Category Archives: USA
Arguably England’s most successful colony, Many people living there are unaware that is still is a colony.
So this week with the money that isn’t wasted on wars and war toys a possibly habitable planet was discovered.
Humanity has a ‘Carl Sagan’ moment get wide eyed in wonder and then puts it head back to the grind.
So in the constellation of Cygnus is a Red Dwarf star (M dwarf) called kepler 186 and its 5th planet rotates around this star about 1/3 of the distance we rotate around our sun. But that is about as accurate as saying somewhere in Australia I dropped a bottle top with my phone number written on it. Any way this planet is believed to be in the ‘Goldilocks zone’, not to cold, not too hot, and is thought to have the right temperature for liquid water and therefore life. The panet has been in that position for a few billion years so life would have had time to evolve, if thats how life really comes about.
Downside: its 490 light years away, even a laser beam (or radio wave) pulsing data to and from such a place would take 490 years to make a one way journey. If you
thought your internet was slow I assure you this would be a lot worse. So other than a wormhole or faster than light speed travel we are not getting there anytime soon
This is all really great, a real testament to science to find such a thing.
But just think what would we do if we sat in our space ship in orbit of this world. Surely we could land and make conquest of the place, but is that the right thing
to do? Think of the scientific discoveries that could be made just to study the place. Would we think of the plants and animals there as simply food and raw
materials? A place for collecting trophies and trinkets for exorbitant resale on earth.
That’s not just Marble, it’s Kepler Marble; very expensive…
What if there were sentient creatures there? Would we simply shove them aside like previous conquest of new worlds? We have discovered new worlds before and look how it ended for those who were on the new world when it was ‘discovered’. North America was ‘new world’, Central America was a ‘new world’, South America was a ‘new world’, Australia was a ‘new world’ (though not specifically called that). Imagine a ten ton mining truck squashing a small animal unknown to science, and then realize it can happen here too, the fact it happens somewhere else makes it no more less of a tragedy.
So while we might find a ‘new world’ we are hardly ready to go there without being remarkable destructive, so perhaps Kepler 186f is safe for now from a world not quite ready to deal with its own problems.
So one of the biggest stories in technology in the last year or so has just happened. A small company called Oculus wanted to make an attempt at a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, nothing new here various IT companies have been trying to make VR a commercial success for more than 20 years. What was new was the mode of funding and the ultimate purchaser. Kickstarter,( which was normally used by small player to get some money to record a CD, write a book, or produce a small gadget) was used to acquire 1.2 million USD for Oculus development version VR headset (AKA goggles). One of the biggest kickstarter projects ever. From all the hype generated the dying dinosaur Facebook smells the blood in the water and buys Oculus for 2 billion dollars. Depite the Kickstarted backers getting the prototype VR headset as promised, a lot of backers were really angry, they felt that they were supporting an independent company not making a R&D donation to the oh so creepy Facebook.
What does this mean?
Kickstarter has had its day, people will no longer want to donate to companies unless it really a forward purchase. Other companies like Kickstarter are emerging and now and will offer a shareholding in new companies.
Crowd funding will become crowd micro investing.
Oculus will be associated with the creepy surveillance of Facebook.
Facebook will probably ruin the potential Oculus like some many previous failed attempts to make people use VR. Farmville in 3D really has very little extra appeal.
It’s no surprise that this happened when corporations got their hands on free money
Sony have similar VR project , but have none of this baggage and may just be more successful because of the negative publicity gathered by the aforementioned rogues.
some excerpts from the story
Recently, our nation’s financial chieftains have been feeling a little unloved. Venture capitalists are comparing the persecution of the rich to the plight of Jews at Kristallnacht, Wall Street titans are saying that they’re sick of being beaten up, and this week, a billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross, proclaimed that “the 1 percent is being picked on for political reasons.”
Ross’s statement seemed particularly odd, because two years ago, I met Ross at an event that might single-handedly explain why the rest of the country still hates financial tycoons – the annual black-tie induction ceremony of a secret Wall Street fraternity called Kappa Beta Phi.
“I believe that God has a plan for all of us. I believe my plan involves a seven-figure bonus.”
The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.
The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.”
- Adam Smith
The somewhat autobiographical story of Jordan Belfort and Stratton Oakmont.
The story of Jordan Belfort is closely but not exactly told in ‘wolf of wall street’. Some names and facts have been changed to protect the less guilty. In the film he alludes to what Lehman brothers and other now infamous investment/banking houses were doing with derivatives ten years before it became topical (and disastrous).
Having just Acquired his stock brokers license Jordan Belfort begins working at L.F. Rothschild as a stockbroker on wall street. Two problems: 1) This Rothschild is not related to the ultra moneyed European Rothschilds, and 2) the 1987 stock market crash occurred on his first day and he looses his job with he collapse of the company he worked for.
Jordan then stumbles into penny stocks and realizes with his license to sell blue chip stocks he can then induce the much bigger market into far riskier and stock broker lucrative penny stocks. But along the way Jordan attracts a band of merciless hustlers that become his boiler room. The film Boiler room is also about this con game. If this wasn’t enough there we the drugs, The drugs were cocaine, Quaaludes and almost anything they could get their hands on, prescription or not.
