Volume 11, Number 06 4/10/2008

Volume 11, Number 06

Edited by John L. Petersen

See past issues in the Archives

In This Issue:
TAI PRESENTS – John L. Petersen
Future Facts – From Think Links
Think Links – The Future in the News…Today
A Final Quote


If you were in the futures business and ran into someone who accurately and regularly told you what was going to happen, say, a year or two from now, would you listen to him or her? What if they did it for 17 years, telling you about upcoming scientific discoveries (18 months before they showed up in Scientific American or Science)…. or explained how things like global warming really work, which, though at odds with the common understanding of such things, nevertheless made a great deal of sense?

Obviously you’d think this person was pretty special, and even if they didn’t tell you how they knew these things, a reasonable person (you’d think), would look at the track record and say: “In this time of extraordinary change, with major disruption on the horizon it would make sense to get as much input as possible from any reliable source – particularly one that can help anticipate futures.”

That’s how I feel about Kryon. As has happened throughout recorded history, certain people have been “plugged in” to unusual sources of knowledge, seemingly not of this world, but with information that turns out to be very important for how we humans live and the future that we experience. The Bible and other religious teachings are full of this stuff, so in one sense, it’s not unusual when such a source comes along. They have been doing so for a long time.

Lee Carroll had Kryon show up in his life many years ago quite against his will and interests. It was only after a couple of years of very explicit prodding that he caved in and agreed to tell others what was being said to him from an extraordinary source who called itself Kryon. Kryon said that he/it was an angelic entity responsible for all of the science related to this world and, in fact had had a role in putting the whole thing together many eons ago. The engineer in me generates a very big and immediate question when people say such things, since none of this can be proved. So I’ll be quick to say that I don’t know who Kryon is any more than the next guy.

But I do know that reading his 12 books of 17 years of verbatim revelations over the past couple of years I have been mightily impressed with not only the extraordinary wisdom and knowledge but also the spirit of this being. And after all, he predictably predicts the future… and that’s a pretty good gig.

So, since we’re looking at a VERY muddled future in the next few years (beginning with the global financial system which may be starting to rapidly unravel), we thought it might be interesting and worthwhile to invite Kryon to come to Berkeley Springs and listen to what he says about the future we’re all going to have to experience – and maybe shape. After all, these are certainly unusual times – perhaps we should start to listen to some unusual sources.

So I invite you to join us for a special Sunday afternoon on May the 4th here in Berkeley Springs with Lee Carroll and Kryon. My guess is that it will be quite memorable. If all of this is a bit weird for you, just think of it as a second opinion from an admittedly strange but very credible source – kind of like a guy who dresses really funny but is very smart and wise. You don’t have to believe it . . . and it won’t hurt to listen… and if it’s not your cup of tea, we’ll give you your money back! Can’t lose on that.

Come along. You might like it.

Kryon Seminar with Lee Carroll

Hosted by John Petersen, Berkeley Springs, WV
Sunday May 4th, 2008, 1:00pm-6:30pm
Click here for more details
If you have other questions, please

Pay with Credit
Card or Paypal


  • Scientists say they have found the best evidence yet that an ocean of liquid water may be hidden below the surface of Saturn’s giant moon Titan.
  • Among the approximately 23,000 genes found in human DNA, scientists currently estimate that there may be as few as 50 to 100 that have no counterparts in other species.
  • Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded.
  • Archaeologists carrying out an excavation at Stonehenge say they have broken through to a layer that may finally explain why the site was built.


Paper is Out, Cellphones are In – (New York Times – March 18, 2008)
First came the kiosk, a strange addition to airport terminals when Continental Airlines began offering it as a check-in option in 1995. It was followed by Web check-in, introduced by Alaska Airlines in 1999. With 80% of passengers using these self-service options, the next step is electronic boarding passes, which essentially turn the hand-held devices and mobile phones of travelers into their boarding passes. Continental plans to begin testing the electronic passes, allowing those travelers to pass through security and board the plane without handling a piece of paper. Their boarding pass is an image of an encrypted bar code displayed on the phone’s screen, which can be scanned by gate agents and security personnel.


