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It took more than 3 million person-hours to remove a capsized cargo ship off the coast of Georgia

The Golden Ray cargo ship was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound in September 2019. Firefighters spray water into the cut away mid-section of the cargo vessel Golden Ray, Friday, May 14, 2021, Brunswick, Ga. Stephen B. Morton/AP Photo A cargo ship carrying over 4,000 cars capsized in September 2019 off the coast of Georgia. Crews removed the last piece of the ship from the wreck site on Monday, the Coast Guard said. It took over 3 million person-hours to clean up, the largest wreck removal in US history. The removal of the Golden Ray cargo ship that capsized off the coast of Georgia was the largest wreck removal in US history requiring over three million person-hours, US Coast Guard Southeast said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Even with all the obstacles we had to face, we completed the wreck removal in a timely manner," Coast Guard Commander Efren Lopez, the federal on-scene coordinator at St. Simons Sound Incident Response said.In September 2019, the 56-foot vehicle carrier was carrying about 4,000 cars when it capsized and caught fire in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia. There were 24 people on the ship when it capsized. All 24 were safely rescued. At the conference, Incident Commander Chris Graff of Gallagher Marine Systems said 8,000 pounds of ship-related debris and 9,500 pounds of non-ship-related trash were recovered from marshes and the shore. "The beaches and the marshes are probably as clean as they have been in many years," Graff said.The final section of the cargo ship was removed on Monday, USCGS said.In a report last month, The National Transportation Safety Board said the capsizing was caused by an "incorrect determination of the vessel's stability." Additionally, the ship was able to flood afterward because two watertight doors were left open. NTSB said the combined losses from the wreck were more than $204 million.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

An artificial intelligence tool is helping retailers and manufacturers weather the holidays by simulating supply chain issues before they happen

Large companies are using digital twins, AI-powered simulations, to predict disruptions to their supply chains and how to best address them. Visitors watch a digital twins simulation service system for sports venues by Intel at the Apsara Conference, a cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) conference, in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on October 19, 2021. Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images Digital twins are used by businesses to run simulations and identify issues before they occur. Companies are using digital twins to stress-test their supply chains, Technology Review reported. Digital twins use data on social media, consumers, and global factors to run simulations. As supply chain disruptions pummel industries across the globe ahead of the holiday season, a simulation tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to help businesses predict disruptions to their supply chains and minimize their effects, according to MIT Technology Review.Digital twins are virtual representations of real-world objects or systems, such as global supply chains, that are used to run simulations and identify issues before they occur. MIT Data Science Lab Director David Simchi-Levi told Technology Review that an increasing number of companies are using this tool to stress-test their supply chains."What if there's a drought in Taiwan and the water shortage shuts down microchip manufacturing? A digital twin could predict the risk of this happening, trace the impact it would have on your supply chain, and - using reinforcement learning - suggest what actions to take to minimize the harm," Technology Review reported.From consumer behavior to geopolitical implications and social media trends, digital twins use vast amounts of data on a variety of factors to run simulations, which trains their AIs to analyze the data and make predictions, according to Technology Review.For example, British consumer goods manufacturer Unilever PLC owns over 400 brands and offers its products in more than 190 countries. The company teamed up with Microsoft in 2019 to create digital twins of its 300 global plants to optimize their operation, The Wall Street Journal reported.A pilot digital twin was created for a Unilever facility in Valinhos, Brazil, that saved the company $2.8 million dollars by cutting down on energy use and driving productivity, the company told WSJ.While it's mostly large companies currently utilizing the technology, Simchi-Levi told Technology Review that with a million dollars and 18 months, a company could enjoy "many of the benefits" of digital twins.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

Chinese authorities have told Evergrande"s billionaire founder to use his own money to pay down the company"s $300 billion debt, Bloomberg reports

Hui Ka Yan's net worth is about $7.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaire's Index. Beijing has instructed Evergrande's founder, Hui Ka Yan, to pay the company's debt using his personal funds, Bloomberg reported. Hui's net worth is about $7.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaire's Index. Evergrande's debt pile is $300 billion. Authorities in China have told Evergrande's billionaire founder, Hui Ka Yan, to use his own money to pay the company's debt, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.The directive was issued after the real estate behemoth missed an initial Sept. 23 deadline to pay an $84 million coupon on a dollar bond, Bloomberg added. Evergrande later paid the coupon during the note's 30-day grace period.Hui's fortune alone is unlikely to be enough to rescue the debt-laden property developer.According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Hui's net worth is around $7.6 billion - that's small change compared to Evergrande's $300 billion debt pile as of June this year.It's also unclear if Hui's personal stash is liquid enough for the mission. His wealth is largely derived from his shares in Evergrande and their cash dividends, Bloomberg added.Markets the world over have been roiled by Evergrande's debt woes as investors fear contagion across the world economy. The developer has an interest payment worth $45 million due this Friday.But local governments China are keeping tabs on Evergrande's bank accounts to ensure the company's funds are used to complete housing projects under construction, rather than being used to pay creditors, Bloomberg added.Hui did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment via Evergrande.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

A toilet tube on SpaceX"s Crew Dragon spaceship broke and sprayed pee under the floor during its first tourist flight

SpaceX's passengers were safe from their own urine, since it never entered the cabin. But astronauts discovered the same issue on another Crew Dragon. The Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the International Space Station with astronauts on board, April 24, 2021. NASA SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship experienced a toilet issue while flying its first tourists in orbit. A tube came loose and released urine beneath the spaceship floor, but pee didn't get into the cabin. Astronauts discovered the same leak on another Crew Dragon docked to the International Space Station. SpaceX's first tourist flight seemed to go swimmingly last month, but there was a hidden problem beneath the floorboards.That issue came from the bathroom - the toilet tucked away in the Crew Dragon spaceship's ceiling, which is shrouded in proprietary secrecy. A tube carrying urine from that toilet broke loose in an area beneath the spaceship's cabin floor, releasing its contents onto a fan. That fan is used to create suction for the toilet, which is necessary because when you're doing in microgravity, there's no force pulling waste in any one direction. The fan then sprayed the pee all over the hidden compartment.Even though all of this happened in microgravity, the pee didn't drift into the cabin. That kept it away from the spaceship's four passengers: billionaire Jared Isaacman, geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor, physician-assistant Hayley Arceneaux, and engineer Chris Sembroski. While they orbited Earth for three days, on a mission called Inspiration4, they didn't notice the issue, SpaceX representatives told reporters on Monday. The Inspiration4 crew poses in front of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spaceship that will launch them into space. Inspiration4/John Kraus "We didn't really even notice it, the crew didn't even notice it, until we got back," SpaceX official Bill Gerstenmaier said in a press conference Monday, according to The New York Times. "When we got the vehicle back, we looked under the floor and saw the fact that there was contamination underneath the floor of Inspiration4."A mechanical issue with the toilet fan had, however, set off an alarm while Inspiration4 was in orbit, prompting the passengers to troubleshoot, Isaacman told CNN Business in September. He did not reveal how they solved the problem. Upon the spaceship's return to Earth, SpaceX technicians opened the cabin floor to investigate the fan issue. That's when they discovered the pee leak.As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has promised on Twitter, the toilet system is getting an upgrade. SpaceX is redesigning the leaky tube beneath Crew Dragon's floor for its next launch, which will carry four NASA astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend. With the new upgrade, the tube shouldn't come "unglued" again, Gerstenmaier said.Pee is also loose in another SpaceX spaceshipAnother Crew Dragon capsule is currently attached to the space station, since it carried four astronauts to the space station in April and is waiting to carry them back to Earth in the coming weeks. But it has the same plumbing system as the capsule that suffered a leak. The Crew-2 astronauts during a training session in Hawthorne, California. Left to right: Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough, and Akihiko Hoshide. SpaceX Fearing the same toilet troubles, SpaceX asked the astronauts on the space station to snake a camera on a cable into the pee-tube compartment beneath the floor. Sure enough, they discovered the same issue as Inspiration4."Yes, there was some indication of some contamination under the floor," Gerstenmaier said.That could be a more serious issue for this spaceship, which has been in Earth's orbit for nearly six months, and has presumably been carrying loose urine the whole time.After astronauts pee, that urine gets mixed with a substance called Oxone, which removes ammonia so that it doesn't build up in the air. But Oxone can be corrosive, so SpaceX is investigating the possibility that the Oxone-pee mixture could have damaged the spaceship after months of floating around beneath its cabin floor. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Britta Pedersen / POOL / AFP via Getty Images SpaceX engineers tested this theory on the ground, Gerstenmaier said, according to the Times, by gathering some aluminum parts similar to those on the spaceship and soaking them in an oxone-urine mixture. The engineers put those parts in a chamber that imitates the humidity conditions of the space station. They left them there for "an extended period of time," Gerstenmaier said, though he did not specify for how long.So far, SpaceX has not found significant corrosion in those samples."Luckily, or, on purpose, we chose an aluminum alloy that is very insensitive to corrosion," Gerstenmaier said.He also noted that there is less urine inside the Crew Dragon capsule that's attached to the ISS, since those astronauts were only on the spaceship for about 24 hours before they docked to the space station.SpaceX's on-the-ground testing is still ongoing."We'll double check things, we'll triple checks things, and we got a couple more samples we'll pull out of the chambers and inspect," Gerstenmaier said, according to CNN. "But we'll be ready to go and make sure the crew is safe to return."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYT22 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

