Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I presume the climate change will be reversed before that extreme, but in the case, we will have to drink desalted seawater and live in air conditioned malls. No problem.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I am re-reading Cao Xueqin's Story of the Stone also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber. It tells the story of a boy growing up among hundreds of girls - cousins, servants, slaves - in a powerful wealthy house in China, under the Manchu regime (about 1700). The Red Chamber means the palatial rooms where the members of the family lived, and it is dream, because it seems so impossible from the perspective of the impoverished old man who is writing his memories.
Jia zuo zhen shi zhen yi jia
Wu wei you chu yiu buan wu.
Truth becomes fiction when fiction is true
Reality is an illusion when dreams are real.
Chinese books have to read several times to be understood. The first time I read the book a few years ago, I threw it away as it seemed to me about girlish intrigues in a rich house, totally frivolous and meaningless. Then I re-read the book and understood the background, of a big wealthy house of mandarin suddenly falling and losing all their position and money. Now I am starting to understand the underlying drama - the family is a Manchu Bondholder related to the Emperor, and the new Emperor is replacing one by one these old functionaires by people of his confidence.
The background of the story is the growing tension and fear in the household, while the small intrigues occupy the minds of the young people. I am starting to re-read the story searching for sexual clues - the Stone was an adolescent prince among hundreds of beautiful and willing young girls, but I can find little on this aspect. It should have been a wild orgy, but these are Chinese and cannot find a word on the subject.
Pic from New York Times about the current wave of water pipe problems in Los Angeles. I copy the pic to point out some details that a lay person would not notice.
(1) The size of the water pond. Exceptionally big. A never saw such a flooding. The size of the collapsed area shows that the sand or the soil had been eroding for a long time and only the street asphalt carpet was intact (with nothing under supporting it). They are very lucky that cars did not fall into the hole.
(2) Once the pipe was broke, the water must have been escaping for quite a long time before the main valve was closed. In Israel the response time is maximum 10 - 15 minutes.
(3) Protection of the public. I see few signs of cordoning off the site. Any dog or child can reach the place and hurt himself.
(4) People working purposefully. None. Two workers are shaking hands and socializing, in total disregard of the fact they are in an emergency situation. The worker introducing his head in the manhole - in absolute contradiction of safety procedures. What is he doing? Why there is no reflector or a floodlamp to help him see in the manhole? I hope there is no one down there, there is no rescue equipment in sight. Who is supervising the work?
(5) I cant see toxic gas equipment. Not one of the workers has no safety personal equipment.
(6) I use American video tapes teaching how to behave in street works. In the films, a smart headman is always standing with the radio in one hand and a manual in the other, directing the team. Lots of modern mechanical and electronic equipment are ready to be used, air compressors, mobile generators and pumps and so on. These people seems to be working with their hands, they are no tools around, the only tool I see is an extremely low-tech BUCKET !
My impression is that this is not America, this is Managua.
America’s twin goals here are correct, compatible and by no means unattainable: no nukes in Iran, no war with Iran.I hope some desperate ayatollas will not start a war just before they are about to lose their power.
Bombing would unite that divided country behind a regime whose repressed people detest far more than we, as they have to live under it. Patience and perseverance, as in the Cold War, may be rewarded with the disintegration of a state that is today divided against itself.
We outlasted the Red czars. We will outlast the ayatollahs.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sinochem signed an initial accord to pay A$13 a share for Nufarm, Australia’s largest supplier of farm chemicals, the Melbourne-based company said today in a statement. That’s 17 percent more than the last closing price. There’s “no certainty” that a final deal will be reached, Nufarm said.
Nufarm, which has a market value of A$2.6 billion, rose 7.4 percent to A$11.96 on the Australian stock exchange at the 4:10 p.m. close in Sydney time. It closed at A$11.14 on Sept. 25. The stock has gained 14 percent this year. Makhteshim is sure to gain too. The Chinese are out to conquer world markets.