Saturn Moon May Have Ocean of Water
Try This Headline: Black Hole Eats Earth

Saturn Moon May Have Ocean of Water – (Associated Press – March 20, 2008)
Scientists say they have found the best evidence yet that an ocean of liquid water may be hidden below the surface of Saturn’s giant moon Titan. If the results are confirmed, it would be a starting point for further study into whether the ocean could be capable of supporting life. The latest evidence of an underground ocean is indirect and is based on analyzing radar images and Titan’s spin rates from observations by the international Cassini spacecraft from 2004 to 2007. Using modeling techniques, scientists determined that winds in Titan’s atmosphere exert a torque on the lunar surface and concluded there must be a liquid ocean below. Such a large shift would not be seen if the interior was a solid core, they said.

Try This Headline: Black Hole Eats Earth – (International Herald Tribune – March 29, 2008)
A giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole that will spell the end of the Earth – and maybe the universe. Scientists say that is very unlikely – though they have done some checking just to make sure. However, the very remote possibility on a serious issue that has bothered scholars and scientists in recent years – namely how to estimate the risk of new groundbreaking experiments and who gets to decide whether or not to go ahead. A lawsuit, filed March 21 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting CERN from proceeding with the accelerator until it has produced a safety report and an environmental assessment.


First Study Hints at Insights to Come from Genes Unique to Humans
Artificial Muscle Heals Itself, Charges IPod
The Networked Pill
Laser Medical Scan Does Away with Biopsies
We Have Created Human-Animal Embryos Already, Say British Team

First Study Hints at Insights to Come from Genes Unique to Humans – (Biocompare – March 21, 2008)
Among the approximately 23,000 genes found in human DNA, scientists currently estimate that there may be as few as 50 to 100 that have no counterparts in other species. Expand that comparison to include the primate family known as hominoids, and there may be several hundred unique genes. Despite the distinctive contributions these genes likely make to our species, little is known about the roles they play. Now scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have produced the first detailed analysis of the cellular functions of a hominoid-only gene, TBC1D3. They affirmed earlier evidence linking the gene to cancer, showing that TBC1D3’s protein can keep cellular growth factors active and helps turn on RAS, a protein that is active in a third of all human cancers.

Artificial Muscle Heals Itself, Charges IPod – (Discovery – March 19, 2008)
Researchers at UCLA have created an artificial muscle that heals itself and generates electricity. The research, parts of which are already being used in Japan to generate electricity from ocean waves, could be used to make walking robots, develop better prosthetics, or even charge your iPod. The researchers used flexible, ever-more ubiquitous carbon nanotubes as electrodes instead of other films, often metal-based, that fail after repeated use. If an area of the carbon nanotube fails, the region around it seals itself by becoming non-conductive and prevents the fault from spreading to other areas.

The Networked Pill – (Technology Review – March 20, 2008)
A system that monitors pill taking and its effects is being engineered by a Silicon Valley startup. The technology consists of pills that report when they’ve been taken, and sensors that monitor the body’s responses. Each pill contains an “ingestible event marker” (IEM). The IEM consists of a sand-grain-size microchip with a thin-film battery that is activated on ingestion, as it is exposed to water. The battery is nontoxic because it is made from materials similar to those in a vitamin pill. Once swallowed, the IEM sends through the body’s tissues a high-frequency electrical current that’s modulated in such a way that it provides a unique marker of the pill. It’s not an RFID technology: it uses the conductive tissues of the body to conduct the signal, rather than a radio, and the signal is confined within the body.

Laser Medical Scan Does Away with Biopsies – (New Scientist – March 31, 2008)
A new medical imaging technique can reveal the chemical make-up as well as the shape of structures inside the body. It provides a non-invasive way to get information about tumors or other disease sites normally only accessible by biopsy. The new method uses safe, low-power infrared lasers in combination with nanoparticles that tag areas of interest, and has been used by a US research group to give full body cancer scans to rats, revealing the location of tumors. Before the scan, nanoparticles are coated with antibodies that bind to molecules of interest, for example a marker found on tumor cells. Once the nanoparticles are administered into the animal, they will bind to any cells with those markers. The location of the nanoparticles, and hence the tumor, can then be detected because they shift the color of the laser light shone into the body.

