Fed Changes… Nothing

Well, The Fed announcement just came out. They decided to continue “Operation Twist” buying Treasuries over 6 years and selling those under 3 years to maturity. They also announced that Agency Bonds which run off will have principle reinvested in new Agency Bonds (along with the interest). So if, for example, the FDA issued a bond to finance some project it would be held to maturity and allowed to “run off” with any revenue from it used to buy any added Agency bonds (from the FDA or from some other Agency of the government).

The “outlook” was for very slow growth and that both employment and growth had slowed, but no change in interest rates (that are already near zero) on Fed Funds.

This is all in keeping with the notion that “Monetary Policy” (things The Fed can change) has done about all it can do. In a talk to congress, The Bernanke had strongly pushed that there was a need for “Fiscal Policy” (spending by congress) to take on some of the burden of stimulating the economy. Basically, at this point, The Fed is having a hard time moving the needle on economic activity all by itself. IF they had a further “Quantitative Easing” (pushing a load of easy / free money out to banks) it would be unlikely to cause much of an increase in lending and economic growth. (Though it might well end up shoved into asset markets and drive up prices of things like stocks or currency swaps… a bit of ‘leakage’ that The Fed and Congress rarely like to talk about…)

So they, too, decided to “Kick the Can” and just keep doing the modest stimulative things they are doing now.

My Opinion

In looking at this, it is clearly all Keynesian and not looking at larger international issues. Yes, that’s what The Fed is supposed to do. Still, it isn’t all that bright to ignore the elephant in the room.

The basic thesis is that “cheap money” from The Fed handed to banks at very low interest rates will be rapidly loaned out to businesses. Businesses will be eager to borrow money at 1%-4% and put that money into productive investments in plant and equipment (supposedly returning 5%-10% real rate of return, so netting 4-9% profit).

That thesis is the foundation of Monetary Easing. It even worked reasonably well back in the ’50s and ’60s. Basically, the thesis matched the economic structures of the time and worked rather well then.

Today is a different world. First off, if J.P.Morgan picks up $10 Billion from The Fed, that money can be in London overnight. Buying swaps and derivatives on various index funds from around the planet. (The trade that got them in trouble was something like that). That kind of investment banking activity was banned to banks under Glass-Steagall that was repealed; so now Fed money can be bet on Greek Credit Default Swaps in London, not just invested in a new business in the USA. Just as rapidly, that money can be loaned to GE and used to shut down a light bulb factory in the USA and move it to China (which they did).

In essence, “easy money” today does not necessarily flow into productive investment in growth of the productive economy in the USA. Given the large spending by government, that money can even be loaned (via bonds or directly) to some Agency (such as the NSF) to be handed out as grants to friends to conduct worthless politically directed “Climate Research” and spent on things like junkets to Rio.

So The Fed shoving money at the banks to make loans is no longer as directly tied to increases in economic activity in the USA.

Similarly, the borrowing side is being spanked by Congress and so is reluctant to take up the money either.

The main thing that The Fed wants to do (and that Congress wanted done) was to support asset prices in real estate. Essentially to prevent all those “Troubled Mortgages” from collapsing to their real (much lower) value and putting millions more homes into foreclosure. So “easing” is done on the Monetary side. At the same time, Banks were subjected to severe increases in regulatory burden and higher “lending standards” were demanded. (Never mind that Congress had mandated the “lend to anything with a pulse” standards that caused the mess via the CRA). So on the one hand Monetary Policy was being asked to increase lending to folks who were not a good credit risk ( home value underwater or they always were a bad credit risk) while at the same time the regulatory and legal context was making such lending punishable by Congress…

The end result being that the banks took the ‘easy money’ and put it in the vault. This raised their “reserves” and made them more highly “capitalized”; so they could meet the new regulatory burdens; but did nothing for housing nor for home prices nor for the folks with “troubled mortgages”… And somehow Congress was surprised by this.

Similarly, Obamacare and a Rabidly Carnivorous EPA have made an outright hostile and entirely unpredictable business environment. How can I plan an investment to return, IF I’m lucky, 5% to 10%; when I’ve got a completely unknown labor cost component but likely rising fairly fast? How can I plan an energy intensive operation like Aluminum Smelting if energy “prices will necessarily skyrocket”? (to quote Obama)

So The Fed is nose to nose and belly to belly with Congressional Multiple Personality Disorder and Presidential Policy Hostility. They can push on the Monetary rope all they want, not much happens.

Thus the presentation to Congress where The Bernanke asked for some Fiscal Policy help…

Unfortunately, were Congress to act, that would most likely be in a form that did not address any of the real issues (as listed above) but would instead be more Porkulus Spending. Shoving money borrowed from the Chinese at Friends Of Congress. (Buying more GE Windmills and moving more GE factories to China. Pushing more money at academics to spend in Rio Party Grande. Lining the pockets of the well connected who financed Silly Solar Ventures and bet badly, but are “Friends of Democrats”, so get a public bail out.)

IMHO, that’s the basic problem set. Congressional and Presidential (administrative) actions are actively hostile to business in general and specifically killing banking and energy industries (and strongly wounding the food and agricultural space with the FDA over reach into “food safety” that has potluck dinners at organic farms shoved into the garbage for not being “FDA Inspected”… and wants to force a chip to be put in every farm animal so someone makes a bundle on chips and readers.) They are acting very stupidly. That puts folks out of work and moves industry to places like China that are much more business friendly. Then they want “easy money” to fix it.

But there comes a time when even 0% free money can’t “fix it”. IMHO, that’s where we are now.

So The Fed kicked the can down the road to September. (Any guess what they will do one month before the election? Yeah, kick just a bit further…)

Europe

At the G20 meeting about 1/2 $Trillion of more money was pledged to the IMF for emergency relief, yet none of it was earmarked for Europe or Greece / Spain / Italy. As we saw with the USA, even a full $Trillion does nothing when faced with structural and legal forces to the contrary.

Oddly, much of the money is to come from the same places that are likely to need it. It looks to me like a bit of a shell game to just reposition the Lending Blame onto the IMF and off of individual countries or central banks.

It reminds me of a cartoon I once saw. That one was a computer company barb. Unisys was being formed out of Sperry and Burroughs via a merger. Both were losing badly in the marketplace to companies like DEC and IBM and HP. The cartoon showed two rocks on the bottom of a river one labeled with each company name. They had a rope tying them together and the caption said “Maybe if we tie ourselves together, then we will float!”

IMHO, that’s what is happening in the Euro Zone and writ larger in the Industrialized West. We’re all desperately hoping that tying ourselves together will make our rock float. The EU via integration ever more tightly into One Big Rock… The USA via ever more “Be Like European Socialism!” policies, that ignore what made the country great, in a fit of EuroEnvy of social policies. Loads of added “treaties” and “free trade zones” and a dozen and one other “tie us together” actions. And with things like the UN and IMF acting ever more like an octopus of oppression preventing anyone from leaving the pit.

When all that is really needed is to unfetter Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” and let individual initiative innovate and improve the economic status of all of us. We have many existence proofs that “Central Planning” fails, that over regulation just results in large bloated industries feeding at the government trough (and demanding ever more protective regulation to prevent competition), and that free markets and free people have “emergent behaviour” that is superior in asset allocation to that which can be done by any committee or commission. There is even information theory that shows that the distributed information flow and processing power of the “cluster computer” of individuals must exceed the capacity of any small central group.

So why do we do “stupid things” like we are presently doing? Why is The Fed in this box? Why is the Euro Zone slowly dissolving into muck? IMHO for the simple reason that the decisions of “The Few” are best in outcome for them, and not for the rest of us. A few Crony Capitalists get very rich off of a Fascist style Socialism where Herr Commissar makes sure they get all the business in exchange for certain “social goals”. Herr Commissar gets a nice salary and pension from the Taxpayer too. The Unions get a cut of the action from the large Crony Capitalist enterprise that they could never effectively blackmail out of 20,000 individual entrepreneurs. In short, those who are politically well connected LIKE using politics and government for their own enrichment and folks in government LIKE being important (and having a nice post-government job offer…)

The system grows until there are just not enough “losers” left outside that cozy little system to support it anymore. Then it collapses. At present, the Government Take is about 1/3 of the economy. Some other large part goes to excessive prices of goods and services ( electricity that ought to be 7 to 10 cents / kW-hr that is instead 14 to 24 cents / kW-hr; light bulbs that were 19 cents each 2 years ago and are now unavailable so you must buy the $8 GE ‘curly bulb’). Eventually there is not enough left for the middle class to live on, and folks just stop. The “Tax Take” comes in way short, and deficit spending balloons as The Players in the grand game are completely unwilling to cut back their take; and everyone hopes “If we tie ourselves together, maybe then we will float!” while looking at that next wallet over…

Then begins the reaching into other pockets. Greece is borrowing from Germany who wants the money to come from the IMF (so spread around more). The USA is borrowing from China and anyone else with greater fear in their own money. Ever more borrowing to keep the game alive. Ever more binding of each stone to the next. That game continues as long as there is “fresh meat” in the game. And The Fed keeps pushing just enough Novocaine for folks not to notice that we’re broke, we’re not getting better, and we’re not fixing the system.

Sigh.

One can only hope that the economies that are working will decide to stop funding the mutual pick pocket game of musical wallets…

But for now, the music continues to play and we can all walk slowly in a circle inspecting the wallet of the next person over. While Greece nervously eyes the place where it last sat being taken from the circle…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Fed Changes… Nothing

  1. Petrossa says:

    If things can be explained by sheer stupidity etc.

    I have some doubts there is a driving central force from a group of greedy morons. I go for just pure sheer stupidity.

    I mean, Europe. So now Spain gets money from the ESM that’s backed by Spain itself and countries like Italy or Rumania (the poorest nation in Europe) where they loan from that fund at low interest but have to stock up the same fund with high (double, triple) interest market loans since they are out of cash.

    The next step will be that they fund the ESM with ESM loaned money and the circle is closed.

    If that is not totally idiotic i don’t know what is?

  2. Jason Calley says:

    @ Petrossa “I go for just pure sheer stupidity.”

    I used to think the same thing, but over a period of years (decades, actually) I changed my mind. If it were simple stupidity, they would more often do something useful, just by accident. The longer I watched, the more I realized that they are not stupid; they are evil. By evil, I do not mean that they worship Satan or make idols. Their evil is much more banal; it is simple immediate self interest above all other things. They start wars that kill millions so that they can make gigantic profits — even though they already have so much money that they literally do not have enough hours in a day to spend it all. No rational person, no ethical person would do the things that the Powers That Be do. They are not rational. They are not ethical. They are not even stupid. They are simply greedy sociopaths who see only their own very short term self interest. I call that “evil.”

    @ E.M. I think you are very much correct that the high economic friction caused by excessive legislation and regulation is dragging our ability to create wealth (valuable, useful, desirable stuff and services) to a halt. The actions of the Fed with its fiat money creation do the same thing but in a slightly less obvious manner. The combination of fiat money and excessive regulation is poison and strikes at the heart of wealth creation like this; free markets, combined with the scientific method, make more and more efficient use of and access to goods and services. This happens mainly through increasing the division of labor. Instead of one person making straight pins or automobiles from start to finish, we become more specialized in our jobs and labor. I make gears, he makes kerosene, she grows oranges, etc., and we all become more prosperous as a result. It is only the ability to trade freely and to do so with stable (historically via commodity based) money that this system works. Unfortunately, the excessive regulation hits at every exchange and takes a little bite of the profits through taxes and restrain of efficient practices. Likewise, regulations often prevent new entries into the market by people who have developed new methods of solving old problems. For example, everyone agrees that traditional housing techniques (or nuclear power plants) are not the best designs, but just try to get a new design licensed! Likewise, fiat currencies, established so that politicians and their friends would not be bound by market sources of income, takes another bite from the profits of each transaction. In addition the constant inflation of prices caused by excessive monetary supply discourages people from saving and accumulating capital that would otherwise be the basis for developing even better goods and services. It is no accident that only 20 years after the establishment of the Fed that the US found it needed to create a government controlled agency for “social security.” These things all tie together, and yes, E.M., I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. More and more people are “going Galt.” They are quitting the most productive parts of the rat race because it is no longer possible to conform to the fiscal and governmental constraints and still get ahead. These are bright folk, often the brightest of people, choosing to live a life that does not produce as much surplus wealth as they are capable of. What society can function when the best and brightest just simply (and with good reason!) choose not to play? I would be lying if I said that I look forward to fiscal or governmental collapse, but what are the options? Do we really think that there is any other way to get these blasted, greedy monkeys off our back?

  3. omanuel says:

    @ Jason

    Naked apes are the most intelligent, conniving, manipulative, creative and dangerous creatures living on the water-covered dirt ball of dirt orbiting the Sun.

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-31

    Unfortunately, world leaders are no more (or less) evil than the other naked apes.

    Oliver

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Petrossa:

    Hanlon’s Razor says “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

    The problem, as Jason points out, is that the folks in charge are quite demonstrably well educated and quite capable of analytic and academic performance, so “stupid” has a high hurdle to cross.

    I tend to think it’s a mix. To some extent it is the malice that Jason highlights. You can see this in Senators that enter the Senate with a near zero net worth and leave as multi-millionaires, in UN apararatchicks hauling millions (or billions…) back to their home countries, in CEOs who get multi-million $$$ “bonuses” as they ruin their companies. Yet some of it is, I think, just institutionalized stupid. So we have Keynesian Economics as “the norm” taught globally. When politicians turn to “experts” in Economics, they will get a load of Keynes. But what if it is simply wrong? What if the Austrian School has it right? Just simple stupidity…

    Unfortunately, the mix of a medium level of evil / greed / avarice / sociopath mixed with a surrounding layer of simply stupid results in a giant catastrophic result for the rest of us.

    Capitalism has the virtue that we pit one Evil Bastard against another and that limits their span while “simply stupid” gets rapidly eaten alive in the competitive marketplace. As we have gone to more “Managed Markets” with crony capitalism and central planned winners and losers, we are ever more set up for The One Grand AwShit as the mix has no governor / limit on it any more.

    FWIW, I’m supposed to be out looking for a job. I just find it very hard to get motivated to even look for work. Why bother? 1/2 of it will go to the government directly. Another 20% or so indirectly through things like excess prices of goods and services and sales taxes. What’s left for me? So I find it more rewarding to “give away my thoughts” and create just barely enough money to cover the bills. Essentially, I’m happier living at a subsistence level and “making do” on my own than entering the “wage slave” arena.

    This is not a small thing.

    At one point I started a company that had a staff of 12 high tech folks. It just became too much trouble trying to scape out enough for me to get a paycheck out of the “leftovers” (which is all the business owner gets…) so it ended.

    So we’re not just talking about me getting enough money for a new car. We’re talking about leverage that had a dozen folks with jobs and medical / dental coverage.

    So I’ve “Gone Galt”. I’m more happy turning back yard bamboo into charcoal to cook a cheap chicken (with near zero interaction with “the system”) than trying to make $15 to have $5 left to buy a KFC chicken dinner. And we won’t even talk about the idea of a $50 chicken dinner at the high end Swiss restaurant I particularly liked… Why would I want to try to get $150 of revenue to buy a chicken dinner? ( Or, more likely by now, $250 of revenue to have enough left to buy a $65 chicken dinner as I’m sure prices have gone up.)

    I’m in the process of “Going Galt” on electricity. I’m already down to about 1/2 the level of about 4 months back. Likely going to hit 1/4 by the end of summer. Just don’t need Big Brother watching every time the “smart meter” says I turn on the TV or cook dinner; and sending me Politically Correct Nags (on my dime…) for it. I’ll not go to zero, as that would probably look too ‘odd’. But I can largely leave that market.

    The backyard BBQ is all of: cheaper, private, tastes better, and politically incorrect.

    Just ONE example, BTW. As soon as the RaspberriPi is more readily available, I’m making my own “new each boot” portable web-station. At that point I’m largely out of the “buy software” market and also no need to buy computers (in the traditional sense). $35 instead of $1000. I also get more security, better virus protection, and via free wi-fi from parking lots basically everywhere have no need to buy telecom. ( I’m close to that now with some other ‘trash’ laptops I’ve got, but they are a bit slow for the flash heavy high page weight stuff today.)

    Essentially, it is now more productive for me to exit from “trade” and use my skills directly for myself. “Economies of scale” are now smaller than “tax and regulatory take”, so “DIY” wins.

    That it is also more fun is just gravy…

    Oddly, technical advances have helped this process. I love photography. Used to spend a few $Hundred / year on film / development / printing. Some years it was $Thousands. I now have a couple of digital cameras and I’m happy with them. I have no need to buy any camera or film or developing ever again. Sure, technology will move on. I don’t have to, as I ‘have enough’.

    So one “market” at a time, I can reduce or eliminate my participation and have a better life.

    That is the reverse of the cycle of economic growth…

    Frankly, part of why I’ve been slothful about “getting a book written” is just that dead hand of “but then I’d have to deal with THEM” feeling about having a product and potentially some significant income. It just dampens what ought to be a feeling of joy at the potential of success and turns it into ‘dread at the results of success’…

    This process will continue and expand (and more folks will do the same) until the Powers That Be realize they have a collapsing system. (But they can be remarkably slow on the uptake… vis California, Greece, Spain, …)

  5. P.G. Sharrow says:

    There are times when the drive to “get ahead” is not worth the personal cost. It is also possible that the time and adventure is not yet ready for you to be involved. Just enjoy your “retirement” while you can.. pg

  6. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Watched “The Bernanke” today and also caught the Q&A afterwards. He does not “get it” that his solution to the economic doldrums is the cause of the problem. Just another highly educated man that learned all the wrong answers in college. pg

  7. EM – sad to say I didn’t know the phrase “going Galt” till now. It seems, however, that that’s what I did 10 years ago in response to the lack of paid work in my (then) profession. It gave me time to start sorting out the paradoxes in Physics that have bothered me for getting on 40 years now, but that sort of thinking is not obviously productive. At the moment I’m playing with LENR, which may be very productive, but facing the paperwork involved if we succeed is somewhat daunting. I share your “dread at the results of success”.

    On ‘clean boot’ ideas, note that a netbook loading Linux from read-only memory can give you the same function now. Any cookies are stored in RAM, so don’t persist beyond the next boot. On a desktop machine, try booting from a CD image. It depends how far you want to go to defeat the various tracking software that relies on the persistence of data between boots. I also use Flashblock, which means I can decide whether a particular Flash item runs or not. Some advertisements are particularly annoying since they flash at you so the eye is drawn to them. I haven’t found one that blocks moving GIFs yet, and haven’t bothered to write one – not yet quite pissed-off enough to spend the time.

    pg – It seems to me also that the “cure” is what’s causing the problem. Another problem is the complexity of the various tax systems, which by trying to be “fair” leave so many loopholes for the clever accountant to wriggle through. It’s a different language, it seems, and I don’t understand all the phrases in the UK tax forms, let alone the French ones. Make it simple, and most people will be better off – except of course for the accountants who will need to find useful work instead.

  8. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW – “When the integrity of a system is compromised…” there are many things one could add to finish this statement, but the long and short of it is that you have to do something you weren’t planning on doing to fix the problem(s). Let’s assume that there are a number of hardware and software add-ons that are obviously a part of the problem, if you reboot with the basic programming you’re going to have to decide whether to add these items again… if you did a backup before you crashed, getting back to where you were before the crash will be a little faster, but do you want to get back or have a better system and better programming?

    In the Spring ladies used to Clean House, air out the bedding in the windows and beat the rugs on the clothes line, scrub everything down, touch up this and that, change the Sears Catelog in the Outhouse, throw out things that were too far gone in the Root Celler, etc., etc.

    Things get old, they break, they get ‘patched’ and modified over time. It may sound silly, but sometimes you just have to stop, reboot, and go back to the basic program; it’s painful, time consuming, hard work. Sometimes, you have to disgard a lot of things collected along the way in war, in haste, with good intentions, or whatever, that just weren’t very good or bright in hindsight, or should have been thrown in the trash long ago and never retained.

    BUT… when the re-programming matter involves a lot of “People”, they’re very hard to re-boot and re-program, very hard indeed. Usually you just have wait, sometimes way too long, for total system failure and spontaneous combustion (Civil War), and then everything is real hard to re-boot and re-program; in fact, it’s cheaper to go out and buy a whole new system. Give people half a chance and they’ll ruin anything.

  9. adolfogiurfa says:

    The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”……………….
    Is there NOBODY?

  10. Pascvaks says:

    @Adolfo –
    Lott was a good man but not a very wise man. Everyone else worth saving had already left. Always best to be prepared to knock the dust of a place from your feet and move on. Never overstay your welcome or grow too fond of places. Things change;-)

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    Hope there are some places left….
    Rio Summit, final draft:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/19/rio-20-future-we-want-draft-text

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    My Mom and Dad had this grand plan to retire at 65 and THEN do what they wanted. Didn’t work out that way thanks to 40 years of unfiltered Camel cigarettes…. So I resolved early that I was not going to spend my life hoping for a someday retirement.

    A significant part of why I decided to “do it now”. It puzzles a lot of folks when I say I chose to “take my retirement in the middle”, but it was a ‘design goal’ from early on. When I need to, I’ll go back to work…. Or maybe onto The Government Dole if they make it good enough ;-)

    So yeah, I’m “enjoying my retirement”. And, frankly, I think that what I’ve done with GHCN and GIStemp is more valuable than all the prior time spent installing software and running networks for companies…

    Per The Bernanke Show:

    Looks like the markets have reached the same conclusion and rolled over. He’s pushing on a rope, and beginning to wonder why it doesn’t move. The problem with Keynesian Fixes is that they DO work, in a very limited range and realm. We’ve now broken the realm (via repeal of Glass-Steagall that forced ‘regular’ banks to lend to homes and businesses… now The Fed money can go to banks that invest in China and trade derivatives in London…. so the “stimulus” can wind up in any economy anywhere on the planet, not just in the USA) and we’ve gone way outside the range ( mildly slowing business cycle. We’re now in “structural decay” with “political fear” and as The Bernanke has noticed, monetary policy can’t overcome Political Dread and can’t stop Chinese Mercantilism…)

    @Simon:

    It’s a very useful phrase ;-)

    FWIW, my favorite such thing is Knoppix. A bootable CD.

    http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

    That I’ve used for years. Even handed them out to a Forensics class I was teaching at a California State University. Gave the class an assignment (un-graded) to try and figure out how to detect and prevent a person from sticking one of them into any random desktop and getting onto their network… (Most sites are not set up to prevent it. Needs an IP assignment only on authentication of OS to block network traffic… validation on MAC address isn’t enough.)

    So I’ve got a couple of old “Crap Tops” that I’ve used for that too. But as of now the old ones are about 4 times as heavy and 1/10 th as functional as the new one. I’d originally bought this HP Laptop with the idea of making it dual boot. Silly me, I didn’t check for ease of Linux port first. It has a brain dead disk format without logical partitions and needs a “new / special” video driver. I’ve found 2 pages describing how to make it go, but frankly, it just wasn’t worth the effort for a ‘nice to have’. Easier to just leave Linux on the “other” server and telnet in.

    I need at least one Windoz box anyway, so might as well just let it be this laptop and not worry about it.

    BUT….

    It was the raid on Tallbloke that got me a bit grumpy. Even though all I’ve got on the laptop are a bunch of downloaded PDFs and data, and copies of a load of images and pages used for blog making, I’ve gone ahead and encrypted most of the data / disk. Not “whole hog” including OS, so one can, with work, fish things out of scratch area and swap, but enough to put a finger in the eye of some Agency should they decide to knock on my door and take the laptop. A nice little encrypted box of bits that when the work is done to break encryption is found to contain nothing of interest.

    That is really all I need.

    BUT….

    Well, I’m an old security guy. So the mind wanders. The ultimate solution is a “box” that isn’t a box and where you don’t care if it gets confiscated and simply evaporates. A completely disposable and essentially worthless “take” by The Powers That Be. That lead me to revisit an old idea. A few decades back I’d looked at Embedded Controller Boards and thought of putting a Linux on them for a cheap compute node ( I was making a Beowulf or two then and wanted several low cost nodes. Eventually it was just made from discarded white box PCs). Mostly it was the video that was missing from controller boards (not an issue for Beowulf compute nodes, but an issue for a browser server ;-) The RaspberryPi and related boards fix that problem.

    So it’s more an “interesting problem” than a ” I need a solution ” to private computing.

    The idea being that if the CPU / Memory / IO part is a $35 board, the OS lives on an SD card (that can be securely cloned on some other box known-secure) and any personal data lives on an encrypted block on a USB thumb drive, well, all up it’s under $50. It’s about the size of a laptop (though need to work on ‘packaging’ with a cheap screen and keyboard for portable use) and and all it takes is ‘chop power’ for the thumb drive to go back to encrypted, the temp data to evaporate, and the whole thing to become inert. So sit with the power cord wrapped around the wrist and any interruption via “authorities” results in at most a need to reboot… Any “intrusion” of tools onto the “box” evaporates at the next reboot. (So things like keystroke loggers can’t catch the first decryption password step as they have to re-infest the box each boot and don’t have an opportunity prior to the decrypt…)

    Basically it becomes an essentially secure, disposable, and yet usable generic web portal / interface “box”. Yes, you could do the same thing with a laptop, but then you have a $400 box and it’s a bit harder to make sure it is never used for less secure things…. (That is, it is tempting to use it as a personal computer… and store lots of personal stuff on it… and not have a fully ‘fresh’ OS each boot… and… well, you might care if it went away in the hands of the Police as Tallblokes computers did.)

    The whole point of the “thought experiment” is to divide the processor core from the OS state from the Data archive. Have backups of each (preferably offsite) and have the parts be useless unless integrated with the right passphrases (while the cost is low enough to not care).

    The Gendarmes want to take it? Go right ahead…. Then call The Friend, pick up the $50 of depot gear, and reboot. Download the stored encrypted image from “wherever” back to the USB drive while sipping on that Starbucks Latte and “Everything Is as it Was. Many such journeys are possible.” -Gardian Of Forever, Star Trek The Original” …

    I suppose that buying $40 “old useless” laptops after the latest MS Windows release and putting a Knoppix CD in them would be about the same, but I like the idea of having a bare board that looks like a video card as the “Computer” and watching Authority deal with the fact that what they expect to find isn’t there… GD: “Where is the computer! Hand it over!”… Point at scrap of card with wires… Me: “Can I keep the monitor and keyboard?” (the only parts of real cost…) GD: “Where is the disk, hand over the disk!”. Me: “There isn’t one.”

    In an ideal case, I’d put the Data Device on a network connection and bury it somewhere obscure. (Perhaps at a file sharing site and net-mounted, or perhaps as a TB ‘netdisk’ on a wireless connection sitting in the car in the garage ;-) so it serves encrypted stuff to the “computer” and all decryption is done inside the card… so even if found the Data is worthless.

    The things Security Guys think about (either as “how to defeat” if getting a paycheck, or as “how to use” if watching a friend be harassed by Mindless Authority…)

    Per Tax Codes:

    The rich and powerful buy the loopholes. They are there so that the middle class get fleeced and kept out of the Club, while The Club can pretend that there are progressive taxes.

    That is why the Flat Tax will never be passed. It would cause the rich to actually pay and it would eliminate the best tax loopholes (only really usable by them) and allow too many folks to be upwardly mobile… IMHO of course. BTW, “the rich” are largely corporations, not individuals. Look around you. Who is more rich: Warren Buffet or GE? Corporations make even the most rich individual look like a pauper.

    @Pascvaks:

    Perhaps that’s the genesis for things like Term Limits and Sunset Laws… enforced Spring Cleaning…

    @Adolfo:

    Well, we seem to still be looking for the 50…

    At least it’s comforting to realize that things are likely to be unstable in their “sustainable” world and that the end result will be at most a 1/2 generation or so of “reset” time…

    It might actually accomplish something good in places like Africa and Brazil if they can stop the wholesale slaughter of species and destruction of wildlands. ( One of the few things that are truly scarce and at risk are species and wild forests.) It might be worth it to have a partial destruction of the Industrialized Economies if a side effect was stabilization in the wild area.

    Unfortunately, the general pattern shown by history is that poverty leads to environmental destruction as desperate people just try to survive. Advanced wealthy societies are able to set aside parks, rehabilitate damaged area, and like moving into cities and reducing impact on the natural world. The reality is that only prosperity actually moves folks off the land and reduces birth rates. So the “save the world via poverty” approach of the Rio +20 folks is “exactly wrong”.

  13. EM – Your computer idea sounds totally paranoid. It looks a very good idea, and may be needed by some of us in the future if we are too obviously going against the system. Your exposure of the underlying problem with the AGW hype probably puts you in that firing line.

    The last two computers I bought (one netbook, one desktop) came with Linux pre-installed – it saved me the hassle of finding the video drivers, too. MSI make some very nice Linux-based netbooks (also windoze ones at a bit more money) that just work nicely. I did change from Suse to Ubuntu, though, to get a nicer screen layout and easier program loading.

    These days I don’t want to spend time hacking the OS to make it work – the box is too central to work to waste the time when there’s a good system that does what I want.

    Wireless works but it can be jammed too easily. Having a close-coupled wireless connection hidden in a wallbox, then wired to the garage and maybe another short-haul wireless to the car/truck/firesafe makes it harder to jam the wireless except with very high levels. Optic fibre is pretty difficult to intercept, but coupling to it invisibly is going to be a bit difficult – an IR link is OK but not usually high-throughput. You may be able to hide the IR interface in a security camera or webcam.

