Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 18 July 2011

Indiana man said he tried to donate blood at a donation center but was turned away because appeared to be gay -

Indiana man said he tried to donate blood at a donation center but was turned away because appeared to be gay -

An Indiana man said he tried to donate blood at a donation center but was turned away because appeared to be gay.

Gary, Ind. resident Aaron Pace said he’s straight, but was told during the interview screening process at Bio-Blood Components Inc. that because of his looks, mannerisms and character, he “appear[ed] to be gay,” and would not be permitted to donate.

“I was humiliated and embarrassed,” Pace told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It‘s not right that homeless people can give blood but homosexuals can’t. And I’m not even a homosexual.”

The blood center did not return the Sun-Times’ requests for comment, but according to a Food and Drug Administration policy implemented in 1983, men who have had sex with another man, even once, since 1977 are not permitted to donate. The policy was put in place during the AIDS crisis amid fears that HIV could spread through blood donations.

Today, all donated blood is screened for infectious diseases, including HIV, yet the ban remains in place due to the “increased risk for the presence of” HIV among men who have sex with men. Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services voted against recommending a change to the FDA policy.

Read more - http://www.theblaze.com/stories/straight-man-says-blood-bank-rejected-him-because-he-seemed-gay/

Women’s World Cup Breaks All-Time Tweet Record - hit a staggering 7,196 TPS (that’s tweets per second) -

Women’s World Cup Breaks All-Time Tweet Record - hit a staggering 7,196 TPS (that’s tweets per second) - 

Yes, Sunday’s gripping World Cup final in Germany between the United States and Japan will long be known for the American squad’s mind-bending collapse in the face of certain victory over a talented and likely underestimated Japanese squad. But the non-soccer-loving crowd will remember yesterday’s historic matchup for etching its place in short-term geekdom.
As the two countries traded goals in extra time and decided the biggest prize in women’s soccer on penalty kicks, Twitter users around the world smashed the nearly seven-month-old record for highest TPS (that’s tweets per second). Just as the US was throwing away millions of dollars in potential endorsements, having blown two one-goal leads, TPS hit a staggering 7,196, breaking the record set on New Year’s Day 2011 in Japan (6,939).
How does that compare to other tweeted events of historical significance? Osama bin Laden’s death produced just over 5,100 tweets per second at its peak, and the Green Bay Packers’ six-point win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV hit 4,096 TPS as the game was winding down.
It’s clear that soccer, with its seemingly infinite global popularity, loves Twitter, as last year’s men’s World Cup in South Africa set its own TPS record with Japan’s opening-round win over Denmark with 3,282 — less than half of yesterday’s record-setting mark.
More over, the US/Japan record was itself nearly eclipsed by a Copa America quarterfinal matchup between Paraguay and Brazil that reached some 7,166 tweets per second on the same day.
In short, if you’ve got any prop wagers set for when some planetary event will finally crack 8,000 TPS, always bet on the beautiful game.

The Head Of The World's Biggest Hedge Fund Sees "Economic Collapse" Due To Money Printing By Early 2013 -

The Head Of The World's Biggest Hedge Fund Sees "Economic Collapse" Due To Money Printing By Early 2013 - 

As part of its most recent issue the New Yorker has released a must read interview with Ray Dalio - head of the world's biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater. Dalio's fund, which according to some may now be as large as $80 billion, continues to outperform even in this problematic environment, indicating that unlike various other managers who shall remain nameless, and whose wealth is built up almost exclusively on one trade (and that belonging to someone else in the first place), Dalio, despite rumors that he is preparing to leave his current position and is actively seeking a replacement, is still keenly able to adapt to changing macro conditions. Which is why his warning about future rounds of QE, which he sees as a certainty, should be heeded. Especially since it conforms 100% with the warnings of Zero Hedge - Dalio believes that future inevitable money printing will "lead to a collapse in currencies and bond markets." Dalio is even kind enough to give a time frame. "I think late 2012 or early 2013 is going to be another very difficult period." He is, to say the least, quite diplomatic.
From the full interview:
Dalio believes that some heavily indebted countries, including the United States, will eventually opt for printing money as a way to deal with their debts, which will lead to a collapse in their currency and in their bond markets. “There hasn’t been a case in history where they haven’t eventually printed money and devalued their currency,” he said. Other developed countries, particularly those tied to the euro and thus to the European Central Bank, don’t have the option of printing money and are destined to undergo “classic depressions,” Dalio said. The recent deal to avoid an immediate debt default by Greece didn’t alter his pessimistic view. “People concentrate on the particular thing of the moment, and they forget the larger underlying forces,” he said. “That’s what got us into the debt crisis. It’s just today, today.”

