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How to Safeguard Your Digital Currency

The Daily Reckoning - 2 hours 29 min ago

This post How to Safeguard Your Digital Currency appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Prevent Your Digital Cash From Getting Stolen With These Storage Solutions

The technical details of Bitcoin can be quite confusing for the novice. But this shouldn’t stop you from getting involved in this great money revolution. You can be up and running quite easily without having to understand all the jargon.

But taking a roll of the dice to multiply your wealth is not much good if your bitcoins get stolen. And make no mistake: This can happen. In fact, over the last five years, over half a billion dollars’ worth of bitcoins have been stolen. It’s thought that as many one in 16 bitcoins is now sitting in the wallet of a thief.

“It’s crucial to properly secure your bitcoins. Because the reality is that it’s the Wild West out there in the digital world.” 

This is why it’s crucial to properly secure your bitcoins. Because the reality is that it’s the Wild West out there in the digital world. There are outlaws and bandits and goodness knows what else — and these hackers know the turf much better that you do. So if you do decide to invest in Bitcoin, here are some precautions you should take.

Think of Bitcoins as Digital Cash

If you have a load of cash, you take steps to look after it. You keep it in your pocket. You hide it at home. You leave it in a bank. What you don’t do is leave it lying about where anybody can take it.

Bitcoin is no different. It’s a form of cash. Bitcoins exists in the digital world, but they’re not like the virtual dollars that are sitting on a bank balance sheet somewhere. They’re like the physical dollars in the bank’s vault or in your pocket.

Web Wallet

To use bitcoins, you need a wallet to keep them in. You can get wallets as easily as you can sign up for an email account. I have more than one. I’d recommend you do too.

I have a Web wallet that I store online. I can access it from my computer or from my phone.

I regard this as the wallet in my back pocket. I keep the bitcoins that I use on a day-to-day basis in there. If the wallet gets hacked, it’s a pain in the backside, just as losing your normal wallet is a pain. I lose the equivalent of a couple of hundred bucks or something — but it’s not going to be the end of the world.

So I’d recommend having a Web wallet. The easiest and (currently) most trusted places to get one are Coinbase and Blockchain. But I wouldn’t keep large amounts of coins in one.

Desktop Wallet

You can also have a desktop wallet. I don’t use one, but a lot of people I respect do. One of the benefits is that you’re not relying on somebody else to look after your coins; they’re on your machine at home. A drawback, though, is that they are vulnerable to malware (software designed to disrupt computer operation or gain access to private information). Among the most trusted desktop wallet providers are Armory and

MultiBit.

Of course, keeping your desktop wallet on a computer you can disconnect from the Internet is safer.

Hardware Wallet

Finally, you can have a hardware wallet. That’s a bit like a safe at home. In fact, you might put your hardware wallet in your safe. Look at the wiki page for more information on these. They’re the safest place to store coins, but the least practical for making payments to and from.

Storing Bitcoins With a Third Party

You can also consider using a service provider to keep your coins in “deep cold storage.” This is a process whereby your coins are encrypted and stored on a computer that’s not connected to the Internet. It’s a bit like putting your cash in the bank.

The one problem with this method, though, is that you’re relying on a third party, and that always leaves open the possibility that they could go belly up. Mt. Gox — at one time the largest Bitcoin exchange — was one such firm, after all.

The whole point of Bitcoin is that you’re supposed to be getting rid of third parties. Nevertheless, these services provide an essential service to some, and most of them will not go the way of Mt. Gox. It’s unlikely other companies will be so badly run — indeed, most will have learned from Mt. Gox’s mistakes. Coinbase and Bitstamp are among the most reputable.

Practical Steps to Keep in Mind

Finally, here is some general advice on ensuring your bitcoins are safe and secure. Use only your own phone or computer for transactions. Make sure your wallet address and password or key are kept separately. Back up your wallet on a hard drive that is offline, just as you would back up other data on your computer.

If you keep your coins in “deep cold storage” — whether with a service provider or on an encrypted, offline hard drive at home — they should be safe. But you can’t be too careful. As the expression goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s wise not to keep all your bitcoins in one place if you have a sizeable quantity. Split them up between wallets.

Regards,

Dominic Frisby
for The Daily Reckoning

P.S.: In today’s e-mail edition of this article, published in our daily and FREE e-letter, Tomorrow in Review, we showed readers how to not only safeguard their Bitcoin but also a number of ways to grow it. From Bitcoin ATMs that are sprouting up in cities worldwide… to an upcoming IPO of a Bitcoin company, the e-mail edition laid out a case where you could more than triple your money on Bitcoin in the next 9 months. Why miss another issue? Sign up for Tomorrow in Review here, now.

