Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Baby soaps and shampoos can trigger a positive result on marijuana screening tests -

Baby soaps and shampoos can trigger a positive result on marijuana screening tests - 

Commonly used baby soaps and shampoos, including products from Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno and CVS, can trigger a positive result on newborns' marijuana screening tests, according to a recent study. A minute amount of the cleansing products in a urine sample — just 0.1 milliliters or less — was found to cause a positive result.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, began studying the issue after an unusually high number of newborns in their nursery began testing positive for marijuana exposure. Newborn screening for marijuana at hospitals, particularly among babies of women who are considered at high risk of drug use, is not uncommon: at U.N.C. Chapel Hill, 10% to 40% of newborns are tested.

Positive results can precipitate an investigation by child welfare authorities. "We really did this to help protect families from being falsely accused," study co-author Dr. Carl Seashore, a pediatrician in the U.N.C. Chapel Hill newborn nursery, told My Health News Daily.

Read more -

Oh Crud! 19 Reasons Why It Is Time To Start Freaking Out About The Global Economy -

Oh Crud! 19 Reasons Why It Is Time To Start Freaking Out About The Global Economy - 

Yes, it is officially time to start freaking out about the global economy.  The European financial system is falling apart and it is going to go down hard.  If Europe was going to be saved it would have happened by now.  The big money insiders have already pulled their funds from vulnerable positions and they are ready to ride the coming chaos out.   Over the next few months the slow motion train wreck currently unfolding in Europe will continue to play out and things will likely really start really heating up in the fall once summer vacations are over.  Most Americans greatly underestimate how much Europe can affect the global economy.  Europe actually has a larger population than the United States does.  Europe also has a significantly larger economy and a much larger banking system.  The world is more interconnected today than ever before, and a collapse of the financial system in Europe will cause a massive global recession.  Once the global economy slides into another major recession, it is going to take years to recover.  The pain is going to be immense.  Yes, that is going to include the United States.  Sadly, we never recovered from the last recession, and it is frightening to think about how much farther this next recession is going to knock us down.
The big problem is that there is simply way, way, way too much debt in the United States and Europe.  It has been a lot of fun spending all of this borrowed money, but now we get to pay the price.
The following are 19 reasons why it is time to start freaking out about the global economy….
#1 The yield on 10 year Italian bonds has now risen to more than 6 percent.
#2 The yield on 10 year Spanish bonds has now risen to more than 7 percent.  This is considered to be an unsustainable level.
#3 Citigroup Chief Economist Willem Buiter says that both Italy and Spain are going to need major bailouts.
#4 The Spanish banking crisis continues to get worse.  The following is from a CNN article that was posted on Monday….
But the depth of the nation’s crisis has raised doubts about whether €100 billion will be enough to recapitalize the banks. For example, the Bank of Spain, the nation’s central bank, released data Monday showing that “doubtful” loans — those that are more than 3 months overdue — rose to €152.7 billion in April, equal to 8.7% of all the loans held by the nation’s banks.
#5 Unemployment in Spain is sitting at a record high of over 24 percent with no hope in sight.
#6 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole has hit a brand new all-time record high.
#7 The socialists won an outright majority in the recent parliamentary elections in France.  That means that France and Germany are now headed in completely different directions.  The close cooperation that we have seen between France and Germany in recent years is now over.
#8 New French President Francois Hollande has promised to implement a top tax rate of 75 percent on those making over 1 million euros a year.
#9 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared that Germany will not budge at all on the terms of the Greek bailout.
#10 Analysts at Citigroup Global Markets are projecting that the odds of Greece leaving the euro over the next 12 to 18 months are still between 50 and 75 percent.
#11 Money is being transferred from banks in southern Europe to banks in northern Europe at an astounding pace….
Financial advisers and private bankers whose clients have accounts too large to be covered by a Europe-wide guarantee on deposits up to 100,000 euros ($125,000), are reporting a “bank run by wire transfer” that has picked up during May.
Much of this money has headed north to banks in London, Frankfurt and Geneva, financial advisers say.
“It’s been an ongoing process but it certainly picked up pace a couple of weeks ago We believe there is a continuous 2-3 year bank run by wire transfer,” said Lorne Baring, managing director at B Capital, a Geneva-based pan European wealth management firm.
#12 As I wrote about recently, about 500 million euros a day has been pulled out of Greek banks so far this month.
#13 The Bank for International Settlements is warning that global lending is contracting at the fastest rate that we have seen since the end of the last financial crisis.
#14 Lloyd’s of London has publicly admitted that it is making preparations for a collapse of the eurozone.
#15 Government debt levels all over the industrialized world have exploded in recent years.  The following is from a recent article by Stephen Lendman….
Five years ago, OECD countries sovereign debt/GDP ratios were 70%. Today it’s 106% and rising.
Anything over 100% is considered to be an extremely dangerous level.
#16 The economic problems in Europe are already taking a toll on the U.S. economy.  At this point U.S. exports to Europeare way down.
#17 One recent poll found that 75 percent of Americans are either “very or somewhat worried” that the U.S. economy is heading for another recession.
#18 Under Barack Obama, the United States has been indulging in a debt binge unlike anything ever seen in U.S. history.  The following is from a recent Forbes article….
After just one year of the Obama spending binge, federal spending had already rocketed to 25.2% of GDP, the highest in American history except for World War II.  That compares to 20.8% in 2008, and an average of 19.6% during Bush’s two terms.  The average during President Clinton’s two terms was 19.8%, and during the 60-plus years from World War II until 2008 — 19.7%.  Obama’s own fiscal 2013 budget released in February projects the average during the entire 4 years of the Obama Administration to come in at 24.4% in just a few months.  That budget shows federal spending increasing from $2.983 trillion in 2008 to an all time record $3.796 trillion in 2012, an increase of 27.3%.
Moreover, before Obama there had never been a deficit anywhere near $1 trillion.  The highest previously was $458 billion, or less than half a trillion, in 2008. The federal deficit for the last budget adopted by a Republican controlled Congress was $161 billion for fiscal year 2007.  But the budget deficits for Obama’s four years were reported in Obama’s own 2013 budget as $1.413 trillion for 2009, $1.293 trillion for 2010, $1.3 trillion for 2011, and $1.327 trillion for 2012, four years in a row of deficits of $1.3 trillion or more, the highest in world history.
#19 Barack Obama almost seems more focused on his golf game than on the problems the global economy is having.  He just finished up playing his 100th round of golf since he became president.
If you are looking for some kind of a global financial miracle you can stop watching.
If European leaders had a master plan to save Europe they would have shown it by now.
If Barack Obama had a master plan to fix things he would have implemented it by now.
If the Federal Reserve had a master plan to fix things we would have seen it by now.
The entire house of cards is starting to come down and things are going to get really messy.
A lot of people both in the United States and in Europe are going to lose their jobs and their homes over the next few years.
It is likely that the next recession will be even more painful than the last one was.
Now is not the time to panic.  If you acknowledge what is coming and prepare accordingly then you will likely be in good shape.
But if you stick your head in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be okay then the next few years will likely be incredibly painful for you.

