Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Solar Shield--Protecting the North American Power Grid

Oct. 26, 2010: Every hundred years or so, a solar storm comes along so potent it fills the skies of Earth with blood-red auroras, makes compass needles point in the wrong direction, and sends electric currents coursing through the planet's topsoil. The most famous such storm, the Carrington Event of 1859, actually shocked telegraph operators and set some of their offices on fire. A 2008 report by the National Academy of Sciences warns that if such a storm occurred today, we could experience widespread power blackouts with permanent damage to many key transformers.
Read article here

Pen Meets Paper Oct.25'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
The term “currency wars” has appeared in the mainstream media lately. What does this term mean and in what way is it relevant to people that carry out their day’s work and get paid for it?
Following what has now been termed the “General Financial Crisis” or GFC in 2008, huge amounts of debt has been transferred from the balance sheets of large banking institutions to the balance sheets of national governments. This was done to save the banks from the folly of their own actions in entering into high risk credit agreements, hoping for quick return on investments. The levels of private debt also escalated hugely during the lead up to 2008, because of inflated asset prices in the real estate sector in particular. We are now in the “morning after” hangover phase with debts having to be repaid, one way or another, in order for the financial system to hang together in one piece. (Notice that there is a lot of “hanging” here). The US economy, in particular, has taken a real beating because of North Americans’ reliance upon cheap credit to buy consumer goods and anything else of perceived value. Also North Americans like high paying jobs and tend to shy away from “menial” tasks, unless they are paid $50 an hour, or better, for doing them. So, a lot of manufacturing activity has been shifted over to low wage countries like China, yielding low priced consumer goods as a result.
And now the panic is on: North America is faced with growing unemployment which is becoming a potential threat to social cohesion and something drastic has to be done.
The US Government has chosen the path of printing more of its dollars in order to create inflation, and so lower the value of the US dollar in order to try and make what industries do operate in the US more competitive in export markets. That would improve the employment picture at home.
Predictably, other national governments aren’t just going to sit back and see their currencies go up in value against the US dollar, loosing exports and see cheap US goods coming into their own markets, putting their own industries under stress.
Several responses are open to these governments, including printing their own money in abundance, just like the US is going to do. The net result is more money floating round everywhere, meaning that each unit of money will loose in value.
The big losers in this kind of war, a currency war, are those on fixed incomes which includes pensioners and, in practice, wage earners. In effect the people that are printing the new money are stealing from those that receive fixed incomes because they are diluting the value of their earnings, just like an undetected counterfeiter of currency would do.
So, the paycheck you receive every two weeks, or month, will look the same, but at the end of the day an ever increasing portion of that paycheck will be needed to fill up your fridge, or your gas tank.

Natural gem in Clearwater County

The Butte Hill north of Caroline is a well known local landmark. It stands in stark contrast to the surrounding flat landscape, reminding one of an island rising from the sea, rather than a hill. As it turns out, the landscape is flat for a very good reason: It was formed by swirling floodwater, carrying with it rocks, gravel, sand and clay that filled up valleys and gouged out the sides of hills to form a near perfect flat area stretching for several kilometers and leaving behind acres and acres of fertile river flat. This is all visible from the Arbutus Road, running north from Caroline, and swinging around the base of Butte Hill.
What is not visible from that road is a natural gem called the Chedderville Natural Area that encloses the Clearwater River a short distance to the west and north of the Butte Hill. Livestock does not have access here so the natural vegetation thrives between the poplars and spruces that line the river. True to its name, the Clearwater meanders through the landscape in its rocky gravel bed.
But there are telltale signs that this river is not always the peaceful subdued stream that we see in the sunlit fall landscape of 2010AD. Flood debris can be seen high up on top of the riverbanks, attesting to a wily river. And, indeed, the Clearwater showed its muscle in June of 2005, during a 100year flooding event that saw it break its banks and begin creating a new channel to the east with water flowing along the Arbutus Road north, crossing the road and flowing into the Raven River watershed.
And therein lies the explanation for the curious shape of Butte Hill. It is indeed an island in a sea of rocks, gravel and mud deposited during major floods over thousands of years. For our benefit, the Chedderville Natural Area has been preserved to show what that landscape looked like before the arrival of the Europeans. For those with access to computers, zooming in with Google Maps/satellite images provides an excellent means of finding convenient road access to this area.

