Saturday, December 31, 2011

NOT EVEN the warmists believe in global warming.


A friend asked me the other day, "...given the sorry state of so much in the world, what's possible to look forward to?"

The state isn't sorry. It's wide open.

Interest rates are super low, violence is close to an all time low, industries are being remade and there's more leverage for the insurgent outsider than ever before in history.

The status quo is taking a beating, there's no question about it. That's what makes it a revolution.

I said this nine years ago and I stand by it. In the years since I wrote this essay, people have started social movements, built billion dollar companies, toppled dictators, found new jobs, learned new skills and generally made a ruckus.


Keep reading.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

THIS IS COOL: draw a stickman here and see what happens.

THE BEST and worst of everything in 2011: a mega, meta mashup by Fast Company magazine.

THE FOUR CORNERS of great leadership.

AMAZING PICTURES of Kim Jong-il's funeral.

LIE OF THE JUNGLE: the truth about Cheetah. Not only it wasn't the oldest living chimpanzee; he wasn't even the one on Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan pics.

U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE with and without the recovery plan. Click to enlarge if you dare:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SPAIN'S ROYALS reveal their income for the first time:

Spain's royal palace released a breakdown of the royal family's finances for the first time Wednesday, saying King Juan Carlos earns euro292,552 ($382,597) a year and his son, crown Prince Felipe, roughly half that amount.

The palace said that of the monarch's gross income, just under half was personal salary and the rest was designated for expenses. The king pays 40 percent in tax on the total sum.

Queen Sofia and the princesses Cristina, Elena and Letizia receive euro370,000 ($483,553) between them, while Felipe earns euro146,375 ($191,297).
The palace is assigned an annual budget by Parliament. It totaled euro8.4 million ($11 million) in 2011.

The royal family promised recently to release the information as part of the king's commitment to making his household's accounts transparent. The figures were posted on the palace website

The release comes as the king's son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin, husband of Cristina, is reportedly suspected of siphoning funds from public contracts awarded from 2004 to 2006 to a nonprofit foundation he then headed.

Although Urdangarin has not been charged, the allegations have put the royal family in the spotlight at a time of hardship and economic crisis for many people in Spain, where unemployment stands at 21.5 percent.


Police say one of two brothers pulled cocaine out of his butt. The other brother then ate it and died within the hour. Now, the brother who survived the ordeal is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

DID Neanderthals speak with a high-pitched voice?

The Neanderthal vocal tract seems to have been shorter and wider than a modern male human's, closer to that found today in modern human females. It's possible, then, that Neanderthal males had higher pitched voices than we might have expected. Together with a big chest, mouth, and huge nasal cavity, a big, harsh, high, sound might have resulted. But, crucially, the anatomy of the vocal tract is close enough to that of modern humans to indicate that anatomically there was no reason why Neanderthal could not have produced the complex range of sounds needed for speech.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

MORE SIGNS of economic trouble in China.

RON PAUL'S House record: tenacity... and irrelevance.

Of the 620 measures that Paul has sponsored, just four have made it to a vote on the House floor. Only that one has been signed into law.
House colleagues say the genial Paul has often shown little interest in the laborious one-on-one lobbying required to build a coalition behind his ideas. This year, for instance, Paul has sponsored 47 bills, including measures to withdraw from the United Nations, repeal the federal law banning guns in school zones and let private groups coin their own money.

None has moved, and 32 have failed to attract a single co-sponsor.

BRAZIL overtakes UK as sixth-largest economy.

DID ANYONE say unregulated, free market? "The median net worth of a member of the House in 2009 was more than 2 1 / 2 times greater than it was in 1984 — $725,00 vs. $280,000 — when adjusted for inflation, according to an analysis of financial disclosures. Meanwhile, the median net worth of Americans, as a whole, actually declined slightly over the same period."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE EVOLUTION of ideas (click to enlarge):

(via Ana Nuño)

A FEW recommendations to Spain’s new leader.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SPAIN'S incoming prime minister Mariano Rajoy was sworn in earlier today. Poor guy.

