Sunday, August 26, 2007

Beware the Blobfish

A September Surprise? OK, maybe not that much of a surprise

A couple of things have come up which mean that I won’t be making any posts for a week or two. However, my regular reader will be pleased to know that I will be leaving the blobfish on guard duty

One of those ‘things’ that came up had me seeing someone off from Heathrow airport earlier today. I haven’t been there for a few months and concrete crash barriers and other obstacles seem to be sprouting up all over the place like mushrooms; presumably a process that has been accelerated by the recent chilling (?) attack on Glasgow airport

The new look Heathrow Terminal 3

There’s a certain, um, Maginot Line quality about Heathrow these days and keen students of history will doubtlessly remember how stunningly effective that was in protecting the people who built it from their attackers…


Unfortunately, I won’t have enough time to get my head around a story and a couple of links posted by
anon under an earlier post but it might be one worth keeping an eye on...

There’s a distinct possibility that someone with a lot of money is betting very heavily that the US stock market will crash in September

I don’t propose to give a lesson in financial options trading here – it’s way too complex and it's not an area I claim to be proficient in but there seems to be some unusual activity going on with ‘SPDR’ options. SPDRs being an exchange traded fund directly linked to the value of 500 of the top US companies

The peculiar thing being the large volume of options being traded and their low exercise prices – in the range $60 to $95 – when SPDRs are currently valued at $146

So, taking the $60 options as an example (and keeping it simplistic), someone is writing options to buy $146 stocks for $60 and charging $86 ($146-$60) for each option.

Now the whole point about options is that they normally only make sense if there’s a chance the person you sell them to won’t exercise them – that way you pocket the money you sold the option for. However, the options in question are priced so low in comparison to the current market price it is virtually certain that anyone buying them will exercise them before they expire in September.

Unless, he can buy the same stock on the open market for less than $60

There are several possible reasons why someone might be writing so many low exercise price options...
  • it could be an indirect way to unload a large holding of SPDRs in one go without driving their price down by selling them directly on the market
  • it could be a particularly desperate ruse to raise a short term, risky and expensive loan
  • someone is extremely confident the US stock market is going to drop by 30%+ in the next month

It’s difficult to put net values on all this but the numbers involved are certainly much larger than the anomalous trades on airline stocks immediately before 9/11

There is already some talk that whoever is placing the bet may have advance knowledge of some ghastly terrorist incident that will panic the markets. However, as someone else commented underneath one of my posts...

You don't need to be much of a financial analyst to predict a market crisis in September. Every summer market shock in history has directly lead to a crisis in Sept/Oct because ... the big hitters get back from holiday.

This time around its as good as a dead cert. Just you have to get the day right to make a killing and it wouldn't surprise me if someone tries to tip the market over the precipice on purpose; it won't take much.

(see also: Mystery Trader bets markets will crash by a third)


Anyway, time to put the Blobfish on guard duty. Barring the complete economic and social collapse of Western Civilisation I’ll be standing him back down in a week or so.

Or maybe I should use a seagull instead...


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cameras I wouldn't advise taking to Canadian demonstrations - Number 427...

The legendary
Zenit Photosniper...

Hmmm... that's a whole lot of camera

and, yes, they're still available - collapsible stock and all

Admittedly, for similar money you could buy a Japanese digital camera with an image-stabilised lens with 50% more reach that fits in your pocket. But it wouldn't include parts that are cross-compatible with Kalashnikovs, still work even if you poured a bucket of mud in the mechanism or have that oily, tank-factory smell, reminiscent of five year plans, that comes as standard with all Russian-made optical equipment

Go on. You know you want one


Conspiracy theories rool suckers!!

And what a fab week this has been for those of us who desperately wish a few more of our fellow citizens would join us in being at least open to the possibility that bad people sometimes do bad sneaky things without, horror of horrors, confessing to doing them in national newspapers afterwards

Yup, just having that kind of open mind is all that all it takes for dickheads to follow their programming and label you as being mad and wicked these days

It's getting harder though...

First, we were treated to copious footage of rock-wielding policemen dressed as anarchists infiltrating a peaceful demonstration

And now Robert Fisk - the journalist who 'despises the Internet' has just put out a piece in the Independent that suggests, knock me down with a feather, that there are one or two unanswered questions about 9/11

Even I !!

What a pompous knob

Well, he's only six years too late. I wonder how long he would have taken to write that piece if that Internet he despises so much didn't exist.