Thinking about what the NGO concentrates on in Third World countries, the conclusion is that try to provide what in normal countries is considered municipal activity. They try to provide clean water, sanitation, better roads, improved housing. The reason they concentrate in this elementary, primary services is because there are no functional municipalities.
But as Richard Feinberg commented in Sao Paulo, when was involved in a USAID water supply project, people lacks no technical knowledge. The "morro" (hill) they were supplying with water was covered by a chaotic network of electricity and telephone cables, water supply pipes and drainage channels. It was naive to think that they had no regular municipal services due to lack of technical knowledge or materials. What they were unable to do is to organize themselves into a regular municipality, with local authority regulation, taxes and government.
Nowadays many NGO's know this truth and are providing "leadership" courses and training, "organization framework" and so on. Once again, the problem is not that these people does not know the techniques of leading and the rules of a co-operative or a local authority. Their problem is that they are emotionally unable to work together in a stable manner within their community.
This same people DID co-operate very well under a colonial rule. One British political adviser used to pacify and rule extense areas in Nigeria, a place I know. In Bauchi, the place exported large quantities of peanuts and was very prosperous. Jos became a mining center. Since these few Englishmen left, the place is a violent chaos. Having known some of the aging colonialist, they were utterly unremarkable people, boring to death and preoccupied with having their tea "just so". Their wives were even more boring, organizing elaborate parties out in the nowhere.
What I am saying is that some kind of colonial regime is necessary to provide a framework that allows these people to co-operate and work together in peace.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The Green Neighborhood activists produced a report that said it was "absurd" that the city had approved the expansion when just six months ago it had initiated legal proceedings against the factory for operating without a business license and for failing to meet wastewater content standards (sulphides and grease).
"We must not remain quiet and wait while a chemical bubble grows opposite our homes."
La jaula se ha vuelto pájaro
y se ha volado
y mi corazón está loco
porque aúlla a la muerte
y sonríe detrás del viento
a mis delirios
Qué haré con el miedo
Qué haré con el miedo
Alejandra (1939-1972) was born in Buenos Aires into a family of Russian Jews who immigrated to Argentina. In 1954 she attended the University of Buenos Aires where she studied philosophy and from 1955 to 1957, literature. She also studied painting under the tutelage of surrealist painter Juan Battle Planas. In 1960 she left for France where she lived for the next four years and worked as a freelance proofreader and translator, writing poetry and criticism for Latin American, Spanish and French literary magazines. In 1965 her book Los trabajos y las noches was named the best book of poetry by the Argentine Foundation of Arts. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1969 and in 1971 a Fulbright. She killed herself by an overdose of senocal. In my youth I read her work but dismissed her as another of the many crazy over-psychoanalyzed Jewish girls of Buenos Aires, all of them writing poems and short stories. But she was different and her impact is growing. Now, she has become an important cultural figure of the Spanish language.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
From the 2007 Intelligence Assessment:
F. We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities—
rather than its declared nuclear sites—for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon.
G. We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.
H. We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.
F. Now we know that this is true. Ahmedinejad's photographed tour of uranium enrichment facilities were to hide the existence of a second secret facility.
G. 2015? Since Iran is working on the program since 1980, the year seems wrong. It has small centrifuges, but 35 years seem too long.
H. Nowadays everybody has that capacity, North Corea and Pakistan had it, so the assessment is meaningless.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I am invested in industries with very poor outlook:
(1) BAZAN - Israeli REfineries. The worldwide refining business is experiencing great difficulties – and some say there is no relief in sight. THE FOUR-YEAR run of strong profitability in refining, which started in early 2004 and ran out of drive last year, has turned into a decisive slump. Escalating consumption of oil products in the largest markets worldwide has reversed into a decline, just at the time when a large volume of new refining capacity has been starting up.
Refining economics follow the classic pattern for capital-intensive manufacturing, in which fixed costs are high, but marginal costs – the costs of processing additional barrels – are low. Accordingly, a decline in utilisation rates brings an increase in overall per-barrel costs. Europe has a large refining overcapacity and most of its refineries are on sale. BAZAN lost 50% of its worth since I bought it.
(2) ZIM - Shipping. ZIM is a highly leveraged operation, with many ships ordered and debts. REcently it announced it cannot pay its debts and demanded a resheduling. In fact, it is broke.
(3) Nechasim - REal Estate in London, Las Vegas, Miami. I dont know.
I didnt like Netanyahu's speech in the UN General Assembly. He is my leader and he did the best it could be done. But it pains me that the spokesman of the Jewish State had to make the traditional Jewish appeals to the world's decency. He asked: Dont you have decency? We know that they dont. This appeal shows our weakness, instead of Jews putting the fear of God in the hearts of our vicious enemies, he talked about Jews frightened by that Persian fanatic. And that if he destroys us, he will go on to destroy others. A very bad argument, an argument from weakness. I didnt like what he said, that is not how the representative of the Jewish State should talk to the world. Netanyahu is a recognized public relations master, the best we have, but we Zionists should talk differently.
Some 500,000 Israeli settlers now live on the West Bank, including nearly 200,000 in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after the 1967 war and so does not recognise its inhabitants as settlers. Of the 305,000 in the rest of the West Bank, up to 230,000 live in the big blocks. About 100,000 of them are ultra-Orthodox Jews who live in Beitar Ilit and Modin Ilit, two burgeoning settlements near the 1967 line. (The Economist).
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I find it necessary to remind myself of a December 2007 post:
1. All pipe is to be made of a long hole, surrounded by metal or plastic centered around the hole.
2. All pipe is to be hollow throughout the entire length - do not use holes of different length than the pipe.
3. The I.D. (inside diameter) of all pipe must not exceed the O.D. (outside diameter) - otherwise the hole will be on the outside.
4. All pipe is to be supplied with nothing in the hole so that water, steam or other stuff can be put inside at a later date.
5. All pipe should be supplied without rust - this can be more readily applied at the job site. N.B. Some Vendors are now able to supply pre-rusted pipe. If available in your area, this product is recommended as it will save a lot of time on the job site.
6. All pipe over 500ft (153m) in length should have the words "long pipe" clearly painted on each end, so the Contractor will know it is a long pipe.
7. Pipe over 2 miles (3.2km) in length must have the words "long pipe" painted in the middle, so the Contractor will not have to walk the entire length of the pipe to determine whether or not it is a long pipe.
8. All pipe over 6" (152mm) in diameter must have the words "large pipe" painted on it, so the Contractor will not mistake it for small pipe.
9. All pipe fittings are to be made of the same stuff as the pipe.
10. No fittings are to be put on pipe unless specified. If you do so, straight pipe will become crooked pipe.
11. Flanges must be used on all pipe. Flanges must have holes for bolts quite separate from the big hole in the middle.
12. When ordering 90 degrees, 45 degrees or 30 degrees elbow, be sure to specify right hand or left hand; otherwise you will end up going the wrong way.
13. Be sure to specify to your vendor whether you want level, uphill or downhill pipe. If you use downhill pipe for going uphill, the water will flow the wrong way. 14. All couplings should have either right hand or left hand thread, but do not mix the threads - otherwise, as the coupling is being screwed on one pipe, it is unscrewed from the other.
I have learned something. (Thanks Eric Falkenstein).
The economy today is "worse [because] we are much more deeply indebted than in March," Schiff declares. "We've dug ourselves a deeper hole."
Nochi Dankner, Itzhak Tshoova (pic) and other Israeli entrepreneurs say nothing and keep building those Las Vegas and Miami monster hotel projects. Israelis have no fear of the future.
