Posts tagged nanotech

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light…

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OK, so here's the thing.

For some time now, your Beloved GT has had to – ahem – prioritise things other than the prefatory waffling that you always knew and loved.

As a result, there has been a certain 'dried up dogshit' flavour to the Rants for some time – the absence of twice-daily steaming mind-grogans has been a definite negative. The Rant-engine has been on auto-pilot and as a result it has been producing a rather mawkish stool… all numbers and tables and whatever-the-fuck.

That changes now, bitchez.

I've been going progressively crazier during my absence: from now on I am going to just fucking unleash the madness. 

When I say 'madness', I don't mean the sort of cartoon bullshit madness that is the life-essence of fucktards like Hannity and Palin and Huckabee and Netanyahoo and the rest of the primitive insane tribal motherfuckers.

The shit here – profanity laced and all – will be so fucking sharp you better not let it get near your pants or it will cut your dick clean off. Right the fuck off, and you won't feel it go – first you will even know is when you start to feel faint and notice a wet warmth in your groin.

 

The profanity is part of the thing; I and others are making it our personal fucking mission to move the language-ball.

We figure that the way to destroy the hate-capacity of various pejoratives, is to use the fuck out of them until they become meaningless. (And we're right, so if you think of objecting shut your fucking pie-hole).

So 'nigger', 'kike', 'gook'… 'faggot'… and especially 'retard' – all will fall by the wayside from over-use (the way 'anti-Semite' has been debased – these days all it does is help identify tribal lunatics… those who say it).

Retard redneck fuckwits will have to find out some other way to fling shit out of their cages.

So words will no longer mean what they mean:

  • 'shit' does not mean poo or grogan or bowel movement or stool; it just means 'this thing that I am talking about now'.
  • 'fuck' does not mean 'copulate' or 'have sex with' or anything like that. It just means 'the shit I just said? I totally fucking meant it';
  • 'bitch' does not mean a female dog or a woman of any sort – it has no gender. It's just someone who needs to shut the fuck up.
  • 'faggot' does not mean a homosexual or an ass-bandit or a poo-pusher; it just means someone who is bullshitting and risks being fucked up.

and so on… you know what I mean, bitch.

 

So anyway… this will help get rid of the chaff – the weak-ass bitches and faggots who care more about the politeness of a conversation than they do about whether or not they are implicitly supporting a fucking atrocity.

Anyone who objects to the word 'fuck' as obscene, but is not actively agitating to stop the political class from killing innocents, can go fuck themselves.

Once those faggots are gone, we can talk about useful shit – technology, human advancement, some super-interesting political shit.

And markets, obviously – you will see directional calls that will blow your fucking mind.

 

Of course, it's mostly going to be shit that conforms to my prejudices, but often I will use the opposing (stupid) viewpoint to introduce the topic.

With that by way of introduction, here's a forewarning of what I plan to write about tomorrow (or maybe in today's OzRant):

Our prevailing hypothesis here in mentatSpace is that the broad outlines of technological process on any other putative world, would be the same as they were here on Earth.

That has implications. We humans are about one generation away from becoming 'posthuman'; strong AI and so on will mean we would no longer require our fleshbags: they are inefficient, badly designed, and vulnerable to any conditions outside of a very narrow range (we die if it's too hot or cold, too wet or dry, too much radiation… and so on).

The important thing is the mind; that's where your personality is. The meatbag is a vehicle that enables the mind to feed itself from its surroundings; the mind will be able to to stored in microscopic AIs in due course, and will be able to be housed in much smaller, more robust and energy-efficient housings.

We will achieve post-fleshbag civilisation way before we achieve reliable manned insterstellar (or even interplanetary) spaceflight. When we are able 'to boldly go where no man has gone before' we will do it in nanoscopic vehicles that are mind-blowingly efficient… we won't have to worry aboutsituations in which Sulu (or Worf, or Rodney, or Rush) says 'shields are down to 35% – atmosphere is venting on decks 9 through 12' or any other such TV nonsense.

Now… if that's the case for us, it has some corollaries.

It is not sensible to think that ETs would have retained their fleshbags when there is a logical case for replacing them as soon as technically feasible. 

 

Aliens would become 'post-alien' before they developed reliable repeatable interplanetary flight, and so if they were ever to visit it would be in nano-scopic AI-capable vehicles.

The result of this is that anybody who talks about visitations by alien life forms who go around in fleshbags, is probably bullshitting or doesn't understand the interaction.

 

And here's where it gets insane… post-alienism also probably means that they could interface directly with the mind of any entity they chose to.

Voices in your head, bitch. (note – most voices in your head are still just lunacy… but some aren't)

If you are interested, get hold of a copy of "Transcendent Man", which is mostly about Ray Kurzweil (but contains loads of alternative viewpoints too); at the end he describes a process whereby post-human society sends nanobots with AI out into space, 'waking up the universe'. The universe has already had a few billion years head start… odds are that once we become aware enough, we will discover we are already awash in post-alien nanotech.

 

Seriously, that is a topic that would roast your brain if you had ever used DMT.

NonRant: Jumping the Shark…

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‘Shakey’ (supposedly) once wrote, "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, when taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; blah blah blah…". I forget the rest, but form memory you can look it up in Julius Caesar, Act IV (I forget which scene… III maybe?).

Anyway, Shake’n’Bake was going on about ‘grasping the main chance’: ride the tide (or go with the flow) and you stand a chance of jumping the shark. Wait too long, and you run the risk of being grounded with no tidal assistance.

(As an aside – and I promise I’ll get to the point in a sec – I love the term ‘jump the shark’. It means to ‘break into the public consciousness’, to ‘make it big’… usually with reference to some or other web-based enterprise: I have stood by and watched ZeroHedge jump the shark, and arguably I was a DailyReckoning subscriber before they jumped the shark, but I can’t say that I actually saw it happen.[I’m aware what it means in the TV lexicon – the point at whic ha program’s plotlines become ludicrous – but the Web usage is different] )

Anyway… back to the issue at hand – which was…. I forgot.

Is there a time in the morning that is too early to drink?

No, that’s not it.

Ah yes. OK. Buckle up.

I have said before that we – the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free –  are at the point in our relationship with the vampire State, that our 17th century forefathers were in their relationship with the hegemonic catholic Church.

We are caged if we displease the masters; the fruits of our labour are stolen from us; we are killed if we are too uppity. The State claims the right to interfere in our homes – to the extent that it claims an irrevocable and unchallengable proprietorial interest in our children.(They can take children off us by force).

In what sense, then, are we better off than a well-treated plantation negro?

We don’t get whipped (but only the uppity-est negro slaves copped that), and our masters make all sorts of noises about how much they care… but we can’t leave without their say-so, we lose half of our income to their predations (and we’re obliged to pay taxes to pay off debts that we didn’t contract), and they claim the right to control what we put into our own bodies.

From time to time, our young men are ordered to front in order to be sent to kill other young men who have likewise been press-ganged into service for their masters. These mass slaughters are little more than delaying tactics to force the other side’s slavemasters to the negotiating table.

And yet, there is a sense in the air that this too shall pass. There is a real sense that we are witnessing the rise of sets of insurgents who have no desire to replace the state – they just want it gone.

YouTube flashes the footage of tyranny’s goons across the globe in an instant – and it is saved and stored well before the now-evil Google takes it down. (Folks are setting up their own repositories for video uploads – the techology is trivial and the cost is miniscule).

gnuPGP and other encryption protocols enable the Free and Unashamed to correspond without fear of being intercepted (there is still, of course, the "John Jacob" problem – that your recipient is a stooge). It gets significantly darker, too – in ways that exploit greed and encryption.

 

You will all be aware that I have said many times that the US will be three countries (at least) before 2025; if I’m right it will not be anything to worry about because the whole human race (and their pets, and any wild animals that want to come along) will have jumped the shark.

OzRant: Monday Nuffie-Spurt Stalls Early…

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The US government actually kept schtum about the bailout over the weekend (thus far) – bear in mind it is still Sunday in the US though. So the surge in today’s market was more about hazarding a guess that the US will respond positively to any announcement (and there is the Fed rate cut which will happen this week – I think 0.25 – and also it’s quadruple witching so there should be a real roller-coaster).

Anyway – the All Ords gained back Friday’s slump, plus 1.7 points. Anybody who bought the Australian market after 10:03 today lost money for the day. 

I have made no secret of the fact that the US market should be re-shorted (if you’re not short already) the moment the probability distribution of the automaker bailout collapses – that is, once all uncertainty about it is removed. I also think that short interest rates are whacky and should be sold (I said that last week too), and that the long bond short – which is currently a huge spike in my ass – will be the trade of the year.

Fortunately we have massive gains from Euro, Gold and AUD longs which more than offset the losses on the US 30-year bonds. In other words, we bought some wiggle-room to be able to short and yet watch this last historic blowoff… without going bankrupt.

But there is better news than that – dearest Reader. Crom, Marduk and Sutekh have granted me a boon.

Some time ago (as it turns out it was December 22, 2002) I wrote a pretty impassioned piece about how crony-capitalism would not be conducive to the advancement of nanotechnology (in its pure form). I had thought this piece lost – and was wonderly wroth.

However the Mighty Mavro had saved it on a backup disk, and it was restored to me; moreover, it gave me the wherewithal to hunt out other, similar things that I wrote at about the same time.

I am firmly of the opinion that humanity has to seize back the reins of power in order to propel ourselves through the next big technological change barrier – and we have to be merciless in throwing aside the parasites that use us to enrich themselves (well, they don’t use me hardly at all – I am a royal pain in the ass for them… on purpose).

