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Archive for July, 2007

60’s and 70’s Italian soundtracks (female singers)

Posted by Adrian on July 31, 2007

“a female vocal excursion in the dreamy land of Italian movie soundtracks” – according to the website moviegrooves.com

cool cover

women_front.jpg

from: www.moviegroves.com

Posted in Popular Culture/Culture | Leave a Comment »

Spotlight on ‘She-Hulk’ Marvel Comics. Writer Dan Slott, Artist Rich Burchett

Posted by Adrian on July 27, 2007

shehulk021.jpg

Marvel has been putting out some solid publications of late, the company has been able to fuse the fantasy storyline of superheros aspect to general adult themes. I have been critical of Marvel in the past, only because they seemed intent on over commercializing aspects of their titles, which means they have dumbed down publications and aimed them at kids. Recently this doesn’t seem to be the case, She-Hulk is one of those titles. The quality of the comic comes from Dan Slott’s ability to write a mature story about a woman called Jennifer Walters, i.e She-Hulk. It’s the skills of a good writer who can create a complex and interesting female character who is career ambitious, quirky yet paradoxical.

She-Hulk is definitely a comic for adults, in fact I don’t know many teens that would get this, maybe late teenagers. But generally the situations in Slott’s She-Hulk pretty much relate to the relationships in her life. Slott brings in a lot of style similar to Candace Bushnell‘s Sex and The City, Alley Mcbeal and even Boston Legal. As far as quirky legal interaction within the firm Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway (GLK&H) which Walters/She Hulk works as a lawyer. The Sex and The City influence is Walters/She-Hulk sex life and her dilemma with various men she encounters as She-Hulk and Jennifer Walters.

Up until recently She-Hulk has been conscripted to S.H.I.E.L.D as part of a the ‘Hulk Buster unit’, oblivious to the reason her cousin The Hulk is not on earth. Slott’s humour with the character and generally feel of the comic keeps the reader curious of where this is heading, with Jennifer Walters nowhere to be seen and a full representation of She-Hulk seems to have taken precedence over her appearance. Under the She-Hulk alta ego , Jennifer Walters is able to have sex with the guys she likes, kick arse and generally have a feeling of power over the male sex and her own sex. Slott seems to try and create a balance with the two characters, but you ask, are they the same person? In someways Slott’s skill of a writer emerges, as he does create not two different characters, but an extension of the original one – Jen Walters. The extension is of course She-Hulk. It’s nice mix, both characters compliment each other well, both seem relaxed in control (as much as human an superhumanly possible).

She-Hulk compliantly goes about her missions with the ‘Hulk Buster’ unit, has sex with two of the main honchos of S.H.I.E.L.D and Clay Quartermain and Tony Stark (Ironman), I mean she has needs, so I guess the guy’s oblige. Why not?

Is the strong willed, physically strong and desirable She-Hulk Slott’s observation of what a women would like to be? As far as the promiscuous, ‘won’t fall in love’ independent She-Hulk (with out the obvious physical appearance). The interesting aspect of She Hulk and in her human form as Jennifer Walters is that they are the same character. Not like the Hulk who losers the human side of Bruce Banner’s (Hulk) self control and turns into a raging maniacal destroyer. Although with She-Hulk, even though Walters and her are the same character their personalities don’t change much. She-Hulk can turn off that human emotion of anxiety that may hinder Walters from being as a female cavalier with her lovers. Where Walters has that human sentimental attachment, or falls in love. Can She-Hulk fall in love? Slott smartly addresses some paradoxes there with both characters .

Like I said earlier, you can see the influences from the Sex and The City themes and the quirkiness of the Boston Legal television show set up. But Slott’s She-Hulk is distinctively his comic, and his creation. Slott has taken the old She-Hulk formula, and reworked, modernized and made a very updated character that a lot of Gen X’s and even Gen Y’s would relate too.

Jennifer Walter is a smart lawyer and of course she is focused and in control as She-Hulk. She learns that she was some what manipulated by Tony Stark/ Ironman to be part of the S.H.I.E.L.D directive in capturing former Hulk villains. She also learns that Ironman, Dr Strange and Mr Fantastic shot her cousin (The Hulk) into space. Because of The Hulk’s ‘out of control’ destructive behavior on earth. She-Hulk learns of this and attacks Ironman, who somewhat overpowers her and injects her with a nano particle that temporary takes her power away.

Resuming back to her Jennifer Walters form, she gives a good line by saying ‘I may have knocked you around being She- Hulk, but I will destroy you as the lawyer Jennifer Walters’. Such a good line courtesy of Slott delving into the strength of her character – with or with out her She-Hulk altar ego.

The art is very cartoonish with clean lines almost like an animated television cartoon. But don’t be fooled, this comic if Marvel would allow it, could tip over into the R rated realm (art and story). That is in it’s present form (Marvel’s T+ rating – teens and up), however you do see the after effects of She-Hulk’s hearty F*** sessions with her various lovers.

Posted in Books, Comic Reviews | 2 Comments »

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Worldwide economic depression. (update2)

Posted by Adrian on July 27, 2007

Updates for World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Worldwide economic depression

“It’s a sea of red,” said Brian Schaeffer, an New York Stock Exchange floor specialist at Van der Moolen, pointing to a flat-panel screen filled with flashing stock quotes at a post in the main room at the bourse. “Any green we see we call a shining star.”

This could be possibly the start of the coming credit crunch, as investors stay away from risks. The markets at this point are hanging at an edge for even a greater fall. Very dangerous. Bloomberg article

“Over the past few years there has been a boom in company profits, house price increases, and mergers and acquisitions.Driving this have been low interest rates that have made it cheap for companies and consumers to borrow cash and finance purchases.That period of cheap cash now seems to been coming to an end with central banks worldwide, including the Bank of England, raising their main rates to slow stubbornly high inflation.

Is stagflation going to pose a risk to world economies too? Are we entering into a time of stagflation? BBC news. Business article – World Stocks fall

definition – Stagflation Investopedia

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Worldwide economic depression – (update 1)

Posted by Adrian on July 25, 2007

As mentioned in the summary of World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century. There will be constant updates and developments with the various World Crisis scenarios discussed on the Morbius Glass blog.

Updates for World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Worldwide economic depression

“Credit markets are facing a “sudden liquidity crisis”, says Bill Gross of PIMCO bond fund (US) – CNNmoney article

Housing prices in America have falling so dramatically the only comparable time was the housing price decline in 1930’s Great Depression – Business Day, The Age

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | 1 Comment »

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Worldwide economic depression.

Posted by Adrian on July 25, 2007

With all the potential long range and short range predications for a worldwide crisis in the 21st Century, the one crisis that could be closer on the horizon would be a worldwide economic depression, possible one that would be on a larger scale and far more destructive on worldwide financial markets than the 1929 crash or worldwide depression, otherwise known as the Great Depression.

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Worldwide economic depression.

The world has currently gone through one of the longest and sustained financial growth spurts in history spurred by the insatiable and seemingly unstoppable growth of China and it’s consumption for raw materials from the West. In turn asset markets worldwide have expanded and inflated these asset classes that range from stocks, property, art and antiques. Although the majority of the asset bubble comes from Stocks and Property.

world-gdp.jpg

The property boom worldwide has been fueled by the easy availability of credit and excess liquidity. Borrowing rates, or interest rates have been low which has fueled a huge mortgage market worldwide. Undoubtedly the biggest mortgage market took place in the America, more specifically is the large growth of a mortgage market called Subprime. A dubious and over utilized mortgage market that targets people who have bad credit history, poor credit rating and generally high risk individuals. Various Subprime mortgage broker firms were set up to cater for that market. Hedge Funds also bought into these high risk markets to see if they could profit from risk based mortgages. The idea is to look at high risk groups, repackage the loans into a CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligation) then have a investment bank reassess credit ratings on borrowers (adding high risk with middle range risk) then bundling mortgages to together to form MBS (Mortgage Backed Securities), then sell them onto various hedge funds that attend to make profits, or bets on the premise that housing market will still boom and housing prices will still rise. This hasn’t happened, in fact the Subprime housing market collapsed almost completely overnight, metaphorically speaking. A recession is now in place in one of the largest housing booms to occur in the last century in America, which has effected various Subprime mortgage brokers (who sold the loans) have closed down and gone out of business. The Hedge Funds that bought high risk subprime CDO stand to lose millions as the housing market melts in America. Bear Stearns investment bank with it’s offshoot Hedge Fund has already informed investors that one of it’s Hedge Fund’s that backed Subprime CDO’s; of the real possibility that investors stand to lose all cash assets as the Bear Stearn Hedge Fund goes into liquidation from Business week

“Investors in a 10-month-old Bear Stearns (BSC) hedge fund are learning the hard way the danger of investing in risky bonds with borrowed money. The investment firm’s High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund, as of Apr. 30, was down a whopping 23% for the year. The situation is so bleak that Bear Stearns’ asset management group is suspending redemptions at the onetime $642 million fund—meaning investors have no choice but to sit on their losses. And that’s got some hopping mad. “At the end of the day, I’d like someone to be honest with me about what’s going on,” says one investor in the hedge fund, which bet heavily on bonds backed by subprime mortgages, or home loans to consumers with shaky credit histories. An investor in Europe, who didn’t want to be identified, says he’s been trying to get his money out of the hedge fund since February.”

Investors have already begun filing a lawsuit against Bear Stearns with the law firm Bernstein, Litowitz, Berger & Grossman,

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors in Bear Stearns Cos. (BSC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) hedge funds that were virtually wiped out from large bets on risky mortgages are planning to sue the company as early as Monday, television channel CNBC reported on Friday. The lawsuit will be brought by the firm of Bernstein Litowitz Berger and Grossman LLP, which represented investors against WorldCom Inc. over a massive accounting fraud, CNBC said. According to CNBC, the lawsuit will allege Bear Stearns made material misrepresentations in offering documents, misrepresented risks of the hedge funds in those documents, and misrepresented its ability to control those risks.”

CDO’s are complicated financial instruments, working on high risk and with high leverage from Hedge Fund portfolios. By combing the high risk Subprime with the other mortgage backed securities, the idea is the risk could be manged. But Hedge Funds, like Private Equity companies don’t like using their own funds; usually, in the case of a Hedge Fund the money raised has been heavily leveraged from loans borrowed from other banks using the CDO as collateral. It is complex system to generating more income on investments, but ultimately it has proven to be problematic and in the Bear Stearns case potentially misleading investors.

The housing sector in America is receding very quickly and destroying any of the income possible generated by the hedge funds, again using Bear Stearns situation as an example (Businessweek article),

“In fact, things deteriorated rather quickly at the fund. The hedge fund got off to a good start, posting a cumulative 4.44% return over its first four months, according to a Bear Stearns investor letter. But early this year the fund’s performance began to suffer as the market for subprime mortgages began to implode. Coming into April, the fund was down 4% for the year.Then things really fell apart. In April, the hedge fund posted an 18.97% decline, according to the June 7 letter obtained by BusinessWeek. But even more shocking than that big loss: only weeks earlier, the company had said it lost just 6.5% for April, according to a May 15 letter the firm sent fund investors. It’s not clear what happened in those intervening weeks to force Bear Stearns to significantly revise upward its estimated April losses.

Bear Stearns isn’t the only big investment firm with a hedge fund that ran into trouble making bets on the Subprime market. In May, UBS (UBS), the Swiss-based banking giant, announced it was shutting down its Dillon Read Capital Management hedge fund after incurring a $123 million loss because of its exposure to the U.S. Subprime market. The hedge fund’s woes helped drag down first-quarter profit at UBS.”

So what does a severe deteriorating housing market and collapse of high leveraged hedge funds like Bear Stearns point too? World Depression? Of course that is a long call, but never the less, the fear of major depreciating markets (such as housing) could be the lead to a very quick spiraling downturn. Which could end up as a worldwide crash.

