Monday, March 31, 2008

Jacob Bekenstein

This great physicist was born in Mexico City two years before I was born there. He moved to the US and studied in New York. Now he is a professor in Israel.
I admire his work and believe that information is receiving a new broader interpreation with his work. I plan to follow his work.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bush New Economic Plan

As Paul Krugman writes in the note below, the Bush administration cannot solve the problem they created. A new stage of more regulation is coming. A Democratic administration will be more able to produce this new state of the American Economic Government policy.

The Dilbert Strategy By PAUL KRUGMAN

Anyone who has worked in a large organization — or, for that matter, reads the comic strip “Dilbert” — is familiar with the “org chart” strategy. To hide their lack of any actual ideas about what to do, managers sometimes make a big show of rearranging the boxes and lines that say who reports to whom.

read more | digg story

Anthony Stafford Beer

Beer was an englishman that started an Internet in Chile to support the socialist government of Salvador Allende, he called it Cybersyn. He did not use the internet protocol TCP/IP, but the main concept was there, computers connected to different locations to organize human activities.
Unfortunately for all of us, criminals stopped the constructive work started by Allende. Here I want to draw attention to what can save us from catastrophe, rationality, and what can destroy our civilization, war.

Chile tried Software to Manage Socialist Economy in '71

When military forces loyal to Gen. Pinochet staged a coup in September 1973, they made a surprising discovery. Salvador Allende’s Socialist government had quietly embarked on a novel experiment to manage Chile’s economy using a clunky mainframe computer and a network of telex machine. The project was called 'Cybersyn'

read more | digg story

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Brazil Lula says backs Petrobras-Pemex tie-up

RECIFE, Brazil (Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday backed a tie-up between state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research)(PBR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Mexico's Pemex, whose crude output is in decline, for new oil field exploration.

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Iraqi Prime Minister Says No Retreat

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's prime minister vowed Thursday to fight ''until the end'' against Shiite militias in Basra despite protests by tens of thousands of followers of a radical cleric in Baghdad and deadly clashes in the capital and the oil-rich south.

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Iraq and the American Election

You can read below two articles on the war in Iraq. The US is getting ready to elect a president in November. As I have noted here the last few days, the American economy is in disrepair. Here I write as simple as possible as to the development of events in the US from now to November regarding the election.

If the Bush administration lied about the extent of the economic collapse, the US response to Sadr's challenge can only be limited. According to Joseph E. Stiglitz the US is committed to three trillion dollars already in this effort. The US is fighting the war practically alone, Mexico during the Fox administration, did not support this adventure, and very few did. Anthony Blair from England and José María Aznar from Spain did, and as a consequence they lost their power. Fox's party, Partido de Acción Nacional, is still in power.

After reading Patrick Cockburn's piece in The Independent from London, appears to me that General Petraeus, even with his Ph.D. degree, does not understand poor Third World people. According to Cockburn, the Americans have been unable to control Moktada al-Sadr, because they did not expect a poor cleric to be much of an enemy. Saddam Hussein made the same mistake.

If there is not much money for that war, as seems to be the case, events in Iraq will affect the American election.

Who is more likely to be elected?

Counting on past experience, fear is likely to be a factor. If the American people want to be protected from al-Sadr, McCain will win. If the electorate is wise and wants to save money, Obama will be the next President of the United States. If they do not know what to do, four more years of Clinton are in the offing.

Whoever reads my blog, should know by now, that I have very little regard for predictions, even less about the future. In any case, there you have it.

Who is Muqtada al-Sadr?

As Iraq dissolves into civil war, few men wield more power on its bloodstained streets than Muqtada al-Sadr. In just four years, his potent blend of Shia nationalism, enforced by the 70,000-strong Mehdi Army, has made him a hero to millions - and put him top of America's hit list. But does the future rest in his hands? Patrick Cockburn reports

read more | digg story

Thousands in Baghdad Protest Basra Assault

BAGHDAD — Thousands of supporters of the powerful Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia took to the streets of Baghdad on Thursday to protest the Iraqi Army’s assault on the southern port city of Basra, as intense fighting continued there for a third day.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

López Obrador returns to Mexican spotligh

Flags are waving in the warm evening light in the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main square, and thousands of people have gathered to hear Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader of the country’s left, speak out against the government’s imminent energy reform proposals.

read more | digg story

God Damn America Especially Pennsylvania By Greg Palast

The kids were snoozing so I drove along the back roads skirting the Lackawanna River on a dawn hunt for black coffee and a newspaper.

read more | digg story

Monday, March 24, 2008

‘Minister of Ideas’ Tries to Put Brazil’

BrasíliaWHEN Roberto Mangabeira Unger looks at Brazil, the country of his birth, he sees a “big, seething caldron of life, whose most salient characteristic is its vitality.”