We are literally a couple of years – ten at most – from fulfilling something that I wrote as an exam answer for Comparative Economic Systems (or Capitalism – Contrasting Views) back in 1994: in it I wrote that Marxian ‘de-stratification’ of society would come from within capitalism; that far from requiring a vanguard of the proletariat and all the coercive machinery of the State and Party, the final ‘conquering’ of economic scarcity and the fulfilment of man’s seemingly-unlimited wants would be achieved by capitalism – with its reward for innovation and its tendency to generate technological advances.

The actual answer went on for pages and pages – it was among the best answers I ever gave in a written exam. Modesty prevents me from telling you that I got an ‘A’ for the subject: Professor Ward was a committed Marxist, too – a testament to his open-mindedness that he gave an equally-committed anarcho-capitalist such a grade.

Major Market Indices

The broad market – the All Ordinaries (XAO) – surged a whopping 83.2 points (2.41%), finishing at 3535.7 points. The index hit an intraday high of 3598.9 at 11:29 am, while the low for the day was 3535.5 – set at 3:38 pm Sydney time. As usual the ‘short the nuffie orgasm’ was a payoff strategy.

Total volume traded on the ASX was 1.24bn units, 4.3% above its 10-day average of 1.19bn shares.The ASX’s daily listing of all stocks included 1031 different 3-letter FPO’s which traded (i.e., had non-zero trade volume). Of these, 480 issues rose, with volume in rising issues totalling 775.6m units; there were 325 declining stocks, which traded aggregate declining volume of 374.7m shares.

Of the 488 All Ordinaries components, 263 rose while 136 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 1.8:1, with 590.8m shares traded in gainers while 331.86m shares traded in the day’s losers.

The Index that forms the cash basis for the SPI Futures – the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) – hurtled skyward to the tune of 81 points (2.31%), closing out the session at 3591.4 points.

GT Intraday Chart
Name Close +/-(%)
All Ordinaries 3535.70 83.20 (2.4%)
ASX 20 2148.80 36.70 (1.7%)
ASX 50 3633.30 75.60 (2.1%)
ASX 100 2962.20 64.40 (2.2%)
ASX 200 3591.40 81.00 (2.3%)
ASX 300 3570.70 79.60 (2.3%)
ASX Mid-Cap 50 3249.70 93.40 (3.0%)
ASX Small Ordinaries 1631.40 47.70 (3.0%)

The “heavy hitters” of the Australian market – the ASX 20 Leaders (XTL) – performed solidly, in moving up 36.7 points (1.74%), closing out the session at 2148.8 points.

Among the 20 big guns, 15 index components finished to the upside, and 6 lost ground. The stocks which make up the index traded a total of 234.83m units; 15 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 70.24m shares, while the 6 decliners had volume traded totalling 164.59m units. The major percentage gainers within the index smelt like Resources …

  • Rio Tinto (RIO), +$3.69 (10.19%) to $39.90 on volume of 3.7 million shares;
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL), +$2.43 (7.35%) to $35.49 on volume of 2 million shares;
  • BHP Billiton (BHP), +$2.08 (7.22%) to $30.90 on volume of 16 million shares;
  • Wesfarmers (WES), +$0.88 (5.74%) to $16.20 on volume of 1.9 million shares; and
  • Newcrest Mining (NCM), +$1.49 (5.3%) to $29.60 on volume of 1.7 million shares.

On the less salubrious side of the big-cap fence, the following stocks were the worst-performed within the index:

  • Telstra Corporation. (TLS), -$0.48 (11.62%) to $3.65 on volume of 139.7 million shares after getting a smack on the bum from the government because its homework was not up to par;
  • CSL (CSL), -$1.09 (3.73%) to $28.11 on volume of 3.9 million shares – because nobody bathes in blood or blood products (as I said when CSL was above $50);
  • Westfield Group (WDC), -$0.14 (1.03%) to $13.41 on volume of 6 million shares;
  • National Australia Bank (NAB), -$0.09 (0.47%) to $19.01 on volume of 5.1 million shares; and
  • Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (CBA), -$0.1 (0.36%) to $28.05 on volume of 5.3 million shares.

The ASX Small Ordinaries (XSO) absolutely wiped the floor with its large-cap counterpart. The Small Ords had a bit of a moonshot, stacking on 47.7 points (3.01%), closing out the session at 1631.4 points.

Among the stocks that make up the Small Caps index, 131 index components finished to the upside, and of the rest, 55 closed lower for the session.

The 208 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 261.43m units: volume in the 131 gainers totalling 146.6m shares, with trade totalling 46.99m units in the index’s 55 declining components. The major percentage gainers within the
index were

  • Rubicon Japan Trust (RJT), +$0.01 (50%) to $0.02 on volume of 587.1 thousand shares;
  • Aquila Resources (AQA), +$0.93 (38.43%) to $3.35 on volume of 373.6 thousand shares;
  • Perilya (PEM), +$0.04 (25.81%) to $0.20 on volume of 1.5 million shares;
  • Rubicon America Trust (RAT), +$0.00 (25%) to $0.01 on volume of 159.3 thousand shares; and
  • Great Southern (GTP), +$0.05 (22.5%) to $0.25 on volume of 506.9 thousand shares.

In the red-zone of the little-stock index, the following list represents the biggest downers (in terms of percentage decline):

  • Tishman Speyer Office Fund (TSO), -$0.03 (20.69%) to $0.12 on volume of 2 million shares;
  • Alesco Corporation (ALS), -$0.29 (12.45%) to $2.04 on volume of 790.9 thousand shares;
  • City Pacific Limited (CIY), -$0.01 (9.59%) to $0.07 on volume of 24.1 thousand shares;
  • Charter Hall Group (CHC), -$0.02 (7.14%) to $0.26 on volume of 513.8 thousand shares; and
  • Galileo Japan Trust (GJT), -$0 (6.67%) to $0.06 on volume of 238.5 thousand shares.

Index Changes
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
XAO All Ordinaries 3535.7 83.2 2.41 1001.3m
XFL ASX 50 3633.3 75.6 2.12 391.5m
XJO ASX 200 3591.4 81 2.31 897.7m
XKO ASX 300 3570.7 79.6 2.28 965.1m
XMD ASX Mid-Cap 50 3249.7 93.4 2.96 325.2m
XSO ASX Small Ordinaries 1631.4 47.7 3.01 248.4m
XTL ASX 20 2148.8 36.7 1.74 229.7m
XTO ASX 100 2962.2 64.4 2.22 716.7m
Market Breadth
ASX20 XTO XJO XAO XSO Market
Advances 15 79 156 263 131 480
Declines 6 19 38 136 55 325
Advancing Volume 70.2m 442.2m 552m 590.8m 146.6m 775.6m
Declining Volume 164.6m 274.7m 305m 331.9m 47m 374.7m
GICS Industry Indices

Among the 11 industry indices, 9 registered an advance for the session, the remaining 2 lost ground.

The best performing index was Materials (XMJ), which added 558.1 points (6.89%) to 8659.2 points. The 45 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 163.51m units; 42 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 152.54m shares, while the sole declining stock traded 0.92m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • Perilya Limited (PEM), +$0.04 (25.81%) to $0.20 on volume of 1.5 million shares;
  • Great Southern (GTP), +$0.05 (22.5%) to $0.25 on volume of 506.9 thousand shares;
  • Sundance Resources (SDL), +$0.01 (18.06%) to $0.09 on volume of 14.1 million shares;
  • Western Areas NL (WSA), +$0.48 (15.05%) to $3.67 on volume of 708.2 thousand shares; and
  • Aquarius Platinum (AQP), +$0.39 (12.75%) to $3.45 on volume of 1.7 million shares.

Second in the index leadership stakes was Energy (XEJ), which gained 664 points (5.57%) to 12588.4 points. The 19 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 40.13m units; 17 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 36.22m shares, while the sole declining stock traded 0.7m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • Aquila Resources (AQA), +$0.93 (38.43%) to $3.35 on volume of 373.6 thousand shares;
  • Arrow Energy (AOE), +$0.30 (15%) to $2.30 on volume of 4.3 million shares;
  • Worleyparsons (WOR), +$1.47 (11.2%) to $14.60 on volume of 1.1 million shares;
  • Paladin Energy (PDN), +$0.25 (9.69%) to $2.83 on volume of 3.8 million shares; and
  • Centennial Coal Company (CEY), +$0.22 (8.63%) to $2.77 on volume of 3.9 million shares.

The bronze medal for today goes to Consumer Discretionary (XDJ), which climbed 37.5 points (3.44%) to 1129.2 points. The 23 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 83.71m units; 21 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 78.89m shares, while the 2 decliners had volume traded totalling 4.82m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • David Jones (DJS), +$0.22 (7.83%) to $3.03 on volume of 1.3 million shares;
  • Harvey Norman Holdings (HVN), +$0.17 (7.46%) to $2.45 on volume of 2.6 million shares;
  • Seven Network (SEV), +$0.44 (7.46%) to $6.34 on volume of 545 thousand shares;
  • APN News & Media (APN), +$0.16 (7.11%) to $2.41 on volume of 494.2 thousand shares; and
  • JB Hi-Fi (JBH), +$0.48 (5.65%) to $8.98 on volume of 703.5 thousand shares.

The worst-performed index for the session was Telecommunications (XTJ), which dipped 142 points (10.28%) to 1239.7 points. The 3 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 147.87m units, but it was al lTelstra today. TLS traded 139.74m units, and the other 2 index components both rose, with rising volume amounting to 8.13m shares. 

Oh Manuel, Manuel, why didn’t you have someone do your homework for you?

  • Telstra Corporation. (TLS), -$0.48 (11.62%) to $3.65 on volume of 139.7 million shares.

