JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


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GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



EU bans good vacuum cleaners — next big kettles, hot irons?

The Climate Police are coming.

In order to cool the global climate, the European Commission has decided, with infinite wisdom, that companies shall no longer be allowed to make or import vacuums with motors above 1600 watts — which is more than half of the vacuums on the market. These are climate-dangerous machines. They couldn’t just put a health warning with pics of drowning polar bears on the 2200W ones. They must be Verboten! The new rules start on September 1st. I’m sure if they could, they’d arrange a buy-back and amnesty program for high powered vacuums too.

In EUspeak, vacuums are about to get better! Apparently, they will use less energy, save money and pick up more dust too, all that was needed was regulation. (Why didn’t they think of it before?)

The Telegraph

Consumers warned to “act quickly” before top-rated powerful vacuum cleaners sell out forever

The European Commission claims that its new rules, which are intended to help tackle climate change by cutting Europe’s energy usage, will mean consumers “get better vacuum cleaners than ever before”.

The first vacuum was made in 1860. So after 150 years of fine tuning vacuum motors, at last the gifted bureaucrat [...]

Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society

Who’s the Number One enemy of people who thrive on big-government dependence? Charles Koch. He’s the archetypal threat to their prestige and power. Not only does he have the money to actually fund programs to promote free markets, self reliance, and free speech, he could be a bit of a poster boy for the independent free-market way of life. There’s the danger more people might start to aspire to stand on their own two feet, to create 60,000 jobs while producing products other free citizens value. To take pride in their achievements, and to eschew hand-outs. Therefore it’s imperative that only moguls who toe the collectivist line be allowed to be seen to be “good” people.

..more government means less liberty…

Here he explains what he’s fighting for. What’s not to applaud? — Jo

Hat tip to The HockeySchtick.

 —————————————————–

Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.

An Op-Ed in the Wall St Journal

By Charles G. Koch April 2, 2014 7:47 p.m. ET

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that [...]

The Ben Factor. One man drives a market. The world pretends it is “free”.

How much is that company worth? You can look at its PE, debt, market spread, sovereign risk, and discounted cash flow, but in the end, it’s the Ben Factor (BF) which dominates all companies, metal prices, and sovereign currencies in the West.

The Ben hath spoken, and said that in future, if the economy is looking better, he might slow the printing of $85 billion US dollars a month, some indefinite non-specified day. All that was … obvious. But, world-wide investors and traders hang off the words, trying to second-guess what the BF banality implies. No one will say it, but everyone knows that it the rate of the flow of easy cash so much as slows, all hell will break loose. Balanced on this thin veneer of pretense, stocks, metals and whole national currencies change direction within minutes.

The Ben has spoken.

What hath changed since yesterday? Not much. But global paroxysm ensues.

Bernanke taper talk sends markets into a tailspin

Closing Bell: S&P 500 posts biggest fall since November 2011 on Fed’s stimulus plan

EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American stocks tumble to four-year low

China, Fed frenzy send Aust stocks tumbling [...]

The Cyprus Moment: Steal money from ex-KGB deposits? Hello, Crunch-time.

UPDATE: Cash is being flown to British Troops in Cyprus. The banks will stay shut til Thursday. The finance minister has resigned. [SkyNews]

Remember how the EU was supposed to promote stability?

Sooner or later a central fund managed by central bureaucrats is going to fail in a “central” way. This isn’t it, but we are getting closer to the center.

Without competition between states on currency, Europe left itself open to be a case study in centralized stupidity. The bureaucrats needed to stop the waste of public spending, they needed to halt the corruption, increase competition. And their answer? Steal 10% of depositor’s funds from everyone in Cyprus. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We are now in new territory. In previous bank bailouts, if anyone took any losses it was the shareholders and the bond holders, and the depositors did not lose any money. In the Cyprus bail out, the bondholders and shareholders lose nothing but the depositors lose about 10%. (Any chance the bondholders of the Cyprus banks include the ECB or IMF?)

Where is the natural law that makes sense in this decision? Don’t punish the shareholders, or the bondholders, [...]

Topher’s new video: The Forbidden History of Terrible Taxes

A video that ought to be shown to all students in every school. A concept that I don’t remember being mentioned during my education.

I like his clean uncluttered style, the snappy irreverent wit. …

Thanks Topher, and thanks to all the people who supported him to make this possible (like The Australian Taxpayers Alliance).

Note the first ever First Australian Libertarian Conference will be held in Sydney on April 6 and 7. Now that would be fun.

Send this video around

What Fiscal Cliff? It’s a fiscal-crack-in-the-pavement.