We Have Created Human-Animal Embryos Already, Say British Team – (Times – April 2, 2008)
Embryos containing human and animal material have been created in Britain for the first time, a month before the House of Commons votes on new laws to regulate the research. A team at Newcastle University announced that it had successfully generated “admixed embryos” by adding human DNA to empty cow eggs in the first experiment of its kind in Britain. Admixed embryos are widely supported by scientists and patient groups as they provide an opportunity to produce powerful stem-cell models for investigating diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes, and for developing new drugs.


Fossil Find from Atapuerca is Oldest European Yet
Breakthrough at Stonehenge Dig
Excavation Turns up Oldest Gold Jewelry in the Americas

Fossil Find from Atapuerca is Oldest European Yet – (Remote Central – March 27, 2008)
Spanish palaeontologists have dug up the remains of a 1.2-million-year-old humanlike inhabitant of Western Europe. The fossil find shows that members of our genus, Homo , colonized this region far earlier than many experts had thought. The primitive hominin — represented by just a fragment of jawbone bearing a handful of wobbly-looking teeth — lived in what is now the Sierra de Atapuerca region of northern Spain, an area already known as a treasure trove of early human remains. The mandible offers the intriguing suggestion that that these ancient Europeans may have arrived from Asia, rather than directly from Africa.

Breakthrough at Stonehenge Dig – (April 9, 2008)
Archaeologists carrying out an excavation at Stonehenge say they have broken through to a layer that may finally explain why the site was built. The team has reached sockets that once held bluestones – smaller stones, most now missing or uprooted, which formed the site’s original structure. The researchers believe that the bluestones could reveal that Stonehenge was once a place of healing.

Excavation Turns up Oldest Gold Jewelry in the Americas – (CNN – April 2, 2008)
Researchers have discovered the oldest piece of gold jewelry ever found in the Americas. The gold and turquoise necklace was found near Lake Titicaca in Peru, according to the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It’s 4,000 years old — 600 years older than any other gold jewelry discovered in the Western Hemisphere. The necklace was actually found about seven years ago, but researchers kept the discovery quiet for fear that looters would raid the site. They also wanted to allow time for chemical analysis before announcing their discovery on Tuesday. The anthropologist who discovered the necklace, said, “The find is important because it signals the early emergence of a desire for status among people who lived as relative equals without a formal leadership system.” Status? Couldn’t it simply have been that someone wanted to look beautiful?


Massive Ice Shelf Collapsing off Antarctica
Russian and Canadian Winter Days Much Milder
We’re All Doomed! 40 Years from Global Catastrophe
25 Environmental Threats of the Future
No Sun Link to Climate Change

Massive Ice Shelf Collapsing off Antarctica – (C/Net News – March 26, 2008)
Scientists are citing “rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica” as the cause of an initial collapse of the Wilkins Ice Shelf. The damage got started at the end of February when an iceberg dropped off and triggered the “runaway disintegration” of a 160-square-mile portion of the 5,282-square-mile shelf. Includes good satellite photos.

Russian and Canadian Winter Days Much Milder – (Reuters – March 27, 2008)
The coldest winter days in Russia and Canada have become up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit milder since the 1950s in an extreme sign of climate change, according to the British Meteorological Office. A study of daily minimum and maximum temperatures said that a trend towards warmer nights and hotter days was set to bring more heatwaves and shifts in crop growing seasons. Musing about the possible advantages of a warmer world, Russian President Vladimir Putin observed in 2002 that milder winters might at least cut Russians’ spending on fur coats.

We’re All Doomed! 40 Years from Global Catastrophe – (Daily Mail – March 22, 2008)

According to the climate change scientist James Lovelock, this is the beginning of the end of a peaceful phase in evolution. By 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine. Lovelock believes the subsequent ethnic tensions could lead to civil war. Crackpot or visionary, the fact is that more and more people are paying attention to Lovelock. Lovelock says that Margaret Thatcher and the Queen are “sympathetic” to his views

25 Environmental Threats of the Future – (New Scientist – March 20, 2008)

Forget genetically modified crops – the great environmental concerns of the future should be nanomaterials, manmade viruses and biomimetic robots. So say researchers, policymakers and environmental campaigners, who have identified 25 potential future threats to the environment, which they say researchers should focus on. In addition to well-publicized risks such as toxic nanomaterials, the acidification of the ocean and increasingly frequent extreme weather events, the list includes some more outlandish possibilities.

