Wednesday, August 31, 2011
NEW DETAILS OF SHOCKING HUMAN EXPERIMENT
ATLANTA (AP) — A presidential panel on Monday disclosed shocking new details of U.S. medical experiments done in Guatemala in the 1940s, including a decision to re-infect a dying woman in a syphilis study.
The Guatemala experiments are already considered one of the darker episodes of medical research in U.S. history, but panel members say the new information indicates that the researchers were unusually unethical, even when placed into the historical context of a different era.
"The researchers put their own medical advancement first and human decency a far second," said Anita Allen, a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
From 1946-48, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Pan American Sanitary Bureau worked with several Guatemalan government agencies to do medical research — paid for by the U.S. government — that involved deliberately exposing people to sexually transmitted diseases.
The researchers apparently were trying to see if penicillin, then relatively new, could prevent infections in the 1,300 people exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea or chancroid. Those infected included soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis.
The commission revealed Monday that only about 700 of those infected received some sort of treatment. Also, 83 people died, although it's not clear if the deaths were directly due to the experiments.
The research came up with no useful medical information, according to some experts. It was hidden for decades but came to light last year, after a Wellesley College medical historian discovered records among the papers of Dr. John Cutler, who led the experiments.
President Barack Obama called Guatemala's president, Alvaro Colom, to apologize. He also ordered his bioethics commission to review the Guatemala experiments. That work is nearly done. Though the final report is not due until next month, commission members discussed some of the findings at a meeting Monday in Washington.
They revealed that some of the experiments were more shocking than was previously known.
For example, seven women with epilepsy, who were housed at Guatemala's Asilo de Alienados (Home for the Insane), were injected with syphilis below the back of the skull, a risky procedure. The researchers thought the new infection might somehow help cure epilepsy. The women each got bacterial meningitis, probably as a result of the unsterile injections, but were treated.
Perhaps the most disturbing details involved a female syphilis patient with an undisclosed terminal illness. The researchers, curious to see the impact of an additional infection, infected her with gonorrhea in her eyes and elsewhere. Six months later she died.
Dr. Amy Gutmann, head of the commission, described the case as "chillingly egregious."
During that time, other researchers were also using people as human guinea pigs, in some cases infecting them with illnesses. Studies weren't as regulated then, and the planning-on-the-fly feel of Cutler's work was not unique, some experts have noted.
But panel members concluded that the Guatemala research was bad even by the standards of the time. They compared the work to a 1943 experiment by Cutler and others in which prison inmates were infected with gonorrhea in Terre Haute, Ind. The inmates were volunteers who were told what was involved in the study and gave their consent. The Guatemalan participants — or many of them — received no such explanations and did not give informed consent, the commission said.
The commission is working on a second report examining federally funded international studies to make sure current research is being done ethically. That report is expected at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the Guatemalan government has vowed to do its own investigation into the Cutler study. A spokesman for Vice President Rafael Espada said the report should be done by November.
Associated Press writer Sonia Perez in Guatemala City contributed to this report
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The rain gauge at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York recorded 7.8 inches (19.8 cm) on Aug. 14, breaking the previous daily record of 6.27 inches (15.9 cm), set in 1984.
Preliminary estimates peg New Jersey's August rainfall at 16.5 inches (41.9 centimeters), making it the rainiest month ever recorded in the state.
"This breaks the former record by four and a half inches," Robinson said. "I've been using the word 'staggering,' and the phrase, 'you can't make this up.'
"Meanwhile, Texas, Oklahoma and large sections of New Mexico are experiencing serious drought, with plants dying and reservoirs drying up.
Also experienced this year is " the worst one-year Texas drought on record since 1895, as far back as the data goes."
"With global temperatures warmer now than they were at the beginning of the last century, that means our temperatures are warmer too, which increases the rate of evaporation and increases the demands on water, increases the stress on the water supply, and also leaves us more susceptible to breaking the high-temperature record, which we've been doing lately," Nielsen-Gammon said. In other words, regardless of whether climate change helped create the drought, global warming is exacerbating the situation.
Irene isn't the only dramatic storm to hit the country this year. As La Nina made its exit in the spring (with its effects lingering into the hurricane season that begins June 1), it ended its stabilizing effect on the jet stream — which, in turn, dipped lower into the U.S., bringing cold, dry northern air into contact with warm, damp southern air. The result: A tornado season for the record books.
If preliminary estimates hold, 2011 will likely go down in the record books as the year with the most disasters costing a billion dollars or more apiece. Irene will likely be the 10th billion-dollar disaster this year, beating 2008's record of 9.
2011 and 2010 both ushered in dramatic weather,
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
The following are 14 conspiracy theories that the media now admits are conspiracy facts....
#1 Fukushima Uninhabitable
Back in April, I published an article entitled "Much Of Northern Japan Uninhabitable Due To Nuclear Radiation?" At the time, almost everyone in the mainstream media was insisting that Fukushima was nothing like Chernobyl and that those that lived near Fukushima would be able to return to their homes fairly soon.
Well, it turns out that those of us that feared the worst were right after all. Just consider the following quote from the New York Times....
Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.
#2 U.S. Military Attack On Libya
At the beginning of this year, nobody would have dreamed that the U.S. military would have attacked Libya this year.
But it happened. At first those that tried to warn about an upcoming conflict with Libya were called kooks, and even up until recently many in the media were still trying to deny that NATO was arming and training the rebels.
Well, the truth is that NATO had special forces on the ground even before the conflict began.
The "rebel groups" (which include large numbers of al-Qaeda fighters) would have been soundly defeated by Gaddafi if not for relentless air strikes by the U.S. military and NATO.
Instead of a straightforward invasion like we saw in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military and NATO systematically developed, trained and equipped "rebel groups" within the country and have used them as the ground forces for this campaign.