Dalio’s assessment sounded alarmingly plausible. But when one plays the global financial markets a thorough economic analysis is only the first stage of the game. At least as important is getting the timing right. I asked Dalio when all this would start to come together. “I think late 2012 or early 2013 is going to be another very difficult period,” he said.
Translation: enjoy your -0.002% Bills and paying uncle Sam to hold your money while you can.

Sweep by GIRLS at First 'GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR'... -

Sweep by GIRLS at First 'GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR'... - 

As a budding inventor and scientist, Shree Bose, in second grade, tried to make blue spinach. In fourth grade she built a remote-controlled garbage can. In eighth grade she invented a railroad tie made out of recycled plastic and granite dust, an achievement that got her to the top 30 in a national science competition for middle school students.

In 11th grade Ms. Bose, a 17-year-old in Fort Worth, tackled ovarian cancer, and that research won her the grand prize and $50,000 in the Google Science Fair last week.

For the winning research Ms. Bose looked at a chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, that is commonly taken by women with ovarian cancer. The problem is that the cancer cells tend to grow resistant to cisplatin over time, and Ms. Bose set out to find a way to counteract that.

She found the answer in a cellular energy protein known as AMPK, or adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase. She observed that when AMPK was paired with cisplatin at the beginning of treatment the combination diminished the effectiveness of cisplatin. But added later on, when the cancer cells were growing resistant, the AMPK worked to maintain the effectiveness of cisplatin, allowing it to continue killing the malignant cells, at least in cell cultures.

“That opens up a lot of new avenues for research,” Ms. Bose said. Her research was supervised by Dr. Alakananda Basu at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. 

More than 10,000 students from 91 countries entered the science fair, which was Google’s first. The entries, submitted over the Web, were winnowed down to 60 semifinalists and then 15 finalists who presented their findings to judges at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters last week.

Ms. Bose’s research was named best in the age 17-18 category and best of show over all. Her prize includes $50,000 for future college studies, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands and a separate trip to visit the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland.

Girls swept all three age categories in the competition, a contrast to generations past when women were largely excluded from the science world.

“Personally I think that’s amazing, because throughout my entire life, I’ve heard science is a field where men go into,” Ms. Bose said. “It just starts to show you that women are stepping up in science, and I’m excited that I was able to represent maybe just a little bit of that.” She will start her senior year of high school in the fall.

“At the end, we were like, ‘Yeah, girl power!’ ” said Naomi Shah of Portland, Ore., who won the age 15-16 category with a study of the effects of air quality on lungs, particularly for people who have asthma. Ms. Shah recruited 103 test subjects, performed 24-hour air quality measurements at their homes and workplaces and had each blow into a device that measured the force of their breath.

Lauren Hodge of Dallastown, Pa., won the age 13-14 category for research on whether marinades reduce the amount of cancer-causing compounds produced by the grilling of meat. She found that lemon juice and brown sugar cut the level of carcinogens sharply, while soy sauce increased them.

Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist and one of the judges, said that gender did not play a role in deciding the winners. “This was a gender-neutral evaluation of all the work that was done,” he said. Nonetheless, “I was secretly very pleased to see that happen,” Dr. Cerf said. “This is just a reminder that women are fully capable of doing same or better quality work than men can.”
Read more - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/science/19google.html

Three individuals were arrested for stealing copper pipes from FBI offices - specifically the air condition unit -

Three individuals were arrested for stealing copper pipes from FBI offices -  specifically the air condition unit - 

Today, three individuals were arrested for stealing copper pipes from FBI offices in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, announced United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez. On July 13, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Rey Levy Hernandez-Robles (18 years old), Josue Sanchez-Maldonado (22), and Jose A. Gonzalez-Lugo (28) for willfully committing a depredation against property of the United States.
The defendants aided and abetted each other, willfully and by means of a hack saw, injured and committed a depredation against property of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, specifically the air condition unit, and the resulting damage was in excess of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).
“Theft of copper is quickly becoming a fast-growing problem in our society. Theft of copper is a crime whether it is stolen from the federal government or elsewhere with serious penalties,” said Luis Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office. “The individuals arrested today for this theft are very young and facing federal charges, as well as time in jail. Upon their conviction, they will have a criminal record which will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of 250,000 dollars, and a supervised release term of not more than three years. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carme Marquez and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Juan Field Office.

The True Elephant In The Room Appears: Trillions In Commercial And Industrial Loans To Europe's Insolvent Countries -

The True Elephant In The Room Appears: Trillions In Commercial And Industrial Loans To Europe's Insolvent Countries - 

With the market's attention over the past year exclusively focused on bank holdings of insolvent European sovereign debt, which as is now well known had been declining for months, many if not all forgot that banks also have credit exposure via far simpler conduits: retail and commercial debt. And as an analysis of the full disclosure in the EBA's second stress test exposes, banks are on the hook for literally trillions in various plain-vanilla commercial and retail loans to individuals and businesses. WSJ's David Enrich summarizes it best: "Friday's test results shed light on another potential problem for Europe's banks: huge piles of residential mortgages, small-business loans, corporate debt and commercial real-estate loans to institutions and individuals from ailing countries. As those economies struggle, the odds of rising defaults grow." Oops.
From the WSJ:
Banks tend to be holding far greater quantities of those commercial and retail loans than they are of sovereign debt, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of disclosures accompanying the stress tests.

This year's stress tests represent the first time there has been a uniform way to measure this exposure. Until now, banks have disclosed their portfolios of loans to customers in troubled countries on a piecemeal basis. That made it virtually impossible to aggregate data across the industry or to compare different institutions.

"The country-by-country exposure [data] is better than any data we've seen before," said Alastair Ryan, a London-based banking analyst with UBS AG. "It's giving me more things to be fearful of," Mr. Ryan added, referring to the disclosures of some banks' large holdings of loans to customers in troubled countries.

After Spanish and Italian banks, France's banks appear to be the most exposed. As of Dec. 31, its four largest banks—BNP Paribas SA, Crédit Agricole SA, BPCE Group and Société Générale SA—were holding a total of nearly €300 billion, or about $425 billion, in loans and other debt issued to institutions and individuals in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, the countries that are among Europe's most troubled. That is largely a result of some of the French banks having big retail- and commercial-banking operations in Greece, Italy and Spain.

The French banks' portfolios of commercial and retail loans in those countries dwarf their holdings of sovereign debt.

For example, the four banks have a total of about €51 billion of loans to Spanish customers, according to the Journal's analysis.
Here is how this latest elephant looks like in chart format:

Germany, so far represented as a stalwart of investment prudence (despite its Landsbanken being decimated and on a constant lifeline by the CDO scammery of our own investment banks back in 2005-2006), is among the most impaired:
The dozen German banks that disclosed their stress-test results were exposed to €174 billion of commercial and retail loans to Greek, Irish, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish borrowers as of Dec. 31. They are holding an additional €70 billion of sovereign debt issued by those countries, according to SNL.

