Friday, December 16, 2011

Farmland is Bubbleland

Thanks mac for the article as I have previously written. Aivars Lode

December 16, 2011 by
The Wall Street Journal just caught up with the boom in farmland story yesterday. The price of farmland has doubled over the past past 4-5 years in the nation’s heartland. While some question the rise in prices, rationalizations have appeared as is always the case.
Less than 2% of the cropland in Iowa is sold each year, and 74% of it ends up in the hands of local farmers, who tend to buy for the long term and often buy with cash instead of debt.
Except that TIAA-CREF is not exactly your garden variety “local farmer.” The retirement system for employees of nonprofits, has acquired 600,000 acres of cropland worth $2.5 billion, about half of which are in the U.S.
“If opportunities arose, we could double our portfolio,” said Jose Minaya, TIAA-CREF’s head of natural-resources investments tells the WSJ.
“Investors discount worries of a price bubble, if only because the rapid appreciation in land doesn’t seem to be fueled by easy credit. In states such as Nebraska, roughly half the land purchases are for cash,” Mark Peters and Scott Kilman write for the WSJ.
Well sure, but it now takes 6 years worth of a crop to equal an acre of land, when the historical metric is 4 years.
Also, while land prices keep lurching upward, crop prices are going the other way.
Whether leverage is used or not, land prices move up and down depending upon interest rates.
Sterling Liddell, an agribusiness analyst at Rabobank, said Midwest cropland prices could drop 12% to 15% sometime over the next three years to five years if interest rates climb back to more-normal levels, which would make alternative investments more attractive.
This isn’t the first boom in farmland prices and it won’t be the last. Nothing causes memory loss as surely as an investment mania. As I wrote back in July, “Every new bubble feels different.”

The planets heat over the last 10,000 years constantly warming and cooling

China's epic hangover begins

Everyone has to go through the same restructuring and China has to have its turn as well. Looks like with the excess capacity in numerous industries as i have talked about in previous BLOGS we will have cheaper goods. Where will inflation come into play? I think Aussie and Canada will be in for a revaluation of their currencies in the not too distant future. Thanks Rob for the article. Aivars Lode

China's credit bubble has finally popped. The property market is swinging wildly from boom to bust, the cautionary exhibit of a BRIC's dream that is at last coming down to earth with a thud.

China's credit bubble has finally popped. The property market is swinging wildly from boom to bust, the cautionary exhibit of a BRIC's dream that is at last coming down to earth with a thud.
Chinese stocks are flashing warning signs. The Shanghai index has fallen 30pc since May. It is off 60pc from its peak in 2008, as much in real terms as Wall Street from 1929 to 1933. Photo: Reuters
It is hard to obtain good data in China, but something is wrong when the country's Homelink property website can report that new home prices in Beijing fell 35pc in November from the month before. If this is remotely true, the calibrated soft-landing intended by Chinese authorities has gone badly wrong and risks spinning out of control.
The growth of the M2 money supply slumped to 12.7pc in November, the lowest in 10 years. New lending fell 5pc on a month-to-month basis. The central bank has begun to reverse its tightening policy as inflation subsides, cutting the reserve requirement for lenders for the first time since 2008 to ease liquidity strains.
The question is whether the People's Bank can do any better than the US Federal Reserve or Bank of Japan at deflating a credit bubble.
Chinese stocks are flashing warning signs. The Shanghai index has fallen 30pc since May. It is off 60pc from its peak in 2008, almost as much in real terms as Wall Street from 1929 to 1933.
"Investors are massively underestimating the risk of a hard-landing in China, and indeed other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China)... a 'Bloody Ridiculous Investment Concept' in my view," said Albert Edwards at Societe Generale.
"The BRICs are falling like bricks and the crises are home-blown, caused by their own boom-bust credit cycles. Industrial production is already falling in India, and Brazil will soon follow."
"There is so much spare capacity that they will start dumping goods, risking a deflation shock for the rest of the world. It no surpise that China has just imposed tariffs on imports of GM cars. I think it is highly likely that China will devalue the yuan next year, risking a trade war," he said.
China's $3.2 trillion foreign reserves have been falling for three months despite the trade surplus. Hot money is flowing out of the country. "One-way capital inflow or one-way bets on a yuan rise have become history. Our foreign reserves are basically falling every day," said Li Yang, a former central bank rate-setter.
The reserve loss acts as a form of monetary tightening, exactly the opposite of the effect during the boom. The reserves cannot be tapped to prop up China's internal banking system. To do so would mean repatriating the money – now in US Treasuries and European bonds – pushing up the yuan at the worst moment.
The economy is badly out of kilter. Consumption has fallen from 48pc to 36pc of GDP since the late 1990s. Investment has risen to 50pc of GDP. This is off the charts, even by the standards of Japan, Korea or Tawian during their catch-up spurts. Nothing like it has been seen before in modern times.
Fitch Ratings said China is hooked on credit, but deriving ever less punch from each dose. An extra dollar in loans increased GDP by $0.77 in 2007. It is $0.44 in 2011. "The reality is that China's economy today requires significantly more financing to achieve the same level of growth as in the past," said China analyst Charlene Chu.
Ms Chu warned that there had been a "massive build-up in leverage" and fears a "fundamental, structural erosion" in the banking system that differs from past downturns. "For the first time, a large number of Chinese banks are beginning to face cash pressures. The forthcoming wave of asset quality issues has the potential to become uglier than in previous episodes".
Investors had thought China was immune to a property crash because mortgage finance is just 19pc of GDP. Wealthy Chinese often buy two, three or more flats with cash to park money because they cannot invest overseas and bank deposit rates have been minus 3pc in real terms this year.
But with price to income levels reaching nosebleed levels of 18 in East coast cities, it is clear that appartments – often left empty – have themselves become a momentum trade.
Professor Patrick Chovanec from Beijing's Tsinghua School of Economics said China's property downturn began in earnest in August when construction firms reported that unsold inventories had reached $50bn. It has now turned into "a spiral of downward expectations".
A fire-sale is under way in coastal cities, with Shanghai developers slashing prices 25pc in November – much to the fury of earlier buyers, who expect refunds. This is spreading. Property sales have fallen 70pc in the inland city of Changsa. Prices have reportedly dropped 70pc in the "ghost city" of Ordos in Inner Mongolia. China Real Estate Index reports that prices dropped by just 0.3pc in the top 100 cities last month, but this looks like a lagging indicator. Meanwhile, the slowdown is creeping into core industries. Steel output has buckled.
Beijing was able to counter the global crunch in 2008-2009 by unleashing credit, acting as a shock absorber for the whole world. It is doubtful that Beijing can pull off this trick a second time.
"If investors go for growth at all costs again they are likely to find that it works even less than before and inflation returns quickly with a vengeance," said Diana Choyleva from Lombard Street Research.
The International Monetary Fund's Zhu Min says loans have doubled to almost 200pc of GDP over the last five years, including off-books lending.
This is roughly twice the intensity of credit growth in the five years preceeding Japan's Nikkei bubble in the late 1980s or the US housing bubble from 2002 to 2007. Each of these booms saw loan growth of near 50 percentage points of GDP.
The IMF said in November that lenders face a "steady build-up of financial sector vulnerabilities", warning if hit with multiple shocks, "the banking system could be severely impacted".
Mark Williams from Capital Economics said the great hope was that China would use its credit spree after 2008 to buy time, switching from chronic over-investment to consumer-led growth. "It hasn't work out as planned. The next few weeks are likely to reveal how little progress has been made. China may ride out the storm over the next few months, but the dangers of over-capacity and bad debt will only intensify".
In truth, China faces an epic deleveraging hangover, like the rest of us.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Obama's Justice Department joins Britain's 'Climategate' leaker manhunt