Natural area boundary marker

The Chedderville Natural Area is a hidden gem in Clearwater County covering a good stretch of the Clearwater River north of Caroline.

Clear water

True to its name, the Clearwater River reflects the blue sky on a sunny fall afternoon in the Chedderville Natural Area north of Caroline.
Old riverbank attests to the power of a flood in the Clearwater River a long time ago.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Butte Hill, an island in the landscape

Rising abruptly up from, and dominating a perfectly flat landscape, Butte Hill is true to its name.

New development in the Crammond area

Four parcels of land in the Crammond area received road access recently. Range road 5-2 was extended south from the Crammond Road to service the parcels which were sold at public auction over the summer.

Fall in the foothills

Looking west towards the Rocky Mountains in the Crammond area, south and east of Caroline.

The pressure is building

This is the conclusion of an article by Mike Whitney posted on the Global research website here:

"Neither the Obama administration nor the Fed want a full-blown trade war with China. They'd rather see China “assume its position in the global system”. (as US diplomats aver) But that means that China will have to compromise on, what it considers to be, a matter of national sovereignty. And, there's the rub. China is a proud nation and doesn't want to be told what to do. But that's not how the system works. Behind the facade of free markets and international institutions, lies an imperial system ruled from Washington. That leaves Beijing with two options; they can either bow to US pressure and fall in line or shrug off Washington's demands and continue on the same path. If they choose to resist, relations with the US will grow more acrimonious and the probability of conflict will rise."

Friday, October 22, 2010

A warning from Fidel

The use of nuclear weapons in a new war would mean the end of humanity. This was candidly foreseen by scientist Albert Einstein who was able to measure their destructive capability to generate millions of degrees of heat, which would vaporize everything within a wide radius of action. This brilliant researcher had promoted the development of this weapon so that it would not become available to the genocidal Nazi regime.
Each and every government in the world has the obligation to respect the right to life of each and every nation and of the totality of all the peoples on the planet.
Today there is an imminent risk of war with the use of that kind of weapon and I don’t harbour the least doubt that an attack by the United States and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran would inevitably evolve towards a global nuclear conflict.
The World’s peoples have an obligation to demand of their political leaders their Right to Live. When the life of humankind, of your people and your most beloved human beings run such a risk, nobody can afford to be indifferent; not one minute can be lost in demanding respect for that right; tomorrow will be too late.
Albert Einstein himself stated unmistakably: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. We fully comprehend what he wanted to convey, and he was absolutely right, yet in the wake of a global nuclear war, there wouldn’t be anybody around to make use of those sticks and stones.
There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people.
In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.
Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!

Fidel Castro Ruz
October 15, 2010

Information source here

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lunar Impact Uncovered More Than Just Moon Water

Oct. 21, 2010: Nearly a year after announcing the discovery of water molecules on the moon, scientists have revealed new data uncovered by NASA's Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO—and it's more than just water.
The missions found evidence that lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials. Moreover, the moon appears to be chemically active and has a full-fledged water cycle. Scientists also confirmed that 'moon water' was in the form of mostly pure ice crystals in some places.
Report here

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Oct.18'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
Ask yourself: If you were riding along inside a red blood cell, for example, inside the vein of a person, moving through the heart, lungs, etc., around and around the loop, would you have a sense of the person as such? Hardly. Yet we know that such a person exists, because without him or her there wouldn’t be any blood cell to hang out in.
So where is this leading? Imagine that you could look into the universe from outside and magnify any detail of your choosing. As you zoom in, galaxies whiz by and you set course for a promising one up ahead. As you enter, it dissolves into myriads of little light points spread out in the darkness around you. Coming closer to one of those light points, your sensors pick up a kind of fuzziness around it with some illuminated specs seemingly embedded. From a distance the whole arrangement looks remarkably like a single cell of some kind moving through the cosmic fluid around it. You also notice that the center of this cell is quite lively and appears to energize the rest of the cell.
What is the purpose of this cell? Where is it going? It is certainly moving along at a brisk pace, in relation to its surroundings, just like the red blood cell did, whose purpose in life we understand quite well. And its little heart is pulsating away, like the busy bee it is, keeping the cell alive, as do all the other cells we come across on our journey through the cosmic fluid. Do these cells somehow keep a great living and breathing being alive?
Do the red blood cells and the cosmic cells we call “solar systems” have purpose and intelligence? We understand the purpose of red blood cells, as seen from the perspective of the person they are a part of, but are they intelligent as well? Or are they just inanimate objects chemically designed to carry oxygen from point A to point B in our bodies? Is our “solar system” (note the objectifying term used) imbued with some kind of intelligence serving a greater purpose. Or is it, as the name we have given it suggests, just a conglomeration of objects spinning around in empty space?
As can be surmised from the above, this article asks a lot more questions than it pretends to answer.