No Sun Link to Climate Change – (BBC News – April 3, 2008)
Scientists have produced further compelling evidence showing that modern-day climate change is not caused by changes in the Sun’s activity. The research contradicts a favoured theory of climate “sceptics”, that changes in cosmic rays coming to Earth determine cloudiness and temperature.


Climbing Robot Throws its Weight Around
A “Manhattan Project” for the Next Generation of Bionic Arms

Climbing Robot Throws its Weight Around – (New Scientist – March 20, 2008)

A four-limbed robot climbs vertical walls using foot- and handholds like a human climber. The technology could be used to scale Martian cliffs to find exposed rocks and reveal new information about the planet’s geology. Stanford researcher Ruixiang Zhang recently added a video camera to the robot’s right hand. He plans to install cameras on all its limbs to allow it to climb without knowing the location of foot and hand holds in advance. Until now, all climbing robots, have relied on detailed maps of the climbing surface for their ascents.

A “Manhattan Project” for the Next Generation of Bionic Arms – (IEEE Spectrum – March, 2008)
Johns Hopkins researchers are leading a nationwide effort to make a bionic arm that wires directly into the brain to let amputees regain motor control—and feeling. The program was conceived in 2005 to create prosthetic arms that would leapfrog the stagnant hook-and-cable technology that has improved little since World War II. DARPA, the funder, split the program into two separate projects—one of them a two-year effort that would yield, by 2007, the most sophisticated mechanical arm possible with currently available technologies. The longer effort also had a mandate to produce an arm with state-of-the-art mechanics by 2007.


Coal Can’t Fill World’s Burning Appetite
Anything that Grows Can Convert into Oil
Guess Who Says There’s Plenty of Oil!
This Much I know: Amory Lovins
Nonelectric Hybrid Engines
Algae: The Ultimate in Renewable Energy
MIT Tests Unique Approach to Fusion Power

Coal Can’t Fill World’s Burning Appetite – (Washington Post – March 20, 2008)

Long considered an abundant, reliable and relatively cheap source of energy, coal is suddenly in short supply and high demand worldwide. An untimely confluence of bad weather, flawed energy policies, low stockpiles and voracious growth in Asia’s appetite has driven international spot prices of coal up by 50 percent or more in the past five months, surpassing the escalation in oil prices. China and Vietnam, which have thrived by sending goods abroad, abruptly banned coal exports, while India’s import demands are up. Factory hours have been shortened in parts of China, and blackouts have rippled across South Africa and Indonesia.

Anything that Grows Can Convert into Oil – (World Net Daily – March 19, 2008)
A Georgia company is now going public with a simple, natural way to convert anything that grows out of the Earth into oil. J.C. Bell, an agricultural researcher and CEO of Bell Bio-Energy, says he’s isolated and modified specific bacteria that will, on a very large scale, naturally change plant material – including the leftovers from food – into hydrocarbons to fuel cars and trucks. “What we’re doing is taking the trash like corn stalks, corn husks, corn cobs – even grass from the yard that goes to the dump – that’s what we can turn into oil,” Bell saod.

Guess Who Says There’s Plenty of Oil! – (World Net Daily – March 20, 2008)
“The peak oil theory has really swamped the world. God bless Matt Simmons,” said John Hofmeister, the Houston-based president of Shell Oil’s U.S. operations. “His assumptions are correct based on his hypotheses, but his hypotheses are too narrow.” Matt Simmons, a Houston-based investment banker who specializes in the energy industry, is widely known for his 2005 book, “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy,” in which he analyzed oil depletion data from Saudi Arabian wells.

This Much I know: Amory Lovins – (The Guardian – March 23, 2008),,2266535,00.html
About himself, Amory Lovins says that he is “not an environmentalist. I’m a cultural repairman.” It’s all about efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, prosperous and life-sustaining. The US can cut its oil imports to zero by 2040, eliminate oil use entirely by 2050, and make money. What’s stopping us? Well, as Marshall McLuhan said: ‘Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity.’ As he said, I’m a practitioner of elegant frugality. I don’t feel comfortable telling other people what to do, so I just try and lead by example. In this article, he lays out a number of his examples.