Is there something to hide? Thanks Rob for the article Aivars Lode

I have seen apparent proof that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Criminal Division, is working with United Kingdom police to pursue the leaker of the 2009 and 2011 “Climategate” emails.
I have learned that last week DOJ sent a search-and-seizure letter to the host of three climate-change "skeptic" blogs. Last night, UK police raided a blogger’s home and removed computers and equipment.
The leaked records derailed “cap-and-trade” legislation in the U.S. and, internationally, as well as talks for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The emails and computer code were produced with taxpayer funds and held on taxpayer-owned computers both in the US and the UK, and all were subject to the UK Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and state FOIA laws.
They also were being unlawfully withheld in both the UK (by the University of East Anglia) and the U.S. (Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including stonewalling me for two years, and three other requesters for longer).
The hunt involving U.S. and UK law enforcement agencies is now escalating. On Wednesday night UK time, six detectives with the UK police (Norfolk Police Department) raided the home of at least one blogger, removing his equipment to look for clues to the identity of leaker “FOIA 2011.”
On December 9, DOJ sent a preservation letter under 18 U.S.C 2703(f) to the publication platform (website host) Wordpress. This authority authorizes the government to request an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to preserve all records of a specific account for 90 days while the feds work on a warrant.
Norfolk PD affirmed to the subject of at least one of their raids that this international law enforcement hunt is for the leaker, meaning not for those whose acts the leaker exposed by making public emails containing admissions in their own words.
In the U.S., the academic and political Left have had fits about Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli exercising even more specific, anti-fraud authority to seek further records from University of Virginia in following up on indications from the first Climategate release of possible fraud against the taxpayer.
Apparently, that represented an abuse of the police power. No word yet if they are outraged by DOJ’s current foray or that of the UK raiding team.
The DOJ attorney sending the preservation letters, as it happens in this small world, a graduate of the University of Virginia (UVA). And UVA is also the subject of litigation a group I am associated with, the American Tradition Institute (ATI), that has filed suit on behalf of Virginia taxpayers seeking Climategate-related emails the school holds.
This is a case which has members of the Virginia faculty and establishment beside themselves and demanding an all-out effort to oppose production of the requested documents in an effort to wear us and Cuccinelli down.
So far UVA has spent upwards of $1 million fighting Cuccinelli’s request, and school officials continue to fight us in court every step of the way.
Clearly, this is no small matter in the quarters insisting that this taxpayer-financed information never see the light of day. Even the criminal legal apparatus of the U.S. and UK must be invoked against this threat, apparently.
To review: The UK police and the US DOJ, Criminal Division, are pursuing a leaker of public records subject to one or more FOIA, records that were unlawfully withheld under those laws, which leaks indicate apparent civil violations (tortious interference by seeking dismissal of certain “skeptics”), and raising reasonable questions of fraud against taxpayers.
And they are pursuing the leaker.
Here’s the text of the DOJ request to the ISP:
“Pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 2703(f), this letter is a formal request for the preservation of all stored communications, records, and other evidence in your possession regarding the following domain name(s) pending further legal process: [DELETED] (“the Accounts”) from 00:01 GMT Monday 21 November 2011 to 23:59 GMT Wednesday 23 November 2011.
“I request that you not disclose the existence of this request to the subscriber or any other person, other than as necessary to comply with this request. If compliance with this request might result in a permanent or temporary termination of service to the Accounts, or otherwise alert any user of the Accounts as to your actions to preserve the information described below, please contact me as soon as possible and before taking action.
“I request that you preserve, for a period of 90 days, the information described below currently in your possession in a form that includes the complete record. This request applies only retrospectively. It does not in any way obligate you to capture and preserve new information that arises after the date of this request. This request applies to the following items, whether in electronic or other form, including information stored on backup media, if available:
“1. The contents of any communication or file stored by or for the Accounts and any associated accounts, and any information associated with those communications or files, such as the source and destination email addresses or IP addresses.
“2. All records and other information relating to the Accounts and any associated accounts including the following:
a. Names (including subscriber names, user names, and screen names);
b. Addresses (including mailing addresses, residential addresses, business addresses, and e-mail addresses);
c. Local and long distance telephone connection records;
d. Records of session times and durations, and the temporarily assigned network addresses (such as Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses) associated with those sessions, including any log history of when username “FOIA” uploaded posts to the Accounts;
e. Length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized;
f. Telephone or instrument numbers (including MAC addresses);
g. Other subscriber numbers or identities (including the registration Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses); and
h. Means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number) and billing records.”
Christopher C. Horner is an attorney in Washington, DC, pursuing several "climate" related freedom of information requests.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

