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Pandemic ‘poses particular challenges’ for food processing plants: Freeland

Pandemic ‘poses particular challenges’ for food processing plants: Freeland

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau warns labour shortages could affect the food supply

The federal government says it’s looking at proposals to support food processors during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is working on ways to support Canada’s food processing plants during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to concerns about labour shortages.

“I am so grateful to all of our farmers and ranchers and food processors, but you’re right that the coronavirus poses particular challenges to food processing facilities because of the dangers of contagion there,” Freeland said during her briefing with reporters today.

“That is something that our government has been working on, that I’ve been personally focused on over the past few days.”

Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at three Alberta meat packing plants, according to the union that represents plant workers.

United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union local 401 president Thomas Hesse said three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the JBS plant in Brooks, Alta.

At the Cargill plant in High River, there are 38 COVID-19 cases, and in March one worker at Harmony Beef in Balzac tested positive, he said.

Hesse said the union has reached out to those plants, and to the Olymel pork plant in Red Deer, to ask them to proactively shut down to keep their workers safe.

“They’ve all said no. But Cargill has in some ways done what we’ve asked because of pressure,” Hesse said, noting that the plant has reduced its operations.

Meanwhile, the Olymel hog slaughter and cutting plant in Yamachiche, Que., reopened Tuesday after shutting down for two weeks following an outbreak among employees there.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Analysis: How ‘carbon-cycle feedbacks’ could make global warming worse

Analysis: How ‘carbon-cycle feedbacks’ could make global warming worse

Scientists making climate-change projections have to deal with a number of uncertainties.

The amount of global warming will depend on the magnitude of future emissions, which, in turn, depends on how society grows and develops. The rate of warming will also depend on how sensitive the climate is to increased atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Yet climate change also depends on an under-appreciated factor known as “carbon-cycle feedbacks”. Accounting for uncertainties in carbon-cycle feedbacks means that the world could warm much more – or a bit less – than is commonly thought.

The carbon cycle is the collection of processes that sees carbon exchanged between the atmosphere, land, ocean and the organisms they contain. “Feedbacks” refer to how these processes could change as the Earth warms and atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise.

The commonly used warming projections – those highlighted in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports – include a single best-estimate of carbon-cycle feedbacks. But they do not account for the large uncertainties in these estimates.

These uncertainties are “one of the dominant sources” of divergence between different model projectionsaccording to Dr Ben Booth and colleagues at the Met Office Hadley Centre.

Climate campaigners, such as Greta Thunberg, have also expressed concern that climate projections typically do not fully incorporate the potential range of carbon-cycle feedbacks.

This article explores the implications of carbon-cycle feedback uncertainties by examining a number of modelling studies conducted by scientists over the past decade. These studies give a similar central estimate of carbon-cycle feedbacks to those used in IPCC projections.

But, at the high end, the results show these feedbacks could push atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases much higher – meaning more warming – from the same level of emissions.

Analysis for this article shows that feedbacks could result in up to 25% more warming than in the main IPCC projections.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Elites Are Already Prepared for the Coming Collapse of the Dollar Bubble

The Elites Are Already Prepared for the Coming Collapse of the Dollar Bubble

elite prepared for collapse
Photo by Wikimedia.orgCC BY | Photoshopped

Today, stock market investors are hoping desperately for Weimar-style hyperinflation to boost equities prices to dizzying heights in what some call a “crack-up boom”. In terms of money creation, we are not there yet, but such levels of fiat printing could happen within the next year. Unfortunately for investors, this “boom” in stocks may not happen again. In fact, it already happened over the course of the past several years, and now the party is over. In the past few months, the U.S. dollar has entered a massive liquidity crisis, and despite all expectations, the Fed’s attempts to compensate with stimulus measures have done little to boost markets back to their previous glory.

In Weimar Germany, stocks did get an epic rally, until it all came crashing down in 1924 and then again in 1927. The notion of the endless fiat-driven bull market is a lie perpetuated by central bankers and their cheerleaders.

