Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Futilitist, Jan 1, 2013.
Could be but this is not that forum.
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It should be obvious (From my 7 year old prediction that a run-on-the-dollar begins by Halloween 2014 and fact I am now inside my + or - one month timing error margin) that I throw caution to the wind; but I am not modifying that even with the dollars current strength.* Worse I tell what I have done without waiting for the results to be known. (I.e. put my money where my mouth is.)
So today made my biggest ever stock trade (about a quarter of a million dollars). I held C. Schwab's TIP fund SCHP for more than 6 years, as feared (incorrectly) near term inflation might happen; and now don't trust US government to make honest inflation adjustment (via CPI or "chained CPI" or even compulsory conversion to regular treasury paper, now with high price but not when interest rates rise). Also I don't want to hold mainly dollar assets (but did enjoy the run up made by FED's printing presses, as held more than a million in other equities, which I am now selling (wins off setting all but $3000 in loses, ) SCHP is near its high, good time to get out, but my large sale drove it down about 1%, so I have a significant "paper loss" just to day. It is going down more as will all non-TIP government bonds, soon I think, as QE ends, but not much sign of that yet.
What did I do with the sale dollars? I more than double my holding of Sao Paulo's water and sewer company (in ADR form: SBS). Now own 51,200 sh, my largest single holding. SBS is really depressed now (near multi-year low) as Sao Paulo has serious water shortage. SBS's main reservoir has less than 5% of its capacity and that will not drain out, but will be pumped out - more cost, not immediately related in water rates. I have longer term horizon - it will rain again and in decade or so fill the SBS reservoirs. If it does not, I and 18 million others have greater problems to worry about: Like an extended drought in SW USA.
All Brazilian stocks are down as US's have been rising, yet President Dilma may get re-elected in the second round of voting on 26 October. She is a "populist" buying votes of the poor with associated damage to the Brazilian economy. For example used government 51% ownership of PetroBras to hold gasoline prices frozen for five years (selling at slight loss), and forced electric power companies to reduce residential rates. Brazil needs FDI but she has killed it with anti-business policies.
* A flagrant violation of rules for predition: Tell what or when but never both.
OK here are today's thoughts on that:
[MEDIA]http://www.usatoday.com/media/cinematic/video/22176835/[/MEDIA] I don't know why you must copy and open to see
OR just click on link and open in new tab works for me.
The only nuclear-armed country I worry about is Pakistan. A large region of the country is not really under control of the government, and in fact is a haven for Islamic terrorists. The government itself is not 100% stable, and it's anybody's guess as to how loyal the nation's military is to that government--from one year to the next.
Frankly, I'm not terribly concerned that Pakistan will launch nuclear weapons at India. A nuclear exchange would wipe out both countries and neither of them want that. But I am worried that a terrorist group could infiltrate the Pakistani military and launch those nuclear weapons against other, non-nuclear-armed nations. It's also not unrealistic to worry that a compromised military unit could simply ship some of the weapons to other countries like the USA, where security at our seaports leaves a lot to be desired.
But I do not fear a nuclear attack by Russia. They well remember the concept of "mutually assured destruction," which was deservedly abbreviated as MAD.
I certainly do not fear a nuclear attack by China. We owe them so much money that the country would go bankrupt if we were suddenly unable to repay our debts. Besides, they quickly figured out that in the Post-Industrial Era, it's a lot easier and more effective to cripple an economy by compromising its computers. And the advantage is that with no major damage to our physical infrastructure, they could simply take over and run it themselves.
North Korea? Give me a break! They might manage to lob one missile at us, but where would they aim it? Kim Jong Eun went on record, identifying Austin, Texas, as one of our most important cities! As Jon Stewart said, bombing Austin would do nothing except make the rest of Texas breathe a sigh of relief that they finally got rid of all the hippies.