Recently the Bank for International Settlements has been quoted in saying that conditions that lead to the Great Depression in 1929 and Asian crisis in the 1990’s is now showing signs of a repeat in the present financial markets, from The Age Business Day article;

“The BIS, the ultimate bank of central bankers, pointed to a confluence of worrying signs, citing mass issuance of new-fangled credit instruments, soaring levels of household debt, extreme appetite for risk shown by investors, and entrenched imbalances in the world currency system.”

The main concern is China, even if a down turn in the economy does occur in America, say a recession partly brought on by the housing sector collapsing. China could derail, which is a possibility, this will most certainty effect countries in the West like America as far as production in exporting raw material and the import of cheap goods from China – if production slows or stops, or import costs rise manufacturing could come to a halt to China. According to the BIS from the Businessday article;

“The BIS said China may have repeated the disastrous errors made by Japan in the 1980s when Tokyo let rip with excess liquidity. ‘The Chinese economy seems to be demonstrating very similar, disquieting symptoms,’ it said, citing ballooning credit, an asset boom and ‘massive investments’ in heavy industry.”

also from the BIS article,

“It said China’s growth was “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable”, borrowing a line from Chinese premier Wen Jiabao”

Can the federal banks save us from a possible crash that would lead to a worldwide global depression? During the the Great Depression that started in 1929 and lasted to 1933. Are all the worldwide banks tackling inflation yet acknowledging the growing dangers of the debt bubble?

From article on the great depression wikipedia,

“the 1920s, in the U.S. the widespread use of purchases of businesses and factories on credit and the use of home mortgages and credit purchases of automobiles, furniture and even some stocks boosted spending but created consumer and commercial debt. People and businesses who were deeply in debt when a price deflation occurred or demand for their product decreased were often in serious trouble—even if they kept their jobs, they risked default. Many drastically cut current spending to keep up time payments, thus lowering demand for new products. Businesses began to fail as construction work and factory orders plunged.”

So is huge worldwide debt going to be a precursor to a 2nd great Economic ‘Depression’? Margin lending, which is borrowing to invest into the stockmarket is at the highest peak sine the 1920’s. In the last 7 years there has been massive margin debt increases.

debt.gif

(graph from economist.com)

From the article on the Economist, regarding margin debt and the bubble it has created on the stockmarket,

“Margin Debt reaches it’s highest ratio since the 1920’s”

“MARGIN debt in the American stock market has reached a new record of $285bn. In other words, more borrowed money is being used to buy shares than ever before.”

“As David Rosenberg of Merrill Lynch observes, margin debt has jumped by $40bn in the past three months, a similar rate to early 2000, when the markets were in frenzy. As a proportion of market value, margin debt is now at its highest since the late 1920s, an era that was a by-word for speculation (and resulted in the crash of 1929-32).”

It is clear there is now correlation to the first great Depression that occurred in the 1920’s. It may be a matter of time when something does give, geopolitical crisis, the collapse of the hedge funds markets, the instability and inflation in China and the huge debt bubble that has swamped the World.

The financial markets, asset markets are now all at their peak and dangerously at the point of collapse.

Article reference links:

Business Day, The Age – Banks’ banker warns of Downturn

Telegraphy – BIS warns of Great Depression from credit spree

CNN money – The greateset economic boom ever

The Economist, Buy now, pay later article – Margin Debt Feb 25 2007

Wikipedia – The Great Depression 1929

How CDOs are created (in PDF)

CNNmoney – Bernanke Subprime could hit 100B in losses

Business Day, The Age – Subprime drives stockmarket down

Reuters – Bear Stearns to be sued over Subprime Funds

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | 17 Comments »

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Peak Oil (update 1)

Posted by Adrian on July 23, 2007

As mentioned in the summary of World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century. There will be constant updates and developments with the various World Crisis scenarios discussed on the Morbius Glass blog.

