While Iceland investigates City fraud claims, our feeble watchdogs fail to bark
Allegations of a London derivatives scandal involving Kaupthing are being vigorously pursued – but not by British regulators, whose funding and powers look increasingly circumscribed
Last week, about a dozen UK-based witnesses were questioned at the headquarters of the Serious Fraud Office over a suspected €500m market manipulation effort in the opaque and unregulated London credit derivatives market. Investigators believe an attempt may have been made to manipulate prices at the height of the banking crisis in the autumn of 2008.
Those questioned are not suspected of wrongdoing, but are thought to have important evidence relevant to the case. They include London-based investment bankers, some of whom worked at Deutsche Bank in 2008, and, remarkably, the fashion designer Karen Millen.
An even bigger surprise, however, is that those asking the questions were not officials from the SFO or the Financial Services Authority. They were prosecutors from a tiny, debt-laden island in the Atlantic: Iceland.
Lets hope the guys get some cash back from those fuckers.
I think everything will be paid up at the end of the yearAlmost half of the £5m deposited by a Lancashire council in two failed Icelandic banks has now been recovered.
A repayment of around £1m has been received by South Ribble Council following the Icelandic Supreme Court’s decision before Christmas to place UK authorities at the head of the queue to get their outstanding cash back.
South Ribble Council had a total of £5m in two Icelandic banks before the country’s dramatic economic collapse in the autumn of 2008.
The council had short-term deposits of £2 million with Heritable, of which £1.4 million has now been paid back to the council. The judgement and latest payment of £1m is in relation to the £3 million long-term deposit with Landsbanki.
Coun Stephen Robinson, South Ribble Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for finance and resources, said: “I’m delighted with the progress made in recovering our Icelandic deposits so far.
“This is a very different scenario to the one painted by some people in 2008 and early 2009, when they were suggesting that all the money we had in Iceland was lost forever.”
Some say that Marc Rich designed the Russian oligarch dynasty.
He is best friends with these guys, aka putins swiss parachute nest egg.
The Rich Boys
An ultra-secretive network rules independent oil trading. Its mentor: Marc Rich
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...9/b3943080.htmOver the years, Rich has mentored scores of traders. Although the 70-year-old is past his peak in the business, according to industry experts, his protégés are thriving. "You could call it the University of Marc Rich," says a Senate investigator. As Alaskan and North Sea oil production declines, new supplies increasingly come from some of the most corrupt or politically unstable places on earth, such as Equatorial Guinea and Sudan. These are the new frontiers where major U.S. oil companies fear to tread because of sanctions, embargoes, and antibribery and anti-terrorism laws. But it's where these traders, many like characters out of the James Bond flick Goldfinger, make good money, especially when oil tops $60 a barrel.
Governments and law enforcers have long been suspicious of some Rich Boys. In a six-month investigation, BusinessWeek has pieced together the first comprehensive look at their sprawling and deliberately elusive operations. Our findings:
-- Rich has spawned the most powerful informal network of independent commodities traders on earth. He did it primarily by funding spin-offs and startups around the globe for decades, and by training scores of traders who have set up their own shops. Although Rich no longer maintains stakes in most of these outfits, he has helped create a network that, in sum, is far more formidable than his own company in the 1970s and 1980s, when it was the world's premier commodities trader.
-- The Rich Boys' often controversial activities are on the rise. They buy oil from places where corruption is extensive: Some of the Rich Boys have been named in scandals in Nigeria and Venezuela. They also sell oil from pariah states to U.S. refiners.
Radioactive Elements and the Evolving Colours of Stars as Cosmic Clocks
Although useful, the arguments above give us just a gross approximation of the possible ages of the Universe and of its constituents. We need better tools.
The disintegration of radioactive elements is one of the most powerful and accurate ways to derive the ages of astronomical systems. Like we use radiocarbon dating to infer the age of recent archaeological artefacts of 50,000 years or less, geophysicists and astronomers have used the properties of uranium isotopes and other radioactive elements to deduce an age of about 4.5 billion years for the Earth.