Israel might lob a nuke at one of its neighbors if it felt an existential crisis was coming. But none of those neighbors have nukes themselves, so it wouldn't escalate into a nuclear war. Iran? Well maybe. But their nuclear capability is in its infancy. It's unlikely that they could deploy more than two nuclear missiles, and by the time they reached Israel (if its defense network didn't already take them out), the Israelis would have rained nuclear havoc over the entire country.
Neither the Europeans nor the USA will be the first to launch a nuke, and I'm confident that our weapons are adequately protected against being taken over by terrorists.
So no, I emphatically discourage anyone from believing that Nuclear Armageddon is one of humanity's biggest threats.
Climate change, on the other hand, is real. Within two or three centuries, Florida and the Maldives will be underwater. Almost all of the world's major cities (which were built on sea, river and lake shores because in pre-industrial days boats were the fastest and most economical way to travel) will have lost a considerable portion of their real estate to tidal flooding. They will all have to be rebuilt about 20 miles (32km) inland.
Overpopulation? Probably not. The birth rate has been falling steadily since the mid-1980s. World population is predicted to reach its maximum early in the next century, considerably less than double the current population. The sparsely populated Western Hemisphere, plus Australia, with our enormous bounty of farmland, can easily feed all those people--five meals a day if they're that hungry! When the population begins to shrink, we'll have a problem no one is prepared to face: Every economic model since Adam Smith assumes, without analysis, that the engine that drives prosperity is a never-ending increase in the number of producers and consumers.
While I won't go as far as to say no nuclear bomb will ever explode again, but I agree with Fraggle that global climate change, is by far the larger threat to modern society. To suggest they are equal, is only reflecting difficulty in adapting the organization's POV, from its history. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has more "name problem" than the "March of Dimes" did. It was instrumental in ending polio, but success did not kill it - those dimes now march, in fewer numbers with much less public attention, against birth defects. The BoAS needs to become the BoCS where the "C" is for "Concerned."
The two are inseparable. Reduce the population and the issues of climate change go down as well. Grow the population and even with aggressive reduction in emissions per capita you don't make a dent in CO2.
Israel is the problem. The US is in the way of 'successfully' dealing with that problem, the current prevailing policy 'winds' notwithstanding. We will be neutralized militarily, politically, and economically by Russia, China, and Iran. The US will become a type of chinese colony or even part of China itself. Once the US has been taken out, they, in conjunction with an Islamic/Russian confederation will attempt a 'final solution' regarding Israel.
It will be in the midst of carrying out that 'solution' that all that you thought was myth shall suddenly become reality before your very eyes.
Did I hear someone say it was time to bring this tread back?
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Probably not, but if you have an update to make on your stance, there could be something new/relevant to discuss.
80 pages of chicken little crap? I'll bet he has 50 more pages at least. So many words yet so little content....
Since his first estimates failed to come to pass, I suspect a new slew of apocalypses real soon now.
The planet's warming-cooling cycle has been going on for billions of years, long before our species came along. Human activity may cause a modest acceleration of global warming. But when we're talking about a phenomenon with a duration measured in hundreds of millions of years, and moreover we happen to be only a few centuries from the very end of the warming cycle, the long-term effect of our contribution will be negligible. A few centuries faster or slower is nothing on the cosmic time scale.
One thing that was recently discovered, now that the arctic ice is melting, is that this ice has a hell of a lot of carbon trapped in it. When the polar ice caps finish melting (the definition of the "end" of an ice age cycle), there will be so much more CO2 in the atmosphere that fossil fuel contributions might be puny in comparison.
Not militarily, that's never going to happen. Perhaps you've forgotten that our military budget is equal to the military budgets of the next seven countries combined.
Politically? Perhaps, but it's a long shot. Most of the people on this planet will not peacefully succumb to an Islamist takeover. And nobody has ever won a war by suicide bombing. It tends to reduce the size of the attacking force very quickly! Not to mention, the four countries with the largest Muslim populations are Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. These are not Arab countries, they account for more than half of the world's Muslims, and they have absolutely no interest in jihad.
