Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sweet building blocks of life found around young star

Astronomers have for the first time found glycolaldehyde molecules around a young sun-like star. Glycolaldehyde is a an important pre-biotic species, a simple sugar, consisting of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Through observations with ALMA the researchers have shown that the molecules are located within a region with an extent corresponding to our own solar system - and thus exist in the gas from which planets possibly are formed around the young star later in its evolution. Credit: ESO. Read article here

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Syrian News, August 25

What FACEBOOK and GOOGLE are Hiding from world.

Editor: This is one to make you think about how your mind is being massaged.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fed joins stimulus party as global trade slumps

The US Federal Reserve in Washington DC Photo: REUTERS

All three major blocs of the world economy have shifted gears dramatically over the last month, preparing a fresh blast of stimulus to combat the sharpest contraction in global trade since the 2008-09 crisis. 



The US Federal Reserve appears poised for a third round of quantitative easing (QE) as soon as early September, joining Europe and China in concerted global stimulus.
The Fed’s latest minutes show broad support for fresh bond purchases – probably mortgage bonds – unless signs of “substantial and sustainable strengthening” emerge soon. Paul Ashworth from Capital Economics said QE3 looks like a “done deal” since little is likely to change between now and the next Fed meeting.
The shift in Fed policy caught markets by surprise and comes after the European Central Bank’s chief Mario Draghi opened the door to potentially “unlimited” purchases of Italian and Spanish bonds to prevent a euro break-up.
The most radical moves appear likely from China where the managed “soft-landing” risks spinning out of control, with exports contracting on a month-to-month basis over the summer.
“People should worry less about Europe right now and look more closely at Asia,” said Hans Redeker, currency chief at Morgan Stanley. “We think the Bernanke and Draghi 'puts’ will drive a further rally in global equities. But China represents the biggest risk to our bullish asset call.”
Read article here


Friday, August 17, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

World shipping crisis threatens German dominance as Greeks win long game

Germany is the superpower of container shipping, controlling almost 40pc of the world market. Photo: AP

Germany’s shipping industry faces a wave of bankruptcies over coming months as funding dries up and deepening economic woes across the world cause a sharp contraction in container trade.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 10:04PM BST 13 Aug 2012

Over 100 German ship funds have already shut down as the long-simmering crisis in global container shipping finally comes to a head. A further 800 funds are threatened with insolvency, according to consultants TPW in Hamburg.

They are not alone. Britain’s oldest shipowner, Stephenson Clark, dating back to 1730, went into liquidation last week, closing the final chapter of Britain’s coal trade and the industrial revolution.

It cited “incredibly depressed” vessel rates. The firm over-invested in the boom four years ago, betting too much on the China syndrome.

Germany is the superpower of container shipping, controlling almost 40pc of the world market. The Germans also misread the cycle and have been struggling to cope ever since with a legacy of debt and a glut of ships. Now everything is going wrong at once.

Container volumes arriving at European ports plunged in June, dashing expectations of a summer rebound. Imports fell 7.5pc from North America and 9pc from Asia. Flows into the Mediterranean region crashed by 16pc, reflecting the violence of the recession in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
Continue reading article here

Editor: You can check out the world wide Harper Petersen (HARPEX) Index here. It is an indicator of the cost of hiring container ships on the world market (i.e. Finished goods). Check out the Baltic Dry Index (BALDRY) here. It is an indicator of the cost of hiring ships carrying dry goods across the world's oceans (i.e. Raw materials)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Five years on, the Great Recession is turning into a life sentence

Some date the crisis to August 9 2007, the day it became clear that Europe’s banks were up to their necks in US housing debt. The ECB flooded markets with €95bn of liquidity. It seemed a lot of money then. The term “trillion” was still banned by the Telegraph style book in those innocent days. We have since learned to swing with the modern dance music from central banks. Photo: Reuters

Five years into the Long Slump it almost seems as if we are back to square one. 