More on Climate gate

Thanks Bud for the article Aivars Lode

Daily Policy Digest

Environment Issues

December 15, 2011

Climategate 2.0 and Scientific Integrity

Climategate, both 1 and 2, are textbook cases of gross lapses in professional ethics and scientific malfeasance.  To understand why, one must first understand what science is and how it is supposed to operate, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.
  • Science is the noble pursuit of knowledge through observation, testing and experimentation.
  • Scientists attempt to explain, describe and/or predict the implications of phenomena through the use of the scientific method, which consists of gaining knowledge or explanatory power through a process.
  • Progress is made in science by proposing a hypothesis and developing a theory to explain or understand certain phenomena, and then testing the hypothesis against reality.
  • A particular hypothesis is considered superior to others when, through testing, it is shown to have more explanatory power than competing theories or hypotheses.
  • Every theory or hypothesis must be disconfirmable in principle, which means that, if the theory predicts that "A" will occur under certain conditions, but instead, "B" and sometimes "C" result, then the theory has problems.
  • The more a hypothesis' predictions prove inconsistent with or are diametrically opposed to the results that occur during testing, the less likely the hypothesis is to be correct.
Which brings us to Climategate.
  • Climategate parts one and two are a series of leaked e-mails from arguably the most prominent researchers promoting the idea that humans are causing catastrophic global warming.
  • The first group of e-mails released in 2009 showed scientists, among other things, attempting to suppress or alter inconvenient data, destroying raw data so that others would be unable to analyze it and trying to suppress dissent by undermining the peer review process.
  • Climategate 2 is a second release of e-mails with little new information, but more hiding of data.
To be clear, these e-mails do not disprove that humans are causing potentially catastrophic global warming, but what clearly emerges is that the scientists claiming that "the science is settled" and that there is "consensus" among scientists, can't be trusted, nor can their research be pointed to as solid proof of anthropogenic global warming, says Burnett.
Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "What's Going on Behind the Curtain? Climategate 2.0 and Scientific Integrity," National Association of Scholars, December 14, 2011.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Building a Massive Neutrino Hunter Beneath the Mediterranean

Why does anyone care? Because if these are faster than light then whoever works out how to control them, controls the financial markets. Think high speed trading on steroids! Aivars Lode

The second-biggest structure in human history will seek to answer deep cosmic mysteries