So, at the current rate it's going to take our national newspapers another four years to cotton onto the fact that the 'Official Narrative' of 7/7 is bollocks and that Jean Charles de Menezes clearly wasn't carrying a bomb.

I make that some time around June 2011

It's just as well that all these events aren't being used as an excuse to pull off all sorts of heinous shit in the interim. No real hurry then...


A big disappointment for 'Due South' fans

In case anyone hasn't seen this yet, this is fucking marvelous...

Three agent provocateurs getting rumbled during a demonstration against an SPP meeting in Quebec earlier this week...

What seems to be going on is that the demonstrators very wisely set up a line of grannies between the riot police and the main body of the demonstration. Which meant that to stage a confrontation that would unleash the Cops of War our three unfortunate masked heroes were obliged to mix with the grannies

granny - masked man in combat gear - granny - masked man in combat gear


Coverage in the Canadian press, including the RCMP admitting that the three guys were theirs but only collecting intelligence (with rocks?), can be found here and here

By far and away the funniest bit is seeing the police go through the farce of 'arresting' their own men even though by that point everyone knew what was going on

Comedy Gold!!

And it's great to see Canadians maintaining their reputation for social inclusion by finding useful roles for their senior citizens such as deploying them tactically in urban warfare

Fortunately for us in the UK, this sort of false flag stuff only ever happens in other countries and anyone who believes different is an insane Conspiraloon


Friday, August 24, 2007

Aaron Russo Commemorative Post

Aaron Russo...

Alive - 23rd August 2007

Not Alive - 24th August 2007

A sad loss for Conspiraloons
around the globe. Many of whom will mourn the passing of the producer of From Freedom to Fascism, an expose of the Federal Reserve banking system, with great regret.

but it's also worth mentioning that, earlier in his career, Russo also produced Trading Places, so that's another reason to celebrate his life, actually two reasons...

That Jamie Lee Curtis (Janet Leigh's body - Tony Curtis' face) scene from Trading Places. A few seconds of cinema that were single-handedly responsible for the development of the frame by frame slow play function on early VHS players. A landmark moment in the evolution of home entertainment systems

As well as devoting his last few years to the senseless and unjustifiable persecution of the entirely benevolent Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Service, Russo also found time to make some frankly startling, uncorroborated claims about what some of his billionaire friends said they were planning for the world. The fun part being trying to pick out which of those claims may have some basis in truth and which are the product of the kind of twisted sense of humour you presumably develop when you're a) richer than Croesus and b) bored...


My President could take Your President

The Western media has recently given a lot of coverage to the theme of a 'resurgent' Russia - Russian bombers buzzing British and US airspace, our growing reliance on Russian energy exports, stuff like that

but nowhere near enough coverage has been devoted to just how cooooooool Vladimir Putin is trying to look these days...

so thanks to Noel for sending me a link to this Pravda photo-story entitled...

Hmmm, now that's what I call cross-gender appeal.

Warning!! Heterosexual men looking at this picture run a serious risk of turning Gay

What's it going to be next week? Speedos?

F*ck me I hope this isn't giving Gordon Brown any ideas

But wait, what's that I see at the top of Pravda's on-line front page...

Zoom and enhance...

"Since ancient times the exploration of the North was of immense interest to humans. It was an attraction for adventurers and researchers seeking mysterious land and unexplored islands there...."

The full, astonishing story in Pravda's science section (where else)

Fans of this sort of thing will no doubt be reminded that the super-fruity Thule Society once promoted ideas along these lines, before it morphed into the ruling political party in Germany in the 1930s and '40s. Fortunately, we live in more enlightened times and the possibility that fruity little occult clubs or their members could ever wield political power is now virtually zero.

Pictures of the head of state with his tits out AND a Hollow Earth article - that's my kind of a national news agency...

Gorbachev the new Face of Louis Vutton


Thursday, August 23, 2007

It couldn't happen here

The War on Democracy by John Pilger

...featuring a little more Chavez arse-kissing than I personally feel comfortable with but nevertheless worth watching for many reasons. Not least...

