Friday, August 31, 2012

China Awash in Inventory





 Sorry folks, this is what a recession looks like in China since the big guys are unable to go broke. Maybe they need to send everyone back to the farm for six months to provide a super boost there in human effort.

This means we face an economic pause here while demand has a chance to pick up and clean up inventories. In the mean time the US economy is staggering back onto its feet but remains slow going. The Euro zone remains trapped in a caccoon of poor investor confidence that is still far from been resolved. All these economies would respond extremely well to anything that assists in recapitalizing the base itself.

Perhaps this time instead of the usual stupidity, we could provide stimulus money by simply correcting the mortgage rules and matching down payment money for new house sales. If that were done universally, the capital formation would be rapid everywhere and demand would soar. The funds could be secured a claim paid out on resale at double original face value.



China Confronts Mounting Piles of Unsold Goods

Forbes Conrad for The New York Times

Bags of toys stored at a shop in a wholesale market in Guangzhou, a city in southeast China.

By KEITH BRADSHER

Published: August 23, 2012



GUANGZHOU, China — After three decades of torrid growth, China is encountering an unfamiliar problem with its newly struggling economy: a huge buildup of unsold goods that is cluttering shop floors, clogging car dealerships and filling factory warehouses.

The glut of everything from steel and household appliances to cars and apartments is hampering China’s efforts to emerge from a sharp economic slowdown. It has also produced a series of price wars and has led manufacturers to redouble efforts to export what they cannot sell at home.

The severity of China’s inventory overhang has been carefully masked by the blocking or adjusting of economic data by the Chinese government — all part of an effort to prop up confidence in the economy among business managers and investors.
4
But the main nongovernment survey of manufacturers in China showed on Thursday that inventories of finished goods rose much faster in August than in any month since the survey began in April 2004. The previous record for rising inventories, according to the HSBC/Markit survey, had been set in June. May and July also showed increases.

Across the manufacturing industries we look at, people were expecting more sales over the summer, and it just didn’t happen,” said Anne Stevenson-Yang, the research director for J Capital Research, an economic analysis firm in Hong Kong. With inventories extremely high and factories now cutting production, she added, “Things are kind of crawling to a halt.”

Problems in China give some economists nightmares in which, in the worst case, the United States and much of the world slip back into recession as the Chinese economy sputters, the European currency zone collapses and political gridlock paralyzes the United States.

China is the world’s second-largest economy and has been the largest engine of economic growth since the global financial crisis began in 2008. Economic weakness means that China is likely to buy fewer goods and services from abroad when the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is already hurting demand, raising the prospect of a global glut of goods and falling prices and weak production around the world.

Corporate hiring has slowed, and jobs are becoming less plentiful. Chinese exports, a mainstay of the economy for the last three decades, have almost stopped growing. Imports have also stalled, particularly for raw materials like iron ore for steel making, as industrialists have lost confidence that they will be able to sell if they keep factories running. Real estate prices have slid, although there have been hints that they might have bottomed out in July, and money has been leaving the country through legal and illegal channels.

Interviews with business owners and managers across a wide range of Chinese industries presented a picture of mounting stockpiles of unsold goods.

Business owners who manufacture or distribute products as varied as dehumidifiers, plastic tubing for ventilation systems, solar panels, bedsheets and steel beams for false ceilings said that sales had fallen over the last year and showed little sign of recovering.

Sales are down 50 percent from last year, and inventory is piled high,” said To Liangjian, the owner of a wholesale company distributing picture frames and cups, as he paused while playing online poker in his deserted storefront here in southeastern China.

Wu Weiqing, the manager of a faucet and sink wholesaler, said that his sales dropped 30 percent in the last year and he has piled up extra merchandise. Yet the factory supplying him is still cranking out shiny kitchen fixtures at a fast pace.

My supplier’s inventory is huge because he cannot cut production — he doesn’t want to miss out on sales when the demand comes back,” he said.

Part of the issue is that the Chinese government’s leaders have decided to put quality-of-life concerns ahead of maximizing economic growth when it comes to two of the country’s largest industries: housing and autos.

Premier Wen Jiabao has imposed a strict ban on purchases of second and subsequent homes, in the hope that discouraging real estate speculation will improve the affordability of homes. The ban has resulted in a steep decline in residential real estate prices, a sharp fall in housing construction and widespread job losses among construction workers.

At the same time, the municipal government in Guangzhou, one of China’s largest cities, has sharply reduced this summer the number of new car registrations it allows so as to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

Municipal officials from all over China have been flocking to Guangzhou to ask for details. Xi’an, the metropolis of northwestern China, has already announced this month that it will limit car registrations, although it has not settled on the details.

The Chinese auto industry has grown tenfold in the last decade to become the world’s largest, looking like a formidable challenger to Detroit. But now, the Chinese industry is starting to look more like Detroit in its dark days in the 1980s.

Inventories of unsold cars are soaring at dealerships across the nation, and the Chinese industry’s problems show every sign of growing worse, not better. So many auto factories have opened in China in the last two years that the industry is operating at only about 65 percent of capacity — far below the 80 percent usually needed for profitability.

Yet so many new factories are being built that, according to the Chinese government’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s auto manufacturing capacity is on track to increase again in the next three years by an amount equal to all the auto factories in Japan, or nearly all the auto factories in the United States.

I worry that we’re going down the same road the U.S. went down, and it takes quite some time to fix that,” said Geoff Broderick, the general manager of Asian operations at J. D. Power & Associates, the global consulting firm.

Automakers in China have reported that the number of cars they sold at wholesale to dealers rose by nearly 600,000 units, or 9 percent, in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

Yet dealerships’ inventories of new cars rose 900,000 units, to 2.2 million, from the end of December to the end of June. While part of the increase is seasonal, auto analysts say that the data shows that retail sales are flat at best and most likely declining — a sharp reversal for an industry accustomed to double-digit annual growth.

Inventory levels for us now are very, very high,” said Huang Yi, the chairman of Zhongsheng Group, China’s fifth-largest dealership chain. “If I hadn’t done special offers in the first half of this year, my inventory would be even higher.”