That way the goals of the U.S. and EU could still be achieved, but in the end they would have less blood on their hands.
As the conflict winds down, now even the New York Times is admitting that we have trained and equipped the rebels....
“We always knew there would be a point where the effectiveness of the government forces would decline to the point where they could not effectively command and control their forces,” said the diplomat, who was granted anonymity to discuss confidential details of the battle inside Tripoli.
“At the same time,” the diplomat said, “the learning curve for the rebels, with training and equipping, was increasing. What we’ve seen in the past two or three weeks is these two curves have crossed.”
Sadly, there is still a very good chance that U.S. troops could end up on the ground in Libya.
Many prominent officials are already calling for the U.S. and the EU to provide occupation forces. Richard Haas, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, has authored an opinion piece for the Financial Times entitled "Libya Now Needs Boots on the Ground".
If that happens, it will likely end up being a situation very similar to what we have today in Iraq.
#3 Widespread Use Of RFID Chips In Humans
The doubters said it would never happen. They said we would never see the day when RFID chips were implanted in humans on a widespread basis.
Well, today there are examples of this all over the world. One of the most stunning examples recently has come out of Mexico. According to the Washington Post, "thousands of worried Mexicans" have been having "satellite and radio-frequency tracking products" implanted in their skin in order to protect themselves against abduction.
#4 $2000 Gold
It was only a matter of months ago that we were told that gold was "in a bubble" at $1400 or $1500 an ounce.
Well, gold recently crossed the $1900 an ounce barrier, and appears poised to go much higher as global financial instability intensifies.
#5 Obama Wants To Impose Backdoor Amnesty
Those that warned that Barack Obama was going to impose amnesty for illegal immigrants by executive fiat were called "nuts" and "conspiracy theorists".
Well, it has happened. The Obama administration has now instituted "backdoor amnesty" for illegal immigrants and even plans to provide them with work permits.
#6 U.S. Government Provides Weapons For Mexican Drug Cartels
For a long time there were those that claimed that the U.S. government was providing guns to Mexican drug cartels, but nobody wanted to listen.
Well, it is all now a matter of public record. It turns out that the U.S. government facilitated the transfer of thousands of guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
The following is a brief excerpt from a CBS News report that discusses the fierce opposition that many ATF agents expressed to allowing thousands of guns to be given into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels....
On the phone, one Project Gunrunner source (who didn't want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF's watchful eye. "The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That's how many guns were sold - including some 50-calibers they let walk."
50-caliber weapons are fearsome. For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios begging and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: "Negative. Stand down."
CBS News has been told at least 11 ATF agents and senior managers voiced fierce opposition to the strategy. "It got ugly..." said one. There was "screaming and yelling" says another. A third warned: "this is crazy, somebody is gonna to get killed."
Amazingly, three of the key ATF officials involved in putting thousands of guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels were recently promoted.
#7 Fluoride Is Harmful
Incredibly, the federal government is finally admitting that high levels of fluoride in our drinking water can be harmful. In fact, the feds have reduced the "recommended amount" of fluoride in our drinking water for the first time in 50 years.
We probably won't see them ban fluoride any time soon, but for them to even acknowledge a problem with fluoride is a major step. In a recent article on CNN, it was reported that the federal government is now saying that high levels of fluoride in the water have now officially been linked with fluorosis....
The Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency are proposing the change because of an increase in fluorosis -- a condition that causes spotting and streaking on children's teeth.
#8 The Federal Reserve Favors The Big Banks
We were always told by the media that the Federal Reserve was "above politics" and that it did not show favoritism.
Well, we all know now that the Fed is deeply corrupt and about the only people that they actually help are their friends.
It turns out that the Federal Reserve very quietly showered the big banks and their friends with hundreds of billions of dollars in loans at rates that were substantially below market during the financial crisis. While Wall Street was being flooded with easy loans, none of the small banks that were deeply suffering and no average Americans got any money.
#9 Cell Phones Linked To Cancer
For years, "conspiracy theorists" have been claiming that cell phone use can cause cancer.
Well, the mainstream media is starting to catch up. Some very startling scientific studies have come out recently that are hard to ignore.
The following is an excerpt from a recent CNN article about one of these studies....
At the highest exposure levels -- using a mobile phone half an hour a day over a 10-year period -- the study found a 40 percent increased risk of glioma brain tumors.
#10 The Credit Rating Agencies Are Corrupt
We have all been taught that the credit rating agencies are supposed to be objective.
But in the real world things are not that simple.
For example, just a short time after long-term U.S. government debt was downgraded, the head of Standard & Poor's is resigning, and is being replaced by Douglas Peterson, the former COO of Citigroup.
Do you think the former COO of Citigroup is going to come down hard on his former comrades over at the big Wall Street banks?
Also, a whistleblower has come forward with some stunning revelations about Moody's. The following is what former analyst William Harrington says was going on over at that credit agency during the financial crisis....
"The track record of management influence in committees speaks for itself -- it produced hollowed-out (collateralized debt obligation) opinions that were at great odds with the private opinions of committees and which were not durable for even a short period after publication"
#11 Prescription Drugs Kill A Lot Of Americans
Growing up, I never even imagined that prescription drugs could be dangerous. I had complete faith in the medical community and the government to only allow drugs on the market that were fully tested and proven to be 100% safe.
Well, I was dead wrong. The truth is that adverse reactions to prescription drugs kill a huge number of Americans every year. A recent Vanity Fair article entitled "Deadly Medicine" began with the following statement....
Prescription drugs kill some 200,000 Americans every year. Will that number go up, now that most clinical trials are conducted overseas—on sick Russians, homeless Poles, and slum-dwelling Chinese—in places where regulation is virtually nonexistent, the F.D.A. doesn’t reach, and “mistakes” can end up in pauper’s graves?