Florida Jobs Grow At Three Times US Rate, Report Shows

Florida Jobs Grow At Three Times US Rate, Report Shows Authored by Jannis Flakenstern via The Epoch Times, Jobs in Florida are growing much faster than the national rate, according to a September employment report. The office of  Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) estimated the job growth at three times that of the nation. Florida has recorded 17 months of continued private-sector job growth. The Sunshine State gained 84,500 jobs in September, with 73,000 of those in the private sector, according to the governor’s office. The figures showed an increase of 5.6 percent compared to the same time last year. In a press release, the governor’s office said: “Florida’s labor force increased by 540,000 over the year, with 423,000 of that increase occurring in the last six months.” Most jobs were created in the leisure and hospitality industry, adding 26,600 positions.  Trade, transportation, and utilities gained 19,200 jobs; professional and business services added 10,400; construction went up 6,900, and education and health services increased by 6,300 jobs. Figures from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) show there are more than 520,000 jobs listed online, giving Floridians a wide choice of work opportunities. The FDEO secretary Dane Eagle said these figures demonstrate the success of the state’s “Return to Work” initiative, as Florida’s unemployment rate has “lowered over the year, decreasing by 2.3 percentage points.” “Florida continues to provide meaningful job opportunities for individuals moving to our state and entering our labor force,” Eagle said in a written statement. “With our unemployment rate decreasing and labor force increasing, we will work to further this great success by making investments that continue to strengthen our economy and increase our state’s resiliency.” Gov. Ron DeSantis said he is pleased with what he is seeing with growth and added it was not an easy task to achieve considering the national economic climate and inflation. “Despite tremendous national headwinds and economic uncertainty, Florida has reached a level of job growth only seen on four other occasions in the past 30 years,” DeSantis said in a press release. “We will continue to work hard to keep Florida open, free, and built for opportunity.” The department reports that “Florida’s unemployment rate of 4.9 percent for September 2021, dropped 0.1 percentage point from August 2021.” While Florida has seen consistent gains in the labor force, the nation saw a drop in job-growth rates. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 20:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

Fragile Fertility & Human Extinction

Fragile Fertility & Human Extinction There has been an alarming decrease in the average sperm count of Western men over the last few decades. As Statista's Martin Armstring shows in the infographic below, from their 'Then & Now' series, research has revealed a 59 percent fall between 1973 and 2011 - from 337.5 million to just 137.5 million. You will find more infographics at Statista Commenting on the decline, lead author of the study, Hagai Levine, said "the results are quite shocking...this is a classic under the radar huge public health problem that is really neglected". Going further, Levine warned that "eventually we may have a problem and with reproduction in general. It may be the extinction of the human species." As noted in the research paper, the economic and societal burden of male infertility is high and increasing. The researchers advise that "because of the significant public health implications of these results, research on the causes of this continuing decline is urgently needed." Fertility research has in the past been criticised for not taking into account the potentially biased sampling methods of earlier studies, citing also the variable of changing laboratory methods. The researchers in this case though say that such issues have been taken into account - only considering samples where the same count method was used, were of an acceptable size and did not include men known to have fertility problems. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 21:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

"I am guilty of being an idiot" - a Capitol riot defendant who used stimulus money to get to DC asks judge for leniency ahead of sentencing

"My adrenaline was up and I knew I wasn't supposed to be there but I was in the thick of it by this point," Glenn Wes Lee Croy wrote to the judge. Glen Wes Lee Croy captured on body camera footage from inside the Capitol on January 6. The Department of Justice. A Colorado Capitol riot defendant called himself "an idiot" for participating in the Capitol riot. Glen Wes Lee Croy, 46, wrote an apology to the judge overseeing his case ahead of his sentencing. Croy pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge in August. A Capitol riot defendant who pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge earlier this year struck a conciliatory tone in a personalized letter to the federal judge overseeing his case ahead of his sentencing next month."I am guilty of being an idiot and walking into that building, and again apologize to America and everyone for my role in participating," Glenn Wes Lee Croy, 46, wrote to Chief District Judge Beryl A. Howell.Croy apologized several times in a series of sentencing memorandum documents reviewed by Insider and first reported on by WUSA. The Colorado man detailed the circumstances that led to his decision to travel to Washington, DC, to attend the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally in support of President Donald Trump, including losing his job in the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19.Croy said he began watching more news than he ever had before and became frustrated with the George Floyd protests and coronavirus restrictions. As the election approached, he said he became more and more concerned about the security of the vote.When Trump announced the January 6 rally and invited his supporters to attend, Croy said he used some of his unemployment money and saved-up stimulus money to make the journey from Colorado Springs to the nation's capital. Croy said he followed the crowd throughout the day, eventually ending up inside the Capitol building as police faced off with a mob of rioters. "I regretfully once again followed the crowd like a lemming," he wrote. "My adrenaline was up and I knew I wasn't supposed to be there but I was in the thick of it by this point."In his letter, Croy said he was surprised to learn that a woman - Ashli Babbitt - had been shot during the insurrection, and claimed he had no idea how violent the attack was until he later watched an HBO documentary about the riot.In August, Croy pleaded guilty to one charge of parading inside the Capitol.Federal investigators say Croy was captured on video and in photos throughout the Capitol, posing for pictures inside the rotunda at the same time Capitol police were trying to usher people back outside. In a separate sentencing memo, prosecutors requested two months of jail time for Croy. "He showed no concern for the severity of his actions as he engaged in criminal conduct as if he was on a vacation," prosecutors wrote in legal documents. "Finally, he bragged about and defended his actions to several friends, failing to see the seriousness of his actions." Croy and his lawyers are requesting he receives probation at his sentencing hearing on November 5, citing his role as the sole caretaker for his two sons, one of whom has diabetes. An attorney listed for Croy declined to comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

OPEC+ Comfortable With Rising Oil Price Trend

OPEC+ Comfortable With Rising Oil Price Trend.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

An Ominous Trend Emerges Below The Surface Of A Blowout Q3 Earnings Season

An Ominous Trend Emerges Below The Surface Of A Blowout Q3 Earnings Season Heading into this week, some 117 S&P 500 companies comprising 33% of S&P earnings had reported results so far. Superficially, the report so far have come in better than expected tracking a 4% beat ($50.91), driven by Financials (+13%) and Energy (+7%) despite mounting concerns ahead of earnings about stagflation and shrinking profit margins. The proportion of beats also remained strong – 79%/72%/62% of companies beat on EPS/sales/both, well above the historical average of 63%/57%/43%, but slightly below last quarter’s 82%/82%/72%. And yet, despite the strong early showing in Q3 earnings season, storm clouds are starting to emerge. According to calculations from Bloomberg, with just under of 30% of the benchmark’s members having announced results, the S&P500 is currently on pace to see its profits grow by less than 1% from the second quarter. That would be the smallest quarterly increase since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic sent corporate earnings plummeting early last year.  (As an aside, stronger-than-expected results from both Microsoft and Alphabet could help widen that margin, Bloomberg's Matt Turner writes, noting that the tech pair’s combined profits are expected to account for about 12% of the S&P 500 remaining profits this quarter, despite having more than 350 other members on the gauge yet to report. Incidentally, analysts are expecting Google to deliver earnings growth of nearly 64% for the period. Meanwhile, forecasts for Microsoft are slightly less bullish, only calling for a jump of about 14% versus last year.) Digging deeper, we go to Morgan Stanley's Michael Wilson who as we noted earlier remains bearish, and pointed to not only the recent flattening out of estimates, but warned that fwd EPS has continued to rise at a slower rate. Perhaps most concerning is that earnings revisions breadth - a key leading indicator - is now falling rapidly for almost all sectors. And since revision breadth is a very good leading indicator for NTM EPS, it's only a matter of time before NTM EPS begin to decline for reasons including higher costs, supply issues and taxes to a payback in demand that should begin in 1Q. The biggest threat, however, remain supply chain constraints which pose a risk not only to 3Q earnings and but also forward-looking earnings revisions breadth. As the chart below shows, corporate transcript mentions of "supply chain issues" are at unprecedented levels, while ISM lead time indices across both manufacturing and services are also historically stretched. As excerpts from recent earnings calls (below) reveals, these issues are being discussed by companies in a wide range of industries. Responding to frequent client questions, where the most prevalent inquiry is "aren't these risks already in consensus estimates and multiples given these issues have been discussed all year" Wilson says that prior to his work over the past several weeks, he would have made the same assumption. However, 3Q EPS expectations remained extremely resilient into the quarter and as the next chart shows, 3Q EPS expectations for this year actually saw their largest upward revision on a YTD basis since 2002. This is a problem because as we showed on Friday when demonstrating the market's panicked selloff on earnings misses, bad news are hardly priced in. Wilson agrees and over the weekend he updated his analysis of EPS surprise, sales surprise and T+1 day price reaction of 3Q reporting companies that discuss supply chain risks on earnings calls. Confirming what we reported, Wilson writes that "relatively lackluster beat rates and outright negative price performance T+1 day continue to be the trend for these companies. As we move into the heart of earnings season over the next 2 weeks, we expect this to continue to be a dominant narrative, especially as we move past the bulk of Financials (where we're overweight) reporting and into the cohorts that are more sensitive to these risks." As the MS strategist further elaborates, "companies that have posted negative 3Q EPS surprises have seen historically poor price performance 3 days after reporting (Exhibit 8). This offers some further confirmation that bad news on the earnings front, isn't already in the price." On the other hand, companies that are beating on earnings have seen less of the positive price reaction above what they typically see (Exhibit 9). Indeed, as we said above, "a lot of good news is priced, while the bad is largely not." Which brings us back to the big question: will supply chain constraints and associated disappointing reports be enough to affect the price level of the overall index? That remains to be seen. At we touched upon earlier when discussing Wilson's broader bearish bias, the MS strategist is leaning more toward the idea that we would "need to see retail activity diminish and higher bond yields in concert with these earnings risks in order to lead to a more meaningful selloff in the index." That said, a key message from Wilson over the next several weeks is "to stay selective and to stay more defensive in terms of positioning." He continues to prefer "relatively reasonably priced" Software over Hardware and Semis in Tech, Services over Goods in Discretionary, Financials and Healthcare. Why? Because "these cohorts offer less direct risk to supply chain issues and in the case of Healthcare and Software (relative to broader Tech), offer a more defensive posture." Which brings us to some some select corporate quotes on supply chain issues from 3Q earnings season so far: SON: "At a high level, we experienced strong volume growth in many of our businesses, but our third quarter operational results continue to be impacted by significant cost inflation and supply chain challenges." FR: "There's so many issues in the supply chain right now and there's strong demand. So we hope that this level's off for our tenants' sake. But the reality is I don't think it will level off. I think it will – the supply chain issues will continue and the rent pressure will continue because the lack of space and increased demand." POOL: "Inflation this year will likely be in the 6% to 7% range, up from our previous estimate of 5% to 6%, and it looks like that will repeat again for next year given the global supply chain issues." GPC: "In our customer discussions, a recent common theme is the supply chain challenges that face all companies." UNP: "We expect international volumes to be constrained as ocean carriers have recently taken additional actions to speed up their container returns as challenges in labor, port capacity, warehouses and dredge persist. And on the domestic side, opportunities will face continued supply chain challenges with limited haul-away capacity and slower chassis turn times." SNAP: "We've been meeting with a lot of advertisers, and had a lot of meetings here, and we're hearing from partners across a wide variety of industries and geographies that they're facing headwinds in their business related to the disruptions in global supply chain as well as labor shortages and labor competition. So when they're talking about the product, putting marketing into the product when there's already low margin, for instance, can erode margin. And furthermore, they don't necessarily want to accelerate the sales of products that they are going to have a hard time getting into the hands of customers. And that is somewhat broad sweeping in terms of the supply chain issues." BKR: "Operating income for the quarter was $26 million, down 44% year-over-year, largely driven by headwinds from mix of volume, supply chain challenges, and higher R&D costs." DOV: "So let's get on the front foot here by providing some color on inflationary inputs, labor and supply chain challenges...Let me start by saying that we're particularly concerned that there have been no discernible policy changes, particularly in the US to deal with these headwinds, and in fact, many proposed policies run the risk of extending their duration." RPM: "Raw material shortages and inflation continue to be serious challenges. In order to protect our margins, we are continuing to implement price increases, where appropriate, across all our segments." Supply chain issues (and the duration of such production bottlenecks) aside, Wilson writes that "it's becoming increasing clear to us that 3Q EPS disappointment (which is largely being attributed to supply and cost issues), has the potential to affect forward looking EPS growth expectations as well." In contrast to the first week of reporting season when the banks posted standout results and revisions breadth ticked higher, last week saw a lot of companies discussing supply issues as a continued and more pervasive risk than initially thought. The result, as Morgan Stanley notes, is plunging earnings revisions breadth for many sectors and the S&P 500 overall. Indeed, bottoms-up analysts are beginning to think that these issues may persist beyond just a quarter or two. The chart below shows earnings revisions breadth for the S&P 500 (which is based on FY2 or 2022 numbers in this case). This series is starting to decelerate and is currently at its lowest level since last summer. This indicator is key because it has a strong positive correlation with index price so further deterioration here is critical to watch. The final chart shows this trend across industry groups and sectors. As Wilson notes, this deceleration is a fairly broad dynamic across these cohorts, which speaks to the reach of these supply chain and cost pressure issues. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 15:32.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