Manufacturers have largely refused to cut production, and are putting heavy pressure on dealers to accept delivery of cars under their franchise agreements even though many dealers are struggling to find places to park them or ways to finance their swelling inventories. This prompted the government-controlled China Automobile Dealers Association to issue a rare appeal to automakers earlier this month.

We call on manufacturers to be highly concerned about dealer inventories, and to take timely and effective measures to actively digest inventory, especially taking into account the financial strain on distributors, as manufacturers have to provide the necessary financing support to help dealers ride out the storm,” the association said.

Officially, though, most of the inventory problems are a nonissue for the government.

The Public Security Bureau, for example, has halted the release of data about slumping car registrations. Data on the steel sector has been repeatedly revised this year after a new method showed a steeper downturn than the government had acknowledged. And while rows of empty apartment buildings line highways outside major cities all over China, the government has not released information about the number of empty apartments since 2008.

Yet businesspeople in a wide range of industries have little doubt that the Chinese economy is in trouble.

Inventory used to flow in and out,” said Mr. Wu, the faucet and sink sales manager. “Now, it just sits there, and there’s more of it.”

Chocolate Innovation Afoot




Two items here on chocolate. The second one pushes the age of chocolate back an additional 1500 years and as it was already mature, its likely emergence began a thousand years earlier that that even. None of it ever made it to Egypt to the best of our knowledge, although this may simply be an artifact of not looking or the unusual ways it was then used. The take home though is that its antiquity is now certain as is the growing antiquity of Mayan culture.

The first item is good news. Science has woken up to the reality that we have not done nearly enough with the cocoa bean and it is time to remedy all that. Now it becomes possible to cut the fat content in half at least while loading it with vitamin C and water with no loss of quality.

I have personally taken to adding a shot of cocoa powder into my tea daily in order to absorb the known benefits while avoiding the sugars and fats. It works fine. Yet it is nice to understand that reduction of fat is possible and even desirable. It is also clear that a chocolate bar is a natural carrier of large doses of vitamin C.



Fruit Juice Infusion Halves Fat in Chocolate

By Cassie Ryan

Epoch Times StaffCreated: August 13, 2012Last Updated: August 14, 2012



Orange and cranberry juice droplets can be substituted for some of the fat in chocolate. (Alessandro de Leo/Photos.com)

British chemists have used fruit juice to replace up to 50 percent of chocolate’s fat content without losing any of its tasty qualities.

Working with milk, white, and dark chocolate, the researchers added minute droplets of orange and cranberry juice, less than 30 microns wide (thinner than a human hair), instead of the full amount of milk fats and cocoa butter.

The new formula creates a so-called Pickering emulsion in which the tiny droplets of fruit juice remain separate and stable in both solid and molten form.

Everyone loves chocolate—but unfortunately we all know that many chocolate bars are high in fat,” said study lead author Stefan Bon at the University of Warwick in a press release.

However it’s the fat that gives chocolate all the indulgent sensations that people crave—the silky smooth texture and the way it melts in the mouth but still has a ‘snap’ to it when you break it with your hand.”

That special “chocolatey” quality is due to an ideal crystalline structure known as Polymorph V that makes chocolate smooth and glossy as well as firm and breakable.

The juice-chocolate product maintains the content of Polymorph V, and storage does not lead to a sugar or fat bloom.

Not surprisingly, making chocolate this way gives it a fruity taste, but this can be avoided by instead using water with a little vitamin C.

Our study is just the starting point to healthier chocolate—we’ve established the chemistry behind this new technique, but now we’re hoping the food industry will take our method to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars,” Bon concluded.

The findings were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry on Aug. 8.


Maya Used Chocolate as Spice 2,500 Years Ago

By Cassie Ryan

Epoch Times StaffCreated: August 3, 2012Last Updated: August 9, 2012




Pods growing on a cacao tree, Theobroma cacao. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Cacao traces found on two pieces of Mayan pottery in Mexico suggest pre-Hispanic culture may have added chocolate-flavored sauce to food like Molé.

A joint research project between Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and Millsaps College, Mississippi, revealed a specific ratio of theobromine and caffeine compounds typical of cacao in the residue.

The artifacts were found at the Paso del Macho site in the Yucatan, and one of the fragments appears to be a serving plate. Dating of the residue places it between 600 and 500 B.C.

Previous evidence of cacao use has only been associated with drinking vessels, mostly in other parts of Central America, up to about 1,000 years older than the new findings.

One of the pottery shards that has been identified as having had cacao residue was not a bowl or jar, as is typical, but a plate,” said chemist Timothy J. Ward at Millsaps College in a press release.

This raises the possibility that cacao was not only being used to prepare a beverage at this early time, but was already being used in sauces for dishes, perhaps similar to the popular dish known as Molé.”

Archaeologist Thomas Gallareta Negron at INAH believes the beans were not crushed on the plate because metates or grinding stones were generally used for that purpose.

Paso del Macho was a small settlement, but was probably important because it had several mounds and a ball court. The chocolate may only have been used by upper classes and priests.

This evidence combined with other archaeological, architectural, and settlement data, is providing us with a new view of this little known area of the Maya world during the earliest times,” said Gallareta Negron in the release.

The Northern Maya world was just as complex and sophisticated as the far better-known Southern Maya area, and we can now add the consumption of cacao to this list of traits.”

Grassland Biochar Surprise





 The surprise here is that grassland soils retain elemental carbon or close enough equivalent to forty percent of total organic carbon in the grassland soils of the USA. That is very good news. Recall however that these original grasslands held many times as much carbon as grasslands than they do at present. Thus the terra preta effect is also a result of natural concentration caused by the conversion to annual cropping.

The take home though is that many other soils will retain residual carbon in this form and we need to measure for it.

In fact, it may well be a key fertility determinant that has to date been overlooked.

In time, I anticipate all working soils will be augmented on a regular basis with the direct intent of optimizing fertility in general and outright eliminating any need for chemical augmentation whatsoever.

I have also pointed out that char allows us to manufacture soils anywhere we can find water or produce atmospheric water.


Abundant and Stable Char Residues in Soils: Implications for Soil Fertility and Carbon Sequestration


ABSTRACT


Large-scale soil application of biochar may enhance soil fertility, increasing crop production for the growing human population, while also sequestering atmospheric carbon. But reaching these beneficial outcomes requires an understanding of the relationships among biochar’s structure, stability, and contribution to soil fertility. Using quantitative 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we show that Terra Preta soils (fertile anthropogenic dark earths in Amazonia that were enriched with char >800 years ago) consist predominantly of char residues composed of 6 fused aromatic rings substituted by COO– groups that significantly increase the soils’ cation-exchange capacity and thus the retention of plant nutrients. We also show that highly productive, grassland-derived soils in the U.S. (Mollisols) contain char (generated by presettlement fires) that is structurally comparable to char in the Terra Preta soils and much more abundant than previously thought ( 40–50% of organic C). Our findings indicate that these oxidized char residues represent a particularly stable, abundant, and fertility-enhancing form of soil organic matter. 

Postal Banking Could Save USPS





The postal service is a necessary function that must reach every household. There is no magic here or any opportunity for cherry picking. Because of this it is the natural partner for any critical service that must also be provided to every household. Banking is one such service that is now succumbing to cherry picking and failing to reach the last third of the population. Medical insurance is also an equivalent service that has been successfully cherry picked to exclude a third of the population.

Obviously, the post office could equally take on both retail banking and retail medical insurance with their infrastructure in place and operate at a low cost.

It does not benefit society to not provide banking and medical insurance to the last third of society because it introduces huge levels of hardship preventing that last third to expand their productivity.

Integrating postal banking with the very successful micro lending model is also an obvious value proposition because it clearly empowers that third of society and brings them all swiftly into middle class life ways.

We can improve even on that, but this is still core to an optimized society everywhere.


Confronting Wall Street: Establishing a Democratic Public Postal Banking System in America
Letter Carriers Consider Bringing Back Banking Services

by Ellen Brown

On July 27, 2012, the National Association of Letter Carriers adopted a resolution at their National Convention in Minneapolis to investigate establishing a postal banking system. The resolution noted that expanding postal services and developing new sources of revenue are important to the effort to save the public Post Office and preserve living-wage jobs; that many countries have a successful history of postal banking, including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States itself; and that postal banks could serve the 9 million people who don’t have bank accounts and the 21 million who use usurious check cashers, giving low-income people access to a safe banking system. “A USPS bank would offer a ‘public option’ for banking,” concluded the resolution, “providing basic checking and savings – and no complex financial wheeling and dealing.”

The USPS has been declared insolvent, but it is not because it is inefficient (it has been self-funded throughout its history). It is because in 2006, Congress required it to prefund postal retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future, an onerous burden no other public or private company is required to carry. The USPS has evidently been targeted by a plutocratic Congress bent on destroying the most powerful unions and privatizing all public services, including education. Britain’s 150-year-old postal service is also bon the privatization chopping block, and its postal workers have also vowed to fight.  Adding banking services is an internationally proven way to maintain post office solvency and profitability.

Serving an Underserved Market, Without Going Broke

Many countries operate postal savings systems through their post offices, providing people without access to banks a safe, convenient way to save.  Great Britain first offered this arrangement in 1861.  It was wildly popular, attracting over 600,000 accounts and £8.2 million in deposits in its first five years. By 1927, there were twelve million accounts—one in four Britons—with £283 million on deposit.

Other postal banks followed. They were popular because they serviced a huge untapped market—the unbanked and underbanked. According to a Discussion Paper of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs:

The essential characteristic distinguishing postal financial services from the private banking sector is the obligation and capacity of the postal system to serve the entire spectrum of the national population, unlike conventional private banks which allocate their institutional resources to service the sectors of the population they deem most profitable.

Serving the unbanked and underbanked may sound like a losing proposition, but numerous precedents show that postal savings banks serving low-income and rural populations can be quite profitable.  (See below.)  In many countries, according to the UN Paper, banking revenues are actually crucial to maintaining the profitability of their postal network.  Letter delivery generates losses and often requires cross-subsidies from other activities to maintain its network.  One effective solution has been to create or expand postal financial services.

Public postal banks are profitable because their market is large and their costs are low: the infrastructure is already built and available, advertising costs are minimal, and government-owned banks do not award their management extravagant bonuses or commissions that drain profits away.  Profits return to the government and the people.

Profits return to the government in another way: money that comes out from under mattresses and gets deposited in savings accounts can be used to purchase government bonds.  Japan Post Bank, for example, holds 20% of Japan’s national debt.  The government has its own captive public lender, servicing the debt at low interest without risking the vagaries of the international bond market.  Fully 95% of Japan’s national debt is held domestically in one way or another.  That helps explain how Japan can have the worst debt-to-GDP ratio of any major country and still maintain its standing as the world’s largest creditor.

Some Examples of Successful Public Postal Banks

Kiwibank:

New Zealand’s profitable postal bank had a return on equity of 11.7% in the second half of 2011, with net profits almost trebling.  It is the only New Zealand bank able to compete with the big four Australian banks that dominate the New Zealand financial sector.

In fact, it was set up for that purpose. By 2001, Australian mega-banks controlled some 80% of New Zealand’s retail banking. Profits went abroad and were maximized by closing less profitable branches, especially in rural areas.  The New Zealand government decided to launch a state-owned bank that would compete with the Aussie banks. To keep costs low while still providing services throughout New Zealand, the planning team opened bank branches in post offices.

In an early version of the “move your money” campaign, 500,000 customers transferred their deposits to public postal banks in Kiwibank’s first five years—this in a country of only 4 million people.  Kiwibank consistently earns the nation’s highest customer satisfaction ratings, forcing the Australia-owned banks to improve their service to compete.

China’s Postal Savings Bureau:

With the assistance of the People’s Bank of China, China’s Postal Savings Bureau was re-established in 1986 after a 34-year lapse.  As in New Zealand, savings deposits flooded in, growing at over 50% annually in the first half of the 1990s and over 24% in the second half.  By 1998, postal savings accounted for 47% of China Post’s operating revenues; and 80% of China’s post offices provided postal savings services.  The Postal Savings Bureau has served as a vital link in mobilizing income and profits from the private sector, providing credit for local development. In 2007, the Postal Savings Bank of China was set up from the Postal Savings Bureau as a state-owned limited company that provides postal banking services.

Japan Post Bank:

By 2007, Japan Post was the largest holder of personal savings in the world, boasting combined assets for its savings bank and insurance arms of more than ¥380 trillion ($3.2 trillion).  It was also the largest employer in Japan. As in China, Japan Post recaptures and mobilizes income from the private sector, funding the government at low interest rates and protecting the nation’s debt from speculative raids.

Switzerland’s Swiss Post:

Postal financial services are by far the most profitable activity of Swiss Post, which suffers heavy losses from its parcel delivery and only marginal profits from letter delivery operations.

India’s Post Office Savings Bank (POSB):

POSB is India’s largest banking institution and its oldest, having been established in the latter half of the 19th century following the success of the postal savings system in England.  Operated by the government of India, it provides small savings banking and financial services.  The Department of Posts is now seeking to expand these services by creating a full-fledged bank that would offer full lending and investing services.

Russia’s PochtaBank:

Russia, too, is seeking to expand its post office services.  The head of the highly successful state-owned Sberbank has stepped down to take on the task of revitalizing the Russian post office and create a post office bank.  PochtaBank will operate in the Russian Post’s 40,000 local post offices. The post office will function as a banking institution and compete on equal footing not only with private banks but with Sberbank itself.

Brazil’s ECT:

Brazil instituted a postal banking system in 2002 on a public/private model, with the national postal service (ECT) forming a partnership with the nation’s largest private bank (Bradesco) to provide financial services at post offices. The current partnership is with Bank of Brazil.  ECT (also known as Correios) is one of the largest state-owned companies in Latin America, with an international service network reaching more than 220 countries worldwide.

The U.S. Postal Savings System:

The now-defunct U.S. Postal Savings System was also quite successful in its day.  It was set up in 1911 to get money out of hiding, attract the savings of immigrants, provide safe depositories for people who had lost confidence in private banks, and furnish depositories with longer hours that were convenient for working people.  The minimum deposit was $1 and the maximum was $2,500.  The postal system paid two percent interest on deposits annually.  It issued U.S. Postal Savings Bonds that paid annual interest, as well as Postal Savings Certificates and domestic money orders.  Postal savings peaked in 1947 at almost $3.4 billion.

The U.S. Postal Savings System was shut down in 1967, not because it was inefficient but because it became unnecessary after its profitability became apparent.  Private banks then captured the market, raising their interest rates and offering the same governmental guarantees that the postal savings system had.

Time to Revive the U.S. Postal Savings System?

Today, the market of the underbanked has grown again, including about one in four U.S. households according to a 2009 FDIC survey. Without access to conventional financial services, people turn to an alternative banking market of bill pay, prepaid debit cards and check cashing services, and payday loans. They pay excessive fees for basic financial services and are susceptible to high-cost predatory lenders. On average, a payday borrower pays back $800 for a $300 loan, with $500 going just toward interest. Low-income adults in the U.S spend over 5 billion dollars paying off fees and debt associated with predatory loans annually.

Another underserviced market is the rural population.  In May 2012, a move to shutter 3,700 low-revenue post offices was halted only by months of dissent from rural states and their lawmakers.  Banking services are also more limited for farmers following the 2008 financial crisis.  With shrinking resources for obtaining credit, farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay in their homes.

It is clear that there is a market for postal banking.  Countries such as Russia and India are exploring full-fledged lending services through their post offices; but if lending to the underbanked seems too risky, a U.S. postal bank could follow the lead of Japan Post and use the credit generated from its deposits to buy safe and liquid government bonds.  That could still make the bank a win-win-win, providing income for the post office, safe and inexpensive depository and checking services for the underbanked, and a reliable source of public funding for the government.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and president of the Public Banking Institute, http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.  In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she shows how a private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her websites arehttp://WebofDebt.com and http://EllenBrown.com.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scottish Unidentified Fluid Object





In earlier postings I made the conjecture that slime molds may take to the air by filling a small sac with methane. Been slime molds they could also gather in large groups and then if conditions were right they would rise up in the atmosphere. We do see scum on methane rich waters. A cool humid night just might do it.

Collapsing they would then produce a gel that would fall to the ground and soon dissipate.

The more interesting question was whether such an assemblage could also get into the Stratosphere, or even survive there. It is certainly hard to see how they might survive direct sunlight in the first instance.

Regardless we have a research problem. Simulate methane producing scum and the proper environmental conditions and discover if we get airborne slime molds. This is something that can be done as a school project even in an aquarium with a lid.

Unidentified Fluid Object baffles Scots boffins

By GRAEME DONOHOE

Published: 15th August 2012


BAFFLED hillwalkers fear ALIENS have landed — after mysterious slime started appearing in the countryside.

They have discovered a strange jelly... and some experts believe it’s landed from space.

The first report of an unidentified fluid object was in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, triggering a flood of similar sightings.

Now National Geographic Channel documentary Wild X Files attempts to solve the mystery after they had the weird samples analysed by scientists.

Paranormal investigator Steve Mera is convinced he was dealing with aliens after a sample he collected DISAPPEARED.

He said: “I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what it was.

I thought ‘let’s get some samples.’ The next morning, I saw the sample jar and I did a double take as there was nothing in it. It was there the night before, now it was empty.” Steve was sure he was dealing with star jelly left over from a meteor shower. He said: “It comes from space.”

Euan McIlwraith, presenter of BBC show Out Of Doors, added: “A call came into the studio from somebody who had been hillwalking and found this substance. We knew we were on to something strange.
There are lot of people out there who believe it comes from the stars.”

Deer hunter Andy Malcolm thought the goo was stag sperm — but this was ruled out when perplexed fungal ecologist Dr Andy Turner found the samples contained NO animal DNA.

