the 5 year old version of GIStemp. I mostly wanted to compile it just to see if it would, generally, go. I’m most likely to get the newer version (that uses different input data now too) and port it first before sinking too much more time into this old version.

At some much later time, I might want to compare the two. That would be a good time to come back to this potential error in their old code.

Trial Run of STEP0

I also did a trial run of STEP0. Turns out that it doesn’t like [[ in shell scripts even if #!/bin/sh is called out. I changed the shell scripts to have “#!/bin/bash” and everything then worked as expected. Oh, and I also had to change “tail +100″ to “tail -n 100″ in the script as the options are different (and I ought to check that those are really the same between the two versions… it’s been a while since I used each version of “tail” – that gives the last set of lines in a file.)

Most of the time, it “pegs” one core on the FORTRAN. Here’s a grab of “top” showing USHCN2v2.exe at 99.8%

Top - 06:56:37 up  9:26,  4 users,  load average: 1.30, 0.92, 0.81
Tasks: 148 total,   2 running, 146 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
%Cpu(s): 25.7 us,  0.6 sy,  0.0 ni, 73.8 id,  0.0 wa,  0.0 hi,  0.0 si,  0.0 st
KiB Mem:    949408 total,   928900 used,    20508 free,    16272 buffers
KiB Swap:  3174392 total,       12 used,  3174380 free,   481096 cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S  %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND            
16388 pi        20   0  2964  532  464 R  99.8  0.1   0:17.22 USHCN2v2.exe       
14405 pi        20   0  588m 289m  41m S   4.6 31.3  55:55.12 iceape-bin         
12141 root      20   0 66284  39m 9132 S   0.7  4.3   8:09.38 Xorg               
15272 pi        20   0  4676 2460 2076 R   0.7  0.3   0:16.34 top                
12243 pi        20   0  106m  16m  13m S   0.3  1.8   0:48.41 lxterminal         
14518 mysql     20   0  308m  34m 7844 S   0.3  3.8   0:08.20 mysqld             

Most of the memory used is for stale buffers. The performance tool showed about 375 MB actually used by everything at this point.

And here is the result of the run on STEP0:

pi@RaPiM2 /WD/home/BUPSfromGTemp/gistemp/STEP0 $ time ./do_comb_step0.sh v2.mean
Clear work_files directory? (Y/N) y
Bringing Antarctic tables closer to input_files/v2.mean format
collecting surface station data
… and autom. weather stn data
… and australian data
replacing ‘-‘ by -999.9, blanks are left alone at this stage
adding extra Antarctica station data to input_files/v2.mean
created v2.meanx from v2_antarct.dat and input_files/v2.mean
removing pre-1880 data:

GHCN data:

removing data before year 1880.00000
created v2.meany from v2.meanx

replacing USHCN station data in v2.mean by USHCN_noFIL data (Tobs+maxmin adj+SHAPadj+noFIL)
reformat USHCN to v2.mean format
extracting FILIN data

-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 20924805 Jul 29 06:56 hcn_doe_mean_data_fil
-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 81574970 Feb 17 2010 input_files/hcn_doe_mean_data

getting inventory data for v2-IDs

-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 32967 Sep 16 1998 input_files/ushcn.tbl

After the sort of ushcn.tbl into ID_US_G

Doing ../bin/USHCN2v2.exe the ***OLD*** USHCN.v2 Version

USHCN data end in 2007
finding offset caused by adjustments
extracting US data from GHCN set
removing data before year 1980.00000
getting USHCN data:
-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 11111793 Jul 29 06:56 USHCN.v2.mean_noFIL
-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 10189487 Jul 29 06:57 xxx
doing dump_old.exe
removing data before year 1880.00000
-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 10124653 Jul 29 06:57 yyy
Sorting into USHCN.v2.mean_noFIL
-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 10124653 Jul 29 06:57 USHCN.v2.mean_noFIL
done with ushcn

created ushcn-ghcn_offset_noFIL

Doing cmb2.ushcn.v2.exe

created v2.meanz

replacing Hohenspeissenberg data in v2.mean by more complete data (priv.comm.)
disregard pre-1880 data:

At Cleanup

created v2.mean_comb

-rw-r–r– 1 pi pi 44774884 Jul 29 06:59 to_next_step/v2.mean_comb

move this file from to_next_step/. to ../STEP1/to_next_step/.
Copy the file to_next_step/v2.mean_comb to ../STEP1/to_next_step/v2.mean_comb? (Y/N) y

and execute in the STEP1 directory the command:
do_comb_step1.sh v2.mean_comb

real 4m48.070s
user 4m5.370s
sys 0m10.660s
pi@RaPiM2 /WD/home/BUPSfromGTemp/gistemp/STEP0 $

At the very bottom is the result of the “time” command that tells you elapsed time and how much CPU time was used. So this step took 4 minutes 48 seconds to run, used 4 minutes 5 seconds of user CPU time and 10 seconds of system CPU time. Essentially pegging one core for 5 minutes. Not bad. IIRC, each step is about the same run time. So this would be in keeping with the 20 to 30 minutes end-to-end I think I remember from before, on the old x86 CPU box with faster disks.