Updates for World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Peak Oil:

$100 a barrel sooner than later. Oil analyst’s speculate as early as next year, Bloomberg article

Financial Sense website interview with Bill Paul author of Future Energy, interview discusses in depth the energy dilemma namely oil shortage and the possible bridging of alternative energy source to slowly replace the Oil industry, bio fuel, hybrids and other non dependent Oil based industries, interview conducted by Jim Puplava. Interview here in mp3 format

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Bird Flu (H5N1) and other pandemic Virus concerns

Posted by Adrian on July 20, 2007

Will the 21st Century shape up to be the century of pandemic virus outbreaks? The ramification of a severe and devastating pandemic is frightening. The world is more interconnected than ever before, trade and the flow of workers crossing country boarders is staggering. The huge concern of eminent world heath bodies like the World Health Organization is how efficient governments, health organizations can contain the virus within a countries border. In some ways a near impossible feat. The virus that is concerning every one at this point in time is Bird Flu or (H5N1), not to mention the lesser ones in the media spotlight like SARS.

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st century – Bird Flu (H5N1) and other pandemic Virus concerns

An influenza virus first emerged in Hong Kong in 1997, it was a strain of the influenzas virus that also effects poultry and other birds. It was giving the media term of the avian influenza or bird flu. Avian, meaning relating to or characteristic of birds and poultry. The H5N1 viruses the reappeared in China in 2003, a 24 year old solider died from the disease. From 2003 onward Asia had a Bird Flu outbreak. The outbreak occurred around three main regions, Vietnam, Indonesia and China. The main Asian country to be affected by the H5N1 strain was Indonesia, in all of it’s 102 cases of theH5N1 (Bird Flu strain) 81 people have died.

At this point in this particular influenza strain (H5N1) , the virus is able to jump from bird to human. The H5N1 is easily passed on through bird livestock to who ever is handling the birds. Concerns on the spread of H5N1 are the migration of birds and bird trading, according to the World Health Organization (WHO);

“Apart from being highly contagious among poultry, avian influenza viruses are readily transmitted from farm to farm by the movement of live birds, people (especially when shoes and other clothing are contaminated), and contaminated vehicles, equipment, feed, and cages. Highly pathogenic viruses can survive for long periods in the environment, especially when temperatures are low. For example, the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus can survive in bird faeces for at least 35 days at low temperature (4oC). At a much higher temperature (37oC), H5N1 viruses have been shown to survive, in faecal samples, for six days.”

The Bird Flu in it’s current state is an animal to human disease and is proving to be hard to contain. Is is also deadly and causes death. Can the H5N1 mutate to become a virus that spreads from human to human? A potential possibility according to the WHO:

” The virus can improve its transmissibility among humans via two principal mechanisms. The first is a “re assortment” event, in which genetic material is exchanged between human and avian viruses during co-infection of a human or pig. Reassortment could result in a fully transmissible pandemic virus, announced by a sudden surge of cases with explosive spread.”

If that becomes the case, this will become a pandemic visrus and one that will spread quicker than any other virus or disease in history. Due to the free flow and interconnectivity of the world, the global village. Without resorting too much to alarmist based hysteria. The effects of a global pandemic could and mostly likely bring down financial markets, effect economies and cause mass death. As world-renowned virologist Robert Webster wrote in American Scientist with and article titled “The world is teetering on the edge of a pandemic that could kill a large fraction of the human population”

As world health organizations struggle to contain any out breaks from the bird to human H5N1 strain, the situation grows potential worrying, as the H5N1 now has spread other parts of the world outside of Asia, although contained primarily to the Asian region, there are now reports of Bird Flu in Turkey, which is closer to Europe, current confirmed cases from the H5N1 – Avian Bird Flu strain:

Country

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Total

cases

deaths

cases

deaths

cases

deaths

cases

deaths

cases

deaths

cases

deaths

Azerbaijan 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 5 0 0 8 5
Cambodia 0 0 0 0 4 4 2 2 1 1 7 7
China 1 1 0 0 8 5 13 8 3 2 25 16
Djibouti 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Egypt 0 0 0 0 0 0 18 10 19 5 37 15
Indonesia 0 0 0 0 20 13 55 45 27 23 102 81
Iraq 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 3 2
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2
Nigeria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Thailand 0 0 17 12 5 2 3 3 0 0 25 17
Turkey 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 4 0 0 12 4
Viet Nam 3 3 29 20 61 19 0 0 2 0 95 42
Total 4 4 46 32 98 43 115 79 55 34 318 192

As the Bird Flu spreads over a vast area of the world, in now will become harder to contain and predict where the human to human strain will originate from, As the WHO puts it:

” The recent spread of the virus to poultry and wild birds in new areas further broadens opportunities for human cases to occur. While neither the timing nor the severity of the next pandemic can be predicted, the probability that a pandemic will occur has increased.”