More than half of the German banks' loan exposures are concentrated in the country's two biggest lenders, Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG. Deutsche Bank alone is holding nearly €80 billion of loans in those countries, including €7.5 billion of residential mortgages in Spain. Deutsche, which passed the stress tests with a 6.5% capital ratio under the EBA's worst-case scenario, said Friday that it "feels well prepared" to hit its capital targets.
Naturally, it is no secret that the second Stress Test was nothing but another attempt at redirection:
While the tests did consider the impact of an economic downturn on banks' portfolios of loans and nonsovereign debt in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, many critics complained that the tests were overly benign. For example, the EBA's worst-case scenario for Portugal envisioned an 11.6% unemployment rate this year, rising to 12.9% in 2011. The unemployment rate there is currently 12.4%.

The stress-test figures actually understate some banks' holdings of loans in certain troubled countries. That is because the European Banking Authority required banks to disclose their loan holdings in countries only if they represent more than 5% of the bank's total loan exposures.

As a result, some banks opted not to disclose details of their loan portfolios.
Once again, just like in the case of Spain's LaMancha region lying outright about its deficit, "out of left field" discoveries such as this will keep reappearing until the full kit and caboodle of tens of trillions in impaired exposure finally hits the market. Of course, at that point nothing, not even the Fed's unlimited FX swap lines will do much if anything to help.

Read  more - http://www.zerohedge.com/article/true-elephant-room-appears-trillions-commercial-and-retail-loans-europes-insolvent-countries

US government helped fund a study that examined what effect a gay man's penis size has on his sex life ... -

US government helped fund a study that examined what effect a gay man's penis size has on his sex life ... - 

The federal government helped fund a study that examined what effect a gay man's penis size has on his sex life and general well-being. 
The study was among several backed by the National Institutes of Health that have come under scrutiny from a group claiming the agency is wasting valuable tax dollars at a time when the country is trying to control its debt. This particular research resulted in a 2009 report titled, "The Association Between Penis Size and Sexual Health Among Men Who Have Sex with Men." 

The study reported, among its findings, that gay men with "below average penises" were more likely to assume a "bottom" sexual position, while those with "above average penises" were more likely to assume a "top" sexual position. Those with average penises identified themselves as "versatile" in the bedroom. 
Though it's difficult to trace exactly how much federal funding went to the project, the study was one of many linked to an $899,769 grant in 2006. The grant was administered by NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse, and went first to a group called Public Health Solutions and a researcher with the National Development and Research Institutes before going to individual researchers. 
Those researchers then compiled data from a survey of more than 1,000 gay and bisexual men at events in New York City for the gay community. 
"This country is broke and we cannot spend money on this kind of stuff," said Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, which drew attention to the report as part of a six-month investigation into NIH grants for examples of "institutional waste." 
"We're spending money on wacky stuff," Lafferty said. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/07/18/nih-backed-study-examined-effects-penis-size-in-gay-community/

Terrafugia Flying Car Cleared for Landing in US - retailing for $227,000 could be on roads in a matter of months -

Terrafugia Flying Car Cleared for Landing in US - retailing for $227,000 could be on roads in a matter of months - 

A flying car retailing for $227,000 could be on roads in a matter of months -- and customers are already lining up to be the first to get their hands on one, its maker claims.
Just over a week ago, the Terrafugia Transition passed a significant milestone when it was cleared for takeoff by the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration. It's taken Terrafugia founder Carl Dietrich just five years to realize his dream, with some media outlets reporting that the Transition could now be on U.S. roads by the end of next year.

As many as 100 people have put down a $10,000 deposit for their Terrafugia Transition.

