The Power of Nightmares: Baby It's Cold Outside :.

I haven't had a chance to watch all of this yet, but it looks excellent. I can't believe this escaped my attention when it was first released. Special thanks to SP for bringing it to my attention:

"Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand"

".... A threat that needs to be fought by a war on terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians..."

"This is a series of films about how and why that fantasy was created, and who it benefits. At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neoconservatives, and the radical Islamists."

Related: BBC

Research Credit: SP

Upstate New York Man Gets the Poop on Outsourcing :.

Computer programmer Steve Relles has the poop on what to do when your job is outsourced to India.

Relles, one of a rising number of Americans seeking new opportunities as their work shifts to countries with cheaper labor, has spent the past year making his living scooping up dog droppings as the "Delmar Dog Butler."

"My parents paid for me to get a (degree) in math and now I am a pooper scooper," Relles, a 42-year-old married father of two told Reuters. "I can clean four to five yards in a hour if they are close together."

Relles, who lost his computer programming job about three years ago, got the idea of cleaning dog dirt from people's back yards from Mark Booth, a friend in Buffalo, New York.

Ralles has over 100 clients who pay $10 each for a once-a-week cleaning of their yard.

Relles competes for business with another local company called "Scoopy Do." Similar outfits have sprung up across America, including, which operates in Ohio.

Genetic Mingling Mixes Human, Animal Cells :.

On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs.

The University of Nevada-Reno researcher talks matter-of-factly about his plans to euthanize one of the pregnant sheep in a nearby lab. He can't wait to examine the effects of the human cells he had injected into the fetus' brain about two months ago.

"It's mice on a large scale," Chamberlain says with a shrug.

As strange as his work may sound, it falls firmly within the new ethics guidelines the influential National Academies issued this past week for stem cell research.

In fact, the Academies' report endorses research that co-mingles human and animal tissue as vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

Related: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy


Cryptogon Reader Contributes $30

DT writes:
I just read your essay "Militant Electronic Piracy" and was very impressed. I have been reading cryptogon for years now and its about time I gave you something back for all your hard work! I hope you get to NZ before they take you out of service...
Thanks, DT!


Exploding Toads :.


More than 1,000 toads have puffed up and exploded in a Hamburg pond in recent weeks, and German scientists have no explanation for what's causing the combustion.

Both the pond's water and body parts of the toads have been tested, but scientists have been unable to find a bacteria or virus that would cause the toads to swell up and pop, said Janne Kloepper, of the Hamburg-based Institute for Hygiene and the Environment.

"It's absolutely strange," she said Wednesday. "We have a really unique story here in Hamburg. This phenomenon really doesn't seem to have appeared anywhere before."

Research Credit: EG

U.S. Navy Search for Operation SEASPRAY

The U.S. Navy user (host:, ip: conducted the following Google search: seaspray cia.

Relavent Cryptogon Pages: seaspray cia.

UCLA Fusion :.

In 2002, nuclear engineers Rusi P. Taleyarkhan of Purdue University and Richard T. Lahey Jr. of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced that they had produced thermonuclear fusion by imploding tiny deuterium-rich gas bubbles with sound waves and neutrons. The news about their fusion method--dubbed sonofusion--made headlines worldwide. Yet many skeptics greeted it with scoffing. Now, after repeating the experiments with an improved apparatus, Taleyarkhan and Lahey have more convincing evidence.

In the May 2005 issue of IEEE Spectrum, they discuss their latest experiments in detail and also explain how they plan to turn their tabletop apparatus into a full-scale electricity-generating device. "If this proves possible--and it's still a big 'if'--sonofusion could become a revolutionary new energy source," they write.

Militant Electronic Piracy :.

This essay was previously distributed only to Cryptogon contributors. Today, stories are breaking that directly relate to this information:

The germ of this essay was a Wired article about electronic piracy called, "The Shadow Internet." The following Cryptogon analysis will focus on the nature of insurgency in the U.S. and critical national security aspects of electronic piracy that the article failed to address.

Related: Microsoft States Full TCP/IP Too Dangerous

Related: Bush Signs Law Targeting P2P Pirates


Retrofit Motors Improve Wind Turbine Performance by 31% :.

Apache Electric used resources from the Boeing Aircraft Corporation in the development of this new motor, and hopes to increase their turbine efficiency to over 31 percent. Building a motor that can be retrofitted to Apache's older turbines will benefit the existing maintenance contracts for the company because they can update the turbines without a need for new infrastructure, according to USWF CEO William Telander.

Bush: Build Oil Refineries at Ex-Military Bases, and Nuke Plants :.

Someone give him a Dr. Seuss book to read before he hurts himself:

President Bush proposed allowing oil companies to build new refineries at abandoned military bases and encouraging new nuclear power plants in steps that critics said would do nothing to address America's immediate problem of high gasoline prices.

"The problem is clear. This problem did not develop overnight, and it's not going to be fixed overnight," Bush said in lowering expectations for immediate relief.


Do Good Fellas Wear Crappy Shoes? :.

Nahhhh, they just take bribes from the criminals who run the dungeons!

A former vice president of Vans Inc., who admitted that he obtained $4.7 million in bribes and kickbacks from Chinese factories that manufactured Vans shoes and clothing, was sentenced this morning to 71 months in federal prison.

Scott Andrew Brabson, 50, of Goleta, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter.

The second defendant in the case, Jay William Rosendahl, 48, of Lake Oswego, Oregon, also was sentenced this morning by Judge Walter to 71 months in federal prison.

In addition to the prison sentences, Judge Walter ordered both defendants to pay $4.7 million in restitution to Vans.

Earlier this year, each defendant pleaded guilty to four felony charges: conspiracy, foreign travel to promote bribery, "honest services" wire fraud and money laundering.

Brabson and Rosendahl met with owners and managers of Chinese factories and informed them that in order to continue receiving product orders from Vans, the factories would have to send kickbacks amounting to 3 percent of Vans' orders. The defendants provided the factories with the number of a Hong Kong bank account, and the factories wire-transferred the kickbacks into the account they had established under the name StreamFlow Holdings Limited.

Shortly after Brabson left Vans, he moved almost $3 million of the money into accounts at a Luxembourg bank. Brabson then transferred about $1.3 million into different Hong Kong bank accounts controlled by Rosendahl. Each defendant withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash along the way.

When he pleaded guilty earlier this year, Brabson acknowledged that he fabricated e-mails and other communications that purported to be internal Vans documents and which appeared both to exonerate him in the bribery scheme and implicate other Vans executives in allegations of inflated earnings made by shareholders in a class-action against the shoemaker.

This matter was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Research Credit: SA

Microsoft to Add 'Black Box' to Windows :.


In a move that could rankle privacy advocates, Microsoft said Monday that it is adding the PC equivalent of a flight data recorder to the next version of Windows, in an effort to better understand and prevent computer crashes.

The tool will build on the existing Watson error-reporting tool in Windows but will provide Microsoft with much deeper information, including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created. Businesses will also choose whether they want their own technology managers to receive such data when an employee's machine crashes.


Make Your Time

Driving a Hybrid Car and the Activist/Idiot Mentality :.

Get yourself a Che Guevara iPod case and slap a Kerry-Edwards sticker on your Toyota Prius! HAHAHA! Have you seen nonsense like this? I have. Limousine liberals have funny and predictable ways of maintaining the status quo. They do nothing and make a lot of noise about doing nothing. This, obviously, accomplishes nothing. This variety of twit is the 180-degrees-out-of-phase version of the Hummer-driving, Bush-Kerry species of twit. It might look, sound and smell a little bit different, but it's the same damn twit.

(Actually, I haven't seen a Che Guevara iPod case, but I could probably make a fortune if I had them for sale. I could pull the same stunt as Apple; appearing all touchy feely, while, at the same time, behaving like a serial killer. Have you read the bottom of an iPod box lately? "Designed in California. Made in China." I wonder, what is Steve Jobs' position on the mobile death vans?)

Sure, drive the hybrid if you think it will accomplish some tactical goal---like saving money on gas---but as far as substantive activism... Uh... What if I offered to sell you a Che Guevara iPod case for $9.99?

All the hybrid does is drive down the cost of gas for the Hummer drivers. Think about it. It frees up more fuel for them to burn at their whim. So, go ahead, stick your dumb slogans on your Prius and keep pretending that you're doing something. The fact that there isn't a single, viable all-electric solution is proof that this entire catastrophe is a scam. But never mind that... The Matrix has you, hybrid or Hummer.

I'm looking at cheap electric scooters to ride to and from work. I want to save money on gas so I can get my land even faster. Do I think of myself as an activist for doing this? Hell no. The bottom line is that this thing is coming down. You will either be in an environment that is conducive to survival, or you won't. Put that in your activist pipe and smoke it.

I would say to use whatever technology you have at your disposal to speed the construction of an alternate reality for you and your family. Slapping another bumper sticker on your hybrid... Man, that's an even bigger waste of time than reading Cryptogon:

Lonnie Miller, director of analytical solutions for Polk, said federal and state tax credits for fuel-efficient vehicles have helped spur hybrid sales. More people also are buying into the idea that driving a hybrid is socially responsible.

"What's different about this than other types of vehicles is that hybrids are about what people want to give back and what they want to feel they're doing with their vehicles," Miller said.

Oil Tanker Fights Off Pirates :.

It's almost unbelievable how fragile the present system actually is. I wonder why al Quaeda, the Axis of Evil, and/or The Legion of Doom haven't pulled off something like this. Maybe the firehose defenses are too robust?

The crew of a Japanese oil tanker have used powerful fire hoses tofend off an attack by pirates in the Singapore Strait.