Nonelectric Hybrid Engines – (Technology Review – April 1, 2008)
A new kind of hybrid vehicle could offer reduced fuel consumption to consumers concerned about gas prices. Mechanical engineers in the United Kingdom have developed a novel kind of combustion engine that is able to switch between being a two-stroke and a four-stroke engine. The system, they say, can reduce fuel consumption by 27%.

Algae: The Ultimate in Renewable Energy – (CNN – April 1, 2008)
Texas may be best known for “Big Oil.” But the oil that could some day make a dent in the country’s use of fossil fuels is small. Microscopic, in fact: algae. Literally and figuratively, this is green fuel. Algae are among the fastest growing plants in the world, and about 50% of their weight is oil. That lipid oil can be used to make biodiesel for cars, trucks, and airplanes.

MIT Tests Unique Approach to Fusion Power – (MIT News – March 19, 2008)
An MIT and Columbia University team has successfully tested a novel reactor that could chart a new path toward nuclear fusion, which could become a safe, reliable and nearly limitless source of energy. Begun in 1998, the Levitated Dipole Experiment, or LDX, uses a unique configuration where its main magnet is suspended, or levitated, by another magnet above. The system began testing in 2004 in a “supported mode” of operation, where the magnet was held in place by a support structure, which causes significant losses to the plasma–a hot, electrically charged gas where the fusion takes place.


Mobile Phones More Dangerous than Smoking
Meet the Laptop You’ll Use in 2015
Vista, MacBook Out – Only Linux Left in Hacking Contest
Dreaming of a 3-D Web

Mobile Phones More Dangerous than Smoking – (Independent – March 30, 2008)

Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take “immediate steps” to reduce exposure to their radiation. The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks. It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.

Meet the Laptop You’ll Use in 2015 – (Computer World – March 26, 2008)

A lot has changed in the 20 years since the first laptop computers appeared, including gigahertz processors, color screens, optical drives and wireless data. However, one thing that has stubbornly stayed the same is the conventional clamshell format with its hinged display lid that opens to reveal a mechanical keyboard. That’s about to change. Here’s one laptop that caught my attention: Opened all the way, it’s a sketch pad. Fold it half open and rotate it 90 degrees, and it’s an e-book. By emulating a musical keyboard on the lower half, when it’s flat on a table, it can be a go-anywhere piano.

Vista, MacBook Out – Only Linux Left in Hacking Contest – (PC World – March 29, 2008),143962-c,hackers/article.html
The MacBook Air went first; a tiny Fujitsu laptop running Vista was hacked on the last day of the contest; but it was Linux, running on a Sony Vaio, that remained undefeated at the end of a three-way computer hacking challenge at the CanSecWest conference. Independent Security Evaluators’ Charlie Miller took the Mac after hitting it with a still-undisclosed exploit that targeted the Safari Web browser. It took two days of work, but Shane Macaulay, finally cracked the Vista box, with a little help from his friends. Macaulay was a co-winner of last year’s hacking contest. Although several attendees tried to crack the Linux box, nobody pulled it off.

Dreaming of a 3-D Web – (New York Times – March 31, 2008)
Vivaty which will begin a private test of its service on Facebook, wants to offer 3-D chat rooms and social environments on any blog, Web site or social networking page. These will be integrated into the Web — smaller but easier to access versions of massively multiplayer platforms like Second Life. Early Web designers have been thinking about three-dimensional Web images since the Web was first gestating in 1994. They created the VRML standard, so Web browsers could interpret 3-D graphics like a cube or logo, or other complex objects on a static Web page. The format pretty much flopped. A Vivaty world, on the other hand, is like a 3-D video game –- dynamic, richly textured and multi-angled.


The Only Lesson We Ever Learn is That We Never Learn
Inside the Black Budget
Electronic Pickpocket Stoppers

The Only Lesson We Ever Learn is That We Never Learn – (Independent – March 19, 2008)

This is a fairly scathing, and yet fair, sobering and well written appraisal of the US invasion of Iraq. Looking at the repeated failures – failures dating back to the Roman general Crassus – of the western idiom to conquer parts of the Middle East, he echoes Pat Buchanan’s conclusion, “We have started up the road to empire and over the next hill we will meet those who went before. The only lesson we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.”