So what is in store for us if there is pandemic human to human strain of the Avian Bird Flu virus? Again according to WHO dire and unpredictable in our age of world trade and commerce:

” Pandemics can cause large surges in the numbers of people requiring or seeking medical or hospital treatment, temporarily overwhelming health services. High rates of worker absenteeism can also interrupt other essential services, such as law enforcement, transportation, and communications. Because populations will be fully susceptible to an H5N1-like virus, rates of illness could peak fairly rapidly within a given community. This means that local social and economic disruptions may be temporary. They may, however, be amplified in today’s closely interrelated and interdependent systems of trade and commerce.”

A pandemic like human to human H5N1 could add to the stress and downward spiral of economies and global wealth, not to mention the collapse of over stretched and inflated financial bubbles. How many business world survive a pandemic? At this point in time there is no cure for the H5N1, except for various commercially available antibiotics to lesser the severity of the virus. If the Avian Bird Flu becomes a human to human strain, there is no known drug or antibiotics that exist that will work against the disease.

I’ll let the WHO have the last word from their FAQ regarding Avian influenza:

“Is the world adequately prepared?

No. Despite an advance warning that has lasted almost two years, the world is ill-prepared to defend itself during a pandemic. WHO has urged all countries to develop preparedness plans, but only around 40 have done so. WHO has further urged countries with adequate resources to stockpile antiviral drugs nationally for use at the start of a pandemic. Around 30 countries are purchasing large quantities of these drugs, but the manufacturer has no capacity to fill these orders immediately. On present trends, most developing countries will have no access to vaccines and antiviral drugs throughout the duration of a pandemic.”

Links:

WHO faq – Avian Bird Flu

Wikipedia – H5N1

American Scientist – Robert G Webster article

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS is a lesser known disease that appeared between 2003 and 2004. in that short period of time it became a pandemic virus killing 774 people and infecting 8,096. SARS was able to infect people from Asia, Europe and America. It was easily spread worldwide by infected people via air travel. The symptoms were flu-like and may include: fever, myalgia, lethargy, gastrointestinal symptoms, sore throat and coughing and other non-specific symptoms. The only symptom that is common to all patients appears to be a fever above 38 °C (100.4 °F). Shortness of breath may occur later.

The virus origins, according to sarsreference.org,

Investigations then focused on members of the Paramyxoviridae family, after paramyxovirus-like particles were found by electron microscopy of respiratory samples from patients in Hong Kong and Frankfurt am Main. Further investigations showed that human metapneumovirus (hMPV; van den Hoogen) was present in a substantial number of, but not in all, SARS patients reported at the time.

SARS also had a long incubation period before a person shows any symptoms, usually 2-3 days before the virus shows itself as far as effects on the body. Because of the long incubation period of the disease, it has been hard to track the progress or movement of SARS. Airports across Asia and China used Thermal imagery equipment to see if anyone was showing an unusually high body temperature.

800px-taoyuan_airport_thermal_sars.jpg
(Thermal scanning station China)

In it’s short pandemic time, SARS was contained and a vaccine was development that appeared to stop the virus and help the patient create antibodies to fight the disease.

Could another more resilient strain of SARS mutate anytime soon?

Reference Links:

SARS Reference Org

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | 5 Comments »

US dollar sharp fall on Hedge Fund Bear Stearns Losses

Posted by Adrian on July 18, 2007

This time the fall of the US dollar is due to the ever increasing problem in the subprime mortgage market – as it continues to collapse.

Hedge Funds are a type of fund manager that takes ‘risks’ from various financial asset products. In the Case of Bear Stearns, they took ‘bets’ on the performance of risky mortgages, ala subprime. Now with the Subprime market in widespread meltdown. Big Hedge Funds like Bear Stearns are now bearing the brunt of the massive losses incurred. This in turns effects the stock market and the overall economy in the US. Everything now becomes somewhat risky, including their slowly depreciating USD.