As I warned in past articles, when the Fed finally decided to step in to “stall the crash”, it was after it was far too late. The Fed has no intention of stopping the crash, they WANT a crash; they created all the conditions necessary for the collapse of the Everything Bubble to happen. Their goal now is only to make it appear as though they “did everything they could” to save the economy while staging the collapse of the final bubble: the U.S. dollar and its global reserve currency status.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How We Reduced Our Water Usage by 90%

How We Reduced Our Water Usage by 90%

Spoiler alert: it was mostly an accident.

See, the other day I was half way through writing a lovely little post about how we fertilize our garden for free when my fingers chanced to alight upon our water bill, freshly arrived in the mail. Idly I opened it while thinking about wood stove ash. Idly I glanced at it while thinking about mulch. Puzzled about the ratio of gallons to cubic feet and months to days, I did a bit of division. Then I had a cow, as they say.

I accosted my poor husband very rudely. “We must have a leak somewhere! No way do the four of us use an average of 24.9 gallons a day!”

I tucked the children into bed while my husband the Data Fiend (DF) dug out two years of our water usage numbers, graphed it for me and then explained it to me, when he should have been using his precious evening moments to edit student grant proposals. I did not ask him to do this but he is a data superhero, and duty called. DF’s numbers say there is no new leak, and we really do use an average of about 28 gallons a day, varying from a low of around 20 to a high just above 30.

A graph of household water usage
A graph of household water usage

What a beautiful graph. Thank you, DF.

This sounded like a huge amount to me. I lived in the back of my truck in the Arizona desert for a little while, where I happily got by on about 10 gallons a week. I can assure you that while it is not very pleasant, I can get plenty clean with about half a gallon of freezing water, standing between cacti in the brisk December wind. My lifestyle has changed greatly since then, and my mental account of my personal water use had not caught up.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Piracy’ Or America First? US Customs To Seize All Exports Of Masks & Gloves

‘Piracy’ Or America First? US Customs To Seize All Exports Of Masks & Gloves 

A policy that US allies in Europe have recently slammed as ‘piracy’ is set to continue, as Washington unabashedly and unapologetically continues blocking shipments from US soil of personal protective equipment (PPE) — such as gowns, gloves, and N95 face masks — which hospitals and health workers desperately need in the fight against COVID-19.

The Hill reports that “The federal government will begin seizing exports of personal protective equipment, or PPE, until it decides if the tools should be kept in the country to fight the coronavirus.”

The announcement was made Wednesday by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), formalizing an existing controversial practice under Defense Production Act (DPA) which has recently blocked millions of masks from being exported from Minnesota-based 3M to Canada. US customs will block all respirators, surgical masks and surgical gloves from going abroad.

Image source: Reuters

Canadian leaders blasted the move as putting lives in danger, while Germany and France described the US policy, which has seen recent interventions against shipments from China bound for Europe, as ‘piracy’. 

“FEMA and CBP are working together to prevent domestic brokers, distributors, and other intermediaries from diverting these critical medical resources overseas,” a joint statement indicated.

“Today’s order is another step in our ongoing fight to prevent hoarding, price gouging, and profiteering by preventing the harmful export of critically needed PPE,” the White House also said in a statement. “It will help ensure that needed PPE is kept in our country and gets to where it is needed to defeat the virus.” 

It appears Trump’s ‘America First’ policy in action at a crucial time of crisis, as the US is the global epicenter for COVID-19, now with over 430,000 confirmed cases – most in New York state – which has witnessed hospitals running desperately low on supplies, including ventilators. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The COVID-19 “Lockdowns” Are What Twenty-First-Century Mob Rule Looks Like

The COVID-19 “Lockdowns” Are What Twenty-First-Century Mob Rule Looks Like

mob

As of April 6, forty-one states have statewide “stay-at-home” decrees in place. These orders vary widely from place to place. In some states, there are long lists of exempted industries including marijuana dispensaries, liquor stores, hardware stores, and of course, grocery stores. In some states with these edicts, public lands, state parks, and beaches remain open. In some states, city parks are more crowded than ever as local residents, with little else to do, attempt to recreate. In other places—such as California—one can be arrested for paddleboarding all alone in the ocean.

