Thursday, 28 March 2013

09:45 – Amidst all the furor about Cyprus, few have commented on the real implications of the imposition of capital controls to prevent capital flight from Cypriot banks: the euro has been shattered as a common currency.

The fundamental characteristic of a common currency is that it can be spent anywhere within the common currency area and has the same value anywhere within the area. This is now officially no longer true of the euro. Euros in Cyprus are now worth much less than euros elsewhere in the eurozone because they cannot be spent freely, either in Cyprus or in the rest of the eurozone.

For the last three years, the eurocrats have been trying desperately to prevent the collapse of the euro. Now, at a single stroke, they themselves have destroyed it. The euro is a fiat currency, and like all fiat currencies has no inherent value. What apparent value it has exists only because people pretend that it has value. Without that pretense, the euro is worth literally only the paper it is printed on. By preventing Cypriots from spending their euros, the eurocrats have destroyed that pretense.


Barbara mentioned to me the other day that she’d been talking with Amy, one of the neighbor kids. Amy starts 9th grade next autumn, and told Barbara that she was taking all honors and AP courses next year, including biology. She’s very interested in science, and want to pursue a career in science or medical research.

The other day, I ran into her dad, Steve, while I was walking Colin and mentioned to him what Barbara had told me. He’s very pleased that Amy is doing well academically and plans to go on to major in science in college and grad school. I told him that if Amy wants to get a jump on next year’s science that we’d be happy to give her one of our biology kits, assuming he and Amy’s stepmother, Heather, approve.

Yesterday I was walking Colin when Amy got off the school bus. We talked and she said her dad approved, although Heather was a bit concerned because one of her own experiences in high school chemistry had resulted in an explosion. I suspect Heather isn’t really strongly opposed to Amy doing home science, since Heather herself is a licensed pyrotechnician. And, like nearly all sciency kids, Amy would love to blow things up.

So I gave Amy a copy of our biology lab book, and told her that, if her parents approved, Barbara and I would give her what she needed to do the lab sessions.

56 thoughts on “Thursday, 28 March 2013”

  1. Good deal, Bob; get a local kid into it. With any luck and some work, this will be a huge boost for her.

    Yeah, the lessons of fiat currency are on display, but I also notice that no one in the media is looking at this, or how it might apply here. It’s all happening Over There, so need not concern us. We rule the world.

  2. Anecdote about neighbor Amy (also my daughter’s name) has me thinking about becoming a science kit customer. My grandson, now in 7th grade, is doing exceptionally well schoolastically. Last Saturday he spent the morning in school attending a session on training and preparation for the SAT. Yes, in grammar school!

    Well, I will discuss this with my daughter Amy tomorrow. She teaches 2nd grade, different school in same school district, and I help in her classroom several hours each Friday.

  3. I will also keep this in mind for my 11-year-old nephew down in Woostuh and the grandchildren; STEM marches on!

    Meanwhile Princess struggles with “socio-linguistics” at McGill. While nailing German and Russian simultaneously; unfortunately she can’t write her own language to save herself; typical of today’s kidz who were shortchanged in the publik skool systems and who never read anything.

  4. Yeah, granite countertops look great but with the butterfingered fems at our place and my decreasing coordination with age, probably not a good ideer. We’d have glass shards and splinters all over the kitchen constantly. I see you had a swimming hole not too fah away, sweet!

    And so close to this:

    “…the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with over 6 million people.[6]” (Wiki)

    Lord have mercy!

  5. Barbara mentioned to me the other day that she’d been talking with Amy, one of the neighbor kids. Amy starts 9th grade next autumn, and told Barbara that she was taking all honors and AP courses next year, including biology. She’s very interested in science, and want to pursue a career in science or medical research.

    I try to tell kids that I know or meet about the salary disparity between STEM and any other profession and they do not believe me. Not only that, STEM professions are challenging and adaptable to just about anything other profession if you are willing to move yourself to a new location.

