Tuesday, May 26, 2009

3 Things Obama does not know, but should...

Because if he and other world leaders did, they would not be meddling where they can do only harm:
  • #1, The economy is not a machine, it's an ecology made of unimaginably complex biological organisms, meaning people.
    .
  • #2, Models. There is no single economic model, like there is in Newtonian physics. Obama probably does not realize his advisors are giving him conflicting advice because they have different models.
    .
  • #3. Velocity. The speed at which money changes hands is dependent on emotions.
Take 10 minutes and read the whole thing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Whack a Kitty

No cats were harmed during the making of this video.

Some kittens may, however, have experienced deferred feline dignity development. This condition is only temporary and full recovery is assured.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Letter from a Dodge dealer

May 19, 2009

letter to the editor

My name is George C. Joseph. I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

We currently employ 50+ people and before the economic slowdown we employed over 70 local people. We are active in the community and the local chamber of commerce. We deal with several dozen local vendors on a day to day basis and many more during a month. All depend on our business for part of their livelihood. We are financially strong with great respect in the market place and community. We have strong local presence and stability.

I work every day the store is open, nine to ten hours a day. I know most of our customers and all our employees. Sunshine Dodge is my life.

On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as "new," nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler’s insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.

HOW IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CAN THIS HAPPEN?

THIS IS A PRIVATE BUSINESS NOT A GOVERNMENT ENTITY

This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN IN A FREE MARKET ECONOMY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

I beseech your help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.

Sincerely,

George C. Joseph
President & Owner
Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu

h/t Jim Sinclair's Mineset

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Red Ink at Greenpeace

An increase in payroll costs and a decrease in donations has Greenpeace Australia Pacific experiencing a red tide on its books, according to The Age.

Income is up 5%, but expenditures are up faster and the number of donors has dropped from 130,000 to 100,000 in the past 6 years.

Line items include "fund-raising expenditure" of $7.2 million, "campaigning expenditure" of $11.5 million and "organisational support" at $1.9 million. Wages, salaries and superannuation costs comprise $7.6 million, an increase of 31% year over year.

Happily, they still report $6 million cash in the bank. Green peace indeed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lowest recorded real earnings by S&P 500 Companies

I am a fan of Elliott Wave market analysis, mostly because it is right waaay more often than I am. While the practitioners do not focus on fundamental analysis, they do occasionally draw our attention to market fundamentals to show where we have been. The following came in today's subscription, along with a prediction of a choppy downward trend for the next while.

This chart shows S&P 500 company earnings, corrected for inflation. Sobering, don't you think?

This ad required over 600 takes

Friday, May 08, 2009

Updated: NSIDC keeps banging the global warming drum

(Updated with the first chart, below, plus the half-wise verbiage of the opening paragraphs).
My erstwhile Antipodean shadow PKD has brought to my attention the June 2009 examples of the NSIDC's editorials, entitled "Melt Season Gains Momentum". His series of observations in his unique style would have been in the comments section at the bottom had I not clumsilty toasted them as I tried to update this posting.

Any one of us can be accused of cherry picking data, I am sure (even you, PKD!), so in the spirit of cherry picking let me just use the NSIDC's words and illustration, and add that May's ice extent using NSIDC data looks to be about the same as 1990 and is higher than all but four of the past 19 years. If this is a trend, I think we can live with it. NSIDC helpfully plots the downward trend from 1979, a year whose only significance is that satellite data became available, then goes on to say:

May 2009 compared to past Mays

Compared to previous Mays, ice extent in May 2009 is about average. Over the last four years, May ice extent has increased.


Here is the original blog posting from a month ago:

Give the National Snow and Ice Data Center full marks for consistency. But not for objectivity, at least not for objectively presenting their own data.


Take their May 4 2009 update of sea ice extent. The chart shows 2009 ice extent approaching the average for the period 1979-2000, which NSIDC uses as a consistent benchmark. The start of the period corresponds with the beginning of satellite measurement of ice extent. The accompanying summary states:
Arctic sea ice extent declined quite slowly in April; as a result, total ice extent is now close to the mean extent for the reference period (1979 to 2000). The thin spring ice cover nevertheless remains vulnerable to summer melt.
So don't stop worrying about global warming just yet, dear reader, because this ice could melt! Could it melt more readily than spring ice from other years? Yes, NSIDC declared a month ago:
the melt season has begun with a substantial amount of thin first-year ice, which is vulnerable to summer melt.
If temperatures remain below average (a condition which the NSIDC has finally acknowledged) then somehow the thin first-year ice may survive and become second-year ice, with any luck less "vulnerable to summer melt". But again, don't count on it, according to the NSIDC
...conditions may not always favor the survival of second-year and older ice. Each winter, winds and ocean currents move some sea ice out of the Arctic ocean.
Reading this, one would think that once there was a patch of open water the whole place turns liquid faster than you can say "Save us, Al Gore!" This is consistent with climate modelers' worldviews that climate feedbacks are positive and once a change has been set in motion there is no stopping it.