The International Maritime Bureau said pirates in seven fishing boats accosted the east-boundtanker near Indonesia's Karimun Islands on Tuesday afternoon -- the third attack on a Japanesevessel in three weeks in the busy shipping lane which carries more than a quarter of world trade.

Jayant Abhyankar, deputy director of the IMB said pirates from one of the boats steered closeto the Japanese vessel and attempted to board the tanker while the remaining six hoveredaround it.

But the small craft was beaten off by strong water jets from fire hoses used by the crew. Thetanker then increased speed and fled.

The centre could not confirm the total number of pirates or if they were armed, but said alltwenty-five crew members of the vessel were safe.

The Singapore and Indonesian coast guards have been alerted, said Abhyankar.

The watchdog has repeatedly warned of a "potential human and environmental catastrophe" ifan oil tanker is hijacked in the strategic sea lane.

Pope Benedict Vows New Battle for Souls :.

Keep an eye on your kids at all times. Don't let them out of your sight:

Pope Benedict pledged the Roman Catholic Church to a new push for converts on Monday on his first papal visit outside the Vatican to the shrine of Christianity's first missionary.

Fresh from a jubilant audience with German pilgrims that shed the stress of his election and inauguration, the Pope, 78, journeyed to the southern suburbs of Rome to pray at the 4th century Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

The church, the largest in Rome after St. Peter's Basilica, has associations with the theme of Christian unity.

The Pope, however, used his visit to the reputed burial place of St. Paul, the co-founder of the Church with St. Peter and its first evangelizer, to make clear he saw a pressing need to revitalize the quest to spread the Catholic message.

"This is a pilgrimage I very much desired to make ... a pilgrimage, so to speak, to the roots of the mission," the Pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said in his homily.

"The Church is by its very nature missionary, its first task is evangelization," he said. "At the start of the third millennium, the Church feels with renewed vigor that the missionary mandate from Christ is more current than ever."

Earlier in the day, Benedict seemed almost overcome by joy and a touch of stage fright as he strode down the aisle of the Paul VI audience hall through a crowd of several thousand German pilgrims who had made the trip to Rome for his inauguration.

Same as it Ever Was :.

Jeff does it again:

Secular modernity is a comfort to some, that dispells chthonic darkness and the superstition of our ancestors. But it's wafer thin, and just beneath it rests ages of living hermetic tradition transmitted by secret societies and elite orders from which are recruited future leaders for the cryptocracy. Aristocrats and their mystery religions remain with us, as does their inclination to regard the "herd" with utilitarian disdain.

Palestinian Farms Poisoned :.

The technical term for this is genocide:
(iv) Intentional starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival as well as the wilful impeding of relief supplies. The intentional starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is an act prohibited under Protocol I and II Additional to the Geneva Conventions; and impeding of relief supplies may result in starvation of civilians. UNHCR's own experiences demonstrate that in many modern-day conflicts the denial of humanitarian access to vulnerable populations is often intentional and used as an instrument of warfare. Such acts lead to grave suffering and, in certain situations, to the death of innocent civilians.
Unfortunately, Israel executes journalists and other investigators who attempt to look into these situations:

Amnesty International has called on Israel to investigate the deliberate contamination of Palestinian farmland - allegedly by Jewish settlers.

The human rights group said that toxic chemicals had been spread on fields in the Hebron region of the West Bank.

Farm animals had died and farmers had been forced to quarantine their flocks, the organisation said.

It also demanded that Israel put an end to "increasingly frequent" attacks on Palestinians by West Bank settlers.

"These poisoning incidents appear to be part of a deliberate attack on the livelihood of Palestinian farmers in the West Bank," said Kate Allen of Amnesty International UK.

"The Israeli authorities should mount a full investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice."

Rat Poison

The chemicals were spread on fields near the villages of Tuwani, Um Faggara and Kharruba in March and April, the group said.

Sheep, gazelle and other animals have been contaminated by the chemicals, and farmers livelihoods had been affected, the organisation said.

According to Amnesty, Israeli and Palestinian scientists who analysed the chemicals spread on the fields found two types of rat poison - one of which is banned in Israel.

Amnesty says that the Israeli authorities have made no attempt to remove the chemicals safely from the fields or to investigate the poisonings.

Human Liver Gene is Put Into Rice :.


Scientists have begun mixing human genes with rice in an attempt to take genetically modified crops to the next level.

Researchers have inserted into rice a gene from the human liver that produces an enzyme which is good at breaking down harmful chemicals in the human body.

They hope the enzyme, CYP2B6, will do the same to herbicides and pollutants when combined with rice.

But anti-GM campaigners say using human genes will scare off consumers worried about cannibalism and the idea of scientists playing God.

Sue Mayer of GeneWatch UK said: 'I don't think anyone will want to buy this rice.

"People have already expressed disgust about using human genes and already feel that their concerns are being ignored by the bio-tech industry. This will just undermine their confidence even more."


U.S. Northern Command Search on Sean Gorman

A U.S. Northern Command user (host:, ip: conducted the following Google search: sean gorman.

Question: What's NCNC? Six nerds, including me, failed to determine the meaning of that acronym after five minutes of searching.

Recent Related: Battlespace America

U.S. Army Search on Ratzinger

The U.S. Army user (host:, ip: conducted the following MSN search: opus dei ratzinger.

Warning on Spread of State Surveillance :.

Mainstream news:

Governments are building a "global registration and surveillance infrastructure" in the US-led "war on terror", civil liberty groups warned yesterday.

The aim is to monitor the movements and activities of entire populations in what campaigners call "an unprecedented project of social control".

The warning came from the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, including the American Civil Liberties Union, and Statewatch, a UK-based bulletin which tracks developments in the EU.

They point to the system whereby all visitors to the US are to be digitally photographed and fingerprinted. The EU has agreed that member states must fingerprint all passport holders by the end of 2007. The information will be held on databases.

National ID cards, they warn, will become a "globally interoperable biometric passport". The setting up of airlines' passenger name records (PNRs) could include more than 60 different kinds of information, including meal choices which could reveal personal, religious or ethnic affiliations.

The US and EU governments are expanding legal powers to eavesdrop and to store the product of intercepted personal communications, the groups warn.

They also point to an agreement between Europol - the EU's incipient police headquarters - and the US giving what they say will be an unlimited number of American agencies access to sensitive information on the race, political opinions, religious beliefs, health and sexual life of individuals.

The groups point to increasingly close cooperation between national police, security, intelligence, and military establishments.

Military Hybrid Project Increases Mileage Nearly 5X :.

We can't begin to image what They have. This probably represents the crumbs from some 20 year old project:

The vehicle is powered by a small, three-cylinder diesel engine and two hybrid motors. It would cost about $20,000 to manufacture and could replace a $65,000 Humvee, Almand said. The vehicles are expected to get about 50 miles per gallon, compared to the Humvee's current 11 mpg. "The more money we can save the better," Almand said.

Like the Toyota Prius, the prototype vehicle minimizes fuel use by running exclusively on the electric motors at low speeds or when idling. The Army designed the vehicle for easy repair by providing unobstructed access to the engine, electric motor and drive train. The batteries are located in the center of the chassis beneath the vehicle for easy access.


British Nationals Arrested with $3 Trillion in Fake U.S. Federal Reserve Certificates :.

WTF? This isn't bogus currency. This is some kind of massive bond scam. I'm posting the full text because this smells like something that will disappear completely. If you have additional information from outside the usual channels, please let me know.

Here's some chum for Them: securitization of debt, Switzerland, trillion, bank account, 1934 bonds. Come and get it, gentlemen:

$3-trillion fake federal bank notes seized from 2 Britons
By Evelyn Macairan
The Philippine Star 04/22/2005

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced yesterday the arrest of two British nationals who were caught in possession of $3-trillion fake US federal bank notes in an entrapment operation.

Charges of forgery and illegal possession of bank notes were filed against Paul Edward John Flavell and Sam Beany, both residents of the CEO Apartments located on Jupiter street, Makati City.

Manuel Eduarte, head agent of the NBI Anti-Graft Division said charges against the suspects were filed before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office last April 15. The two were granted temporary liberty after they each posted P16,000 bail last Tuesday.

However, NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco said he has coordinated with the Bureau of Immigration and requested that the two suspects be included in its watchlist.

Two of their alleged cohorts, also British nationals, have yet to be apprehended by lawmen. They were identified as Zeki Mehmet Bayram and Peter Wittkamp.

The NBI recovered from Flavell and Beany a metal scroll and fake US federal bank reserves totaling $3 trillion, which were contained in an iron chest.

There were 13 boxes in the chest, each containing 50 reserve notes that amounted to $1 billion.

Eduarte said the notes were definite forgeries since the biggest amount the US government came out with was in the denomination of $10,000.

The counterfeit bonds were supposedly manufactured in 1934.

In a report submitted by the NBI-AGD to Wycoco, international courier company DHL Philippines informed their unit last April 14 that suspects Flavell and Beany were about to ship a cargo of fake US federal reserves to Zurich, Switzerland. They paid P53,967.24 as shipment fee.

Eduarte’s agents confirmed that the suspects went to the DHL office located at Pasong Tamo street in Makati City.

The two suspects allegedly paid the shipment fee and were asked to open the iron chest for inspection. Upon seeing that the contents were similar to the items they seized from a previous operation, the NBI agents accosted them.


Google: My Search History (Beta) :.

Google has been associating searches with browser cookies since the beginning. The innovation here is letting you see the records:
My Search History lets you easily view and manage your search history from any computer. This feature of Google web search enables you to find information you thought you lost. And over time, you'll see an increasing number of relevance indicators in your search results that help you find the information you want.
I wonder if anyone has taken the plane ride based on this alone... Maybe? Not yet?