Rainclouds in the sunset

These small clouds, releasing rainshowers earthwards, were seen on the evening of October 7 south of Sundre.


A good crop of garden vegetables is in the root cellar at Crammond. Carrots, potatoes and beets had no problems filling out during the cold wet summer of 2010. Hay crops in the area did well with the main challenge being sufficient drying time between rain showers. Most farmers probably don't want to talk about their canola crops. Grain crops, on the other hand, have been put into the bin lately, during a spell of warm and sunny weather before Thanksgiving. And some grainfields were turned into greenfeed as well. However, in spite of all the precipitation over the summer, the subsoil is surprisingly dry in the area.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fed, ECB throwing world into chaos: Stiglitz

(Reuters) - Ultra-loose monetary policies by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are throwing the world into "chaos" rather than helping the global economic recovery, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said on Tuesday.

A "flood of liquidity" from the Fed and the ECB is bringing instability to foreign-exchange markets, forcing countries such as Japan and Brazil to defend its exporters, Stiglitz told reporters in a conference at Columbia University.
"The irony is that the Fed is creating all this liquidity with the hope that it will revive the American economy," Stiglitz said. "It's doing nothing for the American economy, but it's causing chaos over the rest of the world. It's a very strange policy that they are pursuing." Article here

Predatory Finance: The New Mode of Global Warfare

by Michael Hudson
“Coming events cast their shadows forward.” – Goethe

What is to stop U.S. banks and their customers from creating $1 trillion, $10 trillion or even $50 trillion on their computer keyboards to buy up all the bonds and stocks in the world, along with all the land and other assets for sale, in the hope of making capital gains and pocketing the arbitrage spreads by debt leveraging at less than 1% interest cost? This is the game that is being played today. The outflow of dollar credit into foreign markets in pursuit of this strategy has bid up asset prices and foreign currencies, enabling speculators to pay off their U.S. positions in cheaper dollars, keeping for themselves the currency shift as well as the arbitrage interest-rate margin.
Finance has become the new mode of warfare – without the expense of military overhead and an occupation against unwilling hosts. It is a competition in credit creation to buy global real estate and natural resources, infrastructure, bonds and corporate stock ownership. Who needs an army when you can obtain monetary wealth and asset appropriation simply by financial means? Victory promises to go to the economy whose banking system can create the most credit, using an army of computer keyboards to appropriate the world’s resources. Insightful article here

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Currency wars are necessary if all else fails

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Published: 8:09PM BST 10 Oct 2010

The overwhelming fact of the global currency system is that America needs a much weaker dollar to bring its economy back into kilter and avoid slow ruin, yet the rest of the world cannot easily handle the consequences of such a wrenching adjustment. There is not enough demand to go around.
Full article here

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hubble Observes Aftermath of Possible Asteroid Collision

Oct. 13, 2010: Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have captured rare images of a suspected asteroid collision. The snapshots show a bizarre X-shaped object at the head of a comet-like trail of material. Their findings will be published in the Oct. 14th issue of Nature. Full article here