    If you are not working in a STEM profession then the only people making a good salary in that profession are the academics. And the academics are heading for a fall when that bubble collapses. In fact, it is crashing right now with all of the adjunct professors that are barely paid above minimum wage and no benefits.

    Like I said yesterday, we are in a nasty loop of increasing prices and stagnant wages. The only way that I see out of this is the suggestion of one of my fellow commentators, build a lot of nuclear power plants. A lot!

    BTW, we here in the USA are building over 100 new chemical plants with a capex of one billion dollars or more in the next 5 to 10 year. In fact, the E and C (engineering and contruction) contractors are very concerned about the amount of skilled labor out there that can do things (weld, assemble, etc) and pass the safety and drug tests. If you want to work in today’s skilled blue collar workforce, you gotta be safe and clean. Also, most of these new plants are being built on the Gulf Coast due to the cheap natural gas.

  6. Up here we have very strong anti-nuke and anti-fracking sentiment from the usual suspect loudmouth imbeciles, with lefty media support, natch, and worthless braying about wind turbine farms, which the wealthy NIMBY types don’t want near their own bucolic landscapes, and other ‘alternative’ energy sources, more pie-in-the-sky bullshit.

    I’m holding out for the day when we fire up steam turbines and riverside mills again in this region.

  7. I see you had a swimming hole not too fah away, sweet!

    I’ve got two swimming holes in the backyard of the new house. One is 8′ in diameter and the other is 14′ x 30′. We heat the little one all the time to 101 F. The big one got up to 72 F last week before the 36 F nights that we had earlier this week. I’m sure that I will be throwing ice into the big one in August.

    And so close to this:

    “…the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with over 6 million people.[6]” (Wiki)

    Lord have mercy!

    Yup and heading towards 7 million as fast as we can. In fact, we may be there already with all of the illegals, excuse me, undocumented persons.

    If we have a zombie outbreak or spanish / avian / whatever flu outbreak, it will be horrible around here.

  8. My wife’s father is from upper New York State area, a small family farm of about 40 acres north of Binghamton. The farm is lying fallow because no one will farm it due to all the regulations from the state. Something is really, really wrong up there. You should never mess with the farmers, their life is tough enough.

  9. Which is why it’s called The Vampire State; it sucks the lifeblood and the livelihoods from honest working and middle-class people; outside the NYC area and Long Island and Albany, it’s a whole different world.

    We don’t have a pool or swimming hole per se, but we do have a 100-mile-long lake which is well over 400 feet deep in many places and which connects to the St. Lawrence Seaway to the north and the Hudson River and Atlantic to the south. It’s about fifty yahds from our front door. And the ice is starting to melt out in the Bay. Hope no damn fool drives his pickup out there this weekend…

  10. Hope no damn fool drives his pickup out there this weekend…

    You could sell tickets…

  11. We just got notified that an offer on our house will be coming this afternoon. Probably a lowball offer wanting me to put another $28K into it. But, not bad for being on the market for four hours.

  12. True, that; a few years ago a couple of local yokel boneheads at the southern end of the Lake missed the last ferry on a cold winter’s night and didn’t feel like driving another thirty miles around to get home so they headed out across the ice down there. Didn’t make it. And every year somebody falls through or their fishing shack does. I fell through the ice when I was fourteen, down in Maffachufetts, and I will never forget what that felt like as long as I live.

  13. Well, I was a STEM professional for over 40 years. Yes, during the first decade, I did have the earnings difference in my favor as mentioned above. However, in the last decade my earnings were equivalent to those of a non-degreed, cubicle sitter in a governmental bureau office.

  14. Well, I was a STEM professional for over 40 years. Yes, during the first decade, I did have the earnings difference in my favor as mentioned above. However, in the last decade my earnings were equivalent to those of a non-degreed, cubicle sitter in a governmental bureau office.