KM3NeT Artist's Concept A possible configuration of the KM3NeT detector network. Marco Kraan/Property KM3NeT Consortium
Neutrinos may or may not move faster than light, but regardless, they're special little things. They speed through the planet, and through you, and through everything; but, chargeless and puny, they interact with their surroundings so minimally that other particles hardly take notice.
These subatomic particles are so tiny and so imperturbable they’re almost impossible to see, but they originate in some of the most violent and disruptive processes in the universe. Energetic neutrinos that originate in deep space, known as astrophysical neutrinos, escape from the dark centers of the universe’s most powerful places — gamma ray bursts, blazars and quasars, and black holes at the centers of galaxies. They can serve as cosmic messengers from these tumultuous places, but first we have to find them, and this is excruciatingly difficult. So European scientists are planning to construct the second-largest structure ever built by humanity, just to look for them.
Click to launch the photo gallery
Nestled beneath 3,200 feet of Mediterranean seawater, a neutrino detector called KM3NeT will stare at the seafloor in an effort to see neutrinos making their way through the Earth. The detector, spanning three cubic kilometers, will also serve as a new oceanography observatory in one of the world’s busiest bodies of water, helping biologists listen to whales and study bioluminescent organisms. It will be the largest structure ever made by humans after the Great Wall of China, said physicist Giorgio Riccobene, a staff researcher at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics who is working on the project. “The problem will be that nobody will see that,” he said with a laugh.
The goal is to find astrophysical neutrinos originating in cosmic cataclysms, Riccobene said. They could help explain the origin of cosmic rays, the proton flux that rains down on the Earth from unknown sources. To get past the magnetic fields provided by our galaxy, sun, and Earth itself, these cosmic rays must be incredibly powerful, but cosmic rays don’t point back to their sources the way light would. Neutrinos can help reconstruct their paths.
“At these energies,” Riccobene said, “the only high energy particles that can come from very distant sources are neutrinos. So by looking at them, we can probe the far and violent universe.”
The enormous detector required to do this is a pan-European effort, including 40 institutes or university groups from 10 countries, from the UK to Romania. On Nov. 24, the Italian Ministry of Research approved €20.8 million ($27.7 million) for the first part of the detector, comprising 30 underwater towers equipped with 37,200 photomultiplier modules. These little digital cameras will catch the telltale flashes that herald a neutrino’s arrival.


Much of the general public probably had never heard the word “neutrino” until the still-controversial faster-than-light claims made by a separate group of Italian physicists made news this fall. The supposedly speedy neutrinos glimpsed by the OPERA experiment were created in a beam of protons, and hurled underneath the Alps from Geneva to Gran Sasso, an Italian mountain that sits atop a physics lab. The neutrinos in that experiment were being monitored for signs of oscillation, one of the many bizarre behaviors that make neutrinos interesting. (The faster-than-light finding was, and remains, a total surprise.)
By looking at neutrinos on Earth, physicists can probe the far and violent universe. Neutrinos are formed in certain types of radioactive decay, including in the sun, in nuclear reactors, and in the collisions between cosmic rays and other objects. There are three varieties, known as flavors, according to the Standard Model of particles and forces: an electron neutrino, a tau neutrino and a muon neutrino. Neutrinos can change among these three flavors, a strange phenomenon that has been tapped in Japan and the U.S. to investigate why the universe is made of something rather than nothing.
They are neutral — hence the name, coined by Enrico Fermi, which means “little neutral one” in Italian — which means they can move through the rest of reality pretty much unimpeded. Here’s an example, courtesy of Peter Fisher, a particle physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Shoot a high-energy electron through a piece of metal, say three centimeters thick, and it will interact with other particles in the atoms of the metal. It will lose lots of energy in these collisions, resulting in other subatomic particles that can then be detected.
“For a neutrino with the same energy, you would need something like a light-year of heavy metal, because the interaction strength of the neutrino is so much smaller,” Fisher said. “Anytime you detect a particle, what you’re always doing is having the particle interact with some kind of matter, whether it’s water, steel, air, ice. The less the particle interacts, the more material you need for it to interact in.”
Instead of a light-year-sized piece of metal, KM3NeT will use the ocean. Here’s how it will work: Somewhere across the universe, one of the most powerful forces in the cosmos cleaves subatomic particles into their component parts, yielding super-energetic neutrinos. By chance, a few of these particles might travel to our galaxy and make their way to Earth, where they could provoke a response in a charged particle. Think of it like a game of billiards, explains Riccobene.
First Neutrino Observation: The world's first neutrino observation in a hydrogen bubble chamber was found Nov. 13, 1970. The invisible neutrino strikes a proton, where three particle tracks originate (right). The neutrino turns into a muon, the long center track. The short track is the proton. The third track is a pi-meson created by the collision.  Argonne National Laboratory

“The neutrino is the shot that breaks the ‘castle,’ the group of billiard balls that form the nucleus of an atom. When it breaks this castle, there is a possibility that an outgoing particle can be produced,” he said. If it is a muon — a charged subatomic bit, a much larger cousin to the electron — this is good news. The muon formation radiates a cone of blue light, known as Cherenkov radiation. If physicists are lucky, that flash will happen in a clear and deep medium, like Antarctic ice or the depths of the Mediterranean. “This is the light we look for, to reconstruct the trajectory of the muon,” Riccobene said. “So in this sense, it is an underwater telescope. The water allows us to see the reaction more clearly.”
By looking down through the Earth, the detector minimizes the odds of finding a stray atmospheric neutrino instead. Along with serving as the detecting medium, thousands of feet of seawater act as a secondary particle shield.