    I haven’t looked at the full spec of the Raspberry Pi, so I don’t know whether it can deal with the encrypt/decrypt load for every disk write/read. It may be a bit slow without a helper processor of some sort – possibly a second Raspberry Pi to handle the disk interface.

    Your point that poverty leads to environmental destruction is important and really needs to be brought to peoples’ notice at the Rio talks. You need to be wealthy in order to afford the “nice” things such as well-kept countryside – poor people just can’t afford the extra man-hours needed to do this.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Simon:

    As someone who has managed computer shops under daily attacks (many all day every day) and as someone who has done undercover work that found “perps” stealing stuff and as someone who has done various computer forensics from time to time, I can assure you that the Administrators Mantra is true:

    “I’m not paranoid, they ARE out to get me! I’m the Unix sysadmin!!”…

    So the purpose of any “security solution” is to be more paranoid than the other guy is creative.

    That my solution “sounds paranoid” is a high compliment, in that context. So “Thank you”! ;-)

    If it is over the top Paranoid, it has a chance of also being secure enough to work. You would not believe the lengths we went to at Apple where I ran the Engineering systems for about 7 years and a secure Cray site, to keep the bad guys out. The tools and ‘wares’ available today would get past many of those methods now, even though they were ‘way over the top paranoid’. We had one episode that ALMOST got in. The historic “Internet Worm”. We caught it at the Honey Pot and managed to stop it there, but it didn’t fail to get in because we were ‘paranoid enough’ but rather because the connection was slow enough for us to block the spread before it figured out which hidden door to open… Our paranoia level was too low, but our detection and response systems were fast enough…

    BTW, these attitudes have nothing to do with AGW, warming issues, public profile, or any of that. They are just old habits of a classical Unix Systems Adminstrator and Security Guy…

    From the AGW and Blogger side, I do almost nothing to make things secure. Everything is posted, open, available. About all I do is make back up copies of most articles and data. (I largely depend on WordPress to do good backups, really. Mine are ‘deep archives’ that I never have needed to read again…)

    Frankly, this “DisposoSystem” is mostly a demonstration system for folks likely to be hit like Tallbloke was. IFF I lived in England anywhere near Hadley, I’d likely be using it now ;-) But as I’m about as irrelevant to the whole Climategate thing as one can get, I’m not really worried. So I’ll make one, and use it, as a proof of concept and as a way to keep some skilz up; and a little bit so that other folks can know how to get around the risks of system confiscation as well. But more from the POV of providing an “Open Source Project” proof of concept than from any personal need. Hey, everybody needs a hobby ;-)

    You call my idea paranoid, then have wall mounted hidden IR links? Now that’s Paranoid Cool! ;-) I don’t really care about jamming. Whenever anything goes ‘bump in the night’ I crash everything anyway. It’s easier to reboot and restart than to extract ‘crap that crawled in’ by leaving it up. So someone wants to jam the wireless, fine. I down the “board”, spit out the SD chip, pull any thumb drive and stuff it in a hole. Anything on the wireless link is just an encrypted bag of bits that’s useless unless mounted on the system and passphrase stays local to the system… Somebody comes in the door and demands “the computer”, I point at my old white box PC with Windows 98 on it and a Mac ibook from 15 years ago and ask which one they want ;-) If they really get picky, I can hand them the RaspberriPi and ask for a receipt.

    Or, more probably, someone else using this idea can do that. Someone takes my laptop today, they get the graphics and data published here, and my canonical collection of downloaded climate PDFs, gifs, jpgs, etc. Not much else on the box. (Email lives elsewhere and I try to avoid using it anyway. Financial stuff is done via paper. Don’t do much else of interest. Maybe I ought to download some porn just so they don’t fall asleep looking through the climate pdfs… ;-)

    FWIW, the decrypt load is very low. Not enough to even notice. No need for second processors.

    Per “hacking the OS”: For me, that’s part of the ‘feature’. I’m a Unix Sysadmin at heart and it lets me play and keep the skills up. I have a dedicated Linux box with GIStemp on it right now, and 2 or 3 shut down from past projects (such as that Beowulf cluster) that could be dumpster food and replaced with a USB thumb drive and a small new board…

    The point on poverty vs environment isn’t just mine. It’s been well known for decades and is well attested in the economics literature. For example, THE best way to reduce population growth is give every woman a college education. Add to that reasonable assurance that any given child will live to maturity, and you drop to below replacement rates. (Many folks don’t want kids at all then, or have one and decide they didn’t like the experience ;-) So the flip side of that is that the most assured way to increase population growth / pressures is poverty (and child health risk that goes with it) couple to low education levels (that you get when folks must grub for a living rather than indulge in Liberal Education…)

    You can see this now in the demographic trends in Japan, Europe, North America, etc.

    Despite being well attested and well known, the Green Agenda doesn’t seem to recognize it. Oh Well…

  15. P.G. Sharrow says:

    The problem with, well to do, educated women not producing enough offspring has been known for thousands of years. If increased population numbers is important for your power base you want women to be ignorant and poor. The elite need large numbers of poor, ignorant people that will do their bidding and create wealth for them. Much of our educated are just brainwashed useful idiots that can be counted on to regurgitate the lines that they were taught and haven’t the wish or ability to think for themselves.
    Anyone that has ever been to areas that are inhabited by poor people has seen destruction of the environment. The claim that they are forced to live in the worse areas is bogus to anyone that has see nice areas destroyed as poverty moves in. pg

  16. Paul Hanlon says:

    Hi Chiefio,
    Can I just first of all applaud you on your response to the strawman attack by the two warmist trolls on WUWT. 48 hours later and they still cannot bring themselves to address the substantial points that you raised in your comments.

    I’ve also been pre-approved to pre-order my Raspberri Pi and cannot wait to get my hands on it (they only allowed me to order one).

    Regarding the post, I think in some ways we are victims of our own success. Years ago, it might have taken half a lifetime to build a house for one family. Now, with modern materials and methods, it is possible for one man to build a house in 6 months to a year, and that house could still be standing and being used 200 years from now. Same goes for food, where one man can produce enough to feed a hundred people. Same goes for clothing, where half an hour’s work keeps somebody warm for years. Transport? It takes 40 hours to build a car that will last twelve years. Even adding in all the other jobs that have to be done to get to that point, the replacement time is way longer than the time taken to produce it.

    What do we do with the rest of the time?

    The reaction to that in the West has been basically the political equivalent of the Broken Window Fallacy. So we get ever stricter “standards”, and then we need to hire people to enforce and regulate those standards, and of course, these are high paying steady jobs, so what’s not to like!!

    Rinse and repeat, until you push this to a point where the governments of most Western economies are taking 50% of everything that that economy produces. This cannot sustain, because the governments are not doing 50% of the useful work, and the Chinese and East Asians have very cleverly positioned themselves to be ultra competitive in the type of work that is useful. So something will break.

    But even then we are faced with the question, how do you allocate work such that everybody gets a shot at it, and can pay their way. I don’t have the answer, but I do know that I don’t like the kind of Malthusian solutions I’ve seen so far, or anything that results in the reduction of the human condition.

  17. Paul – I think most Western governments passed that 50% take quite a long time ago. There are a lot of hidden taxes. This can only work when it’s kept within a country, and with global competition the problem becomes obvious. To make something today takes far fewer man-hours than it used to, so we need to find more people to sell it to in order to make our time pay. The world has limits – we can’t keep expending our sales. Europe’s response to the problem seems to be to raise taxes again, cut education again and raise the retirement age and hours in the working week – all seem somewhat counter-productive to me.