The post How to Safeguard Your Digital Currency appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Categories: Economics

Peak What? Drowning In Oil, Again - Seeking Alpha (registration)

Peak Oil - Google - 4 hours 25 min ago

Peak What? Drowning In Oil, Again
Seeking Alpha (registration)
That said...six years later, after reading the above affirmations, I can say with a big grin, if you still believe in Peak Oil, which is a theory that cannot be proved, you might as well believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. Now ...

Solar to Save the World, Ebola to Maim it

The Daily Reckoning - 4 hours 33 min ago

This post Solar to Save the World, Ebola to Maim it appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

“Here’s a quick quiz,” our tech whiz Stephen Petranek writes: “What U.S. industry has grown its installed base by more than 418% since 2010?

“What industry expanded 100% globally last year and is now employing over 2 million people? I’ll give you one guess, and here’s a hint: It’s an industry with a future as bright as its power source:

“The answer is the solar energy industry.”

What’s fueling this sudden rise?

“Many things,” Stephen writes. “We need more energy due to population growth. And billions of people rising into the global middle class also means rising demand for energy. Also driving demand for alternative energy sources are environmental concerns over the impact of hydrocarbon fuels. Governments around the world — including here in the U.S., have provided considerable incentives for shifting toward ‘green’ energy sources.

“Solar power is the fastest-growing part of the energy mix.”

“Furthermore, solar has been following a ‘Moore’s law’ of its own. Sharply falling prices are bringing the cost of electricity derived from solar energy into parity with traditional energy sources. If the trend continues, solar will actually become a cheaper energy source, without taking into account negative external factors such as air pollution.

“But air pollution is a big factor,” Stephen goes on. “Solar is very clean at the point of power generation, unlike hydrocarbon-burning plants. And it’s more than just fear of carbon dioxide emissions that’s driving adoption of solar. It’s having air fit to breathe. We’ve all seen what coal-burning plants can do in places like China.

“Emissions from coal plants can kill even when the smog isn’t visible. In 2010, the World Health Organization estimated that over 1 million urban deaths were attributable to outdoor air pollution. The American Heart Association estimates that particulate air pollution causes some 60,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Did you know a coal-fired plant dumps more radioactive material into the environment than a nuclear-powered one?

“Solar could help a great deal by replacing some of our dirtier energy sources, especially coal. But solar suffers a big disadvantage when compared with these common energy sources. A coal or gas plant can run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A solar plant, however, won’t produce power when the sun isn’t shining.

“Furthermore, during peak production — when the sun is shining brightest — solar might be putting out an unnecessary surplus of electricity.

“Since solar is an intermittent power source, other power sources have to be ready to pick up the slack as needed. For solar power to truly be competitive, a way to store energy is needed for those times when the sun isn’t shining and to store surplus power when it is.

“Suppose a company found a way to do that — and not only store energy from solar plants, but also create the possibility of transforming it for use as a clean transportation fuel. It would make an already disruptive energy technology even more transformational.”

We bring up solar energy for another good reason.

Just recently, we invited our friends John MacIntyre and Dan Meredith, to talk about energy independence and share their tips on how to lower your energy costs.

We’re toying with the idea of making these types of podcasts a regular deal. First, we want to know what you think about the idea.

Will you listen to a regular LFT podcast?

Take a listen here.

In other news, a new study from a team of Virginia-based researchers picks apart how Ebola is spreading and the only REAL way to stop it…

First, news broke last night that Dr. Craig Spencer, “a Harlem doctor who treated Ebola patients in West Africa before returning to New York last week tested positive Thursday for the deadly disease,” NY Daily News reports.

Here’s the timeline of Dr. Spencer’s departure from Guinea, to when he started to feel sick, to his diagnosis of Ebola, courtesy of NY Daily News.

With an estimated worst-case scenario of 980,000 dead by Feb. 1, 2015, the need for more information on how Ebola is actually spreading — rather than passive speculation (ahem, CDC) — is crucial.

The study, funded by the NIH and conducted by independent researchers “dissects the current rates of the spread of Ebola and the likely impact of various strategies for controlling this epidemic,” a Foreign Policy article reads.

The results are unsettling.