    I forgot about those people. Their bubble is getting ready to burst also. When The Great Default (sm) happens, those paychecks won’t cash anymore. The truly needed may get offered to keep their jobs at 25% pay and no bennies. Now if these former government employees start rioting, …

  15. I’ve had one gmail account almost since its very beginning and between us, Mrs. OFD and I have several more. As per the link to that home IT security thing I posted here earlier and CryptoHippie’s recommendations, I am gonna bail outta gmail real soon and move to TBird, probably. I’ve already implemented several other methodologies, among them dumping Chrome and going back to FF, v. 19, and doing the various security add-ons and extensions. Plus firewall, etc., etc. Tor has been a bust so fah but will keep on plugging with it. As useful as it’s been, it’s time to dump Google in toto, and goes without saying for FB.

    From my four years in state gummint up here and Mrs. OFD’s ten, we figure that just about 99% of those cube farm sitters are not needed at all. In my new regime there’d be a small office to administer the taxes and disbursements and our local Guard outfit; that’s it. A town wants to have a sheriff or chief and some deputies, fine, go to it, but y’all are paying for it and running it.

    If they end up rioting, most of them will not last very long.

  16. @Lynn: A right to privacy? There is no such thing in the US. The IRS receives all of your financial data automatically, without you having any say in the matter. The government eavesdrops on international communications, even though one-half of such conversations is being carried out by someone in the US. There is suggestive evidence that they eavesdrop on domestic communications as well. The executive branch can issue national security letters authorizing itself to access whatever data it wants, without troubling the courts. Need I go on?

    You can bet that the government is already extensively monitoring the Internet. This Gmail kerfluffle is just them wanting to have it even easier. It is already the case that lots of businesses here in Europe specifically look for service-providers who do guarantee that data will be stored outside the US, and this trend is only going to increase – because no one trusts the US government any more.

  17. There are seven showings so far. The Houston area is very hot, even for two stories.

    Isn’t Houston where they dropped off all of the delinquents from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina? I heard the homicide and other crime rates skyrocketed afterwards. It was like the Federal Government said, “Here, Houston, have thousands of unemployed people with a criminal background whether you want them or not.”

  18. “It is already the case that lots of businesses here in Europe specifically look for service-providers who do guarantee that data will be stored outside the US, and this trend is only going to increase – because no one trusts the US government any more.”

    Exactly. And this is the trend now in even personal and home IT security; in order for a decent chance at making it work, we have to buy or otherwise acquire overseas services. Even at that, the Fed Leviathan will attempt to get at the data anyway. The current attititude and behavior of our government is that they own the world and can do any fucking thing they want anytime they want. To their credit, most foreigners can distinguish between us and the criminal and treasonous sons of bitches who rule us.

  19. I heard the homicide and other crime rates skyrocketed afterwards. It was like the Federal Government said, “Here, Houston, have thousands of unemployed people with a criminal background whether you want them or not.”

    There were some isolated problems, especially with NOLA gangbangers who were used to “90 day murders”. (i.e. out in 90 days since the witnesses had recanted or disappeared) After a few of them got sent to death row and the cops flooded the areas where crime was spiking, the crime went went down.

  20. For the last three years, the eurocrats have been trying desperately to prevent the collapse of the euro. Now, at a single stroke, they themselves have destroyed it. The euro is a fiat currency, and like all fiat currencies has no inherent value. What apparent value it has exists only because people pretend that it has value. Without that pretense, the euro is worth literally only the paper it is printed on. By preventing Cypriots from spending their euros, the eurocrats have destroyed that pretense.

    Didn’t they do this already in Greece? Aren’t the people shunning Greek Euros?

  21. Yes, many people prefer northern-tier euros to any southern-tier euro, especially Greek, but this situation is much, much worse. This is the first time in the 14-year history of the euro that capital controls have ever been enforced.

    The knock-on effect is already showing up in Slovenia, which looks like it’ll need a bailout in the next couple of months, if not before. Two-year rates on Slovenian bonds tripped literally overnight, and their benchmark 10-year yields are now well into the bailout range.