Editor note: The author is a very seasoned economic commentator and really knows what he is talking about

China is sufficiently alarmed by the flint hardness of its "soft-landing" to talk up trillions of fresh stimulus. The European Central Bank is preparing to print “whatever it takes” to save Spain and Italy. Markets are pricing in an 80pc chance of yet more printing by the US Federal Reserve in September or soon after.

There is no doubt that the three superpowers acting in concert can launch a mini-cycle of growth early next year - assuming they deliver on their rhetoric - but the twin headwinds of debt-leveraging and excess manufacturing plant across the globe cannot easily be conjured away.

The world remains in barely contained slump. Industrial output is still below earlier peaks in Germany (-2), US (-3), Canada (-8) France (-9), Sweden (-10), Britain (-11), Belgium (-12), Japan (-15), Hungary (-15) Italy (-17), Spain (-22), Greece (-27), according to St Louis Fed data. By that gauge this is proving more intractable than the Great Depression.

Some date the crisis to August 9 2007, the day it became clear that Europe’s banks were up to their necks in US housing debt. The ECB flooded markets with €95bn of liquidity. It seemed a lot of money then. The term “trillion” was still banned by the Telegraph style book in those innocent days. We have since learned to swing with the modern dance music from central banks.

For me, the defining moment was twelve days later when yields on 3-month US Treasury bills to crashed from 3.76pc to 2.55pc in just two hours. At first we thought it was a mistake, a screen glitch. Nothing like this had happened before, not during the crashes of 1929 or 1987, or after the Twin Towers attack on 9/11.
Continue reading cold shower article here

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hard landing for China as factory prices fall and deflation looms

Profits for China's exporters have been squeezed 5pc a year since 2004 as wages rise faster than productivity. Photo: EPA


Factory gate prices in China fell at an accelerating rate of 2.9pc in July as the economy flirted with industrial recession, prompting calls for further stimulus to head off Japanese-style deflation. 

 “Severe deflation pressures are rippling across the country,” said Alistair Thornton and Xianfeng Ren from IHS Global Insight. “Deflation, not inflation, is the greatest short-term threat to the Chinese economy.” 

“The hard landing has happened,” said Charles Dumas from Lombard Street Research. “We don’t believe official data. We think GDP slowed to a 1pc rate in the second quarter.”
A blizzard of weak data has caught policy-makers off guard, though shares rallied in Shanghai on hopes for monetary loosening from China’s central bank after consumer price inflation (CPI) fell to 1.8pc.
New property starts fell 27pc in July. Industrial output growth fell to 9.2pc for a year ago but has been flat over recent months.
“This was the moment when stimulus was supposed to bite. It didn’t,” said Global Insight. Critics say Beijing let the property boom go too far and then hit the brakes too hard last year. Monetary tightening led to a contraction in real M1 money. The delayed effects kicked in this year just as Europe fell back into recession and the US slowed abruptly.
Read article here

Friday, August 10, 2012

Deja-Vu in Syria?

Editor: The article below was published in the Guardian in 2003. The recent assassination of top Syrian officials rings a few bells

 Macmillan backed Syria assassination plot - Documents show White House and No 10 conspired over oil-fuelled invasion plan  

Ben Fenton, The Guardian, Saturday 27 September 2003 02.35 BST

Nearly 50 years before the war in Iraq, Britain and America sought a secretive "regime change" in another Arab country they accused of spreading terror and threatening the west's oil supplies, by planning the invasion of Syria and the assassination of leading figures.

Newly discovered documents show how in 1957 Harold Macmillan and President Dwight Eisenhower approved a CIA-MI6 plan to stage fake border incidents as an excuse for an invasion by Syria's pro-western neighbours, and then to "eliminate" the most influential triumvirate in Damascus. The plans, frighteningly frank in their discussion, were discovered in the private papers of Duncan Sandys, Mr Macmillan's defence secretary, by Matthew Jones, a reader in international history at Royal Holloway, University of London.