Give it time.

What do you want to bet that NORTHCOM has point and click access to this?

My Colorgenics Profile :.

All you do is pick the colors in the order of your preference. It's got to be nonsense, right?

Here's what it said about your humble editor... I don't know about the, "stressful, angry and disgruntled" part. Several years ago, those adjectives would have applied. I'm far too numb to experience that stuff now. It's tough, however, to argue with the rest of this:

You are the sort of person that needs a peaceful environment. You seek release from stress and freedom from conflicts and disagreements, of which you seem to have had more than your fair share. But you are taking pains to control the situation by proceeding cautiously and you are right in doing so as you are a very sensitive person.

You are looking for something different. Your imagination has been working overtime and you are seeking adventure - and you'd like to share that adventure, the new experience, with someone like yourself: Imaginative, Enthusiastic and Sensitive.

You wear your heart on your sleeve and since you are an emotional person you are apt to give your all - heart and soul - to all those that show you a little affection; but take care - it would appear that you have been extremely hurt in the past and you keep leaving yourself wide open for punishment.

You are feeling trapped by the situation as it stands at this time and what is more, you feel powerless to remedy it. You are stressful, angry and disgruntled. You feel that everything that you try to do to change the situation is thwarted and your hopes and aspirations all seem to be receding into the ever distant future. You have reached the state where you now doubt whether your dreams will ever be achieved and this is not only causing mental stress but heartache. You need to get away from it all - you need to have time to think, to recuperate, to be able to make your own decisions.

You wish to be left in peace... no more conflict and no more differences of opinion. In fact you just don't want to be involved in arguments of any shape or form. All you want is for 'them' to get on with it - and to leave you alone.

Qatar to Replace Camel Riders with Robots :.

Nowadays, when I read news stories, I have to make sure that my browser hasn't been hijacked. Am I on a real news site, or a spoof news site? Check my math, but the domain on this story seems to be

With the reins in one hand and a whip in the other, the purple-jerseyed rider prodded a camel around the track.

But this jockey wasn't the usual underfed boy. The jockey was a robot.

Under the watchful eyes of his Swiss developer and Qatari owners, the robot -- dubbed Kamel -- rode a racing camel for 1.5 miles, reaching speeds of 25 miles per hour in a non-competitive trial run.

By 2007, rulers of this energy-rich emirate say all camel racers will be mechanical.

Prices Are Surging - And It's Not Just Gasoline :.

Americans got hit with an economic double whammy last month. They had to pay more for gasoline, clothes, airline tickets and a lot of other products. And their wages did not keep up with inflation.

It was the second month in a row that wages, after adjusting for inflation, had fallen.


Ratzinger and the Catholic Church Child Rapists :.

Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases 'in the most secretive way... restrained by a perpetual silence... and everyone... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office... under the penalty of excommunication'.

Lawyers point to a letter the Vatican sent to bishops in May 2001 clearly stating the 1962 instruction was in force until then. The letter is signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the most powerful man in Rome beside the Pope and who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the office which ran the Inquisition in the Middle Ages.

Farming for Families and Food, Not Corporate Profits :.

Two contradictory visions of globalization are sweeping around the world: one favors a top-down model of economic development via militaristic, corporate aggression. The other favors grassroots-led, democratic pluralism and seeks to produce diverse local development models suited to the needs of local communities.

Research Credit: BO

White Smoke, Dark Skies :.

It's my observation that the worst abuses in the Church, even its Luciferian excesses, have been perpetrated under the cloak of conservativism. John Paul II and his "enforcer," Cardinal Ratzinger, targetted liberation theology and the progressive strains of Catholicism, while their coddled "conservative" clergy continued, largely unchecked, in the molestation, rape and ritual abuse of young children. While Ratzinger has condemned gay relationships as "deviant and evil," he has been an enabler of sexual abuse, by "accusing the media of exaggerating the extent of paedophilia in the American Church."

That this man is now Pope, and the secret society Opus Dei his legionaires, I wonder whether our already interesting times are about to become unbearably fascinating.

GM Posts $1.1 Billion First Quarter Loss :.

General Motors Corp. reported its deepest quarterly loss in more than a decade - $1.1 billion - as rising health care costs and lackluster response to some new models hammered its North American business. With health costs not getting any cheaper and Asian automakers grabbing more of the market, the outlook for the world's largest automaker remains bleak.

Viacom Executives Paid Tens of Thousands for Staying in Their Homes :.


Les Moonves and Thomas Freston, the co-chief operating officers of media conglomerate Viacom, each saw their roughly $20 million in pay and bonus supplemented by tens of thousands of dollars for staying in their own homes.

The company's proxy statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission discloses that Moonves, who is based in Los Angeles but owns a home in New York, received an additional $105,000 in 2004 as reimbursement for staying in that home rather than a hotel when in New York on business. Viacom is based in New York.

Freston, who is based in New York but owns a home in Los Angeles, got $43,100 for staying in that L.A. home while in that city on business.

Research Credit: SA

Ratzinger Elected Pope :.

On the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Roman Catholic Church has elected a member of the Hitler Youth and the German military during World War II to serve as Pope. Ladies and gentlemen, I think it's safe to assume that we have just lost cabin pressure:

German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the strict defender of Catholic orthodoxy for the past 23 years, was elected Pope on Tuesday despite a widespread assumption he was too old and divisive to win election.

He took the name Benedict XVI, a cardinal announced to crowds in St. Peter's Square after white smoke from the Vatican's Sistine Chapel chimney and the pealing of bells from St. Peter's Basilica announced that a new pope had been chosen.

Roman Catholic cardinals elected Ratzinger on just the second day of secret conclave to find a successor to Pope John Paul II.


Cryptogon Reader Contributes $20

Longtime reader, MW, throws another $20 into the coffers! He is the most frequent contributor to Cryptogon. Thank you, MW, for your continued and generous support.

Italian 'Farce' as Berlusconi Doesn't Resign :.

Made ya look!

Political confusion deepened in Rome tonight when Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi contradicted earlier expectations that he was about to resign and form a new government by saying he had not stepped down.

Berlusconi had been expected to make the move to strengthen his conservative coalition.

After an earlier emergency meeting of coalition leaders in Rome, Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini had told reporters that Berlusconi would resign. The offer was expected to come when Berlusconi met President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi this evening.

But after meeting the president, Berlusconi said he had not resigned, news agencies reported.

Asked by reporters if he had handed in his resignation during the talks, Berlusconi responded "No", the ANSA news agency reported.

Berlusconi was quoted as saying he would explain the situation in parliament, but it was unclear when he would do so.

Ratzinger: Front Runner for Pope Was in Hitler Youth :.

I couldn't make it up if I tried:

A LEADING candidate for pope was in the Hitler Youth, it was revealed yesterday.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - who also saw service in the German army - is nicknamed The Panzer Cardinal and God's Rottweiler because of his rigorous defence of the faith.

The 78-year-old German, who led John Paul II's funeral service, joined the young Nazi movement in Bavaria aged 14 shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941. He soon left after enrolling to be a priest.

Tokyo Stocks Drop 3.8% :.

Tokyo's benchmark stock index plunged 3.8 percent Monday morning, its biggest one-day drop in more than 11 months, because of investor concerns about anti-Japanese protests in China and recent declines on Wall Street.

The Greatest Ever Speculative Bubble in Risk :.

This is an exhaustive account of recent bearish economic headlines:

The developing financial crisis took a major leap forward this week, with equity and risk markets in sharp retreat across the globe.

U.S. Military's Elite Hacker Crew :.

.mil hAx0rZ... This is fine and dandy, as long as the OPFOR doesn't pick up shovels and hatchets:

The U.S. military has assembled the world's most formidable hacker posse: a super-secret, multimillion-dollar weapons program that may be ready to launch bloodless cyberwar against enemy networks -- from electric grids to telephone nets.

The group's existence was revealed during a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month. Military leaders from U.S. Strategic Command, or Stratcom, disclosed the existence of a unit called the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare, or JFCCNW.

In simple terms and sans any military jargon, the unit could best be described as the world's most formidable hacker posse. Ever.

The JFCCNW is charged with defending all Department of Defense networks. The unit is also responsible for the highly classified, evolving mission of Computer Network Attack, or as some military personnel refer to it, CNA.

But aside from that, little else is known. One expert on cyber warfare said considering the unit is a "joint command," it is most likely made up of personnel from the CIA, National Security Agency, FBI, the four military branches, a smattering of civilians and even military representatives from allied nations.

"They are a difficult nut to crack," said Dan Verton, a former U.S. Marine intelligence officer who is now a journalist for Computer World. "They're very reluctant to talk about operations." Verton is author of the book Black Ice, which investigates the threats cyber terrorism and vandalism could have on military and financial networks.


Battlespace America :.

In 2002, the Defense Department updated its Unified Command Plan, which made the already blurry lines between civilian and military even less legible. Since then, all over America, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been making information about the public available to a Pentagon power center most people have never heard about: U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Hidden deep inside Cheyenne Mountain, more than 100 intelligence analysts sift through streams of data collected by federal agents and local law enforcers---continually updating a virtual picture of what the command calls the North American "battlespace," which includes the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as 500 miles out to sea. If they find something amiss, they have resources to deploy in response that no law enforcement agency could dream of. They've got an army, a navy, an air force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard.

Cryptogon Outage Caused by Flux Services

The clueless twits who run Flux Services disabled Cryptogon early Saturday morning. (If you sent email over the past 48 hours, please resend it.) They claimed that their server performance problems were being caused by a process running on my site.

Wait until you hear this one!

Those idiots thought that a mysterious process that creates the static HTML pages on my site was slowing down their server. There's just one problem with that theory...