#12 Bisphenol-A Is Linked To Infertility
A very common chemical known as bisphenol-A is found in thousands upon thousands of our plastic products. It also turns out that it has some really nasty effects on the human body.
Fortunately, some in the mainstream media are beginning to acknowledge this. Back in October, one of the largest UK newspapers published an article entitled "Bisphenol-A now linked to male infertility" which made the following unequivocal statement about the dangers of BPA....
Bisphenol-A (BPA), known as the "gender bending" chemical because of its connection to male impotence, has now been shown to decrease sperm mobility and quality.
#13 The "Super Congress" Is In The Pocket Of Wall Street Interests
The amount of money that has been donated to the campaigns of those on the "Super Congress" is absolutely astounding.
Just check out what a recent CNBC article had to say about the matter....
Overall, according to the center's research, the dozen super committee members have raised more than $50 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector since the 1990 election cycle.
How much influence do you think 50 million dollars is going to buy?
#14 The Targeting Of Christian Groups
We are increasingly hearing from the Obama administration and some members of Congress that we need to be really concerned about "homegrown terrorists" and "Christian extremists".
For example, during a recent Congressional hearing U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee warned that "Christian militants" might try to "bring down the country" and that such groups need to be investigated.
In addition, according to a shocking document obtained by Oath Keepers, the FBI is now instructing store owners to report many new forms of "suspicious activity" to them. According to the document, "suspicious activity" now includes making "extreme religious statements" and believing in "radical theology".
Not only that, a Department of Homeland Security report on "right wing extremism" from April 2009 lists the following people as potential terrorists....
-those that believe in "end times" prophecies
-those that believe abortion is wrong
-those that stockpile food, ammunition or weapons
-those that are against same-sex marriage
-those that believe in "New World Order" conspiracy theories
I don't know about you, but when the federal government starts targeting people based on their religious beliefs, that makes me very nervous.
This world is officially going crazy. So don't blame "conspiracy theorists" for wanting to dig around and get the facts. The mainstream media sure doesn't give us much of the truth.
As the world continues to fall apart and as the propaganda from the mainstream media gets even more blatant, the hunger for the truth is only going to grow.
Who knows? Perhaps before it is all over you will be a "conspiracy theorist" too.
The National Weather Service issued a hurricane watch for the city and much of the surrounding region, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency. Torrential rains, flash floods, and winds of more than 100 mph are expected, beginning Saturday evening.
Irene itself is currently projected to hit the city on Sunday afternoon as a Category 1 hurricane -- meaning a major storm -- but both the timing and the severity could change.
Because the city's hundreds of miles of coastline are densely developed, hurricanes can do more damage in the city than those of similar strength that hit the southern United States, the city's emergency management agency said.
Among the developments:
• Mayor Bloomberg said all 250,000 New Yorkers living in low-lying areas -- including neighborhoods like Coney Island in Brooklyn, the Rockaways in Queens, and Battery Park City in Manhattan, as well as many others -- will be required to evacuate. This color-coded map (pdf), put out by the mayor's office, shows the areas that are affected.
• The city began evacuations Friday morning of 22 hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying areas, to be completed by 8pm Friday.
• Emergency planning officials instructed residents to stock up on supplies, identify an alternative place to sleep in the event of an evacuation, and prepare a "go bag" of essentials.
• Gov. Cuomo announced a shutdown of all New York City subway trains and buses, as well as commuter trains to the suburbs, starting at noon Saturday, and perhaps lasting until Monday or beyond. "It's hard to predict when it will come back," MTA chairman Jay Walder said.
• Cuomo also said that major bridges into and out of Manhattan and the other boroughs would be closed if winds reach 60 mph, as seems likely.
• On the bright side, the city also said New Yorkers won't need to worry about feeding parking meters this weekend.
• Airlines, especially those at low-lying JFK International, have delayed some flights and prepared shuttle buses to take stranded travelers to hotels.
• Some city stores ran short of emergency necessities like batteries, flashlights and bottled water.
• More than 300 street fairs and other events requiring city permits -- including a concert on Governor's Island by the Dave Matthews Band -- were canceled, as was a certain Yahoo! News reporter's Saturday afternoon barbecue.
• Both St. John's and Columbia unversities said they were postponing the move-in date for new students to Monday from Sunday.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The super-high pressure of the planet, which orbits a rapidly pulsing neutron star, has likely caused the carbon within it to crystallize into an actual diamond, a new study suggests.
The composition of the planet, which is about five times the size of Earth, is not its only outstanding feature. [Illustration of the diamond alien planet]
The planet's parent star is a special kind of flashing star known as a millisecond pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star formed from a supernova. The entire system, which is only the second of its kind ever discovered, is located about 4,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Serpens (The Snake).
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Uploaded by Skogsraaet on Aug 20, 2011
I was awoken by a sound like a train passing by my house. This is strange as where I live there are no train tracks. I looked out the window and saw nothing. The sound seemed to come from the sky. The loud "train"noise went away, but in the background I could still hear sounds that sounded like whale noises and metallic bangs. I tried recording the sound and the two first times I failed (apparently, I never recorded anything). During this thime I heard the train noise TWO more times. One of these times it was so loud I had to cover my ears. No airplanes where visible at the time. It was dark outside (00:10 at night something) yet you can hear the birds sing in the third sound clip. Isn't that strange?
The third time I tried recording the whale noises had almost faded completly, but I managed to get one (perhaps three if you count the third sound clip) sound on tape. I also managed to get one "train" noise but it was not as loud as the others had been (I'm not bothering to post it).Minutes later i heard two large bangs followed by a low rumbling noise, so I wipped out my recorder and caught this. NOTICE THE TWO LOUD "BREATHING SOUNDS" SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIRST AUDIO CLIP. THESE WHERE HEARD IN THE SKY. THEY WHERE ENOURMOUSLY LOUD.