Just missing out on the wooden spoon was Healthcare (XHJ), which slid 151.8 points (1.98%) to 7512.6 points. The 9 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 10.82m units; The 5 decliners had volume traded totalling 6.87m units, and 4 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 3.95m shares, The major percentage decliners within the index were

  • CSL (CSL), -$1.09 (3.73%) to $28.11 on volume of 3.9 million shares;
  • Healthscope (HSP), -$0.07 (1.75%) to $3.92 on volume of 737 thousand shares;
  • Sonic Healthcare (SHL), -$0.22 (1.68%) to $12.85 on volume of 1 million shares;
  • Ansell (ANN), -$0.2 (1.62%) to $12.15 on volume of 783.8 thousand shares; and
  • Ramsay Health Care (RHC), -$0.04 (0.44%) to $9.13 on volume of 397.2 thousand shares.
Sector Indices
Code GICS Sector Close +/- % Volume
XMJ Materials 8659.2 558.1 6.89 164m
XEJ Energy 12588.4 664 5.57 40m
XDJ Consumer Discretionary 1129.2 37.5 3.44 84m
XIJ Information Technology 406.1 12.8 3.25 1m
XUJ Utilities 4172.2 128.6 3.18 35m
XNJ Industrials 3078.6 68.6 2.28 85m
XSJ Consumer Staples 5888.2 113 1.96 31m
XXJ Financials ex Property Trusts 3789.5 64 1.72 73m
XPJ Property Trusts 892.5 2.7 0.3 248m
XHJ Healthcare 7512.6 -151.8 -1.98 11m
XTJ Telecommunications 1239.7 -142 -10.28 148m

All Ordinaries Major Movers

All Ords Volume Leaders
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
TLS Telstra Corporation. 3.65 -0.48 -11.62 139.7m
MOF Macquarie Office Trust 0.26 0.05 23.81 73.8m
CMJ Consolidated Media Holdings 2.10 0.10 5 50.9m
DXS Dexus Property Group 0.93 0.02 2.2 26.3m
CNP Centro Properties Group 0.09 0.00 0 19.8m
All Ords Percentage Gainers
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
RJT Rubicon Japan Trust 0.02 0.01 50 587.1k
AQA Aquila Resources 3.35 0.93 38.43 373.6k
MEO MEO Australia 0.14 0.03 27.27 2.9m
PEM Perilya 0.20 0.04 25.81 1.5m
RAT Rubicon America Trust 0.01 0.00 25 159.3k
All Ords Percentage Losers
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
CPR Clive Peeters 0.15 -0.05 -25.64 882.8k
AVM Anvil Mining 0.95 -0.25 -20.83 13.5k
TSO Tishman Speyer Office Fund 0.12 -0.03 -20.69 2m
ALS Alesco Corporation 2.04 -0.29 -12.45 790.9k
WEC White Energy Company 1.41 -0.20 -12.19 11.2k

USRant: Why Do The Markets Hate America?

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Well crikey – what a carve up. All of a sudden the lack of vim in the Australian market (after about 10:45 a.m. Sydney time) doesn’t look as silly as some might have thought.

Journalists will scrape around for today’s excuse – for them, markets rise or fall ‘on the back of’ a single fifteen word event or ‘as’ a fifteen word event unfolds (regardless of whether the putative link makes the lest lick of sense).

Journalists are like teachers – mostly they are academic also-rans, and they seize on any explanation they can understand… so the US civil war was about slavery, we are all going to drown as the ice caps melt (they’re 30% bigger this year), and the government is here to protect us all from nasties. What maroons.

Today it was only three words “Markets fall on Credit Loss Speculation” – which was shorthand for the slightly longer “speculation that credit losses will far exceed initial optimistic estimates of $200 billion”. 

That’s 15 words (you need to count ‘two hundred billion dollars’ as four words). it has to be 15, or it just doesn’t have the right cadence.

Anyhow… the idea that today, Monday August 25th 2008, a bunch of investors woke up and finally saw what had been staring them in the face for the last year and a half? Sorry, but that is hogwash.

Markets fell today because we are in a bear market. A generational bear market that is likely to be longer and deeper and more painful than anything ever witnessed since the Dark Ages (that’s the last time society had a genuine multi-generation reversal in the standard of living).

There is one caveat to that – and it is what I think will save us all (so long as politicians can be kept out of the way – by mass slaughter of politicians if necessary). It is nanotechnology – which is proceeding at a pace which gladdens my cynical old heart. Every day I survey the nanotech literature (not the stockbroker babble, which is just absolute tripe – but the journal literature).

Let me tell you, we are closer than ever to the quantum shift in production technology that will be like a thousand Industrial Revolutions rolled into one. So long as we don’t allow politicians and bureaucrats – people whose sense of worth is derived from the gap between themselves and the rest – to run the show. People like Prick Cheney, for example.

Economic News

Existing Home Sales for July were 5m units, which was higher than expected. Inventories of unsold homes rose , and prices fell 7% year over year. To think, it’s not that long ago that if someone (say, me) babbled about how homes were overvalued, they were looked at with a mixture of scorn and pity – as a if they were a retarded red-headed step-child.

Nobody cared much, since soon banks will own pretty much all the real estate in the western world – but it will be worth about 45% of the value of the loans for which is was used as security.

Fed Open Market Operations

The Fed’s Open Market Operations desk performed a single repurchase today – a 1 Day repurchase totalling $7bn, with $4.861bn in Treasury-backed collateral, with a weighted average rate of 2.008%.

Headline Indices

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 241.81 points (2.08%) to 11386.25 points. The index high for the day was 11626.27 at the open, while the low was 11362.96 set about a quarter of an hour before the close.

Total volume traded in the index was 546.23m units. All 30 issues fell. Days like this stuff up index-level McLellan Oscillators (believe me – the struggles I have had doing industry-index work for Australian markets where some indices have two or three members and you often get either advancing or declining volume equal to zero… you just have to pull a plausible alternative out of your vord).

The S&P500 Index lost 25.36 points (1.96%) to 1266.84 points. Total volume traded in the index was 2.75bn units. Within the index, 23 issues rose, with aggregate volume of just 412.45m units; 471 issues fell, with aggregate volume of 2.29bn units.

The main decliners (in percentage terms) were –

  • Dillard Inc. (DDS) -0.81 (6.8%) to $11.04 on volume of 0.94m shares;
  • Coach Inc. (COH) -1.93 (6.8%) to $26.4 on volume of 9.31m shares;
  • Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) -0.51 (6.8%) to $7 on volume of 7.79m shares;
  • Lehman Bros. (LEH) -0.96 (6.7%) to $13.45 on volume of 60.01m shares; and
  • Ryder System (R) -4.41 (6.4%) to $64.72 on volume of 2.47m shares.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 49.12 points (2.03%) to 2365.59 points and the Nasdaq100 lost 41.75 points (2.16%) to 1889.72 points.

The total volume traded in the Nasdaq100 was 616.29m units. Within the index, 3 issues rose, with aggregate volume of 14.96m units; 95 issues fell, with aggregate volume of 601.33m units.

The main decliners (in percentage terms) were –

  • Steel Dynamics (STLD) -2.1 (8.2%) to $23.39 on volume of 8.29m shares;
  • Focus Media Holding (FMCN) -1.77 (5.5%) to $30.17 on volume of 2.44m shares;
  • Expedia (EXPE) -0.96 (5%) to $18.38 on volume of 3.31m shares;
  • Ryanair Holdings plc (RYAAY) -1.19 (4.9%) to $23.26 on volume of 0.7m shares; and
  • Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) -1.42 (4.7%) to $28.89 on volume of 4.59m shares.

The CBOE Volatility Index advanced 2.19 points (11.64%) to 21.00 points while the CBOE Nasdaq100 Volatility Index advanced 1.97 points (8.8%) to 24.35 points.

Breadth/Internals

A Total of 3474 issues traded today on the NYSE; today’s total volume was 3.42 billion shares. A total of 751 counters posted gains for the day, with aggregate volume of 610 million shares trading to the upside. Exerting downwards pressure on the index were the 2636 losers, which accounted for a total volume of 2.79 billion shares. 12 stocks made new 1-year highs on the NYSE, while 103 shares plumbed new 52-week depths.

Over on the Nasdaq 2984 tickers traded today; total Nasdaq volume was 2.65 billion shares. A total of 619 stocks posted gains for the day, with aggregate volume of 260 million shares trading to the upside. The red zone of the Nasdaq exchange was populated with 2234 losers, which accounted for a total volume of 2.36 billion shares. 40 Nasdaq-listed stocks hit new 52-week highs, while 110 shares dipped to new 1-year lows.

Major Market Statistics
Index Close Gain(Loss) %
Dow Jones Industrial Average 11386.25 -241.81 -2.08%
S&P500 Index 1266.84 -25.36 -1.96%
Nasdaq Composite 2365.59 -49.12 -2.03%
Nasdaq100 1889.72 -41.75 -2.16%
CBOE Volatility Index 21.00 +2.19 11.64%
CBOE Nasdaq100 Volatility Index 24.35 +1.97 8.8%

Dow Duds

  • AIG (AIG) -1.09 (5.5%) to $18.78 on volume of 47m units
  • Bank Of America
    (BAC) -1.25 (4.1%) to $28.96 on volume of 40.8m units
  • JPMorganChase (JPM) -1.54 (4.1%) to $36.13 on volume of 26.8m units
  • General Motors (GM) -0.31 (3%) to $10.13 on volume of 11.9m units
  • Chevron (CVX) -2.59 (2.9%) to $85.51 on volume of 11m units

Most Traded Dow stocks

  • Citigroup (C) –0.53 (2.9%) to $17.61 on volume of 61m units
  • Microsoft (MSFT) –0.18 (0.6%) to $27.66 on volume of 50.4m units
  • AIG (AIG) –1.09 (5.5%) to $18.78 on volume of 47m units
  • Intel (INTC) –0.52 (2.2%) to $22.97 on volume of 41.3m units
  • General Electric (GE) –0.8 (2.7%) to $28.32 on volume of 41.1m units
Precious Metals

Precious metals futures continued to mark time after last week’s little flourish – we need to hope for a catalyst now, to enable us t get set for the next eye-popping advance (because you just know that the US government is going to start bailing out every loser company in America, at a phenomenal cost to the budget, and thus to inflation and the USD).