This was on a USB disk with EXT3 partitions and I added a swap partition which you can see in the “top” listing as well. The R.Pi uses a 1 GB swap file, but swapping to SD card is just soo wrong, so I added a real partition… that never gets used… oh well…).

Just in case anyone else wants to know how to do that, here’s the /etc/fstab lines:

/dev/sda3       swap            swap    sw,pri=1024       0       0
/dev/sda4       /WD/home        ext3    defaults          0       1

That “pri=1024″ is the priority for that swap partition. It ranges from zero (last) to 30,000 ish (first). I just set it to 1k so it comes ahead of the swap file set by default. That ought to direct any swapping first to my real USB disk, only when that 2 GB get used up, spill over to their 1 GB file. But if I’m ever using 1 GB of memory and 2+GB of swap, I’ll have other issues to worry about ;-)

Also, since GIStemp repeatedly writes 10 to 40 MB files, I decided to not burn that on my expensive fast 64 Gig SD card and instead put it on a real USB disk that doesn’t care about write cycles.

In Conclusion

That’s basically it. Initial unpack and install done. Compiler check and install done. Make done, and make file updated / bugs ironed out. STEP0 first run completed. Next step to do the STEP1 “make” that is “special” and try doing a couple of runs end to end. Then download a fresh copy of the source, and see how much has changed in 1/2 decade.

Don’t know when I’ll get all that done. At some point I’m supposed to go looking for a real job to pay the rent. And the garden calls my name when the weather is nice. Then there are the 1001 other interesting things happening to / in the world. But I’m not going to just let GIStemp lay there. I’ll get to it. Maybe mañana ;-)

I do find it rather fun that GIStemp compiles and runs at a reasonably fast clip on a $60 computer. Kind of makes you wonder what they need all the super duper new expensive computers for…

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Posted in AGW GIStemp Specific, GISStemp Technical and Source Code, Tech Bits | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Android Phone Hack via Text Message

Since this has been on CNN and a dozen others, it is likely you’ve already heard about it, but just in case…

This is why I have a fairly stupid “flip phone” and not a smart phone. It is also why my Android Tablet does NOT have a telephone radio built into it nor phone service on it and why it only has WiFi if I turn on my external WiFi hot spot and / or choose to connect at Starbucks. (Or home). I want 100% control of when and what gets communicated to and from my devices.

Bold mine:


Android phones can get infected by merely receiving a picture via text message, according to research published Monday.

This is likely the biggest smartphone flaw ever discovered. It affects an estimated 950 million phones worldwide — about 95% of the Androids in use today.

The problem stems from the way Android phones analyze incoming text messages. Even before you open a message, the phone automatically processes incoming media files — including pictures, audio or video. That means a malware-laden file can start infecting the phone as soon as it’s received, according Zimperium, a cybersecurity company that specializes in mobile devices.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because this Android flaw is somewhat like the recent Apple text hack.

But in that case, a text message with just the right characters could freeze an iPhone or force it to restart. This Android flaw is worse, because a hacker could gain complete control of the phone: wiping the device, accessing apps or secretly turning on the camera.

In a statement to CNNMoney, Google (GOOGL, Tech30) acknowledged the flaw. It assured that Android has ways of limiting a hacker’s access to separate apps and phone functions. Yet hackers have been able to overcome these limitations in the past.

The bug affects any phone using Android software made in the last five years, according to Zimperium. That includes devices running Android’s Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop iterations (Google names its Android versions alphabetically after desserts).

Worse, the text displays an image (that could be quite small) and then with control taken, can wipe the image. Leave your phone on at night, this can happen at 2 AM and you would never know and never see the message or the image.

This is also why I will not use a phone as a means of payment. Hack the phone, use it to pay for a load of jewelry from Amazon shipped to a P.O.Box, and the bank account is drained / credit card loaded up. You find out in 30 days when the bill arrives and the P.O.Box is closed. Have a nice day…

The bug / hack is named “Stagefright” and was found by a company named Zimperium.


While Zimperium says the risks are high for Stagefright to be exploited, and it’s possible that malicious hackers will soon take advantage of the flaw, Android device owners have been dodging at least some malware. In April, Google issued a report claiming that malware installs on Android devices fell by 50 percent in 2014. By the end of the year, Google said that fewer than 1 percent of all Android devices had “potentially harmful applications” installed on them.

According to Zimperium’s blog, it will show exactly how Stagefright works and can be exploited at the Black Hat hacker conference in Las Vegas, which starts August 1.

So in theory not “in the wild” yet, but August 1 is fast approaching.

And people wonder why I don’t spend all day staring at my phone texting, tweeting, and sending images around… Maybe we need a new word… or an acronym… How about TTD (like STD): A Texting Transmitted Disease… for your phones and computers.

Avoid TTDs, just say No! ;-)

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Posted in Tech Bits | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment