Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today's Mystery Question

Today's Mystery Question is:
Do you know what this is?

"basehitz" says:

"Signs of manipulation are everywhere.
"Example: My live trading screen provides 1 second resolution. Monitoring with volume is the key. When I’m looking for what the puppet masters “want” the market to do, I watch SPY. I have repeatedly observed this sequence:
• Bad economic data is released.
• Market plunges 1%+.
• Some minutes pass.
• If the fall pauses, an unusually high spike in SPY begins the reverse. The volume spike might be 250,000+ shares. That’s $25M spent in < 1 sec.
• A few minutes passes, another jolt follows.
• This process is repeated until the move back up starts. The algo-ramp bots are then in control and day traders chase it.
• Subsequent retracements are “allowed”, but not enough to disrupt the trend. More buy orders jolt the index higher again. In some cases, repeated jolts are fired.
• You can almost watch them “engineer” the turnaround and ramp."



The Prez and Mr. Wen

I can just imagine what our President must have been saying, in advance apologeia, to the Chinese premier last week:

S0 sorry, Mr. Wen. Our unruly House of Representatives is liable to do anything in these present dire circumstances. They're like a herd of wounded buffalo that's been cornered in a canyon by a bunch of emerging nation cowboys. No tellin' what they'll do. We're a democracy, you know. The reps are sensitive to their constituents, we the people and all that. We're not like you guys in China, with your micromanaging number-crunchin' CCP bureaucrats who get everything figured out and then tweak the economic engines with a spurt here and a spot-check there.

No, we're a wild bunch, especially those guys and gals in the house. They're liable to do any desperado thing to save their asses in this election year.
I understand what you guys are going through over there. Hey, we were doin' the same thing a hundred years ago, expanding like crazy. Hell, I've heard about Pudong in the last twenty years or so, like our Los Angeles was back in the heyday...

Our folks are runnin' scared; they need to figure out how to start making stuff again and selling it to each other instead of buying so much from you guys, but try to tell 'em that when they're down at walmart looking to save a buck...a devalued buck. Hey, speaking of devaluation, you might want to think about propping up your yuan a little bit to give us a fightin' chance before this thing blows up in our faces.
I mean, you guys can do a turnaround, right? Look at what Deng did back in the 80s after the big guy kicked the bucket.
Bottom line, Mr. Wen, is give us a break, will ya?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Now our last day's just begun,

our revolution's surely won,

no need for knife or gun,

'cause the ancient anointed one

hath finished work that's long been done.


Oh you daughter and you son,

for our time is just begun,

and our race already won,

though yet we run.

Is it fun?

A ton.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

From ridiculous genetics to the sublime

Yesterday, I was repairing someone's front door. While cutting a piece of wood, I realized for the nteenth time just how close we are to the cutting edge of genetic engineering that will ultimately rearrange our living world. This particular flash of insight lit up my neurons as I was listening to Paul Raeburn while he interviewed Dr. Leonard Fleck on NPR's Science Friday

Dr. Fleck was filling us in on personalized medical treatments, which will be a large part of standard health care practice in our future world. But there are some problems associated with this genetic-research-enabled strategy, don't ya know, and if its anything like the practice of medicine generally its as complex as a can of microbial worms.

He was talking about cost-effective treatments, and how genetic identifications can improve our chances of customizing specific treatments for specific patients based on their DNA. In that connection, he was explaining cost-effective numbers, which are evaluations of dollars spent to extend life and/or improve quality of life for sick people. In some ways, this new technology will narrow treatment choices for some patients while broadening them for others. It will solve some problems while presenting more difficult decisions for health professionals and families whose financial resources are, your guessed it, quite limited.

So here's Dr. Fleck talking on the radio, educating us about hard treatment decisions that will have to be made by governmental and insurance evaluators. Some politicians have called such committees, erroneously, "death panels."
These are teams of medical personnel who have to decide what is the best use of public money, or insurance funds. They'll be dealing with questions, all day long every day of the year, like: Should we turn loose this $80,000 so Joe Blow can live for another ten years, or should we send it to John Doe's account so he can can live another ten months? Thorny stuff like that. Not easy appropriations to disburse, but there is only so much much money to go around.

Nevertheless, scientific exploration of the human genome is, these days, unwinding a path of data that will enable medical professionals to make better informed decisions about these investments in ongoing life.

But yesterday, while I was installing a door, and listening to this discussion on the radio... from the ridiculous to the sublime--that's what I was experiencing, because, you see, before guest host Paul Raeburn interviewed Dr. Fleck about these life and death matters, which was in the second hour of the broadcast, he had been talking to Jon Cohen in the first half of the show about genetic research of a different stripe--mating humans with chimpanzees.

I'm serious as a monkey with a crescent wrench, y'all. The first hour of the program had featured a discussion about the genomic differences between humans and chimpanzees. Genetically speaking, the differences are quite insignificant, according to Jon Cohen. He did mention, though, that "there's something really different about us...(humans). Something much more profound than the 1% difference in genes, is what I say. Call me a neanderthal; I don't care.