We can even determine that uranium and most of the heavy elements themselves found on the Earth and the Moon were produced about 8.8 billion years ago. They were probably "cooked" in a powerful supernova that exploded somewhere in the Milky Way and polluted the primordial interstellar cloud of gas and dust that would later be used in the formation of our solar system. Hence, the Universe must be older than 8.8 billion years, the age of the supernova “mother star” that produced the heaviest elements found on Earth.
One other powerful technique can be used to infer the age of the Universe to a finer precision. It employs the tracking of the colour and the luminosity of stars as they evolve during their long lifetimes. Images of stellar clusters taken through several filters allow astronomers to display of the systematic patterns of luminosity versus colour that betray ages and other properties of the stars. Globular or open clusters each contain thousands and even million of stars giving instantaneous “portraits” for given ages. By looking at different clusters, astronomers can plot colour-magnitude diagrams for many clusters. Each cluster will give a different pattern depending on its age, whether it is only a few million or 10 billion years old. These changing patterns of star luminosity and colour can be well reproduced through sophisticated computer modeling of stellar evolution. Astronomers have used this approach for half a century to infer the age of stellar clusters and their stars.
The oldest ages, inferred from studies of star clusters, are between 12 and 15 billion years, with uncertainties of a few billions years. Nevertheless these numbers tell us something reasonably certain about the oldest stars––they have to be younger than the age of the Universe. However, the venerable age of the oldest star clusters leaves an uncomfortably short amount of time between the current estimates for the birth of the Universe at about 13.7 billion years and the formation of the first stars.This article is a very good read. Open minded to other theories, Big Bang theory just rustles my jimmies somehow.The Gemini Deep Deep Survey of the Distant Universe
The recently completed Gemini Deep Deep Survey took the deepest spectra ever of very distant galaxies. Using data obtained with the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea, a team of USA/Canada/UK astronomers have completed the analysis of the images and spectra representing several hundreds of galaxies corresponding to a time window when the Universe was between a 20% to 40% of its present age. They find a very puzzling “landscape.” The galaxy populations they encounter look the same, with surprisingly no sign of evolution during this crucial epoch that was thought to be a period of most significant changes in the assembly of galaxies. Even more intriguing: massive and fully formed galaxies are found at the largest distances, or youngest epochs of the Gemini survey. The big massive ones should not be there, but they are.
This finding leaves very little time between the Big Bang and that epoch for forming these Gemini Deep Deep Survey galaxies. Either something is wrong with our present models of collapsing large structures right after the Big Bang, or we need to revisit the way galaxies formed. For instance, massive black holes could be much more ubiquitous than we thought in the early Universe and may act as numerous and efficient seeds to form the first galaxies.
Although many indicators lead to an age of about 13 billions years for the universe and its constituents, there is an uncomfortably short period between the beginning of space-time-matter and the appearance of the first objects in the known Universe.
Steady-state postulation is almost exclusively the remit of quacks these days. Just ooc, why do you dislike the Big Bang model, and do you have a preferred alternate cosmology?
I guess the Hyper inflation and the fact galaxies dont seem to get younger the farther you look away. Even 13 billion light years away they look similar to galaxies around us that are billion of years old.Admitting a beginning is philosophically awkward, and the nagging question of what was before naturally arises. What the modern physicist or astronomer has to accept is that the concept of a beginning, such as the Big Bang, also acknowledges the impossibility of looking further back in time than this point using the laws of physics. The intellectual positions of present day scientists and philosophers are more modest than that of Dr. John Lightfoot (1601-1675), Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, who declared that heaven, Earth and man were created on October 23, 4004 BC, at nine o’clock in the morning!
Did our Universe have a beginning? If so, how old is it? How do we determine its age? These questions are among the most difficult and also the most exciting addressed by modern astrophysics. The question of the Universe's age is a basic driver of contemporary cosmology. This quest has motivated the funding of many sophisticated ground-based and space experiments and is mobilizing the efforts of hundreds of scientists and engineers.
I very open minded to all kind astro shit. Just click around this thread and you see a lot of theories
Couldn't that just be a result of the universe being a hell of a lot bigger than we may have expected?