He said: “We could see almost no cellular structure within it so it was difficult to determine what it was.”

Algal researcher Dr Hans Sluiman found it “unlikely” that it was from a plant while Prof Malcolm Kennedy, from Glasgow University, believes the jelly is from frogs used for spawn.

He explained: “When it’s made it has DNA excluded from it. When frogs come under attack, fear causes them to expel the jelly normally used to protect eggs.”

The National Geographic Channel has declared the case closed but Euan said: “There’s still that bit at the back of my head that isn’t exactly convinced.”

The Cure For Everything With Tim Caulfield




I just chewed through this important book in which Tim Caulfield goes out and tackles the many methods on offer and actually tries them all out on himself. I am not sure you should try this at home either and after going through the material it is not good news for the many commercial protocols out there.

The take home is very important. Nothing works. Surprisingly to myself, although I have been suspicious for some time is that exercise will do nothing for weight management. It will obviously do great things in terms of general health but he even reports a marathoner who completed 18 such races and added a pound each race. Exercise is great for you but is not a weight loss solution.

What works is to eat far less that you imagine is possible.

This is where the arclien diet comes in and shines. For details google this blog. The science is bone simple. Our digestive tract will process nine days worth of food every seven days. You will need to make two days worth of food consumption disappear just to allow a proper decline to a reasonable weight. To achieve an optimal weight it is likely necessary to eliminate three days of eating.

This obviously needs planning. I take advantage of the fact that after seven hours of sleep, my digestive tract has emptied and shut down and is in a state of hibernation. Thus you already have eight hours in. One then picks three fast days separated by eating days. In my case that turns out to be Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On the fast day, I drink tea and water with occasional honey if the energy level lags and then break my fast early evening. This gives me almost twenty four hours. I then break my fast with a good meal.

I am sure that this will take some getting used to, yet in my case I feel zero hunger pangs until the evening has arrived. The key is to never restart the small intestine because that is the beast that will not quit until satiated.

What this book makes clear is that failure to manage intake will allow weight gain and that your body will fight most supposed strategies.

THE CURE FOR EVERYTHING!

UNTANGLING THE TWISTED MESSAGES ABOUT HEALTH FITNESS AND HAPPINESS

Tim Caulfield


The surprising truth about what it takes to be healthy

In The Cure for Everything! health-law expert Timothy Caulfield exposes the special interests that twist good science about health and fitness in order to sell us services and products that mostly don’t work.
Want great abs? You won’t get them by using the latest Ab-Flex-Spinner-Thingy. Are you trying to lose ten pounds? Diet books are a waste of trees. Do you rely on health-care practitioners—either mainstream or alternative—to provide the cure for what ails you? Then beware! Both Big Pharma and naturopathy are powerful forces that have products and services to sell.

Caulfield doesn’t just talk the talk. He signs up for circuit training with a Hollywood trainer who cultivates the abs of the stars. With his own Food Advisory Team (FAT) made up of specialists in nutrition and diet, Caulfield makes a lifestyle change that really works. (Mainly it involves eating less than he is used to. Much less.) And when he embarks on a holiday cruise, dreading motion sickness, he takes along both a homeopathic and pharmaceutical remedy—with surprising results. This is a lighthearted book with a serious theme. Caulfield demonstrates that the truth about being healthy is easy to find—but often hard to do.

Tim Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield is a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health as well as research director of the Health Law and Science Policy Group at the University of Alberta. He has either led or collaborated in a number of research projects regarding the social challenges associated with genomic technologies, stem cell research, and the application of ethics in health sciences. He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and editor of the the Health Law Journal and the Health Law Review. He lives in Edmonton

The Cure for Everything! Untangling the Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness and Happiness