    There are probably still a few places where sales can still expand for a bit – Africa seems to be the up-and-coming continent to sell things to. Once that is done, though, in a decade or two, it looks like there’ll need to be a major rethink of what money is and what we buy with it. Personally, I’d like the idea of sending a lot more people to university – knowledge is never wasted.

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like more “nothing” this time too…

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    The “Middle Class” was a fluke of liberty in the long view of history… Sometimes I fear that the power elite have set out to “set things right” and get back to “Educated idiots leading ignorant poor”…

    @Paul Hanlon:

    Thanks for the support! But I just say what is and let what happens happen ;-0

    The biggest risk is that the power elite buy into the fantasy that automation means they don’t need all the peons and surfs around any more… With luck, “We The People” will be able to point out that we matter in our own right. Yes, it’s an interesting problem… keeping everyone productively employed. How many “Morality Plays” can consume how many mediocre actors…

    @Simon:

    And all the “Environmental Sciences” folks getting an education at the knee of the IPCC on “Global Warming”? Is that not worse than wasted?

  19. adolfogiurfa says:

    Reset the whole thing!

  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    Educating people maybe a good thing “IF” The knowledge is correct and useful. Filling those brains with garbage is worse then a waste. The progressive liberals have been teaching the wrong answers for over 80 years. Is it any wonder that the educated elites do everything wrong to improve the lives of those that they profess to want to help. Most of them are not evil, they have been taught the wrong answers and they can not or will not learn on their own. That “bright shiny thing” just fills their tiny brains with aw and wonder of that big “rainbow covered rock candy mountain” that is the liberal progressive dream for everyone. pg

  21. p.g.sharrow says:

    The powerful Soviet Union was not destroyed with a big bang. It went out with a whimper, just evaporated because it’s support by the people just disappeared. The ignorant population no longer exists. The “Net that covers the World” is the end of the ruling elites, and the beginning of the new way of free men ruling themselves. Tyrants and warlords must be eradicated, not empowered. pg

  22. pg – it may still be a Good Thing to educate people even if what is taught is actually wrong. Most of the education at college level is how to research knowledge and how to use your time well (at least that’s what it was when I did it, and good universities should still be doing that). If this sort of education is pursued rather than the “diploma mill” type where the student is only expected to re-spout the given textbooks, then the students will find the errors in what they are taught. If education is done in order to learn, since having the diploma doesn’t improve your job prospects (no jobs…) then we can in any case expect a much different approach from the university staff. Note that MIT are running an experiment this year, where the course is free but if you want to take the tests you pay them (sorry I didn’t bookmark this). This is maybe the “new approach” that is needed – all coursework is on the net. In the UK the Open University has been doing something similar for a while, and employers recognise that people really have worked for such a degree – it’s worth something.

  23. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. The progressive liberals have been teaching the wrong answers for over 80 years. Is it any wonder that the educated elites do everything wrong to improve the lives of those that they profess to want to help. Most of them are not evil, they have been taught the wrong answers and they can not or will not learn on their own
    Well, it became more obvious or more explicit, at least in the US, as I have heard, since the beginning of the 20th., but it al began in the attempt of some people to take the control of power and money which had been in the hands of royalty and the church, in a kind of “vertical integration”, thus, in order to get free from both they separated from the “main sequence programming” becoming really a “virus” (LOL!), but as such it had the only perspective of spoiling the whole system. Now, their “novus ordo seclorum”, is condemned to collapse: Already one version of it, the soviet version, collapsed, now we are watching its occidental version collapse .
    As for The powerful Soviet Union was not destroyed with a big bang it happened in 1989….(google what happened then..I mean, “above”).
    Tradition teaches us that nothing is disconnected from the whole, as we are rediscovering now, and as you perfectly know, we live in an electromagnetic “continuum” which has an implicit organization, and something happens “above” which asks for “resonance”, a kind of “E.M.” (a.k.a. “Matrix”) programmer finding “bugs” in the system and removing them. :-)

  24. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Simon; Early on I encountered a teacher that opined that once you learned Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and how to use a library, you should learn at your own speed, for your own needs. As soon as I learned to read I generally ignored the teacher, they were generally way too slow, and read every book in the school, then worked on the library!

    Those that can, learn. Those that can’t must be taught.

    @Adolfo;”The Great Programer” Is not ONE, It is a multitude and WE are succeeding. pg

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. I encountered a teacher that opined that once you learned Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and how to use a library, you should learn at your own speed, for your own needs
    You are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, I would say: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Music. A real Pythagorean School!!
    It is also advisable to learn old languages, as they carry in them, the “mood”, the “life”, the “knowledge” of the ancients, of our forefathers.
    We must not forget, also, that in old times, technicians were subjected to a higher class, they were not allowed to decide anything. Conscience, the feeling and perception of the universal laws, should preside over society. This is hierarchical order.
    In our times, now ending, anybody having aquired more than enough for surviving, feels entitled to FIX THE WORLD!!! ( This is the well known case of George Soros and his “Open Society”, “Transparency”,etc.,etc. that meddles into many countries, trying to “improve” their lives…,of course with disastrous results…you are the witnesses of such a “blessing”).
    In old Greece, merchants were supposed to work just at the square, where they were allowed to sell their goods or their illusions, in the sunday market. No one would have thought them to allow them to run the country, worse if done through their slaves.

  26. pg and Adolfo – The essence of good teaching is to instil enthusiasm in the student. I suspect good teachers are in the minority of the profession for various reasons – one being the insistence on the pupils getting ever-higher exam grades, thus following an absolutely set (and so boring) syllabus. It’s somewhat hard to standardise people without taking away the spark that made them different in the first place.

    In the absence of a good teacher, a good book is almost as good, but then it helps to have someone to discuss it with. When I was a kid I read voraciously, getting through around 3 books a day in the school holidays, thus at the age of around 10 I left the kids’ section behind and wandered into the adult section and got my first smattering of nuclear physics. Somewhat hard to discuss that with schoolfriends….

    Fixing the world is something that we’d all like to do. Probably a major reason for people joining this talk-party (the food’s non-existent). Fix the world in what way you can to try to make it a little better. We’re passing information around here, and that is true riches – you can give it away and still have it. Good job it can’t be monetarised, although there are a lot of possibly interesting scientific papers stuck behind a paywall.

  27. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Simon Derricutt: A starting point would be that the curricula should be chosen by local schools themselves (local communities) and not by any Government which would surely follow those devilish Agenda 21 recommendations. (They really want to “manufacture”identical “items” for the “Gamma” class of servants as Aldous Huxley´s “Brave New World” ).

  28. Adolfo – that idea would work fine if we didn’t have jobs to go hunt, where the bits of paper showing what tests you’ve passed are now used as a short-cut by HR to choose who they want to even interview. In order for those bits of paper to be worth anything at all, some national setting of grades needs to be there. Once all the real jobs have gone, however, maybe the HR people would have the time to ascertain what people could do rather than how good they were at tests, and maybe set their own “exams” to join the company – some companies have been doing that a while, which upsets the exam boards.

    I agree – governments want nice tidy packages, and people have all sorts of strange talents that means you’d need as many pigeonholes as you have people if you really did a full Aristotelian sorting.

  29. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: I forgot to add the most important subject for our ideal school: Electricity ( the force which runs everything, from stars to you and me….and, of course, all gadgets).

  30. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Simon Derricutt: But…just imagine…that would be as when the US was the US.

