Monday, March 28, 2011

Gold As The Economic Reference Point

Friend of Friend of Another posted an excellent article the other day about gold as an economic reference point. It's a long read, but by the time you're finished, you'll hopefully understand why I encourage everyone to trade their worthless paper dollars for physical gold bullion as soon as possible, and at any cost. This is the only way to permanently capture the economic value, or purchasing power, of those worthless paper dollars. As I have stated before, gold (and silver, to a lesser degree) should never be considered an investment. It's true savings.

Seriously: long-term savings absolutely should not be in the form of a bank account, stocks, bonds, money markets, mutual funds, or anything that can go to zero overnight (and the US Dollar can go to zero overnight). Long-term savings should be in the form of the precious metals I've mentioned before: gold, silver, iron*, or copper.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gold/Silver Ratio, etc

Since March 7, 2011, the ratio between the prices of gold and silver has been below 41 every trading day but for three days. The ratio at current prices is at the lowest it's been all year (38.48). This means it takes a little less than 39 ounces of silver to purchase an ounce of gold.

On June 7, 2010, nine months ago, the ratio was 70. In other words, if you'd traded 2 ounces of gold then, it would have bought 140 ounces of silver. Today, you could trade that silver back into roughly 3.5 ounces of gold, a 75% gain in only 9 months. Zero leverage in two investments considered to be sterile, producing a true 75% return... after all, you started with only 2 1-ounce coins... now, you have 3 1-ounce coins and a half-ounce coin.

Out With A Whimper

Some folks may have thought I was overstating my case a while back when I wrote about the American dictatorship. More evidence is piling up, however, that supports the notion that we have indeed finally crossed the Rubicon and are ruled by a Julius. If this historical reenactment continues to unfold (God forbid), the next administration may very well be our Octavian.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicks Ahoy

We have nineteen chicks hatched thus far. Five more are pecking away at their shells. One didn't make it. We just pulled the hatched chicks from the incubator and moved them into the brooder. My sister's eggs are the slowest-hatching. Only one of her eight has hatched, and three are currently trying to get out of their shells.

The black copper marans are easy to sex when they're only a couple days old. The hens have a distinct spot on top of the head, while the roos don't. Of the black copper maran chicks, we have three roos and four hens.

The rest of the chicks are all half black copper maran and half something else... an assortment of hens other breeds produced the eggs: cuckoo maran, welsummers, australorps, buff orpington, and one high-strung leghorn. These should all be decent egg-producers in a few months.

Wait A Minute... I Thought We Were All Supposed To Be Dead By Now

EPA's radiation monitoring is online here.

Private radiation monitoring network here.

Webcam feed of a Geiger counter in Los Angeles here.

Webcam feed of a Geiger counter in Tokyo here.

Weather and radiation levels in Tokyo here.

Instead of blowing all that money and energy on freaking out over the "fallout" that was going to kill us all, maybe we should have been more focused on praying for the millions of Japanese affected by the massive earthquake, the subsequent massive tsunami, the loss of 20% of the nation's power generation during winter, and the economic meltdown that's currently taking place in Japan. Black Swan event, indeed.

If You're Not Angry, You're Not Paying Attention

On Friday, in a federal trial, a United States Attorney claimed in court that Bernard von NotHaus is guilty of domestic terrorism. The jury deliberated less than two hours and found von NotHaus guilty of conspiracy against the government. The FBI, the Buncombe County Sheriff, and the Secret Service were all involved in taking down this dangerous terrorist. He's expected to get 25 years in prison.

So was von NotHaus a Muslim convert plotting to carry out jihad? Was he Hutaree or affiliated with those wackos in Fairbanks? Did he threaten judges or police officers? Did he shoot someone? Was he plotting to blow up a federal building?

Nope. He was bartering. With silver. You read that correctly. This vile terrorist needs to be sent to Gitmo ASAP.

Now think how many times the idea of another gold seizure is scoffed at.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hatchery update

We have at least four chicks pecking their way out of their shells now, and one black copper maran that has completely hatched. I haven't been this jazzed since the birth of our youngest child. My oldest daughter is giddy, and can't stop giggling. Definitely worth doing... if you haven't hatched out chicks, do it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

That's My Rep

While I don't always agree with him 100%, Carl continues to get my vote at the ballot box, because he is dedicated to protecting parental rights in Alaska, particularly in terms of abortion and home schooling. He has now introduced a bill prohibiting Alaska state courts from honoring foreign law, which is a cornerstone of national and state sovereignty. Way to go, Carl! Keep up the good work and I'll keep voting for you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Actual Expert On the Subject

Turn off the television and radio, ignore the sky-is-falling blog posts and frantic ButtFace FaceBook status updates. Then head over to the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler and read LC Jackboot's take on the Fukushima Daiichi power plant problems. Run, don't walk. Seriously, read it all, but be forewarned that Jackboot is ex-Navy, so the language is a little rough in a couple spots.