Inside the Black Budget – (New York Times – April 1, 2008)
Skulls. Black cats. A naked woman riding a killer whale. Grim reapers. Snakes. Swords. Occult symbols. A wizard with a staff that shoots lightning bolts. Moons. Stars. A dragon holding the Earth in its claws. No, this is not the fantasy world of a 12-year-old boy. It is, according to a new book, part of the hidden reality behind the Pentagon’s classified, or “black,” budget that delivers billions of dollars to stealthy armies of high-tech warriors. The book offers a glimpse of this dark world through a revealing lens — patches — the kind worn on military uniforms. The classified budget of the Defense Department, concealed from the public in all but outline, has nearly doubled in the Bush years, to $32 billion. That is more than the combined budgets of the Food and Drug Administration, the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Electronic Pickpocket Stoppers – (Washington Post – April 2, 2008)
Stuck on the tarmac, flipping through a travel magazine, you’re struck by the blurb for metal-lined wallets. Purpose: to prevent digital pickpocketing by blocking radio frequencies. These handsome babies start at $79.99 and top out at the $225 Italian Leather Teju Lizard Embossed Travel Wallet. Your reaction: Luxury accessories for paranoids! But you would be wrong. Maybe. The issue is bigger than just the new style of passports, which contain chips that emit information that can be read by a scanner. We’re also talking about your Metro SmarTrip card, your employee ID/building access card, your automatic highway toll pass, the newest wave of credit cards and gas purchasing cards, even digital drivers’ licenses being developed in some states.


Chip Can Detect Bird Flu
Thousands Hit by Brazil Outbreak of Dengue

Chip Can Detect Bird Flu – (PC Mag – March 24, 2008),2704,2278552,00.asp
Europe ‘s top semiconductor maker, STMicroelectronics , says it has developed a portable chip to detect influenza viruses including bird flu in humans. The device, which functions as a mini laboratory on a chip, can screen and identify multiple classes of pathogens and genes in a single diagnostic test within two hours, unlike other tests available on the market that can detect only one strain at a time and require days or weeks to obtain results. The chip can differentiate human strains of the Influenza A and B viruses, drug-resistant strains and mutated variants, including the Avian Flu or H5N1 strain.

Thousands Hit by Brazil Outbreak of Dengue – (CNN – April 3, 3008)
More than 55,000 cases of dengue, a sometimes deadly mosquito-borne disease, have been reported in a southeastern Brazilian state in the past four months, according to Brazilian authorities. The disease has killed 67 people this year in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state, the state’s ministry of health reported. Slightly less than half of the deaths were children under the age of 13, the ministry said. The more severe of two forms of dengue, dengue hemorrhagic fever, can be fatal if unrecognized and not properly treated. Dengue fever, the more common form of dengue, is caused by four closely related viruses. All of them are carried by infected mosquitoes, mainly the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, the CDC said. It cannot be spread from person to person. The Rio de Janeiro health ministry said 513 of its 57,010 cases of dengue were that of dengue hemorrhagic fever.


Once Bitten … – (The Guardian – March 23, 2008)
The science of nanotechnology is already revolutionizing the worlds of medicine and construction. Soon it could be doing the same for our food – but after the backlash against GM foods, will the consumers swallow it? Welcome to the world of nanofoods, where almost anything is possible: where food can be manipulated at an atomic or molecular level to taste as delicious as you want, do you as much good as you want, and stay fresh for … well, who knows? A world where smart pesticides are harmless until they reach the stomachs of destructive insects; where smart packaging sniffs out and destroys the micro-organisms that make good food go bad. In short, it’s a food heaven to those who see it spelling the end of obesity and poor diet. It’s a food hell to those who believe the case for nanofood safety is still far from proven.