It sounds a bit like a train, although It cannot be a train nor an airplan because:
The sounds followed eachother with only a few seconds (perhaps twenty) in between.
There are no traintracks here (atleast nowhere near my house)
No airplanes where visible in the sky.
I have had a similar experience a few months ago. But then I heard the high pitched ringing noise. It lasted for about three minutes.
I did get alot more audio than what I have posted so far. I'll try to digitaly enhance them because currently not all strange noises that I captured can be heard.
I acctually dropped my recorder down a three meter building whilst trying to place it on the window sill, so the fact that it can still record is somewhat of a miracle.
Strange sounds of UNKNOWN origin penetrating through the earth. The phenonema has been on going for months now in various parts of the world and has been given no real explination to how or why.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A more recent aerial magnetic survey of the Alabama end of the line suggests that it's probably a 500-million-year-old San Andreas-style fault that appears to have slipped 137 miles to the right in the distant past.
If so, it's no surprise that the most dangerous part of the eastern Tennessee seismic zone is right next to part of this magnetic line and has the second-highest earthquake frequency in the eastern United States.
"It's most likely a strike-slip fault," said Mark Steltenpohl of the University of Alabama at Auburn. “But it's all buried.”
The fault is invisible from the surface and there is very little information about it because no one has actually drilled down through it to investigate, Steltenpohl told Discovery News.
That would, in fact, be pretty hard to do, since the fault zone is very narrow and it would be hard to find with a drill using just magnetic maps to set up a drill rig.
“It's almost a needle in a haystack,” said Steltenpohl.
Both steep and deep
The New York-Alabama Lineament, as geologists call it, was first revealed by aerial magnetic mapping in 1978. Since then people have looked at smaller sections of it to try and understand it, with little success. Seismic surveys across the feature indicated it is very steep and runs very deep.
“It's been sort of enigmatic,” said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Wright Horton, a co-author with Steltenpohl on a paper in the June issue of the journal Geology about the fault.
The key to seeing it as a strike-slip fault is detecting features that are cut off by the fault and offset. Those sorts of offsets were finally found in maps from a 2002 aerial magnetic survey of the Alabama part of the lineament, said Horton.
“Once we got the south end of it pinned down, the rest of it fell into place,” Horton said.
Likely not active
The fact that the fault has not cut through the layers of earth above it and shown itself on the Earth's present surface suggests it's not active and so people can probably rest easy.
However, the fault and fractures related to it — like the probably similarly-ancient faults of eastern Tennessee — are not incapable of quakes. In fact they are perfect places for stresses in the crust to be released, so long as they are weakened by water, explained geophysicist John Costain of Virginia Tech.
“If the lineament is there, then you're sure to get earthquakes more than otherwise,” said Costain.
That's because faults, however ancient can serve as conduits for water that weakens fault zones and can cause regional stresses in the crust to be relieved as an earthquake.
This is, in fact, the likely secret to how all big and small mid-continent quakes can happen, so far from the more active and obvious zones where tectonic plates are smashing together, he explained.
“The crust is full of fluids and looking for an excuse to break,” said Costain.
The New York-Alabama Lineament is one more place where that can happen.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Not that I believe in presidential candidates as a solution to our problems ... the people who run things still do so no matter who is in office ... but this proves how corrupt the media is ... Ron Paul comes in 2nd in straw poll & is still totally ignored by the media ... i will post Jon Stewart's take on this next ...
Friday, August 19, 2011
European banking shares hit a near two and a half year low on renewed worries of the health of the continent's banks, while safe-haven gold prices nudged up against the $2,000 an ounce mark, and crude prices fell as investors feared a global slowdown will zap demand for crude.
"This week has seen a continuation of the trend of weaker than expected data and political reaction to the European problems which pretty much amounts to 'Let's have a get together a couple of times a year,' " said Gary Jenkins, an analyst at Evolution Securities."
Britain's FTSE 100 lost 2.1 percent to 4,987, while Germany's DAX fell 3.3 percent to 5,394. France's CAC-40 was down 2.8 percent to 2,989.
Wall Street was headed for another slide, with Dow futures down 1.5 percent to 10,849 and S&P 500 futures 1.7 percent lower at 1,124.
Market turmoil, marked by selling off risk positions, of the last two days has dashed any hopes of a quiet second half of August -- a normally quiet period when trading dries up until the U.S. returns from the Labor Day holiday in early September.
Financial markets have wrestled for several weeks with fears that a new recession in the U.S. is in the offing. Another round of soft economic data further spooked investors all round the world. A woeful manufacturing survey Thursday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia renewed U.S. recession fears in particular.
A parallel concern centers on Europe after a Franco-German summit earlier this week failed to persuade investors a convincing fix to the spiraling debt crisis was imminent. The leaders promised further economic integration but no concrete measures like eurobonds, which would spread the risk among the 17 nations using the common currency.
Banks have borne the brunt of the selling ever since partly because German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy indicated their countries were developing a plan to tax financial transactions. Worries over their financial health and their accompanying exposure to government debt have further weighed on their share prices.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 419 points – a return to the wild swings that gripped the stock market last week.
Stocks were only part of a dramatic day across the financial markets. The price of oil fell $5, gold set another record, the 10-year Treasury hit its lowest yield, and the average mortgage rate fell to its lowest in at least 40 years.
The selling began in Asia, where Japanese exports fell for a fifth straight month, and continued in Europe, where bank stocks were hammered because of worries about debt problems there, which have proved hard to contain.
On Wall Street, the losses wiped out much of the roughly 700 points that the Dow had gained over five days. Some investors who bought in the middle of last week decided to sell after they were confronted with a raft of bad news about the economy:
_ More people joined the unemployment line last week than at any time in the past month. The number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits for the first time rose to 408,000, or 9,000 more than the week before.