A bunch of small time drug dealers/dabblers hustle their way to the top, their modus operandi is essentially no different to the larger game. Agressive con men fueled by drugs and excess in a massive ponzi scheme, what could go wrong? The creation of an artificial empire of hookers, drugs and a charismatic cult leader imploring and mentoring his followers to rake in more mammon (money). Some of the editing in the movie even shows blatant continuity errors when Jordan is wasted on drugs. The rolling down the country club stairs to get to his car is an example, though the car damage is more obvious.
Its a fugazi
The money that goes into the market stays in the market. The pyramid is not build if people start removing the blocks. Just like removing a block from the corner of a pyramids base can collapse the whole pyramid. So if you are skilled enough to get people to invest in the first place, be skilled enough to make them keep their money in the game. All the money is fake once it enters the system, destined to never be seen again by investors.
Think about it, if the broker takes a 50% commission on the sale of $1000 of stocks the clients investment has lost 50% on day 1. The stock has to reach to more than $2000 just for the client to break even. Where exactly does the money to pay investors come from? from the fugazi vortex? No, any possible gains are then plowed back into the vortex of imaginary money. So for a penny stock investor to make money their stock price must reach more than 201% of their purchase price. While some penny stocks can do this they are rare, especially when you consider that most of the stock were subject to price manipulation in a classic pump and dump system.
A fire in the side show can spread to the big-top.
Regulators really don’t care for the victims of these frauds, they just want to make sure a few operators don’t threaten the faith in larger ponzi game (con) of money printing and taxation. Its salient point that Belfort served 22 months of a 4 year sentence for frauds totaling 110 million dollars. A small penalty for stealing the life savings of thousands of people He was forced to pay back about 10 million which mostly came from the sale of his house leaving the question open, where did the other 100 million go? Remember the guy was using a variety of money laundering systems.
22 months imprisoned for stealing 110 Million dollars from his clients, that equates one month in prison for stealing 5 million dollars.
Would you be willing to steal 5 million dollars if you punishment was only 1 month in prison and there is a good chance you were able to hide a great deal of the money and have it waiting for you secretly once you were freed?
The state is less concerned when you steal from the citizenry than when you steal from the state.
The state also punishes small thefts so much more harshly than large thefts. Recall the scene where the butler has an orgy at Jordan’s apartment and his money and jewelery is stolen. Oh the horror that some one might steal from him in a day, the amount that he might steal in a minute.
So what happens when everyone decides to go home?
The financial circus was never mean to close, it was a designed as a 24/7 365 day operation with a sucker born every minute. Unfortunately the circus became so big that it altered the town. The wars it funded eventually created a population bubble. Soon the bubble in population had fewer children than before and so did those children. Soon there were less suckers born and more wise to the game and lived long enough to collect on the bets. It was known in financial circles that 2007-2009 would be a very difficult time for markets, as the baby boomers would begin to retire and their vast proportion of the worlds wealth would begin exiting the market.
The sub prime bubble just made this problem even worse and more sudden, the market was facing the perfect storm of peak oil and peak boomer investment both oil and boomers were about to go into terminal decline.
Its is not that Stratton Oakmont was an anomaly in the system, its just that they exposed what the financial system is: a giant Ponzi scheme run by arrogant delusional narcissists addicted to excess and hedonism.
He was not the first Ponzi operator and he wont be the last, Bernie Madoff proved that, Madoff was just more sophisticated and low key in his approach.
But the biggest Ponzi will be implode soon, fiat currency itself.
So where is he now? Jordan Belfort currently is on the sales and motivation speaker circuit and still presumably owes tens of millions of dollars to his former investors.
The body count:
Jan. 26, 2014
William Broeksmit, 58.
retired Deutsche Bank
Found hanging at home
Jan. 28, 2014
Gabriel Magee, 39.
JP Morgan’s European headquarters in London.
Reportedly leaped to his death from the 33rd story of his workplace
Jan. 29, 2014
Mike Dueker, 50.
Chief Economist at Russell Investments
Jumped over a four-foot fence and fallen some 40-to-50 feet down an embankment?
Feb. 3, 2014
Ryan Crane, 37.
JP Morgan trading exec.
Found dead at home poisoning suspected.
Feb. 4, 2014
Richard Talley, 57.
Former investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert and founder of Centennial.
Found is his garage at home with self inflicted nail gun wounds.
Do you believe in coincidences?
HSBC get a slap on the wrist for money laundering. Once again proof that there is a different set of rules for massive corporation than there is for everybody else.
Too big to fail, too big to jail
Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic and homeless man, was beaten and tasered so badly by a group of Fullerton Police officers, he died in hospital 5 days later.
During the incident Kelly Thomas, pleaded for the beating to stop but the police being thugs, simply ignored him.
The police who murdered Kelly Thomas lost their jobs but were acquitted for murder by a jury. Now they are planning to sue to get their jobs back.
Another nice find from the Mikiverse