By Timothy Caulfield
Viking Canada
320 pp; $32
Reviewed by Julia Belluz
To read Timothy Caulfield’s The Cure for Everything! is to wonder how we are not all waddling around at 350 pounds, out-of-shape and sickly. Caulfield, an Edmonton-based health law professor, documents the alarming ways the simple truth about what makes us healthy is distorted by interest groups, from Big Food to Big Pharma, who unduly complicate our relationship with food and fitness.
But Caulfield, the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, is no scaremongering skeptic: His cure for the mess we’re in is this lucid and well-researched compendium of the best-available science about diet, fitness, genetics, pharmaceuticals and alternative medicine. In other words, it’s a kind of diet book for the evidence nerd.
On his “quest to find the truth about the things that make us healthy,” the editor of theHealth Law Journal lives his journey, seeking out a naturopath, consuming a mega-dose of homeopathic solution, going on a diet and getting his genes tested. In a chapter on fitness, Caulfield — a lifelong exercise nut — nearly expires after a workout with Hollywood trainer Gina Lombardi. Through the experience, we learn about what it takes to get the hard bodies we see onscreen. Of one nameless actress, Lombardi says the prescription is “two hours of intense, intense work — hard intervals plus weights — every day, seven days a week, all year. Plus, she doesn’t eat.” Other evidence-based truths about fitness: Working out by itself won’t make you lose weight, there is no such thing as “toning” and the best exercise is a combination of intense resistance and interval training.
Furthermore, the calories in, calories out approach to slimming down — that we can burn off that extra pizza on the treadmill — is a myth perpetuated by industry. Why do you think Coca-Cola has been the lead sponsor of so many physical fitness initiatives? “While it is hard to knock Coca-Cola for promoting exercise, it is equally difficult to imagine that the company is not at least partly motivated by the financial upside of sustaining the exercise-as-a-weight-loss-strategy myth,” Caulfield writes.
He also points his quack-busting finger at his peers in the academy. He tells of fitness researchers who want their work to be seen as “socially valuable” and, perhaps inadvertently, suppress the truth that diet is 80% to 90% of the weight-loss equation. On genetics, he shows that while the promises of the genetics revolution are overblown by media, much of the hype has been manufactured right in the ivory tower. One geneticist tells Caulfield, “The genetics community wants to make it look like we are on course to help with common diseases, even if we aren’t.” It’s a fact some researchers don’t want to escape, should the money go elsewhere. And much of the money backing genetics research can be traced back to one industry: Big Tobacco. (If we found the genetic on switch for lung cancer, whether we smoked might not matter.)
When Caulfield focuses his attention on food, he assembles a Food Advisory Team (FAT) made up of nutrition experts who guide his quest for the most healthful eating habits. Building on the foodie activist-journalist Michael Pollan’s work, Caulfield uncovers the science behind the simple things that actually improve health: smaller portions, cutting out junk and doing so as part of a lifelong approach. It seems like stuff we already know. But not so fast: Caulfield is brilliant at describing how industry spins these simple truths. For example, we’re bombarded with messages to eat more of many foods, but never less of anything, and the conventional wisdom that everything in moderation is OK. This is all wrong, Caulfield contends. In the some 1,700-calorie a day diet most of us need to maintain a healthy weight, “there is no room for a moderateamount of crap.” (Italics are the reviewer’s own).
The health-care insider who can write like an outsider becomes a living example of his argument. Though he starts the book a fit man, the chocolate-coated peanut addict loses 25 pounds and nearly halves his body fat “all due to simple eating. Smaller portions. No poison. Healthier choices.”
In order to sustain weight loss and stop the number on the scale from creeping up as we age, Caulfield finds that we need to be ceaselessly vigilant. He speaks to one successful dieter who lost 75 pounds a decade ago and managed — against all odds — to keep it off. Her trick? She consumes only 1,600 calories each day by doing things such as only ordering starters at restaurants.
My first thought was “how depressing.” By the end of the book, I wondered whether that reaction has been shaped by the food peddlers who make us believe it’s depressing not to overindulge.
For those who follow matters of health evidence closely, some of Caulfield’s revelations may not be groundbreaking. Still, A Cure for Everything! is insightful and entertaining. If there are parts that are repetitive or gimmicky, it seems forgivable: The author is waging a noble battle against a mountain of misinformation. Gently and with humour, Caulfield guides readers through the funhouse world of health sciences with an openness and spirit of inquiry sometimes missing from the arsenal of eager myth-busters in the debunking genre, such as Ben Goldacre and his Bad Science. Next, though, we need to figure out how to fix the broken systems that generate the spin.
By the end of the book, Caulfield gets at the deep irony in the fact that we’ve never had so much scientific knowledge at our fingertips, yet “it is being subjected to an unprecedented number of perverting influences.” This geeky diet tome, then, becomes a compelling and timely argument for science and a reminder that science is an iterative process, breakthroughs are rare, and there are no magical cures for everything.
Science, when done properly, is worth defending,” he writes. “And it’s worth defending because when it’s not twisted, it actually can make us healthier.”


Ron Morehead & Bigfoot Troop




 This is a good report and investigation of the chatter collected from a troop of Bigfoot in the Sierra Nevada. Clearly the creatures felt no threat and were also curious. Importantly they were also away from human occupation and were in their own range and not just passing through.

Apparently the same conditions also apply in Banff National Park were several such troops have been identified as per post last year.

Another report also informed us that an individual was approached and had a discussion with an older Bigfoot who he had assisted almost unknowingly. That individual had clearly made an effort to overhear our chatter and had come to understand it enough to attempt communication. However it was a clear outlier.

This piece provides outright confirmation that language is been utilized and also that in the right conditions, these primates will make an effort to communicate. Again they need to haul in lots of apples for them as gifts. I would even plant some apple trees atv the meeting place and be seen tending them.


10 Extraordinary Questions With… Ron Morehead of ‘Bigfoot Sounds’

Published on August 21, 2012 by natalina


We’ve discussed a wide variety of strange phenomena on Extraordinary Intelligence over the years.  Very few things rattle me anymore, but when I heard Ron Morehead’s story on L.A. Marzulli’s Acceleration Radio, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

Ron Morehead: Author/Producer

Starting in 1971, Mr. Morehead had a series of extraordinary encounters.  In a remote wilderness camp, he and his party were witnesses to some of the strangest sounds and interactions between man and beast (?) that I’ve ever heard.  Returning to the camp many times, Ron and those who traveled with him captured audio evidence of these encounters that may send chills down your spine.  His audios have been examined by experts and cannot be debunked.  In fact, crypto-linguists claim to have actually discovered a complex language within the recordings!

Ron Morehead is the author of Voices in the Wilderness, and is the producer of the Bigfoot Recordings Vol. 1 & 2.  He has had much field experience with the Bigfoot phenomenon, and focuses on interacting with these giants and understanding them better.  I am so thrilled that he agreed to share his story with Extraordinary Intelligence.

A note from Ron: My answers are based mostly on my experiences with this particular family of creatures. I believe there could be different types of these giants roaming the forests.

1.  Thanks Mr. Morehead, for agreeing to share your compelling story with Extraordinary Intelligence. Before we discuss the evidence you’ve collected, let’s set the scene. Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to the first encounter with an unknown creature in the woods.

At the time these encounters began my profession was in the hospitality industry. I was also the administrator of a large church in Merced, CA. One of the other board members was a hunter and socially our families blended well. At that time I did not hunt. However, in 1971, after the hunting group that my friend was involved with was a couple days late, his wife told me of an encounter the men had with an unknown ‘something’ that made horrific, intimidating sounds and left huge five-toed prints around their camp. All the wives were worried. After one night of experiencing these sounds, one of the hunters fled the camp. He knew the way back in but wanted someone trustworthy to accompany him. This was the beginning of my trekking into this remote wilderness area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

2. Prior to your encounter with what you believe to be Bigfoot, were you a believer in/did you know much about these beings?

Actually, I had no thoughts about bigfoot, one way or the other. I believed then, as I believe now, that we humans don’t know all there is to know. I was very curious.

3. At what point did you decide to begin recording the sounds you were hearing?

The sounds were being heard almost every time the camp was visited during 1971 and 1972. We all began to pack cassette recorders to record them.