Yet in all of these places, the current regime of rule by decree will have—and already has had—a devastating effect on many small and medium-sized businesses and their employees. As governments have created new arbitrary definitions of what constitutes an “essential” business, some businesses find themselves forced to close. Employees have lost these jobs. The owners of these enterprises will likely lose far more as debts mount and business investments are destroyed. As unemployment and poverty increase, the usual pathologies will arise as well: suicides, child abuse, and stress-induced death.

Yet the politicians—mostly state governors, mayors, and unelected bureaucrats—remain popular. In New York State, where the lockdown orders are among the most draconian in the nation, it is now claimed that 87 percent of those polled approve of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the situation. As Donald Trump’s administration has recommended ever harsher government limits on the freedom of Americans, his poll numbers have only improved. 

Meanwhile, among critics there appears to be a misconception of these lockdowns (which are very often only partially imposed or enforced) as being imposed over the howls of the local population, which is being silenced and cowed by jackbooted local police.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gold Soars Along With Everything Else As Fed Ends Capital Markets As We Know Them

Gold Soars Along With Everything Else As Fed Ends Capital Markets As We Know Them

As we noted earlier,  The Fed’s actions this morning mean “free markets are dead.

Guggenheim’s Scott Minerd summed up exactly what The Fed has done with its actions today:

“The Fed has made it clear that it will not tolerate prudent and responsible investing.”

The Fed just went full Leeroy Jenkins…

And gold is starting to signal fears over fiat…

Something is brewing…

And the spot-futures markets are decoupling as physical (geographic) shortages rear their ugly heads again…

Source: Bloomberg

As Bloomberg notes, the internal mechanics of the gold market are again showing strains under this rally. Gold futures are trading more than $50 above the spot price in London.

Until recently, that was unheard of in a metal that’s so utterly fungible, so easy to transport and where trade channels are so deeply established. But with planes grounded and refining capacity severely restricted, don’t expect the arbitrage to break down immediately.

Bloomberg’s Garfield Reynolds was quick to note, the global business environment is being transformed – we are all socialists now.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Japan & Russia Report Worrisome Surge In New Cases, Britons Warned Lockdown To Be Extended: Live Updates

Japan & Russia Report Worrisome Surge In New Cases, Britons Warned Lockdown To Be Extended: Live Updates

As Holy Week draws to a close and the long Holiday Weekend begins, the optimism that helped inspire the biggest bounce since the ‘rona rout appears to have faded, and Dow futs are back to being three figures in the red Thursday morning, pointing to a lower open as traders realize the ‘plateaus’ supposedly reached in Italy, Spain and New York didn’t really mean anything. And while the Germans truly do seem to be on top of things, other hotspots in Europe are already cropping up, as China tightens its borders as experts warn about a ‘second wave’.

Over the past 24 hours, the US reported 32,176 new cases of coronavirus and 1,901 new deaths, raising its totals to 432,727 cases and 14,768 dead, with the most widely followed projections suggesting that the US will pass half a million confirmed cases before Easter Sunday. Yesterday, NY reported its biggest one-day jump in deaths yet, and the pace of spread appeared to accelerate across Europe.

Now, we wake of Thursday morning to find that officials in Tokyo and Moscow have reported record numbers of new cases (that, and Russia recorded its biggest daily jump in deaths).

Meanwhile, as the US moves to try and stop the IMF from approving Iran’s request for a $5 billion bailout, the Ayatollah has once again chosen to retaliate in the only venue Trump truly understands: Twitter.