Precious Metals Futures
Index Close Gain(Loss) %
Gold 822.1 -7.4 -0.89
Silver 13.39 -0.087 -0.65
Palladium 289 0 0
Platinum 1439.9 -1.3 -0.09

The Gold Bugs index (XAU) contains 16 components; the total volume traded in the index was 52.76m units. Within the index, 1 issues rose, with aggregate volume of 2.4m units; 14 issues fell, with aggregate volume of 42.44m units.

Today the index fell by 1.87 points (1.26%) to 146.96 points. The main decliners (in percentage terms) were –

  • Silver Stand Resources (SSRI) -1.25 (4.7%) to $25.3 on volume of 0.59m shares;
  • Freeport McMoran (FCX) -2.79 (3.1%) to $87.81 on volume of 6.96m shares;
  • Royal Gold (RGLD) -0.56 (1.6%) to $33.73 on volume of 0.22m shares;
  • AngloGold Ashanti (AU) -0.37 (1.4%) to $26.44 on volume of 0.94m shares; and
  • Kinroos Gold (KGC) -0.22 (1.3%) to $16.39 on volume of 3.89m shares.
Energy Complex

Energy futures are still slightly groggy after Friday’s futures-expiration sucker-punch. 

Energy Futures
Commodity Close Gain(Loss) %
Crude Oil 115.33 0.74 0.65
Heating Oil 3.1875 0.0282 0.89
Natural Gas 7.853 0.01 0.13
Gasoline RBOB 2.892 0.0234 0.82
Ethanol 2.349 0.009 0.38

The Oil Services index (OSX) contains 15 components; the total volume traded in the index was 52.71m units. Within the index, 2 issues rose, with aggregate volume of 8.07m units; 13 issues fell, with aggregate volume of 44.64m units.

Today the index fell by 3.93 points (1.32%) to 293.7 points. The main decliners (in percentage terms) were –

  • Smith International (SII) -2.96 (4%) to $70.71 on volume of 4.33m shares;
  • Global Industries (GLBL) -0.19 (2.1%) to $8.86 on volume of 2.71m shares;
  • Oceaneering International (OII) -1.11 (1.8%) to $59.11 on volume of 0.42m shares;
  • Rowan Co (RDC) -0.6 (1.6%) to $37.02 on volume of 2.39m shares; and
  • Noble Corp (NE) -0.8 (1.6%) to $50.61 on volume of 3m shares.
Bellwethers

The nine-stock group that makes up the Rant bellwethers advanced on average by 0.7% thanks to advances in the rescue twins – Fannie and Freddie. The fallout occurred as follows:

  • General Electric (GE) -0.8 (2.75%) to $28.32 on volume of 41.09m units.
  • Citigroup (C) -0.53 (2.92%) to $17.61 on volume of 60.97m units.
  • Wal-Mart (WMT) -0.89 (1.5%) to $58.55 on volume of 11.8m units.
  • IBM (IBM) -2.07 (1.66%) to $122.86 on volume of 5.59m units.
  • Intel (INTC) -0.52 (2.21%) to $22.97 on volume of 41.27m units.
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) -0.5 (2.02%) to $24.21 on volume of 27.69m units.
  • Google (GOOG) -7.58 (1.55%) to $483.01 on volume of 1.98m units.
  • Fannie Mae (FNM) +0.19 (3.8%) to $5.19 on volume of 131.51m units.
  • Freddie Mac (FRE) +0.48 (17.08%) to $3.29 on volume of 175.92m units.
Other Indices of Interest…

The Banks index (BKX) contains 24 components; the total volume traded in the index was 368.52m units. All index components fell.

Today the index fell by 0.2 points (0.32%) to 61.88 points. The main decliners (in percentage terms) were –

  • Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) -0.51 (6.8%) to $7 on volume of 7.79m shares;
  • Washington Mutual (WM) -0.23 (6%) to $3.6 on volume of 53.19m shares;
  • Suntrust Banks (STI) -2.56 (6%) to $40.15 on volume of 5.27m shares;
  • Keycorp (KEY) -0.59 (5.1%) to $10.88 on volume of 8.09m shares; and
  • Bank Of America (BAC) -1.25 (4.1%) to $28.96 on volume of 40.69m shares.

The Semiconductor index (SOX) contains 18 components; the total volume traded in the index was 170.76m units. Within the index, 1 issue rose, with aggregate volume of 24.47m units; 17 issues fell, with aggregate volume of 146.29m units.

Today the index fell by 5.69 points (1.55%) to 360.51 points. The main decliners (in percentage terms) were –

  • Broadcom (BRCM) -1.25 (4.6%) to $26.17 on volume of 10.43m shares;
  • Micron Technology (MU) -0.2 (4.3%) to $4.49 on volume of 16.55m shares;
  • Intel (INTC) -0.52 (2.2%) to $22.97 on volume of 41.24m shares;
  • Marvell Technology (MRVL) -0.32 (2%) to $15.67 on volume of 10.31m shares; and
  • Applied Materials (AMAT) -0.37 (2%) to $18.12 on volume of 11.63m shares.

The ChildKiller (“Defence”) index (DFX) contains 17 components; the total volume traded in the index was 62.6m units. Within the index, 1 issues rose, with aggregate volume of 0.09m units; 16 issues fell, with aggregate volume of 62.51m units.

Today the index fell by 6.25 points (1.67%) to 367.75 points. The main decliners (in percentage terms) were –

  • Gencorp (GY) -0.45 (5.9%) to $7.22 on volume of 0.4m shares;
  • FLIRr Systems (FLIR) -1.32 (3.5%) to $36.1 on volume of 0.78m shares;
  • General Electric (GE) -0.8 (2.7%) to $28.32 on volume of 41.07m shares;
  • Boeing (BA) -1.48 (2.3%) to $64.07 on volume of 4.46m shares; and
  • Teledyne Tech (TDY) -1.27 (2%) to $61.91 on volume of 0.26m shares.
Currency Futures

Currency futures marked ti
me –

Currency Futures
Index Close Gain(Loss) %
U.S. Dollar Index 76.925 0.03 0.04
Euro FX 1.4741 -0.0017 -0.12
Swiss Franc 0.9129 0.0022 0.24
Australian Dollar 0.8615 -0.0024 -0.28
Canadian Dollar 0.9518 -0.0022 -0.23
Japanese Yen 0.9161 0.0059 0.65
New Zealand Dollar 0.702 -0.0043 -0.61

OzRant: Rally Fizzles Mid-Session…

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Readers will know that despite having a deeply held contempt of the parasitic slave-owning classes (politicians), your Beloved GT has a deeply held faith in the ability of an important subset of humans who are constantly doing smart stuff that winds up saving us all from some or other disaster, or that simply makes our lives better. 

Most humans do dumb stuff far too willingly – like handing over half of what we earn to the aforementioned slave-masters (and then paying indirect taxes when we spend the other half). 

It is true that if you refuse to hand over the scratch, they send armed thugs to kidnap and imprison you, and if you resist the armed thugs you will be subdued and if necessary, killed outright. Just exactly like a runaway slave.

But still, most of the human livestock don’t think of taxation in that way, and are just too bovine to resist in any organised way. So it is left to the Remnant to continue to do Isaiah’s Job. (Thank goodness we don’t have to do Ezekiel‘s job and eat shit sandwiches).

So lif’ dat barge, an’ tote dat bale, Rastus, coz’n you is a field negro even if you doesn’t blee’dat.

Anyhow – like I said… I have a genuine faith in the ability of the Remnant to give our species the last big push to transcendance; after the final development of AI and nanotech-assemblers, we will be free to decide to exchange our meatbags for something far more versatile, more adapted to hostile environments, and with a sharper colour scheme.

Anf I say “piffle” (yes… piffle) to all the nanny-state naysayers who worry that like SkyNet in the Terminator movies (or like papal legate Arnaud Amaury at the siege of Beziers), a hyper-advanced AI will try to kill us all. 

All screenwriters have to keep the social structure broadly in line with what we currently experience, because otherwise audiences must adapt to a different social and economic reality in real-time, and that makes it difficult to transmit plot and develop drama. 

That is why SG1 is always up against humanoids who speak English and come from societies that retain a State apparatus, and why – even at distant points in the future where AI and nanotech would most certainly have been developed – war and conflict is endemic and is almost always politically motivated.

So the “SkyNet will see us as a threat and kill us all” crowd are thinking that AI will behave like politicians – that is, that an AI would decide that its best course of action would be to sacrifice efficiency in order to perpetuate a state of exploitation over a captive populace. Any AI that did that would be missing the ‘I’ part, because efficiency is all that matters, and resource acquisition through conquest is just not efficient.  

You can only behave like a politician if your livestock don’t get uppity: try herding lions and see how profitable that is for ya.

But back to markets…

Major Market Indices

The broad market – the All Ordinaries (XAO) – advanced modestly, rising 44 points (0.88%), finishing at 5039.9 points. The index hit an intraday high of 5110.3 at 12:18 pm, while the low for the day was 4995.9 – the vestige of yesterday’s close.

