Apr 26, 2008

Poetry, archery, money, and mitochondrial DNA

Poets were excluded from Plato's republic on the reasonable grounds that they were all liars.

"Poetry makes nothing happen," says W.H.Auden.

"Poetry is more important than bread," says another poet.

"Poetry is imaginary gardens with real toads in them," says Marianne Moore

"Poetry is a voice you can hear," says some body else.

Ancient Persian education consisted of two items, to shoot with the bow and to tell the truth.

Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 22:50:27 -0400 Subject: Re: I've added you as a friend on Facebook...

…You may have got out of France just in time, by the way. Sarkozy’s prime minister has just announced the bad news that France is bankrupt. This would explain Sarkozy’s visit to the White House and his foreign minister Kouchner’s attacks on Iran. Pakistan was really totally bankrupt too when Musharraf joined the “War on Terror,” and got rewarded with billions of dollars, without necessarily being able to help very much, and so you might say the French are doing a Musharraf. Gotta keep that lolly rolling in…

Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 15:55:27 -0400

Tracing direct genetic links has advanced by leaps and bounds. Geneticists are quite certain they can identify what they call the "original Adam," an East African male sixty thousand years ago. Humanity appears to have suffered a cataclysmic destruction between seventy and eighty thousand years ago, almost certainly caused by the eruption of the Toba super volcano in Indonesia, which blanketed the earth from the sun and caused a winter of several years duration that wiped out most life on earth, including human, and produced the ice capped Arctic and Antarctic. More than one line of descendants of humans came from the survivors, but none of them appear to have lived on except that of “the original Adam,” hence the title.

The lady, for example, who is governor of the Hazara province in central Afghanistan, who does not even cover her face though she wears a head covering, rules a tribe all directly descended from Ghenghis Khan, emperor of all men, we know for quite certain - a result of having all the best looking women reserved for the great khan after every battle.

Mitochondrial DNA, transmitted only through the mother, is even more useful, providing a time clock, as well as establishing that all humans alive now are descended from a surprisingly small number, about ten thousand humans, perhaps as few as two thousand, who survived a world wide cataclysm between seventy thousand and eighty thousand years ago.

That Jefferson had the M168 mutation on the Y (the male) chromosome pins him down as one of the descendants of the "original Adam," an East African male sixty thousand years ago. Jefferson displays those characteristics quite dramatically that scientists on the Kenyan island of Pate and in the research centers of the US think they can distinguish, a jutting jaw, expansion of the rear skull, a very complex language system, and a capacity for invention that makes him "the first distinctively modern" human, later spreading from East Africa through Asia and Europe.

The relevant point of all this is that it is precisely the complex language ability that the experts pick as crucial in making this original Adam so successful. All his cousin strands died out.

Even more important, perhaps, than the complex language ability of this ancient Adam from East Africa is that in his time the bow and arrow technology, of which the Pate islanders are still masterly practitioners, was created and perfected.

Note: Whatever it means in the USA the meaning of the V sign in the UK - hand held knuckles down, lifted upwards two or three times - is the exact parallel of the US middle finger of the right hand, "flipping a bird." During the second world war the Morse code V sign, three shorts and a long, was used by Britain as a radio station identification signal, and generally thought to stand for Victory, but its origins are much older. The legendary long bow men of Agincourt and Crecy, using a "clothyard shaft," an arrow about a metre in length, certainly wreaked havoc among the French nobility, owing to the unsporting habit of allowing commoners to attack the nobility, but the power of the long bow was certainly much greater than the bolt of the crossbow, and the French retaliated by cutting off the index finger and middle fingers of the right hand from any bowmen they captured. Waving those two fingers derisively at an opponent therefore signified "Hey, Froggie, I've still got my firing fingers."

(Refreezing the Arctic Al Gore’s long list of proposals, even if all carried out to the letter, would have very little effect on slowing global warming, which has long passed its tipping point. A mechanism for re-freezing the Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheets does exist, however, but it is in the hands of Mother Earth, and as the clinically depressed computer tells the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “You won’t like it.”

Mitochondrial DNA, transmitted only through the mother, provides a very useful time clock, and establishes that all humans alive now are descended from a small number, about ten thousand humans, who survived the world wide cataclysm between seventy thousand and eighty thousand years ago.

Seventy four thousand years ago the Toba supervolcano erupted on the island of Sumantra in Indonesia. The thousands of tons of volcanic ash and gases thrown into the atmosphere appear, from geological evidence, to have produced a global winter without sunshine that wiped out most life on earth, including human, and produced a general drop in temperatures of about five degrees Celsius, about twelve degrees Fahrenheit, somewhat larger at the north and south poles.

Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, the site of the famous “Old Faithful” geyser that tourists come to see, is the site of an even bigger super volcano, and one that has erupted three times, according to the geological record, at very steady intervals some six thousand to eight thousand years apart. The last eruption was six thousand years ago. The caldera (circular pit marking the site of the eruption) is so large that it roughly coincides with the boundaries of Yellowstone Park itself, and the magma chamber some five miles down measures approximately fifty by twenty by ten kilometers. Checking the 1923 surveyor sea level measurements against today’s establishes that the ground over the magma chamber has actually risen by seven hundred and forty millimeters since 1923.)

Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 15:21:08 -0400, Subject: Halloween and All Saints 2007

…Might I, at this time of all round financial stress, run through some ancient Jewish traditions on money? I might? Well thank you for your courtesy.

The most wonderful of ancient Jewish traditions, regrettably not present in modern systems, is the cancellation of all debts at the end of every seven years. Imagine your entire mortgage debt disappearing after seven years!

“Keep your assets in cash, charge cost and ten percent, don’t do business with people you don’t know and trust,” might be a rough rendering. Note how closely it hews to the bedrock. No “Senior reverse mortgages” or other baroque schemes there. One might perhaps add a comment or two (“Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry,” – Hamlet , Act III - ) but even without those, it’s a handy all purpose no nonsense basic financial primer.

Just thought I’d mention it.

The Acid Slingers of Pakistan

We all agree, I trust, that assigning blame is not the primary, or even a particularly worthwhile activity (See the Japanese proverb, “Fix the problem, not the blame.” The Japanese have a system that works perfectly adequately, as many cultures do, of having the blame carrier appear, can in hand, to offer his humble apologies for mistakes made, (Seppuku (hara kiri) is not required, but farting around by the prisoner in the dock will not be tolerated.) to offer his resignation and we also agree, I trust, that when people have their own working perfectly fine system, we should not pour out our lives and our energy and our wealth in the pointless effort of trying to stop them just because they might not turn out to be best buddies of the Americans.

Having established all that what about the following situation?

It is a common occurrence in many areas of Pakistan that a boy refused by a girl to be his girl friend, goes to a local shop where they sell these things, purchases a quantity of acid which he then throws in the face of the recalcitrant young lady.

Before getting inundated by even worse horror stories, let me say yes I know about the habit of the “old men” (Zanzibar?) of having the eyelids cut out of girls disobedient to the commands of the old men, and wander round the island with their dead dried out eyes warning the rebellious to get in line.

But allowing our above agreement (that if countries and cultures have their own working system why the hell should we try and change it?) is the situation with the acid throwers of Pakistan any different? I would argue yes it is, (though I’d leave the old men of Zanzibar alone for the moment until we can organize a posse to hand them over to the ladies with the dead eyeballs.) because even Pakistanis do not by any means all support it, many are trying to eradicate it, and because it is demonstrably in open opposition to the Holy Koran and Sharia law.

If then we attain a provisional working agreement to consider the situation, let me propose the following:

The shops that sold the acid, a well known local chain, immediately have their entire property, building and stocks seized, and ownership transferred – without delay, gentlemen, please – to a cooperative owned in common by all the scarred and unmarriageable victims of the acid throwing.

The acid thrower becomes the personal slave of the woman in whose face he threw the acid. She literally owns him – some exemption in statutory bans on slavery will have to be made – [For those who object, for cosmetic reasons, to any acceptance, let alone statutory establishment, of slavery, would you mind please explaining your position to the eastern European girls in Tel Aviv brothels? Oh, they are not slaves, it’s a business arrangement! Well, OK, I don’t want to disturb your business arrangements, but I have some new bodies for you, mostly males, I’m afraid, but some quite young and good looking, and even the older ones could be sold to Myanmar for ammunition haulers, I’d say. Casting your net a bit wider, you might say, expanding business opportunities! Go for it.] and the lady can, should she wish, loan to friends or even sell the luckless protagonist of male ownership of every one and everything – It’s OK, we have the same bunch over here in the States claiming exactly the same thing.

October, 2007
Insane economic news of the day By The Mogambo Guru - April 4, 2008
Things are getting weirder and weirder out there, and I am getting weirder and weirder in the semi-gloom of the Mogambo Bunker Of Ultimate Paranoia (MBOUP), like when I (for some reason) weirdly thought that if I called 911 to report the emergency of a rampant 20% monetary inflation that is going to lead to unbelievable consumer price inflation, which will lead to food riots and societal breakdown, it might do some good!

The reason I did that was that I am just about to give up using the Mogambo Method Of Societal Change (MMOSC), variously called "crazy drunkard screeching and writing hate mail to the Federal Reserve, Congress, the Supreme Court, the United Nations and all the other lying, thieving, scumbags of the world, most of them Marxist trash who depend on the damned Federal Reserve and their own central banks to create so much money so that they can finance their loathsome socialist/communist agenda". It did not, obviously, work.