HOW BRITAIN could leave Europe.

TOP 10 weird facts about N Korea's late leader Kim Jong-Il-


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AND SUDDENLY, today's Spain debt auction exceeds targets, and yields plummet from 5.110 to 1.735 pct.

Monday, December 19, 2011

FASCINATING: How the potato changed the world.

I CAN'T BELIEVE no one at Spain's central bank (roughly, the equivalent to the Fed) thought it was tasteless, to say the least, to send this as Christmas card considering what's going on. Two guys about to let another drop in the abyss? Really, guys?

KIM JONG was IL, now he's DEAD:

South Korea has gone on high alert.

UPDATE. The Chinese react -- via emoticons.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CHINA'S credit bubble has finally popped:

It is hard to obtain good data in China, but something is wrong when the country's Homelink property website can report that new home prices in Beijing fell 35pc in November from the month before. If this is remotely true, the calibrated soft-landing intended by Chinese authorities has gone badly wrong and risks spinning out of control.

The growth of the M2 money supply slumped to 12.7pc in November, the lowest in 10 years. New lending fell 5pc on a month-to-month basis. The central bank has begun to reverse its tightening policy as inflation subsides, cutting the reserve requirement for lenders for the first time since 2008 to ease liquidity strains.


(click to enlarge)

CHIRAC, guilty: "Former French president Jacques Chirac has been found guilty of embezzling funds and violating public trust over accusations he hired members of his party for non-existent civil jobs while he was mayor of Paris."

THE IRAQ WAR officially ends today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THE HISTORY of aviation in one image: the blog is in Spanish, but the graphic speaks for itself. Don't miss it.

THIS is how London's underground announced in 1915 its speed as opposed to the alternatives:

(via Ana Nuño)

SOMEBODY must have found the kryptonite equivalent for MacGyver...

"DID you just look at my breasts?" Good reply to that. Heh.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 IN PICTURES... created in Lego. Some people have way too much time in their hands.

TAKE THAT, KEYNESIANS: European Central Bank Research Shows that Government Spending Undermines Economic Performance.

Monday, December 12, 2011

ANOTHER 'mysterious explosion' in Iran:

A mysterious explosion took place in a steel factory in Iran overnight Sunday, killing seven people, the latest in a series of blasts that have rocked the Islamic Republic over the last month.

The deaths occurred in an explosion and subsequent fire at a steel factory in the central Iranian province of Yadz, Iran's IRIB news agency quoted Yazd Governor Azizollah Seifi as saying on Monday. He said that some of the those killed in the blast were foreign nationals.

MORE obvious research: Drinking Alcohol Fuels the Desire for Unsafe Sex. I'm shocked, shocked!

THE EUROZONE debt deal may not be the cure, says the New York Times. No! Really??

THIS IS how the Chávez family lives. Lots more pictures that the Venezuelan leader doesn't want you to see here.

THERE'S NOTHING better than starting a new workweek with a happy note: Is the Eurozone banking system about to collapse?

The Telegraph sounded alarm bells late Friday that the Eurozone banking system [is] on the edge of collapse. Specifically, the problem is related to a lack of acceptable collateral, or "collateral crunch", for overnight and other short-term bank funding [emphasis added]:

    Senior analysts and traders warned of impending bank failures as a summit intended to solve the European crisis failed to deliver a solution that eased concerns over bank funding.
    The European Central Bank admitted it had held meetings about providing emergency funding to the region's struggling banks, however City figures said a "collateral crunch" was looming.
    "If anyone thinks things are getting better then they simply don't understand how severe the problems are. I think a major bank could fail within weeks," said one London-based executive at a major global bank.
    Many banks, including some French, Italian and Spanish lenders, have already run out of many of the acceptable forms of collateral such as US Treasuries and other liquid securities used to finance short-term loans and have been forced to resort to lending out their gold reserves to maintain access to dollar funding.