Last year, the project was headed for trouble after authorities demanded design changes costing Terrafugia somewhere in the order of $18 million.
Fortunately, Dietrich's company then won a $60 million contract with the Defense Department to develop a flying Humvee. 
Despite the fact the price of a single vehicle has been pushed to about $230,000 from the starting order price of $170,000, up to 100 customers have already paid a $10,000 deposit for a Transition.
The next stage for Terrafugia is global domination, with the first stop outside the U.S. being Europe.
The Civil Aviation Authority told the UK's Daily Mail that the U.S. clearance meant it would be "relatively easy" for the Transition to get clearance from the European Safety Agency, based in Cologne.
"The bulk of the work has already been done in the U.S.," said Jonathan Nicholson, of Britain's Civil Aviation Authority. "Safety standards are very similar between there and Europe."
Terrafugia says more than 20 Britons have already expressed interest in owning a Transition.
The two-seat plane is made of carbon-fiber and aimed primarily at the U.S.'s 600-strong "fly-in" communities. It can lift off from almost any long straight road and, once in the air, has a top speed of 115 mph.
On landing, its wings fold up in 15 seconds, with power then routed to the rear wheels, giving it a top land speed of 62 mph and size dimensions equivalent to a large sedan.
"It's like a little Transformer," Mr Dietrich said.
The Transition will be available to those with a light-aircraft license and requires as little as 20 hours of training to fly.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/07/18/terrafugia-flying-car-cleared-for-landing-in-us/?test=faces

Another Marine ball invite, this time for Betty White -

Another Marine ball invite, this time for Betty White - 

If Sgt. Ray Lewis gets his way, this year's Marine Corps balls will be star-studded affairs.
Following Sgt. Scott Moore and Cpl. Kelsey de Santis, who landed dates with "Friends with Benefits" stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, respectively, after they posted YouTube invitations, Lewis has taped a video of his own asking Betty White out to the big event.
The Marine (who cranks out a few sit-ups beforehand) introduces himself and says, "I figured since we have one Marine asking Mila Kunis out to the Marine Corps Ball, and we have another Marine asking out Justin Timberlake to the Marine Corps Ball, I figured, hey why not?...I would like to take Betty White."
The 89-year-old actress is Lewis' dream date because "she's funny, she's sweet, she's mature. She's the all-around perfect woman."
Holding a red rose, Lewis says he thinks he can offer White a good time. "I think I could make her laugh, I think she could make me laugh, I think we could laugh together...So, call me!"
Ball's in your court, Betty.

Thieves steal 21 tons of mustard and ketchup

Thieves steal 21 tons of mustard and ketchup - 
Austrian police say thieves have made off with an unusual heist — 21 tons of mustard and ketchup.
The loot was in a semi-trailer parked in a lot over the weekend northwest of Vienna.
Police say the truck driver showed up Monday to deliver his cargo only to see the trailer missing.
Police assume the thieves were more interested in the trailer than its contents.
Authorities had no price tag for the stolen condiments but said the trailer was worth about 15,000 euros — more than $22,000.

Police officers shoot each other as they try to arrest child porn suspect at Harry Potter screening -

Police officers shoot each other as they try to arrest child porn suspect at Harry Potter screening - 

Two policemen are recovering after they were shot by fellow officers as they tried to arrest a man on child pornography charges outside a crowded move theatre.
The incident happened as undercover officers tried to apprehend the unarmed man in the parking lot as he left a screening of Harry Potter in Plainville, Connecticut.
The officers opened fire after Eric Gothberg, 45, suddenly reached for his waistband after resisting arrest.

Gothberg, who was not armed, was shot in the foot and was also taken to hospital.
Police went to the AMC Loews Theatre after they learnt that Gothberg could be at a screening there.

One policeman arriving as back-up was hit by a bullet in his arm. Another was injured by shards of glass.
Both officers were taken to St Francis Hospital in Hartford where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015904/Police-shoot-arrest-child-porn-suspect-Harry-Potter-screening.html#ixzz1STK9YGu3