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Plebanski Action

When we again do the compactification trick we find the Plebanski action
S = ∫T4d4abcd[BcdKFKab + ΦIJBIabBJcd]
You can read this new derivation of the Plebanski action in the recent article by Lee Smolin Matrix universality of gauge and gravitational dynamics.

Smolin ends his article with the following:

"Conjecture: There is a universality class of cutoff background independent theories of connections, which are all equivalent to each other in the sense that there are transformations that map the degrees of freedom of any one into the degrees of freedom of the other, preserving the equations of motion. Representatives of this equivalence class include general relativity in d = 4 coupled to Yang-Mills theory for any U (N ) (plus certain degrees of freedom required to complete the unification) as well as Chern-Simons theory, matrix Chern-simons theory, as well as the matrix model (2)."

Where (2) is:

S = TrM3

His final conclusion is:

"If true, this hypothesis imply that the question of why particular laws and degrees of freedom are observed in our universe is just part of the question of what chooses the initial conditions in cosmology. A universality of dynamics such as conjectured here would mean that the question of what is the ”ultimate theory” may play as minor a role in physics as the choice of physical computer plays in computer science."

The ideas in this article have been discussed with Roberto Mangabeira Unger, one of the leading thinkers of our time.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rickard Falkvinge

Rick Falkvinge is a swedish businessman. Very young and original. Below you can read his analysis of our economic situation. He is no Stilgitz, nor Krugman, but at least he has money in the economics game, unlike me. Maybe you can learn from his insights.
Mr. Falkvinge has jewels like:

"One prominent US economics professor recommends immediate investments in precious metals: "gold, silver, and copper-jacketed lead"."

I myself do not know what to do, even less what advice can I give you.

Why the US is collapsing.

Swedish Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge predicts impending doom for US economy and status as a super-power in an analysis from a historical perspective. Also ties to IP framework.

read more | digg story

The Republican Resurrection By FRANK RICH

THE day before Barack Obama gave The Speech, Hillary Clinton gave a big speech of her own, billed by her campaign as a “major policy address on the war in Iraq.” What, you didn’t hear about it?

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Friday, March 21, 2008

I leave Economics to the Pros

Yesterday I posted Stiglitz, now Krugman. They do a better job than I do. Krugman tells us today that we had it coming. More regulation is needed, and I feel it coming. Of course John McCain can still win, and then I guess 2012 will be our end.

Partying Like It’s 1929 By PAUL KRUGMAN

If Ben Bernanke manages to save the financial system from collapse, he will — rightly — be praised for his heroic efforts.

read more | digg story

Thursday, March 20, 2008

State of the Economy

I leave it to the pros. Read Stiglitz's views in the note below. I like his clear and precise language. Obviously he is in our side, not in the side of the rich people that got bail out in Bear Stearns.

US economist calls financial crisis worst since 1930s

"They didn't want Americans to know exactly how bad the war was for the economy so they flooded it with liquidity, they looked the other way with regulations and they deliberately, I think, postponed the problem into the future and now we're paying the price."says Stiglitz,Nobel winner in economics

read more | digg story

Economic Prediction

I give up.
Gold and Oil down (See below).
Some agents are behind these developments. I am not them, I cannot predict what they will do tomorrow, anymore that I know what you reader are thinking right now. All I know, is that I am out of the loop.

Oil and Gold Prices Continue to Plummet

The plummeting price of oil and gold on Thursday provided relief for consumers concerned about inflation, even as some investors wondered whether one of the last safe spots in a tumultuous market was beginning to collapse.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, Writer, Dies at 90

Clarke is the author of more than 100 books, including "2001: A Space Odyssey."

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Arthur C. Clarke

This great man is dead. If he would have lived until 2045 maybe he could have lived forever. Ray Kurzweil is doing all that is possible in his life to get to that Singularity when we will join the highest forms of life in the Universe.
As Clarke and Kubrick presented in their classic film 2001, there is a time when we can move towards eternal future. Maybe that time is 2045.
I will be 96 that year. Maybe I can make it.