Anyway, part of their discussion touched, bizarrely, on insemination experiments that were made in 1929 by a Russian biologist named Ilya Ivanovich Ivanaov, who tried to impregnate three female chimps with human sperm. (whose?)
I was relieved to hear that Ivanov's early venture into in vitro fertilization did not work; none of the humans sperms found their fertility-seeking bliss in the ape ova. Thank God it didn't work. Or at least, we haven't seen any evidence of such a creature being yet born into the world, except maybe the president of Persia. Just kidding.

Suffice it to say that if Ivanov's seminal experiments 81 years ago had worked, and a humanzee had been brought into the world, it would have been one small step backwards for man, one giant regressive leap (from one branch of human descent to another) for mankind...and most assuredly a dumbing down of our homo sapiens gene pool.
thank God we've come a long way in genetic research since those first days of darkly experimental laboratory shenanigans, or at least I hope we have. We shall see; the proof is in the (gene) pooling.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Murder Mysteries

Who killed these people?

Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari
Mohammad Mokhtari
Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh
Ahmad Miralaee
Ebrahim Zalzade
Ghafar Hosseini
Manouchehr Saneie and his wife Firoozeh Kalantari
Ahmad Tafazzoli
Majid Sharif

and why?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We still have flocculated oil in the Gulf.

Thanks to Neil Conan and the other researching journalists at NPR's Talk of the Nation, we will not soon allow the BP oilspill aftermath to sink into obscurity. God knows there were too many manmade dead zones already in the Gulf of Mexico before this catastrophe came along. The process of assessing the damage and cleaning up the mess will go on for years or even decades. With responsible reporting like the NPR crew of Talk of the Nation provide, we inquisitive citizens of the USA and the world can monitor the ongoing corrective measures and contribute to them as time goes by.

Among the many important and timely questions dealt with on Thursday's podcast, the one that most fascinated me was the possibility of some marine organisms "eating oil." If this is true, and if such a thing really happens, then I say thank God that there are flora and fauna out there in the deep recesses of our planet that can (at least begin to) alleviate or to some extent neutralize the destructive effects of our homo sapienic abuses and excesses.
One caller, Jeanine, a biologist in Arkansas, expressed her surprise (and mine as well) that some marine organisms would consume oil. Dr. Ian McDonald (of Florida State University and also the Florida Oilspill Academic Task Force)explained that some deep ocean species of sea cucumbers, anemones, and urchins will ingest organic substances that fall to the sea floor, such as the "marine snow" and other manifestations of flocculated oil that have been collected by Samantha Joye and her research from the University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences.
Dr. McDonald tempered his hope that bottom-dwelling species could eat oil by mentioning that the immensity of the spill may overwhelm these oil-eaters with toxicity. Only time and testing will tell.

Thursday's radiocast ended with Neil Conan's brief, respectful tribute to the eleven workers whose lives were lost in the Deepwater Horizon accident of April 20th. They are: Jason Anderson, Dale Burkeen, Donald Clark, Stephen Curtis, Gordon Jones, Roy Wyatt Kemp, Karl Kleppinger, Blair Manuel, Dewey Revette. Shane Roshto and Adam Weise.
Those men perished, no doubt, in their last earthly strivings to prevent an explosive disaster of immense proportions. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of muckraking scientists, engineers, journalists and many other vigilant contibutors, their last-minute efforts to stop the destruction will not have been in vain.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Healing of the Nations

"Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

This vision begins the last chapter of the Bible, just so you'll know where that revelation is taking us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

between i ran and a hard place

Could it be that the chinese are pulling the plug on yankee credit because uncle sam is getting cold feet on holding the line in the sand in persia?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Two sides to every firestorm

In this great nation of free people expressing ideas freely, of course we find that there are two sides to every story.
On one hand, Daniel Greenfield analyzes the Koran-burning controversy from a constitutional perspective. He comes up with some pretty good points, like this one:

"The same media which has consistently opposed a Constitutional amendment that bans flag burning (generally because they tend to agree with the flag burners), has now decided that burning the Koran should be a crime. Because burning the flag or killing thousands of Americans is no big deal-- but burning a Koran, someone should make a law about that.
Given a choice between burning the US Constitution or burning the Koran-- the media happily raises a lighter to the First Amendment. To them nothing American is sacred, but everything Islamic is."

On the other hand, since any incendiary issue (like, say, the American move toward revolution in 1776 that ultimately led to our constitution and its protected rights) is complicated, we see another side of the story with legitimate points, as represented in this article by Alex Kane from the Indypendent, a New York City newspaper, which documents a groundswell of support for the Islamic center among the residents of that city:

"Organized by New York Neighbors for American Values, a new coalition of over 100 groups formed in response to the opposition to the Cordoba House project, faith leaders, elected officials, musicians and activists voiced strong support for the proposed Islamic community center, which will also include a September 11 memorial, a restaurant and culinary school and more."