The technology enabling these light observations is, unsurprisingly, pretty complex. The optical sensors that detect those blue flashes are called photomultiplier tubes, and each can register the electronic signal created by a single photon. In previous detectors, including IceCube and precursors like Antares and AMANDA, the photomultipliers were monodimensional and mounted on strings. KM3NeT will put them into spherical pressure vessels called digital optical modules, which will then be mounted to underwater towers.
“This will improve the resolution and the tracking,” Riccobene said. “With a single large-area phototube, you miss the arrival direction information, but with several small-sized tubes, you know the direction.”
The tower network still has several possible configurations, but the entire thing will cover a volume of several cubic kilometers, which explains the name KM3NeT, for kilometer-cubed neutrino telescope. The towers themselves will be more than 800 meters (2,624 feet) tall — at present, which is still in planning stages, they're slated to be taller than the 2,723-foot Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.
Photomultiplier Tube With Connectors:  Property KM3NeT Consortium

The optical modules will be built to withstand six atmospheres of pressure, roughly equivalent to 20,000 feet below the surface of the sea. Each 17-inch sphere will hold 31 3-inch photomultiplier tubes, each of which is surrounded by a light concentrator ring to further increase the light collection area. The DOM will also contain calibration sensors like acoustic piezo sensors, compass and tilt meters and a nanobeacon. They’ll be mounted onto 20-foot-long bars, and 40 bars will be connected to each detection unit. The detector will look like a series of undersea towers, Riccobene said. There will be about 100 units per cubic kilometer of water. The whole network is connected via central stainless steel tubes, which will contain optical fibers to link the detector to shore stations several miles away.
KM3NeT is designed to be more sensitive than IceCube, at least in its ability to detect atmospheric neutrinos, which is something physicists can actually test. But as far as astrophysical neutrinos, no one knows what its resolution will be.
“Nobody has seen them,” Riccobene said. “What we expect is that we can detect something like 3,000 muons per second for atmospheric muons, but for astrophysical ones, it’s still a guess.” The photomultiplier modules are already being built, and several have already been deployed in various test phases as engineers continue planning, Riccobene said. As of now, the detector’s final design is still uncertain, because funding from several European research institutions is uncertain too. There are a couple options, including the huge detector, five times larger than IceCube, or splitting it up into three detectors at three different sites. KM3NeT could even work in concert with existing detectors, including a smaller European detector called Antares.
It is by far the largest, but KM3NeT is also just the latest in a long line of super-big and super-sensitive detectors. The IceCube detector, its closest kin, was completed less than a year ago, and its first year of data at full-strength observing capacity won’t even be available for six more months. Researchers have seen plenty of atmospheric neutrinos, generated above the Earth, but no astrophysical ones — at least not yet, said IceCube spokesman Greg Sullivan, a professor and associate chair in the physics department at the University of Maryland.
“We have set some limits that are interesting, and have started to rule out some of the models,” he said. “There are some parameters that theorists don’t know yet.”
IceCube and KM3NeT are similar in many ways — both use the Earth as a filter to block out background radiation and find neutrinos, and both use a deep, dense medium to hunt for Cherenkov light. But they look in different parts of the sky — IceCube looks at the northern sky, and KM3NeT to the south, incidentally the direction of the galactic center as seen from this planet. IceCube is also a lot smaller, one cubic kilometer to KM3NeT’s three, Sullivan said.
“This idea for a large neutrino telescope is many decades old, and [physicists] always thought it would be easiest to do it in deep water. It turned out to be relatively inexpensive and efficient to do it at the South Pole because of existing infrastructure,” he said.
When you're looking for something like a neutrino, you need as much volume of space as possible.But when you are looking for something with such a low flux, you need as much volume as possible, so IceCube may not be big enough. When KM3NeT was first envisioned, physicists considered making another observatory the size of IceCube, but early results — or the lack thereof — spurred them to make it bigger, Riccobene said. KM3NeT will be more powerful than IceCube by a factor of two or three, he said.
Not everyone agrees this is the right strategy, however. Fisher, at MIT, wonders how big will be considered big enough before physicists start thinking about other reasons why they can’t seem to find astrophysical neutrinos.
“There’s a segment of the physics community who make the argument, these are particles with a higher energy you could ever hope to produce in an accelerator, which is true. And they may tell us something different about the cosmos, that’s true. But it’s all ‘could be.’ And I haven’t seen anything from any of these experiments that tells us anything that’s new,” he said. “The way I’d look at it is, if you saw something, if there was some interesting new particle produced at the Large Hadron Collider, and you knew something about its properties, then you would know what to look for and what kind of detector to build. But just building bigger and bigger hasn’t worked so far.”
KM3NeT collaborators are still working on algorithms that will improve their odds, including pattern-recognition processes and optical module error rates.