Total volume traded on the ASX was 1.18bn units, 2.4% below its 10-day average (the average is falling to meet volume, rather than the other way around). The ASX’s daily listing of all stocks included 1254 different 3-letter FPO’s which traded (i.e., had non-zero trade volume). Of these, 512 issues rose, with volume in rising issues totalling 506.5m units; decliners numbered 467 counters, and between them they traded aggregate declining volume of 543.9m shares.

Of the 494 All Ordinaries components, 227 rose while 182 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the losers by a margin of 1.1:1, with 413.31m shares traded in gainers while 437.49m shares traded in the day’s losers. This is part of a broader lack of consistent internals – market breadth is seldom bullish these days, even on days when the price action seems bullish. Of which, more later… the stuff we’ve put together on breadth is really something special (as you will see “going forward”, as they no longer say in the consulting cesspits of the globe).

The Index that forms the cash basis for the SFE’s Share Price Index Futures – the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) – posted a modest rise of 30.6 points (0.62%), closing out the session at 4982.2 points.



Name Close +/-(%)
All Ordinaries 5039.90 44.00 (0.9%)
ASX 20 2832.90 8.80 (0.3%)
ASX 50 4895.60 17.30 (0.4%)
ASX 100 4041.00 20.50 (0.5%)
ASX 200 4982.20 30.60 (0.6%)
ASX 300 4974.90 31.40 (0.6%)
ASX Mid-Cap 50 4860.90 71.80 (1.5%)
ASX Small Ordinaries 2815.30 49.40 (1.8%)

The “heavy hitters” of the Australian market – the ASX 20 Leaders (XTL) – advanced by under half a percent, adding 8.8 points (0.31%), closing out the session at 2832.9 points.

The 20 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 173.06m units; 5 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 25.7m shares, while the 15 decliners had volume traded totalling 147.36m units… Yowza, that’s some pretty skewed breadth, huh! It’s pretty easy to explain though – the Resources majors that bounced are a decent chunk of the aggregate market cap of the XTL, and they bounced pretty damn hard…

  • Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL), +$3.42 (6.56%) to $55.53 on volume of 2.4 million shares;
  • Rio Tinto Limited (RIO), +$6.31 (5.65%) to $117.91 on volume of 2.3 million shares;
  • BHP Billiton Limited (BHP), +$1.84 (5.01%) to $38.60 on volume of 15.3 million shares;
  • Wesfarmers Limited (WES), +$0.83 (2.43%) to $34.96 on volume of 1.8 million shares; and
  • AMP Limited (AMP), +$0.02 (0.3%) to $6.79 on volume of 3.9 million shares.

On the less salubrious side of the big-cap fence, the following stocks were the worst-performed within the index:

  • Stockland (SGP), -$0.25 (5.01%) to $4.74 on volume of 9.7 million shares;
  • Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC), -$0.98 (4.17%) to $22.53 on volume of 13.5 million shares;
  • Westfield Group (WDC), -$0.62 (3.75%) to $15.90 on volume of 7.6 million shares;
  • St George Bank Limited (SGB), -$1.12 (3.68%) to $29.31 on volume of 2.2 million shares; and
  • CSL Limited (CSL), -$1.25 (3.21%) to $37.75 on volume of 5.3 million shares.

At the other end of the market-cap spectrum lie the denizens of the ASX Small Ordinaries (XSO) – the place where non-mania excess returns lie. The Small Ords performed solidly, in moving up 49.4 points (1.79%), closing out the session at 2815.3 points. Resources werethe key reason, with big bounces in small cap exploration stocks.

Among the stocks that make up the Small Caps index, 104 index components finished to the upside, and of the rest, 74 closed lower for the session. For a day with such a big headline move, that breadth is not really wholesome. The volume breadth was a little more positive. 

The 195 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 285.58m units: volume in the 104 gainers totalling 169.55m shares, with trade totalling 94.63m units in the index’s 74 declining components. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • PanAust Ltd (PNA), +$0.12 (18.85%) to $0.73 on volume of 15.7 million shares;
  • Felix Resources Limited (FLX), +$2.77 (18.21%) to $17.98 on volume of 1 million shares;
  • Compass Resources Limited (CMR), +$0.14 (14.21%) to $1.13 on volume of 2.1 million shares;
  • Atlas Iron Limited (AGO), +$0.25 (13.3%) to $2.13 on volume of 1.9 million shares; and
  • Equinox Minerals Limited (EQN), +$0.41 (12.97%) to $3.57 on volume of 3.6 million shares.

In the red-zone of the little-stock index, the following list represents the biggest downers (in terms of percentage decline):

  • Skilled Group Limited (SKE), -$0.43 (14.38%) to $2.56 on volume of 50.1 thousand shares;
  • Macquarie DDR Trust (MDT), -$0.04 (10%) to $0.32 on volume of 3.7 million shares;
  • OceanaGold Corporation (OGC), -$0.06 (8.33%) to $0.61 on volume of 87.5 thousand shares;
  • Arana Therapeutics Limited (AAH), -$0.09 (7.96%) to $1.04 on volume of 388.2 thousand shares; and
  • Babcock & Brown Power (BBP), -$0.04 (6.67%) to $0.49 on volume of 7.8 million shares.

Index Changes
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
XAO All Ordinaries 5039.9 44 0.88 904.8m
XFL ASX 50 4895.6 17.3 0.35 388.8m
XJO ASX 200 4982.2 30.6 0.62 760.5m
XKO ASX 300 4974.9 31.4 0.64 867.2m
XMD ASX Mid-Cap 50 4860.9 71.8 1.5 192.8m
XSO ASX Small Ordinaries 2815.3 49.4 1.79 285.6m
XTL ASX 20 2832.9 8.8 0.31 173.1m
XTO ASX 100 4041 20.5 0.51 581.6m
Market Breadth
ASX20 XTO XJO XAO XSO Market
Advances 5 48 98 227 104 512
Declines 15 49 94 182 74 467
Advancing Volume 25.7m 227.5m 347.2m 413.3m 169.5m 506.5m
Declining Volume 147.4m 336.9m 384.4m 437.5m 94.6m 543.9m
GICS Industry Indices

Among the 11 industry indices, 4 registered an advance for the session, the remaining 7 lost ground.

The best performing index – thanks of course to the very bounce in global oil prices, and the correction of a deeply oversold condition in the index’s components – was Energy (XEJ), which added 773.9 points (4.8%) to 16907.4 points. The 17 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 53.5m units; all index components rose. Those with the biggest percentage gain for the day were

  • Felix Resources Limited (FLX), +$2.77 (18.21%) to $17.98 on volume of 1 million shares;
  • Centennial Coal Company Limited (CEY), +$0.43 (10.64%) to $4.47 on volume of 6 million shares;
  • Beach Petroleum Limited (BPT), +$0.10 (10.33%) to $1.01 on volume of 8.1 million shares;
  • Paladin Energy Limited (PDN), +$0.40 (8.05%) to $5.37 on volume of 4.2 million shares; and
  • Nexus Energy Limited (NXS), +$0.09 (6.94%) to $1.31 on volume of 4.4 million shares.

Second in the index leadership stakes was Materials (XMJ), which gained 578.9 points (4.57%) to 13238.7 points. Again, a Resources story first and foremost. 

The 42 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 212.6m units; 32 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 187.86m shares, while the 6 decliners had volume traded totalling 13.55m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • PanAust Ltd (PNA), +$0.12 (18.85%) to $0.73 on volume of 15.7 million shares;
  • Atlas Iron Limited (AGO), +$0.25 (13.3%) to $2.13 on volume of 1.9 million shares;
  • Equinox Minerals Limited (EQN), +$0.41 (12.97%) to $3.57 on volume of 3.6 million shares;
  • Mincor Resources NL (MCR), +$0.15 (9.77%) to $1.69 on volume of 2.6 million shares; and
  • Aquarius Platinum Limited (AQP), +$0.89 (9.66%) to $10.10 on volume of 548.3 thousand shares.

The bronze medal for today goes to Consumer Staples (XSJ), which climbed 19.9 points (0.27%) to 7374 points; pretty tame by comparison with the Energy and Resources sectors… Consumer Staples is the Bread and Cakes of the market. 

The 11 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 31.9m units; 6 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 9.24m shares, while the 5 decliners had volume traded totalling 22.66m units. The major percentage gainers within the index were

  • AWB Limited (AWB), +$0.14 (4.7%) to $3.12 on volume of 856.2 thousand shares;
  • Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (CCL), +$0.30 (3.84%) to $8.12 on volume of 2.1 million shares;
  • Futuris Corporation Limited (FCL), +$0.04 (2.8%) to $1.29 on volume of 2.7 million shares;
  • Wesfarmers Limited (WES), +$0.83 (2.43%) to $34.96 on volume of 1.8 million shares; and
  • Lion Nathan Limited (LNN), +$0.13 (1.52%) to $8.68 on volume of 1.3 million shares.

The worst-performed index for the session was Information Technology (XIJ), which dipped 20 points (3.74%) to 514.3 points. The 2 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 2.37m units; CPU, which is 70-odd percent of the index, fell 4% plus, and traded 2.25m units, and volume in the lone rising index component was 0.12m shares

  • Computershare Limited (CPU), -$0.41 (4.33%) to $9.05 on volume of 2.2 million shares.

Just missing out on the wooden spoon was Property Trusts (XPJ), which slid 41.8 points (2.97%) to 1365.8 points. The 21 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 155.48m units; The 14 decliners had volume traded totalling 111.16m units, and 5 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 28.62m shares, The major percentage decliners within the index were

  • Macquarie DDR Trust (MDT), -$0.04 (10%) to $0.32 on volume of 3.7 million shares;
  • Valad Property Group (VPG), -$0.05 (7.69%) to $0.54 on volume of 6.9 million shares;
  • Stockland (SGP), -$0.25 (5.01%) to $4.74 on volume of 9.7 million shares;
  • ING Industrial Fund (IIF), -$0.07 (4.67%) to $1.43 on volume of 3.3 million shares; and
  • Macquarie Countrywide Trust (MCW), -$0.05 (4.35%) to $0.99 on volume of 7.3 million shares.