Opposition To Powell"s Renomination Crosses The Aisle As Sen. Rick Scott Joins Warren In Opposition

Opposition To Powell"s Renomination Crosses The Aisle As Sen. Rick Scott Joins Warren In Opposition.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

Gas Stations Across Iran Crippled After Massive Cyberattack

Gas Stations Across Iran Crippled After Massive Cyberattack Iran has announced that the country's energy infrastructure was hit by a massive cyberattack on Tuesday, which left state subsidized gas stations across the country out of commission, resulting in very long lines of cars observed waiting to fill up in many towns and cities. The timing is interesting given it happened near the two year anniversary mark of deadly nationwide protests following serious gas shortages and price hikes in the fall of 2019. The 'activist' nature of the hack is further revealed in that Iranian media is reporting that a message showed up in national computer systems that were hacked that addressed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with the words, "where is the gas?" Illustrative file image According to The Jerusalem Post, Iranian officials are already suspecting a US or Israeli intrusion: "With the exact details still hazy, there is already rife speculation about whether the purported cyberattack came from the US, Israel or a range of local Iranian anti-regime groups." There's also the possibility of well-funded Iranian opposition and dissident groups, namely the MEK, or "People's Mujahedin of Iran" - which has itself been known to work with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. Iranian state media had confirmed the hack of crucial energy systems, earlier on Tuesday, saying that some of the problems at swamped gas stations have begun to be resolved: Local news agencies reported on Tuesday that long queues that had been formed in front of gas stations in large Iranian cities had cleared up after Oil Ministry authorities dispatched teams to the forecourts to enable offline fuel delivery. Iran’s National Virtual Space Center also issued a statement confirming that a cyberattack had targeted the online fuel delivery system in the country. "Related departments are working to fix the problem and fuel delivery services will return to normal within the next few hours," the official statement said. Oct 26—Shiraz, south-central #Iran Footage of a long line before a gas station pic.twitter.com/y9B05u8DC7 — Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) October 26, 2021 And according to other state sources cited in the Associated Press, the hackers had posted the phone number that's known to be a hotline run directly through Khamenei's office that handles matter related to Islamic law: State TV said Oil Ministry officials were holding an "emergency meeting" to solve the problem. Some gas stations that accept only cash and are not in the subsidy card network continued pumping fuel. The use of the number "64411" mirrored an attack in July targeting Iran’s railroad system that also saw the number displayed. Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point later attributed the train attack to a group of hackers that called themselves Indra, after the Hindu god of war. What appears to have been targeted in the online system the government uses to ration subsidized fuel, which entitles citizens to 60 liters of gasoline per month at a price of 15,000 rials ($0.54), state media notes. No specific group or country has yet to claim responsibility for the hack, but it's clear that it's intended to stir up dissent, also as the populace struggles in the midst of crippling US-led economic sanctions intent on completely isolating the country. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 12:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

Peter Schiff: There Is Only One Type Of Inflation

Peter Schiff: There Is Only One Type Of Inflation Via SchiffGold.com, When talking heads and politicians talk about inflation, they tend to make distinctions between “food inflation,” or “energy inflation,” or “wage inflation.” In this clip from his podcast, Peter Schiff explains that this isn’t the right way to look at inflation. In fact, there’s only one type of inflation. And the Federal Reserve is the source of it. They always have some kind of word that they want to use to preface inflation. But that really just lets the Federal Reserve off the hook for creating the inflation. Because if they say, ‘We have food inflation,’ well, now people want to blame the farmers, right? They’re doing something. If it’s ‘wage inflation,’ well, let’s blame those workers, or let’s blame the unions, or whatever it is that they want to blame it on. But the real blame belongs with the Fed.” Pundits and politicians often talk about “commodity inflation.” But Peter said there is no such thing. Individual commodity prices can rise and fall. Certain commodity prices can spike. But that’s not inflation. The only way that all prices could go up is if the Fed creates the inflation. Because if there are supply bottlenecks in one particular commodity and the price of that commodity goes up, the price of some other commodity is going to go down, or some other service, to offset that because there’s only a certain amount of money in the economy, and if you have to spend more on one thing, then you’ve got to spend less on something else. So, the only way you’re going to get the price of everything going up is if the government is creating inflation.” This is exactly what the Federal Reserve is doing. And that’s exactly why we’re seeing widespread rising prices. The central bank has created trillions of dollars out of thin air over the last 18 months. This is the precise definition of inflation. As economist Milton Friedman once put it, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” An increasing money supply means more dollars chasing roughly the same amount of stuff. As a result, prices rise. As economist Daniel Lacalle explained, “More supply of money directed towards scarce assets, be it real estate or raw materials. The purchasing power of money goes down.” The bottom line is you never want to say “wage inflation” or “goods inflation.” It’s just inflation. It’s monetary inflation. That’s all it is. That’s what’s being inflated - the supply of money. And so that’s why we’re seeing prices going up.” Peter said part of the problem is a lot of the people in the financial media don’t even know what inflation is. The question is why don’t they know the real meaning of inflation? That has to do with the success of the government’s propaganda campaign to confuse the public and the media as to the true definition of inflation so that they don’t realize what the source is. Because once you properly define inflation, then there’s only one source, and that’s the US government and the Federal Reserve. The US government runs the budget deficits, and then the Federal Reserve monetized those deficits — prints more money. So, both the Fed and the government work together to create that inflation.” Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 13:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 26th, 2021Related News

Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition

Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 24th, 2021Related News

Physicians & The Vaccine Tyranny

Physicians & The Vaccine Tyranny Authored by 'Blaise Edwards, M.D.' via AmericanThinker.com, I find myself in the position that I must use an alias for fear of reprisal.  Those days may be quickly coming to an end, as hospitals are denying requests for vaccine exemptions with impunity.  I will likely soon be out the door, with nothing to lose.  Even if I survive this round, if the “pandemic” continues, it won’t be long before I am shelved like a can of spam. Doctors need to be called out.  From early in the pandemic, it was like a mass hypnosis or forgetfulness of everything we had learned in medical school.  Immune system knowledge was shelved and replaced by government dictates.  The thought of early outpatient treatment with “off label” drugs that could modulate the immune system was forbidden.  We essentially told patients that they had to go home and wait until they were sick enough to be hospitalized, then treatment would begin.  Imagine telling all diabetics that there is no metformin, Glucophage, or insulin.  Would we really wait until patients are in diabetic ketoacidosis, and then treat them only at the hospital?  It is medical malfeasance of a grand scale. We physicians gave up our training and our reasonable medical thought process.  The reasons are multiple.  First, it was the easy way out.  Second, many of us are employed and fear reprisal.  Third, despite what the public thinks, we physicians are not bold leaders, we tend to be sheep, and are afraid of having an entire institution ostracize us or our colleagues to think us crazy. As we got to the point of vaccine rollout, doctors were not using the scientific method, questioning and challenging prevailing hypotheses.  They kept their heads down, closed clinics, converted to telemedicine, and pushed only the jab. I had conversations with doctors who are supposed experts in virology and immunology denying the lasting immunity of natural infection.  Conversations about natural immunity: “I have antibodies.” “But they will wane.” “But I have memory cells.” Dumbfounded look.  Really, are these the leaders we want? Other conversations about the safety of vaccines: “The vaccine is safe.” “No, we would have shut down any trial in the past after even 100 deaths.” “This is more serious.” “But the survival rate is about 99.6%.” “It's killing people.” “So is the vaccine” “You can’t believe VAERS.” “It was set up to help protect the public, and if anything, it is underreporting side effects.” “You’re a conspiracy theorist.” Or conversations about early treatment “You must get the vaccine, it is the only “proven” treatment, there are no other treatments.” “Really, ivermectin has eradicated COVID in India, parts of Mexico, Japan….” “It is a horse dewormer.” “It won a Nobel Prize in medicine, is a WHO essential drug, and has been around for decades with a great safety profile.” “No, only the vaccine works.” “But it is failing” “You are a denier and a conspiracy theorist.” “Sigh….” Lately, it has been all about getting 100% of the population jabbed.  For what reason?  I am not sure, and some of the more detailed and investigated theories scare me.  I shudder to think.  But last year’s heroes are being labeled selfish and villainous for not getting the vaccine.  Hospital systems have abandoned their community’s health and ignored early successful outpatient treatment in favor of huge government subsidies for inpatient and ICU treatment.  The success of these treatments was not great, but that is another article.  Now we have the same hospital systems turning their backs on their own employees.  Basically, health providers have a choice, get shot, or get fired.  How does that help?  Both vaxxed and unvaxxed can spread the virus, so it doesn’t help anyone.  It only helps the hospital to get more government money by meeting quotas. I, for one, will remember that when we faced a real crisis, the hospitals and many physicians chose money and profit over their own community’s best interest.  Perhaps it is time for groups of physicians to get back to running their own healthcare clinics and hospitals.  We used to have a code of ethics.  We used to put patients first.  Not anymore. As for physicians, those who are blindly following the government edicts are culpable in a moral atrocity.  Bullying and deriding patients who chose to refrain from this still experimental therapy is an abomination.  (You will say it isn’t experimental anymore, to which I would say that just because the government broke its own rules regarding approval, doesn’t make it legal or right).  Patients have sincere beliefs for making their choice.  Respect their thoughts.  Do you yell as much at smokers, drinkers, fornicators, drug abusers, etc?  No, I think not. I think you chose to fit in because it gives you a sense of righteousness. And going so far as to encourage vaccination in children and pregnant women is crazy.  There is blood on the hands of any physician who does this.  With children, there is no benefit to the vaccine, only harm.  They would serve themselves and society better with natural immunity.  The vaccine hasn’t been studied on women and their babies.  It is pregnancy category X (unknown) but being pushed wholesale on these poor women without proper studies.  Shame on you, doctors who are doing this.  I certainly have lots to answer for when I meet my maker, but this is on another level. I beg physicians to get back to basics, remember all the epidemiology and immunology that bored us to tears in school.  Investigate the real literature and take a stand.  Society needs us to do this.  Even if you have been vaccinated, help those who are fighting for their lives.  Stand up against this forced vaccine tyranny.  Support those who have legitimate reasons for declining the jab. If you don’t stand up now, who will stand up for you when you are faced with your choice of yet another booster or your job. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/24/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 24th, 2021Related News

Edible Oil Prices Hit Record High As Food Inflation Treat Soars 

Edible Oil Prices Hit Record High As Food Inflation Treat Soars  Prices of edible oils have been rising across the world. Palm oil, the world's most consumed vegetable oil, surged to a new record high, spreading concerns about persistent global food inflation.  Malaysia's palm oil futures soared more than 40% this year, while soybean oil is up more than 50%. Prices of canola oil are also at a record.   Bloomberg notes the reason for the price surge is "because of the emergence of pent-up demand as economies reopen after COVID, the outlook for more use in renewable fuels as energy prices soar and production problems in major growers."  "Palm oil is not only riding on tight supply, which continues to sustain higher prices, but is also getting broader external support from energy markets," said Sathia Varqa, owner of Palm Oil Analytics in Singapore.  Production of palm oil in Malaysia has fallen this year because of a foreign worker freeze, exacerbating the country's labor shortages. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board reported that production in the first nine months of the year was the weakest since 2017.  "There are no stopping prices from going higher" until policies are implemented that are likely to cool the commodity market, such as higher interest rates," Varqa said. This means that the weight of vegetable oils in the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization's FAO Food Price Index will continue to pressure global food prices higher. Last month, the index hit a new decade high, which includes a basket of food commodities (such as cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat, and sugar).  Global food prices surging to decades high is no laughing matter but an ominous sign for emerging market economies where households allocate more of their budgets to food. Rising food prices can cause discontent with governments and spark social unrest. SocGen's Albert Edwards first warned about this right before the pandemic began.  Tyler Durden Sun, 10/24/2021 - 08:45.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 24th, 2021Related News

Luongo: Is The Bitcoin ETF "A Trap"?