  31. p.g.sharrow says:

    If I were again to be involved in hiring I would not give much credence to that sheepskin. Way too much brainwashing goes on in those collegiate organizations. It may be better to do my own brainwashing rather then trying to retrain them. ;-) pg

  32. omanuel says:

    @ adolfogiurfa

    1. Electricity is a force in expanded forms of matter only, e.g. atoms.
    2. Neutron repulsion is the most powerful force in compacted matter.
    3. Gravity operates on both forms of matter.

    That is why our infinite universe is cyclic [“Is the Universe Expanding?” The Journal of Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)].

    http://journalofcosmology.com/BigBang102.html

    There is little doubt that deception in world governments is coming to a head. May the integrity of government science and constitutional limits on governments be restored soon!

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

    – Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo
    http://www.omatumr.com

  33. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Adolfo; The understanding of electricity and harmonics is the base of all physical science. Without those the rest is a waste of time as true understanding is not possible. Even politics has a harmony or frequency of change. pg

  34. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Oliver; Even the Neutron is a creature of EM Forces. Remove it from the atomic core EM straitjacket and it reverts to a hydrogen atom as it can not exist for long on it’s own. The neutron is not electrostaticlly balanced internally. It has a net negativity surface charge that is masking it’s positive core, without the negative field straitjacket of the atomic electron shell to help compress it, it must expand. The only other way to compress hydrogen into Neutron is huge amounts of matter that create the compression via gravity that is also EM in character. pg

  35. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. That´s right. As above so below. Neutron it´s just another name, another word whispered by the Devil´s Babel tower. A real NEUTRAL body it is a body that has just passed away (R.I.P.) :-) . It doesn´t exist really. Love presides creation.

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, that’s a rather interesting exchange… All I can add to it is that the USA did have local school control until the Fed Dept. of Education was created (not that long ago..) By Carter in about 1979… All down hill since then. IMHO, it was started under FDR. So about 30 years to get rolling, then a big power grab centrally, and then crap since.

    There’s a dramatic difference in the education / ability of folks pre-80 and post-80 from what I’ve seen.

    Language, Math, Physics, Music… I’d add “mechanical arts” (folks really ought to be able to make a set of wood, metal, and clay / glass objects…) and “home arts” (ever person ought to be able to grow a plant and cook food… and know how to run a home budget and paint a room or decorate… and knit / sew at least enough to make a muffler and fix a torn cuff.) Maybe even a class in sculpting, artistic painting (NOT modern / impressionistic…) and drawing…

    Heck, I could even make a case for basic animal care and farming skills including making soap and tanning leather (as an intro to chemistry and biology)… I do think “practical chemistry” and biology need to be in there somewhere….

    Frankly, if it were up to me, I’d start with teaching “basic caveman skills” ( i.e. field survival with nothing but rocks and shrubs) and work my way up to modernity. Adding each level of technology as needed. (So ‘night sky and stellar navigation’ early… GPS senior year ;-) You can learn to make a fire, and shape rocks and bones, in about one long weekend – so why not? Add in a basic “trash shelter” of {leaves, fronds, sticks, old cardboard, packed snow, whatever} and some primitive water gathering / filtering takes about one more day… and one long cold night ;-) for the final exam ;-) I think I could take folks from “caveman” to about 1200 AD in one semester. From there to about 1900 in the second half of the year…

    Now imagine how different our society would be if every individual knew they could be dropped in a wild land and “make a living”, and also knew just how much work went into making a clay cup or a leather jacket? If every Senior Year the class built a home from the ground up (so some of them had to know plumbing, electrical, paint, roofing…) sold it and shared in the profit… While eating lunches from the School Garden that THEY cooked…

    Yeah, dreaming again…

  37. Perhaps adolfogiurfa and p.g.sharrow are correct. Perhaps the EU model explains the cosmos better than the standard model. Perhaps EM is a creature of the Neutron. On the other hand, perhaps we should forget models and look at observations so we do not get trapped in another useless, ego-driven chicken-and-egg argument.

    Observations:

    1. Hydrogen is an expanded form of the Neutron; A combination of Neutrons and Hydrogen can account for every other atom.

    2. The highest energy, shortest wavelength EM radiation comes from compacted nuclear matter, not from expanded atomic matter.

    3. Edward Teller’s H-bombs and our current understanding of the interior of the Sun confirm Aston’s 1922 prediction that the enormous energy stored in the cores of nuclei is powerful enough to overcome electrical (Coulomb) resistance to fusion of atoms:

    “Should the research worker of the future discover some means of releasing this energy in a form which could be employed, the human race will have at its command powers beyond the dreams of scientific fiction; . . .”

    “but the remote possibility must always be considered that the energy once liberated will be completely uncontrollable and by its intense violence detonate all neighbouring substances.

    “In this event the whole of the hydrogen on the earth might be transformed at once and the success of the experiment published at large to the universe as a new star”.

    – Aston’s Nobel Lecture on the energy (E) stored as mass (m) in the nuclear cores of atoms included the above prophetic message (12 Dec 1922)

  38. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Oliver; We agree on the above, and I like your sun with the “Iron” heart with hydrogen boiling out of it. 8-) Seems to fit all the facts that I know. At one time I formulated a nebula condensation that yielded a hydrogen star and rocky planets nearby but it took a lot of assumptions as to the effects of gathering gravity and mass accelerations, not good. All larger bodies in this solar system have ferrous cores, why not the sun? Neutron creation and decay is GOD’s source of energy for the universe. Plasma fusion is not, as fusion is the last thing plasma wants to do. Even if the Elite will not accept an “Iron” sun You have convinced me. pg

  39. EM – basic caveman skills moving up to modern sounds like a real education in practical stuff. Some environments (esqimaux comes to mind) takes preparation and mutual support, but in most Western countries the requirements for living off the land/building a house of sorts are not too difficult. Some proficiency in edge tools is needed – these days it seems that carrying a pocket knife can get you put in jail, so young people are dissuaded from using them properly. I’m pretty sure I could kill someone with a pencil, though – a weapon is how you use it and any heavy item can be a club and anything with a point on can be a dagger. Bare hands can be lethal, too. As such, maybe something else to try to teach would be a good system of ethics – build rather than destroy and only react with violence when it is needed. Above all, maybe return to the self-reliance of earlier times.

  40. It seems to have gone a bit OT looking at education in this string. That one hit a nerve, I suppose. The connection, I think, is that things like education will be cut while the politicians find something less worthy to spend non-existent money on.

  41. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Oliver et Al.: Milky Way´s local cathode, is an iron core smaller in diameter than the Earth (8477.30 kms., according to the law of vibrations: the higher the frequency, the smaller the wavelength-diameter-).
    As for the :the energy once liberated will be completely uncontrollable and by its intense violence detonate all neighbouring substances.”. This if you use fission, destroying matter instead of utilizing a small, tiny part of the energy surrounding us….a la Nikola Tesla or by LENR (fusion).

  42. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. All I can add to it is that the USA did have local school control until the Fed Dept. of Education was created (not that long ago..) By Carter in about 1979…
    From the time of the “Illustration”, back in the so called “French Revolution”, the objective of Education was to achieve a “NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM” (a New SECULAR ORDER) where there is no God at all, and consequently, no UNIVERSAL LAWS BUT CHAOS, hence there is NO KNOWLEDGE BUT IGNORANCE, knowledge thus becomes reserved exclusively for the ruling “elite”, for those who strictly follow and respect their “Shekhinah”, their tradition, learning from their books from early childhood, an education just for the ones supposed to live not by working but by profitting from OUR work. We “gentiles” (goyim -singular, goy-, a term with the broad meaning of “peoples” or “nations”… usually of non-Hebrew people…. or of a swarm of locusts or other animals Goyim = ‘nations’.” ), do not need any “education” at all, in any case a selected and well organized “corpus” of lies and fallacies.

