Sunday, 25 September 2011

09:55 – Barbara had to take her mom to the emergency room yesterday. Her mom was in pretty severe distress, but refused to go to the hospital, so Barbara rushed over to take charge of things. Fortunately, the problem turned out to be relatively minor, or at least as minor as such things can be for a woman in her 80’s. The doctor put her on antibiotics and sent her home, where she’s now doing fine.

I see that the EU authorities and the IMF plan to introduce another smoke-and-mirrors campaign to fool investors into holding worthless government bonds a while longer, thereby staving off the inevitable catastrophic eurozone defaults for a few weeks or months longer. They’ve announced that they’re boosting the last-resort bailout mechanism to €1.7 trillion. Three problems with that: First, €1.7 trillion is still much, much too little to backstop the worthless eurozone government debt. Second, the additional money is imaginary; it doesn’t actually exist other than by an accounting trick. Third, investors are already fully aware of points one and two.

As I’ve said repeatedly, I hope the US government is not foolish enough to throw money down this rathole, either via direct subsidies or via the IMF. Unfortunately, the available evidence tells me that the US government is likely to jump in with both feet. It’ll be much too late to help, of course, but it will at least succeed in transferring a considerable portion of EU liabilities to US taxpayers. Which has probably been the agenda all along.

A cautionary tale about Greek politicians

12:01 – I just did a field-expedient packaging test on the new arrangement for test tubes. I put together six assemblies, each of one glass test tube inside a 50 mL polypropylene centrifuge tube with the cap screwed on. (I really must start calling these things “large test tubes” or something; few kit buyers have any idea what a self-standing centrifuge tube is.) I packaged six of those assemblies in a one-quart ziplock bag, took it down to the basement, and dropped it on the concrete floor several times from head height (~ 2 meters). There was no damage to the contents, and even the bag looks no different than it did. That should be sufficient to protect the tubes from shipping damage, especially since they’ll be in a box with additional cushioning.