Look at what their braindead donkey wrote to me:
Hello Kevin,

It is clear these are php processes creating the static pages. We have informed you the module creating these is the problem and you have done nothing to resolve the issue and as indicated, your account is suspended as a result.
The module creating the pages??? That would be, you imbeciles. I guess they thought I was running on my shared hosting package with them...

Anyway, rather than wishing doom and eternal damnation upon Flux Services, pity them for their stupidity. Also, for people who are looking for a review of Flux Services as a webhost: You couldn't make a more disastrous choice for your Internet hosting needs.


'Minority Report' Interface Created for U.S. Military :.

Keystrokes and mouse clicks limit your degree of freedom... Actually, being robbed at gun point to pay for this sh*t limits your degree of freedom. And never mind how it will be used against you in the future:

A computer interface inspired by the futuristic system portrayed in the movie Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, could soon help real military personnel deal with information overload.

The film sees characters call up and manipulate video footage and other data in mid-air after donning a special pair of gloves. Now defence company Raytheon, based in Massachusetts, US, is working on a real version and has even employed John Underkoffler, the researcher who proposed the interface to the makers of the film.

Underkoffler is a science and technology consultant for Treadle and Loam Provisioners in California, US, and previously developed radical computer interfaces at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He says the new system should help military experts sift through large quantities of information quickly and efficiently.

"Keystrokes and mouse clicks limit your degree of freedom," Underkoffler told The Wall Street Journal.

Making a Science Out of Applied Idiocy :.

If you know anything about the fraud of the university system, you'll want to frame this one and hang it on your wall:

The research paper was clearly the work of experts. It had a long, baffling title and its authors were familiar with key topics such as "simulated annealing" and "flexible modalities".

Submitted to the World Multiconference on Systematics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), a computer science event to be held in Florida in July, it was promptly selected for presentation.

There was just one problem: it was complete gibberish. A random collection of charts, diagrams and obtuse lines such as "We implemented our scatter/gather I/O server in Simula-67", it was generated by a computer program written by three Massachussetts Insitute of Technology students.

MIT graduate student Jeremy Stribling, 25, and two friends created the fake paper because they were tired of being sent emails by WMSCI organisers soliciting admissions.

Mr Stribling said he was "definitely surprised" when Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy, was accepted, but "we kind of suspected they had low standards". He added: "They ask for submissions, but once you get in you have to pay a $400 (£220) fee to have your paper published." The prank had been aimed at the WMSCI and was not a statement about jargon in computer science.

Nagib Callaos, a WMSCI organiser, said the bogus paper had been accepted on a "non-reviewed" basis.

Mr Stribling said the trio wanted to present their paper. "It's just a matter of whether we can get in."


It's about time:

In driving off more than 1,000 riot police at the start of the week, Huankantou village in Zhejiang province is at the crest of a wave of anarchy that has seen millions of impoverished farmers block roads and launch protests against official corruption, environmental destruction and the growing gap between urban wealth and rural poverty.

Facing the Future with a Chip in the Shoulder :.

Forget mobile phones as the hottest new media technology - for anyone under 30, handsets as we know them will be gone in 20 years. The world's tech-savvy youngsters will be using microchip implants to communicate and transact.

U.S. Stocks Sink to 2005 Lows :.

Just wait till GM reports! HA!

U.S. stocks finished at 5 1/2-month lows on Friday -- in the third straight day of steep declines -- as disappointing results from IBM increased investor concerns about an economic slowdown and made Wall Street skittish about the coming flood of earnings.

The blue-chip Dow average had its biggest one-day drop since May 2003, falling 191 points. Friday marked the third consecutive day of triple-digit declines for the Dow, which has fallen more than 400 points in three sessions.



Shocking. Incredible.

Ask the people I work with.

I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw this. PT sent $50. The $200 contribution came from someone who asked to remain anonymous. Both of these people have made very generous contributions in the past.

Thank you, both, very much.

Here's an update on my plans for the future, since this money will help to make them a reality:

I've managed to get a decent paying IT job and now Becky and I are saving every cent for our land in New Zealand. In case you don't know, Becky is a Kiwi. Our plan is to buy some land in the far North of New Zealand and turn it into a model of sustainable living; an example that others will WANT to follow. You already know the story... Organic, small scale agriculture. Solar/wind/hydro power. A dwelling made out of earthbags, or some other sensible material.

Becky, who's getting a PhD in Comparative Literature at the moment, sends me out the door each morning (into the bowels of IT hell) with a kind smile, a kiss and the words, "Just remember why you're doing it."

So, to PT, anonymous and all Cryptogon contributors: Thanks for bringing Becky and me a little closer to our goal.

Conference Told Oil Reserves May Be Healthy :.

Is Peak Oil a myth?

I tend to think not, but there are those who believe the entire thing is a PSYOP.

Clearly, the situation is being allowed to hit the wall. There is no doubt that a crisis has been engineered. Whether it comes about do to artificial scarcity and/or suppression/underfunding of viable alternatives doesn't matter anymore. Take your pick.

Personally, I think the world has peaked AND viable alternatives have been actively suppressed and underfunded. I think the Peak-Oil-Is-A-Myth notion is almost certainly a red herring. (Is the decline of natural gas production a myth as well???)

What's not debatable is the fragility of the oil distribution infrastructure and lack of spare refining capacity. (Forget, for a moment, about the destruction of the natural world.) Those factors alone should cause people to start thinking beyond petroleum:

The Australian Petroleum and Production Exploration Association conference in Perth has been told that the world's oil reserves might not be as low as analysts are predicting.

The United States Geological survey conducted in 2000 predicts that only 30 per cent of global oil supplies have been used.

Research Credit: AL

NY Law Enforcement Caught Doctoring Video of RNC Arrests :.

What's that? Cops lied? * yawn *:

New York law enforcement is caught doctoring video of arrests made during the Republican Convention. We speak with Alexander Dunlop, whose charges were dropped after the edited video was exposed, his lawyer Michael Conroy as well as a member of I-Witness Video who helped find the footage that eventually vindicated Alexander.

Guardsmen Accused of Smuggling Ecstasy :.

A U.S. military pilot and a sergeant were being held on federal narcotics charges after admitting they flew an Air Force jet from New York to Germany and returned with 290,000 pills of Ecstasy worth millions of dollars, authorities said Wednesday.

Capt. Franklin Rodriguez, 35, and Master Sgt. John Fong, 36, were arrested Tuesday when their cargo plane returned to Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, about 40 miles north of New York City.

The men were ordered held without bail at court appearances late Wednesday.

President Bush Tells Reporters About His 'Walk With Christ' :.

"Now Jesus don't like killin' No matter what the reason's for..."
---John Prine, Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore

Unfortunately, Josef Mengele wasn't available to dispense a canticle on bioethics:

President Bush talked to the seven reporters traveling with him on Air Force One about Jesus after attending the pope's funeral in Rome last week. For 47 minutes, Bush and the journalists had an intimate, friendly chat largely about the pope, his legacy and Bush's own "walk with Christ," "The Washington Post" reported this week in an article with the headline, "Preacher Bush."

"There is no doubt in my mind there is a living God. And no doubt in my mind that Lord, Christ, was sent by the Almighty. No doubt in my mind about that," he said.

Bush said attending Pope John Paul II's emotional funeral last Friday strengthened his faith, his belief in a living God and in how religious faith is a lifelong journey, "not a respite."

"At times using language familiar to evangelicals, including talking in some detail about faith as a spiritual 'walk' with Christ, the president said viewing the pope's body made him feel 'much more in touch with the spirit,'" the "Post" observed.

"I think a walk in faith constantly confronts doubt, as faith becomes more mature," Bush said. "And you constantly confront, you know, questions. My faith is strong. The Bible [says] ... you've got to constantly stay in touch with the Word of God in order to help you on the walk.

"But the Lord works in mysterious ways, and during all our life's journeys, we're enabled to see the Lord at work if our eyes are open and our hearts are open," he added.

Crust: Everglades Holdout Agrees to Deal :.

Hopefully, this guy will take his $5 million and fire up another show somewhere else:

A man who fought for years to keep his home and businesses in the Everglades has accepted a $4.95 million buyout offer from the state, which plans to restore the wetlands ecosystem.

The deal, approved Wednesday by a Collier County judge after a more than 12-hour mediation hearing, allows Jesse Hardy to remain on his 160 acres until November 30.

Hardy paid $60,000 in 1976 for the land about 40 miles east of downtown Naples on the southwest coast, and built a small, corrugated metal-roofed house. He had no electricity and used propane for cooking and refrigeration.

He refused for years to sell, saying he wanted to hold onto a dying rural lifestyle.

Bank Says Saudi's Top Field in Decline :.

Has Saudi Arabia peaked?

The Bank of Montreal's analyst Don Coxe, working from their Chicago office, is the first mainstream number-cruncher to say that Gharwar's days are fated.

Coxe uses the phrase 'Hubbert's Peak' to describe the situation. This refers to the seminal geologist M King Hubbert, who predicted the unavoidable decline of oilfields back in the 1950s.

"The combination of the news that there's no new Saudi Light coming on stream for the next seven years plus the 27% projected decline from existing fields means Hubbert's Peak has arrived in Saudi Arabia," says Coxe, referring to data compiled by the International Energy Association's (IEA) August 2004 monthly report.


International Terrorist Seeks Asylum in the U.S. :.

Give us your tired, your sick, your CIA trained international terrorists:

An Irish organization has sent a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland Dermot Ahern to call in the US Ambassador and request that Luis Posada Carriles not be granted asylum in the USA.

The letter to Mr Ahern, recently appointed special advisor to Kofi Annan on UN reform, recalls that Posada Carriles was convicted of involvement in the bombing in October 1976 of a Cuban civilian airline resulting in the death of all 73 people on board.