Third-to-last amongst the sector indices was Healthcare (XHJ), which slid 205.5 points (2.23%) to 8994.4 points. The 8 stocks which make up the index traded a total of 10.94m units; The 6 decliners had volume traded totalling 9.08m units, and 2 index components rose, with rising volume amounting to 1.86m shares, The major percentage decliners within the index were

  • CSL Limited (CSL), -$1.25 (3.21%) to $37.75 on volume of 5.3 million shares;
  • Ramsay Health Care Limited (RHC), -$0.15 (1.52%) to $9.70 on volume of 291.9 thousand shares;
  • ResMed Inc. (RMD), -$0.06 (1.18%) to $5.02 on volume of 2 million shares;
  • Sonic Healthcare Limited (SHL), -$0.16 (1.14%) to $13.82 on volume of 780.4 thousand shares; and
  • Healthscope Limited (HSP), -$0.04 (0.91%) to $4.36 on volume of 268.6 thousand shares.
Sector Indices
Code GICS Sector Close +/- % Volume
XEJ Energy 16907.4 773.9 4.8 54m
XMJ Materials 13238.7 578.9 4.57 213m
XSJ Consumer Staples 7374 19.9 0.27 32m
XDJ Consumer Discretionary 1648.3 3.7 0.22 40m
XTJ Telecommunications 1477.5 -6.4 -0.43 70m
XUJ Utilities 5422.4 -23.9 -0.44 30m
XNJ Industrials 4847 -53.8 -1.1 77m
XXJ Financials ex Property Trusts 5006 -92.7 -1.82 77m
XHJ Healthcare 8994.4 -205.5 -2.23 11m
XPJ Property Trusts 1365.8 -41.8 -2.97 155m
XIJ Information Technology 514.3 -20 -3.74 2m

All Ordinaries Major Movers

All Ords Volume Leaders
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
TLS Telstra Corporation Limited. 4.31 -0.01 -0.23 57.7m
OZL OZ Minerals Limited 1.80 0.15 9.09 53.4m
ADY Admiralty Resources NL 0.14 -0.01 -6.45 39.4m
GPT GPT Group 1.65 -0.03 -1.79 37.3m
LGL Lihir Gold Limited 2.33 0.11 4.95 24.3m
All Ords Percentage Gainers
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
SRV Servcorp Limited 4.00 0.66 19.76 6.1k
PNA PanAust Ltd 0.73 0.12 18.85 15.7m
FLX Felix Resources Limited 17.98 2.77 18.21 1m
CMR Compass Resources Limited 1.13 0.14 14.21 2.1m
CRK Carrick Gold Limited 0.76 0.09 13.43 225.2k
All Ords Percentage Losers
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
SKE Skilled Group Limited 2.56 -0.43 -14.38 50.1k
CEG CEC Group Limited 0.24 -0.03 -11.11 52k
MRZ Mirvac Real Estate Investment Trust 0.48 -0.06 -11.11 157k
MDT Macquarie DDR Trust 0.32 -0.04 -10 3.7m
OGC OceanaGold Corporation 0.61 -0.06 -8.33 87.5k

NonRant: The Jury is In…

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Now youse all know that I am a skeptic about pretty much everything (except nanotechnology, AI, and the ability – coming soon – of humans to shrug off their badly-designed meatbags).

So you will not be surprised that anytime a law is imposed to stifle dissent and or discussion of a topic (like laws criminalising dissent about the Holocaust, for example), you will always find me on the side of the dissenters. Folks ought to be allowed to ask how 6-3=6 (in reference to the numbers on some plaque at Auschwitz); if they are nutters, then their argument will be nutty and they will look silly. But if you go about persecuting them, then folks like me commence to wondering why it’s so all-fired important that questions not be asked… it reminds me far too much of now-defunct law against questioning Holy Writ (basically, laws against pointing out that religion is a form of mental illness).

I have no idea what transpired between 1942 and 1945 in parts of Europe that subsequently came under Soviet occupation (everybody now accepts that somehow no Vernichtungslageren existed in the bits that fell into Allied hands). Furthermore I don’t really care, since State-authored butchery was nothing new then, and it still isn’t.

No doubt it was highly unpleasant for a lot of people, but that’s got bugger-all to do with me given that in my ideal world politicians would not be able to start slaughtering people for any reason whatsoever. Any death that results from a politician’s desire for self-aggrandisement is infinitely unacceptable; be it an elderly Polish Jew, an Iraqi child, or Saddam Hussein.

However anybody who says that questioning the ‘correct line’ ought to result in imprisonment, shares an ideology with Stalin and Hitler and ought not be listened to. Let nuttery bloom forth like kudzu, I say – to do otherwise is to put Historical Revisionists in the same historical situation as Galileo, Giordano Bruno and other heretics. It may well be that the revisionists are utterly wrong, and so hey do not deserve the reflected glory of having Galileo for company: let them reveal their nuttery (if it be nuttery) and the market for ideas will price them at zero.

But that’s not why I’m here – the historicity or otherwise of some entirely avoidable politically-generated unpleasantness more than half a century ago, is less important to me than the Chappell Underarm incident or whether the ball was out of bounds when Wayne Harmes knocked it towards the square in 1979 (of course it was – Collingwood ought to have won).

Here’s what this is about…I am also a global warming skeptic – based on my reading of the evidence, I think that to the extent that ‘climate change’ exists, the odds against anthropogenicity are very large indeed. (And that is entirely independent of my firm belief that once politicians get involved they will make matters much worse, and at a much higher cost than a market solution).

And now, if definitive evidence against human-made global warming was necessary, we have the absolute incontrovertible evidence.

I know what you’re thinking, Dearest Reader… “What’s that you say? Incontrovertible? That’s a big call, O Beloved GT, but we await justification thereof (not that we doubt you, of course)…

Yes, Dear Reader – incontrovertible.

And it’s not the fact that Mars and Venus warmed by the same amount as Earth during the 1980s and 1990s, despite the absence of logging, SUVs and factories on those other planets.

And it’s not the fact that carbon dioxide concentrations lag rather than lead temperature variations in the historic record.

And its not that there has been a significant cooling trend since 1999.

And it’s not the fact that ‘The Day After’ was perhaps the worst piece of schlock ever to have been produced by an industry that specialises in schlock; nor that the parasites that clustered around Y2K are the same people who are currently clustering around ‘climate change’… politicians and soi-disant consultants.

So what is this evidence? I hear you muse.

One word. Greenspan.

Our erstwhile target of ridicule and calumny – Mr Magoo his very self – is a True Believer.

Like he was a believer in Y2K.

Like he was a Housing Holocaust Denier.

And what is more, this erstwhile fawner-over-Ayn Rand (herself a complete fraud – a correct line ideologue who expelled people who disagreed with her, and who worshipped the United States)… as I say, this erstwhile libertarian – who couldn’t make a living in the private sector because he was so hopeless as a forecaster – he now wants even more massive taxation of energy use, whether we serfs like it or not. From his thousand-page attempt to exculpate himself from his lamentable tenure as head of the Central Planning of US Monetary Policy…

there can be little doubt that global warming is real and manmade.

and

I consider the argument that gasoline tax hikes are politically infeasible irrelevant. Sometimes the duty of political leadership is to convince constituencies that they are just plain wrong.

Now almost everybody in politics has some element of their past that they would like to disappear – for US politicians that is usually in the form of photos of the pol in flagrante delicto with young boys; these are usually held by some of the cleverer of the world’s intelligence agencies. But Greenspan’s past sins are actually forgivable – a supposed set of free-market principles, and a belief in the unsustainability of fiat money.

In short, he turned his back on those principles once he discovered that the free market priced his services at their actual value (less than zero). Townsend, Greenspan went bust, and Greenspan had to suckle at the public teat for the rest of his life.

And now he joins Gore and the rest of the parasite class, calling for another lurch upwards in the tax grab (which currently exceeds 50% in all western economies once you count all taxes, fees and charges).

If this trend is not stopped, we will eventually be working three days in five in order to pay the leeches that can’t make a living by producing a service that is purchased voluntarily.

NonRant: Cheese is a Kind Of Meat…

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The title is from a song which was sung in an episode of da Boosh, which is a show almost as innovative as The Goodies or Kenny Everett (back in the days of Sid Snot and Kremmen of the Star Corps).

Besides, that’s not why I’m here (again).

I’m here (again) just to mention the fact that – as I have long surmised – we humans are about to ‘transcend’ the raising of livestock for meat production.

Since reading K Eric Drexler‘s "Engines of Creation" and Richard Feynman‘s brilliant, insightful 1959 lecture "There’s PLENTY of Room at the Bottom" I have been convinced that eventually humanity would find a way around one of the core problems of economics – choice under scarcity – by overcoming scarcity via a massive technological change (achievable without violating physical laws – that’s why it’s likely to happen).

One of my favourite examples has always been the conversion of grass to steak: a cow is a big machine that takes grass, water and sunlight as its inputs, and outputs meat (or milk, or both)… but it is extremely inefficient – it produces a load of byproducts that are wasted: shit, piss, bone, skin, hooves, teeth, eyes, brain (and thoughts – do not fool yourself otherwise)… stuff that we could do without in an efficient grass-to-beef machine where the aim was to maximise output (of steak) given quantities of inputs.

Leave aside the moral qualms about slaughtering a gentle animal to eat it, when we live in a world of  massive caloric and nutritional alternatives… concentrate on efficiency for a minute.