#CoronaVirus is a major problem for mankind. But we won’t forget that in Vietnam, Iraq, etc. hundreds of thousands of ppl were killed by the US. Even now, millions suffer from the tyranny of the US & its allies in Yemen, Palestine, etc.
Mankind has worse problems than Corona.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“No Hope”: Canada’s Nursing Homes Prepare For Mass Death

“No Hope”: Canada’s Nursing Homes Prepare For Mass Death

Nursing homes in Canada have been instructed by health officials to ‘keep seniors comfortable’ if they contract COVID-19 and not take them to the hospital due to their high mortality rate, according to Canada’s Global News.

They’re treating it like a hospice, like there’s no hope like they have stage four brain cancer and they just have to keep them comfortable because there’s nothing they can do,” said Tanya Bartley, whose grandmother died last month at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario – where 22 residents have died and 1/3 of the staff are in isolation due to coronavirus.

“They don’t play god. Everybody is the same. I don’t care if it’s a two-year-old, a 10-year-old, a 20-year-old, middle-aged, elderly. I don’t care,” Bartley added.

One dementia-stricken resident, Edna Bowers, was one such coronavirus victim who was treated at the home and not transferred to the hospital.

In a March 23 letter seen by Global News, Dr. Allan Bell – medical director and chief of emergency medicine at Quinte Health Care (QHC) in Belleville, Ontario, outlines suggestions on how long-term care administrators should prepare for potential COVID-19 outbreaks in their facilities.

“Having this conversation pre-emptively is very important. It gives families time to digest the information when they are not in a crisis situation and, should an outbreak happen, it is difficult to manage all of the conversations at once,” reads the letter in part, while also recommending against hospital visits – citing a shortage of medical options for frail patients.

Our critical care colleagues are of the strong opinion that ventilator treatment will not make a survival difference to patients who are frail and ventilator support is very unlikely to be offered,” the letter continues “for those residents who go on to develop respiratory failure, care needs to focus on the provision of comfort to ease suffering at the end of life.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

CDC To Recommend ALL Americans Wear Masks?

CDC To Recommend ALL Americans Wear Masks?

Dr. Matt McCarthy – Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell,staff physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and author of Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic– claims that the CDC is about to do a 180 degree change, and to recommend that everyone wear masks.

If true, such a change would be very helpful.  Specifically, numerous studies show that “facemasks play a pivotal role in the prevention and control of infectious respiratory disease transmission“. 

Indeed, a study last year by scientists at the Departments of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland, and the FDA’s Division of Applied Mechanics, showed that – if 80% of a population wears masks – it will stop a flu epidemic (it “essentially eliminated the influenza outbreak”).   They found that if half of a population wore masks, it “resulted in a significant … reduction in risk” (the typical flu virus is between 80 and 120 nanometers in diameter. The Wuhan Coronavirus is 120 nanometers).

Many other studies and metastudies show that masks are effective in combatting respiratory virus pandemics:

And the Czechs claim that they’re succeeding while many other countries have failed because of a widespead use of home-made masks.

The New York Times notes:

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, experts have started to question official guidance about whether ordinary, healthy people should protect themselves with a regular surgical mask, or even a scarf.

***

When researchers conducted systematic review of a variety of interventions used during the SARS outbreak in 2003, they found that washing hands more than 10 times daily was 55 percent effective in stopping virus transmission, while wearing a mask was actually more effective — at about 68 percent. Wearing gloves offered about the same amount of protection as frequent hand-washing, and combining all measures — hand-washing, masks, gloves and a protective gown — increased the intervention effectiveness to 91 percent.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Unthinkable Is Happening: Oil Storage Space Is About To Run Out

The Unthinkable Is Happening: Oil Storage Space Is About To Run Out

In the past three weeks, oil plunged and has continued to plunge even more in the aftermath of the oil price war declared between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and where US shale (and its junk bonds) has been caught in the crossfire. However, as we reported last week, we may get to the absurd point when the price of a barrel of oil not only hits $0 but goes negative.