At the very least, while attempting to understand the complex interactions between ultra-powerful subatomic particles, these enormous observatories have some added benefits for other scientists, too. To better understand their detector — the ocean — KM3NeT scientists are working with oceanographers, Riccobene said.
“The sea is our detector, and we have to know how our detector works,” he said. “One of the main problems is deep sea luminescence by bacteria, which could impact our photomultiplier tubes. We will need a biologist to say what is the expected range, what is the correlation with currents, and so on. On the other hand, it is very sensitive instrumentation, and these photomultiplier tubes could help them to discover new things in the deep sea.”
The optical modules will also have hydrophones, which oceanographers will be able to use to listen for whale songs.
The IceCube team has been working with researchers studying ice cores, Sullivan said. Dust grains embedded in Antarctic ice can provide a 100,000-year record of volcanic activity, and these core samples are as useful to glaciologists as they are to the physicists who drilled them to insert some cameras.
The KM3NeT consortium released a major technical report last winter that details the options for detector configurations, and most of the technological hurdles have already been worked out. At this point, building this gargantuan structure is a matter of funding and European geopolitics. One of the major collaborators is based in Greece, for instance, which has been hammered by the global financial crisis. Riccobene said there are still several options and he believes the project will continue to move forward. With the Italian section funded, preliminary construction could start sometime next year.
There will be plenty to look for, if KM3NeT does achieve its planned energy-range resolution from a few hundred giga-electronvolts to about several billion tera-electronvolts. At those ranges, physicists may be able to look for exotic particles like monopoles or dark matter candidates. But the main goal will still be astrophysical neutrinos, the most common — and yet some of the most unique — particles in the universe.

Was The "Collapse" Of MF Global Premeditated? A Conspiracy Theory

The fundamental piece of this story is that derivatives are like gambling for every winner there is a loser. If you ignore the political comments and focus on the rest of the content, you will understand that the money that people lose does not disappear! Someone else has it and the right question is who?  Thanks Bud for the article Aivars Lode

Was The "Collapse" Of MF Global Premeditated? A Conspiracy Theory
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/13/2011 20:31 -0500
Derivatives, unlike stocks where the equation has always been murky, are for the most part zero-sum products: one's gain is someone else's loss (net of commissions) unless of course the entire system collapses in a daisylinked chain reaction (think AIG). And MF Global's bankruptcy, by dint of being a derivatives broker, and the resulting massive losses to both shareholders and clients, means that some entity, on the other side of all these failed bets, made off like a bandit.

Which bring us to a rather disturbing theory proposed by Walter Burien of who has floated the rather the chilling idea, and what some may call an outright conspiracy theory, that by scuttling MF, Corzine effectively helped some shell company (or companies) which were controlled by a "cabal" of his closest confidants (we will let readers come up with their own theories who the former CEO of Goldman Sachs may have been close with) to make the offsetting profit that resulted from the accelerated and massive losses borne by MF's stakeholders in the vicious liquidation. As Burien says: "A government and media cover up would just focus on MFG's loss. A true and open investigation would be focused on "who" took the other side of the coin; the profit." And now that we know that Corzine allegedly lied to the Senate, just how much deeper does his transgression go, and did his really hand over the company on a silver platter to some anonymous "Hold Co" by taking on massive risks he knew were going to blow up in his face, albeit knowing the "other" side of the trade would compensate him for it? After all, Corzine's legacy may have been forever tarnished, but if there was one thing the man knew after all thosemostly successful years at Goldman, it was risk. So did he really blow up MF on a idiotic risk miscalculation bet within two years of joining, purely by mistake, or is there something more?

From CAFR1
"Collapse" of MF Global?
Corzine MFG
Corzine is a thief. He lost by trading activity the house's (MF GLOBAL) money to the tune of a billion dollars and then dipped into the client's money for 700 million dollars (almost a 2-billion dollar loss). It is the #1 criminal infraction that can be committed in the commodity futures market by using client's funds for a house posistion and with something of this magnitude theCFTC would have gotten an arrest and seizure order against Corzine from day-one when discovered if it was for other than the politically connected Corzine.

Here is the BIG point that needs to be immediately passed on to the public. In a situation like this the "loss" to MFG is just one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is who made the profit that counter balances with the loss.

If Corzine had this set up as an intentional sting operation,  in advance a shell trading company is established and for example purposes we will call it Hong Kong Trading Partners LTD. (HKTP) held in Singapore. The sting goes like this:

As Corzine through MFG takes a derivative futures market position HKTP takes the exact corresponding opposite position tit for tat to what MFG is entering into. The market goes against MFG creating a loss but now the equal profit is growing in HKTP.

MFG increases their position and HKTP likewise does the same and the market again goes "against" MFG and "for" HKTP.

Now for the play-out of the sting. It is announced MFG has taken this large position with their own funds and also did the primary no-no of using client's funds to back it.

Well, procedure is clear in this type of situation: "Forced liquidation of all positions held by MFG"

What this does is give HKTP the liquidity to get out of their position from MFG's forced liquidation without causing an adverse movement to HKTP's position when being liquidated. MFG's forced liquidation is HKTP's volume needed to get out of their position and lock in their profit. Wealth transfer complete; MFG and a few of their clients decimated, and none outside of the sting are the wiser if no one carefully looks at who was playing the other side of the position against MFG.

If Corzine and a few of his buddies set up a sting as noted above, as far as they are concerned, they did not loose 1. something billion dollars for MFG and MFG's clients, what they did was they transferred 1. something billion dollars to themselves through a shell global trading company(s).