There is an economic crisis out there, but it isn’t the Fiscal Cliff.

The best summary of the economics I’ve seen comes from Mark Steyn.

The bipartisan Super Committee of Super Friends was supposed to find $1.2 trillion dollars of deficit reduction by last Thanksgiving, or plucky little America would wind up trussed like a turkey and carved up by “automatic sequestration.”

Sequestration sounds like castration, only more so: It would chop off everything in sight. It would be so savage in its dismemberment of poor helpless America that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the course of a decade the sequestration cuts would reduce the federal debt by $153 billion. Sorry, I meant to put on my Dr. Evil voice for that: ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE BILLION DOLLARS!!! Which is about what the United States government currently borrows every month. No sane person could willingly countenance brutally saving a month’s worth of debt over the course of a decade.

I suppose it’s possible to take this recurring melodrama seriously, but there’s no reason to. The problem facing the United States government is that it spends over a trillion dollars a year that it doesn’t have.

I never [...]

Buy gold while it’s in the ground (Plus David and Jo will be in Sydney at the Gold Symposium – Monday)

UPDATED (Already)  Money is grubby thing, but financial independence means freedom. Freedom to spend time writing what a heart believes instead of what an employer demands. (Freedom to follow the most inexplicable whim — like tossing the 9-5 day to debate details of dendroclimatology with people who detest you). I wouldn’t be able to indulge in the luxury of writing this blog if it weren’t for the gold shares that keep food on the table. Next Monday David is speaking at The Gold Symposium in Sydney. (I’ll be in the audience.) Who should go? — only people who don’t want to be poor. I want to see both these independent conferences succeed (The AEF too), I want to share the word about both money and science, and I want to help independent spirits meet up. That’s why I’m giving them both a shameless plug before the article. There is a big overlap between gold and skepticism: skeptical of government science often means skeptical of government money too (see We are all Austrians now). For the pure-science readers here, it may all seem thoroughly odd, but while some will paint gold as a fatuous symbol of pointless wealth – and sometimes [...]

Bonds set record on record, stocks down, gold leaps

The world is so poised on the edge. The jitters are sweeping through tonight.

Just suppose you have $100m in assets that you are nervous about. You cannot stick that amount in a bank, because government guarantees only cover the first $1m or whatever, and banks are all risky now. So you buy into the biggest, most liquid market in the world — US Treasury bonds, that is, the debt of the US Government. Sure, you risk losing a few percent as bond prices jostle up in the panic, but at least you preserve your wealth. So you sell your assets, convert the proceeds to US dollars, and buy US Treasuries.

So much money had run to US Treasury bonds  that the yield — which was at a record low yesterday — just got a lot lower. People are happy to give their money to the US government for an historically low yield.

Yesterday things were more scary than any time since WWII:

On Thursday, benchmark 10-year Treasuries yields fell to a historic low of 1.5326 percent, according to Tradeweb. The previous low was in November 1945 when yields ended that month at 1.55 percent.

Tonight, things are [...]

Murdoch tweets about money printing and inflation, reality won’t be far behind

The game is up when everyone knows the only way out is printing money, because then everyone knows inflation is coming, and the bun-fight begins. Everyone wants the wage rise, the payment now, and to buy the commodities that they won’t be able to afford tomorrow. Price tags begin that rising spiral. I don’t think we are on the verge just yet, but it can’t be that far when someone like Murdoch is broadcasting it.

Rupert Murdoch tweets:

‏ @rupertmurdoch

Governments worldwide have borrowed 100 trillion last ten years. Defaults inevitable sometime soon. Means crash, hurting rich and poor.

 ‏ @rupertmurdoch Of course markets stay high with central banks printing huge sums, inflating everything except jobs.

The only question that matters then, is are they “printing”, and how long have we got?

US Money Base Figures

This is the US money base, starting in 1918.

You can see the moment Lehman Brothers went under. It’s that “bend”.

 

..

That graph again, logarithmically, so we can put the last 90 years in perspective. Remember the oil crisis, the Vietnam War, the 1987 crash, LTCM, and the dot com burst? They don’t rate.

[...]

This gold bar is worth its weight in … tungsten — corruption knocks on every door

A gold bar that should have weighed 1,000 grams, weighed 2 grams too little. The owner had it cut in half to reveal that the certified, stamped bar with serial numbers had tungsten rods inserted all the way through it. Tungsten, has a density of 19.35 g/cm3, so is a near-perfect match for gold (19.32 g/cm3) and it sells for just one ten thousandth of the price.

The gold bar was cut in half to reveal the tungsten rods.