The reason: according to Mizuho’s Paul Sankey, at a whopping 15MM b/d in oversupply, crude prices could go negative as Saudi and Russian barrels enter the market. According to Sankey, much of the US 4MM bpd in crude exports will be curtailed as prices fall and tanker rates soar. And with US storage roughly 50% full, and able to take another 135MM bbl more, assuming a build rate of 2MM b/d, the US can add 14MM bbl/week for 10 weeks until full.

As a result, there is a now race between filling storage and negative pricing “unless U.S. decline rates can outpace inventory builds, which we very much doubt.” Said otherwise, absent dramatic changes, in roughly 3 months, energy merchants will be paying you if you generously take a couple million barrels of crude off their hands.

It went from bad to an outright disaster earlier this week when Goldman, Vitol, and the IEA all raised their estimate for daily oil oversupply to an unthinkable 20 million barrels per day, as a result of the collapse in oil demand as the global economy grinds to a halt coupled with Saudi Arabia’s determination to put all of its higher-cost OPEC peers out of business.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“We’re Pulling Out All The Stops”: Trudeau Promises To Help Canadians With Their Bills As He Leads Nation From Home

“We’re Pulling Out All The Stops”: Trudeau Promises To Help Canadians With Their Bills As He Leads Nation From Home

After his wife, Sophie Gregoire, revealed last night that she had been diagnosed with Covid-19 following a trip to London, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – who apparently hasn’t been infected – said during a noon press conference on Friday that he is feeling fine, and will continue running the country from the comfort of his home office until he’s officially cleared to return to the office.

During a news conference held outside his home


Trudeau says Canada is “pulling out all the stops” to respond to COVID-19.

“I know that you’re worried. You’re worried about your health, about your family’s health. About your job, your savings. About paying rent. About the kids not being in school.” https://abcn.ws/2TYW18W 


Trudeau also said he’s spoken with world leaders including Trump, UK PM Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron, and assured Canadians that the G7 would deliver a “coordinated response” to the crisis. The leaders of the organization’s nation-state members will join a conference call on Monday to decide (or not) exactly what the nature of that response will be.

He said he’d be keeping in touch to provincial governors and indigenous leaders during his stay at home, and added that he’d be speaking with several of them later in the day.

In keeping with his liberal beliefs in open borders, Trudeau said Canada would continue to monitor foreign travelers and decide on “further measures that will be based on science.” In the mean time, the administration will be restricting international flights to fewer airports, to improve monitoring and screening, while asking some travelers to “consider” self-quarantine. He also advised Canadians against all “non-essential” traveling abroad, especially to areas impacted by the virus, at this time.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Coronavirus – The Catalyst For System Failure?

Coronavirus – The Catalyst For System Failure?

Overview 

Today’s global economic system is more intertwined than at any point in history. For the past 30 years in particular, globalization and the Theory of Comparative Advantage have been alive and well. Technological advancements and transportation improvements have truly ‘shrunk the world’, allowing more countries to participate and benefit from international trade.

The globalized world economy has become a vast network of complex supply chains, interconnectedness and co-dependence. The benefits have been wide-spread and done more to lift the human condition, and more people out of poverty, than any development in history. However, this increase in economic complexity has magnified global vulnerabilities, opening up the risk of rapid and large-scale failure and contagion: a period of anti-globalization. COVID-19 is the catalyst that is triggering a supply-side crisis; one that is further exacerbated by a simultaneous demand-side shock.

Consensus View 

The consensus view seems to be that the COVID-19 will die out with warmer weather; after all this is what typically happens with the common flu. In terms of markets, most believe that governments and central banks will come to the rescue with proactive stimulus which will be exceptionally good for markets, because the economy is viewed to be on solid footing already.  The stimulus will come to be viewed as an over-reaction that merely serves to provide more economic fuel, particularly once the Coronavirus sputters away. This scenario is logical and possible, but not a view that I share.