Lybia's ruler Qaddafi spoke in the United Nations's General Assembly (pic Royal Tent in New York). The man is crazy. He held forth on topics like the JFK assassination and the origins of swine flu. It should be remembered that he almost acquired nuclear weapons. We are in a small boat lost in the ocean with raving lunatics. I am not too happy to report that I heard Lybian immigrants say that his (Jewish) relatives are living in Israel.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tel Aviv University's Endowment is managed by an Investment Commission and a Risk Manager. In "my" times it was managed by Benno Gitter (pic) alone, a man whom I consider my friend (He used to invite me to join his working lunch in his bank office: A large Argentine churrasco - roast beef - with papas fritas- French fries, all in a supersized tray. In those times Argentine meat cuts were unknown in Israel). Under Benno, TAU's money grew and grew and each year, he added more from his own money. (He used to say that he had given away most of his money yet he was making more than ever.)
Last December, the members of TAU's Investment Commission resigned en masse as protest against the Risk Manageress decision to liquidate TAU's portfolio. The market was bottoming and they felt that it was the wrong thing to do at that time. The female Risk Manageress insisted that it was SHE who was in charge of assessing risks, and she felt that the risks were unbearable for the University. In state of nervious breakdown, hysterical, she could not bear the weight of the terrible risk of the University losing its investments. As the (male) members of the Commission predicted, a split second after execution of the "Sell Everything" order, the market started to improve and now it is 70% above the bottom. TAU missed it all.
Conclusion: Females are constitutionally unfit for the profession of Risk Manager. Granting them the vote was also a mistake.
SanDisk traded at 20$ a year ago, then fell to 5$ and now is back and still rising. Shlomi Cohen sees a chip shortage, because of a sharp cut in investment. Instead of a disadvantage in its joint venture with Toshiba, he sees a very big advantage in production line ownership. A wave is beginning, of positive trends in the NAND market, one which will last at least two years. From the demand side, it originates in higher usage of mobile storage in telephones and media players, led by Apple. In the case that SanDisk will need more chips than it produces by itself, it will be able to buy them from Samsung, which in its new royalties agreement committed to sell to it at low prices.
Shlomi recommends SanDisk as a BUY.
The cooperative had done some emergency works, such as reversing the original direction of the flow in the ground level and building a new piping on the ground. Of course it is not working, water does not flow against the laws of gravity. Last night I wrote my opinion which is basically to build a sewage pumping station to lift the sewage to street level. Regarding the rain drainage, I propose two infiltration wells to improve better absorption of the the rainfall.
I'll have to present my opinion in court, so the judge can decide who has to pay. The idea is that the expense should be divided equally among all the owners of the block, and not only by the directly interested in solving the problem, which are those living at the ground level.
Even as Nochi Dankner's joint grandiose Plaza Casino and Hotel project with Yitzhak Tshuva is on hold, Dankner is raising the stakes on two equally grandiose residential projects in Las Vegas. He will ask shareholders to continue financing the development of the GW and QT residential projects owned by IDB Group USA Inc., a joint venture of IDB Development Corporation and its subsidiary Property and Building Ltd. (TASE: PTBL).
I own PTBL shares and am losing 2%.
As of the end of August, IDB Group USA had invested $219 million in the project and it estimates that an additional $100 million will be needed through the end of 2010. Even more financing will likely be needed to repay existing loans for the projects, which have not been extended. Both the QT and GW projects have been hit by the US real estate crisis, and not a single unit in either project was sold during the second quarter of 2009.
This morning I visited a large religious institution in Bney Brak to submit my estimate for design work. The place is almost underground, drained by a pumping station. Very difficult from the water and wastewater points of view. Everybody is strictly religious. Ultraorthodox.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I think the "experts" are just babbling nonsense, as the increase of blowouts seems multiannual and lineal. Apparently the water infrastructure (or its maintenance) is fast deteriorating. But it is nice to see a Water Department that keeps records, so unlike Israel.