What if The Fed Fails?
How to Buy Happiness
Fed’s Rescue Halted a Derivatives Chernobyl
Goldman Projects $1.2 Trillion Global Credit Loss
How to Fix It

What if The Fed Fails? – (Washington Post – March 19, 2008)

Is the Fed itself too big to fail? And what institution would step in as the buyer of last, last resort — if the buyer of last resort should prove insufficient to the challenge? Our instinctive response is to say this scenario is implausible. But let’s think for a moment about the unthinkable. Given the Fed’s failure over the past nine months to stem the mounting fear in the market, and given the enormity of the correction in the housing market that’s still ahead, you have to ask: What’s next?

How to Buy Happiness – (Forbes – March 20, 2008)

Bad news for the luxury goods market: Spending money on tchochkes doesn’t make you happier, but giving money away just might. That conclusion, in a study published journal Science, flies in the face of what most people–and, certainly, advertisers–typically believe. It’s far easier to measure income than happiness. Even so, researchers around the world have reported that even though real income has surged around the globe, reported “happiness” levels have stayed relatively flat. Sifting through the numbers, researchers found that happiness doesn’t correlate with personal spending but it does correlate with how much people give away.

Fed’s Rescue Halted a Derivatives Chernobyl – (Telegraph – March 24, 2008)

When the Federal Reserve stepped in to save Bear Stearns, most people had no idea what was at stake. We may never know for sure whether the Federal Reserve’s rescue of Bear Stearns averted a seizure of the $516 trillion derivatives system, the ultimate Chernobyl for global finance. “If the Fed had not stepped in, we would have had pandemonium,” said James Melcher, president of the New York hedge fund Balestra Capital.

Goldman Projects $1.2 Trillion Global Credit Loss – (Reuters – March 25, 2008)
Goldman Sachs forecasts global credit losses stemming from the current market turmoil will reach $1.2 trillion, with Wall Street accounting for nearly 40 percent of the losses. U.S. leveraged institutions, which include banks, brokers-dealers, hedge funds and government-sponsored enterprises, will suffer roughly $460 billion in credit losses after loan loss provisions, Goldman Sachs economists wrote in a research note recently. Goldman estimated $120 billion in write-offs have been reported by these leveraged institutions since the credit crunch began last summer. “U.S. leveraged institutions have written off less than half of the losses associated with the bursting of the credit bubble,” they said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is still rather dim.”

How to Fix It – (FX Street – April 1, 2008)
This is a fairly long essay by Michael Lewitt of HCM, who suggests looking at the real problems before we begin the process of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. For many, some of what he says will be considered economic heresy. He starts by observing that, “One way of measuring how perilously close the U.S. financial system came to melting down in mid-March 2008 is to look at how low the rate on one-month Treasury bills fell at the depths of the crisis. That number is 12 basis points. 0.12%.” He goes on to suggest deep changes that he believes the financial markets need in order to regain healthy functioning. If nothing else, his proposals are thought-provoking.


Silent Famine Sweeps Globe (World Net Daily – April 1, 2008)
From India to Africa to North Korea to Pakistan and even in New York City, higher grain prices, fertilizer shortages and rising energy costs are combining to spell hunger for millions in what is being characterized as a global “silent famine.” Global food prices, based on United Nations records, rose 35% in the last year, escalating a trend that began in 2002. Since then, prices have risen 65%. Josetta Sheeran, director of the World Food Program, launching an appeal for an extra $500 million so it could continue supplying food aid to 73 million hungry people this year saying, “People are simply being priced out of food markets. … We have never before had a situation where aggressive rises in food prices keep pricing our operations out of our reach.”


Swan Lake – (You Tube – January 26, 2008)
Imagine how the ballet Swan Lake might be performed if the Earth’s gravity were only half of what it is. Imagine it if some of the world’s finest gymnasts put on toe shoes and briefly became swans. Perhaps even better, you can see it – in all its glory.


Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises. – Samuel Butler

A special thanks to: Bernard Calil, Ken Dabkowski, Ann Feeney, Neil Freer, Ursula Freer, Deanna Korda, KurzweilAI, Sebastian McCallister, Diane C. Petersen, John L..Petersen, the Schwartzreport, Joel Snell, Gary Sycalik, Steve Ujvarosy, and Uncle Jim, our contributors to this issue.

If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.



See past issues in the Archives

Volume 11, Number 05 3/21/2008

Volume 11, Number 07 04/28/2008