Ron was kind enough to send me a few of the sounds that he’s captured.   Listen below:

1. Disagreement:
2. Fast Talk:
3. Vocal Exchange (This one is particularly interesting because it features human interaction with the creatures in the woods):

4. Were you or was anyone in your party ever able to get a visual on the creatures? Further, was there any other strange phenomena seen in the area of these sightings/encounters?

Yes. Although these creatures were/are extremely stealthy, brief glimpses were occasionally caught. However, we were never able to capture a picture. All our camera traps failed. Different type of sounds heard are unexplained by classical science. Small orbs were reportedly following three of the hunters around the camp. I noted a large controlled ball of light once. During the day, we’ve all heard what sounded like a large tuning fork. Other unusual events are mentioned in my book.

5. With regard to the sounds that you captured, what makes them stand out as unique to other woodland animal sounds?

Their rapid chatter and amplitude is completely different than anything else that might be heard in the forest.

6. Has there been any type of research or review of the tapes? What were the findings?

Yes. In 1978, Dr. R. Lynn Kirlin, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Wyoming, conducted a year-long study of the sounds and established that the tapes had not been altered, i.e., slowed down, speeded up, pre-recorded or re-recorded. His semi-quantitative study also established the vocal track length to be much larger than that of humans. More recently, in 2008, a highly trained Crypto-Linguist, R. Scott Nelson, established that the sounds are ‘language’.

The interaction exchange was recorded in 1974 when I tried to mimic their sounds. According to the Crypto-Linguist, this was an effort on their part to slow down their rapid chatter and communicate.

7. Do you continue to visit the area where you first encountered bigfoot?

Yes.

8. What is your advice to an amateur researcher who may encounter creatures such as the ones you’ve had experience with?

There are several things I suggest, which can be reviewed on my web site www.bigfootsounds.com.
However, the main suggestion is to realize that they are sentient beings, able to reason using cognizant thought process like we do. Don’t underestimate them.

9. Do you have theories as to the origins of Bigfoot? What are they? Where do they come from? Are they strictly physical beings or do you think there’s a supernatural component to their existence?

Theories can change as one’s knowledge expands. However, after over 40 years of delving into this enigma, my theory at this time is that they are a remnant of a demigod – celestial intervention; perhaps part great ape (orangutan?). The sentiency comes from the celestial intervention. They are definitely ‘physical’ but may also have an attribute that we don’t fully understand –nor is it answerable by classical science. Perhaps we also have this attribute, but were disconnected from it at one time, i.e., ‘Garden of Eden’.

10. Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss your fascinating research with us! For our final question, do you have any upcoming projects/appearances that you’d like the readers to be aware of? Also, where can we acquire your published materials and please share the links to your website.

At my presentations I give a PowerPoint program and play some of the sounds. These events are mentioned on my Facebook page. My book, ‘Voices in the Wilderness’ and two different CDs with the story and the sounds are available at www.bigfootsounds.com

I appreciate this opportunity.

Ron Morehead

Older Dads Raise Risk for Autism?





The take home is that the statistical surge in autism is driven by the surge in older fathers. The surge was there and it led to a range of doubtful speculations. If we can narrow the bulk of causation to the demographic shift, then we can set aside biochemical drivers.

There is still something at work here but we will never advance if we are chasing red herrings. Previous posts on autism suggests that we may have cause for hope. Thus focusing on the real problem is additional good news.

Hopefully someday it will be a simple tweak (likely genetic) and the problem is resolved. Could this be a problem of flawed fertilization itself? It is all about the development of the nervous system itself and that is the primary driver.

Older Dads Raise Risk for Autism?

August 22, 2012
(1:54)


BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN

A new study suggests older dads are more likely to have a child with autism or schizophrenia.

Sparking headlines like “Old dads, beware.”


That might be a bit of an over hype. The researchers chalk up the findings to genetic mutations that happen as humans age. But first, let’s delve a little deeper with KABC and WCBS.


KABC: “Researchers say their findings may factor in the increasing autism rate. About 30% of new autism cases involve older fathers.”


“Sperm cells divide every 15 days or so, and all this genetic copying of genetic material inevitably leads to errors. Random mutations in the sperm DNA over years. And all these mutations tend to accumulate.”

Here’s the thing though — despite the headlines, the findings really shouldn’t cause alarm. The scientists in the study say the absolute risk of a dad in his 40s having a child with autism is only 2 percent. But as The New York Times’ Benedict Carey writes, the results provide...


“...support for the argument that the surging rate of autism diagnoses over recent decades is attributable in part to the increasing average age of fathers.”


And it seems the results have sparked a conversation about how times have changed. On Sky News, a correspondent says while some in the medical community think the best age to have kids is in your early 20s...


“The lifestyle that we need now means that more women and men are leaving it later into their late thirties and even the early of the forties.”


And another interesting aspect of the study is it focuses on dads. Most previous research focused on mothers. In fact, when we went looking for statistics about the average age of parenthood, there was just way more out there on moms’ ages.


And we should note, the study didn’t find a correlation between a mother’s age and the risk of autism or schizophrenia. The study looked at 78 Icelandic families that had children with autism or schizophrenia diagnoses.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Collapsing Sea Ice Smashes Record





I stated loudly back in 2007 before that years ice loss shaped up into a record, that ice losses would allow clear sailing by 2012. This was not wishful thinking on my part but understanding and extrapolating the already well defined decline. My news release sparked a quiet news release out of NASA saying much the same. Obviously they had held back until they were forced by my news release.

The sea ice itself has today reached what may well be described as its terminal phase. There is a minimum of multiyear ice and it is all well broken up. The area covered although highly variable on a year by year basis has now contracted so much that both passages are wide open this year. This can still be expected to vary greatly depending on winds, but I now think that the North West passage is clear four years out of five and the North East passage will be clear half the time. The areal extent has contracted so well as to make blockage difficult.

This is all great news for shipping and cruise tourism.

I do not expect the sea ice ever to reach zero for the summer low, but think that the injection of warm surface water that is causing all this will work to keep the summer sea ice well contained.



Arctic sea ice extent breaks 2007 record low

August 27, 2012


Arctic sea ice appears to have broken the 2007 record daily extent and is now the lowest in the satellite era. With two to three more weeks left in the melt season, sea ice continues to track below 2007 daily extents.