Well, the 911 operator is, I am sorry to say, just as stupid as the rest of the people around here, and she did not think that an explosive 20% growth in the money supply was an "emergency" either, even after I explained to her, like I patiently explain it to my neighbors, how she was beyond stupid if she didn't think that zillions of dollars being jammed into the economy was an "emergency" - because it is! We're going to be murdered by inflation! And murder is an emergency!

"Hell," I told her, "Get up off of your lazy fat butt and look around you! Inflation in consumer prices is already zipping along at terrifying levels!"

I even told her how even the laughably low "official" government estimate of inflation is a terrifying 4%, and the new "official" government Gross Domestic Product Deflator (used to wring out the effects of inflation from raw GDP data) is 2.4%!

Well, apparently calling her "stupid fascist moron worthless lowlife goon-squad trash" was violating a half-dozen or so laws, and after being reminded of it, I knew that the 911 emergency system was just another government agency in league with those Federal Reserve and Congressional devils, and I hung up in rude dismay.

So now you know how weird things are getting, and thus you are primed for a recap of the Insane Economic News Of The Day (IENOTD), such as Total Fed Credit, the magical ultimate source of credit, which turns into debt and literally into money if someone borrows from a bank, being down a whopping $9.3 billion last week! Zounds!

And as more Insane Economic News Of The Day (IENOTD), the Fed's personal stash of US government debt is down another gigantic $48 billion last week! $48 billion! In one week! One freaking week! In fact, the Fed's stash of US Securities Bought Outright is down a whopping $151 billion in the last 12 months alone, and this mighty drawdown leaves them with only another $629 billion!

If you want a little MORE of some hold-onto-your-hat IENOTD, how about the fact that last week total reserves in the banks was $44 billion, and of that, a negative $62 billion was "non-borrowed"! Does that make them "borrowed"? Hahahaha! What? Hahaha!

I have to admit that I never was much good with negative numbers, and so I am having a Very Hard Time (VHT) getting my faltering few functioning brain cells around the concept that "free reserves" in the banks are a sudden, staggering negative $75 billion! Total reserves are only $44 billion, but "free reserves" are a negative $75 billion? What in the hell is going on here? It feels like we are going backward through a time warp or something!

I mean, the banks should be loaded with money, as Rick Ackerman of Rick's Picks says, "Since August, the US has thrown more than a trillion dollars of rescue money at the banking system in a desperate attempt to restore confidence."

And as more Insane Economic News Of The Day (IENOTD), gold went down! Hahaha! This is truly, truly insane, because if there was ever a time when gold should be soaring, this is it! But it ain't! Yet.

All of this is taking a toll on the dollar, and Bill Bonner here at The Daily Reckoning writes, "In terms of what a dollar will buy in the United States, a dollar is down around 25% so far this century. In terms of what it will buy in Europe, it is down by about 50%."

Please notice the way the two sentences seem so well written, so informative, yet non-threatening. Now, notice that since this century is only eight damned years old, this makes the sentences seem even more grotesque if they are emended to, "In terms of what a dollar will buy in the United States, a dollar is down by around a whopping 25% in the last eight short freaking years, and in terms of what it will buy in Europe, the dollar is down by a staggering 50 freaking percent in the last stinking short eight years, too!"

Naturally, I think that this is a good opportunity to remind the viewers at home that gold, as a store of value, has gone up in price to compensate for the loss of buying power of the dollar, which is only one of the beauties of gold!

Apparently in response, Mr Bonner then said, "In terms of gold, it has shrunk 75%"!

Naturally, my computer-like brain instantly deduces that since the dollar has lost 25% of its buying power for a market basket of goods in the last eight years, but the dollar has lost 75% of its value against gold, then gold is not only a store of value; sometimes you can actually make money on it! Like now! Whee!

Richard Daughty is general partner and COO for Smith Consultant Group, serving the financial and medical communities, and the editor of The Mogambo Guru economic newsletter - an avocational exercise to heap disrespect on those who desperately deserve it.

“When I consider the curious habits of dogs, I am forced to conclude that man is a superior animal.
“When I consider the curious habits of men, I confess, my friend, I am puzzled.” – Ezra Pound

Poetry great and small

"No fear lest dinner cool!"

Milton, on meal of fruits and vegetables prepared by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

"I measured it
From side to side;
T'was three foot high
And two foot wide."

Wordsworth, Poet Laureate of all England

"Blow, blow, thou western wynde.
The small rain down doth rain.
Christ! that my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again."

Anonymous, Medieval Britain

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