Luongo: Is The Bitcoin ETF "A Trap"? Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, So Tuesday October 19th, 2021 was supposed to be the day that changed everything for bitcoin. And it may, just not in ways anyone bullish on crypto should be comfortable with. Finally the SEC approved a Bitcoin ETF, the ProShares Bitcoin Futures ETF (BITO) began trading this week to great fanfare in the cryptocurrency community. There was much rejoicing as Bitcoin hit a new all-time high which it has since given back. On the heels of that announcement Valkyrie changed the proposed ticker symbol for its Bitcoin Strategies ETF, another futures-based product, to BTFD. Gotta love the cheek, there. And while that’s all well and good, I have to tell you that I have sincere reservations about popping the virtual champagne here. Because I’ve seen this story before… in gold and silver. I remember those heady days when all the gold bugs thought an ETF would be just the thing to solve the ‘liquidity’ problem gold had. At the time they didn’t want to hear that this lack of liquidity was one of those good problems gold and silver had. Once people dug into the prospectus of the proposed SPDR Gold ETF, which has since then changed its name to SPDR Gold Shares ETF, they found that GLD didn’t have to hold physical gold of any particular quality. They could hold the dreaded ‘paper gold.’ That was the key to these funds being just another layer of the Matrix. They opened up those markets to another sink to drain demand into a black hole of infinite ‘liquidity’ which in the end did nothing to help the price of gold. In fact, just the opposite occurred. It took pressure off the physical spot market and the forex trading of gold and dumped billions of unsuspecting retail investors into the Midgewater Marshes of Wall St.’s hyper-financialization engine. Or does no one remember the definition of ‘Getting Corzined?” So, will that happen with bitcoin since these ETFs are even less tied to the underlying commodity than GLD and SLV? Before I answer that, let’s back up and set up some boundary conditions. This ETF will trade and settle only in front-month Bitcoin futures contracts traded on the CME.  These are cash-settled contracts that bear no relation to actual commodities futures contracts where the buyer is pledging to take delivery of a defined-amount of say, soybeans, and the the seller is pledging to deliver that amount of soybeans by a certain date. In these contracts there is no delivery of bitcoin, the underlying commodity, here.  The only thing delivered is cash. This is just like there is very little gold actually delivered based on the outstanding volume of gold futures open interest on the COMEX during the delivery period during the first week of every other month. Most gold futures are settled in cash, because that’s what many want, a way to hedge dollar or euro exposure with gold without the hassle of actually owning the stuff. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that. But it shouldn’t be the entire market and nor should the ETFs be marketed as having exposure to actual gold. Even when people stand to take delivery in gold there have been multiple instances where cash-settlement was forced on the buyer, presumably because the gold wasn’t there. FYI, it’s in the contract. The COMEX reserves the right to NOT DELIVER gold. Force majeure is a thing, even in the United States. Futures of this type create nothing more than synthetic supply for speculators to make side-bets on the price of an asset without ever having to trade the asset itself. This sucks away demand for that asset and bearing the risk associated with holding it. It creates absolutely zero actual physical demand for the commodity. So, these ETFs will generate absolutely zero demand on the Bitcoin blockchain, only send a secondary signal to actual bitcoin traders that there is something happening they should be aware of. The question everyone should be asking which market is the more important? The actual bitcoin market or the bitcoin futures market? What it does create is a very different set of parameters and games theory optimization strategies for those that play it. They aren’t playing bitcoin, they are playing with “speculating on bitcoin.” And this type of speculation has been going on since December 2017, when the CME’s original bitcoin futures contract began trading. No shock, then, to anyone with any sense of market history that bitcoin peaked in January 2018 and entered a two-plus year bear market. Moreover, they aren’t risking their holdings of bitcoin as the seller of the contract or taking on the volatility risk of the future delivery of bitcoin as the buyer of the contract. These aren’t futures contracts, they are more appropriately called ‘contracts for difference,’ or CFDs, that shady Greece-based Forex companies offer. In effect, I bet the price goes up, you bet it’ll drop and after a certain amount of time we settle our bet. Futures are supposed to help producers of commodities and consumers thereof coordinate production and consumption through time.  They are a vital part of how a free market optimizes capital flow and risk assessment. They help send signals to all players in the supply chain up and downstream of those base commodities what the supply and demand structure of those markets looks like. These are vital and essential pricing signals that when screwed with upset the flow of capital around the world.  So, this should clue you in as to why all these ‘supply chain’ issues and rising ‘inflation’ concerns are suddenly popping up all over the world. There’s been a whole lotta shenanigans going on in various commodities futures markets now since the beginning of the COVID-9/11 psy-op pandemic. From last year’s catastrophic contango in crude oil and the insane pump and dump of lumber futures to this fall’s rise in energy and industrial metals prices, commodities futures markets have become the plaything of speculators who are all downstream of the central banks money printing machines. And since I subscribe heavily to the theory that there are no coincidences in geopolitics, I have to ask the basic question I always ask in times like these… cui bono? Who benefits from this volatility? For years the rent-seekers close to the central banks have turned futures from an essential market function into a tool of market manipulation by giving some actors access to free money to speculate on the asset and utilize the leverage they gain to push and pull the price for trading desk profits. But, honestly, that analysis is as generous as I can be about this situation. By corrupting the gold market nearly to its terminal state over the past fifteen years they have extended the life of the central banks’ power for close to two decades now. The game, in my opinion, is far more sinister than just profit motive, if only it were that banal. No, this manipulation of global commodity prices has massive political and societal effects, corrupting everything these markets touch. Remember, a corrupt money begets a corrupt society. So with corrupted futures markets we have corrupted the very essence of the structure of production and consumption, the very essence of voluntary exchange as the basis for civilization. I wonder who benefits from that…. could it be Communists who hate Capitalism? Askin’ for a friend. Back to gold and silver. GLD and SLV provide massive amounts of liquidity to retail investors which bleeds off physical demand.  I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent trying to convince people to STOP BUYING GLD AS A PROXY FOR GOLD over the past fifteen years. If you want gold buy gold. Hold it in your hand, stop pussyfooting around and remember that not every decision you make with your money should be immediately reversible. That’s not investing, that speculating. The only people who worship at the altar of the Gods of Liquidity are the market-makers skimming both sides of the trade. GLD and SLV both act as a psychological crutch to never commit to taking the other side against the central banks and the powers that continually siphon off your best energy into rabbit holes of irrelevant distractions, like what some dumb chick said on Twitter the other day. You think you’re buying portfolio protection or are hedging against the dollar but all you’re doing is creating the very synthetic short against your portfolio that dulls its returns over time. By buying either of these funds you are just feeding the beast who is working against your well being. Because while they may track the gold price they don’t give you any actual say in the price of it, because all you’re doing is signaling SPDR to print more shares to buy more contracts on the COMEX which were printed out of thin air by some investment bank borrowing money from the Fed at 0%! The same will go for any bitcoin ETFs that don’t hold physical BTC. This is why SEC Chair and Davos troll par excellence Gary Gensler fast-tracked this ETF now after 5 years of the SEC farting around saying no to real Bitcoin ETFs. Everyone serious about crypto wants a physical bitcoin-settled ETF, which the SEC doesn’t want to grant because that would be something that would 1) increase the actual demand for Bitcoin and 2) would expose those involved in the trade to actual time-risk. The biggest clue that these ETFs are not for our benefit but theirs is the following. Settling bitcoin accounts for the ETF daily would be the easiest ETF of this type to implement ever. At the end of trading on any given day the fund simply sends one measly transaction to the blockchain to buy or sell the net of all the trades of the bitcoin ETF’s shares for the day. Hell, they could settle it up every hour if need be during times of volatility. With Lightning Network live, that settlement could even happen there and bleed the blockchain traffic off over time if there’s congestion and the fees too high. It would lead to less bitcoin volatility in the long run, rather than more. And before you begin criticizing me, it’s irrelevant whether I have the settlement mechanisms right here or not, the finer details could be worked out easily if anyone at the SEC cared to want to do that job. What’s important is that the blockchain creates a far more stable environment for issuing a commodity ETF than any other physical commodity actually does. It’s not like we need warehouses to store digital commodities, after all. Moreover, I can even see some upside for the government here. With a daily on-chain settled ETF government stooges like Gensler would then bleed investor demand away from non-KYC/AML compliant crypto exchanges (of which there are dozens) and put them under the purview of Wall St. brokerages, SEC compliance rules etc. where more crypto investors would pay their capital gains taxes, which I thought is what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wants to crack down on so badly? So, again, why didn’t they do this and why are we instead going to get a critical mass of these corrupt futures-based ones? I think you know my answer to that. They need to get as many hooks into bitcoin that they can now to control the price and siphon off retail investor demand while also collecting massive trading fees and trading against their clients’ books. The same way they do in gold. Because they have all but admitted at multiple layers of the technocracy that bitcoin has already beaten them. I’m with Raoul Pal in saying if Gensler was pro-Bitcoin he wouldn’t approve a futures ETF, he’d approve a real one.  As I said already, if there is one commodity on the planet that can handle a day-to-day settled ETF with physical accounting of the float it would be Bitcoin. And yet they won’t do it.  It is expressly against their goals to encourage investors into Bitcoin in ways that would improve it as a market. Instead they want to add bitcoin to their schemes of suppressing the price and sucking up the supply over time, the same way they have destroyed the oil markets, the gold market and every other damn market these vultures have ever touched. So, my advice is stay in actual on-chain bitcoin.  You want bitcoin. Buy some frickin’ bitcoin. Buy the Grayscale closed-end fund, GBTC, if you need to. Or, do what millions have already done, just learn to take full control over your investments and your portfolio hedges and tell the Genslers of the world to go stuff his shit back up his ass where it belongs. They are going to tempt you with lower trading fees on their exchanges as opposed to the much higher ones on Coinbase.  It’s being designed this way on purpose.  Here, you can trade bitcoin for free on RobinHood, why pay Coinbase their fee? Or do yourself a real favor and stop trying to trade bitcoin and listen to the laser-eyes set on Twitter. Just buy the stuff, pull it off the exchanges onto a hardware wallet and ignore all their fancy, financial schemes to separate you from real value. These things are ultimately just marketing. Bitcoin didn’t need an ETF to scare the living daylights out of Wall St., Davos, the CCP and every other would be Bond Villain out there. Thanks to Zerohedge for the above chart. This is what you are staring at over time if you buy this over buying bitcoin directly. No different than what happened to a lot of gold holders who tried to outperform the market through the price manipulation on the COMEX over the 2005-11 bull market. Davos wants private cryptocurrencies banned but failing that they want it as much of it under their control as possible. It’s why the World Economic Forum has ‘approved of’ and is ‘working with’ a list of preferred cryptocurrencies while Gensler and Yellen muck up the market and insert dangerous language into unpassable legislation, e.g. the Build Back Better plan. The problem for them is that Wall St. wants private crypto because it is one of the ways for them to survive the collapse of the current monetary system, since the traditional banking model is as dead as MySpace. The CFTC settlement with Tether last weekend tells you all you need to know about who’s actually in charge on Capitol Hill… and it ain’t Davos.   That was a JPMorgan-style slap on the wrist similar to the SDNY’s settlement with Tether in December.  Tether may be a scam or a Ponzi scheme but it’s now another Wall St. approved scam and Ponzi scheme. But it’s still not approved by Davos. Gensler is fighting an uphill battle against an avalanche of capital that wants yield in a yield-free world. It’s a global market and everyday with Lightning online, the third world is getting access to first world payment technology. That’s the real battle they are losing. Jay Powell came out today and reiterated his commitment to ending QE (hint: not a policy mistake) and allowing all that money printed and he’s sterilized over the past six months within the RRP facility to allow the economy to run without any further support. He has finer control over dollar in/outflow than a Fed chairman ever has and right now, all the right people hate him. Meanwhile everyone on Capitol Hill has COVID-9/11 and January 6th fatigue except the ones holding desperately to the reins of power. The arguments for sending the country on another spending spree seems dumb when there are help wanted signs everywhere and even that too dumb to be considered a dimbuld, Jen Psaki, is trying to play off their manufactured supply chain crisis with the excuse that people are buying so much stuff. And we need $4.5 trillion in spending for what again exactly? How’s that awesome power of the Speaker’s Gavel feel when jammed down your throat, Nance? Mmm… rosewood. This will put upward pressure on UST yields for a time but worse it will begin a stampede out of European debt as the situation there as I’ve discussed ad nauseum ad infinitum is far worse than anything happening on Capitol Hill. All that has to happen now is for O’Biden to admit defeat and GFTO (which is another good candidate for a Bitcoin ETF ticker symbol, in my opinion) of the way. We know they won’t, so brace yourselves for the mother of all battles for our monetary future. And even if Gensler succeeds in taming bitcoin and major private cryptos all he’ll do is drive the economy underground. As Martin Armstrong has been warning us for decades, this is the main way empires collapse, by driving capital underground, deflating asset prices through collapsing money velocity and forcing monetary inflation to offset it. Sound familiar? Got Bitcoin? Got Gold? Got Depends? *  *  * Join my Patreon if you’ve, “Got this…” BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7ZfBCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6rytDCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oELTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5kDASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4VaWAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSaETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edcDGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Sun, 10/24/2021 - 09:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 24th, 2021Related News