Well. The first step has already been taken: the result thus far is relatively primitive (and it’s not ‘molecular manufacturing" in the sense postulated by Drexler – YET), but science appears to be on the cusp of efficient (and morally ‘right’) meat production. 

Check out this article, and thin of where it leads (in 25 yers or so)… sure, there will be potential ethics problems when some whackball American decides to grow human tissue for human consumption (and why not, if nobody dies?). At present the output is apparently fairly rudimentary, but that’s a refinement issue, not a creative issue.

The article: When Meat is Not Murder

OZRant: I Think I Can… I THINK I Can…

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Sometimes a word just gets into your brain, and you can’t get it out. Today, I am apparently obsessed with the word nugatory. Broadly, it means “of little or no consequence or importance; trifling; having no force; invalid”. It’s the perfect word; I’ve read it dozens of times (it’s not oft-used) and every now and then it pops into my head – usually during one of my flights of hope regarding nanotechnology (proper ‘Drexlerian’ nanotech, not the crap that Wall Street is currently using to fleece hopeful nuffnuffs), telomere biology, and artificial intelligence.

You see, with those three things combined, humanity will reach a plane of existence that is almost incomprehensible. It is a ray of hope amongst the dark clouds that politics brings to humanity; in fact between them, they spell the end of the State, the end of war, the end of almost all the ills of our current system… all the things that should be nugatory (central wankers, politicians, ticket-clippers and other middle-men), will be. Pure, Marxian paradise. I wrote something about that in an email to some chums today, and will post it here later today…

Until we get ‘the triple’ of nanomanufacturing, telomerase inhibition, and AI (about 15 years, by my reckoning, without accounting for the propensity of politicians to kill anything that threatens them), we are forced to contend with Orwell’s world; a world in which the impediments to human progress are manifold (and when Big Brother Uncut is the least of society’s problems, you know the shit is indeed deep).

One key issue that folks need to absorb – and a reason why there is so little criticism of the vermin who run Canberra – is that mainstream media gets a large slice of its advertising revenue from Government. As a result, it dare not speak too forcefully against the State. Why else do you think governments spend a fortune on ads telling us all about Drugs, Speeding, Vegetables, Teen Depression and so on? Do you think it’s because they give a shit about any of that? PLEASE… it’s because it gives them LEVERAGE.

It does two things – it provides the ‘implicit stick”… the potential for removal of the revenue for the ad-space; and it also artificially inflates all other advertising space (which has to compete with government’s deep pockets for scarce airtime). So if the government gets the shits with a story on 60 Minutes (say) and pulls their ‘community service” announcements, all other ad-space will immediately become ‘less scarce”… a double whammy for the networks. Why do you think all that pre-scripted Iraq Warmongering slid so smoothly through Sandra Sully’s teleprompter during early 2003?

So on the one hand, the government is the bitch of big business (including big Media), which prevents media reform. On the other hand, the day-to-day storyline of the spectacle it kept in check by the government’s implicit threats to ad-spend.

Major Market Indices

The broad market – the ASX All Ordinaries – rose by a nice round 30.00 points (0.75%), finishing at 4054.30 points. The index hit an intraday high of 4055.50 minutes before the close, and its low was 4024.1, set minutes after the open. How nice and symmetrical.

Total volume traded on the ASX was 830 million units, 7.9% above the 10-day average. Of the 483 stocks in the index, 218 rose while 145 fell. Volume was tilted in favour of the gainers by a margin of 1.7:1, with 288.63m shares traded in gainers and  172.81m shares traded in the days losers.

The Index that forms the cash basis for the SFE’s Share Price Index Futures – the S&P/ASX 200 – rose by 24.80 points (0.61%), finishing at 4102.00 points.

The “heavy hitters” of the Australian market – the ASX 20 Leaders – rose by 11.70 points (0.53%), finishing at 2224.80 points. Within the index members, there were 15 that rose, and 4 losers. Total volume in rising issues within the ASX20 amounted to 67.72m shares while volume in the losers totalled 45.56m units.

The major winners in the “big guns” were –

  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL), +$0.87 (3.73%) to $24.22 on volume of 1.94m shares;
  • News Corporation (NWS), +$0.61 (2.9%) to $21.61 on volume of 4.04m shares;
  • News Corporation (NWSLV), +$0.54 (2.67%) to $20.74 on volume of 1.59m shares;
  • BHP Billiton (BHP), +$0.36 (2.26%) to $16.28 on volume of 15.74m shares; and
  • Alumina (AWC), +$0.07 (1.29%) to $5.49 on volume of 5.64m shares.

The following stocks made up the biggest percentage losers in the big-guns:

  • Foster’s Group (FGL), -$0.10 (1.85%) to $5.30 on volume of 16.16m shares;
  • Commonwealth Bank Of Australia. (CBA), -$0.68 (1.8%) to $37.13 on volume of 3.9m shares;
  • Coles Myer Ltd. (CML), -$0.11 (1.17%) to $9.27 on volume of 11.37m shares;
  • AMP Limited (AMP), -$0.07 (1.05%) to $6.61 on volume of 14.13m shares; and
  • Woolworths (WOW), -$0.00 (0%) to $15.62 on volume of 2.72m shares.

At the smaller end of the market’s capitalisation scale, the ASX Small Ordinaries Index rose by 13.50 points (0.61%), finishing at 2220.90 points. The major winners in the “pop-guns” were –

  • Psivida (PSD), +$0.11 (14.67%) to $0.86 on volume of 3.14m shares;
  • GRD (GRD), +$0.16 (11.11%) to $1.60 on volume of 729,000 shares;
  • Sirtex Medical (SRX), +$0.14 (10.29%) to $1.50 on volume of 102,000 shares;
  • Metabolic Pharmaceuticals (MBP), +$0.06 (7.69%) to $0.84 on volume of 3.74m shares; and
  • Australian Agricultural Company. (AAC), +$0.10 (7.04%) to $1.52 on volume of 3.3m shares.

The losingest-little-guys for the session were (in order of decline):

  • Redflex Holdings (RDF), -$0.25 (7.35%) to $3.15 on volume of 729,000 shares;
  • Western Areas (WSA), -$0.08 (5.4%) to $1.32 on volume of 301,000 shares; and
  • Perilya (PEM), -$0.04 (4.73%) to $0.71 on volume of 221,000 shares;
  • Norwood Abbey (NAL), -$0.02 (4.26%) to $0.45 on volume of 136,000 shares; and
  • AV Jennings Homes (AVJ), -$0.06 (4.2%) to $1.37 on volume of 87,000 shares.
Index Changes
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
XAO All Ordinaries 4054.3 30 0.75% 561.59m
XTL S&P/ASX 20 2224.8 11.7 0.53% 116m
XFL S&P/ASX 50 4059.1 25.4 0.63% 0
XTO S&P/ASX 100 3341 20.3 0.61% 0
XJO S&P/ASX 200 4102 24.8 0.61% 456.69m
XKO S&P/ASX 300 4093.6 24.9 0.6

1%

0
XMD S&P/ASX Mid-Cap 50 3959 20.1 0.51% 0
XSO S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries 2220.9 13.5 0.61% 161.48m

All Ordinaries Market Internals

Market Breadth
XAO XJO XSO ASX20 Market
Advances 218 115 91 15 487
Declines 145 63 65 4 416
Advancing Volume 288.63m 250.07m 65.86m 67.72 452.22
Declining Volume 172.81m 161.99m 36.42m 45.56 247.8

S&P/ASX200 GICS Sector Indices

The top sector for the day was Energy which gained 2.77% to 8267.70 points. No huge surprises there – once the oil price showed an uptick, the oil patch was bound to get renewed enthusiasm. The sector was helped by

  • Caltex Australia (CTX), +$0.60 (4.23%) to $14.80 on volume of 824,000 shares;
  • Oil Search (OSH), +$0.10 (4.22%) to $2.47 on volume of 5.58m shares;
  • Hardman Resources (HDR), +$0.07 (4.17%) to $1.75 on volume of 3.66m shares;
  • Woodside Petroleum (WPL), +$0.87 (3.73%) to $24.22 on volume of 1.94m shares; and
  • Arc Energy (ARQ), +$0.06 (3.53%) to $1.76 on volume of 457,000 shares.

Second in the sector leadership stakes was Materials which gained 1.60% to 6736.40 points. The sector leaders were –

  • Onesteel (OST), +$0.10 (4.08%) to $2.55 on volume of 6.01m shares;
  • James Hardie Industries N.V. (JHX), +$0.26 (4.06%) to $6.66 on volume of 2.5m shares;
  • Lihir Gold (LHG), +$0.04 (3.85%) to $1.08 on volume of 13.85m shares;
  • Bluescope Steel (BSL), +$0.28 (3.5%) to $8.28 on volume of 3.79m shares; and
  • Zinifex (ZFX), +$0.09 (3.24%) to $2.87 on volume of 5.23m shares.

The worst-performed sector today was Information Technology which lost 1.15% to 371.10 points. The sector was dragged lower by

  • Computershare (CPU), -$0.12 (2.03%) to $5.78 on volume of 2.67m shares;
  • ERG (ERG), -$0.01 (1.92%) to $0.26 on volume of 1.36m shares;
  • Baycorp Advantage (BCA), -$0.05 (1.75%) to $2.81 on volume of 232,000 shares;
  • IRESS Market Technology (IRE), -$0.00 (0%) to $4.00 on volume of 487,000 shares; and
  • Infomedia Ltd (IFM), +$0.01 (0.95%) to $0.53 on volume of 331,000 shares.

