Wednesday, 22 February 2012

By on February 22nd, 2012 in government, politics, science kits

08:15 – The biology kits include glycerol (glycerin), and I just realized that the only unopened bottle I have in inventory is only a pint (473 mL), which isn’t nearly enough for 60 kits. I got that bottle at Costco some time ago, but they no longer carry it. I’d intended to run over to Walgreens or CVS, but their glycerol is quite expensive. So I checked Amazon, where I ordered a half gallon (1.9 L) of 99.7% food-grade “vegetable kosher glycerin, USP” for $27. Kosher? I guess they killed the vegetable oil with a ritual knife before they saponified it.

The latest Greek deal is already starting to unravel, just a day after it was agreed. As a condition for participating, the IMF is insisting that the EU “firewall” be boosted. Germany refuses to do that, because doing so to the extent required by the IMF would increase its already-huge liability by 50%, a step that German voters would not tolerate. Without IMF participation, the rest of the EU, which is to say Germany, would have to increase their own participation to cover the absence of IMF funding, which again is a step that German voters would not tolerate.

The math just doesn’t work for this deal. The current numbers were calculated under ridiculously rosy assumptions about the Greek economy. A top-secret study commissioned by the EU was leaked during the negotiations, and makes it clear that the planned €130 billion bailout is nowhere near adequate. Under that study’s assumptions, which are themselves extremely optimistic, Greece will require about twice that much, €245 billion. Although the press is calling those assumptions “worst case”, in fact they’re nowhere near worst-case. They’re not even anywhere near realistic-case. Realistically, the EU is looking at a transfer of at least €400 billion and probably €500 billion to €600 billion between now and 2020 to keep Greece even marginally solvent.

21 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 22 February 2012"

  1. Dave B. says:

    I have some relatives who are in a precarious fiscal state, much like the country of Greece. Oops, they’re not in a precarious fiscal state, their bankrupt. They’re in serious denial about how bad their situation is. I have a very strong tendency to mind my own business in such matters, but every time I see them, I’m tempted to tell them to go hire a bankruptcy attorney. My relatives have gotten in over their heads, and the only way out at this point is to file bankruptcy. They’re literally at the point where delaying the inevitability of bankruptcy is only going to delay rebuilding their financial lives.

  2. pcb_duffer says:

    Because glycerin can be used in foods, it would be important to have the kosher certification when used in foods that are supposed to be kosher. And of course since glycerin can be made from animal fats, it would have to come from an animal that is kosher, which was slaughtered according to kosher principles, etc. Every step of the process to the table has to pass, or it isn’t strictly Kosher.

  3. ech says:

    My daughter recently finished her VetTech degree and is now working at the Texas Heart Institute in the cardiac labs. What is a vet tech doing there? Well, is an article that explains. She’s manning the ICU watching over calves and sheep with artificial hearts. One version has been put in a human, and there is a short (3.5 min) documentary about it .

  4. BGrigg says:

    The glycerin could be manufactured using produce from Israel. A factor in Kashrut is produce grown in Israel is subject to biblical tithes. Vegetables also have to be checked for insect infestations, and obviously care needs to be taken to prevent cross contamination between “clean” and “unclean” food. This requires a hechsher, a certificate provided by a Rabbi.

    In other words, some priest found a way to make money off other people’s food.

    In actual fact, most kosher and halal restrictions make perfect sense. Prevent cross contamination, don’t use the same bowl you killed the chicken in, to prepare your bread. Stuff like that. Tithes on Israeli vegetables is just a form of blood sucking.

  5. Steve says:

    The easy way to convince someone that Greece is toast is to imagine a magic fairy gave Greece a 100% bailout. Every single debt of the government is paid! In this best-possible-case situation, how bad off is Greece?

    The answer: still terrible. Their government still spends more money than they take in, even ignoring the existing interest payments. Until that deficit spending ends (and not just by a minor margin), then there’s no hope of Greece to recover even if the current debt did disappear.

    Hence, Greece needs to escape both the debt AND the current government behavior. Which means a new government via revolution and chaos. Hence, Greece is toast.

  6. Miles_Teg says:

    I’m running Firefox 7.0.1 at work and 3.x.y at home, where I think x=6, but I’m not sure. FF at home has been pestering me to upgrade for a while, I think the latest version is 9 or 10. Any horror stories about particular versions of FF? I’m sure I’ve read some here over the months. (FF 7 at work is fine by me.)

  7. Miles_Teg says:

    Steve wrote:

    “Hence, Greece needs to escape both the debt AND the current government behavior. Which means a new government via revolution and chaos. Hence, Greece is toast.”

    Back in the Eighties there was something called zero-based budgeting or accounting, which made the assumption that an entity didn’t exist at the start of each FY, and *everything* had to be justified afresh. I think I first heard of it in connection with Control Data, which basically went belly-up a few years later. Do companies still use this? A constitutional amendment in our countries, and especially Greece, might be required. Spending to no good effect can quite easily get institutionalised, as we all know.

  8. OFD says:

    Greeks who have money and property are either already gone or well on the way for the most part, leaving the rest to stew. This could end up making their last civil war look like a day at the beach. And the Balkans remain a tinderbox, as always. Italy is looking mighty peaked about now as well, and Mrs. OFD and daughter having been in both places recently, they were not impressed at all. Meanwhile France and the UK are becoming islamized and Africanized. Check out “Camp of the Saints” sometime….

  9. Alan says:

    Any horror stories about particular versions of FF?

    Upgraded to FF 9 a few weeks ago and so far no issues. Long time FF user, was still on 3.x, upgraded to Win 7, tried Chrome, didn’t like it, went back to FF.

    I see FF 10 now available but haven’t upgraded yet.

  10. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Unless you are having actual problems with your FF at home, I STRONGLY recommend: DON’T FIX IT!

    I am going to guess that you are running Win7 at work, with plenty of RAM (4gb+). I regret having upgraded from FF4, and it was an accident that I did, as in trying to quickly get rid of an update notification once, when I had to get something done in a hurry, I mistakenly clicked on OK, and guess what? There was no way to stop it after I did that. I even did a hard reset, and when I restarted, it just picked up in the middle of the upgrade routine.

    I have 4gb of RAM (only 3gb is accessible in my XP, SP3), and FF eats most of it (it’s using 2.2gb at this moment), and will not release very much of it as windows are shut down, but waits until FF is completely exited, then does minutes and minutes of constant disk access, crippling system capability. In fact, I have timed as much as 17 minutes of continuous disk access after shutting FF down. If I kill the process, it comes back to continue it when I start FF again. I can hardly get anything done during that period of constant disk access.

    Worst part of this, is that my computer has been used for serious audio work since I got it 2006, and since FF 6 or 7, FF has caused serious glitches in the audio performance. If I am doing some serious audio work, I can no longer have FF open. That was no problem at all with FF4. With FF open, I get anywhere from a microsecond’s dropout to periods of 3 to 4 seconds of complete halt in audio.

    Mozilla holds the changes they make very close, but I surmise that somewhere around FF6 or 7, they made a new assumption that computers had 8gb of RAM or more, and began programming for that, saying screw those people with 2 or 3gb RAM.

    At this point, I have nothing to lose by upgrading further, and I am now at FF10. I truly regret leaving FF4. I have never been keen on updates and upgrades and turned off Windows Updates permanently, shortly after the turn of the century. I usually install the service packs after they have been out for 6 months or so, and have never suffered AT ALL for not updating/upgrading. I have never had a virus since leaving dialup for broadband with address translation modem and abandoning IE for FF, so the security element does not scare me. And no kidding — in Linux you do NOT want to have updates turned on, because kernel updates often break whole programs and setups. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it with updates or upgrades. Stick with what you have, unless there is a real overriding operational reason to upgrade. Upgrade with your next computer that has 8 to 12gb RAM, is my advice.

  11. Miles_Teg says:

    I’m running Windows 7 and FF3.x.y at home, and WXP and FF7.0.1 at work. I’m happy with FF on both. At work I close FF windows quickly and when I’m down to the last window I just close FF, which happens quickly.

    I have no real problems with the old FF at home, so I think I’ll just leave it. I really hate bloatware and prefer speed over arcane “features”.

    I don’t think any of my computers have more than 4 GB of memory. The one at work is an antique that is slower than most of my computers at home.

  12. Lynn McGuire says:

    I am running Windows 7 x64 with 8 GB of ram at both home and work. I run the latest Thunderbird and FireFox, version 10.0.2. Both suck down ram like a hungry baby with a fresh bottle of formula. I am thinking about moving to 16 GB of ram.

  13. OFD says:

    I also run Windows 7×64 Ultimate with 8GB of RAM and it seems to depend on the time of day and nearby rail traffic as to the speed of our connection here, either wireless or wired. I have the latest Firefox on here but Chrome is at least twice as fast, no matter the external factors.

    This is my only Windows box; I have a CentOS 6 machine; an Ubuntu 11.10 laptop; and a Mint 12 netbook. At work it’s an XP laptop but they’ve loaded it with corporate security and encryption stuff plus Lotus Symphony and Notes so I just don’t care and use it for only email and the CLI and Putty to connect to RH servers, also WinSCP sometimes. On the RH rack consoles I avoid FF as much as I can, though others use it to access blade servers; I prefer CLI vastly and weep crocodile tears for all the Windows sys admins from now on who have to use PowerShell and no more GUI for them. Of course I am an old fart who started with a PDP-11 and DCL on VAX/VMS.

    Spring weather again here today after a minor dusting of snow the other morning and a squall this afternoon; this is much more like late March than late February. The weather liars predict, however, a winter storm warning for Saturday morning when the horrifying accumulation may reach as much as four to seven inches. I am stunned and dismayed, of course.