One of my favs shows
Yea, its alot bigger. They are talking now about the great unknown, the space beyond 13,5 billion light years. They also say that space could be infinite, big bang theory is taking a bit of a beating with the latest long range pics. Space should not look like it does 13 billion light years away. The whole model needs a rethink.
That quoted block is pretty bullshitty. Admitting an infinite universe is just as "philosophically awkward", isn't it?
It seems we don't understand the superstructure of the (relatively) young universe. That's very interesting, and I'm doing more reading on that topic. There is very little written on subsequent analysis of GDDS or its implications, and that's really saddening.
/edit: I would genuinely appreciate solid links discussing GDDS and its implications. I can't find any from reputable sources (plenty of wordpress blogs, self-hosted hilarity-sites, god-bothering institutions, etc), and this material is almost eight years old now. I'm beginning to think Lambda-CDM was merely refined to account for the apparent age of distant galaxies, but I still can't find any data on that point.
So... perhaps the linked Gemini-sourced material is merely sensationalist? idgi
Big Bang theory has been rustling mah jimmies since I was a kid. If you had looked at the thread you would have known that.
I was just reaffirming my view in light of the article.
As you can see, no where in that post did I say that the article question the legitimacy of the Big Bang model. I did however comment that my own jimmies were rustled somehow.This article is a very good read. Open minded to other theories, Big Bang theory just rustles my jimmies somehow.
The Work of Semmelweis
The germ theory of disease was not really fully developed until the 1870s but, 30 years before this, a doctor in Vienna called Ignaz Semmelweis made a discovery that was very important but not accepted at all at the time. Semmelweis worked in a maternity hospital where the death rate of mothers and babies was extremely high because of an infection commonly known as child bed fever or puerperal fever. However, Semmelweis quickly made a very unpopular observation; he noticed that the ward run by midwives had a much lower death rate than a ward run by doctors.We have a horrible habit of throwing peeps in the lony bin that bring up theories that we think are ludicrous.At that time, doctors went from one patient to another without washing their hands, so the bacteria that caused child bed fever were transmitted easily around the ward. Semmelweis’ suggestion that doctors cleaned up between patients, and wore clean coats for the ward and different clothing for the room where post mortems were carried out achieved a huge drop in death rates. However, his claim that the doctors were doing a worse job than the midwives led to him being shunned by his colleagues and dismissed from his position.
After getting another job in another hospital, and making the same observations and improvements, Semmelweis was again heavily criticised and lost his job. He died in 1865 in a mental institution, widely regarded as a madman, and never lived to see the theory that tiny particles, invisible to the naked eye, could carry infectious disease from person to person.
http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...Nuclear-Power/Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium
If Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.
Thorium reactors with carbon Recycling plants besides them to take CO2 from the air is the way forward.Carbon Recycling International (CRI) captures carbon dioxide from industrial emissions and converts carbon dioxide into Renewable Methanol (RM). RM is a clean fuel and can be blended at different levels with gasoline to meet renewable energy directives. The capture of carbon dioxide minimizes emissions from energy intensive industries. It is compatible to the existing energy and fuel infrastructure.
RM is a blend fuel for existing automobiles and hybrid flexible vehicles and can be purchased at existing gasoline stations. The production of RM is feasible in many locations in the world with geothermal, wind, and solar energy sources. CRI plans to build commercial plants for domestic consumption and for export to other European countries.
I just solved the energy and glopal warming crises before lunch time.
Much better then having Al "I have the largest carbon footprint known to man" Gore fly his private jet around the world and spew his garbage at us.
The quote implies that the article in question has something to do with the validity of alternate cosmologies, when in fact it merely says "other cosmologies exist" (nothing about their verisimilitude or theoretical parsimony). If you derive psychological pleasure from mere mention of non-Lamda-CDM cosmologies, that's fine. I'm not an idea-bigot unless the ideas are just plain batshit crazy and clung to with vehemence despite elementary evidence (hur dur, Jesus was resurrected, dur, souls). I was just curious about the implication and your stance vis-a-vis same — I wasn't out on a fucking Agathor witchhunt.
wrt nukes: I want to see more research on travelling wave reactors.