Head over to the Man-Cans site and order scented candles in scents such as:
  • Coffee
  • Bacon
  • Grandpa's Pipe
  • New Mitt
  • Fresh Cut Grass

Geiger Counter in Tokyo

The video stream of the Geiger counter I posted yesterday is offline now. Of course, that causes tons of people to freak out and assume that something horrific has happened. In any case, here's another site with readings taken every 10 minutes and graphed out over what appears to be about 36 hours. Here's a snapshot of the graph:

As you can see, Tokyo is still not receiving significant amount of radiation. It sounds like the bulk of the radiation that's being reported as leaking from the Fukushima reactor is from noble gases, with extremely short half-lives. In other words, unless you're in the immediate vicinity of the reactor and stay there for hours, the radiation isn't going to significantly affect you. That's the current status; the situation is still developing, but the more I read, the more (cautiously) optimistic I am.

UPDATE (3/16/2011 12:45pm ADT): The live video stream of the Geiger counter in Tokyo is back online, and the counter is currently reading around 23 CPM.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Radiation In Denver Than Tokyo

Here's a live feed of a Geiger counter in Tokyo. Tokyo is 142 miles from the Fukushima power plant.

Compare that to the National Radiation Map. Currently, there is nearly twice as much radioactivity (57 CPM vs 28 CPM) being registered in Denver than there is in Tokyo.

Per the latter web site, 130 CPM is an unusually high count.

Kind of puts things in perspective.

Synchronicity... again...

Several years ago, we made the decision to begin, bit by bit, to prep a bit. We're hardly what you'd call "preppers" but we realized after 9/11 that Alaska is in a pretty precarious spot if anything big were ever to happen. So, we decided that, as our first order of business, we should acquire at least enough MREs to feed the family for a week in an emergency. I did a bit of research and finally settled on ordering a couple cases of Wornick Eversafe MREs from Long Life Food Depot. That was late August of 2005. I placed the order, but not before Hurricane Katrina hit. My order took a couple months to be fulfilled.

Regarding Compulsory Public Education

“The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.” — Hannah Arendt

“The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their common sense.” — G.K. Chesterton

h/t Serge

Oh Noze! We're All Gonna Die!

Yeah, that's the basic content of half the emails and ButtFace FaceBook posts from my reactionary friends and family (the ones referred to in my last post as pessimistic suckers) regarding the Japanese reactors.

In the interest of spreading more level-headed information (as opposed to the ignorant crap at Prison Planet*), here is the email message I composed to some of my wild-eyed family members today:

I'd recommend taking anything on Prison Planet with a grain of salt. They tend toward the sensational and are notorious for playing fast and loose with the facts. Just to put this all into perspective, here is a trio of informational sites, from folks that know something about nuclear power (which the Prison Planet guy clearly does not) and are closely monitoring the situation:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's P. T. Barnum's world

"This curmudgeon fellow
really annoys me."
As I get older, I've learned to (usually) bite my tongue when this happens, but it's nearly every day I hear someone say (or read it posted online) something that only a sucker would repeat. The list of these offenses is as long as my arm, and getting longer every day, but they all have the same root cause: a complete and utter lack of critical thinking skills. The Public Miseducation System has been nearly a complete success. Virtually nobody can think any more. Nobody even tries to think, because they believe that they are "thinking" when they regurgitate whatever it is they read online, or saw on television, or heard on the radio. This is not a left vs. right issue; it's not Republican vs. Democrat. It's a complete inability of the vast majority of people in this culture to think, to question their own assumptions, to "trust but verify" no matter the source. It's the result of intellectual laziness coupled with a subtle kind of arrogance: laziness, because most people will simply not lift a finger to verify the veracity of a "fact" they've been fed; arrogance, because, despite the knowledge that they haven't done so, most people believe they have actually thought through their beliefs and practices.

I often find myself guilty of the same crime. I will realize that something I have heretofore accepted unquestioningly may or may not be the truth. I've taken to reading a lot of stuff that I completely disagree with, in the interest of actually proving to myself that I know what I believe and have considered the opposing viewpoints. My own pursuit of truth has cost me personally, but one thing my parents instilled in me from the earliest age was that truth is its own reward, and the cost of truth is irrelevant.

Truth has an enemy: the sucker.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hatchery update

The chicks have been incubating now for 9 full days. The kids and I decided to pull the infertile eggs and those with chicks that have died. We found 9 that were infertile, and 3 that had died. I threw away most of them, but kept one that had a 3-4 day old embryo for an impromptu science class some time later this week.

Of the remaining eggs, the majority had very obvious live chicks inside, swimming around, doing somersaults, etc. We really can't tell if any of my wife's eggs are doing well or not; the shell is too dark. Seven of my sister's eggs have live chicks in them; we couldn't tell with her eighth.

We're half way through the process now. It's strange to think that in just two weeks, we'll have a flock of chicks that were just eggs two weeks ago.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rock on, Wyoming

Welcome to the elite sisterhood of states (Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and now Wyoming) that officially recognize the right of their citizens to be armed without a permission slip: Wyoming adopts constitutional carry law.


I happen to work for the company that was (note the operative tense) webcasting the restart of the Iditarod. Just a couple minutes before Lance Mackey was about to embark, the webcasting server crashed. Grr.