Posada Carriles, whom Havana accusses of masterminding many other terrorist actions against Cuban targets, admitted to having carried out such atrocious crime in an interview that later came up in the book "I Planted Bomb and So What" by Venezuelan writer Alicia Herrera.

He was tried and sentenced in Venezuela and later escaped from prison in 1985 -Venezuelan authorities have demanded his extradiction. Posada Carriles has now turned up in Miami, Florida, having spent many years on the run in Central America.

"We would ask that you make representations to the US Ambassador requesting that Posada Carriles' asylum application is denied and that he is returned to Venezuela to complete his sentence. This is the least that can be expected of any country which has declared itself a participant in the war against terrorism," the letter underlines.

"You might remind him -it continues- of President Bush's famous stipulation that anyone harboring a terrorist is guilty of terrorism themselves".

"Your recent pronouncements on terrorism and criminality indicate that we are on the same side in our efforts to stamp out tolerance of terrorism, regardless of the source", the text added.

School to Pay Students for Tips on Campus Crime :.

A high school is looking for a few good snitches.

Using revenue from its candy and soda sales, Model High School plans to pay up to $100 for information about thefts and drug or gun possession on campus.

"It's not that we feel there are any problems here," said Principal Glenn White. "It's a proactive move for getting information that will help deter any sort of illegal activity."

Under the new policy, a student would receive $10 for information about a theft on campus, $25 or $50 for information about drug possession, and $100 for information about gun possession or other serious felonies.

Informants will not receive the reward if they are involved in the crime, White said.

Cryptogon Reader Contributes $25

WO kicks down $25 from the Great White North! Thanks!

Cloned Cows Yummy and Safe :.

How long until the "Mad Cloned Cow" stories hit the wires?

Cattle-cloning scientists at the University of Connecticut say milk and meat from cloned animals are safe for human consumption.

Labs Urged to Destroy Pandemic Flu Strain :.

Remember the dead biologists as you read this. What's the plan for all of us, eh?

Thousands of scientists were scrambling Tuesday at the urging of global health authorities to destroy vials of a pandemic flu strain sent to labs in 18 countries as part of routine testing.

The rush, urged by the World Health Organization, was sparked by a slim, but real, risk that the samples, could spark a global flu epidemic. The vials of virus sent by a U.S. company went to nearly 5,000 labs, mostly in the United States, officials said.

"The risk is relatively low that a lab worker will get sick, but a large number of labs got it and if someone does get infected, the risk of severe illness is high and this virus has shown to be fully transmissible," WHO's influenza chief, Klaus Stohr, told The Associated Press.

It was not immediately clear why the 1957 pandemic strain, which killed between 1 million and 4 million people — was in the proficiency test kits routinely sent to labs.

It was a decision that Stohr described as "unwise," and "unfortunate."


U.S. Trade Deficit Record :.

The U.S. trade deficit hit a record monthly high of $61.04 billion in February as imports of oil and textiles surged while American exports barely budged.

The deficit figure sent tremors through Wall Street with investors worrying that the huge amount of foreigners' money America needs to finance the deficit could at some point trigger a freefall in the dollar and aggravate U.S. inflation problems.


Scientists Create Remote-Controlled Flies :.

Yale University researchers say their study that used lasers to create remote-controlled fruit flies could lead to a better understanding of overeating and violence in humans.

Using the lasers to stimulate specific brain cells, researchers say they were able to make the flies jump, walk, flap their wings and fly.

Even headless flies took flight when researchers stimulated the correct neurons, according to the study, published in the April 7 issue of the journal Cell.

Scientists say the study could ultimately help identify the cells associated with psychiatric disorders, overeating and aggressiveness.

Biologists have long known that an electrical stimulus can trigger muscle response, but this approach used focused beams of light to stimulate neurons that would have been impossible to study using electrodes.

Gero Miesenbock, associate professor of cell biology at Yale, said if the process could be duplicated on mice, researchers might be able to better understand the cellular activity that leads to certain behavior.

"Ultimately, that could be important to understanding human psychiatric disorders," Miesenbock said. "That's really futuristic stuff."

Israel: Army to Disarm Settlers Before Pullout :.

This might get weird:

The Israeli military plans to disarm residents of four Jewish settlements in the West Bank two weeks before the communities are to be dismantled this summer, officials said Monday, reflecting growing concern that settler resistance in the West Bank will be far more difficult to put down than in the fenced-in Gaza Strip.

Access for Israeli extremists already living in the West Bank to the four tiny northern settlements is relatively easy, and the warning conjured images of thousands of ultranationalists converging on the settlements to prevent their evacuation — as they have resisted removal of unauthorized outposts in recent months.

Officials expressed concern about armed confrontations, and settlers said Monday they would not hand in their guns.


Ford Motor Co. got another dose of bad news Monday after Fitch Ratings issued a negative outlook on the struggling company's debt, making it the second major credit agency to express concern the automotive maker's corporate bonds might slip into junk status.

Fitch joins Standard & Poor's Corp. in eyeing a downgrade of Ford's estimated $172 billion of outstanding debt into a high-yield rating, a move that would trigger a sharp rise in borrowing costs. The nation's second-largest automobile maker on Friday slashed this year's profit forecast by 29 percent and warned 2006 earnings would fall short of its target of $7 billion in pretax profits.

Concerns about Ford's financial health and outstanding debt come just weeks after larger rival General Motors Corp. cut its full-year earnings outlook by more than half. Sales at both GM and Ford have plummeted as higher gas prices have kept consumers at bay, and competition has heated up from rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.

"These are two exceedingly large issuers of debt, and if they came into the high-yield market I don't think they'd be welcome with open arms," said Joseph Bencivenga, a managing director with Guggenheim Capital Markets. "There's a whole list of investors that can't own junk bonds and would be forced to sell. And when that starts happening, it's like a falling knife - nobody wants to catch it."


Film: The Corporation :.

I've been waiting to see The Corporation for a very long time. I finally watched it on DVD last night. If you haven't seen this film, it's very worthy of your time. Regular Cryptogon readers won't learn anything new, but there's something about seeing the images that makes the, "It's not that bad, it's worse," concept sink in. (The situation is actually far worse than what is portrayed in the film, but that's why you guys have been showing up to read Cryptogon in increasing numbers since 2002.)

The film is extremely useful "red pill" material for your friends and family who don't see the big picture yet. The Corporation will attach specific names, places, images and ideas to the vague sense of discomfort most sane people have about living in this society. Actually, it will shock the average viewer; even the moderately informed viewer might have to hit pause a few times to let bits and pieces of it sink in. This is not to say that the average viewer will think the film was made by lunatics. (This is a common problem with Alex Jones' films. Even though much of his information is correct, he comes off like a nut to people in "polite circles.") None of the information in the film is controversial at all. All of the content is readily verifiable and old news to anyone who has taken even a cursory look at fascism. Feel free to recommend The Corporation to close friends and associates, especially the allegedly educated ones.

I wish The Corporation would have accentuated the point that these are not bipartisan political issues. In fact, these aren't political issue at all. (Not now. Not anymore.) I can't criticize the filmmakers too much for staying safely inside the mainstream when they ask, "Should we REFORM, REGULATE, or REWRITE the corporation?" Oh sure. HAHA! Why not ask your cat to explain the difference between special and general relativity???

The film itself makes the point, repeatedly, that corporations won. They occupy the commanding heights of society. And we're now going to try to use the system THEY transformed to suit THEIR needs to reign THEM in? Come on, man! This is, on its face, a fallacy.

Indeed, the worst case scenario is that people will watch the film and then waste time mucking around in the honey-pot of political activism and meaningless blather instead of actually moving to turn their backs on the machine, which is what needs to happen at this point. The machine will collapse on its own if enough people turn their backs on it and devise viable alternatives to it.

The time for sign waving, protesting and pithy bumper stickers is long over. (The time for political documentaries is long over, for that matter.) If this film accomplishes anything, it should convince people to begin walking away from the machine to the extent that they are capable of doing so.

If you have been debating whether or not to finally buy that piece of land, or work toward small-group self sufficiency, watching this film should light a fire under your tail to get a move on... while there's still time.

The following is from a piece I wrote called, Dave Emory Lecture: Half Great, Half Rat Poison:
Very few people are willing to accept the fact that our only real chance of survival is to leave the system and re-establish right human relationships, and a balance with the natural world, outside of the societies currently in existence---BEFORE THEY COLLAPSE. This is the only option that offers even a slim hope for the survival of the human race in any form we would like to see.

My advice to anyone who is serious about doing something real and meaningful: RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, RIGHT NOW. Run for your life. It's that simple.

If you try to run after "it" happens, you might as well forget it. If you have a place "in the hills," you should already be there. Think hard about what you should take with you. Build an arc with the things you think are important to the survival of the human race. Take an encyclopedia with you. Take some of the books I have listed on the right side of this webpage. Take some heirloom seeds with you. Have kids out there and tell them what happened and why they MUST NOT allow it to happen again.

Yes. This means you should stop voting, stop working at the job you hate and stop buying sh*t from WalMart. This also means that you may not have much money, but chances are, you don't have much money anyway. And what do you care if you are self-sufficient, or getting close to it?

Oh, but wait, Kevin, if "it" comes down, that will mean that there will be chaos, violence and, and, and... I won't get any new DVDs or that neat sweater or the new video game...

Hey, nobody said it was going to be easy, but it just might be paradise compared to what this thing is about to become. Besides, if this society doesn't come down, if the genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics and surveillance research all continue apace, your children are going to inherit a dystopia that is so incomprehensible that science fiction authors will be struck dumb by it. A total, systemic collapse would be extremely bad, and it's the best of all possible outcomes at this point. Pray for it.