A Tale Of Two Civilizations

A Tale Of Two Civilizations Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, In recent years, America’s unsuccessful attempts at containing China as a rival hegemon has only served to promote Chinese antipathy against American capitalism. China is now retreating into the comfort of her long-established moral values, best described as a mixture of Confucianism and Marxism, while despising American individualism, its careless regard for family values, and encouragement of get-rich-quick financial speculation. After America’s defeat in Afghanistan, the geopolitical issue is now Taiwan, where things are hotting up in the wake of the AUKUS agreement. Taiwan is important because it produces two-thirds of the world’s computer chips. Meanwhile, the large US banks are complacent concerning Taiwan, preferring to salivate at the money-making prospects of China’s $45 trillion financial services market. The outcome of the Taiwan issue is likely to be decided by the evolution of economic factors. China is protecting herself against a global credit crisis by restraining its creation, while America is going full MMT. The outcome is likely to be a combined financial market and dollar crisis for America, taking down its Western epigones as well. China has protected herself by cornering the market for physical gold and secretly accumulating as much as 20,000-30,000 tonnes in national reserves. If the dollar fails, which without a radical change in monetary policy it is set to do, with its gold-backing China expects to not only survive but be able to consolidate Taiwan into its territory with little or no opposition. Introduction On the one hand we have America and on the other we have China. As civilisations, America is discarding its moral values and social structures while China is determined to stick with its Confucian and Marxist roots. America is inclined to recognise no other civilisations as being civilised, while China’s leadership has seen America’s version and is rejecting it. Both forms of civilisation are being insular with respect to the other, and their need to peacefully cooperate in a multipolar world is increasingly hampered. Understanding another nation’s point of view is essential for peaceful harmony. This truism has been ignored by not just America, but by the Western alliance under American coercion. The Federal Government and its agencies are pursuing a propaganda effort against China’s exports and technology, while the average American appears less troubled. Perhaps we can put this down to a nation based on immigrants having a more cosmopolitan psyche than its predominantly Anglo-Saxon establishment. In Europe, it sometimes appears to be the other way round, with the politicians more prepared to tolerate China than their US counterparts. But then geography is involved, and the silk roads do not involve America, while rail links between China and Western Europe work efficiently, delivering vital trade between them. Economic interdependency is rarely considered. Nor are the potential consequences of diverging economic and monetary policies. While China has been squeezing domestic credit, the West has been issuing currency and credit like drunken sailors on shore leave. Being starved of extra credit, China’s economy has been deliberately stalled, and there is a real or imagined crisis developing in its property markets. Only now, it has become apparent that the West’s major economies are running into troubles of their own. Economic destabilisation heightens the risk of conflict, and perhaps the timing of the build-up of tensions in the South China Sea and over Taiwan is not accidental. On Wall Street there is an air of complacency, with the US investment community led by the big banks ignoring the developing risks of this dysfunction. In the context of deteriorating relations between China and America and with China’s growing contempt for US political resolve, Taiwan is becoming extremely important geopolitically. China’s plans for Taiwan Taiwan is in the world’s geopolitical crosshairs with President Xi insisting it returns to China. The West, which has failed to protect Taiwan from China’s claims of sovereignty in the past, thereby endorsing them, is only now belatedly coming to its aid with a new Pacific strategy. But the signals already sent to the Chinese are that the Western alliance is too divided, too weak to prevent a Chinese takeover. This surely is the reasoning behind China’s attempts to provoke an attack on its air force by invading Taiwan’s airspace. And all the West can do is indulge in finger-wagging by sailing aircraft carriers through the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan matters, being the source of two-thirds of the world supply of microchips. Faced with a pusillanimous west, this fact hands great power to China — which with Taiwan corners the market. Furthermore, the big Wall Street banks are salivating over the prospects of participating in China’s $45 trillion financial services market and are preparing for it. China has thereby ensured the US banking system has too much invested to support the US administration in any escalation of the Taiwan issue. The actual timing of China’s escalation of the Taiwan issue appears related to the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal. That being so, the posturing between China and the Western Alliance has just begun. There are four possible outcomes: China backs off and the tension subsides, America and the Western Alliance back off and China gets Taiwan, there is a negotiated settlement, or a military war against China ensues. In this context it is important to understand the civilisation issue, which increasingly divides China and America. There is little doubt that the hitherto normal relationship between America and China was disrupted by President Trump becoming nationalistic. His “make America great again” policy was a declaration of a trade war. That was accompanied by a political attack on Hong Kong, which provoked China into taking Hong Kong under direct mainland control. There followed a technology war, leading to the arrest of the daughter of Huawei’s founder in Canada. There appears to be little change in President Biden’s policy against China. Now that his administration has bedded in, China is beginning to test it over Taiwan. To give it context, we should understand the Chinese culture and why the state is so defensive of it, and how the leadership views America and its weaknesses. For that is what is behind its economic divergence from the West. China’s changing political culture Since becoming President, Xi has reformed China’s state machinery. After assuming power in 2012, he needed to clear out the corrupt and vested interests of the previous regime. He instigated Operation Fox Hunt against corrupt officials, who, it was estimated, had salted away the equivalent of over a trillion dollars abroad. By 2015 over 180 people had been returned to China from more than 40 countries. Former security chief Zhou Yongkang and former vice security minister Sun Lijun ended up in prison and Hu Jintao’s powerful Communist Youth League faction was marginalised. By dealing ruthlessly with corrupt officials Xi got rid of the vested interests that would have potentially undermined him. He consolidated both his public support and his iron grip on the Communist Party for the decade ahead. His public approval ratings remain extraordinarily high to this day. On the economic front Xi faced major challenges. Having become the world’s manufacturer, a sharp wealth divide opened between China’s concentrated manufacturing centres and rural China. Some 600 million people are still subsisting on a monthly income of less than 1,000 yuan ($156) a month. A rapidly increasing urban population has been denuding the rural economy of human resources and undermining the family culture. The wealth disparity between city and country has become an important political issue, which is why as well as refocusing resources towards agriculture Xi has clamped down on super-rich entrepreneurs and their record-breaking IPOs. In his Common Prosperity policy, Xi declared that he was not prepared to let the gap between rich and poor widen, and that common prosperity was not just an economic issue but “a major political issue related to the party’s governing foundations”. Following decades of communism under Mao, after China’s initial recovery and development Xi is now clamping down on unfettered capitalism. He and his advisers have observed the disintegration of family values in America and the rise of individualism at the expense of family life; and with popular culture how these trends are being adopted by China’s youth. The state has now shut down western-style social media, and erased celebrity culture. The social impact of cultural change is often overlooked, but it is at the forefront of China’s policy-makers’ consideration. For millennia, a state-controlled Chinese civilisation endured. Despite the Cultural Revolution, the post-war Mao Zedong years failed to erase it. Never sympathetic to free markets, statist thoughts have turned inwardly to Confucius and Marx to escape the obvious failings of American capitalism and its decline from familial values to individualism and rampant speculation. This is what Xi reflects in his presidency. His chief adviser, his éminence grise, is Wang Huning who operates in the political shadows. From all accounts, Wang is extremely clever, speaks French and English, spent a year in America and is a deep thinker who, having examined them, has rejected western values in favour of Chinese tradition. NS Lyons, an analyst and writer living in Washington, DC, has written an interesting article about Wang, published on Palladium Magazine — it is well worth reading. As we saw with the UK’s temporary éminence grise, Dominic Cummings, the power to influence possessed by such a person is considerable, but always in a statist context. The economics of free markets are not involved, except as a source of revenue to fund statist ambitions. The result is an assumption, an ignorance of economic affairs concealed by an automatic acceptance of the status quo. This is Wang’s weak point, and insofar as Xi relies on his advice, it is the President’s as well. Wang appears to be promoting a Confucian/Marxist hybrid civilisation which is intended to unify China’s many ethnic groups in a government-set culture, reverting to a morality of yesteryear. Comparing China’s future with that of American democracy and its moral degradation, the approach is understandable and enjoys popular support. But the consequences are that the state is drifting backwards towards its Marxist roots. The central command over the economy is exemplified in energy policy: power entities have been instructed to keep factories running without power outages, irrespective of coal and natural gas costs. In fact, the management of the economy was never relinquished by the state, which is now redoubling its efforts to retain control over economic outcomes. All one can say is that so far, the Chinese appear to have made considerably less of a mess managing their economy and currency compared with America’s Federal Government and its central bank. The political consequences are also important. By stemming the tide of Western moral decadence in her own territory China is insulating herself from the rest of the American-dominated world. This is being bolstered by steps to shift the emphasis from the export trade towards domestic consumption to improve living standards. In the process China will become more of an economic fortress, mainly interested in Africa and the Americas as sources of raw materials and commodities rather than as export markets to be fostered. China’s internationalism of the last four decades is increasingly redirected and confined to the Eurasian continent over which she exercises greater degrees of political and economic control. Which brings us back to the issues of Taiwan and the South China Sea, which China sees as consolidating her rightful political and cultural borders. However, the increasing autarky of both China and America is making the Taiwan issue more difficult to resolve peacefully. And we must also consider the opposing directions of drift for their two economies, which could decide the outcome. The US’s economic condition and outlook There is a mistaken assumption that the US’s economic troubles relate solely to the consequences of the covid lockdowns. Certainly, the Fed timed its funds rate cut to the zero bound and its current and unprecedented rate of quantitative easing of $120bn every month to March 2020, when lockdowns in Europe and the UK commenced. And it was becoming clear, despite President Trump’s prevarication, that the US would follow. But that ignores developments which preceded covid. Probably due to earlier tapering of QE in 2019, financial markets signalled a developing slump, with the S&P 500 falling 35% in 23 trading sessions to mid-March 2020 — eerily replicating the Wall Street Crash between end-September and late October 1929. It took the reduction of the Fed funds rate to the zero bound, and $120bn of monthly QE feeding into pension funds and insurance companies to turn markets higher. The yield on 10-year US Treasuries fell to 0.5% and equities markets soared on the back of a new basis of relative valuation. After the repo blow-up in September 2019, it became clear that bank balance sheets were too constrained to extend additional bank credit, and conventionally, that might have marked the turn of the bank credit cycle, which was why the comparison with late-1929 was so apt. Furthermore, the banks became less interested in extending credit to Main Street than to Wall Street after financial markets stabilised. The recovery in equities and their move into new high ground is simply asset inflation. Speculators have been quick to add to the Fed’s QE liquidity by drawing on bank and shadow bank credit to play the game. Figure 1 shows how margin loans have nearly doubled as the bull market in equities proceeded from late-March 2020. Never has so much leverage been seen in US securities markets. During covid lockdowns, beyond pure survival few in industry made judgements about the future. It was commonly assumed that when lockdowns ceased business would return to normal. But this made no allowance for the passage of time and the evolution of consumer needs and wants. Eighteen months later, we find that supply chains are still wrongfooted, disrupted by covid shutdowns and not supplying newly needed goods. Consumer demand patterns are not where they left off — they have radically changed. Buoyancy in the US economy is now proving short-lived. The flood of initial spending following lockdowns has receded and different factors are now at play. Supply bottlenecks due to lack of components, transport, and labour are forcing up prices at a pace not reflected in official statistics. In effect, GDP is insufficiently deflated by price rises on the high street to give a reasonable estimate of real GDP. With prices probably rising at over 15% annualised (Shadowstats.com estimated 13.5% three months ago and pressures on rising prices have increased significantly since) the US economy is in a slump which is beginning to replicate that of ninety years ago. The difference is that in 1930-33 the dollar was on a gold coin standard increasing its purchasing power as bank credit was withdrawn, while today it is pure fiat and declining at an increasing pace. Rising prices across the board are another way of saying that the currency’s purchasing power is declining, which given the Fed’s monetary policies of recent years is not surprising. Figure 2 shows the impact of the Fed’s monetary policy on commodity prices, which reflects the dollar’s weakness as a medium of exchange. Given that it takes anything between a few weeks and six months for energy and commodity prices to work through to consumer prices, the recent spurt in commodity prices strongly suggests that consumer prices are going to continue to rise into next year. Yet, only now are the Fed and other central banks beginning to accept that rising prices are not going to be as temporary as they first hoped. This is because it is not prices rising, but the dollar’s purchasing power falling. When they fully realise it, foreign holders of dollars, totalling $33 trillion held in securities, short-term instruments, and bank deposits will require higher interest compensation to persuade them to continue holding dollars. And this is where a conflicting problem arises. A rise in interest rates sufficient to compensate foreign holders of dollars for the currency’s loss of purchasing power will undermine the values of their US stock holdings, totalling $14 trillion, of which $12 trillion is held by private sector foreign investors. Furthermore, a further $12.5 trillion of foreign private sector funds are invested in long-term bonds which will also decline in value. Higher interest rates will certainly trigger private sector selling of these assets across the board. The fate of $6.6 trillion of foreign official holdings of long-term securities will be partly political, demonstrated by the most recent Treasury TIC figures which showed China selling $21bn of US Treasuries, and Japan and the UK buying $39bn between them. This is strongly suggestive of swap lines being drawn down to support the US Treasury bond market, while presumably the US, either through the Treasury, the Exchange Stabilisation Fund, or the Fed itself has bought JGBs and gilts as the quid pro quo. It is worth noting this point because it shows how low bond yields are perpetuated by cooperation between major central banks – along with the attendant monetary inflation. That being the case, private sector holders are misled by price stability while bonds are being wildly overvalued. Another way of looking at it is that if John Williams at Shadowstats is right about inflation statistics, then US Treasuries should be yielding as much as 10% along the whole yield curve. Perhaps the recent rise in the 10-year US Treasury yield in Figure 2 is indicating the start of the process of this discovery for foreign and domestic investors alike. The chart shows that once the 1.75% level is overcome, there is considerable upside in the yield, with a golden cross forming under the spot value. If yields rise from here, it will not be long before equity markets take note and enter a full-blown bear market. The first reaction from the Fed to these events will almost certainly be to claim that falling equities are a leading economic indicator, suggesting the economy faces a post-covid recession. Interest rates cannot be eased further, but QE can be stepped up to cap bond yields and encourage pension funds and insurance corporations to increase their investments. This would be a U-turn from the projected policy of reducing QE due to inflation concerns. But at that point the neo-Keynesian argument can be expected to claim that the developing recession more than negates prospective inflation concerns. Facing the same dynamics, the other leading central banks are certain to fall in line with the Fed’s new policy. But as John Law found in a similar situation in France in 1720, rigging a failing stock market (in his case the Mississippi venture) by currency and credit expansion ultimately fails and undermines the currency. Law destroyed the French economy, contrasting with the British South Sea Bubble, where the Bank of England was not involved and did not deploy its currency to ramp markets. Today, it appears that Law’s experiment is about to be repeated on a grander scale by the issuer of the world’s reserve currency. The other major western central banks will follow suite. The whole fiat money system is at risk of being driven into a similar failure as that which faced the French livre. So, where would that leave China? China’s economic and monetary outlook As noted above, China has followed a different monetary path from that of the Fed for some time — most pointedly since March 2020. Consequently, the yuan has risen against the dollar since then, illustrated in Figure 4. After some initial uncertainty, the yuan began to rise against the dollar and is now about 10% up on the late-March 2020 level. This is not significant yet, because the dollar’s trade-weighted index has fallen by a similar amount. But with China’s monetary policy of clamping down on shadow banking and excessive bank credit creation, compared against the Fed’s more expansionary monetary policies, we can expect the trend for a stronger yuan relative to the dollar to continue. In neo-Keynesian language, China is in a period of deflation, leading to falling prices relative to those measured in dollars. But that misses the point: China has been careful not to encourage speculation in financial assets, reflected in relative stock market performances, shown in Figure 5. While the Fed has been inflating stock prices through interest rate and monetary policies, the Chinese have discouraged speculation. The result is that financial assets in China should be less vulnerable to a general market downturn. It has been a deliberate policy to protect the Chinese economy from 2014 onwards, after the PLA’s chief strategist, Major-General Qiao Liang convinced Beijing that permitting unfettered speculation would leave markets vulnerable to a pump-and-dump attack by America. To the Chinese, excessive financial speculation aided and abetted by the Fed must look like a cover for underlying economic failure. Every thread of their analysis must point to economic disintegration from which China must protect herself. Rates of credit expansion must be restricted, and the yuan be permitted to rise on the foreign exchanges. The change in policy emphasis from export markets towards increasing domestic consumption should be accelerated. In any event, China is the world’s dominant manufacturer, so she has a good degree of control over prices in international trade for consumer goods anyway. The prices of imported commodities and raw materials matter more today and rising dollar prices for commodities and energy can be countered by a higher exchange rate for the yuan. The state’s policy of least risk is to quietly divorce the Chinese economy from the dollar’s influence. In switching some of its trade into the yuan and other currencies, it has been doing this since the Lehman failure, which was another seminal moment in Chinese thinking. The cultural analysis is that America is now destroying its own currency towards a terminal event, an outcome forecast by economics professors in China’s Marxist universities over fifty years ago. The post-Mao ride, piggybacking on American capitalistic methods, is no longer tenable. The golden backstop Like the Marxist professors in the universities, China’s thinkers, such as Wang Huning and President Xi himself, always believed America to be politically and morally rudderless and would destroy itself. Presumably the election of an unpredictable Trump followed by a President Biden who appears to be in a geriatric decline is seen in Beijing as evidence that American society is indeed rudderless and imploding. It was against this likely event that in 1983 far-sighted Chinese strategists began to accumulate gold and to corner the word market for bullion. It would have been obvious to them that one day, dancing with the capitalist devils would become too dangerous and China’s future would have to be secured at the outset long before a capitalist collapse. Accordingly, the Regulations on the Control of Gold and Silver were promulgated on 15 June that year, appointing the People’s Bank (PBOC) with sole responsibility for managing China’s gold and silver while private ownership remained banned. The PBOC then began to acquire gold from foreign markets, a task made easier by the 1980-2002 bear market. Meanwhile, the government threw substantial resources into developing gold mining, and became the largest gold producer in the world by a substantial margin, overtaking South Africa, Russia, and the United States. State owned refineries took in doré from abroad, adding to the accumulation. It was only after the PBOC had accumulated sufficient bullion from imports and domestic production that she set up the Shanghai Gold Exchange in 2002 and permitted Chinese citizens to acquire gold. The government even ran advertising campaigns encouraging the purchase of gold, and since then, over 19,000 tonnes have been delivered into private sector ownership from the SGE’s vaults. Together with the total ban on exports of Chinese refined gold, the pre-2002 ban on private ownership while the state acquired sufficient bullion for its purposes, coupled with the subsequent encouragement to the public to do the same, China clearly regarded gold as her most important strategic asset. It has still not shown its hand, but given the likely amounts involved, to do so would risk destabilising the dollar-centric fiat currency world. Until it happens, we should assume that the 20,000-30,000 tonnes likely to have been accumulated in various state accounts since 1983 is an insurance policy against the failure of American capitalism and the world’s reserve currency. This brings us back to the Taiwan question. For China, the re-absorption of Taiwan may become a simpler matter when the capitalistic Americans are economically at their weakest and the dollar is collapsing. Taiwan itself might face up to this reality. A few steps to push America on its way may be tempting, such as selling down their holdings of US Treasuries (already in process) or disclosing a significantly higher level of gold reserves. The latter may wait until a dollar crisis really develops, which is now surely only a matter of a little time. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 24th, 2021Related News

