Socio-Economics History Blog

Socio-Economics & History Commentary

Max Keiser: There could be Revolution in America

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May 9, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , | Comments Off on Max Keiser: There could be Revolution in America

Peter Schiff: The Collapse Has Barely Begun!

May 9, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nasa Warns Of Super Solar Storm 2012

  • Solar cycle 24 just got started a few days back. The sun announced it with a major solar flare (Big Flare Portends Beginning of Solar Cycle 24). 
      
    Solar flares rise and fall on an 11-year cycle, and last year marked what scientists thought was the solar minimum. But through the beginning of 2009, the sun stayed unusually quiet. That changed yesterday, when a major sunspot appeared on the backside of the sun, where it was captured by NASA’s STEREO instrument.
     
    “This is the biggest event we’ve seen in a year or so,” said Michael Kaiser, research scientist with the heliophysics division at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “Does this mean we’re finished with the minimum or not? It’s hard to say. This could be it. It’s got us all excited.”
     
    People have been counting sunspots since Galileo first observed one in the early 17th century. Through the 28 cycles that have been well-documented, stretching from 1745 to today, the average cycle length has been 11 years, but shorter and longer cycles have been observed. (The polarity of solar storms also alternates, so technically, a full cycle is 22 years.)
     
    For unknown reasons, the current solar minimum has lasted longer than normal. “It’s been a long solar minimum, the longest and deepest one through the last hundred years, but not out of the extreme ordinary,” Kaiser said.

     
  • The next solar maximum is in 2012. Will we see Corona Mass Ejections (CME) like that of 1859? FirstScience.com reports
     
    Scientists are finally beginning to properly understand a historic solar storm in 1859. One day, the storm, which was the most potent disruption of Earth’s ionosphere in recorded history could happen again.
     
    Newly uncovered scientific data of recorded history’s most massive space storm is helping a NASA scientist investigate its intensity and the probability that what occurred on Earth and in the heavens almost a century-and-a-half ago could happen again.
     
    In scientific circles where solar flares, magnetic storms and other unique solar events are discussed, the occurrences of September 1-2, 1859, are the star stuff of legend. Even 144 years ago, many of Earth’s inhabitants realized something momentous had just occurred. Within hours, telegraph wires in both the United States and Europe spontaneously shorted out, causing numerous fires, while the Northern Lights, solar-induced phenomena more closely associated with regions near Earth’s North Pole, were documented as far south as Rome, Havana and Hawaii, with similar effects at the South Pole.
      
    What happened in 1859 was a combination of several events that occurred on the Sun at the same time. If they took place separately they would be somewhat notable events. But together they caused the most potent disruption of Earth’s ionosphere in recorded history. “What they generated was the perfect space storm,” says Bruce Tsurutani, a plasma physicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
     
    To begin to understand the perfect space storm you must first begin to understand the gargantuan numbers with which plasma physicists like Tsurutani work every day. At over 1.4 million kilometres (869,919 miles) wide, the Sun contains 99.86 percent of the mass of the entire solar system: well over a million Earths could fit inside its bulk. The total energy radiated by the Sun averages 383 billion trillion kilowatts, the equivalent of the energy generated by 100 billion tons of TNT exploding each and every second.
     
    But the energy released by the Sun is not always constant. Close inspection of the Sun’s surface reveals a turbulent tangle of magnetic fields and boiling arc-shaped clouds of hot plasma dappled by dark, roving sunspots.
      
    What transpired during the dog days of summer 1859, across the 150 million-kilometre (about 93 million-mile) chasm of interplanetary space that separates the Sun and Earth, was this: on August 28, solar observers noted the development of numerous sunspots on the Sun’s surface. Sunspots are localized regions of extremely intense magnetic fields. These magnetic fields intertwine, and the resulting magnetic energy can generate a sudden, violent release of energy called a solar flare. From August 28 to September 2 several solar flares were observed. Then, on September 1, the Sun released a mammoth solar flare. For almost an entire minute the amount of sunlight the Sun produced at the region of the flare actually doubled.
      
    “With the flare came this explosive release of a massive cloud of magnetically charged plasma called a coronal mass ejection,” said Tsurutani. “Not all coronal mass ejections head toward Earth. Those that do usually take three to four days to get here. This one took all of 17 hours and 40 minutes,” he noted.
      