US Coronavirus Response

The US has a relatively low number of confirmed cases, but it is in direct proportion to the low number people tested. There is a shortage of testing kits and slow distribution to provide more. This is likely intentional. Trump is on Twitter bragging about the low number of positive cases in the United States as being a result of his administration’s actions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Japan Confirms 10 nCoV Cases Aboard Quarantined Cruise Ship; Officials Warn Virus Could “Spread Widely Through Hong Kong”

Japan Confirms 10 nCoV Cases Aboard Quarantined Cruise Ship; Officials Warn Virus Could “Spread Widely Through Hong Kong”

Summary:

  • Confirmed deaths: 490
  • Confirmed cases on mainland: 24,324; additional 172 in ROW
  • Chinese authorities have enforced full community lockdown in Nanjing Province
  • American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Jetstar close routes to China
  • Taiwan tightens travel restrictions
  • WHO infectious hazard chief says outbreak ‘not a pandemic’
  • Japan confirms at least 10 cases of coronavirus aboard “Diamond Princess”
  • Kudlow says impact on US economy from outbreak will be ‘limited’

*  *  *

Update (1845ET): At least 10 cases of coronavirus have been discovered aboard the Carnival Japan cruise ship “the Diamond Princess”, which has been quarantined at Japan’s Yokohama port since yesterday after officials learned that a passenger who recently disembarked tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong.


JUST IN: More than 10 people aboard a Japanese cruise liner have tested positive for #coronavirus, Japan’s @tbs_news reported, after all 3,000+ passengers were quarantined earlier Tuesday


As we reported earlier, 3,000+ passengers aboard the cruise ship are under quarantine. It’s unclear when they’ll be allowed to leave the ship. All individuals who were found to be infected with the virus were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, after unveiling the city’s first virus-related death, Hong Kong health officials warned Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak could “spread widely through Hong Kong.” Three newly diagnosed cases raised the total number diagnosed in the city to 18, with at least four of those cases being confirmed human-to-human transmissions, according to SCMP.

“It is highly probable the four were infected locally, so there could be invisible chains of infection happening within communities,” Chuang said. “We are not ruling out a large spread [of the virus] in the future.”

And for the second time in as many hours, health officials on the mainland updated the tally of confirmed cases.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Curbs Travel To Hong Kong As Projections Show 300,000 Might Already Be Infected

China Curbs Travel To Hong Kong As Projections Show 300,000 Might Already Be Infected

Update (0700ET): Minutes ago, CNBC reported that the White House has held multiple meetings about the coronavirus led by Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger.


NEW: The White House has been convening multiple meetings on #coronavirus in recent days, convened by deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger.

Readout from an admin official: Consensus that the issue is worsening but the extent to which is unclear.


The consensus: The problem is getting worse, though the true extent is unclear.

Are we about to learn about a new rash of infections inside the US? Considering that more than 100 people were under observation as recently as yesterday, we wouldn’t be surprised.

* * *

On Tuesday morning, China’s top health officials shared some grim statistics essentially confirming that the novel coronavirus believed to have emerged from a shady food market in Wuhan is on track to confirm some of the more dire projections shared by epidemiologists.

As we reported late yesterday, the death toll in China has soared past 100 while the number of confirmed cases doubled overnight. Health officials around the world have confirmed more than 4,500 cases, more than triple the number from Friday. All but a few of the deaths recorded so far have been in Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province, per the SCMP.

Panic has swept across the region as border closures appear to be the overarching theme of Tuesday’s sessions. Even North Korea, which relies on China for 90% of its foreign trade, has closed the border with its patron. More than 50 million remain on lockdown in Hubei, and transit restrictions have been imposed by cities and regions around the country. An ‘extension’ of the Lunar New Year holiday is threatening GDP growth, as economists try to size up the knock-on potential impact on the global economy. The virus has now spread across China and another 17 countries/autonomous territories globally, according to BBG.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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