 Although historians know that intelligence services had sought to topple the Syrian regime in the autumn of 1957, this is the first time any document has been found showing that the assassination of three leading figures was at the heart of the scheme. In the document drawn up by a top secret and high-level working group that met in Washington in September 1957, Mr Macmillan and President Eisenhower were left in no doubt about the need to assassinate the top men in Damascus.

 Part of the "preferred plan" reads: "In order to facilitate the action of liberative forces, reduce the capabilities of the Syrian regime to organise and direct its military actions, to hold losses and destruction to a minimum, and to bring about desired results in the shortest possible time, a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. Their removal should be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention and in the light of circumstances existing at the time."

 The document, approved by London and Washington, named three men: Abd al-Hamid Sarraj, head of Syrian military intelligence; Afif al-Bizri, chief of the Syrian general staff; and Khalid Bakdash, leader of the Syrian Communist party.
Read original article here

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012


The Danish Canadian National Musem and Gardens close on September 3

The Little Mermaid at the Danish Canadian Museum at Dickson, Alberta

Take the opportunity to learn about our Danish Canadian history, stroll in our beautiful gardens and sit in our lovely restaurant to enjoy our famous open-face sandwiches and delicious desserts.

We are open  Monday to Saturday 10am to 5:30 pm, Sunday 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Visit us online at

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Summer of 2012 -- Too Hot to Handle?

Temperature anomalies for June 2012 across North America. Orange/red = above normal, blue = below normal, white = normal

Author: Dauna Coulter

August 3, 2012: This past June more than 170 all-time US heat records were tied or broken--many of them originally set in the historically hotter months of July and August. And with a drought plaguing much of the country, the ground is as dry and crispy as a saltine cracker.

By early July, 56% of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing drought. That's the largest percentage in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Fires scorched over 1.3 million acres across the US in June, reducing hundreds of homes to ashes in the West. Just imagining prospects for the rest of the summer is enough to bring sweat to your brow. And last winter is partly to blame.

"799 daytime heat records were broken in the first five days of January in the US," says Jake Crouch, a climate scientist from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center. "Last year's was the fourth warmest winter since 1895. And it was dry, with a dearth of snowfall in many places. During most of this past winter and spring, a positive North Atlantic Oscillation pressure pattern kept the jet stream further north and the US warmer and drier than normal."

With little moisture in the soil to evaporate and dissipate some of the sun's energy, more solar radiation is converted to sensible heat, he says.
Continue reading article here

Facebook update - from Onion News

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Political message - American style

Please click on photo to get the message

Media event promotes usage of the Red Deer River

Rafting on the Red Deer River - please click on image for a better view
Blake Richards (front left in raft) is MP for the Wild Rose federal constituency
Sherry Tytkanych (front right in raft) is Sundre Chamber of Commerce President.
Ryan Thompson (back of raft) owns and operates Mukwah Rafting Tours.

Photos courtesy of MP Blake Richards' office
Story and video by Helge Nome

Media members, politicians and some community people got together for a free lunch at the Sundre Museum grounds on July 30 to do an image repair job on Sundre following the oil spill in the Red Deer River, on which banks the town is situated, in early June. The general impression that the Red Deer River was no longer fit for recreational use had hurt the business of local tourism operators.

One misconception was that Sundre itself had been affected by the spill which was not the case: The oil entered the Red Deer River well downstream of the town. Also, an investigation of the worst  affected spill area at the junction of the James and Red Deer Rivers by this writer failed to show any visual trace of oil remaining on the banks of the river. (A heavy rainstorm in the area the day before the inspection may have washed away any remaining oil traces).

As pointed out by former area MP Myron Thompson in a discussion at the lunch session, the main challenge for Sundre residents may be an ongoing process of erosion along the banks of the river during major flooding events, causing a buildup of sand, gravel and silt in the riverbed, which makes the river seek new channels for itself. The Town of Sundre is currently protected (inadequately, according to Thompson) by a stone berm which can be seen in the top photo in this post.

For now though, the Red Deer River is as welcoming as it ever was with clean banks and clear waters.

Debt Bomb