Too Big To Fail?: 10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets -

Too Big To Fail?: 10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets - 

Back during the financial crisis of 2008, the American people were told that the largest banks in the United States were “too big to fail” and that was why it was necessary for the federal government to step in and bail them out.  The idea was that if several of our biggest banks collapsed at the same time the financial system would not be strong enough to keep things going and economic activity all across America would simply come to a standstill.  Congress was told that if the “too big to fail” banks did not receive bailouts that there would be chaos in the streets and this country would plunge into another Great Depression.  Since that time, however, essentially no efforts have been made to decentralize the U.S. banking system.  Instead, the “too big to fail” banks just keep getting larger and larger and larger.  Back in 2002, the top 10 banks controlled 55 percent of all U.S. banking assets.  Today, the top 10 banks control 77 percent of all U.S. banking assets.  Unfortunately, these giant banks are also colossal mountains of risk, debt and leverage.  They are incredibly unstable and they could start coming apart again at any time.  None of the major problems that caused the crash of 2008 have been fixed.  In fact, the U.S. banking system is more centralized and more vulnerable today than it ever has been before.
It really is difficult for ordinary Americans to get a handle on just how large these financial institutions are.  For example, the “big six” U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo) now possess assets equivalent to approximately 60 percent of America’s gross national product.
These huge banks are giant financial vacuum cleaners.  Over the past couple of decades we have witnessed a financial consolidation in this country that is absolutely unprecedented.
This trend accelerated during the recent financial crisis.  While the big boys were receiving massive bailouts, the hundreds of small banks that were failing were either allowed to collapse or they were told that they should find a big bank that was willing to buy them.
As a group, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo held approximately 22 percent of all banking deposits in FDIC-insured institutions back in 2000.
By the middle of 2009 that figure was up to 39 percent.
That is not just a trend – that is a landslide.
Sadly, smaller banks continue to fail in large numbers and the big banks just keep growing and getting more power.
Today, there are more than 1,000 U.S. banks that are on the “unofficial list” of problem banking institutions.
In the absence of fundamental changes, the consolidation of the banking industry is going to continue.
Meanwhile, the “too big to fail” banks are flush with cash and they are getting serious about expanding.  The Federal Reserve has been extremely good to the big boys and they are eager to grow.
For example, Citigroup is becoming extremely aggressive about expanding….
Citigroup has been hiring dozens of investment bankers, dialing up advertising and drawing up plans to add several hundred branches worldwide, including more than 200 in major cities across the United States.
Hopefully the big banks will start lending again.  The whole idea behind the bailouts and all of the “quantitative easing” that the Federal Reserve did was to get money into the hands of the big banks so that they would lend it out to ordinary Americans and get the economy rolling again.
Well, a funny thing happened.  The big banks just sat on a lot of that money.
In particular, what they did was they deposited much of it at the Fed and drew interest on it.
Since 2008, excess reserves parked at the Fed have grown by nearly 1.7 trillion dollars.  Just check out the chart posted below….
Too Big To Fail?: 10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets  Reserve Balances With Federal Reserve Banks
The American people were promised that TARP and all of the other bailouts would enable the big banks to lend out lots of money which would help get the economy going for ordinary Americans again.
Well, it turns out that in 2009 (the first full year after Congress passed the bailout legislation) U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in lending since 1942.
Lending has never fully recovered since the crash of 2008.  The big financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have been able to get all the cash that they need, but they have not passed that generosity along to ordinary Americans.
In fact, the biggest U.S. banks have actually reduced small business lending by about 50 percent since the crash of 2008.
That doesn’t sound like what we were promised.
These “too big to fail” banks have been able to borrow gigantic amounts of money from the Fed for next to nothing and yet they still refuse to let credit flow to local communities.  Instead, the big banks have found other purposes for all of the super cheap money that they have been getting from the Fed as Ellen Brown recently explained….
It can be very profitable indeed for the big Wall Street banks, but the purpose of the near-zero interest rates was supposed to be to get banks to lend again. Instead, they are, indeed, paying “outrageous bonuses to their top executives;” using the money to engage in the same sort of unregulated speculation that nearly brought down the economy in 2008; buying up smaller banks; or investing this virtually interest-free money in risk-free government bonds, on which taxpayers are paying 2.5 percent interest (more for longer-term securities).
What makes things even worse is that these big banks often pay next to nothing in taxes.
For example, between 2008 and 2010, Wells Fargo made a total profit of 49.37 billion dollars.
Over that same time period, their tax bill was negative 681 million dollars.
Do you understand what that means?  Over that 3 year time period, Wells Fargo actually got 681 million dollars back from the U.S. government.
Isn’t that just peachy?
Meanwhile, the big financial giants have not learned their lessons and they continue to do business pretty much as they did it prior to 2008.
The big banks continue to roll up massive amounts of risk, debt and leverage.
Today, Wall Street has become one giant financial casino.  More money is made on Wall Street by making side bets (commonly referred to as “derivatives“) than on the investments themselves.
If the bets pay off for the big financial institutions, mind blowing profits can be made.  But if the bets go against the big financial institutions (as we saw in 2008), firms can collapse almost overnight.
In fact, it was derivatives that almost brought down AIG.  The biggest insurance company in the world almost folded in 2008 because of a whole bunch of really bad bets.
The danger from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them“financial weapons of mass destruction”.  It has been estimated that the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market is somewhere in the neighborhood of a quadrillion dollars.
The largest banks have tens of trillions of dollars of exposure to derivatives.  When the next great financial collapse happens, derivatives will almost certainly be at the center of it once again.  These side bets do not create anything real for the economy – they just make and lose huge amounts of money.  We never know when the next great derivatives crisis will strike.  Derivatives are essentially like a “sword of Damocles” that perpetually hangs over the U.S. financial system.
When I start talking about derivatives I get a lot of people in the financial community mad at me.  On Wall Street today you can bet on just about anything you can imagine.  Almost everyone in the financial world has gotten so used to making wild bets that they couldn’t even imagine a world without them.  If anyone even tried to put significant limits on futures, options and swaps it would cause Wall Street to throw a hissy fit.
But someday the dominoes are going to start to fall and the house of cards is going to come crashing down.  It is an open secret that our financial system is fundamentally unsound.  Even a lot of people working on Wall Street will admit that.  It is just that people are so busy making such big piles of money that nobody wants the party to stop.
It is only a matter of time until some of these big banks get into a huge amount of trouble again.  When that happens, we might really find out whether they are “too big to fail” or whether we could get along just fine without them.