Economically? The only country you mentioned that has a strong economy is China. Without Americans to buy their toxic crap in Walmart, they'll lose their status as the world's number-two economy in a heartbeat.
Sure, China fought us to a draw in Korea, but that was on their back doorstep. Who thinks they could do that in a global conflict?
It occurred to me that all the charts showing the use of non-renewable resources are perfect examples of the "exponential function" and inevitably there will be a time where the human population wil experience zero or even negative growth. This can happen in two ways; a gradual tapering off or by apocalyptic events (wars, disease, starvation).
Prof. Bartlett spelled it out many years ago in this lecture on the exponential function and how it impacts all things which have a steady growth rate of long periods of time.
Above I cited 70 years. This is assuming that we can keep the growth rate of human and human energy consumption to just a single percent. At a steady growth rate of just 1 % , the human race will double and we will consume more natural resources in 70 years than we have in the entire history of industrial use of those resources.
The lecture is somewhat outdated, but the principles are exactly the same now as they were then. I urge anyone with limited knowledge of the exponential function and the consequences of steady growth of anything, to check it out.
and below are current consumption rates. From there you can do the math.
That "export toxic crap" POV is obsolete and by world trade or just exports, China is number 1, not 2. Junk, plastic toys, etc. are < 1/5 of China's exports now.
Note that US importance to China as buyer of its exports is in rapid decline. Less than a decade ago, US bought 25% of China's exports. In contrast, China's exports to almost all others are increasing. Even with it sick economy, the EU has displaced the US as China's largest buyer of its exports. Trade with the prospering nations of the Association of SE Asian Nations is growing by about 10% /year. In large part because real wages in China are growing by about 10% annually.
I. e. China can no longer make the low value added components it builds into its high value products, so imports them, mainly from ASEAN. This sends Yuan to them, that the workers there send back to China buying China's higher value exports.
Because US runs such a terrible chronic trade deficit with China, China's trade surplus is dominated by the US/China trade; However, China does not want to hold more green paper pictures of George Washington. So is using their trade surplus dollars to buy in long-term, paid in full, up front, delivery contracts for items they do want and will need in the future. Mainly raw materials like copper from the Congo, etc. (China is gaining great influence in Africa now.) and oil delivery contracts or ownership of in ground oil.
For example, China lent PetroBrass 10 billion dollars about 5 years ago, but does not want it paid back in dollars. Instead China gets 200,000 barrels of oil each day, on average for 20 years ~ 15 more to go on this long term, paid in full up-front contract, and there are several larger ones with other nations, most notable is the recent deal with Russia for at least 30 year of steady supply of Siberian gas - as much as the 48 inch diameter pipeline can move.
China's AIIB has been a huge success, despite US's strenuous efforts, 47 countries have joined; Most of EU followed England's lead. (See 2nd drawing below.)
The US dominated World Bank (only US has a veto on all its loans) is headed for the scrap heap of history. These three carton pictures tell it all:
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I do. All are big losers in nuclear war, so the conflict of WWIII is economic. China has been winning that war for about two decades now.
For more than 3 decades, the US has been loading China's big economic canon, with powder - 2.5 Trillion dollars in it now. When it is fired, US dollar dies.
Then, China no longer the US, gets to pay for its imports with printer paper.
As far as US winning by first strike nuclear attack on China:
It is too late to do that now - China's air defenses are too good and they now have several* Jin-94 sub marines with 12 launch tubes for the new mirved SBM ICBM which has a range of 8,700 miles - I.e. only one surviving a US first strike can hit NYC and 119 other US cities from more than half of the Pacific Ocean and all of the Artic Ocean. (And each of those 120 independently targetable nuclear bombs is 2.5 times more powerful than the one used on Hiroshima!)
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* At least four and building more at about 2 every 3 years now. China prefers a surface launch**, but has successfully tested submerged launch about four years ago.