The Department of Water and Power (see pic) has recorded 34 “major blowouts” in L.A.’s water system since Sept. 1 in which streets were flooded and pavement buckled. By contrast, the city had only 21 for all of September 2008, 17 for all of September 2007 and 13 in September 2006.
Experts said a prime suspect should be the city’s recent decision to ration water by allowing sprinklers to run only on Mondays and Thursdays. They say that if more water flows through the system on Mondays and Thursday when people are watering their lawns and then pressure suddenly drops on other days, it could put added stress on already aging pipes.
“You made a change in operations…and now you get an anomalous number of failures. To me that is an 'ah hah' moment,” said Richard Little, director of the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at USC.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Mandolyna, the attractive daughter of TAKIMAG's owner and editor, has more talent than his father the retired karateka. I hope she will soon take over the magazine. It pains me that the wonkers of the Roissysphere waste their (and her) time writing long essays on their plans of conquest instead of inviting her out. Young people is so stupid, they dont know what they want.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Shlomi Cohen is a veteran Israeli financial journalist and stock analyst who writes the popular 'Buy, Sell, Hold' column for Israel's leading financial publication, Globes. He also manages a virtual portfolio on Globes. something that no analysts dare to do. In English he publishes in Seeking Alpha, an Israeli site.
He caused me to hold Orckit and Tsem, two Israeli electronics companies. No success but I am persisting. He is intelligent and convincing, and here is a quote:
On the subject of Israel Internet companies, this week I decided to take another look at what's happening at a company that exactly a decade ago was at its peak, VoIP inventor VocalTec Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq:VOCL). From a market cap of hundreds of millions of dollars under the person considered the father of the field, Dr. Elon Ganor, it has been through many twists and turns, including a merger with Tdsoft, and today it has a market cap of just $6.4 million, with not many people realizing that it has $11.4 million in the bank.
Zetland (Aguanomics) recounts a common water supply problem (like the one here in Israel):
Our problem: Israeli water supply is managed by an entrenched monopoly that is not sensitive to market economy.
(1) Water agencies ask customers to use x% less water, often increasing restrictions on water use. (Illustration: Water Saving Campaign in Israel, showing how celebs's face dries out. Horrible)
(2) Customers cut use by 2x%, reducing agency sales below projections based on x% reductions.
(3) To cover the gap between revenue and expenses, agencies raise prices, reduce services and/or tap reserve funds -- upsetting customers who feel they are being penalized for cutting back.
(4) Water agencies cut back on conservation programs, hoping that customers will use more water (!) and thus provide revenue...
Saturday, September 19, 2009
In order to deliver the water, there are pumping stations near Tracy that are apparently sucking and pulverizing the Delta smelt, and according to environmentalists, leading to a dramatic decrease in population and potential extinction.
The value of the Delta smelt? Essentially nothing. Besides serving as bait for attracting larger fish, the Delta smelt is not edible, does not eliminate pests or have any meaningful commercial value. Sometimes, despite environmentalist’s protestations to the contrary, certain species reach a natural evolutionary dead end. …”
The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority issued a statement claiming that 100,000 acres went unplanted and 2,000 jobs have been lost on the Westside because of federal pumping cutbacks to protect the endangered Delta smelt fish.
The signal I was expecting has arrived.
BLOOD IS FLOWING ON WALL STREET.
The co-founder of an investment advisory firm that lost $1.5 billion in the Madoff scandal was found dead Tuesday in an apparent suicide in his Manhattan office, police said. Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet, 65 years old, was pronounced dead about 8 a.m. New York City police said they believe the death to be a suicide but were awaiting results of an autopsy to be completed Wednesday.
THE TIME HAS COME TO BUY STOCKS.
I was right. The TASE (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange) lifted 62% in US dollars since the Signal. I made up part of my losses and am about 60% of my maximum.
Addendum: TASE 25 YTD.