  43. Adolfo – you do keep banging the drum about Novus Ordo Seclorum. People have been trying this sort of thing for millenia under various names, whatever size and shape they thought the world to be at the time. The ruling élite will always wish to keep their position as Evil Bastard (or at least They Who Rule). Ornery people like us tend to stop them by finding the lies and spreading the truth – again that has been going on just about as long, leading to cycles of rise and fall of power groups/civilisations. This time, however, we have the Net which unites all the people who think alike, and a lot that don’t, but information (truth or otherwise) flashes around the globe within days and sometimes in seconds.

    The “knowledge” those élite have had in the past has also contained a lot of crap with a leavening of truth – try reading what the Rosicrucians put out, for example. Human minds have a strong tendency to connect cause and effect. If the effect seems random with an unknown cause, people develop rituals to help it along – failure of the effect means you haven’t been pure enough with the ritual and It’s Your Fault. However, recorded history shows that if you do a rain-dance long enough, it will rain; those for whom it didn’t – died from thirst/hunger and so there remain no records.

    So yes, there’s probably a conspiracy amongst the Fat Bastards to keep the rest of us ignorant and subject to their rules, but this conspiracy is effectively the same as always just different people. Most of us happily trade a bit of freedom for the security of living in peace, since we know these particular Fat Bastards don’t want to parasitise their society to death, even though it’s starting to look like that’s what’s happening.

    Just take the necessary precautions not to be caught out as the conditions change. It really doesn’t matter what race/religion those Fat Bastards are – I’m pretty sure (having Jewish friends and family members myself) that you’ll find around the same percentage working against them (thus for humanity as a whole) amongst the Jews as amongst any other racial group. If you have to pigeonhole people, better to do it by some more logical basis than just racially.

  44. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Simon: I guess I was not clear: I have referred to those who indeed respect their tradition and are conservative as opposed to us who just believed in the tale of “illustration”and all its “philosophical” theories. As for the elite guys, of course they do not belong to any religion or race in particular but only believe in profit, or as it has been historically called, but are the worshipers of the “Golden Calf”, quite a different attitude than providing for one´s natural necessities.

  45. p.g.sharrow says:

    adolfogiurfa says:”the worshipers of the “Golden Calf”, only believe in profit,”

    Nice turn of words. The calf that comes to mind is the one on Wall Street. in front of the “Temple of Acquisition” of wealth unearned. Profit is the only thing and the cost to others of no importance. Legal behavior is not always ethical behavior. Traders are not investors, they are gamblers that speculate for short term gains and have no concern about the creation of wealth as they are interested in the gathering of wealth created by others. pg

  46. Adolfo – OK, but you used “Shekhina” (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Shekhinah.html ) and “goyim” in your rant, which is pretty specifically targeted. In my experience, if you add the word “fundamentalist” (or “orthodox” or even “conservative”) to any religion you get a dangerous person who won’t see anything that does not agree with what the Book (written millennia ago in different circumstances) has specifically said/not said, and who also, when that Book has inconsistencies, will choose one interpretation and kill you if you point out the error. Such traditionalists cannot move with the times and will hold on to the set of information and values they have – no progress possible. With reference to Darwin, this attitude must have survival value, otherwise they would have died out.

    I’d expect the “worshippers of the Golden Calf” to not worship an idol at all, just be power-hungry and thus want money as the representation of that. Unless they have a fundamentalist evangelising religion and are on a crusade, therefore, they are likely to be unbelievers whatever religion they profess. A religious fanatic with a lot of power is dangerous to the world, but most appear to just want far more than they can consume.

    I’ve read through your posts a few times and I reckon I’m still not really getting the point you want to make.

    These days, you can easily broadcast what you want on the net and gather followers, but it doesn’t mean that those ideas are necessarily true because there’s now a group who think the same way – disagreements and their resolution are important. Without open discussions and finding the bits where your ideas don’t stand up, it’s hard to come to conclusions on rightness or otherwise. I’m pretty sure I won’t agree with you on everything, but I’m willing to change my opinions based on good evidence.

  47. pg – I think you explained what Adolfo was getting at while I was writing my reply. Thanks.

  48. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Simon: P.G. interpreted my words correctly. Such “gambling” (of those “traders” who not longer trade anything solid and real) have reached a point where they think “why not to optimize our earnings through having total control?”thus they began to meddle in politics, of course not directly but through their “employees/butlers”,etc but also, through a lot of naive people who easily buy such “tales” or “beliefs” as GW (GW was specifically designed for “pouring the empty into the void”: Buying “carbon credits” and selling “carbon shares”).

  49. Adolfo – yes, and I agree. The traders do not make anything except profit, and although I can certainly see that a company sells shares to finance itself at an advantageous rate (relative to the bank loans), the subsequent trading of those shares generates no money for the company as such, but will affect how much they can raise the next time they want to sell shares. It seems that in the derivatives market you can gamble on anything. If what they were counting (dollars) had value, then the market would be a zero-gain system – if you gain a dollar then someone else must have lost one, yet it seems to be more gains than losses. As definitions go, it seems to not be a conservative system.

    I think you write far more poetically (elliptically, too) than I’m good at understanding. Luckily pg understands both forms of writing. It’s probably a culture/language mismatch, since I haven’t yet learnt Spanish.

  50. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Simon: We “commoners”, common people, fail to understand why somebody could aspire to having much more than is necessary to sustain themselves and their family, worse if after achieving say a few billions, beging thinking in fixing your life or mine….of course not losing sight their initial goals it means managing other peoples´life for increasing their already excessive wealth.
    Of course, if any of us would be immortal beings, that would justify such eagerness for the acquisition of unlimited wealth and power, but we are not, and, believe me, they are not too.
    We also must not forget that those “traders” financed Hitler and also the communist revolution, so if some of them were born jew too they didn´t care about those “commoners” of their same religion.

  51. adolfogiurfa says:

    The following it is an example of one of such fallacies which aim at the replacement of “conscience” and morality by alternative “philosophies” like Jerome Ravetz´s “Post Normal Science”:
    http://www.nusap.net/downloads/articles/pnsprecaution.pdf

  52. Adolfo – You are right that I can’t understand why someone would try hard to get more once they have a few million dollars or so – it’s enough to last a lifetime. I can sort of understand the wish to have people do what you say, but if you can’t get people to do what you think is best by asking them and discussing the reasons, maybe you’ve got it wrong and need to re-think what you’re asking.

    Customs and moralities vary around the world, so things that are against the morality I grew up with may be acceptable or praised in other cultures – for example the Japanese custom of lying for your boss or the Indian custom of never admitting you can’t do a particular thing your boss wants done. First time you come across such things it’s difficult, but once you know the customs you can work with them.

    One shaded insult I use is “they had good intentions” when something goes severely pear-shaped. The Law of Unintended Consequences nearly always applies. Looking at only the instant monetary profit from some action will mostly lead to such consequences – in the case you pointed out it was a Bad Idea to do any trading with Hitler, but it seems very few people realised it at the time. Today we have Assad in Syria waging war on his people – this also seems like a good person to stop. In preference this would be done by killing the leaders to save a lot more deaths of soldiers following orders – if they don’t do what they’re told they get shot in the back instead. Maybe such atrocities would be somewhat curtailed if the people ordering them knew that they were risking their own lives, and the technology is now around to make it happen. It could become really dangerous being a leader of a rogue state.

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