You Can Now Buy A Flying Car That Looks Like A Star Wars Spacecraft

You Can Now Buy A Flying Car That Looks Like A Star Wars Spacecraft Forget Elon Musk's Tesla Cyberquad ATV because there's a new form of transportation for the offroad enthusiast now available, and it looks like something out of Star Wars.  Sweden's Jetson Aero has begun manufacturing a personal electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that will zip around the skies at 63 mph.  The Jetson One eVTOL is an octocopter with four arms that produce 88 kW (118 horsepower) at full throttle. The pilot sits in an aluminum/carbon fiber frame and controls the craft via a throttle lever on the left, a joystick on the right, and a pair of pedals, likely controlling yaw. According to vehicle car website Autoevolution, "the company [Jetson Aero] said that you can easily climb as high as 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) with Jetson One." So far, videos only show the eVTOL moving at high rates of speed at low altitudes.   Someone who weighs roughly 187 pounds can expect 15-20 minutes of flight time before the batteries need a recharge.  New Atlas noted the eVTOL comes 50% built, and presumably, owners will have to assemble the rest. For that reason, the craft will likely fly under "experimental" where pilots don't need a license to fly.  As for price, a $22k deposit will give someone the right to reserve a build slot for 2023. There are only three left. Production in 2022, a total of 12, has already been secured from people worldwide, including a few in California.  Personal eVTOLs appear to be the next big trend in transportation that will revolutionize how people (rich people) travel and commute or spend their leisure time.  Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 24th, 2021Related News