Life From Star to Star

I am reading Chris Impey's book "The Living Cosmos". He writes that for a rock to go from star to star it only takes a few hundred thousand years, as opposed to the millions of years it takes the same rock to go from Mars to the Earth. The difference is the big number of collisions the second trip has, compared to almost no collisions in the interstellar space.
Maybe our life came from another star, or maybe we can send life to another star. One just needs to plan.

Professor Jay Melosh researched this proposal and called it Transpermia. Now it is known as Panspermia.

Gold, Up or Down?

Today gold went down. I give up. This prediction in economics is impossible. If I knew I would be a millionaire. Only if one has as much money as Warren Buffet, can one play in this big roulette game we call the economy.

Five Years of War

Robert Fisk writes:

"How easily the little men took us into the inferno, with no knowledge or, at least, interest in history. None of them read of the 1920 Iraqi insurgency against British occupation, nor of Churchill's brusque and brutal settlement of Iraq the following year."

Translation in Mexico City's La Jornada:

"Con cuánta facilidad los hombrecitos nos llevaron al infierno, sin ningún conocimiento de historia o al menos sin ningún interés por ella. Ninguno leyó de la insurgencia iraquí contra la ocupación británica de 1920, ni del brusco y brutal arreglo que dio Churchill al conflicto el año siguiente."

You can read his piece in the note below.

The only lesson we ever learn is that we never learn

An article by the great journalist Robert Fisk. Of course you never find his articles in the US media.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gold Towards $1000 Again

As I predicted yesterday, gold went up.
Ben Bernanke's gimmicks did not work. Sure, investors sent the Dow soaring, but to me that looks more like taking advantage of the gift, than a real change in fundamentals. As Paul Volcker said yesterday in Charlie Rose's program: Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac have to take care of this mess with government control. The private sector has failed to manage the mortgage industry.
Now all of us have to act more rational and stop spending money we do not have. Party is over.

The REAL Eliot Spitzer Story No One Is Talking About

While Eliot Spitzer was paying an escort, Ben Bernanke was handing over $200 billion to mortgage bank industry speculators—handing windfalls to the banking predators who have brought two million families to the edge of foreclosure. There was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this happening: Eliot Spitzer.

read more | digg story

What Does Dow Surge 420 Points Mean?

Is it consistent with my prediction that today the Dow Index went up 3.5% ?
I am predicting an increase in the price of gold for lack of confidence on the Bush team. This good news for investors in the short term means that they got what they wanted, as Greg Palast explains in the piece above, following the money, one can see that these actors are very much active indeed. They got the cash they wanted to keep playing roulette with our money and today they are happy. I am still expecting as the Bush administration starts to pack at the end of this year, that these same investors will start moving where they feel safer,to gold. For how long? I really don't know.

Dow Surges 420 Points on Fed Rate Cut and Earnings

Casting aside any hesitation about an aggressive interest rate cut, investors sent stocks soaring to their highest gains in five years on Tuesday as shares of financial firms surged in the hopes that the Federal Reserve has finally taken hold of the credit crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 420 points.

read more | digg story

What Does 0.75 Percent Mean?

In the note below you can read about the historic decision by the Federal Reserve in its meeting today to DECREASE the interest rate 3/4 percentage points below of its previous value.

What does this mean?

I assiduously read Paul Krugman's analyses on fundamental economic events in the New York Times. But today I prefer to put my mind around this historic event.

If you look at the chart the NYT presents with these news, the interest rate went down faster than it went up from 2004 to 2006. Collapses are almost always faster than climaxes in coming. This must be a law of economics. It is harder to build than to destroy.

At the risk of sounding like a Monday morning sport analyst, here is my assessment:

I will try a physicist analysis, even economists have tried this method in the past. In my view, money is like heat, and public confidence like information or negative entropy. Energy is more akin to an ounce of gold in this analogy, or nowadays a barrel of oil. This first take on the problem assumes that there is little gold coming into the system, or oil for that matter. That is, we have a closed system.

As you can see here today the price of gold went down. It was already at $1000.00 per ounce, now it is at $976.00.