  • A complete loon of an ex CIA guy totally unrepentant about his agency's track record of political assassination, terrorism and overthrow of democratic governments
  • A section on Bechtel's outstanding humanitarian achievements in the field of monopolising Latin America public water supplies. This is the outfit that tried to charge people living in slums for collecting rain water. In the past I've tried pointing out to people that, with the connivance of our governments, a handful of multinationals are busily developing a stranglehold on global water supplies, including our own here in the UK. However, it is proving to be a hard sell on my part because, apparently, things like that 'don't happen here'
  • On the subject of things like that not happening here, the film also rattles through a tour of the kind of subversion and destabilisation operations employed by Western intelligence agencies to ensure that the 'right' kind of governments run the world. The key fascination this subject holds for me is how Western Liberal journalists are perfectly willing to discuss this kind of rather well documented and virtually undeniable sort of thing, provided it is in the context of someone else's countries. Anyone who even so much as raises the possibility that these sort of tactics have been applied considerably nearer to home is widely denounced as a nutter.

    Remember, cognitive dissonance is your friend

Of course, if you've lived in one of those Latin American countries which have, like Russia, suffered from having their economies and currencies deliberately and systematically imploded as a prelude to oligarchy and corporate neo-feudalism you're likely to be just a tad more open-minded about 'conspiracy theories' than your average Guardian or BBC journowhore

It's just such a damned shame that the majority of people have to be personally reamed senseless before they start to wake up a little. Sadly, things do have to get worse before they can get better.


The prospects of performance related pay being implemented at the Met Office are looking ...slim

Met Office Weather Forecast for Summer 2007 (dated 11th April 2007)

The latest seasonal forecast from the Met Office issued today, reveals that this summer is, yet again, likely to be warmer than normal.

Following the trend set throughout 2006 and the first part of 2007, seasonal forecasters say there is a high probability that summer temperature will exceed the 1971-2000 long-term average of 14.1 °C.

They also suggest the chances of temperatures similar to those experienced in 2003 and 2006 are around 1 in 8.

The forecast for rainfall is less certain, and currently there are no indications of an increased risk of a particularly dry or particularly wet summer.

The Met Office forecast of global mean temperature for 2007 issued on 4 January 2007 in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, stated that 2007 is likely to be the warmest ever year on record going back to 1850, beating the current record set in 1998.

Through the summer we can experience periods of very hot weather which has implications for people's health. The Met Office works extensively with the Department of Health (DoH) to raise awareness of how we can protect ourselves in hot weather.

Each summer the Met Office and DoH operate a Heat-Health programme aimed at alleviating the effects of the hottest weather on vulnerable groups. During the 2003 heatwave there were more than 2,000 directly attributed excess deaths in the UK and over 20,000 in France. Dr Tish Laing-Morton, Clinical Director at the Met Office is clear about what the benefits of the service are, saying: “The very old and the very young are particularly susceptible to extreme heat, particularly when very warm nights prevent the body from recuperating from very hot days. Also, people who suffer with breathing difficulties are likely to find their symptoms heightened.”

Met Office Weather Forecast for Summer 2007 (dated 24th July)

The forecast update below is based on latest indications for the remainder of summer (i.e. until the end of August).


Near average temperatures are likely to continue for the rest of July. However, during August there are signs of a change of weather type, with an indication that most regions will experience some periods with above average temperatures.


Above-average rainfall is likely to continue in most regions for the rest of July and at first in August. For the remainder of August current indicators favour a trend to drier-than-normal conditions for most of the UK.

Summer 2007 so far


The forecast issued on 30 May indicated a high probability that the UK mean summer temperatures would be above the 1971-2000 long-term average. The forecast also stated that weather patterns of the type that bring particularly hot weather to the UK were likely to be fewer than in some recent hot summers (e.g. 2003 and 2006).

The UK mean summer temperature so far stands at 0.4 °C warmer than the 1971-2000 average. The UK average daily maximum temperature has been close to average. Also, sunshine has been generally near or a little below normal though eastern Scotland has been particularly dull. Less than normal sunshine is consistent with a forecast for fewer hot weather types than in recent hot summers.


The forecast issued on 30 May indicated that rainfall would be more likely to be average or below average in southern UK; and more likely average or above average in northern UK. The characteristic feature of the summer so far has been the exceptionally high rainfall experienced in many regions. For England and Wales as a whole the summer so far is the wettest since 1839. Parts of north-west Scotland however have been drier than normal.

Extremely high amounts of rainfall, such as those experienced in many regions this summer, are not currently predictable at the long ranges addressed by seasonal forecasts. Within the bounds of the broad three-category
classification used for seasonal forecasts (below, near, above normal), the rainfall forecast for the north is currently consistent with observed conditions. However, the outcome we considered more likely for the south (average or below average) is at odds with the above-normal amounts experienced.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

F*cking off out of it aka Things to do in London before you fly

A few people have written to me recently concerning a comment I made about migrating from the UK...

And, coincidentally, figures out today from the
Office of National Statistics show that more people (385,000) left the UK last year than in any year since current records began in 1991

It’s worth remembering though that our establishment has an unparalleled track record for misstating migration figures and they should always be taken with a small shovel full of salt.

Taking the current figures for example, something like half the 385,000 people who reportedly left the country weren’t originally British nationals and were simply people returning home. If you look at the inward migration figures, 74,000 people reportedly came to the UK from Eastern Europe which doesn’t match up at all with the 200,000 Eastern Europeans who registered to work in the UK (plus however many others didn’t sign up for what is essentially a voluntary scheme).

Whatever the true figures are for inward and outward migration, they are huge, arguably unparalleled in modern times and netting out to produce an increase in British population

None of which is a prelude to a spot of migrant-bashing on my part. Many of those migrants coming into this country have the potential to be the economic salvation of this nation – if only more of their initiative and energy was applied to activities other than packing supermarket ready meals and changing nappies

As things stand, through no fault of their own, migrants are being used to develop and sustain an increasingly unequal society that is reliant on a huge pool of minimum wage (i.e. maximum wage) labour. And on top of the legal migrants, there is also a not insignificant number of illegal migrants who are vulnerable to even seedier forms of exploitation.

Understandably, there are a lot of British-born nationals who don’t relish the prospect of bringing up their kids and growing old in a country that appears to be on an unstoppable course towards the kind of demographics and authoritarian, corporate-controlled government that would put a 1960’s-style banana republic to shame

Many of those that can are leaving

And don’t think for a minute that this mini-Exodus is restricted to the professional classes. I know plenty of skilled, blue-collar types who have fucked off out of here for good.

There is some irony at work though. Large numbers of people moving into and out of somewhere tend to bring their own problems with them. People moving in from low wage, shitty economies will force down wages in the country they move into. People selling their over-priced houses and taking that money somewhere else will invariably kick-up house prices and the cost of living wherever they settle.

Mass-migration doesn’t solve any problems it just smears them around a bit

Having said that, I am one of those people exploring the possibility of leaving the UK. There are personal reasons why I would feel the pull to leave whatever the state of the country but the course it is currently set on has made the decision a whole lot easier.

We live in a country enslaved and corrupted by the Culture of Fear - Fear of Terrorism, Fear of our Neighbours, Fear of burning too much oil, Fear of not having enough oil, Fear of the young, Fear of not being able to pay our bills… the list is enormous. Who in their right mind would sign up for more of that?

The answer, actually, is the majority of people.

Otherwise the fuckers peddling all that crap couldn’t get away with it


Anyway, I’m currently updating my list of things I want to do in London/ Britain that I haven’t yet tried, before and if I do clear off

It’s very much work in progress…

  • Take a trip on the London Eye

  • Try Crack

  • Buy a National Lottery scratch card / Enter a late night premium rate TV phone-in competition
  • Fly Tip (even if I don't have to)

  • Catch an infection inside a hospital (though having seen my father in torment from one in the last year of his life and having lost a friend in her mid thirties from another maybe I'll give that a miss)
  • Wire dirty money to some overseas shit hole

  • Get fucked by rising mortgage costs
  • Kit myself out with a fake ID (this story about there being 76.7 million National Insurance numbers issued in a country with an adult population of 49 million makes excellent reading for anyone who thinks the National ID Card is a good idea)

  • Buy an iPod I cannot afford on credit and have it taken off me at knife point

  • Pretend to be Polish

(That last one may seem to be a tad obscure but based on the fact that most of the ‘Poles’ I know who have worked for family and friends in the catering trade are actually from the FSU and using hooky Polish passports. A couple of Ukrainians I know even managed to get their hooky Polish passports renewed by the Polish Embassy in London, which is particularly impressive as they don’t actually speak any Polish)

and, yes, all the pictures I've stuck in this post were taken in Lambeth and Southwark. Hmmm, South London...


The Great Global Warming Swindle - now with extra Swindle

A few months ago Channel 4 broadcast a show called The Great Global Warming Swindle which enraged many Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates with its polemical style and crude, sensationalist presentation of scientific data

which, when you think about how many advocates of Anthropogenic Global Warming go about their business, is a very funny reaction indeed

Well, some previously unseen footage filmed for TGGWS has just appeared on Google....

The guy who posted it is someone called Clifford Rutley. At the moment I don't know very much about Cliff (though I have discovered that he includes reviewing his own books on Amazon amongst his interests) but his homepage includes what appears to be a periodically updated 'Cliff Quote'. The current quote being...

You so called environmentalists are all hypocrites. This MAN MADE global warming is nothing more than a distraction from the REAL environmental issues & a creation of fiction to tax us more either directly or indirectly. What about the depleting of the rain forests, cross species DNA research, the bees dying off, mutated food experiments, toxins in our food, government and military dumping of toxic waist, mercury in our vaccines, eugenics, the millions that die in Africa because they're not allowed to industrialise and use their natural coal and oil reserves, the radioactive shells that the military uses in Iraq and Afghanistan? The problem with the MAN MADE global warming hoax is that it is nothing more than an unproven distraction.

Nice one

but what's a toxic waist when it's at home?


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Odds and Sods pt2

Where was I?

Oh, yes…

Whilst on the subject of 9/11 and gaps in ‘official narratives’, kudos to
Channel 4’s Darshna Soni. She was the journalist who reported the story that getting on for 60% of British Muslims who were polled believed that the government hasn’t told the truth about the 7/7 bombings.

I squawked at the time that this was a potentially divisive story which implied that British Muslims stood apart from everyone else on the subject of 7/7. I believed then, and I still believe, that to be meaningful and objective that 60% figure should have been reported in the context of what an average cross-section of the British public think about the ‘Official Narrative’ of 7/7.

My guess is that the proportion of sceptics would not be as high as 60% but still a healthy enough percentage to indicate that your average British Muslim isn’t as out of step with everyone else as Darshna’s report implied


Darshna did take the point, has responded constructively to criticism she received after her report was broadcast and has included caveats such as the following in her subsequent writing on the subject…

‘And of course, it's not just Muslims who question the official version of events.’

She has also recently posted a piece on her blog on the subject of calls for an official inquiry into 7/7. She makes the point that even if there were an inquiry it would now be subject to the Inquiries Act 2005. A piece of legislation that was quietly enacted and didn’t receive a great deal of attention (from her colleagues in the ‘news’ business) at the time.

Under the terms of the Act the Home Secretary can…
  • decide whether there should be an inquiry
  • set and amend its terms of reference
  • appoint its members
  • restrict public access to inquiries
  • prevent the publication of evidence placed before an inquiry
Now the thing is, I know a lot of people who are very hot under the collar about this particular piece of legislation and I can understand why. However, our current government has managed to stage some absolutely disgraceful inquiries even before the Inquiries Act became law so I’m not entirely convinced that it changes very much. Did many people think the inquiry culture in this country was straight before 2005?

But, like I said, kudos to Darshna for being one of the tiny handful of journalists who has actually acknowledged that public scepticism does exist about 7/7 and that any inquiry into 7/7 runs a real risk of being as crooked as a nine pound note.

It will be kind of interesting to see where she goes, or is allowed to go, from here now


Um, what else have I been toying with?

Oh, yeah

I’ve commented on a few blogs that have been kicking around the subject of inheritance tax (IHT) and Conservative party proposals to abolish IHT if it won the next election

The reason why I mention this is that a lot of the Left-leaning people I know are labouring under the misapprehension that IHT is somehow a mechanism that ensures more equal redistribution of wealth, less economic inequality and therefore a ‘good thing’

Hmmm, maybe in theory

But what’s actually going on is that Forces of Darkness have always used the tax system and promises of wealth redistribution to yank Left Wing knob.

Our tax system, along with interest and inflation, is one of the key tools used to keep poor people poor and to prevent the slightly better off from accumulating any significant amounts of capital

And, right now, it's working a treat

You don’t have to be Planck Einstein to observe that, after ten years of rising taxation and supposed wealth redistribution, economic inequality in this country has actually risen sharply. And that will be even more evident when the credit bubble is popped and people can no longer make up for shortfalls in their income through borrowing

Taxes are what the poor and middle income earners pay,
not the wealthy. If, as I believe, our system of government is bent, increased taxation simply leads to increased wealth concentration not redistribution

This is not a Left vs. Right issue. It’s about honesty vs. dishonesty, the 99% vs. the 1%.


Um, what else?

Oh yeah,
LWTC247’s blog included a post a few day’s ago which pointed out that whilst all that economic carnage was taking place over the last few weeks the price of gold, usually a safe haven in times of crisis, actually fell

Which is an indication, just an indication, that the ‘smart’ money may not have been taken that far away from the stockmarkets and was kept on hand to re-enter those markets once prices had fallen for a few days

The possible conclusion being that there were big hitters out there confident that this particular slide wasn’t the Big One so many people are expecting

I do believe that LWTC247 is
suggesting that this recent slide was actually an example of market manipulation

Bloody Conspiraloons

Whatever is going on, it’s always worth remembering that the market price for gold is actually ‘fixed’ by the banks which gives them, how can I put it?, some leeway to fuck around a bit

And that’s the scary thing about this business. The entire global financial system is totally interconnected, controlled by a handful of interests which operate with zero transparency and accountability, and manipulated to serve that small handful of powerful interests

Or does anyone honestly believe that altruism is a key personal quality required to hold high office in the Banking System?

We are all serfs of that System and we could hold democratic elections every day until the end of the time and it wouldn’t change a fricking thing


Monday, August 20, 2007

Odds and Sods pt1

I'm currently going through a bit of a catch-up session with comments, links and emails that have been left under or in response to posts in this blog

A few chunks of fallout from that exercise...

For starters, there's this rather special graphic from The Daily Mash...

The Daily Mash has also recently managed to punch clean through the Taste Barrier with this tribute prayer to Princess Diana...

Princess Diana, who art in Hermes,
Chanel was thy favourite brand name.
Thy King did come.
But he fancied another one, as did you anyway.
Give us this day a flash of your smile.
And forgive us our paparazzi,
As we forgive those who paparazzi against us.
And drive us not into the side of a tunnel,
When we aren’t wearing our seat belt. Amen.

Outstanding work ...which I won't be showing to my Mum

and whilst on the subject of daft fuckers in the financial markets, someone also left a few links relating to the very interesting Nassim Taleb and his work on randomness, especially 'Black Swan' events

'Black Swans' being large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events beyond the realm of normal expectations. The problem being that many of the people earning large sums as risk professionals appear to have no conception of Black Swans and carry out their business on that basis

Where I personally disagree with Taleb is when he maintains that Black Swan events, and Taleb cites 9/11 as an example of a Black Swan, are undirected. Maybe in the natural world but in the realm of human affairs at least some of the Swans are the result of deliberate planning - after all, people may differ over who it was exactly but someone did plan 9/11

And on the subject of 9/11 and the markets

There are a couple of key elements of accepted and often quoted 9/11 Conspiracy Lore that have always bothered me

The first being the short-trading of airlines stocks before 9/11. There did seem to be informed trading before the attacks and those trades certainly were widely reported after 9/11. However, if the people behind the trades really did know about 9/11 in advance they should have expected their trades to attract attention and be traced back to them after the event. You can't play the markets anonymously.

Unless the traders knew they were somehow immune from investigation - which is effectively how things panned out

On top of that, the potential profit was only a 'few' million dollars. So, why take a risk on exposing an operation with a multi-billion $ outcome for what was, relatively speaking, peanuts?

And then there's the story about Larry Silverstein, the lease holder of WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7, admitting months after 9/11 that he gave his consent for WTC7 to be 'pulled'

Many conspiracy theorists quote Silverstein's comment as being a confession that 9/11 was a staged event, that WTC7 along with WTC1 and WTC2 was wired for demolition but the plane that was supposed to hit WTC7 (Flight 93) was destroyed over Pennsylvania and so WTC7 was blown up anyway, without being hit by a plane beforehand

Of course, the big problem with all that is the question why would an alleged key figure in the carefully planned covert 9/11 plot casually blurt out a confession after the event?

This video attempts to address those and other similar anomalous issues...

If anyone is interested in 9/11 and hasn't seen it, it's worth a spin

Whoopsies, Richard Dawkins is back on tele tonight up to his usual, 100% intellectually honest, self-effacing tricks which only leaves me an hour or so to find some rotting fruit to chuck at the box. I shall have to finish this post later...