Think about that.

In geologic time frames our plucky blue planet has been brass monkey cold, and stinking hot, and every temperature in between. If the feedbacks were positive, once we started heading towards hot we would just keep going until we made ashes of ourselves. We would not BE here if climate feedbacks were positive.

Back to the NSIDC and its little report. Recall in the opening quote that they call 1979-2000 their "reference period". This is nice and neutral. If the same organization referred to a "long term decline" in their same article, how would you think this related to the reference period?

Below is the chart that covers the putative long term decline. The astute reader will note that while it comes from the same organization, the data and trend line extend into 2009. The reader would then wonder why the last eight full years are not included in the reference data, as they would most certainly confirm that ice extent is above overall average levels calculated from all data at hand. From the chart, ice extent appears higher than any April in the last decade.

The informed reader would also observe that the beginning of the period of satellite observations coincides with the end of the cold period that began in 1940 and covered almost 4 decades during which CO2 levels steadily climbed while temperatures dropped, but that is a topic for another day. It is no wonder that ice extent started high and dropped for a while.
Trends are not destiny. Ocean temperatures and atmospheric temperatures have both signalled that the warming trends of the NSIDC reference period have reversed and heat energy is being lost from the earth and its atmosphere, not accumulating as many have been led to believe.

There is more ice now than there has been in a decade. Don't be surprised by this. And consider the possibility that there will be even more ice next year and next decade as solar activity, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and heaven knows what other mechanisms exert their normal will on us.

Then consider whether a colder planet is such a welcome prospect. I can imagine a time within ten years when we are struggling to feed our population and someone will suggest increasing CO2 emissions to enhance crop yields and maybe warm the place up a bit.

If a pig recovers from swine flu en route to the slaughterhouse

...is the meat considered cured ham?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

History does not repeat itself. But it often rhymes



Trends and history are not destiny. Nonetheless, the chart above (from dshort.com) shows a disturbing set of patterns. Click to enlarge.

If you want to short the S&P, you can do so on the Canadian market by buying HSD.

If you want to short the long Treasury market, you can do so on the US market by buying TBT.

This is not investment advice. I am in the category of a bald man selling hair tonic, in terms of investment success.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Deductive reasoning gets us properly tired

I just had to post this because you may run into the same problem if you are fortunate enough (!) to live in a place where you have winter tires and summer tires and someone does not do his job properly taking the wheels off.

Radial tires should not be rotated corner to corner on your car, the way bias ply tires were rotated back in the day. Many car owners report unusual pulling when radials get moved around after having been in one location for most of their miles. At most, swap backs and fronts on the same side of the car, or else just leave them be.

We bought winter tires and rims for my wife's car last fall, and when the dealer installed them he did not mark the location of each wheel in the summer set that he was taking off. I was re-installing the summer wheels and tires for my wife's car on the weekend, and had to figure out where they belonged just by looking at the tires.

Hard? Uh uh. Wild guesses? Nope.

Front vs back: It is a front wheel drive vehicle, meaning more weight and more potential slippage wear on the front tires. So, take the two tires with slightly less tread left, and figure they are the fronts.

Left vs right: Face it, the purpose of a curb is to scuff your tires. Curbs mostly show up on the passenger side of the vehicle. Passenger side tires have scuffed sidewalls.

Double check: Front tire gets scuffed more often than rear tire. This checked out just fine.

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Everybody Wang Chyung Tonight

A flippant title for a post with disturbing content.

The Scientific Misconduct Blog has posted a fascinating account of allegations of fabricated data and half-hearted investigation of temperature trends in China. At the core of it all is the uncertainty over the extent of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect on temperature measurements. Since most of the recorded temperatures that make up the notional concept of a "global temperature" are measured in urban regions, the UHI is critical to determining whether atmospheric warming is taking place, or simply warming due to urbanization.

Reading the responses below the Watts Up With That posting (where I found the story originally) reinforces the seriousness of the allegation and the implications for the credibility of both the University at Albany and the climate alarmist position. If the planet is not warming, and if data have been fabricated to support that it IS warming, then alarmists have no legs left to stand on. They are not scientists in pursuit of the truth. What, then, are they?