Update: well, it only took about a half hour before somebody finally got around to rebooting the server. During that time, several different error messages appeared when attempting to access the web site, so at least that shows someone was actively working on the problem. Still missed Mackey's start, though.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My entrepreneurial kids

My wife and I were talking the other night about getting new chickens this year. We usually buy chicks from the local hatchery and raise them from a few days old. However, last year, we had quite a bad experience with the owner of the hatchery, and we've been talking about how to get new chicks some other way this year. It suddenly occurred to us that, since we have a rooster and a bunch of hens, we almost certainly have some fertile eggs; we could just hatch our own. It was quite an eye-opener to realize that we can actually produce not just eggs, but our own chickens. So, I started looking at incubators, and it turns out there are a lot of choices out there, but they're all expensive, and a lot of them are relatively low quality styrofoam deals. If we were going to strike out on our own, we didn't necessarily want it to be a more costly endeavor than simply patronizing the local hatchery.

It turns out that my next door neighbors had acquired an incubator from a friend of theirs, and had never used it. I went over one night and the husband and I dug it out and fired it up and all seemed to be in order. I brought it home and went about calibrating the thermostat and working out how to get the humidity high enough, which is quite a chore here; the wind blows a lot here, which makes for a very dry climate during the winter. Anyway, the incubator looks like some sort of kit built from extension service plans (similar concept to the wooden one here), and appears to be as much as 20-30 years old; I didn't have high hopes, but I persevered, and sure enough, we were able to get the temperature and humidity in the correct ranges for incubating eggs.

45 eggs ready to go into the incubator
By this time, the two oldest kids had hatched (get it?) a business plan: they would purchase fertile eggs, incubate them, then sell the chicks. We have a black copper maran rooster, so all of our hatched chicks would be half black copper maran. My wife got the notion that she wanted some pure black copper marans, so she started poking around on craigslist and found a family that sells fertilized eggs, both pure black copper maran, and black copper maran cross. She bought eight black copper maran eggs, and the kids bought a dozen more crossbreed eggs. My sister decided she wanted to hatch out some of her eggs to, so, within a week, we had 45 eggs ready to be incubated. The incubator we're using looks like it could easily hold 250 eggs, but since this was to be our first attempt, we decided to keep the numbers down, so as to minimize our losses (the pure maran eggs were $5 each, and we eat almost all of the eggs our own chickens produce).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Silver breakout cont'd

The price of silver in US dollars has now made a 25% gain since the first of February. As mentioned in my last post on the same subject, this has an even bigger impact on junior silver miners: in the same time period, Canadian Zinc is up 67%, and U. S. Silver is up 36%. The conservative silver bulls' predictions have already come to pass: silver is already trading well over $35 per ounce. A lot of other bulls are still targetting $45-$75 by the end of the year.

Always remember that precious metals should not be considered an investment. They only "grow" relative to the collapsing purchasing power of the dollar. In other words, precious metals retain their true value, and thus, they can inflation-proof your savings. As I've been saying for a long time: convert your dollars to something else now, before they lose even more purchasing power. Heck, go buy a half-dozen gas cans and fill them up with gasoline at the current low prices. Inflation is hitting us in a big way, despite what the talking heads on the idiot-box say, so every day they convince you to hold onto your worthless paper dollars, is another day you are losing money.

In the interest of full disclosure, I own silver bullion, CZICF, and USSIF and have no intention of selling any of them any time soon. I don't have gas cans full of gasoline, but I may soon.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Walter Williams is my hero

A discussion arose today on Buttface Facebook, during the course of which several self-described conservatives were extolling the virtues of several government programs, and bewailing the inevitable apocalypse that would result if government kept its nose out of the business of its citizens.

This is why I refuse to call myself a conservative; it's meaningless these days. I know too many people who call themselves "conservative" that are quite "liberal" with the money I earned and which was stolen from me via taxation... as long as it's not going to fund something they dislike, such as abortion or health care. The way I see it, the Republican party today is just as bad as the Democrat party when it comes to curtailing personal liberty. Let's not forget, it was "conservative" Republicans that gave us the TSA and the Patriot Act (which the newly-minted "conservative" Tea Party congressmen just reauthorized); and as for the impending economic armageddon, it was "conservative" Republicans that started the current orgy of corporate welfare with TARP.

Anyway, my ranting aside, this particular lecture by Walter Williams is 52 minutes long, but it is well worth your time, assuming you actually care to understand the true impact of government intervention in the private sphere.

The False Paradigm

From Garrison Graphics, the following quote and political cartoon. Most of his political cartoons hit the nail on the head. This one in particular is pretty much how I feel about the political landscape in America today. People vote for their candidates because of the letter after their name, and when it boils down to it, they do so because some talking head on the idiot box told them to do so. Regardless of who wins any particular election, the liberty bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers is eroded at a constant rate, with virtually every bill that's passed.
"They keep us distracted with left vs. right while giving us the illusion that voting for one of the other parties will solve things. It won't."