Its all good, I am just happy that someone posts in mah thread. Feel free to toss in some links you find interesting
If you want an eclectic mix-o-sciencey-&-poppy-shiz, Maggie Koerth-Baker's feed at Boing Boing is worth a look.
Also, solve protein folding puzzles (and contribute to scientific research!) in the FoldIt Game.
Also again, maths:
Now thats a quote. Vinata would kick this guy straight to the "creative shit posting gulag".In the poetic conclusion to his 1994 autobiography, Naturalist, the great sociobiologist and Pellegrino University Professor emeritus E.O. Wilson mused on what he would do, “[i]f I could do it all over again and relive my vision in the twenty-first century. I would be a microbial ecologist…,” he wrote. “Into that world I would go with the aid of modern microscopy and molecular analysis. I would cut my way through clonal forests sprawled across grains of sand, travel in an imagined submarine through drops of water proportionately the size of lakes, and track predators and prey in order to discover new life ways and alien food webs. All this, and I need venture no farther than ten paces outside my laboratory building. The jaguars, ants, and orchids would still occupy distant forests in all their splendor, but now they would be joined by an even stranger and vastly more complex living world virtually without end.”
I wonder if the Americans know that their corps dont even hand over the tax they take from your personal salary.Across the United States more than 2,700 companies are collecting state income taxes from hundreds of thousands of workers – and are keeping the money with the states’ approval, says an eye-opening report published on Thursday. The report from Good Jobs First, a nonprofit taxpayer watchdog organization funded by Ford, Surdna and other major foundations, identifies 16 states that let companies divert some or all of the state income taxes deducted from workers’ paychecks. None of the states requires notifying the workers, whose withholdings are treated as taxes they paid.
General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and AMC Theatres enjoy deals to keep state taxes deducted from their workers’ paychecks, the report shows. Foreign companies also enjoy such arrangements, including Electrolux, Nissan, Toyota and a host of Canadian, Japanese and European banks, Good Jobs First says.
Why do state governments do this? Public records show that large companies often pay little or no state income tax in states where they have large operations, as this column has documented. Some companies get discounts on property, sales and other taxes. So how to provide even more subsidies without writing a check? Simple. Let corporations keep the state income taxes deducted from their workers’ paychecks for up to 25 years.
It was not always this way. Letting companies keep their workers’ state taxes apparently began in Kentucky two decades ago as a way to retain jobs.
Of course they don't my Viking friend - they're American.
It's almost as if the game is rigged somehow
2-Hour Therapy Cures Spider Phobia by Rewiring the Brain — apropos given the spider-talk in some of the Uncensored threads. It's pretty fucking interesting (ntm creepy, at times) how granular our understanding of the brain is becoming.
Remarkable how a God damn insect is smaller than an amoeba.Thrips are tiny insects, typically just a millimetre in length. Some are barely half that size. If that’s how big the adults are, imagine how small a thrips’ egg must be. Now, consider that there are insects that lay their eggs inside the egg of a thrips.
That’s one of them in the image above – the wasp, Megaphragma mymaripenne. It’s pictured next to a Paramecium and an amoeba at the same scale. Even though both these creatures are made up of a single cell, the wasp – complete with eyes, brain, wings, muscles, guts and genitals – is actually smaller. At just 200 micrometres (a fifth of a millimetre), this wasp is the third smallest insect alive* and a miracle of miniaturisation.
The wasp has several adaptations for life at such a small scale. But the most impressive one of all has just been discovered by Alexey Polilov from Lomonosov Moscow State University, who has spent many years studying the world’s tiniest insects.
Polilov found that M.mymaripenne has one of the smallest nervous systems of any insect, consisting of just 7,400 neurons. For comparison, the common housefly has 340,000 and the honeybee has 850,000. And yet, with a hundred times fewer neurons, the wasp can fly, search for food, and find the right places to lay its eggs.