Gordon Chang: Joe Biden"s Taiwan Policy Is Now A Total Disaster

Gordon Chang: Joe Biden's Taiwan Policy Is Now A Total Disaster Authored by Gordon Chang via 19fortyfive.com, “He is just too old and likes to bluff, doesn’t know what he is talking about,” tweeted China Daily’s Chen Weihua on Friday, referring to President Joe Biden. On Thursday, Biden told CNN’s Anderson Cooper he would defend Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” the President said, responding to a question about what the U.S. would do if China attacked the island republic. Chen’s dismissive comment confirms that America’s deterrence of China is eroding fast. “Biden has been anything but clear,” ABC News wrote about the President’s intentions toward Taiwan. On the contrary, he has been crystal clear, on a number of occasions. Biden’s comment to Cooper was not a one-off. In August, he told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos that the U.S. would defend NATO partners, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. If there is anything unclear, it is the situation after the clarifications from Biden administration officials: Press Secretary Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson Ned Price, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. All of them walked back Biden’s statement to CNN. “Well, there has been no shift,” Psaki told reporters on Friday. “The President was not announcing any change in our policy nor has he made a decision to change our policy. There is no change in our policy.” In fact, there was a change. Biden’s definitive statement was a stark departure from America’s decades-old policy of “strategic ambiguity,” the policy of telling neither Beijing nor Taipei what the U.S. would do in the case of imminent conflict. There are now two causes for concern. First, Biden, as Commander-in-Chief, makes foreign policy. The Constitution does not give that power to Psaki, Price, or Austin. Beijing may wonder—as should Americans and others—if Biden is still in charge. Second, the instant clarifications undermine deterrence. Biden’s statement was clear and unambiguous, a warning to Beijing. The clarifications, on the other hand, tell China the United States is not committing itself to defend Taiwan. The walk-back statements could lead Beijing to believe there are disagreements inside the Biden administration and in a crisis, some officials would try to override the President to block an American defense of Taiwan. In short, Chen Weihua’s insulting comments look close to the mark. Deterrence has just had a bad day. And so has the U.S. Constitution. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 24th, 2021Related News

Why Australia Could (And Should) Become A Major Nuclear Power Producer

Why Australia Could (And Should) Become A Major Nuclear Power Producer Authored by Paul Sullivan via OilPrice.com, Australia is a country nearly the size of the continental US with a population of about 26 million people.It is a country with vast open spaces. Most of its population is found on its east coast in New South Wales and Queensland, some population centers in Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territories and on the island of Tasmania. Most of the larger populations in these areas are in a few cities and their suburbs with lots of open space between them in many places. The largest electricity grid goes down the east coast and loops over to South Australia. There is another one in Western Australia, albeit a smaller one than on the east coast, and then an even much smaller one in the Northwest Territories. These grids are not connected.  Why is this important for nuclear power?  If we are thinking about big reactors, they can only be deployed in areas where the market can support them. If we are thinking about small modular reactors, SMRs, then there are other uses for smaller cities in less densely populated areas.  Australia is energy-rich. It is the largest coal exporter in the world. It’s one of the major gas exporters, and previously even was the largest LNG exporter in the world. It has massive wind, solar, geothermal, wind, tidal, and wave energy potential. It has significant hydroelectric resources, but recent droughts have put those into question. Given its low population and vast energy resources, about 2/3rd of its energy production is exported. It is an increasing net importer of oil and refined oil products. Oil, however, is a weak spot in Australia’s energy security and resilience.  Australia’s primary energy consumption is overwhelmingly fossil fuels. About 80 percent of its electricity is still from fossil fuels, with black and brown coal dominating, but renewables have been growing in importance, especially since 2008. Overall electricity generation grew nicely until a flattening out also in 2008. It is still growing, but not nearly as quickly as it once was. There are considerable differences in fuels and methods used to produce electricity across its territories and states. New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland use mostly coal. Western Australia is dominated by gas. South Australia uses mostly gas and a much larger percentage of renewables than any other area. Tasmania is mostly hydropower. The Northern Territories is almost dominated by an even mix of gas and oil. Except for South Australia, renewables are not a large part of electricity generation elsewhere in the country. Hydropower has been part of the energy mix in Australia for a very long time. Solar and wind really started to take hold and grow only in the 2000s. Bioenergy is a small percentage, but not entirely insignificant. Overall, for the country, coal use in electricity has been in decline. Natural gas and renewables have been increasingly used in electricity generation.  In terms of energy production, Australian coal has been on a steep growth path for some time. Oil has been in decline. Natural gas has grown greatly in recent years. In the overall big picture in energy production renewable energy is a coat of paint on top of the others. Coal dominates energy production and natural gas is a far second.  The main use of nuclear power is for electricity. However, the only nuclear reactor in Australia is in Sydney. It is a tiny 20 MW reactor that makes nuclear isotopes for medical purposes. Nuclear power can be curative in a medical sense. Many know this from personal experience.  Nuclear power is controversial in Australia. Importantly,  “Nuclear power production is currently not permitted under two main pieces of Commonwealth legislation—the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the ARPANS Act), and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). These Acts expressly prohibit the approval, licensing, construction, or operation of a nuclear fuel fabrication plant; a nuclear power plant; an enrichment plant; or a reprocessing facility. There is also a range of other legislation, including state and territory legislation, which regulates nuclear and radiation-related activities." There are also state and territory laws strictly regulating it, and in some cases, such as in Victoria, it is outright banned. So, there are many legal levels with hurdles for nuclear power.  Australia has the largest known reserves of uranium on the planet. It is the third-largest exporter of uranium. Yet is has no nuclear power plants to produce electricity. There is a possibility that the new strategic cooperation deal with the UK and the USA, the AUKUS agreement, that includes Australia getting help from the UK and the US to develop and deploy nuclear submarines, could create more conversation and debate on nuclear power. These nuclear submarines will require increasing nuclear expertise in Australia. There will be a need for that nuclear expertise to maintain and develop this fleet of nuclear submarines. In the US, many of the people working in nuclear power plants are Navy nuclear experts and engineers.  Some in Australia see the nuclear submarines deal as a marker to restart the debate on having nuclear power in the country. Others are vehemently against nuclear power. Many laws and regulations are still in place to put a check on nuclear power in the country. However, as climate change concerns continue to increase, there could be an increasing drive towards nuclear power in the country. Nuclear power plants produce no greenhouse gas emissions. The major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nuclear fuel cycle is in uranium mining. Australia has very high per capita greenhouse gas emissions, especially if the emissions from its massive energy exports are added to the equation. Most of its domestic emissions are from the burning of coal, natural gas, oil, and oil products.  Environmentalism is growing in Australia. Recent droughts, fires, floods, and heatwaves are spurring this on. The options for lower emissions fuels do not include coal and oil, unless there are gigantic, and very expensive, programs for carbon capture and storage, CCS, and carbon capture and utilization, CCU.  The energy transition in Australia may include further moves towards natural gas, but that would cut into one of its greatest exports, LNG. The energy transition in Australia will likely include renewables, for which it has massive potential. However, renewables are intermittent and there will be a giant need for energy storage and demand management if Australia decides to take this path. With nuclear power as part of its energy transition, Australia would have another way of reducing its carbon emissions. Nuclear power is a baseload that runs 24/7, except during refueling and maintenance.  Nuclear power can have capacity factors well into the 90s. Renewables are not even close. Nuclear power could help stabilize the electricity grids of the country. It could help with the energy security, energy reliability, and energy resilience of the country. Nuclear power is over time, and on average, contrary to many media and other reports, one of the safest and least polluting sources of energy.  Retiring coal plants, and many are scheduled for retirement and have been retired, can be repurposed as nuclear plants in some places. The transition from coal to natural gas and renewables could be complemented with a transition from coal to nuclear power. Nuclear power could increase the diversity of the energy transition.  A nuclear power option that Australia could consider is small modular reactors. These produce smaller amounts of nuclear power than the standard plants. They can be built upon as modular, like building blocks, and when an area needs more power, they can be added in. They can have passive safety features well beyond the standard nuclear power plants. Next to this, they have a much lower proliferation risk.  It could be years before SMRs can be deployed anywhere in the world in large numbers, but many of the questions about standard reactors can be answered with SMRs. They are not the perfect answer, but in a world increasingly concerned about the effects of greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane, for many countries, nuclear will be close to a requirement in their energy transitions. Australia has lots of renewable energy potential, but it may be worth it to bring up nuclear once again.  Australia needs energy security, energy reliability, and energy resiliency. It also needs environmental security, environmental reliability, and environmental resilience. Australia has had some very rough times with fires, floods, droughts, storms, and more. Climate change is happening. Australia can be part of the problem or part of the solution. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 21:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTOct 23rd, 2021Related News