Yeah, I'm nuts. I know. But... it's time to throw in the towel on the Democrats, the Republicans, the Greens, Pinks, Blues and Reds. This system is down. D.O.W.N. Nobody is coming to save you or me or anyone else.

If you're afraid, that's fine, you should be. Now get over it and figure out how you're going to get your land. And if you're lucky enough to have land, by God, you had better be getting proficient in the skills you need to live off of that land. You have an obligation to the human race to learn those skills and to pass them on to others.

People are making the mistake of squirting out babies in toxic, polluted cities that are, quite literally, on the verge of collapse. Friend, don't disconnect your brain from your biological predisposition to multiply. What's the point of having a child in a prison? Sure, go forth and multiply! But do it in a place where you and your children will have a fighting chance to not just survive, but to prosper. Build a new society outside of this doomed society, rebuild the culture, before you are forced to do these things under the yoke of chaos and starvation. Choose your wife/husband, friends and neighbors wisely. You're going to need their help, and they're going to need yours.
If what I wrote above sounds nuts, watch The Corporation again. This time, keep what I wrote in mind. If it still sounds nuts, don't worry, that's to be expected. In any event, know that there will be pockets of survivors and hope that they will not make the same mistakes that we did.

Related: Ran Prieur


South Korea Considers Deploying Armed Robots Along DMZ :.

The Defense Ministry plans to deploy robots with combat capability along the heavily fortified inter-Korean border as part of revamped security measures to deter North Korean infiltration.

Robots with weapons mounted on their frames are each expected to be able to observe from 2 and 1 kilometers during the day and night, respectively, and will have the capability to record voices and take pictures in a 180-degree circle.

"The ministry is considering robots which could detect, trace and hit targets automatically or be controlled remotely by operators," said Col. Shin Byung-chul of the ministry public affairs office.

Best Buy Customer Arrested for Paying with $2 Bills :.

I thought this was an urban legend. Nope. It's real:

PUT YOURSELF in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too.

For this, Bolesta, Baltimore County resident, innocent citizen, owner of Capital City Student Tours, finds himself under arrest.

Finds himself, in front of a store full of customers at the Best Buy on York Road in Lutherville, locked into handcuffs and leg irons.

Finds himself transported to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, where he's handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service is called into the case.

Have a nice day, Mike.


U.S. Warns of Need for More Opec Production :.

If we're closing in on 99% of maximum output NOW, where's the oil for all of the "future growth" going to come from?

Personally, I thought we had at least until 2007 before the wheels fell off the cart. Maybe not:

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will need to increase production further to balance the oil market in the second half of the year,the US government said on Thursday.

The warning, from Gay Caruso, head of the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the US Department of Energy, is one of the most vocal since George W. Bush was elected president in 2000.

Under US pressure the oil cartel last month increased its official production ceiling, or quota, by 500,000 barrels a day to 27.5m b/d.

Mr Caruso, who is considered the number two in the department, said Opec would need to pump an average of 30.2m b/d this year. Its production last month was 400,000 b/d below that level, at 29.8m b/d.

He also warned that the world's spare output capacity would fall further next year from the current 1m b/d equivalent to 1 per cent of global demand. Traditionally, a cushion of less than 5 per cent is seen as risky.

IMF Warns: 'Permanent Oil Shock' :.

I didn't pull the info out of the log from yesterday, but there was a hit from IMF looking for the driving ban document:

The world faces "a permanent oil shock" and will have to adjust to sustained high prices in the next two decades, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday in the starkest official warning yet about the long-term outlook for energy supplies.

Predicting surging demand from emerging countries and limited new supplies from outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries after 2010, Raghuram Rajan, IMF chief economist, said: "We should expect to live with high oil prices."

"Oil prices will continue to present a serious risk to the global economy," he added.

"The shock we see is a permanent shock that is going to continue... and countries need to adjust to that," said David Robinson, deputy IMF chief economist.

Pop: Home Forclosures Rose 50% Between February and March :.

In what could be a crack in the housing market's sturdy foundation, the number of foreclosed homes put up for sale rose 50 percent between February and March, according to a new study by

FAA Searches Google for Biometric IDs and "First Responders"

The FAA user (host:, ip: conducted the following Google search: Homeland Security Department, FIRST RESPONDERS TO GET BIOMETRIC IDS.

The Invisible Hand (of the U.S. Government) in Financial Markets :.

Excellent article. This is a must read if you are unfamiliar with these issues:

The U.S. government is manipulating all major U.S. financial markets---stocks, treasuries, currencies. This article shows how it is possible and how it is done, why it is done, who specifically is doing it, when they do it, and where they get the money to do it.

The Next Wave Of Offshoring :.

Everywhere there are open sewers, PHBs are building datacenters:

Over the next decade, offshoring will knock millions of white-collar Americans and Europeans out of work, blowing a hole in the middle class from Los Angeles to London, from Boston to Berlin, from Toledo to Tokyo, from Austin to Amsterdam.

"I don't think most people appreciate the magnitude of the change in the world's workforce," says Intel's chief executive, Craig Barrett. "Over the next 10 years you are going to see major, major dislocation," he warns. He should know. Intel is hiring thousands of new workers overseas.

Big and small companies alike in industry after industry have done the math and are rushing to move even their most specialized jobs to Asia to cut wages by between half and four-fifths. "We're now outsourcing investment banking to Mumbai," says Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley. "I don't know why we would ever hire another software programmer in New York again."

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Could "Threaten" Economy :.

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could threaten the economy if Congress fails to curb their investment activities, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Thursday.

In a second day of hearings before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on the hot political issue of how to rein in government-sponsored enterprises, Snow told Congress to limit the size of the companies' mortgage portfolios, saying they are not needed to fulfill the core mission of supporting housing.

What's more, their size and the interest rate risk they carry potentially threatens the financial system and the economy.

The Pentagon's Flying Saucer :.

Before the Pentagon decided that it wanted to stock soldiers' backpacks with miniature unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, Defense Department researchers had a slightly different idea: give G.I.s their own flying saucers instead.


Oil: Sharp Selloff :.

Good news. For now.

Crude oil and gasoline fell for a fourth day as hedge funds and other speculators sold futures on signs that increased U.S. refinery output will boost fuel supplies.


Eclipse On Pope's Funeral :.

Don't you just love these guys?

Those who say eclipses herald history-shaping events will find support for their superstition when, on Friday, the sun will be briefly plunged into darkness on the day of Pope John Paul II's funeral.

Scary Days Could be Ahead for Adjustable-Rate Mortgages :.

Cryptogon contributors, check your email for Premium Content. I've sent out some interesting information that directly relates to this. I can't reveal this information here:

For millions of homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages, it's gut-check time.

Short-term interest rates have been rising steadily since they dipped to record lows last spring. The average initial rate for a one-year ARM is now 4.33%, up from 3.46% a year ago, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. So if your one-year ARM is about to hit its first birthday, you're going to have to dig deeper to pay the monthly mortgage bill.

Most ARMs contain caps on how much their rates can increase each year. But even with those limits, an adjustment can be painful.

Many borrowers who took out a one-year ARM at 3.5% last year will see their rate adjust to about 5.5%, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, a mortgage-consulting firm. On a $250,000 mortgage, that works out to an additional $297 a month.

Borrowers who used short-term ARMs to buy homes they couldn't otherwise afford may find themselves unable to make the higher payments, says Barry Glassman, a financial planner with Cassaday & Co. in McLean, Va.

Despite the risks of a big upward adjustment, ARMs are more popular than ever. More than 36% of mortgages had adjustable rates last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That's the highest since the trade group began tracking adjustable-rate mortgages in 1990.

Sony Invention Beams Sights, Sounds Into Brain

Rather than post messages from Cryptogon readers who say that the government is doing this to them already, I'll just post the full text of the Reuters piece below:

If you think video games are engrossing now, just wait: PlayStation maker Sony Corp. has been granted a patent for beaming sensory information directly into the brain.

The technique could one day be used to create videogames in which you can smell, taste, and touch, or to help people who are blind or deaf.

The U.S. patent, granted to Sony researcher Thomas Dawson, describes a technique for aiming ultrasonic pulses at specific areas of the brain to induce "sensory experiences" such as smells, sounds and images.

"The pulsed ultrasonic signal alters the neural timing in the cortex," the patent states. "No invasive surgery is needed to assist a person, such as a blind person, to view live and/or recorded images or hear sounds."

According to New Scientist magazine, the first to report on the patent, Sony's technique could be an improvement over an existing non-surgical method known as transcranial magnetic stimulation. This activates nerves using rapidly changing magnetic fields, but cannot be focused on small groups of brain cells.

Niels Birbaumer, a neuroscientist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, told New Scientist he had looked at the Sony patent and "found it plausible." Birbaumer himself has developed a device that enables disabled people to communicate by reading their brain waves.

A Sony Electronics spokeswoman told the magazine that no experiments had been conducted, and that the patent "was based on an inspiration that this may someday be the direction that technology will take us."

Sun, Wind, Fuel Cells Power Cargo Ship of the Future :.

A cargo ship designed to run exclusively on renewable energy is making its debut in the Nordic Pavilion at the World Expo 2005. It harnesses the power of the sun, wind and water and releases zero emissions into the environment.

A concept model of the E/S Orcelle, a cargo ship designed by the Scandinavian shipping company, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, is on display in the Nordic Pavilion. E/S stands for Environmentally sound Ship.

Designed for a future with declining supplies of fossil fuels and increasing environmental responsibility, the concept vessel would have a capacity of 10,000 standard cars and would use only renewable energy sources and naturally-charged fuel cells for power.