Currency update:

USD-JPY 121.8350 -0.5050 -0.41
USD-HKD 7.8206 0.0001 0.00
USD-SGD 1.5178 0.0002 0.01
AUD-USD 0.8751 0.0025 0.29
     

Hedge Fund info here

Bloomberg article on Bear Stearns losses and it’s possible effect on the USD here

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

Coming Comic ‘Spotlight’ July 2007

Posted by Adrian on July 17, 2007

‘She-Hulk’ Marvel Comics. Writer Dann Slott, Art Rich Burchett

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st Century – Peak Oil.

Posted by Adrian on July 16, 2007

We are now entering a new age of extreme worldwide change, amidst the fact we are living in an age of unprecedented growth and economic prosperity. The engines of China and Asia fueled an insatiable appetite for raw materials. Massive real estate booms in Europe, Asia, Australia and America ( although their housing boom is now in recession) and asset markets peak to the point of inflated bubbles. New threats appear on the horizon, lets look at some of these new threats to humanity, the first world crisis scenario Morbius Glass blog will look at is Peak Oil.

World Crisis scenarios for the 21st Century – PEAK OIL

graph1.gif

(graph from: lifeaftertheoilcrash.net)

The Peak Oil crisis scenario is probably one of the most worrying aspects of the future of mankind, since oil drove us literally into the mechanical age, everything now runs on it. It is the lifeblood of an industrialized society. The idea or concept of the Peak Oil scenario is that the world is now at Peak Production, which means we are at the top of the bell curve graph. According to Peak Oil theorists, we will inevitably be falling from the ‘Peak’ Production, in summary this means as the world grows in population and industrialized growth our desire for oil will grow, yet the supply will dwindle and the expense to supply will be phenomenal. Demand will outstrip supply for oil, and oil will become a scarce commodity. Since our society is solely connected to oil for everyday use, the ramifications for the Peak Oil scenario are devastating – as the cost to run oil based countries will be far too expensive. So apparently their will be extreme economic crashes in countries that produce oil, according to Peak Oil: Life after the crash website,

Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, bankers, and investors in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global “Peak Oil.”

 

However the degree of extremity by the Peak Oil theory could be balanced by the bridging of alternative fuels, bio, electricity and hydrogen fuel cells to the world demand. Can this meet the increasing demand on oil production? Or will there be an inevitable oil crisis, worst than anything the world has even seem? At this point in time there is a mad rush to produce as much ethanol or bio-fuel as quickly as possible. In America this has effected the commodity corn, last year it was reported that corn production for feedlots, dairy and other live stock became more expensive. As ethanol production began to increase, from the Californian Farm Beau Federation website,

 

“The booming ethanol industry may help ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but many California livestock producers fear the growing demand for corn used in ethanol production will drive up costs to feed their cows and chickens.”

 

In some ways this is a good example of our merchandised industries fine tuned dilemma, which is their and our total dependence on oil. So when another industry like ethanol attempts to be a buffer between the potential shortage and demand for fossil based oil, it can and does unbalance other industries. This can be seen in the livestock aspects of the food industry, by pushing corn prices up. So according to Peak Oil theorists an invertible crisis is looming, which ever way we look at the Peak Oil theory – the World is dependent on Oil and if production struggles, we are going to be in trouble.

 

How severe? Extreme, according to the author Matt Savinar of the website, Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash. A compete and utter meltdown of society. Matt Savinar is also featured in the new documentary movie ‘ A Crude Awakening’. Savinar’s website offers links, forums and book references to tell you how one can survive the coming Oil Crash.

 

If Peak Oil Theorists are correct, there is certain doom coming our way. Hopefully their calculations mean we face an extreme oil crisis later in the future than sooner, at least the world can prepare. But according to Peak Oil evidence, the ‘sooner’ scenario of Peak Oil crisis seems more of a reality.

 

Links and Reference:

 

Life After The Oil Crash website

 

California Farm Bureau Federation – on ethanol production

 

Clip from the documentary movie ‘A Crude Awakening’

 

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | 13 Comments »