    Today sucked as we just had to euthanize our 13-year-old golden retriever and Mrs. OFD is upset. The cats were having a parade when we got home…naw, that’s not true; both cats adored the mutt and slept on top of him all the time. He was 75 in human years and pretty rickety by the end, couldn’t stand anymore and in pain.

    They had a poster at the vet’s of the oldest cat contest and the winner, a female, was 28.5 which is just amazing; 132 in human years, and still bouncing around like a kitten occasionally.

  14. Miles_Teg says:

    Fred’s even crazier than you are. I stopped reading him years ago. The occasional gem didn’t make up for the 99% dross.

    Sorry to hear about your golden retriever…

    I never really got involved with VAXes, unfortunately. Adelaide University phased out its Control Data Cybers in my last year and introduced VAX 11-780s the following year. I would have liked to use them, but it was not to be. At the time everyone was dumping their BUNCH gear and getting IBM and IBM compatible MVS gear.

  15. Chuck Waggoner says:

    My condolences on your (and Mrs. OFD’s) loss. I am finished with animals, having had one of the smartest and most obedient dogs ever. I have had enough sadness in life, I am sure not going to flog myself with more by getting another animal I am quite likely to outlive.

    Central Indiana is supposed to be in-between 4 to 6 inches of snow to the north and high winds and heavy precipitation (rain/snow/sleet/ice mix) to the south. I was scheduled for an all-day video way up north in the state tomorrow, but it was cancelled in anticipation of the snow. We are only supposed to get a dusting here with no accumulation, so I will likely head up to Muncie tomorrow to take care of some business there.

    Since I have been back, I have noticed that I-70, — which traverses the state east-west, cutting it almost in half, — affects weather here, a lot like the Spree and Havel did in Berlin. Often, bad weather would stop at the Havel or Spree, and not continue eastwards. Same with I-70. Often bad weather stays to the south of it, and frequently, it will rain north and south of that Interstate, but there will be no rain on 70 itself. I suppose the wind currents generated by the massive amount of traffic it carries, has something to do with it. No snow for us, but bad weather north and south of us. Only a few days of February left; I heard the birds of spring while out today — the spring thaw surely cannot be far off.

  16. Miles_Teg says:

    I’d get a dog if I had someone to help me look after it. I love dogs, but as I’m single I couldn’t really give it the time it deserved. Especially if it was a BC. I guess I’d get a boxer or beagle if I was getting one.

  17. BGrigg says:

    Boxers are very high energy dogs. They tend to bounce quite a bit. I know two people with Boxers, and they both run for fun and exercise and take their dogs with them, and still their dogs have energy to burn. Perhaps a Shih Tzu? 🙂

  18. BGrigg says:

    Davy, I’m guessing your purported hatred of the dog was all bluff, for who could spend time with a GR, and not fall victim to their good nature and unconditional love, no matter how dumb they can be. You have my condolences.

  19. OFD says:

    Thanks for the condolences, guys; the deceased was my only friend and conversational partner, along with our former cat, during my time of miserable and extremely depressing and frustrating unemployment a few years ago. But his back legs were gone and he was pretty rickety all over, slept 23 hours a day and turns out his heart was failing. Three shots, total, and he basically just went to sleep for the last time, painlessly, with his head in Mrs. OFD’s lap. Leaving us the remaining idiot golden and the two adult cats.

    Interesting point about the highway affecting weather, Chuck; I always puzzled over that down in MA, when there seemed to be a diagonal line cutting through Worcester County, one side raining and the other snow; it was palpable as one drove from one end of the city to the other or crossed through Westminster up on Route 2 between Gardner and Leominster. Reminds of one time going home at night there after work at the VAX/VMS shop in Gardner and suddenly and without warning hitting black ice. My Olds Cutlass did a 180 and then slid backwards while facing oncoming headlights, and also slid closer to the shoulder and the gaping ravine below. Zero control over anything. But either the laws of physics and chemistry, exclusively, saved my younger ass, or my guardian angel, who has worked lots of O.T. for the past nearly sixty years doing so. I managed to get it turned around and outta there somehow.

    We are seeing a mix here now at right around 32 degrees, snow, sleet and freezing rain, our specialty this winter so far. Very messy up on the interstate; I left early because boss told me to, and do you think any of these muthafucka sons of bitches out there would slow down or even bother to turn on their goddam lights? I have a 4X V8 truck with all new snows on it, and I take it nice and easy, due to the slick surface and shitty visibility and increasing darkness. And they pass me at 75, 80 and up like I am standing still, no lights. I swear, if I see any of these asswipes stalled on the shoulder or median due to this recklessness and endangerment of themselves and the rest of us, I will ram the fucker and plow right over them. (yes, I have a Dodge Ram 2500)

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