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Oct. 11'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
Most people, even very well informed folks, develop a glazed over look when the subjects of economics and finance rear their heads. And, quite naturally, that’s because most of us have never learned too much about these subjects in school, or even university. At the same time we are bombarded with daily reports from markets involving trading of commodities, shares, currencies and the like, along with comments by all the “experts” who portend to know what is going to happen next. However, from experience we know that most of these people, in spite of all their prolific verbiage, are plain wrong most of the time. For example, none of the members of the prestigious “London School of Economics” predicted the financial crunch of 2008, even though bursting credit bubbles have occurred for the last umteen hundred years at regular intervals. The privilege of forecasting the 2008 event was left to “Dr.Doom” characters like economists Nouriel Roubini, Steve Keen and some others.
As it turns out, economics and finance are not really that complicated when it comes down to the nitty gritty. It ultimately comes back to an exchange between human beings of what is considered to have some kind of value. In the past a convenient way of doing this was by way of coins, made from metal considered to have intrinsic value, like gold and silver. Ownership of coins would be exchanged for ownership of a commodity or the provision of a service.
Very early in human history, however, the use of a “promise to pay”, instead of payment itself, was used in acquiring goods and service. And in our modern world, 97% or more of what we call “money” consists of “promises to pay” rather than coin (and bank notes for larger amounts).
So, if I am a fire wood provider, for the sake of simplicity, and want to buy some needed supplies from someone who does not need firewood right now, I could issue a promissory note, or “I Owe You” to that person and get what I need in return right now.
This is where it can get interesting: What happens if I keep issuing IOUs against firewood that has not been cut yet? And keep doing it? And then someone else creates bundles of these IOUs by putting string around them and makes up new IOUs as if the bundled IOUs were firewood in themselves?
At this point, any thinking reader will have figured put that the bundled IOUs are really only good for exactly that: Firewood. And they literally started a fire under the 2008 debt bubble, bursting it in short order.
This is what the great economists of our time could not figure out. The ones who advice our Queen, Elizabeth II, on economic matters. Advice: Hang on to your silver and gold!

Terry Fox run

Students at Caroline School had their annual Terry Fox run on Tuesday, September 30, in sunny cool fall weather. The students and staff ran on the road south from the village, across the Raven River and past the cemetery. It is all about raising money for cancer research and is now a world wide project.

Terry Fox run fun photo

Flames/Oilers alumni game

This fundraiser for Caroline Minor Hockey was held at the complex on October 2nd with real Oilers and Flames players participating, along with local Midget and former Midget players. Goalie for the Oilers, Joe Cook, is seen here taking a tumble in the face of a Flames onslaught. It was all in the spirit of the game which was watched by a packed house.

Keep Caroline Minor Hockey alive!

This poster can now be seen around Caroline

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Some things don't change - A peek underneath the old iron curtain

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Minitimer Shaimiev during a happy moment

In March 2010, Minitimer Shaimiev, the two-decade figurehead of Tatarstan, resigned when prompted by the federal centre. It was the end of an era, locals thought, yet eight months on the Tatar President has yet to leave the building. Oleg Pavlov wonders whether obedient subordination and quiet diplomacy has allowed Shaimiev to avoid the fate of his opposite number in Moscow, Yuri Luzkhov.
Some things don't change. Read this well written article here

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Building Intentions Moderate Sharply

October 7, 2010
By Dan Sumner, Economist, ATB Financial

Residential building permits in Alberta showed strong resilience during 2010 as builders continued to plan construction projects despite moderating activity in the resale housing markets; however, that resilience may have finally started to give way in August.
Cities in Alberta issued permits for $851 million (seasonally adjusted) worth of construction projects in August, a decline of 11.1% from July. The decline was due entirely to fewer residential permits, which plunged 20.6% to $481 million. August’s decline brought residential permits to their lowest since June 2009. Prior to the fall, residential permits had hovered just above the $600 million mark for nearly a year (see graph).
Whenever builders want to begin a project they must first take out a building permit. Hence these figures provide a forward looking indication of how many and what kind of
construction projects will commence in the coming months. Across cities, both Calgary (-27%) and Edmonton (-24%) saw significant monthly declines in residential construction intentions in August. Prior to August, residential permits had been very strong in Edmonton, rising to pre-recession highs over much of 2010. In Calgary the recovery from the recession had been much more subdued.
The resilience of construction intentions during the summer of 2010 was somewhat surprising given the slowing housing markets. August is only one month of data and hence does not constitute a trend yet, but it is possible that these figures mean builders will be starting fewer new homes and condominium projects over the next few months and into 2011.