_ Inflation at the consumer level in July was the highest since March. More expensive gas, food, clothes and other necessities are squeezing household budgets at a time when most people aren't getting raises.
_ Sales of previously occupied homes fell in July for the third time in four months – more trouble for a housing market that can't seem to turn itself around. This year is on pace to be the worst since the late 1990s for home sales.
_ Manufacturing has sharply weakened in the mid-Atlantic states, according to a report from the Federal Reserve. Manufacturing had been one of the economy's strongest industries since the recession ended in 2009, but its growth has slowed this year.
The manufacturing news was especially bleak on an already bad day, said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at brokerage BTIG. He called the Fed report "an atrocious set of numbers."
"That really set the market on its head," he said.
Wall Street and other financial markets have wrestled for several weeks with fears that a new recession might be in the offing. Morgan Stanley economists said in a report Thursday that the U.S. and Europe are "dangerously close to recession."
"It won't take much in the form of additional shocks to tip the balance," they wrote.
Worries about European debt also hang over the market. A default by any country would hurt the European banks that hold those European government bonds, plus American banks that have lent to their European counterparts.
Renewing the fears, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that U.S. regulators are looking at the U.S. arms of big European banks to make sure they have enough money for day-to-day operations.
"I don't want to pretend that the market knows what it's thinking about too much," said David Kelly, chief market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. "We live in an environment of sell now and ask questions later. The European market was off very heavily this morning before the markets opened. But honestly there wasn't any news of any substance. We always collect whatever crumbs we can find and point to them."
Asian markets started Thursday's drop. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.3 percent. The main stock indexes in South Korea and India each dropped a little more, then Europe more than that – 4.5 percent in Britain and 5.8 percent in Germany.
In the United the United States, the Dow fell 419.63 points, or 3.7 percent, to 10,990.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 53.24, or 4.5 percent, to 1,140.65. The Nasdaq composite fell 131.05, or 5.2 percent, to 2,380.43.
The Dow is down 13.6 percent since stocks began falling July 21 – four weeks that have rattled Americans watching their retirement savings and other investment accounts shrivel.
Lee Applegate, a retired sales executive from Cincinnati, watched the latest market plunge uneasily but said he was planning to stay the course with his investments. He and his wife have several retirement accounts.
He remembers the mistake he made in pulling his money out of stocks in early 2009, just before the market started its two-year surge. Since March 9 of that year, the S&P 500 is up 68.6 percent.
"I think things are going to get worse before they get better," Applegate said. "But I'm still going to ride it out."
Last week was one of the wildest in Wall Street history. The Dow moved more than 400 points on four straight days for the first time. But stocks had been relatively stable this week because investors were calmed by strong earnings reports.
The Dow had fallen 76 points Tuesday and risen four points Wednesday – the first time in nearly three weeks that the average rose or fell by less than 100 points on two straight days.
That ended Thursday. And with stocks down big, money flooded into U.S. Treasurys and gold, both considered safer investments.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note briefly fell below 2 percent for the first time, hitting 1.98 percent, before rising to 2.07 percent. Low yields show that investors are willing to accept a lower return on their money in exchange for safety.
The price of gold reached yet another high – almost $1,830 per ounce. Gold keeps setting records, with some investors looking for stability and others simply looking to cash in.
The price of oil fell $5.20 to $82.38 per barrel after the economic reports raised concern among traders that demand for gasoline would fall. One survey this week found Americans have already cut back on gas 21 weeks in a row.
And the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to its lowest on record. The rate on the 30-year fixed, the most popular mortgage, hit 4.15 percent – the lowest in at least 40 years and barely beating the record from last November. The last time long-term rates were lower was in the 1950s, when 30-year loans weren't even widely available.
Nicole Sherrod, a managing director at broker T.D. Ameritrade, said the market volatility has led more clients to put automatic protections in place to sell a stock or an investment fund once it falls below a certain value.
"Our clients are saying that this is not a buy and hold market," she said. "This is a buy and protect market."
In addition, computer systems that are programmed to analyze charts, capitalize on tiny changes in price and execute trades with no human intervention are making the market rougher.
High-frequency trading programs make up about half of the trading volume in a normal market day but 70 percent or more on a volatile one.
In an op-ed article in the New York Times, Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, and David E. Campbell, a political scientist at Notre Dame, say they have collected data indicating that the tea party is "less popular than much maligned groups like 'atheists' and 'Muslims.'"
But Campbell says the tea party was really an afterthought in their research.
"We didn't go into this study to look at the tea party," Campbell said in an interview with The Ticket.
The professors were following up on research they conducted in 2006 and 2007 for their book "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us" and decided to add the tea party and atheists to their list of survey queries. By going back to many of the same respondents, the professors gleaned several interesting facts about the tea party.
One of their more surprising findings, Campbell concedes, (and one drawing national attention) is that the tea party drew a lower approval rating than Muslims and atheists. That put the tea party below 23 other entries--including Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Republicans and Democrats--that the professors included on their survey of "a representative sample of 3,000 Americans."
By examining which respondents became supporters of the tea party, Campbell and Putnam's survey "casts doubt on the tea party's 'origin story,' " they write in the Times--though, in fairness, it's perhaps difficult to generalize on the movement's origins from a poll sample of 3,000 respondents.
Early tea partiers were described as "nonpartisan political neophytes," Campbell and Putnam write, but their findings showed that tea partiers were "highly partisan Republicans" who were more likely than others to have contacted government officials.
"They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do," they went on.
In addition to being socially conservative, the study found a close tie between religion and the tea party, whose supporters seek out "deeply religious" elected officials.
"This helps to explain why candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are just as much about the public presentation of themselves as religious people as fiscal conservatives," Campbell told The Ticket.