GM Debt Ratings Downgraded by Moody's; Ford Motor Under Review :.

Can someone tell me how a company with over $300 billion in debt, and a cash valuation of something like $16 billion, can still be considered "Investement Grade"??? Oh, because GM's rating can't be reduced to junk. It just can't:

General Motors Corp.'s debt ratings were cut one notch to Baa3, the lowest investment grade, by Moody's Investors Service. The ratings company also said it was reviewing Ford Motor Co.'s debt for a possible downgrade.


The Old Dumb Money Whip Saw Decapitation Trick :.

DISCLAIMER: The following is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial instrument.

If you recently chased oil prices up, and stayed long, you got creamed over the last couple of days. If you have tried to reverse short, consider my analysis from 4/1/2005, four days ago. In OIL GAPS TO $57.70 and the Magic Mystery Dot I wrote:
Short term, I'd expect people who chased this to get annihilated. This thing is a blood sport. Look for a shakeout period. The goal of the big money players is to accumulate as many long contracts as they can, at the lowest price. The easiest way to accomplish this would be to try to rattle the small time speculators out of their long positions, maybe even convince them to short. Prices will fall. Weak longs will get destroyed. The big fish will be accumulating as the panicked longs get out or reverse short. After a sufficient number of decapitations have occurred (the technical term for this is 'consolidation'), the thing will probably gap up to new highs.
The "shakeout period" may, and I repeat may, be over. The following is from this afternoon:
Crude-oil prices at the New York Mercantile Exchange fell Tuesday, weighed down by a sharp sell-off in gasoline futures and expectations of growing U.S. crude oil inventories.

May crude oil futures slipped 97 cents to $56.04 a barrel.

Gasoline futures, which lifted oil prices to record highs last week amid a reported decline in inventories of the product and refinery problems in the United States and Venezuela, fell 3.36 cents to $1.6880 a gallon as supply worries eased a bit.
The fuse is in the powder keg. The question is, will it get lit right here? Technically, oil is at a make or break point. I've seen this chart pattern a bunch of times and it tends to indicate higher prices are coming. Also, the conscensus is bearish, which means most traders think it's going down. HA! Any supply/shortage related news could gap this thing up in a frightening way.


It Can't Go Down: A Top Insurance Company as the New Enron? :.

This is shocking. We have moved into the It's-Too-Big-To-Go-Down phase. It can't go down. If GM goes down, the whole damn thing goes down. If Fannie Mae goes down, the whole damn thing goes down. If AIG goes down, the whole damn thing... You get the picture:

American business is facing yet another major scandal involving more accounting shenanigans.

But, this scandal has the potential to cause tsunami-sized damage: It involves a highly respected insurance company, American International Group (AIG) - which is part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average - which has now admitted to $1.7 billion in improper accounting. And, it has enveloped some legends in the financial arena: Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, forced out as chairman of AIG, and Warren Buffet, the Omaha stock market guru, who will be questioned about his possible involvement.

Because AIG is so massive and important to the financial world, regulators will have to tread carefully.
The company's main business is providing reinsurance, that is, it insures insurance companies. This helps the industry to spread its risk among many large and financially sound companies so a single event does not become a financial disaster for one company.

Also, because of AIG's huge size, lawyers don't think the government will bring a criminal charge against the company as it did for Arthur Andersen, Enron's accountant. The criminal charge was a death sentence for the accountant.

"There is an increased reluctance to bring criminal charges that ultimately have the effect of killing a company that otherwise employs a lot of innocent people and has lots of value to it," says Michael Gass, an expert on SEC enforcement at Palmer & Dodge, a Boston law firm. "Instead, there is an increased focus on the individuals responsible."

Related: It Can't Go Down: General Motors' Pause on Way to Junk Is Troubling

AIG Staff Tried to Destroy Documents :.

The new chief executive of embattled insurer American International Group yesterday admitted that employees of the company had been found trying to destroy documents as he sought to allay concerns over the ever-expanding inquiries into the business.


37 U.S. Army Recruiters AWOL Since 2002 :.

Recruiters said falling short often generates a barrage of angry correspondence, formal reprimands, threats or even demotion.

"The recruiter is stuck in the situation where you're not going to make mission, it just won't happen," the New York recruiter said. "And you're getting chewed out every day for it. It's horrible." He said the assignment was more strenuous than the time he was shot at while deployed in Africa.

At least 37 members of the Army Recruiting Command, which oversees enlistment, have gone AWOL since October 2002, Army figures show. And, in what recruiters consider another sign of stress, the number of improprieties committed - signing up unqualified people to meet quotas or giving bonuses or other enlistment benefits to recruits not eligible for them - has increased, Army documents show.

"They don't necessarily have real bullets flying at them," said Major Nagler. "But there are different kind of bullets they need to contend with - the bullets of not producing numbers, of having a station commander shoot them down."


Don't mess with... uh:

(a) Commencing not later than January 1, 2006, the department shall issue or contract for the issuance of special inspection certificates to be affixed to motor vehicles that are inspected and found to be in proper and safe condition under Chapter 548.

(b) An inspection certificate under this section must contain a tamper-resistant transponder, and at a minimum, be capable of storing:
(1) the transponder's unique identification number; and
(2) the make, model, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle to which the certificate is affixed.

(c) In addition, the transponder must be compatible with:
(1) the automated vehicle registration and certificate of title system established by the Texas Department of Transportation; and
(2) interoperability standards established by the Texas Department of Transportation and other entities for use of the system of toll roads and toll facilities in this state.
Related: Slashdotted

Related: Google Cache of Texas H.B. No. 2893

ECHELON's Robot Translators :.

The word ECHELON isn't mentioned once in this article:

Somewhere in a vast jumble of documents in a Baghdad warehouse or in the constant buzz of electronic signals in the sky, a few ominous words or phrases may be hidden: "Explosives." "Nerve gas." "Convoy." "Airport arrival." "The president."

The words, however, are in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto or some other language that few Americans understand. The messages urgently need to be translated, but there aren't enough expert linguists to handle the flood.

The time for robot translators has arrived, according to a panel of language specialists at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington last month.

Related: Generate your own, "ominous words or phrases" automatically with the handy ECHELON bullsh*t generator.

Report Says Pentagon Spending on Weapons to Soar :.

Oh sure, why not?

A new report by the Government Accountability Office warned yesterday that the costs of the Pentagon's arsenal could soar by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

The Pentagon has said it is building more than 70 major weapons systems at a cost of at least $1.3 trillion. But the Pentagon generally understates the time and money spent on weapons programs by 20 to 50 percent, the new report said.

Related: Dollar Headed for Collapse: Mahathir

Related: It Can't Go Down: General Motors' Pause on Way to Junk Is Troubling

Research Credit: JS

Meet the New King of Global Private Equity :.

Conspiracy? What conspiracy? Who said anything about a conspiracy? This is just a little mom-and-pop operation. Everything above board:

For the moment at least, Washington-based Carlyle Group -- whose extensive political connections have made it a bête noir for conspiracy theorists -- has emerged as the hottest player in fiercely competitive private equity world.

This week, Carlyle Group announced it had raised $10-billion (U.S.) from institutional investors eager to profit from its consistent rates of return in the hotly contested North American and European buyout markets.

The investment fundraising is a new record in an industry where clout and prestige aren't measured by the political pedigree of your associates, but by the size of your capital base and the rates of return you can provide.

For years, Carlyle employed former politicians -- including former U.S. president George H.W. Bush; former secretary of state James Baker; and former British prime minister John Major -- to woo investors and advise on investment prospects.

Until this year, that roster included former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, who has since been appointed Canadian Ambassador to the United States.

Headquartered on Pennsylvania Ave., midway between the White House and Capitol Hill, it thrived in the early days under the chairmanship of former defence secretary Frank Carlucci by investing in defence and aerospace companies that had major contracts with the Pentagon.

Carlyle now employs more than 300 investment professionals in 14 countries. It has made 377 investments worth more than $13-billion (U.S.), and has broadened its focus to include telecommunications, health care, energy, real estate and retail.

In the past, Carlyle has been portrayed in the American press -- from right-wing Barron's to the left-of-centre Nation -- as a powerful cabal of ex-politicians and former government employees. Britain's Guardian newspaper once called it the "club of ex-Presidents."In an interview this week, Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein -- who was an adviser in former president Jimmy Carter's White House -- sought to minimize the contribution of the firms' heavyweights from the public sector.

"We have gotten attention because we have brought in some former government officials, but they really were speakers at fundraising lunches and dinners. They were not doing deals, they were not calling government people," he said.

"Nobody would give us money automatically because we had Jim Baker speaking, but it was not harmful. It was certainly helpful in giving us visibility, but our track record now is long enough and good enough to stand on its own."

Mr. Carlucci, who was replaced as chairman in 2003 by former IBM chairman Louis Gerstner, concluded his term as chairman-emeritus this week. Mr. Bush ended his ties to the company in October, 2003; Mr. Baker retires as senior counsellor this spring, and Mr. McKenna ended his affiliation when Carlyle's Canadian advisory committee -- which included luminaries such as former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed and Power Corp. chairman Paul Desmarais -- was disbanded last year.Critics have latched on to the fact that Carlyle once accepted investments from members of the extended the family of Osama bin Laden, even though the terrorist leader has been estranged from his relatives for years. In fact, members of the bin Laden family were attending a Carlyle function in Washington on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

While the funds still attract some high-net-worth investors, its typical client these days is Canada's CPP Investment Board, which has authorized $60-million (U.S.) for a Carlyle venture fund, $30-million of which has been drawn down. The California Public Employees Retirement System (Calpers) is one of the largest Carlyle investors.