Read more -

US Congress Borrows another Billion Dollars During Jamie Dimon Hearings on risky financial bets -

US Congress Borrows another Billion Dollars During Jamie Dimon Hearings on risky financial bets - 

The House Financial Committee just concluded grilling banker Jamie Dimon on risky financial bets his firm, JPMorgan Chase, made that resulted in losses of at least $2 billion last month. Today’s hearing follows up on last week’s Senate Banking Committee grilling of Dimon on the same bad bets.

But the irony here is rich: During the course of the two Dimon hearings held to discuss this bad bet, Congress borrowed nearly one billion dollars.

According to numbers provided by the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff, the debt per day is $3.6 billion, debt per hour is $150 million, and debt per minute is $2.5 million.

Today’s House hearing, titled “Examining Bank Supervision and Risk Management in Light of JPMorgan Chase’s Trading Loss,” and featuring Dimon among others, lasted approximately 256 minutes, or 4 hours and 16 minutes. Which means that Congress borrowed about $640 million dollars—just as it grilled Dimon.

Last week’s Senate Banking Committee hearing with Dimon, titled “A Breakdown in Risk Management: What Went Wrong at JPMorgan Chase,” lasted about 131 minutes. The amount borrowed during that session, then, was approximately $327.5 million.

All told, in rough numbers, while Congress asked Dimon what went wrong with his firm’s financial bets, America’s debt grew by $967.5 million dollars.

The difference of course is obvious: Dimon lost his firm’s and his investors’ money, while Congress lost the public’s money.

But it's unlikely Congress will hold a hearing called "A Breakdown in Risk Management: What Went Wrong with Congress" or "Examining Congressional Supervision and Risk Management in Light of Congress’s Losses." And even these were held, who would grill the members of Congress and politicians responsible for the out of control debt?


Picture of the day - Octopus hitches ride on dolphin's genitals -

Picture of the day - Octopus hitches ride on dolphin's genitals - 


An octopus got the joyride of its life last week when it somehow became stuck on the belly of a bottlenose dolphin in the Ionian Sea. More specifically, the tentacled sea creature had a seat on the dolphin's genital slit.
Researchers with the Ionian Dolphin Project, part of the Tethys Research Institute, were observing a foursome of dolphins near the island of Kalamos off the west coast of Greece. Suddenly, one of the dolphins leapt out of the water with something strange dangling from its stomach. It wasn't until the researchers examined their photos of the leap that they realized the unidentified object was an octopus.
The tentacled hitchhiker was attached to the dolphin's genital slit. Photographer Joan Gonzalvo isn't sure what the octopus was up to, though he told New Scientist that perhaps the dolphin tried to eat the octopus and the animal lodged itself along the dolphin's genital slit to escape.
The dolphin may have been leaping from the water to detach its uninvited guest, Gonzalvo, the project manager of the Ionian Dolphin Project, wrote on the organization's blog. After shaking the octopus loose, the dolphin continued to swim with no signs of discomfort, he added.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/06/19/octopus-hitches-ride-on-dolphin-genitals/?intcmp=features