Campbell said Tuesday that he does not regard his research as politically motivated. "I don't have a particular dog in this or any other political fight," he said.
"We actually didn't go into this study primarily to look at the tea party," he told the Ticket. "The primary purpose of the study is to update what we learned about religion in America."
The Morgan Stanley research note, which cut global growth forecasts, was cited by stocks traders as adding to market nervousness over the U.S. and euro zone debt crises and the economic drag of austerity measures in debt-burdened countries.
Deutsche Bank added to the gloomy market tone by cutting its gross domestic product forecast for China, a major growth engine for the world economy.
Morgan Stanley cut its U.S. GDP forecast to 3.9 percent growth from 4.2 percent for 2011, and to 3.8 percent from 4.5 percent for 2012.
It also predicted the European Central Bank's next interest rate move would be a cut, a sharp contrast to Reuters last ECB poll earlier this month when just one bank of around 50 surveyed -- Australia's Westpac -- forecast a cut next. The ECB has raised its benchmark rate twice this year.
"Our revised forecasts show the U.S. and the euro area hovering dangerously close to a recession -- defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction -- over the next 6-12 months," Joachim Fels, who co-heads Morgan Stanley's global economics team, said in a research note dated Wednesday.
That was not the bank's base case scenario, he said, noting the corporate sector still looked healthy and lower inflation will ease pressure on consumers' wallets, while central banks such as the Federal Reserve and ECB could try to loosen policy further.
"A negative feedback loop between weak growth and soggy asset markets now appears to be in the making in Europe and the US," Fels said.
"Against this dire growth backdrop, we no longer expect the ECB to hike rates. Instead, we now see the Bank cutting rates next year. We lower our refi rate forecast for the end of 2012 to 1 percent from 2 percent before."
Economists are beginning to latch on to a shift of view already evident among investors. Traders in financial markets have been moving to price in a cut since the ECB's last press conference on August 4. Standard Bank said this week it expects the ECB to make its first cut early next year.
Weak growth data from the euro's main economies, Germany and France, has put further pressure on European politicians who have been haggling over ways to stop the bloc's sovereign debt crisis from engulfing Spain and Italy.
The U.S. economy also stumbled badly in the first half and came dangerously close to contracting in the first quarter. High unemployment, a bruising political battle in Washington over the debt ceiling and spending cuts in July and a stock market slump all helped push U.S. consumer sentiment to its lowest level in more than 30 years.
"Recent policy errors - especially Europe's slow and insufficient response to the sovereign crisis and the drama around lifting he U.S. debt ceiling -- have weighed down on financial markets and eroded business and consumer confidence," the Morgan Stanley note said.
It now sees growth in developed market economies averaging only 1.5 percent this year and next, down from his previous view of 1.9 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
Growth in emerging market economies will slow to 6.4 percent this year from 7.8 percent in 2010, Fels estimated.
This means that emerging market economies -- which now account for half of global GDP -- will generate 80 percent of the global GDP growth that Morgan Stanley is forecasting for 2011 and 2012, Fels said.
Most economists say they are not cutting their growth forecasts for emerging Asia for now, as the continent is less dependent on exports to Western markets than it was when the financial crisis hit in 2008.
Morgan Stanley left its 2011 growth forecast for China unchanged at 9.0 percent, versus 10.3 percent last year, but dialed back growth expectations slightly for Russia and Brazil.
If the West does slump back into recession, or a prolonged period of meager growth, analysts say China may not be in a position to reprise its role in supporting the global economy as it did in 2008, when it announced a massive stimulus program.
Inflation unexpectedly quickened in China in July, putting pressure on the central bank to keep prices in check with more interest rate rises even as growth showed signs of cooling.
(Reporting by Tenzin Pema in Bangalore and Marc Jones in London; Editing by Mathew Veedon/Kim Coghill/Ruth Pitchford)
Over the past 12 months, prices have risen 3.6 percent. That's equal to the 12-month increase in May and June. But core prices over the past 12 months have gone up 1.8 percent -- the largest increase in two years.
Clothing prices rose 1.2 percent in July. That was the third straight increase, reflecting higher cotton prices. Over the past 12 months, clothing costs have risen 3.1 percent, the largest annual increase since July 1992.
Higher rents and pricier hotel rooms have pushed the cost of housing up by the most in three years.
Food prices rose 0.4 percent. The cost of meat, dairy, coffee and fruits and vegetables all increased.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that core wholesale prices rose 0.4 percent in July, the most in six months. That's twice the increase in core consumer prices. The difference suggests that retailers are reluctant to pass on all their higher costs to consumers. That could restrain inflation going forward.
Trading was once again marked by sharp moves on heavy volume. For a fifth straight day, the Dow industrials fluctuated in a range of more than 400 points.
"What you're seeing is a very short-term, direction-oriented market," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer of North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.
Worries about the strength of French lenders, including Societe Generale, triggered a selloff in European and U.S. banks. Rumors about SocGen's financial health, which the bank denied, sent its shares tumbling 14.7 percent.
An index of European banks dropped 6.7 percent and the KBW index of U.S. bank stocks slid 4.9 percent as fear grew of a possible contagion of any French crisis. Bank of America Corp lost 10.9 percent to $6.77 and Goldman Sachs slid more than 10 percent to $110.34.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 519.83 points, or 4.62 percent, to 10,719.94. The S&P 500 fell 51.77 points, or 4.42 percent, to 1,120.76. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 101.47 points, or 4.09 percent, to 2,381.05.
Wednesday's drop came a day after stocks rallied on the Federal Reserve's pledge to keep interest rates near zero for at least two more years.
Even after Tuesday's snap-back rally, the S&P 500 is down almost 18 percent from its 2011 closing high set April 29.
The losses came against the backdrop of recent weak U.S. economic data, the United States losing its triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor's and the inability of lawmakers to address worries that another recession may be on the way.