Read more - http://www.blacklistednews.com/Too_Big_To_Fail%3F%3A_10_Banks_Own_77_Percent_Of_All_U.S._Banking_Assets/14755/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Where does 44 trillion watts of Earth's heat come from? -

Where does 44 trillion watts of Earth's heat come from? - 

Some 44 trillion watts of heat continually flow from Earth's interior into space. Where does this come from? One trillion is 1,000 billion. So 44 terawatts works out to 44,000 billion watts. And how did geologists come by the staggering figure? They relied on temperature measurements from more than 20,000 boreholes around the world. 

Radioactive decay of uranium, thorium, and potassium in earth's crust and mantle is a principal source of this heat, reports the journal Nature Geoscience . 

In 2005, scientists in the Japan-based KamLAND (Kamioka Liquid-scintillator Antineutrino Detector) collaboration first showed that there was a way to measure the contribution directly. 

A neutrino, more similar to an electron, is an elementary particle that travels close to the speed of light, but unlike electrons, doesn't carry an electric charge, according to a statement by Berkeley Lab, which is a major contributor to KamLAND. 

The trick was to catch what KamLAND dubbed geoneutrinos -- more precisely, geo-antineutrinos -- emitted when radioactive isotopes (same chemical element with different masses) decay. 

"As a detector of geoneutrinos, KamLAND has distinct advantages," says Stuart Freedman, member of US Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab. 

Freedman, also professor in physics at the University of California, Berkeley, said: "KamLAND was specifically designed to study antineutrinos. We are able to discriminate them from background noise and detect them with very high sensitivity." 

Read more - http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/9270614.cms?frm=mailtofriend?intenttarget=no