On top of that Polilov found that over 95 per cent of the wasps’s neurons don’t have a nucleus. The nucleus is the command centre of a cell, the structure that sits in the middle and hoards a precious cache of DNA. Without it, the neurons shouldn’t be able to replenish their vital supply of proteins. They shouldn’t work. Until now, intact neurons without a nucleus have never been described in the wild.
Another problem with the Big Bang theory is that it reifies the concept “space” into a physical object which can expand. First they claim that space is matterless, and then they say that this matterless concept is expanding. Concepts such as space, time, love, justice, adventure, etc. cannot expand, only an object such as a balloon is capable of expanding. The scientific establishment uses a phenomena known as “redshift” to try and support this nonsense. However, astronomer Halton Arp has shown evidence that low redshift galaxies are connected to high redshift quasars. This finding contradicts the idea that redshift is always a reliable indicator of distance. As the vibration that we perceive as 'light' propagates through it's medium, it eventually weakens, especially while having to pass through various gases and plasmas and will therefore shift to the red spectrum. Incidentally, this also explains why the night sky isn't filled with infinite star light. It's because light vibrations don't propagate forever, they come in contact with objects which cause the vibration to weaken. So this “expansion of space” idea is based off of the mathematician’s irrational interpretation of redshift.http://infinite712.hubpages.com/hub/...Never-HappenedThe so called “Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation” is also used as evidence, even though this has absolutely nothing to do with the Big Bang. The CMB is just the temperature of the observable universe and temperature is a concept which we use to measure the motion of matter. What this really means is that there is a physical medium of vibrating particles. Ironically, a lot of pre-Big Bang theories actually 'predicted' the temperature of the observable universe much more accurately than the big bang theory did. So the CMB cannot be used as evidence for a Big Bang.
So, lets review. The Big Bang theory relies on reifying abstract concepts and claims that all matter was created out of nothing. In addition to this, there is absolutely no evidence to support this nonsense. The only rational conclusion is that the universe is infinite and eternal.
http://infinite712.hubpages.com/hub/...inite-UniverseThe current cosmological model also claims that this 4D universe was created out of an abstract concept called “a singularity”. A singularity is truly just a synonym for nothing though. According to this so-called “Big Bang” theory, everything appeared out of nothing. Originally, the nothing or “energy” or “singularity” (or God) was in an extremely hot and dense state and it was this way for all eternity, but then a miracle happened. The nothing began expanding rapidly. Then this expansion of nothing eventually caused particles to appear out of nowhere. This is the type of astounding nonsense that comes about from relying too heavily on mathematics instead of reality. Oh, and of course the “Big Bang came from another universe / M-theory” is not any better off. This idea still involves many universes being created out of nothing and it involves a bunch of unimaginable extra-dimensional multiverse nonsense. No matter which way you slice it, the Big Bang theory is completely impossible and leads to contradictions and absurdities.
The much more obvious conclusion is that the universe is eternal. Matter is always recycled, it cannot be created or destroyed. So, in addition to the universe being infinite in all directions, it is also eternal (i.e. time-less) Indeed, time is merely an abstraction invented by humans. Time is just a mathematical system of counting, one second, two seconds, three seconds, etc. which is based off of the perpetual motion of matter.
This guys are pretty much the punks of the astronomy.
Exploring The Plasma Universe
The plasma universe is currently enjoying success as a "Big-Bang basher." In due course, its own weaknesses will begin receiving more attention. The lesson is clear: Creationists should be especially cautious about accommodating new science ideas, even if they oppose evolutionary models like the Big Bang. The replacement may be even worse than the original problem! Steady State, Big Bang, Plasma — naturalistic theories of origins will continue to rise and fall.
This show is gold to space nerds like me.
Plasma conducts electricity and magnetism, the universe is a? one giant electrical circuit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_cosmologyPlasma cosmology is a term describing a loose set of non-standard ideas about cosmology. Its central idea is that the dynamics of ionized gases (or plasmas) plays a decisive role in the physics of the universe at scales larger than the Solar system. Today, almost all cosmologists and astronomers are dismissive of the idea. The current consensus of astrophysicists is instead that Einstein's theory of general relativity, a theory of gravity, explains the origin and evolution of the universe on cosmic scales.