  22. We are seeing it rolling, right before our eyes; the southern tier, followed by the Balkans, and then eventually the northern tier countries and the UK. In previous crises I wouldn’t have thought so of the UK, but their leadership is even worse than our own, if that can be credited. They have the one possible guy in the UKIP like we had ours here, and ours was relentlessly sandbagged by his own party and then tossed away like yesterday’s sodden newspapers. And now people have high hopes, like that old ant song, for his kid, but I sure don’t. We have nobody.

  23. OFD wrote:

    ‘Meanwhile Princess struggles with “socio-linguistics” at McGill.’

    Okay, I give up. What’s socio-linguistics?

  24. Schweeeeet, homes! That is a much hottuh mahket than we got up this way, fella! Count yer blessings.

  25. We have nobody.

    As Mr. Obama said, I plan on clinging to my guns and my God. The wife says that I lean towards the half empty glass but I try not to live in despair.

    And as my dad and RBT think, I believe that the USA will muddle through our problems until we get to The Great Default (sm). But it will take another 20 to 30 years before we get there. And even then, we will go through it with few permanent changes.

  26. Your guns? Didn’t you drop them in the Brazos?

    I’ve gotta find me a new river, the dadgum Brazos is too shallow nowadays to canoe.

  27. I hope nobody gets hurt or killed over this nonsense. The leaderships never do, as we have learned over several thousand years, or one would hope by now. We have the means to obliterate the whole country in seconds; but the only people who would suffer are the innocents, for the most part. The other imbeciles will be in underground bunkers like our own imbeciles. They’ll come upstairs to find smoking rubble.

    WTF is the point of all this?

  28. The orders were made after the US flew two stealth bombers over the Korean peninsular in a show of force to Pyongyang.

    Lots of Brits (among others) add an r sound to what seems like the end of anything missing one, but it usually doesn’t make it into print.

  29. Yeah, I’m an Aussie and I pronounce a fairly long ‘r’ at the end of peninsularr.

  30. I’ve sometimes wished I studied this stuff more. In South Australia we pronounce school as something like skool. In the eastern states it’s skoooool, which to my ear sounds terribly posh. A chap I knew at Adelaide Uni in the seventies became a newsreader in Sydney and even he adopted the eastern posh pronunciation. Traitor!

  31. Yikes!!! I am located in Cedar Park, which abuts the Austin city limits!

  32. Don’t worry, if they aim at Austin it’ll probably hit Dallas.

  33. Ackshually, if these buggers aim at Austin they’ll hit Bangor, Maine.

    But more likely that any of their chit will blow up on the pad.

  34. Austin’s unofficial slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”. They have tshirts and bumper stickers all over the place. I guess that glowing in the dark would fulfill that mission.

    Seriously, this is all about crude oil and food. We have been bribing this fat north korean dictator and his family for decades now. He is jonesing for a new bribe.

    I saw a picture of him and his generals lately where they are having to hold him up:
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article3276370.ece

    One of my cousins is an army sergeant working in legal aid for his division. He gets sent to South Korea for a month once a quarter. I am glad that he is not there right now as that nincompoop dictator may try to do something stupid.

    We need to get our 30,00 hostages (army) out of South Korea. Today.

  35. Yeah, and in addition to getting our troops out of there, where they’ve been for 60 years, it’d also be a good idea to cut off all aid to NK, including food and humanitarian. Why on earth are US taxpayers subsidizing NK?

  36. Why on earth are US taxpayers subsidizing NK?

    Why stop there? Why are we subsidizing Egypt, Israel, Germany, Japan, Haiti, South Korea, etc, etc, etc ??? I could go on for another 60+ countries at least.

  37. O the heavenly sounds of agreement with OFD ring madly in the spring-like air!

    Yes, let’s close all those damn installations around the world; bring the troops home; and cut DOD to the marrow.

    Us taxpayers subsidize a tremendous amount of worthless bull-chit; the money saved right there would help fund ramping up STEM while ALSO fixing our crumbling national infrastructure.

  38. Don’t forget the worst of them all: the UN.

    Yeah, I’ve always been in favor of eliminating all foreign aid, period. We shouldn’t even be giving money to our supposed friends, let alone our enemies.