Contrary to what some people believe, ammonites (foreground) offer inconclusive evidence for the theory of evolution and actually appear to have evolved 'backwards' in the later stages of their existence - as has the enormous G8 in the background of this picture


The Importance of Local Knowledge

One of the big banking groups runs an advertising campaign that stresses how important knowledge of local customs and idioms is when doing business globally

A good example of that kind of awareness is manufacturers avoiding the use of the number '4' in naming their products because that number is associated with Death in China and Japan

Hence, no BMW 4 series

Anyway, Canon have just announced their latest line-up of new camera models, including the successor to its G7 compact camera...

The G9

There has been some talk on camera fanboy sites today discussing why there will be no G8 model and I have just seen this credible explanation...

I am a Chinese from Hong Kong. I speak Mandarin as well.

In Mandarin, G8 reads as ji-ba, which is a slang for Penis.


jībā (Simplified Chinese: 鸡巴; Traditional Chinese: 雞巴/鷄巴, IM abbreviation: G8) = cock (used as early as the Yuan Dynasty)

...which is not to be confused with the French slang word for penis, 'bite', or the memory of me talking to some French people once about computers only to have them burst out laughing when I started referring to mega-penises

None which has ever made its way onto a HSBC advert

Group photo from the annual economic summit of the world's largest penises

Still, I may never be able to get my hands on a shiny new Canon G8 but there will always be the Fuji Big Job


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cash and Carry

I have to confess that I'm partial to downloading financial graph porn off the Internet; domestic or imported, and the stronger the better

And what a hardcore treat this week has been

Here are a couple of examples I found particularly arousing...

Man Group plc

A 200 year old company with its roots in the colonial sugar trade. In recent years it moved into the equally ethical hedge fund management business with an astonishing degree of success. I like to follow what Man is up to because I used to work there and even though I don't have any particular beef with how the group is run I'm just a teensy wee bit bitter and twisted that I didn't end up holding any of its stock. The fact that I know people who own lots doesn't help.

So, imagine my absolute delight at looking at this graph of the Man share price this week...

However, as extremely funny as this is, anyone who understands hedge funds and the influence they now have on the world's financial markets should probably take this as a very bad omen indeed

The NZ $ / British £ exchange rate

Another graph I have a personal interest in watching. For reasons I didn't fully understand at first, New Zealand's economy and currency have behaved peculiarly in recent years. New Zealand has been booming - with house prices going through the roof, high interest rates, a strong dollar and a growing trade deficit. The only problem being understanding 'why'?

Anyway, let's check out the NZ$/£ exchange rate graph


What's going on there?

The explanation has actually got a lot to do with the Man share price going south and the turmoil in global markets generally

Oh yes, we're talking the Carry Trade here

The Carry Trade (as practiced by hedge funds amongst others)...

1. Borrow absolutely insane amounts of money in Japan and Switzerland where the interest rates are virtually zero

2. Exchange those borrowed Yen and Francs for Kiwi dollars or Icelandic Krona

3. Invest that money in New Zealand or Iceland where the interest rates are 7% or 8% or more

4. Sit back and make 8% a year on someone else's money (in reality, money that was made up out of thin air by a bank in Japan or Switzerland)

5. Actually, the original loan is made for something like 10 times your available security, so your real return on the carry trade is something like 80%

And the best part is that, to earn that 80%pa, you haven't produced anything of any intrinsic value whatseover

This works great until the Kiwi Dollar starts to weaken against the currency your loan was made in. At which point you have to scramble like fuck to turn your Dollars back into Yen so that you can pay your loan off. Only everyone else is trying to do the same thing at the same time so you'll end up getting a really shitty exchange rate, cannot pay your Yen loan off and go bust. If you were playing this game with someone else's money, they go bust

Here's a sleazy bloke sitting in a hot tub on Al Jazeera TV who can explain it better than me (*very* highly recommended)...

...first broadcast on 5th August - now that's what I call timing

And it's not just the carry trade. There are all sorts of sharp practices, scams and outright frauds out there just waiting to fall apart. And that's the question that will decide if the markets really will melt down or not - will the big financial institutions, the media and the politicians stop the current slide before one of the many greasy little frauds that have been hidden by the rising markets is exposed and starts a chain reaction?

And here's the same bloke off Al Jazeera doing a quick tour of some of those greasy little frauds on which the global system that passes for capitalism these days is so precariously balanced