In most cases when a sting like this plays out it is not just one shell company used to play the other side of the coin, usually it is spreed out between ten or more shell trading companies.

A government and media cover up would just focus on MFG's loss. A true and open investigation would be focused on "who" took the other side of the coin; the profit. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Britain 'faces power cuts' due to wind turbine plan.

Not even funny! Thanks Mac for the article. Aivars Lode

Britain could face power cuts within four years because of Government plans to rely on wind turbines, a leading think-tank will warn today.

Wind turbines are an expensive 'lunacy', says National Trust
Wind turbines next to the village of Bothel in Cumbria Photo: ALAMY
A report by the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance claims that wind farms cannot meet the UK’s need for energy, leading to “a crisis by the middle of this decade".
It estimates that five turbines would have to be put up every day to generate the Government’s targeted amount of electricity from wind, which is championed by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne.
Martin Livermore, a director of the Scientific Alliance, said not enough wind turbines can be built quickly enough to replace Britain’s current coal and nuclear stations, which will mostly have closed by the end of the decade “It’s a real lack of energy security," he said. "The rather frightening comparison is with South Africa is where they didn’t build nearly enough power stations and they’ve had rolling black-outs for a number of years. Clearly if we made a real effort to encourage energy efficiency the situation might not be too bad it doesn’t look too rosy at the moment.”
The report challenges the Government's claims that generating energy from wind power will be cheaper in the long run.
Its authors say the market is “rigged” to make burning fossil fuels more expensive, because emitting carbon dioxide is taxed.
However, a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said the report “completely misses the point".
"Our policies are aimed at developing a mix of energy sources here in the UK rather than relying so much on expensive fossil fuel imports, so we can keep the lights on and cut emissions as old power stations close," he said. "It would be madness to put all our eggs in one basket, ignore the UK’s huge renewables potential and just give away Britain’s share of the green energy revolution."
Renewables companies also said the report did not look at all the evidence.
Dr Gordon Edge, director of policy at RenewableUK said it was “simply another example of the same little clique of people repeating the same tired old arguments against renewable energy, regardless of the facts.”
“ Astonishingly, they seem to be suggesting that we should generate electricity by importing vast quantities of expensive fossil fuels from abroad, rather than utilising a free low carbon source - wind - which is abundant throughout the UK, onshore and offshore,” he said.
“We will continue to forge ahead with the successful deployment of wind energy".
The report comes as the head of the National Trust claimed plans to install wind turbines along the cost of Britain are simply expensive way of “giving rich people lots more money”.
Simon Jenkins, the chairman of the charity, attacked the “lunacy” of the industry, which is meant to provide a third of Britain’s electricity by 2020.
“They are a very, very expensive way of giving rich people lots more money,” Mr Jenkins told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “The west side of the British isles will be covered in these machines if the planning goes ahead and it will be entirely at public expense.”

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The reality of wind turbines in California – video

As many know, I was on a road trip for two weeks. On my return into California, I traveled a road I had done many many times – California Highway 58 through Tehachapi pass, one of the windiest areas of California, and loaded with wind turbines like you see in this photo from which seems to be taken during 2003. All the turbines seem to be spinning.
But, the reality I encounter when I drive through there is much different than what you see in the photo above. I often drive this road, but always wished I had a video camera with me to show how many turbines are inoperable since this doesn’t show up well in still photos. Unless you have a slow shutter speed to show “blade blur”, they all look inoperable.
But this day was different. I did have a video camera with me. Plus, the day I drove through, Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 was near perfect for wind turbines. There was a front coming in, and strong winds ahead of it.
Here’s the wind data from the ASOS at the Tehachapi airport during the time I drove through:
The wind data displayed above are measured at 1000′ lower elevation than the wind turbines on the top of the ridge, where the wind velocity will be higher.
And here is what I saw of the wind turbines along the ridge top, there were quite a few inoperable on this windy day. This video was taken right about 11AM PST:
There were many more inoperable turbines, but could not be filmed from a safe vantage point along the highway. This video was take from the semi-truck staging area near the agricultural inspection station.
My best guess from the video and others I saw that I could not film is that about one in four turbines were not operating.
The problem is maintenance. The location, while perfect for wind, is treacherous for work and support equipment. Even on a flat terrain, like in Texas (shown below) where I photographed these turbines, doing maintenance on gearboxes and generators high up on a post isn’t easy.
Imagine the complications on a mountain ridge for maintenance.
On the website “tour” section, they lament the condition of the Zond (Enron) wind power sites:
Wind Plant Maintenance Items to Note
Throughout the Tehachapi-Mojave area look for turbines without nose cones, turbines without nacelles (blown off and not replaced), oil leaking from blade-pitch seals, oil leaking from gearboxes, road cuts in steep terrain, erosion gullies, non-operating turbines, and “bone piles” of junk parts. One Zond bone pile of abandoned fiberglass blades is visible on the east side of Tehachapi-Willow Springs Rd. near Oak Creek Pass. (Kern County doesn’t permit on-ground disposal of fiberglass.) While touring wind farm sites look for blowing trash and litter (plastic bags, soft-drink cups, bottles, electrical connectors, scrap bits of metal, and so on). These all reflect management’s attention to maintenance and general housekeeping. At the better sites, you won’t see any of this.
Even on the valley floor, the smaller four turbines just west of the Tehachapi airport that greet visitors who drive in from Bakersfield had a problem, and these are on flat ground and accessible:
In Palm Springs, CA, another windy place, they have similar problems:
Florida’s broken windmills:  A California problem
The permit allowing windmills to go in didn’t say they could sit there broken. Palm Springs is getting tough. If windmills are going to exist in the city they must be operational. A city that has welcomed windmills since it was first approached about them in the early 1980′s is finding that many of those windmills are no longer working and it wants them fixed. The question is who’s responsible for fixing them? Florida Power and Light (FPL), the owner of the inoperable windmills, was allowed to install and operate local windmill farms under a conditional use permit (CUP) stipulating if the windmill does not run for six months, it’s declared a public nuisance and without a hearing, must be abated.
Here’s a video showing the inside operations of a wind power facility in Washington State
And, the lack of maintenance problem is not just in California. In 2001, I visited Kamoa wind farm near Southpoint in the big island of Hawaii. The wind is so strong there, trees grow horizontal like this one:

As much as I was surprised by the horizontal trees, I was equally surprised to see dead wind turbines there. It was my first experience with a wind farm.
From this American Thinker article “Wind energy’s ghosts”:
Kamaoa Windmills 006 crop.jpg
Kamaoa Wind Farm, Hawaii. (image)
Built in 1985, at the end of the boom, Kamaoa soon suffered from lack of maintenance. In 1994, the site lease was purchased by Redwood City, CA-based Apollo Energy.
Cannibalizing parts from the original 37 turbines, Apollo personnel kept the declining facility going with outdated equipment. But even in a place where wind-shaped trees grow sideways, maintenance issues were overwhelming. By 2004 Kamaoa accounts began to show up on a Hawaii State Department of Finance list of unclaimed properties. In 2006, transmission was finally cut off by Hawaii Electric Company.
Image from
Again, like in California, Hawaii’s turbine problem is lack of maintenance.
But isn’t that the way it always has been with windmills?

It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same:

UPDATE: It appears Idaho is getting set for putting a wind power moratorium in place:
KIFI logo
State Lawmakers Look At Wind Energy Moratorium
story image
Mar 18, 2011 6:16 p.m.
BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho — Construction of wind turbines may be coming to a halt in Idaho.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent the construction of any new wind farm for the next two years.
Over the last year, dozens of new wind turbines have gone up on east bench just outside Idaho Falls, but many of the neighbors and their legislators want to put a temporary end to new construction.
When the legislature adopted the 2007 energy plan, it did not envision so many energy companies wanting to build wind farms in Idaho.
Bill sponsor Erik Simpson said he and both his Republican and Democratic colleagues agree they need to take a look at the long-term consequences.
“Local governments need some direction as to what should be included in some of their ordinances, recognizing some of the impacts that are out there on wind, and we need to find out what those impacts might be,” said State Affairs Committee member Tom Loertcher.
To conduct the study, the bill proposes a two-year moratorium on wind farm construction.
“It may be a problem mostly in eastern Idaho now, but it’s likely to be a problem in (other legislators’) communities as well unless we take this two year pause and study this a little more in depth,” Simpson said.
Wind power is not the cheapest way to produce energy, and lawmakers want to make sure their constituents don’t have to pay top rate.
“Utility rate payers are paying more for this unreliable intermittent energy source,” Simpson said.
Many are also concerned about the environment.
“A lot of these projects are going up in pristine wildlife areas,” Simpson said.
But not everyone agrees. Some local people like Bonneville County farmer Tory Talbot want to continue to see more turbines.
“The moratorium will basically limit businesses wanting to come into Idaho. Southeastern Idaho and southern Idaho has a huge wind energy potential,” Talbot said.
The State Affairs Committee plans to continue the debate on Monday when they hear from utility companies and energy companies.
They will then vote on whether they should move the bill to the House floor.
If the bill passes, any project already approved would be allowed to move forward.
UPDATE2: The maintenance problem also extends to Germany:
HAWT Destruction from Gearbox Failure
Gearboxes have been failing in wind turbines since the early 1990s. Barely a turbine make has escaped. The problem reached epidemic proportions with a massive series failure of gearboxes in NEG Micon machines. At the time, the NEG Micon brand was the most sold wind turbine in the world. The disaster brought the company to its knees ; It was taken over by Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, which still is challenged by gearbox and rotor failures.
As previously noted, a large number of gearboxes have had to be replaced “in large numbers.” Der Spiegel reports that the German Insurance Association is none too happy…
“In addition to generators and gearboxes, rotor blades also often display defects,” a report on the technical shortcomings of wind turbines claims. The insurance companies are complaining of problems ranging from those caused by improper storage to dangerous cracks and fractures… The frail turbines coming off the assembly lines at some manufacturers threaten to damage an industry that for years has been hailed as a wild success.
At Spiegel Online, Simone Kaiser and Michael relay a concern about installed wind turbines:
After the industry’s recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers’ promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.