Bizportal (in Hebrew) publishes a very long article by Prof. Grosfeld, saying that there is no economic crisis in Israel and that world economy is going to push ahead in no time. He says that high unemployment is excellent for the American economy, that low prices of raw materials are superb for the industry, and that there is nothing to fear. Israeli interest rates are higher than other places, and the Israeli Electric Corporation sold bonds paying almost 10% in the middle of worldwide crisis (what IS he suggesting?). His advice: "If you believe that the stock exchange reflect the real economy out there, buy!" My problem is that (1) the note speaks in code and I dont get his meaning, and (2) I am not sure what real economy does to stock prices, maybe speculation or sentiment are more important.
Friday, September 18, 2009
For all practical purposes whites have lost the United States. Though still a near majority, we are surrounded by armed forces seeking our destruction; we are running out of ammunition, and the ground troops are being ordered in to clean up the remaining pockets of resistance. It looks as if we’re doomed.Sad. Very sad.
There are few things less sufferable to me than someone, in the middle of an ongoing war, adopting the enemy's position and voicing its arguments. Justin Raimondo does just that in TAKIMAG. He starts well, painting Bin Lades as the Satan:
Osama bin Laden ... is truly scary. Not because he threatens us with death and destruction, though he does. Not because he vows that the 9/11 attacks were just the beginning, though this is strongly implied. And not because he’s the kind of guy who gives evil a bad name... You can almost hear an organ groaning in the background and smell a whiff of sulfur. Halloween comes early this year. His Satanic Majesty continues...but ends by agreeing with him:
...time is on his side. We have never taken bin Laden and al-Qaeda all that seriously, and that, ultimately, will be our undoing. In him we face an unrelenting and devilishly intelligent enemy, one who knows our weaknesses and leverages them to his advantage.When in a war, one side starts parroting the enemy's propaganda, that side is doomed to defeat. Defeatism in war is sabotage, and if America wants to win, its Raimondos should not be published.
The only way to defeat bin Laden is to change our foreign policy—not by putting lipstick on a pig and murmuring sweet nothings in the ear of the Muslim world, as Obama did in Cairo, but by doing a complete about-face and abandoning our dreams of empire. Short of that, bin Laden’s satanic self-confidence, I’m sad to say, is fully justified.
When we arrived at Argentina, I had to learn the currency system and discovered that some coins in circulations were actually made of silver. I asked my uncle who was a jeweler to calculate how much it was worth which was more than the inflated face value of the ARgentine peso, so I started to collect old coins. Since it was forbidden to re-melt coins, I used to sit on the street bashing coins with a hammer to make them unrecognizible. Soon after the coins disappeared from circulation and I did not make much with this idea.
Now Espen Haug, a Norwegian quant, systematizes the idea. "One of the hallmarks of an alternative investment is an option-like payoff – a return distribution that is truncated or skewed. If that is the case, then the ubiquitous penny and quintessential nickel could be the most popular alternative investments in the United States (and, we suspect, in many other countries around the world in similar forms). Physical currencies – particularly those made from copper and nickel contain an option that is close enough to the money to have a material value and has even been in the money in the recent past."
Haug and Stevenson point out that pennies and nickels can be converted into electronic money at their face value, but that they also contain copper and nickel that, in 2007, was worth more than the denominations themselves. Put another way, pennies and nickels are really just long positions in copper and nickel combined with a put option on each with strike prices of one cent and five cents. If the price of the copper in a penny goes above one cent, the option is worthless. Likewise, if the price of the nickel in a nickel goes above five cents, the option is also out of the money.
Qustion: the 1 new shekel coin weigths 4 g and is made of Cupronickel (75% copper 25% nickel). On current exchange rate, 1 shekel is worth about 0.26 dollars. Is it worth to collect it as a metal option?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I got burned once by TSEM but I am coming back asking for more. Tower has not only survived but it is thriving. I made a small purchase today.