The problem of fake gold bars By Felix Salmon March 25, 2012

You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to find this worrying: a 1kg gold bar, certified as 99.98% pure by XRF (X-ray fluorescence) tests, turns out to have been drilled out and largely replaced with tungsten. This bar was discovered only because it was 2 grams lighter than it ought to have been: the forgers failed to add quite enough gold to the outside of the bar to make up for the weight lost when they replaced gold with tungsten. But if they’d gotten the weight right, it would probably still be circulating today.

[Reuters]

Is this a big issue? Who knows? Gold bars are rarely audited.  [...]

We are all Austrians now

The meme is spreading. Rapidly, day after day, I’m meeting more Skeptical-Austrians, and Austrian-Skeptics. I don’t mean the country, but the economics.

James Delingpole-the-brilliant enjoyed my post: The Ground Zero of Global Corruption: it starts with The Currency. He’s had his awakening a few months back. Just yesterday I was talking to Redmond, a skeptic in Canada who turned out to be founder and director on Mises.ca (you can’t get much more Austrian than that). Martin Durkin (the infamous director of Great Global Warming Swindle) is an Austrian too. Back in Bali 07, even then, that Monckton, Archibald, and Balle were discussing gold and currencies (nearly half of all the skeptics there). I’m guessing Chiefio might be. I hear Ray Evans of the Lavoisier Group is too.

…skeptics of government science are also skeptics of government money…

It’s no surprise, really, that skeptics of government science would also be skeptics of government money. My message to all the sleeping skeptics out there is: get with the game. When I said climate science is the second biggest scam in history, I wasn’t joking.

So James, yes, welcome to the club! Absolutely, I’m an Austrian and so, of course, is [...]

The Ground Zero of Global Corruption – it starts with The Currency

The scale of the rot is something to behold.  Something is grossly, wantonly wrong with Western Civilization, and lots of people know it, but they don’t know why (and for the next blind rebellion, see, “Occupy”).

But a head of the hydra popped into view last week. First a high profile whistleblower from Goldman Sachs wrote Why I am leaving in the New York Times. Then today (possibly, it’s unconfirmed), an insider from JP Morgan came forward to reveal something far worse, and dark to the core. It’s posted on the CFTC site (that’s The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission – the market watchdog, or rather watch-puppy). [UPDATE: The CFTC have removed the page after 48 hours, a copy of the text is here, screenshot here.]

A Goldman Sachs Executive Director — Greg Smith — resigned from the 143 year old firm explaining he felt ill with the callous culture where people would boast about how much they had ripped off clients, which they called “hunting elephants”, and calling their clients “muppets” and worse. He said that in 12 years the company had completely lost the culture that made him proud to join it. There was nothing left of integrity [...]

The money – you earn it, they print it. Welcome to the world of Corruption.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s obvious (to anyone who knows there’s no free lunch) that one way or another this Festival of Funny Money was going to end in tears. And so it flows… but let’s not forget what lead us to this, the problem that lies under all others.

The government can print (base) money from nothing, and they can set interest rates artificially low so as to encourage private banks to create (bank) money from nothing. And governments keep doing it, because it’s so much easier to be elected handing out loaves and fishes, and grants and solar-rooftop-subsidies, in a froth of easy money and rising asset prices. Any fool can spend someone else’s money, especially when the sucker doesn’t even know it was their money.

Thus does inflation steal from all and sundry. Silently.

Watch them print money… say hello to inflation.

In the real world, we have to repay our debts. But the world of the ruling class never has to make ends meet. Alan Greenspan admitted that this weekend — effectively announcing that the US is the United States of Wonderland, where no matter how high the debt is they can never default — because [...]

Keynes versus Hayek: Big government versus individual rights

Check these out. There’s been an ongoing war of ideas, Hayek vs Keynes, for eight decades and counting — and these videos sum it up consummately. This ongoing academic fight has shaped lives and countries for decades: booms, busts, unemployment, and possibly even wars.

Indeed it’s an ominous sign of the times that there is a resurgence of this debate. (The masses take no interest in monetary policy when times are booming.)

(If you are in a tearing hurry, skip the first minute).

I’m not a rap fan, but this is so good that, for the first time, I have to admit rap has its role.

There’s a second in the series and it’s even better.

* * *

There are parallels between climate and economics. Using global markets against “man made global warming” is a Keynesian solution to the weather.

The big left-right divide is not about conservative versus progressive. The “progressives” want us slow down, and give  up cars, flights and air conditioners, and the “conservatives” fight to keep development rolling. Ultimately the left right dichotomy boils down to the individual versus the collective. Thus Keynes (the big government solution) [...]

Inflation: the creeping hand of corruption

UPDATE May 27, 2011: While the inflation information here is correct, be aware news has just come out that the NIA (who made the video) is a pump and dump group, doing potentially fraudulent work. So enjoy their videos but beware of their stock recommendations. We wondered who was behind this video — at least it finally makes sense.

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Background Joanne occasionally writes about the science and corruption of monetary systems. She summed up the connection between the two dismal sciences (climate and economics). If you are new to this theme see the explanation and links at the bottom of the article.

You might think inflation and climate science are only linked metaphorically. But the corruption in science is fed by the corruption in our currencies.

The monetary system that allows a privileged few to print money from nothing is the same system that allows massively misdirected spending. When there are so few controls on the growth of money, there is less negative feedback, fewer brakes, and virtually no limits. If the system is swimming with easy money, people can “afford” to build wildly extravagant and unproductive things — like wind-farms, carpets of solar panels, or symbolic rivers [...]

The Climate Spectator joins the gravy train

Here we go again. I like Alan Kohler, the economic reporter on the nightly ABC news. He likes numbers, graphs and hard data. Yet here he is, setting up a new project which looks like it ‘s another climate clone site analyzing everything carbon-related in the harsh light of day except the assumption about climate “feedbacks” that the whole error cascade is based on. (This is the same assumption that the empirical evidence has shown was too high by a factor of six.) [See here for my latest demolition and  here where a Dr of Paleoclimate comes unstuck.]

The Business Spectator wrote so sagely and incisively about the Super Profits Tax, I’d love to think they would apply the same sharp brainpower to the issue of climate. But Kohler writes:

“We were initially despondent when the CPRS was kicked into the long grass by Kevin Rudd,…”

Despondent? Imagine them saying “Interest rates were raised and we were despondent?”

But Kohler and the other economic commentators have been caught watching the money instead of the reasoning (they’re watching the wrong money too, here’s the money that speaks volumes). If upper tropospheric water vapor doesn’t increase as the world warms, the reason [...]

Helicopter Ben at work

Not many people realize just how utterly unprecedented the Global Financial Crisis was.

To see just how singularly anomalous those months were, let’s revisit an article I wrote for 321 Gold in November 2008.

The graphs below are extraordinary, jaw-dropping plots. At the time I was watching them grow week by week, and was amazed that they were not “everywhere”. I still remember the chill I got in mid October when I first saw the ballistic spike. We’re talking about the money supply of the worlds largest economy. The rescue package blew away the scale  — the second graph below covers 90 years. It’s not often you see any graph which is a true hockey stick. This was originally published at 321Gold on Nov 25th 2008. Remember this money (your money if you hold US dollars) was “injected” as a temporary fix (in theory), the plan was to neutralize it, or sterilize it, or insert-your-favourite-euphemism-here-for-getting-it-back-to-normal.

So where does the Money Base graph stand now? It’s not back down to $900 billion (where it was in August 2008), it’s not even stable at $1500  billion, it’s $2000 billion. Our markets run on ever increasing injections of new money. The people [...]

Two dismal sciences (climate and money)

Maybe you are already au fait with the deep flaws in our financial system, or maybe you are like I was ten years ago, too bored to read “economics”–knowing it was all human vagaries and surrounded with jargon. If your eyes glaze at the thought of bonds, yields, debt and GOFO’s–bear with me, I understand. But history books will be written about this year. No one can afford to be not interested in the science of money.

Economics is known as The Dismal Science, and the reason it’s dismal is the same reason that official climate science is — too many dollars at stake. (If we can treat psychology scientifically, why not economics too?)

Those who want to falsely alarm us benefit from confounding issues, confusing statements, argument from authority and bureaucratese

But the unscientific nature of some subjects is no accident. Clear thinking, transparency, and rigorous logic benefit the majority, just as jargon, elitism, gatekeepers and censorship do not.  Those who want to falsely alarm us benefit from confounding issues, confusing statements, argument from authority and bureaucratese, and so too do the people who control our money — central bankers, the banking aristocracy, and some politicians. (Though instead of [...]

Climate: bull or bear?

Just as the great bull run that could have no end, ended, another unthinkably big bubble quivers. Technical indicators are quietly being tripped that suggest the bull run in global temperatures may be toying with a reversal. Could another large human institution dependent on complex models be headed for it’s ‘Lehman Bros’ moment? [...]

Carbon credits: another corrupt currency?

Carbon credits are a form of fiat currency, yet as calls for carbon trading grow, ironically, another fiat currency collapses—destroying life savings, wiping out jobs, and taking down historic institutions overnight. [...]