About 15.1 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Amex and Nasdaq, almost double the year's estimated daily average of 7.8 billion.
Volume once again spiked in the last hour of trading, and the market closed near its session lows. Of late, overleveraged investors with losses on their books have been forced to sell shares near the end of the day.
"Between 3 and 3:20 (p.m.) you have people getting margin calls, and on days like today there's some nervousness about what those calls will look like," said Andrew Frankel, co-president of Stuart Frankel & Co in New York, referring to the volatility of the final hour of trading.
Slides in the value of stocks may increase the cash needed in margin accounts, which can spark further selling.
Dow component Walt Disney Co dropped 9.1 percent to $31.54 a day after the entertainment company's quarterly results failed to reassure investors that it could do well in a weak U.S. economy.
After the closing bell, Cisco Systems Inc's shares jumped nearly 12 percent after its quarterly results edged past Wall Street's scaled-back expectations.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones during the regular session on the NYSE by a ratio of more than 8 to 3, while on the Nasdaq, almost five stocks fell for every one that rose.
Monday, August 15, 2011
SYDNEY, Australia — The global economy was entering a "new and more dangerous" phase because of the debt crisis in Europe, World Bank chief Robert Zoellick warned Saturday.
Zoellick, speaking in an interview with The Australian newspaper, said Europe's sovereign debt concerns are much more serious than those that saw a credit rating downgrade in the United States.
"We're in the early moments of a new and different storm — it's not the same as 2008," Zoellick said.
"In the past couple of weeks the world has moved from a troubled multi-speed recovery — with emerging markets and a few economies like Australia having good growth and developed markets struggling — to a new and more dangerous phase."
Zoellick said interest rates are at historical lows in the developed world, which means central banks have no further room to move on monetary policy.
Governments have also gone into debt to fund stimulus measures and would have to borrow to finance further stimulus measures.
"Most developed countries have used up their fiscal space and monetary policy is about as loose as it can be," he said.
Zoellick said European Union action has fallen short of what was required.
"The lesson of 2008 is that the later you act, the more you have to do," he said.
The former U.S. diplomat urged British Prime Minister David Cameron to stick with the austerity measures he promised. "My concern would be if the politics knocked them off course," he said.
Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/08/13/120574/world-bank-chief-warns-economy.html#ixzz1V6eM9azn
There's a scene in the 1973 movie Soylent Green where food shortages cause people to riot in the street, and the throng becomes so unruly that front-loading construction machines roll in and begin shoveling people up into big metal buckets. These people are hungry—no, ravenous—for a food called soylent green. But here's the twist: They know that they love soylent green, but they have no clue what it's made from.
Sound familiar? It should. That's basically how we eat today. Pick up a random package in the supermarket and look at the ingredient list. Chances are you won't know half the ingredients. Take a look at the downright frightening facts Eat This, Not That! has uncovered. You may never look at food the same way.
1. Nutritious food costs 10 times more than junk food.
University of Washington researchers calculated the cost discrepancy between healthy food and junk foods and found that 2,000 calories of junk food rings up at a measly $3.52 a day. Yet for 2,000 calories of nutritious grub, the researchers plunked down $36. To add insult to fiscal injury, out of every dollar you spend on food, only 19 cents goes toward the stuff you eat. The other 81 cents goes toward marketing, manufacturing, and packaging. Think about that the next time your grocery bill jumps into the triple digits.
DID YOU KNOW? You don't need to make big changes to your diet to lose 10, 20, or even 30 pounds. You just need to make the right small tweaks. Change how you look and feel—fast and forever—with this must-see report on the 25 Best Nutrition Secrets Ever!
2. Grocers don’t have to tell you where your produce comes from.
With meat, supermarkets must tell you the country of origin, but produce laws aren't as strict. Consider this: In a recent E. coli outbreak, German bean sprouts were implicated as the source of the bacteria, but that didn’t prevent thousands of people from being infected. Many of those people were Americans, and they were clueless as to where their sprouts came from.
SUPERMARKET SWINDLES: Stretch your dollar and shrink your waist with 18 Supermarket Lies Revealed.
3. Fruits and vegetables are losing their nutrients.
According to the USDA, the fruits and vegetables we eat today may contain significantly fewer nutrients than those our grandparents ate. Researchers looked at 43 produce items and discovered drops in protein (6 percent), calcium (16 percent), iron (15 percent), riboflavin (38 percent), and vitamin C (20 percent). The only way to counter this trend: Eat more of them.
4. Calorie counts on nutrition labels aren’t accurate.
Researchers at Tufts University recently analyzed 269 food items from 42 national sit-down and fast-food restaurant chains, and they found that nearly 20 percent of samples contained 100 or more calories than reported by the restaurants. Think about it like this: If every meal you eat has 100 more calories than you need, you’ll gain more than 30 pounds this year.
5. Chicken today contains 266 percent more fat than it did 40 years ago.
What’s more, today’s chicken also has 33 percent less protein, according to a study from the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at London Metropolitan University. The problem is modern farming practices. Cramped environments and unnatural diets produce birds that have the same weight problems as the humans who eat them.
6. Milk contains hormones that may cause cancer.
In 1970, a typical dairy cow could produce about 10,000 pounds of milk per year. Today, that same cow produces roughly 20,000 pounds. So did cows change? Nope. It’s their feed that’s different. Today’s cows are routinely fed a hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST. Studies have linked rBST to a multitude of cancers, including those of the prostate, breast, and colon. Milk from rBST-treated cows is ubiquitous in America’s supermarkets, but fortunately some of the biggest players are getting wise. Stores like Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and Kroger now carry only rBST-free dairy.