    The only exception I’d make to us providing foreign aid would be for carefully targeted missiles if someone really pisses us off. In that case, we should aid the living shit out of them.

  39. Agreed 200%.

    And tip the UN, with its occupants, into the East River and let the Coasties have torpedo practice with the wreckage.

    Add to that the World Bank and IMF.

  40. The only exception I’d make to us providing foreign aid would be for carefully targeted missiles if someone really pisses us off.

    My son, the former USMC mortar gunner, says that there is no such thing as a carefully targeted missile. Something can and will always go wrong with those things. He was a FOB watcher for F-16 bombing runs in Kalifornia (29 Palms Marine base) and became a target for a while which he did not appreciate at all. He also had some crazy metal reclaimers on his bombing grounds one day and had to call back the planes in a hurry even though they were coming over the horizon at Mach 2+.

  41. Add to that the World Bank and IMF.

    These two may actually be worse than NK as to the number of people that they have hurt over the years. Maybe.

    They offer countries good deals to sucker them in and show up for payment on a bad day and start dictating terms.

  42. My son, the former USMC mortar gunner, says that there is no such thing as a carefully targeted missile.

    I’m not talking about bombs from a piloted aircraft. The CEP on our ICBMs is probably less than 10 meters, and that of GPS/terrain-guided cruise missiles even smaller.

  43. I’m not talking about bombs from a piloted aircraft. The CEP on our ICBMs is probably less than 10 meters, and that of GPS/terrain-guided cruise missiles even smaller.

    Yup, those bad boys do not always go where you want them to go. Usually, but not always. Any jamming equipment can cause them to go into hysterics. Of course, any near miss from a cruise missile can give you a very bad day. I am not sure that you can jam a ballistic missile.

    I really feel for the people of NK. Their relatives in SK live in the lap of luxury, comparatively. And they know this. And the really sad thing is that SK would take over NK in a heartbeat. Just like West Germany took over East Germany. Junior dictator knows this and is very worried about it.

    Dennis Rodman, what a tool. He was an enforcer in the NBA and like all predators is reverting to form. He is building points in the New World Order (sm). Let us hope that he does not get his wish.

  44. From Pournelle ( http://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/?p=13178 ):
    “I don’t know what will happen here. I do know it is insanity to stand by and take the first blow if an armed conflict is inevitable. The first rounds in an artillery duel – and classic air supremacy actions are very similar to artillery duels – are often decisive. ”

    “Sources in South Korea tell me that South Koran think tanks are already planning on how they can rebuild North Korea after NK starts the war and a SK-US alliance wins it.”

    What will the Chinese do this time if the junior dictator goes nuts?

  45. The Red Chinese should already be telling the NKs to cool it and STFU. They may be playing a very dangerous razor’s edge game, but if they get into it again this time with us, over sixty years since the last time, they must know we can dust their asses off PDQ. This may be a means of seeing what we got. And how far we’re willing to go. I say, with Patrick Buchanan; let the other regional powers deal with the buggers and let us bring our people home, finally.

  46. RBT wrote:

    “The CEP on our ICBMs is probably less than 10 meters, and that of GPS/terrain-guided cruise missiles even smaller.”

    That small? I wouldn’t have thought that less than 50 meters was even possible without terminal guidance.

    Lynn wrote:

    ” I am not sure that you can jam a ballistic missile.”

    You can’t, unless you have a very good ABM system. By about the half way point they’re completely on their own. Where they’ll hit is just physics.

  47. In 1950 SK was largely agricultural and NK was an industrial powerhouse. Now it’s reversed, only NK agriculture is now in the pits. I agree, hit them first.

  48. By about the half way point they’re completely on their own. Where they’ll hit is just physics.

    You’re, like, 50 years behind the times.

  49. Am I?

    We’re talking ICBMs and SLBMs here aren’t we? After the RVs separate from the bus I wasn’t aware that they had terminal guidance. Are you saying they do? I knew the US thought about MARVs but didn’t know they’d gone down that path. Certainly not by 1963.

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