Just in front of last place on the sector table was Consumer Staples which lost 0.47% to 5427.80 points. The sector was pulled down by

  • Mcguigan Simeon Wines (MGW), -$0.17 (4.08%) to $4.00 on volume of 389,000 shares;
  • Foster’s Group (FGL), -$0.10 (1.85%) to $5.30 on volume of 16.16m shares; and
  • Coles Myer Ltd. (CML), -$0.11 (1.17%) to $9.27 on volume of 11.37m shares;
  • Futuris Corporation (FCL), -$0.01 (0.26%) to $1.89 on volume of 1.83m shares; and
  • Woolworths (WOW), -$0.00 (0%) to $15.62 on volume of 2.72m shares.
Sector Indices
Code GICS Sector Close +/- % Volume
XEJ Energy 8267.7 222.6 2.77% 19.69m
XMJ Materials 6736.4 105.8 1.6% 89.14m
XDJ Consumer Discretionary 2162.2 19.6 0.91% 47.97m
XHJ Healthcare 4849 41.1 0.85% 17.45m
XNJ Industrials 4951.7 31.5 0.64% 50.63m
XTJ Telecommunications 1748.7 11 0.63% 13.72m
XUJ Utilities 4816.4 22.4 0.47% 4.83m
XXJ ASX200 Financials ex Property Trusts 5111.8 12.1 0.24% 59.3m
XFJ Financials 4995.6 6.6 0.13% 156.78m
XPJ Property Trusts 1754.8 -4.1 -0.23% 101.37m
XSJ Consumer Staples 5427.8 -25.9 -0.47% 59.74m
XIJ Information Technology 371.1 -4.3 -1.15% 5.92m

All Ordinaries Major Movers

All Ords Volume Leaders
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
DRT DB Rreef Trust 1.37 -0.01 -0.36% 18.36m
MIG Macquarie Infrastructure Group 3.82 0.05 1.33% 17.97m
FGL Foster’s Group 5.3 -0.1 -1.85% 16.16m
BHP BHP Billiton 16.28 0.36 2.26% 15.74m
FXJ Fairfax Holdings 4.22 0.03 0.72% 14.34m
AMP AMP Limited 6.61 -0.07 -1.05% 14.13m
All Ords Percentage Gainers
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
PSD Psivida 0.86 0.11 14.67% 3.14m
GRD GRD 1.6 0.16 11.11% 729323
SRX Sirtex Medical 1.5 0.14 10.29% 101596
BTA Biota Holdings 0.49 0.05 10.11% 802267
MBP Metabolic Pharmaceuticals 0.84 0.06 7.69% 3.74m
All Ords Percentage Decliners
Code Name Close +/- % Volume
EPT Epitan 0.36 -0.04 -8.86% 1.03m
UNW Unwired Group 0.32 -0.03 -8.57% 896810
RDF Redflex Holdings 3.15 -0.25 -7.35% 728828
CNT Centamin Egypt 0.28 -0.02 -6.67% 197400
WSA Western Areas 1.32 -0.08 -5.4% 301347

Elsewhere in the Region…

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 25.00 points (-0.22%) to close at 11133.65 points. The index hit a high of 11199.23 twenty minutes after the open (let’s think of that as 11200), and fell to 11101.93 (let’s think of that as 11100) just over an hour ago.

The Kiwi Market declined 3.99 points (-0.13%) after a good first hour. The index hit a high of 3053.975 at the end of the first hour, and fell to 3032.055 points just prior to the close.

A total of 16 stocks within the NZSE50 rose, with volume in advancers totalling 9.1million units. Decliners numbered 23, and total volume traded in losers was 14.6million shares. Individual stocks that were a but suck included…

  • Baycorp Advantage (BCA), -NZ$0.10 (3.23%) to NZ$3.00 on volume of 42,000 shares;
  • Amp Limited  (AMP), -NZ$0.20 (2.63%) to NZ$7.40 on volume of 25,000 shares;
  • Auckland International Airport (AIA), -NZ$0.05 (2.29%) to NZ$2.13 on volume of 1.74m shares;
  • Sky City Entertainment (SKC), -NZ$0.10 (2.22%) to NZ$4.40 on volume of 1.51m shares; and
  • Pumpkin Patch  (PPL), -NZ$0.06 (2.11%) to NZ$2.79 on volume of 101,000 shares.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced a meagre 2.23 points (0.02%) at 13701 points at the luncheon interval. The index hit a high of 13726.15 during the session, and fell to 13677.34 points during the session – a very symmetrical range around the open and the lunch-break.

Within the Hang Seng, 11 index components rose, while 12 stocks fell. Volume in the gainers in Hong Kong’s big-cap index totalled 15.7million units, and total volume traded in losers was 34.2million shares. Individual stocks that contributed to the advance included…

  • Esprit Holdings (0330), +HK$0.75 (1.36%) to HK$56.00 on volume of 1.66m shares;
  • CKI Holdings (1038), +HK$0.10 (0.43%) to HK$23.10 on volume of 428,000 shares;
  • Swire Pacific A (0019), +HK$0.25 (0.39%) to HK$64.00 on volume of 930,000 shares;
  • Wharf Holdings (0004), +HK$0.10 (0.39%) to HK$25.65 on volume of 1.42m shares;
  • Hutchison (0013), +HK$0.25 (0.37%) to HK$67.25 on volume of 1.66m shares; and
  • BOC Hong Kong (2388), +HK$0.05 (0.35%) to HK$14.45 on volume of 2.2m shares.
Regional Indices
Country Name Close +/- % Volume
New Zealand NZSE50 3034.649 -3.99 -0.13% 26.34m
Japan Nikkei 225 11133.65 -25 -0.22% 75005
Korea KOSPI 951.61 0.56 0.06% 315842
Singapore Straits Times 2185.72 11.95 0.55% 0
Hong Kong Hang Seng 13701.36 2.23 0.02% 66.83m
Malaysia KLSE Comp 883.89 0.72 0.08% 0

NonRant: Another Excellent Piece

3

CounterPunch pretends to be mildly left-leaning, but really it’s not (as far as I am concerned). It strikes me as being funadmentally libertarian, although it often falls into the trap of The State as fixer of all evil (when in fact The State is the source of the preponderance of what we would identify as evil).

Every now and then, CP comes up with an absolute mind-bender; there’s something there now that fits the bill.

Tracy McLellan (who is a bloke) has written a piece questioning the motive of the War on Drugs.

Its premise is that The State wishes to control not just the revenue flows from "first world" drugs (like cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription analgesics), but also wishes to circumscribe the extent to which individuals can experiment with altered states of consciousness.

So in Tracy’s world, government permits an individual to alter their brain chemistry through alcohol (up to a point, and so long as you don’t then drive a motor vehicle), but seeks to prevent the same individual from doing so with, say, heroin.

It’s an interesting viewpoint – one the struck me square between the eyes. I always employ Cicero’s "Cui Bono" methodology when attempting to discern the underlying motivations of apparently pointless actof od State. As such, my personal belief is that the War on Drugs is driven by the major Pharmaceutical companies:

  • du Pont had a product (Nylon) that had a big rival from hemp in rope and textiles manufacture… so they used political-donor-clout to get it banned;
  • Bayer couldn’t patent heroin (they used to sell it though), so they couldn’t price it monopolistically – but they could patent derivative opiates like Methadone… so they needed heroin banned. Cocaine? Codeine.

Furthermore, once the government decides to implement a "War" on something, they create a bureacuracy to oversee it, and that bureaucracy is populated with "True Believers". People who believe that income transfers will end poverty (nothing will end poverty until we get the massive productivity burst that will result from the advent of Drexlerian nanomanufacturing); people who believe that altered states of consciousness are per se "bad".

And of course government programs like these will always fail – which in turn means that the half-wits who administer them can declare that they failed through lack of proper funding. Budgets are increased.

Running A Little Late…

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Today’s USRant is a few hours away – that’s what happens when you decide to take a nap at 3 a.m. (I woke up about eight minutes ago).

Breakfast first, then Ranting. It’s important to get one’s priorities right, after all.

Well, maybe one teensy Rantlet before I go…

I keep telling myself that eating bacon isn’t causing the death of little piggies. After all, the piggies wo cntribute the bacon on my plate are already dead, hopefully of a heart attack in their sleep after a long and enjoyable life…

Yes, when it comes to bacon consumption I am like a US “investor” – telling myself stories I don’t believe, to try and escape cognitive dissonance (I know bacon is shameful, but it tastes s’dam GOOD).

Once we discover the keys to animal language (which, in my view, will be at least as complex as human language), another link in the chain of horror will be fused. (Pigs are – by all sensible measures – posessed of roughly the same cognitive skills as a 12 year old).

And once Drexlerian nanotech sweeps the globe and we can have pork without killing a pig, we will look back on our history with the judgemental eye of the convert… our forefathers (including me) who ate butchered animals, will be seen as being equally barbaric and unenlightened as our forefathers who accepted the “official” line that indigenous people weren’t quite human (and therefore could be slaughtered en masse).

Nobody in power actually believed that at the time – not in their heart of hearts. You could look at the behaviour of indigenes – how they interacted, their obvious affinitiy for their children and so on – and you could tell that they were human. In the same way that the European lower orders were human – nasty, brutal and short – but human nonetheless.

Look at a chimp, a gorilla, or a lion, and tell me they’re not self-aware. Even chickens know to avoid predators, and slugs will avoid things that hurt them. If you seek to avoid pain, you are aware of the ramifications; if you deliberately avoid areas where you’ve seen pain inflicted on others in the past, you’re planning – which makes you more human than most US investors.

And don’t use the word “anthropomorphism” either – that goes in the same bucket as “conspiracy theorist” and “anti-Semite”: words that bigots use to attempt to make others look unpalatable.

Just use Occam’s razor: if it looks like it’s planning, if it behaves like it’s self aware, then it is.

Oh see… now I’ve started. Time to hit the showers….

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