Some of the ideas of plasma cosmology are attributed to the 1970 Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén. Alfvén proposed the use of plasma scaling to extrapolate the results of laboratory and space plasma physics experiments to scales orders-of-magnitude greater (see box). While it is widely agreed that plasma physics is essential to many astrophysical phenomena in the early universe and is still important today to phenomena up to the scale of the Solar system, plasma cosmology continues this extrapolation to the universe on the largest observable scales.
The term plasma universe is sometimes used as a synonym for plasma cosmology and sometimes plasma cosmology is seen as the evolution of the plasma universe. Plasma cosmology researchers explicitly distance themselves from the methodology and some of the ideas of the electric universe. Some of the ideas of the electric universe are based on the theories and discoveries of plasma cosmologists, but other ideas are not.
We shall soon be creating matter out of nothing.
Damn it Aggie. The vid cut off in the middle of Arp's interview. Do you have a link to the full vid?
You will have to go to youtube for the rest I think. Its good stuff.
Not really a true science thing, but I wished they would have had these types of videos when I was a kid. Or just get high and watch it.
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Colour me impressed.
If you like chemistry (especially ochem) and really noxious/dangerous cracking experiments, check out:
A sample bit of a Things I Won't Work With post:
see also http://pipeline.corante.com/archives...l_together.phpThe compound [thioacetone] shows up sporadically in the literature until the mid-1960s, when several groups looked into thioketones as sources of new polymers. The most in-depth analysis took place at the Esso Research Station in Abingdon, UK, where Victor Burnop and Kenneth Latham got to experience the Freiburg Horror for themselves:
"Recently we found ourselves with an odour problem beyond our worst expectations. During early experiments, a stopper jumped from a bottle of residues, and, although replaced at once, resulted in an immediate complaint of nausea and sickness from colleagues working in a building two hundred yards away. Two of our chemists who had done no more than investigate the cracking of minute amounts of trithioacetone found themselves the object of hostile stares in a restaurant and suffered the humiliation of having a waitress spray the area around them with a deodorant. The odours defied the expected effects of dilution since workers in the laboratory did not find the odours intolerable ... and genuinely denied responsibility since they were working in closed systems. To convince them otherwise, they were dispersed with other observers around the laboratory, at distances up to a quarter of a mile, and one drop of either acetone gem-dithiol or the mother liquors from crude trithioacetone crystallisations were placed on a watch glass in a fume cupboard. The odour was detected downwind in seconds."
Now that's a compound to be taken seriously. How do you work with something that smells like hell's dumpster? Like this:
"The offensive odors released by cracking trithioacetone to prepare linear poly(thioacetone) are confined and eliminated by working in a large glove box with an alkaline permanganate seal, decontaminating all apparatus with alkaline permanganate, eliminating obnoxious vapors with nitrous fumes generated by a few grams of Cu in HNO3, and destroying all residues by running them into the center of a wood fire in a brazier."
So there you have it - just install a fireplace next to your hood (what every lab needs, for sure) and remember that, in a thioacetone situation, fogging the area with brown nitrogen oxide fumes will actually improve the air. (This is from Chemistry and Industry, 1967, p. 1430, if you need more details, and I hope you don't).
Spaceship friends don't let other spaceship friends madpost.
As it turns out, life is hazardous to your longevity.
They found that children treated with antibiotics in the first five months of their life weighed more for their height than those who were not exposed.
The difference was small between the ages of 10 to 20 months, but by 38 months of age, children exposed to antibiotics had a 22 percent greater likelihood of being overweight.
Timing appeared to matter -- children who received antibiotics from the ages of six to 14 months did not have a significantly higher body mass later in childhood, the study revealed.
If you're not taking a probiotic, I'd recommend picking some up. You can even get gummy ones now.
The antibiotics might not be to blame, over protecting parents that feed their children way to much is the more likely culprit.
This is what a child should be doing at a normal home.
And by the way, if the kid had a electrician father. He would be making alot bigger magnetic cannon.
I remember building an electromagnet when I was a kid. I had no idea they could shoot projectiles tho.