So I say that if Muslims in New York City can convince their neighbors that it is safe and appropriate for them to build a cultural center (or mosque whatever), then let 'em build the dam thing.
But don't curb the constitutionally-protected rights of a Florida pastor to express his opinion about it, or about the oppressive religion behind the controversy.
If the Muslims of these United States have something to contribute to our free nation, then let them convince us of their respectful intentions. They are free to present their case, and to express themselves religiously by their practice and by their construction.
Likewise, Rev. Terry Jones is free to express his views by burning a Koran, as long as its his property.

As for the issue of the so-called jeopardizing of the safety of our soldiers...just what are our soldiers defending, if not those constitutional rights and the people who are entitled to them?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

to commemorate 9/11

These days, people in the western world don't put much stock in sacred texts. Since we've evolved beyond all that quaint mythology and hocus pocus, we prefer not to acknowledge the the very real forces of spiritual contention that strive beneath our tragic history.
As literate as we are, we have not yet figured out that probably half of the world, myself included, is still bound up in the traditions of ancient religions. Most of the devout folk who derive their morality from these diverse streams of human spirituality congregate in their respective synagogues, mosques, churches and temples. By gathering together, believers reinforce their faith, multiply it, and extend it.
The educated members of our species eschew the old associations, and view them as divisive.

Certainly, human history reveals that religions are divisive. But the cold, hard, inconvenient truth is that if we weren't killing ourselves over religion, we'd be whacking each other over something else, like oil, food, real estate, or each other's spouses.

As a believer, I find myself here, September 11, 2010, on the tail end of the Judeo/Christian tradition. That particular stream of faith documents, among other events, many historic disputes that have arisen among various luminaries of the faith, most notably these two: Jacob/Esau, Isaac/Ishma'il.

But hey, the most recent offshoot of the Abrahamic tradition is, alas, Islam. Read em' and weep, all ye Christians and Jews. Torah/Bible says God ordered the patriarch to go up on the mountain to sacrifice his son, Isaac, whereas the Q'uran identifies the prospective sacrifice as the other son, Isma'il. Islamic tradition says that Mohammed was taken up by Allah at the rock, which is now within the Dome of the Rock. Christian revelation specifies the next ridge over, the Mt. of Olives, as the location for Christ's second coming. The Jews, meanwhile, are down at the wall wailing and crying for Messiah to show his face.

Among modern readers of these texts, people who are literate beyond religion tend to allegorize, or reject altogether, the spiritual truths that have been brought forth. Among literal-minded readers, however, steadfast faith leads to scriptural doctrines that can prove to be quite dogmatic.

When a fundamentalist of one sect burns, or threatens to burn, the sacred texts of another, swords--these days guns and bombs-- come out of the sheaths. The cool-headed members of our species consign such stunts to vain sound and fury, signifying nothing. Nevertheless, most of the religious folk of our world are still taking sides on these issues.

Excuse me, but I am one of those dreaded religious relics of the human race who favor faith over diversity. Although I'll try to tolerate anyone who doesn't want to explode me, I'll not concede that anything goes in the universe of truth.
Therefore, even as coolly objective as my secular, multiculturalized rose-colored-glasses-wearing better-angels would like to persuade me to be, I nevertheless take my place on the great mandala by sharing this song, which I laid down a few years ago with some friends of mine in David Browne's studio.

We've got a song to sing

Friday, September 10, 2010

violent religion?

If one insignificant book-burning could have provoked widespread violent reprisal from Muslims, then what does that indicate about the character of Islam?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Trauma Time

Here's an excerpt from Glass Chimera, which, thank God, finally made it to print last week:

This just in:
Rob Cerebrum took one look at an urgent feed coming off the wire just now. I’m not believing this. But after a second look, and confirmation codes accurately displayed on his screen, he could see it was the real thing, not a drill! He grabbed the microphone at his desk, wrapped his index around the “ON” button, and spoke clearly into the mesh:
“Attention. This is Rob Cerebrum. Red Alert! Red Alert! Code Red! Code Red! We are now experiencing a Stage 1 Trauma in Sector T-10. This is not a drill! We are now experiencing a Stage 1 Trauma in Sector T-10. Attention all Oligodendrocytes in the T-10 Sector. We have a breach in the spinal cord. I repeat. We have a breach in the spinal cord at T-10. All oligodendrocytes within protocol range of T-10 are ordered to immediately begin production and transfer of Myelin to T-10 Sector. All myelin-related proteins and lipids within protocol range of T-10 report immediately to your nearest oligodendrocyte for further instruction.
All bone and blood cells in T-10, you are now under lockdown. Assist in protection and fortification of traumatized neurons in your area. Trauma stage is extreme! Ischemia is critical! Oligodendrocytes, begin immediate construction of myelin sleeve to arrest breach in neurons and defend axons. All neuronal personnel in protocol range of T-10 should remain on your post assisting in fortification and reinforcement of damaged axons.
These orders are effective immediately, until amended by further announcement from central command. All Rob cells keep yourselves vigilant until this crisis is under control. Uphold our highest purpose at all times: One for All, and All for One.
This is Rob Cerebrum signing off. Next announcement in five minutes.