** In part because China's GPS is defensive only. Can not guide a cruse missile thru a window on the other side of the world as US's can. China's system is much more economical as there are no high precision clocks in satellites. Instead these clock are land based and their GPS only works when orbiting satellite has line-of-sight to a clock, but China is large so even ocean east of Japan and Korea, most of the Indian ocean and all of China's coastal ocean (South China Sea, included) has China's GPS available.
I don't know, but assume the clocks are mobile, each with several cheaper decoys so they can't be taken out by a first strike by cruise missile guiding on their radiation. China did that for all their land based ICBMs and they don't even radiate.
The "gradual tapering" is already happening. Since the last turn of the century, when vaccines, antibiotics, covered sewers, indoor plumbing, wrapped food and automobiles (until then the streets of every major city were shin-deep in horse manure) caused a phenomenal decrease in infant mortality, world population was doubling every 30 years.
But in the 1980s the rate began to diminish. It turns out that prosperity is the best contraceptive! We still haven't doubled the population of 1985. It appears that our numbers will top out around 12 or 13 billion in the early part of the 22nd century... and then start decreasing.
If our descendants can get past their foolish supernatural fairytales (which they call "religions") and learn to make peace and cooperate, there will be plenty of food. The farms in the underpopulated Western Hemisphere, augmented by Australia, could feed twice that many people. (Most of the land in "crowded, suburban" California is farmland, forest or easily reclaimed desert.)
The new problem these people will have to face is the obsolescence of the economic model the human race has used for centuries. It's based on the assumption that the engine of prosperity is a steadily increasing pool of producers and consumers.
To put it politely! The data upon which that calculation was based is out of date.
China and Russia could wipe this place off the map. Consider the morale issue...how many veterans are represented by the pathetic "wounded warrior" program? Formerly healthy individuals in the prime of life reduced to mangled wrecks and charity cases--for what? To "fight for our freedom"? Those same individuals are ignored by the very government they fought for. Politicians living off the fat of the land while they suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are surely aware of the current situation in Iraq/Middle East...The V.A. itself, tasked with caring for these people had to be taken to task for neglect. They observe this poor excuse for commander in chief doing what he does with respect to foreign policy, social engineering with the military itself, the purging of top brass worth their salt...what's left when you force out through sheer odiousness a majority of personnel retaining any sense of honor, moral fiber, self sacrifice, etc.? What do you have left to defend (or for that matter, send off on misguided, immoral 'crusades' that serve to alienate us?) this country when those same caliber leave the service? Only those who think such a country* is worth defending/propping up abroad. You can't do that with the types left behind... Sure, there is the odd patriot enduring in the midst of it, but by and large the current state is sad...and that's putting it mildly..you don't think this effects the overall capability of the Armed Forces? You bet it does. Now, you set 'that' against the military's of Russia and China and I don't care how sophisticated the weaponry is, if you don't back that with the right people it is totally worthless. I don't care how loyal what's left is to this current regime--including local law enforcement or alphabet soup agencies, the place is going down and there isn't a thing they can do to stop it.
Economically? Just a matter of time.
Politically? The US will cease to exist as a player on the world scene. We will either be wiped out completely in a combined first strike, or we will, afterwards, be occupied and divided up into regional 'states'. The major stuff will all be going on across the pond--less any US influence--as our role will be over.
All we did was lay the groundwork for the coming cataclysm.
*'morally' indignant...selfishly insisting on imposing their twisted sense of 'morality' at the expense of their fellow countrymen's conscience...that's not moral...it's not kind...it's not looking out for the good of the other...you think people will want to lay down their lives for such people--not to mention the government that enforces it?
"Our entire way of life can be ended in a single day. And it wouldn’t even take a nuclear war to do it."
So could the US - point being?
And? The beat goes on...
I take it that you believe such a country (The USA in this instance) is NOT worth defending? Is there another country that you believe IS worth defending?
Only to the extent that your existential angst effects "the overall capability of the Armed Forces" - which, thankfully, is not much...
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