Please note that this is not an announcement of the sea ice minimum extent for 2012. NSIDC will release numbers for the 2012 daily minimum extent when it occurs. A full analysis of the melt season will be published in early October, once monthly data are available for September.

Arctic sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles).

Including this year, the six lowest ice extents in the satellite record have occurred in the last six years (2007 to 2012).

After tracking near 2007 levels through July, the extent declined rapidly in early August. Since then, the loss rate has slowed some, averaging about 75,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) per day—equivalent to the size of the state of South Carolina. However, this is still much faster than the normal rate at this time of year of about 40,000 square kilometers per day (15,000 square miles).
Note that the date and extent of the 2007 minimum have changed since we originally posted in 2007; see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.


Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for August 26, 2012 (right) was 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles), which was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles, left). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data. 


Figure 2. The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of August 26, 2012, along with daily ice extent data for 2007, the previous record low year, and 1980, the record high year. 2012 is shown in blue, 2007 in green, and 1980 in orange. The 1979 to 2000 average is in dark gray. The gray area around this average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. The 1981 to 2010 average is in sky blue. Sea Ice Index data.  

The Next Boat People





 What is well forgotten is the Mid East is that the present regime of national borders were never art of a historical solution at all. They were established out of the Ottoman Dispensation as a parceling out of land to the two victorious imperial powers still standing in 1918. Do not think for a second that the deciding minds thought that this new regime was anything but permanent. It all was a natural continuation of centuries of history.

As all wise imperialists, they then empowered an ethnic minority whose loyalty was naturally forced to act as their cats paw. This plan always has a bad ending and we have had the joy of unraveling what was created.

What holds true for Syria and the Alawites today, also holds true for Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Iraq is now partially resolved and the rest are not. The best solution is also the most difficult in the short term and that is to set up individual homelands that are autonomous. Since the cultures are fairly similar. It would make good sense to establish a recognized Alawite city state, as well additional city states specific to other ethnic groups. What they represent is an escape hatch for any outbreak of tribalism.

These provide natural refugia if it becomes necessary.

Today Israel is a natural refugia for the Jewish people even though plenty of non jews work and live happily inside Is real.

Since the Alawites had a prior independent status, restoring it somewhat as a city state is fairly practical.

The next boat people


Aug 24, 2012 10:44 PM ET

Syria’s Alawites may take to the sea, like the Vietnamese


If President Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite minority lose Syria’s civil war to the Sunni majority, as Western governments have predicted for more than a year now, the real bloodbath begins. The Sunnis, in revenge for four decades of often-murderous Assad family rule, are sure to seek retribution for the 20,000 brutally killed by Assad in the last 18 months; for the 10,000 wiped out by Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, in a chemical-weapons massacre that put down a 1982 rebellion; and for the countless indignities and injustices throughout the period when the Alawite minority ruled over the Sunni majority.
Anticipating wholesale slaughter — calls for genocide against the Alawites abound — many if not most of the country’s two million-plus Alawites would flee in panic. Because Syria’s immediate neighbours to the north, south and east have neither the capacity nor the desire to accept large numbers of Alawites — seen as heretics by Sunni and Shia Muslims alike — many Alawites will take to the sea in an attempt to get to the West. This would create the greatest refugee crisis for the West since the end of the Vietnamese civil war in the 1970s, which saw the West first detain and then ultimately resettle more than one million boat people in the 1970s and 1980s.

A humanitarian disaster of epic scale is thus unfolding, one that would also strain Western budgets in this time of austerity — the cost of detaining Vietnamese refugees in the 1980s, when security was less of an issue, could cost as much as US$75,000 per person per year. Yet these looming costs, as well as the looming humanitarian disaster, are avoidable. Not under the West’s present strategy of regime change — replacing the Assad regime with a Sunni-led-coalition while keeping Syria’s borders intact – but by creating a state within Syria’s present borders for its Alawite population.

Such a state — called The Alawite State — actually existed after the First World War, when Alawites rebelled against French colonial rule over their homeland along the Mediterranean coast in a northwest corner of present-day Syria. With the blessings of the League of Nations, The Alawite State lasted from 1920 to 1936, when it joined Syria, a protectorate of various disparate minorities created by the Western colonial powers. Alawites — known for thr military prowess — later became powerful in the fascist Baath Party that has ruled Syria in a military dictatorship

That fascist Baath Party is now crumbling, as have other secular regimes in the Middle East, most of them artificial creations of the British and French in carving up the spoils of the Ottoman Empire. If the Western powers today were not adamant in preserving the country’s present borders, an Alawite state would be a likely outcome — the Alawites are in fact fortifying their traditional homeland, to allow them a retreat and, if necessary, a last stand. Syria’s Kurds are likewise fortifying traditional Kurdish parts of Syria, to protect themselves from bloodshed regardless of who ultimately assumes power.

But the West opposes a breakup of Syria, as do the governments of Syria’s neighbouring states — all fear the consequences of setting a precedent that encourages the national aspirations of the many other minorities in the Middle East. Local sectarian wars may well erupt in that grudge-filled part of the world.

Yet the consequences of insisting that Syria’s borders remain unchanged, and of forcing the Alawites and the Sunni majority to live together, are unconscionable: a continuation of the current killing of Sunni innocents at the hands of Assad’s Alawite forces, followed by a killing of Alawite minority innocents should the Sunni rebels win. In contrast, the case for quickly carving out an Alawite state is compelling, not least because it raises the prospects of a shortened and less reprehensible end to the current civil war.

Because Alawites don’t have a safe harbour in a state of their own, they are fighting furiously, and if necessary may resort to chemical weapons. If they do lose, and if the Sunni victors invade and overrun the Alawite strongholds, laying siege to the Alawite capital of Latakia on the Mediterranean, their backs will literally be to the sea.

Latakia, as the country’s largest port, will then oversee a large-scale evacuation of the populace by sea. And the West would oversee a refugee problem largely of its making.


There was an error in this gadget