WHY Spotify can never be profitable.

YOU DON'T SAY: "Study shows people can guess personality via body odor"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

WORRIED about the euro? " World health ministers said Friday they were being vigilant after a Dutch laboratory developed a mutant version of the deadly bird flu virus that is for the first time contagious among humans."

Thursday, December 08, 2011

WHY turning off all electronic devices on planes doesn't make any sense:

Millions of Americans who got on a plane over the Thanksgiving holiday heard the admonition: “Please power down your electronic devices for takeoff.”

And absolutely everyone obeyed. I know they did because no planes fell from the sky. No planes had to make an emergency landing because the avionics went haywire. No planes headed for Miami ended up in Anchorage. We were all made safe because we all turned off all our Kindles, iPads, iPhones, BlackBerrys and laptops, just as the Federal Aviation Administration told us to. Realistically speaking, I’m going to bet that a handful of people on each flight could not be bothered, or forgot to comply.

According to the F.A.A., 712 million passengers flew within the United States in 2010. Let’s assume that just 1 percent of those passengers — about two people per Boeing 737, a conservative number — left a cellphone, e-reader or laptop turned on during takeoff or landing. That would mean seven million people on 11 million flights endangered the lives of their fellow passengers.

Yet, in 2010, no crashes were attributed to people using technology on a plane. None were in 2009. Or 2008, 2007 and so on. You get the point.

Surely if electronic gadgets could bring down an airplane, you can be sure that the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, which has a consuming fear of 3.5 ounces of hand lotion and gel shoe inserts, wouldn’t allow passengers to board a plane with an iPad or Kindle, for fear that they would be used by terrorists.

PICTURING the new era:

Some central banks in Europe have started weighing contingency plans to prepare for the possibility that countries leave the euro zone or the currency union breaks apart entirely, according to people familiar with the matter. The first signs are surfacing that central banks are thinking about how to resuscitate currencies based on bank notes that haven't been printed since the first euros went into circulation in January 2002."

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

AS IF things weren't complicated enough: Saudi Arabia wants Gulf countries to go nuclear.

On 5 December Prince bin Turki al Faisal, speaking at the “The Gulf and the Globe” conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh  urged the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to become a powerful regional bloc by establishing a unified armed force and defense structure.

While bin Turki’s call for the GCC to pool its military resources is nothing new, his idea of supporting Gulf countries acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) if Israel and Iran do not constrain their nuclear programs represents the edge of a precipitously slippery slope.

Not really new, excepts in how explicit is it now.

RATINGS AGENCIES are not the root of all evil.

THIS GUY is brilliant: "Jim Mesikmen channels the voices of celebrities for a brilliant rendition of Clement Clark Moore's 'Twas The Night Before Christmas.'"


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

BEST self-defense tip for women. Never fails!

(click to enlarge, or you'll miss the point...)

HAS a war with Iran already begun?

Monday, December 05, 2011

HADN'T laughed this hard for months: The 25 funniest autocorrects of the year.

"SOMETHING has really shifted in Europe this time." Let's see how long it lasts...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

BAD news from Egypt:

Islamists claimed a decisive victory on Wednesday as early election results put them on track to win a dominant majority in Egypt’s first Parliament since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the most significant step yet in the religious movement’s rise since the start of the Arab Spring.
The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected. But a big surprise was the strong showing of ultraconservative Islamists, called Salafis, many of whom see most popular entertainment as sinful and reject women’s participation in voting or public life.

Analysts in the state-run news media said early returns indicated that Salafi groups could take as much as a quarter of the vote, giving the two groups of Islamists combined control of nearly 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.

That victory came at the expense of the liberal parties and youth activists who set off the revolution, affirming their fears that they would be unable to compete with Islamists who emerged from the Mubarak years organized and with an established following. Poorly organized and internally divided, the liberal parties could not compete with Islamists disciplined by decades as the sole opposition to Mr. Mubarak. “We were washed out,” said Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, one of the most politically active of the group.