According to the Second law of Thermodynamics, for a closed system, all thermodynamic processes increase entropy.

In my analogy, or metaphor, I take this to mean that most of the time agents loose credibility. An increase in entropy is equivalent to a loss of credibility. The graph I refer to above, can be taken as a measure of public confidence in the economic management team of the Bush administration. It took them a lot of time, two years, to achieve what they just lost in a few months. One can request more money from investors, if they trust the team selling the product, in this case loans in American dollars. The US seems to be in an out of business sale!

In real dollars, taking inflation into account, the US rate is negative. The US government is paying customers to get its product. Customers would not even have it for free, the US has to pay them to borrow dollars!

As I see this rate drop, this marks the beginning of the decline of the US Empire.

I predict that today's movement in the gold market is going to reverse itself when the Bush Administration runs out of gimmicks to save the day.

Federal Reserve Cuts Key Rate by 0.75 Percent

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve reduced its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday, to 2.25 percent, a cut that was less than investors had been hoping for even though it was one of the deepest in Fed history.

read more | digg story

Monday, March 17, 2008

"My job's been eliminated,"

"The mood among U.S. staff was similarly solemn. "My job's been eliminated," said one male employee arriving for work in New York. He'd been given 90 days' notice."

I got this comment from the note below on Bear Stearns. It reminded me when in December of 2001, my supervisor at Lucent, announced to me that "My job's been eliminated".

I am trying to go back to Mexico. Maybe there is life after downsizing.

Bear Fire Sale Sparks Rout

NEW YORK (Reuters)- A fire sale of Bear Stearns Cos Inc stunned Wall Street and pummeled global financial stocks on Monday on fears that few banks are safe from deepening market turmoil.

read more | digg story

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Soft Shoe in Hard Times - bush goes LOCO!!!

George W. Bush crashed the family station wagon into the globe and now the global economy. Yet the more terrified Americans get, the more bizarrely carefree he seems.

read more | digg story

Water

Today I read concerns by UN officials and activists like Lester Brown on glaciers rate of destruction.
We are running out of fresh water.
Also I read Jeffrey Sachs' piece in Time Magazine on the way out.
If we are to survive Sachs is saying, we have to help each other; if we start a fight, it seems to me catastrophe may be near the corner.
George W. Bush is out to lunch, as you can read in the piece by Maureen Dowd above.

Melting glaciers start countdown to climate chaos

For centuries, writers, painters and photographers have been drawn to the wild and seemingly indestructible beauty of glaciers. More practically, they are a vital part of the planet's system for collecting, storing and delivering the fresh water that billions of people depend on for washing, drinking, agriculture and power.

read more | digg story

1. Common Wealth By JEFFREY D. SACHS

The 21st century will overturn many of our basic assumptions about economic life. The 20th century saw the end of European dominance of global politics and economics. The 21st century will see the end of American dominance too, as new powers, including China, India and Brazil, continue to grow and make their voices heard on the world stage...

read more | digg story

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A bag full of sunshine

Energy: A combination of flexible solar cells and low-energy lighting provides a way to bring electric light to isolated communities

read more | digg story

Yesterday Mexican Oil $90.78

If you can read in Spanish, here you can read that yesterday Mexican oil reached a record of $90.78 a barrel. That is a lot of money down there.

Oil Rises to Record $109.85 as the Dollar Falls Against Euro

March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose to a record $109.85 a barrel in New York after the dollar weakened to an all-time low verses the euro, prompting investors to purchase commodities.

read more | digg story

The Mexicans

Documentary Made in 1980 by John PilgerMexico - a country rich in oil resources but heavily influenced by the policies and politics of its near neighbour, the USA. In a country dominated by the thought that the revolution is only half over, is Mexico a potential Iran on American doorsteps?

read more | digg story

Monday, March 10, 2008

Brian Fagan

Prof. Fagan from UCSB recently published the book: "The Great Warming".

He discusses the great droughts of a thousand years ago, likely the Mayas and other peoples in fragile ecosystems suffered collapses of their civilizations. Nowadays the world environment is likely to witness instead big migrations, like we are already seeing in Darfur and other dry places.

This is a timely book, from thinkers that have been worried about water shortages since a long time ago. Santa Barbara County residents have tried for many years to limit growth. Maybe now people will listen.

Camera that sees through clothes.