I am fascinated by the 700V high voltage LED market. TOWER makes AC to DC conversion chips for next generation industrial LED lighting and the emerging large panel consumer LCDs. According to DisplayBank Co, the market for industrial LED lighting is estimated to grow from $700 million to $2 Billion in 2013. This high-voltage platform is ideal for large-sized blue LEDs for large panel LCDs which is a booming market, and is expected to grow from $41 million in 2007 to $7 Billion in 2013, a CAGR of 135%.
Israelis' life expectancy is rising. The life expectancy for men reached 79.1 years in 2008, four months longer than in 2007, while the life expectancy for women rose by six months to 83.
Israel is bucking the aging trend in the Western world as fertility rates stay above Western average. The average number of children in an Israeli family is 2.96, compared with 1.4 in Spain, Italy, and Denmark, 1.8% in France and Ireland, and 2 in the US. 156,923 children were born in Israel in 2008, 3.5% more than in 2007.
The gap in the average number of children of Jewish and Muslim women narrowed. The average number of children of a Jewish woman rose to 2.88 in 2008 from 2.80 in 2007, while the average number of children of a Muslim woman declined to 3.84 from 3.90 in 2007 and 3.97 in 2006. Below the 2009 CIA data. It is good that we Jews have left sterile Hungary and Eastern Europe, and are back to ourselves in Israel. American Jews should leave too, if they want grandchildren.
161 Hungary 1,35
161 Slovakia 1,35
162 Andorra 1,33
163 Spain 1,31
163 Italy 1,31
164 Latvia 1,30
165 Slovenia 1,28
165 Poland 1,28
166 Moldova 1,27
167 Ukraine 1,26
168 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,25
169 Czech Republic 1,24
169 Belarus 1,24
170 Lithuania 1,23
170 Montserrat 1,23
171 Japan 1,21
171 Korea, South 1,21
172 Northern Mariana Islands 1,15
173 Taiwan 1,14
174 Singapore 1,09
175 Hong Kong 1,02
176 Macau 0,91
Illustration: Israeli Belly Dancer. It may be relevant.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
In the book, he happens to peel back a masking tape on an old wall map, and to his surprise an unknown island is there, which is not marked in regular maps. He decides to investigate this island and finds the Sanctuary, where a group of beautiful Olympians enjoy eternal life while a computer manages the city he thought was the whole world. These divine immortals renew their bodies as they age by taking young ones from the City. The secret purpose of the City, then, is to produce perfect young human beings tu use by the Immortals.
Logan, who by discovering and entering the Sanctuary has demonstrated curiosity, intelligence, courage and self-motivation, is then invited to join the Immortals, as apparently the recruitment method of this exclusive group is by self-selection. But Logan decides - somewhat to my surprise - to destroy the whole operation and to free the perfect bodies.
To escape from DomesCity, Logan and Jenny Agutter have to overcome several obstacles, such as this giant ice robot guard.
The world's most widely grown crop - wheat - may be in danger from the Ug99 fungus. The UG 99 is resistant to fungicides and has destroyed crops in Africa and Iran. Also European and American yields may be affected and prices may go up. (FAO)
The disease has attacked grasses since ever and it has been weaponized in the past. The United States produced wheat stem rust and rye stem rust as part of its biological weapons program, which was active from 1943-1969. These anti-agriculture biological agents were tested and found effective by the U.S. military. (Wiki)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Barclays sees the shekel-dollar exchange rate dropping to NIS 3.65/$ in about three months, and to NIS 3.60/$ in about six months. The shekel dollar exchange rate is currently about NIS 3.76/$.
Conclusion: Sell dollars, buy shekel denominated bonds and shares.