With the additional capital from this week's fundraising, Carlyle will have about $25-billion in assets under management, putting it in a league with the largest private equity outfits such as Blackstone Group, Kohlbert Kravis Roberts & Co., and Texas Pacific Group.

Mr. Rubenstein said Carlyle was so successful in raising capital because it has established an enviable track record in the private equity world. It boasts a 29-per-cent annual gross internal rate of return on its family of funds and every buyout fund it has managed has had a rate of return in the top 25 per cent of the industry.

However, Mr. Rubenstein said investors are going to have to lower their sights somewhat as they anticipate returns from the next round of buyouts.

He said Carlyle is telling investors to expect a rate of return in the low 20-per-cent range, as the flood of capital in the market has bid up asset prices and made it more difficult to find attractive deals.

In fact, Carlyle had intended to join with a consortium of private equity firms that this week announced a deal to buy SunGard Data Systems Inc. for $11-billion, but backed out at the last minute because the price became too high.

Pantheon of stars

Frank Carlucci: Secretary of Defence under former U.S. president Ronald Reagan: Carlyle chairman emeritus from January, 2003, to March 31, 2005. Carlyle managing director from 1993 to 2003.

Louis Gerstner: Chairman of IBM from 1993 to 2002: Carlyle chairman from January, 2003, to present.

James A. Baker III: Secretary of state under former U.S. president George H.W. Bush; Treasury secretary under former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Carlyle senior counsellor from 1993, scheduled to retired in April, 2005.

Thomas (Mack) McLarty: Former U.S. president Bill Clinton's chief of staff: Carlyle senior adviser of Mexico.

Some other Carlyle advisers: Former president George H.W. Bush, senior adviser, retired in October, 2003; former British prime minister John Major, chairman of Carlyle Europe until May, 2004, now special adviser; Former Philippines president Fidel Ramos, special adviser, retired in February, 2004; Canadian Ambassador to the United States and former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, special adviser, retired in 2004.


Cryptogon Reader Contributes $25

JS has contributed several times. Thanks JS!

Dollar Headed for Collapse: Mahathir :.

The US dollar is facing an imminent collapse and the global economy will suffer a "catastrophe" when it is rejected as the currency for trade, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said in remarks published yesterday.

Mahathir, who famously ignored International Monetary Fund (IMF) advice and instead chose to peg his country's ringgit to the US dollar during the Asian financial crisis, said a standard gold currency was now the best alternative for world trade. The dollar was retaining some value because of fears of a global economic catastrophe if it was rejected, he told a conference of some 650 chief executives from 30 countries at a conference in Kota Kinabalu on Borneo island on Tuesday, The Star newspaper reported.

"But the catastrophe will come one day because even the most powerful country in the world cannot repay loans amounting to US$7 trillion," Mahathir said.

Related: It Can't Go Down: General Motors' Pause on Way to Junk Is Troubling

OIL GAPS TO $57.70 and the Magic Mystery Dot :.

New record...

DISCLAIMER: The following is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial instrument.

Short term, I'd expect people who chased this to get annihilated. This thing is a blood sport. Look for a shakeout period. The goal of the big money players is to accumulate as many long contracts as they can, at the lowest price. The easiest way to accomplish this would be to try to rattle the small time speculators out of their long positions, maybe even convince them to short. Prices will fall. Weak longs will get destroyed. The big fish will be accumulating as the panicked longs get out or reverse short. After a sufficient number of decapitations have occurred (the technical term for this is 'consolidation'), the thing will probably gap up to new highs.

And now, dear readers, it's story time on Cryptogon:

TR and I tried to devise a "black box" system that scanned the market, looking for moves like this. I understood technical analysis. TR was doing the programming. TR named the system, "The Magic Mystery Dot" because Trade Station would indicate the trigger by placing a dot on the chart when it occurred. Why am I still asking for donations on Cryptogon if we had the Magic Mystery Dot to do our bidding? Key word: Mystery.

It didn't work. Not really. We were never able to quantify the drawdown period that usually occurs after the new high (we watched multiple periods) on momentum. We tried to devise a strategy for taking a long position at some point after this move was in. Not chasing it, mind you, but waiting for the inevitable shakeout to occur, and then getting in long. It was impossible for us to determine the extent of the shakeout/drawdown, but, I'll be damned if the thing wouldn't almost always work out.... eventually. The problem was with enduring the terrifying drawdown.

One time, we got a Magic Mystery Dot signal. I waited for the drawdown. Minutes passed. Yep. There's the drawdown. I bought the thing. Minutes passed.

Gap down. Block sales. A long red candle formed on my 1-minute chart. A red (down) volume bar grew ominously.

I'm an experienced trader. Sh*t happens. No problem. Get out.

But not this time.

This was a Magic Mystery Dot move.

My heart started beating irregularly. My pupils dilated. I started taking deep, panicked breaths. I grabbed hold of the desk to steady my shaking hands...

Remember that scene in Fight Club when Ed Norton gets the acid poured on his hand and he goes to his happy place? I closed my eyes, clasped my hands behind my head and leaned back in the chair. There were green rolling hills, a lake, singing birds. A little voice inside my head said, "Have faith in the Magic Mystery Dot."

Some number of seconds---maybe a couple of minutes---passed. When I opened my eyes again, it was gapping up! Up. Up. Up. Volume pouring on.

I managed to steady my hands long enough to manipulate the mouse and key-in the order. I read the sell order out to myself and pulled the trigger. When it was over, I was up about $500. I calculated the potential loss during the drawdown. It could have been as bad as $1000, if I had panicked and sold.

I didn't feel like I'd actually made the money. Have you ever narrowly avoided a terrible car crash? That's how I felt. TR wondered if my life flashed in front of my eyes. By luck, or the sheer grace of the Demiurge, I emerged, unharmed.

I didn't trade the Magic Mystery Dot signal again, but TR and I both watched it "work" a few more times.

We were poor, and the tools were very expensive. We tried all kinds of things, not just the MMD. We couldn't find anything that worked, but I continue to wonder if we could have figured it out, you know, given enough time with the tools and someone sliding the food and coffee under the door. We weren't trying to get rich. We just wanted to escape the clutches of the PHB.

We knew that black box systems were real. Any market observer can see institutional black box trading ("program trading" in polite circles) all the time. It accounts for nearly 55% of the volume on the NYSE. The trick is to make money off of it, not sit there pointing at the screen, shaking your head, after the fact. Like Icarus, TR and I thought, "We can we have God-like powers." Why couldn't a couple of guys in wrinkled t-shirts and jeans slap Goldman Sachs around?

The results were predictable... Our glue and feathers didn't hold:

Oil prices surged to a record near $58 a barrel on Friday, powered by a forecast the market could spike above $100 due to robust global demand and tight spare capacity.

Prices have climbed around 30 percent this year, with big-money speculative funds buying heavily on signs that rapid demand growth in Asia's emerging economies and the United States would strain world supply.

U.S. light crude (CLc1) rose $2.40 to $57.70 a barrel, breaking the previous peak of $57.60 hit March 17. London's Brent crude (LCOc1) climbed $2.22 to $56.51.

U.S. gasoline futures (HUc1) for May hit a record $1.7360 a gallon on worries that a national stockpile surplus could dwindle ahead of driving season, while heating oil futures struck a peak of $1.6750 a gallon.

Top energy derivatives trader Goldman Sachs (GS) said in a report on Thursday the oil markets might have entered a "super-spike" period, which could eventually drive prices toward $105.


:. Reading

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell Readers will come to see that industrial food production is indeed a "fatal harvest" - fatal to consumers, as pesticide residues and new disease vectors such as E. coli and "mad cow disease" find their way into our food supply; fatal to our landscapes, as chemical runoff from factory farms poison our rivers and groundwater; fatal to genetic diversity, as farmers rely increasingly on high-yield monocultures and genetically engineered crops; and fatal to our farm communities, which are wiped out by huge corporate farms.

Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Myron Gross This is a relatively short but extremely cogent and well-argued treatise on the rise of a form of fascistic thought and social politics in late 20th century America. Author Bertram Gross' thesis is quite straightforward; the power elite that comprises the corporate, governmental and military superstructure of the country is increasingly inclined to employ every element in their formidable arsenal of 'friendly persuasion' to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans through what Gross refers to as friendly fascism.

The Good Life
by Scott and Helen Nearing
Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash...Fascinating, timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings' challenging philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills.

Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth by David Bollierd In Silent Theft, David Bollier argues that a great untold story of our time is the staggering privatization and abuse of our common wealth. Corporations are engaged in a relentless plunder of dozens of resources that we collectively own—publicly funded medical breakthroughs, software innovation, the airwaves, the public domain of creative works, and even the DNA of plants, animals and humans. Too often, however, our government turns a blind eye—or sometimes helps give away our assets. Amazingly, the silent theft of our shared wealth has gone largely unnoticed because we have lost our ability to see the commons.

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics Guide by John Seymour The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the only book that teaches all the skills needed to live independently in harmony with the land harnessing natural forms of energy, raising crops and keeping livestock, preserving foodstuffs, making beer and wine, basketry, carpentry, weaving, and much more.

When Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten When Corporations Rule the World explains how economic globalization has concentrated the power to govern in global corporations and financial markets and detached them from accountability to the human interest. It documents the devastating human and environmental consequences of the successful efforts of these corporations to reconstruct values and institutions everywhere on the planet to serve their own narrow ends.

The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener This expansion of a now-classic guide originally published in 1989 is intended for the serious gardener or small-scale market farmer. It describes practical and sustainable ways of growing superb organic vegetables, with detailed coverage of scale and capital, marketing, livestock, the winter garden, soil fertility, weeds, and many other topics.