Bill Foster of Thermal Matrix as a costumer of this technology had this to say:

"One of the customers, Bill Foster, the president of Thermal Matrix, an American defence contractor specialising in imaging systems for the US military, said : "This could be deployed at major sporting events, concerts and rail stations as well as for military use."

Curiouser, and curiouser.

sports@movies: A camera that can see through people's clothi

: Surveillance at railway stations, shopping centres and other public spaces in the UK could soon become more high-tech, with the development of cameras that can see through people's clothing

read more | digg story

Thermal Matrix's Bill Foster

Is Bill Foster the new Illinois 14th District Representative, the same as the Bill Foster the ex-President of Thermal Matrix?
Check for yourself, here is the new contact page of that company, and here the cached version.
I haven't found any announcement by that Defense Contractor of the change in leadership.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Science Prodigy in an Unlikely Place

BAYONNE, N.J.ERIC DELGADO is what those in research call an outlier — an anomaly, a deviation from the typical.

read more | digg story

Fermilab's Foster

Bill Foster is a scientist that entered politics because the politicians failed Fermilab. Is this good or bad?
I rather scientist concentrate on science, and leave politics to politicians. I like division of labor. Nevertheless these are trying times. If we want to do science, we have to fight for that right.
You can read about Foster's win in the note below.

Democrat Wins Hastert's Seat in Illinois

CHICAGO - Nearly two years after taking control of Congress, the Democrats have claimed another prize by capturing former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert's seat -- a development that Republicans say is not a harbinger of things to come.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Liars, lovers, and heroes.

I believe that the book "Liars, Lovers, and Heroes", by Terry Sejnowski and Steve Quartz, deserves more attention.
It is based on scientific research and presented by two scientists that know. If we are to live in a better world it is essential that we understand the origin of our "Nature". Sejnowski et al. write that our mind is inside our brain, and outside our brain. After we are born we spend an extraordinary amount of time figuring out the environment we happen to be born into. It is this dance between our brain and our surroundings that produces our "Nature".

2012 1

I wrote something about this here.
Now I want to ask myself a question.
Will I die in 2012?
Nobody can predict the future, besides there are different ways I can die in 2012, or any other moment, for that matter.
Still since some people are talking about this "new" End of the World. I want to comment on Patrick Geryl's version, since so far his, has been the most catastrophic prediction I have read.
The Sun changes its north and south magnetic poles every twelve years or so. It stands to reason that sometimes that may induce our own magnetic field to shift. What if it does? According to this Belgian, Geryl, Earth will rotate backwards!
I have no clue if something like that could happen; but according to this imaginative thinker all hell will break loose. Tsunamis, earthquakes, and all sort of catastrophes await for us in four years.
Will I die? According to our seer, if I go to South Africa, maybe I will survive. Billions are going to die.

I just hope he is wrong.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

How is the World Changing?

I recently learned that Alejandro Corichi is working in Morelia, Michoacán, México.
He is an up and coming theoretical physicist working on the Holy Grail of this field. The Quantum Theory of Gravity.
No American University could get this star.
The World is Changing.
I hope I can make it back to México.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hidden Variables?

Many years ago David Bohm pursued an important idea. Is Quantum Mechanics complete? John von Neuman had "proven" that hidden variable theories were impossible. What Bohm did was to construct one of those "impossible" theories.

Now Y. Jack Ng tells us:

"Infinite statistics can be thought of as corresponding to the statistics of identical particles with an infinite number of internal degrees of freedom, which is equivalent to the statistics of nonidentical particles since they are distinguishable by their internal states."

This rings another bell, recently Gia Dvali proposed a solution to the strong CP problem with a big number of "hidden" particles. You can read his paper here

Terry Sejnowski

I met Professor Sejnowski many years ago. He organized a General Relativity Seminar at the University of California at Santa Barbara when I was a student there. I only remember a few of the names: Bob Lewis, Vinod B. Jhangiani, Augusto Sabbatini, and Terry.
Searching for my friends I only found:
Neutrinos and Long Range Weak Forces in Cosmology (Jhangiani's PhD Thesis)

At least the ones I remember are not in the field of General Relativity. Terry became a distinguished Neural Scientist. I will write about his book in another occasion.

You can find a link to his book here .

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Aide not Bush Resigned.

If you click the link below now you get the truth. What a word makes. Language, you got to love it.

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