    Not only was this coronal mass ejection an extremely fast mover, the magnetic fields contained within it were extremely intense and in direct opposition with Earth’s magnetic fields. That meant the coronal mass ejection of September 1, 1859, overwhelmed Earth’s own magnetic field, allowing charged particles to penetrate into Earth’s upper atmosphere. The endgame to such a stellar event is one heck of a light show and more – including potential disruptions of electrical grids and communications systems.
     
    Back in 1859 the invention of the telegraph was only 15 years old and society’s electrical framework was truly in its infancy. A 1994 solar storm caused major malfunctions to two communications satellites, disrupting newspaper, network television and nationwide radio service throughout Canada. Other storms have affected systems ranging from cell phone service and TV signals to GPS systems and electrical power grids. In March 1989, a solar storm much less intense than the perfect space storm of 1859 caused the Hydro-Quebec (Canada) power grid to go down for over nine hours, and the resulting damages and loss in revenue were estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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May 9, 2009 Posted by | Science & Technology | 154 Comments

Ron Paul: Bank Stress Tests Are Just Propaganda!

May 9, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , | Comments Off on Ron Paul: Bank Stress Tests Are Just Propaganda!

Geithner: The Most Effective Con Man and His Con Job?

  • The bank stress test is a con job. The major banks are insolvent. They are stucked with trillions of dollars of derivatives which are hardly worth 25 cents to the dollar. How could it not all be a con job? Time magazine reports :
      
    …. .in a remarkable bit of salesmanship, Geithner has managed to package those findings as positive. Most of the banks can meet or beat the newly imposed government capital requirements on their own, either by selling off parts of their business, converting loans into stock or participating in the fledgling government-led effort to get toxic assets off their balance sheets. And those that are short on cash won’t need more in total than the $110 billion to $135 billion the Treasury still has from the original $700 billion in TARP funds that Congress gave the Bush Administration for bank rescues last fall. “There is a reassurance in clarity,” Geithner said at a briefing on Thursday. 
        ….  
    So three months after he rolled out his bank-rescue plan to disastrous reviews, Geithner, with help from Ben Bernanke and others, has bolstered the confidence of the banks, Congress, the stock market and much of the country. In an economy that runs on credit, that’s half the battle. (
    See pictures of the dangers of printing money.)
     
    But it’s not all of it. Facts are important too, and some think Geithner and the government are fudging them. Nouriel Roubini, the hard-headed pessimist who foresaw the financial crisis, wrote Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal that the overall positive message of the stress tests “would be good news if it were credible,” but it’s not. He points to the recent IMF report that estimated $2.7 trillion in U.S. loan and security losses, and his own estimate of $3.6 trillion for the same potential losses. “The financial system is currently near insolvency,” he concluded. Bernanke disputes the numbers, saying banks have “taken significant write downs, they have reserves and there are substantial earning capacities.” But Roubini is not alone in questioning whether the government used appropriately pessimistic assumptions in conducting the stress tests, especially as the financial sector faces a potential flood of commercial real estate losses that could mirror the residential market’s recent woes.
     
    Still, even if the numbers are based more on positive thinking than cold hard facts, it’s tough not to be impressed by what Geithner and company have accomplished. In addition to the boost in public confidence, they’ve apparently figured out how to get the banks to support Geithner’s other iffy program, the one designed to rid banks of toxic assets. Until now, banks have resisted selling the highly securitized, largely illiquid toxic assets, arguing they’re worth more than the current fire-sale prices being offered on the open market. But taking them off the banks’ books is key to restarting lending, and the stress tests’ mandate to boost capital may be enough to get the process started.
       …..
    All of which goes to show that whatever his faults, Tim Geithner knows how to game America’s confidence in the banking system. But does that mean the stress tests themselves are one big confidence game? Perhaps. The playwright David Mamet said such scams get their name not from the confidence the victim places in the con man, but the trust the con man pretends to place in the victim to elicit trust in return. By that standard, Geithner may be the most effective con man around, for better and for worse.

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May 9, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Comments Off on Geithner: The Most Effective Con Man and His Con Job?