Protests in Iceland

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Still protest in Iceland --- two years ago the crash started - video
Two years ago, emergency laws where set in Iceland ,and on TV the Prime Minister said ,in the end of his speach " God Bless Iceland"
That is looked upon as the start of the Banking Crisis here in Iceland.
And today people attended in front of parliement building and made lots of noise.
People arrived at around 17:00 hours ,and made noise into the evening.
Not as many as on monday ( Monday Protest ) but when i left tonight,people where still arriving.
The protest was very peaceful,and people talked to the police officers. Source of video here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Oct.4'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
Albert Einstein popularized the notion that the qualities and quantities we use to describe the world around us are entirely relative entities. For example, the speed of an object can only be meaningfully described in relation to some point of reference, like the earth we stand on. Things get a lot more fluid out in the cosmos, where there is no obvious reference point. Thus was born Einstein’s famous theories of relativity.
Upon reflection, we also realize that the same principle applies to “value”. We value something relative to something else: An ounce of gold is worth a lot more, in our mind, than an ounce of lead, or iron, for example. So as to create some kind of order in how things are valued, we have devised units of value, like the “dollar”, “euro”, “yen”, etc., somewhat akin to the “meter”,”kilogram,”second” in the physical sciences.
But there is a problem with our monetary values. Unlike the physical ones, that have some fixed reference point (one meter equals so many wavelengths of light emitted from a gas at a certain temperature), our units of fiat money value are literally floating around in space with relative values changing moment by moment.
In the old days, they were tied to the value of gold, the magic metal of humankind, but that is no longer the case. In the old days the value of a nation’s money also used to be connected to the productive capacity of that nation so that highly productive nations’ currencies were highly valued and sought after by people from all over the world.
That has also changed as financial speculators have hijacked control of currency creation and created enough fancy money, by way of debt, to buy the whole world a hundred times over.
Have you noticed that people are very reluctant to spend money these days, during “bust” times? (In contrast to the boom time some three years ago). The reason is that everybody is now busy trying to pay down the debts that were so recklessly gone into during the boom. No money, no jobs, the economy shrinks and the dreaded specter of deflation appears on the stage because people who have to sell assets in order to meet their financial obligations are forced to lower the price of those assets in order to secure a sale.
The central bank fix for this problem is to print money and distribute it far and wide, hoping to get some inflation going again. That effectively devalues that particular currency in relation to those of other nations, giving a competitive export advantage to the nation with the central bank that indulges in this practice. So the other central banks follow suit in order to neutralize this effect. Outcome: Currency wars with unpredictable consequences. And a good way to measure this phenomenon taking place is to keep an eye on that fixed point in the landscape of value: Gold.
It is now over $1,300 per ounce in US funds, and the equivalent in other currencies.
Gold is not rising in value. It is holding its real value while fiat currencies, created out of nothing’ are showing their true face as they tumble downhill. You see, gold and silver are literally imprinted on our collective mind as having intrinsic value, based on thousands of years of successful usage. There is nothing inherently wrong with fiat money, though.
The problem is that we have allowed a bunch of scoundrels to create tons of it. And in doing so, by way of tricks and deceit as old as the hills, they have shifted control of the bulk of this money from us, the public, to themselves.

Fall Frenzy kickoff BBQ

The Fall Frenzy initiative at Caroline School was launched on Wednesday, September 22, with a BBQ at the school. The idea is for Junior and Senior High students to go into the community and do jobs such as garden cleanups, picking potatoes and any other tasks in order to raise funds for extra curricular activities. Classes compete with each other for top fundraising status and get to keep the funds raised. Cec Tarnasky explained the rules of the game to students present at the BBQ. This is the second year for the Fall Frenzy fundraiser. More than $8,000 were raised last year.

Full moon at Equinox

The moon rising at Crammond on September 22. This also happened to be the day of the Fall Equinox,
when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun. In addition,
Jupiter (seen rising beneath the moon) is at its closest point to the Earth since 1951.

Canola swaths north of Spruce View

These swaths received a dump of rain just prior to being photographed on September 26. Area crop harvesting is way behind schedule because of prolonged wet and cold weather over the summer. Recently forecast warm weather will hopefully go some way towards remedying this situation.

Seeds in the pod

While seeds in some canola crop seed pods looked black and healthy, others were atrophied and immature. There are question marks behind the yields and quality of area grain crops, due to the prolonged wet and cold weather over the spring and summer.

Raventalk at Crammond

These locals may have been discussing the unusually warm weather on September 27.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

'Occupiers pursuing their own interests'

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the US-led foreign forces are pursuing their own national security interests in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the presidential palace on Saturday, Karzai criticized the US-led forces, saying they will leave the country when they no longer believe the need to stay for their own national interests. The Afghan president added that the US and its allies came to Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting terrorism and establishing democracy after the 9/11 attacks. Karzai also encouraged Afghan national security forces to prepare to take over responsibility for defending the nation and maintaining security. The Afghan president has recently been critical of the unsanctioned US airstrikes that have caused a large number of civilian casualties. Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming more and more outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults. And this situation is adding fuel to the fire of anti-US sentiment in Afghanistan.
Source of article here