7. Conventional supermarket peaches can be coated with as many as nine different pesticides.
Because peaches are prone to bruising, blemishing, and insect takeover, they’re routinely soaked in chemicals in the weeks before being shipped off to the supermarket. That’s why the Environmental Working Group rates peaches among the dirtiest conventional fruits in America. Also on that list: apples, celery,strawberries, and spinach. As a general rule, unless the produce has a thick, impermeable skin, assume it’s soaked in pesticides. Now wash it with water and mild soap before you eat it.
8. You’re probably eating trans fat without knowing it.
Slack FDA regulations allow food processors to claim zero trans fats even if the food contains 0.49 grams. To be clear, that’s 0.49 grams per serving. That means by the time you finish, say, an entire bag of Cheetos, you might be ingesting nearly 5 grams of trans fat. Sure, the bag says “0 GRAMS TRANS FAT” right on the front, but if you look at the ingredient statement, you’ll see partially hydrogenated oil, the primary source of trans fat.
9. The number of daily calories available to each American has increased by 500 over the past 40 years.
USDA data shows that the food industry supplies 2,700 calories to every man, woman, and child in America. In 1970, that number was 2,200. That increase translates into 52 extra pounds of fat per person, per year.
How much protein do you really need?
Guess how much protein is in a juicy, 8-ounce cheeseburger washed down with a milkshake? This single meal contains two to three times as much as most people need per day.
It’s no great surprise that Americans chow down on a lot of protein. We love beef and consume about 67 pounds per capita annually (that’s four times the international average). The popularity of low-carb regimes such as Atkins has also made meat the go-to food for dieters.
In fact, the average person eats about double the amount of protein that their body requires, according to the results of 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How to fulfill your daily protein requirement
The human body uses protein to repair damaged cells and to build new ones. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at NYU and author of What to Eat, estimates that the average adult man needs about 65 grams of protein a day and the average adult female needs about 55 grams. Some sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say you can maintain a healthy diet with even less.
What does this actually mean in terms of food choices? The National Institutes of Health explains that most people can meet their daily protein requirement by eating two to three small servings of a protein-rich food a day.
Examples of a single serving of protein include:
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 2-3 ounces of red meat, poultry, or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
- ½ cup of cooked dried beans such as black beans or chickpeas
Whole grains, seeds, and some vegetables also contain protein, so consuming enough is not difficult even if you don’t eat meat. Vegetarians and vegans can easily get what they need by balancing complimentary proteins such as corn and beans or rice and tofu. Nutritionists used to recommend combining foods at the same meal, but research now shows that is unnecessary.
Are there drawbacks to eating more protein?
Eating large amounts of red and processed meats is associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancer, and most nutritionists such as Marion Nestle recommend cutting back on meat, especially on fatty cuts.
However, it’s less well known that your protein choices can have a substantial impact on the environment. Meat and dairy production requires tremendous amounts of fuel, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, and generates greenhouse gases. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) recently published Meat Eater’s Guide points out that if you ate once less burger a week it would be the environmentally-positive equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.
Meat is also expensive. Not all proteins are created equal -- neither at the doctor’s office, nor the cash register. Here’s a comparison of three typical proteins:
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 2 nd worst out of 20 analyzed
Cost: 4 dollars
Fat: 22 grams
Saturated fat: 9 grams
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 5th worst
Cost: 3 dollars
Fat: 10 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams
Serving size: 1 cup
Protein: 17.9 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: best
Cost: 20 cents
Saturated fat: zero
Many people find meat to be a delicious and satisfying component of their diet that they don’t want to sacrifice. But if you want to save money, eat a nutritionally sound diet, and are concerned about the impact meat and dairy production has on the planet, consider reducing your consumption.
Here are some tips from the EWG's Meat Eater’s Guide:
- Reduce portion sizes by eating one less burger or steak each week, or participate in Meatless Mondays by skipping meat (and cheese if you can swing it) just one day a week.
- Choose the healthiest protein sources when you can. Beans, low-fat yogurt, and nuts are all high in protein and low-impact.
- When you do eat meat and cheese, eat the highest quality that you can afford. (One way to save money is to eat less, but better quality meat and dairy products.) Here’s a guide decoding the labels, from cage-free to grass-fed.
- Don’t waste meat. Uneaten meat accounts for about 20 percent of meat’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
The “Minimum” Solar Box Cooker is a simple box cooker that can be built in a few hours for very little money. When this cooker was designed, it was named it the “Minimum Solar Box Cooker” because, at the time, it represented the simplest design we could devise. What we didn’t communicate with that name was that this is a full-power cooker that works very well, and is in no wayminimum as far as its cooking power goes.
- Two cardboard boxes. We would suggest that you use an inner box that is at least 15 inch x 15 inch (38 cm x 38 cm), but bigger is better. The outer box should be larger than the small box all around, but it doesn’t matter how much bigger, as long as there is a half inch (1.5cm) or more of an airspace between the two boxes. The distance between the two boxes does not have to be equal all the way around. Also, keep in mind that it is very easy to adjust the size of a cardboard box by cutting and gluing it.
- One sheet of cardboard to make the lid. This piece must be approximately 2 to 3 inch (4 to 8 cm) larger all the way around than the top of the finished cooker (the outer box).
- One small roll of aluminum foil.
- One can of flat-black spray paint (look for the words “non-toxic when dry”) or one small jar of black tempera paint. Some people have reported making their own paint out of soot mixed with wheat paste.
- At least 8 ounces (250 g) of white glue or wheat paste.
- One Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag®. These are available in almost all supermarkets in the U.S. and they can be mail-ordered from Solar Cookers International. They are rated for 400 °F (204 °C) so they are perfect for solar cooking. They are not UV-resistant; thus they will become more brittle and opaque over time and may need to be replaced periodically. A sheet of glass can also be used, but this is more expensive and fragile, and doesn’t offer that much better cooking except on windy days.