Monday, September 14, 2009
17 years ago the Yuma Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant was built to reuse Arizona's agricultural drainwater. The plant was never operated because by then the drainage water had been flowing into Mexico for twenty years and had created a large wetland - the Cienaga de Santa Clara - with rich and diverse fauna. Should the Plant be operating, only the filtrate residues will keep flowing, which are very salty and concentrated, and that will be the end of the Cienaga as we know it now. The fact that the wetland is engineered aka artificial is irrelevant to the lovers of nature, they just want to know that beautiful birds are flapping their wings in the Cienaga (few ever visit it personally).
Sunday, September 13, 2009
We are not yet aware here in Israel of the tremendous assault of Third World peoples on European countries. Africans are specially desperate and are ready to risk their lives in order to be able to live in a civilized country. Conditions in Africa (and in Bangla Desh, Pakistan, Yemen, and many other places) are becoming hellish and one billion persons are striving fanatically to find a way out. The countries facing Africa - and Israel is among them - are in the frontline of this assault. European and Israeli public opinions are totally unaware of this assault and "refugees" are received with pity, empathy and charity. I hope Israeli public will wake up before it is too late to what is really happening.
The desperate determination of the Africans to reach White countries is painful to watch. Recently, five African boat people rescued by the Italian coastguard claimed they were lost at sea for three weeks, and that 75 other people on the boat had died during their ordeal. The survivors, two men, a woman and two children, are from Eritrea. Hundreds of thousands (!) still wait on the shores of north Africa for the chance to cross over to Europe, despite the serious risk to their lives.
More than 7,400 refugees from African countries have infiltrated Israel through Egypt over the past year, Minister Avi Dichter estimated. 600 from Darfur received refugee status, while 2,000 from Eritrea received permanent status. According to Dichter, the IDF is unsuccessful in preventing them from entering Israel. The alternatives are either imprisonment or expulsion. However, the deportation of foreign nationals is complex, as a refugee cannot be put on a plane back to his homeland without a passport. I am seeing more and more African faces in Kever Benjamin.
Norman Ernest Borlaug was born March 25, 1914, on a farm near Cresco, Iowa, and was educated through the eighth grade in a one-room schoolhouse. "I was born out of the soil of Howard County," he said. "It was that black soil of the Great Depression that led me to a career in agriculture." He started improving cereal varieties in Mexico, which led to the worldwide Green Revolution (the real one) of the sixties. Those were times of pessimism, of the "population bomb", which he alone defused. In college, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Later he received the Nobel Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal. He died today at 95 of cancer. A great American.
He was born 103 years ago in Budapest as Kann Endre but he is better known as Andre Kostelany. He made his money in Paris and Zurich, and in 1939 he transferred all of it to New York ("My heart is in the left, my head in the right, and my money in New York"). The speculation of his life was to buy German 1930 bonds after Germany's defeat, when no one thought they will be paid back. Thanks to the German Economic Miracle they were redeemed and his profit was enormous. Adenauer also gave him a medal. His next operation was Russian Bonds emmitted by the Tzar, which he bought at 2% and sold at face value. He said that 49% of his speculations failed but 51% succeeded, and the 2% difference was enough to make his fortune.
Addenda: What was the reasoning behind his very successful speculation of German pre-War Bonds? After the war, Germany was destroyed and the population was starving (people forgets that), but Andre thought: The Germans are a serious, hardworking, productive people, they always pay their debts. So he bought the bonds for nothing and invested in the reconstruction of German industry. In fact, this Jew is the real father of the German post-war "economic miracle".
Friday, September 11, 2009
German film director Werner Herzog on the hardships he encountered in making his 1982 film Fitzcarraldo in the Amazon:
Kinski always says [nature] is full of erotic elements. I don’t see it so much as erotic. I see it more as full of obscenity.... Nature here is violent, base. I wouldn’t see anything erotical here. I would see fornication, and asphyxiation, and choking, and fighting for survival,... just rotting away. Of course there is lots of misery but it is to say misery that is all around us. The trees here are in misery, the birds here are in misery. They don’t sing, they just screech in pain.They are geniuses, both.