“First, the virus is spreading very fast now,” the Foreign Policy article goes on, “with each infected person in Liberia and Sierra Leone passing Ebola on to, on average, 2.22 others. And contrary to the experiences in 20 past Ebola epidemics (in which the majority of cases were transmitted in hospitals or during funeral preparations), the virus is now primarily spreading in the general population through everyday activities.

“This means that the strategies that were used to successfully control past Ebola epidemics — cleaning up the hospitals, quarantining infected souls within those newly sanitized facilities, and stopping traditional funeral practices — will not have the same significant impact in the current catastrophe.

“Therefore, according to these researchers, even if there were a miraculous treatment available right now, it would barely make a dent in the epidemic.

The study’s conclusion? “[F]or at least in the near term, some form of coordinated intervention is imperative. The forecasts for both Liberia and Sierra Leone in the absence of any major effort to contain the epidemic paint a bleak picture of its future progress, which suggests that we are in the opening phase of the epidemic, rather than near its peak.”

Oh boy.

Nothing we’re currently doing to fight the Ebola virus will work in 2014, say the researchers. Nothing we’re currently doing will beat it in 2015, either.

We need a new game-plan.

Here’s the researchers’ suggestion: Round up all of the infected, and everyone they’ve come in contact with, and “remove infected individuals from the general population and place them in a setting that can provide both isolation and dedicated care.”

Are African healthcare workers in a position to be able to do this? No. Not one bit.

Let’s not forget too that this virus is of a much different breed than its predecessors…

As Dr. Michael Osterholm outlined during our visit at the Johns Hopkins Ebola symposium, there’s much more to understand about this particular strain of Ebola.

“Today I’ve been given permission, something I’ve known about for a few weeks,” he told us during his speech.

“Gary Kobinger and colleagues at Winnipeg, the Canadian national lab, actually took one of the strains from Guinea and put it into macaques [monkeys] a little over a month and a half ago. What they saw was remarkable.

“It was unlike any of the Ebola viruses they’ve seen in monkeys. It was much much more severe. The pathology in the lungs were remarkable.

And as Gary said, who is one of the most prominent Ebola virologists in the world said, “It is very worrisome to me… what I saw there.”

Point? There are still many unknowns when it comes to this particular outbreak. Too many.

We believe it’s responsible to over-prepare, then go with the flow. Adapt to whatever comes.

Sincerely,

Chris Campbell
for The Daily Reckoning

Ed. Note: The best way to over-prepare, then go with the flow is by taking advantage of Laissez Faire’s new Ebola guide. It took researchers over 240 hours to put together and it will tell you everything you need to know to get prepared as soon as this week. Learn more by signing up FREE: Click here.

The post Solar to Save the World, Ebola to Maim it appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Categories: Economics

How to Profit From the “Cycle of Hype”

The Daily Reckoning - 6 hours 13 min ago

This post How to Profit From the “Cycle of Hype” appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Lose your shirt in 3D printing stocks this year? Don’t kick yourself. You’re not alone. (Okay, kick yourself a little if it’ll make you feel better.)

Today I’m going to tell you how to make sure you don’t lose your 3D-printed shirt in the next tech craze. Because mark my words – there will be a next time.

And as you’ll also see, it could soon be time to get back in on one 3D printing stock.

Look, it’s really not your fault if you got taken for a ride on 3D stocks. These guys really chatted themselves up. 3D print a new car? Sure. Claim that every home would have a 3D printer in just a few years? Why not? (Don’t rat me out, but I have plans to print a new boss. I’ve already got the template picked out).

However, most industry experts claim consumer 3D printing is at least five years away from mainstream adoption. Others believe it will take even longer for these machines to attract ordinary consumers.

Of course, these 3D printing startups were too busy cashing in to worry about meeting expectations. So when these stocks hit the skids just a few months ago, plenty of investors were stuck wondering what the hell happened.

And of course, the financial media had guzzled the Kool-Aid, no questions asked. 3D printers were THE next thing. So you bought. I don’t blame you.

So here’s the deal…

Hot stocks—especially in the technology sector—are at the mercy of a vicious hype cycle.

This hype cycle pumps up a stock or sector to outrageous levels way before it can deliver on its promises. And it crashes these same stocks hard once the expectations get out of control. And as I explained back in January (when the hype surrounding the industry was nearing its peak), 3D printing stocks are the perfect example.

Think of the late ‘90s. Do the words dot-com mean anything to you? They still give investors a serious case of the willies.

And if you want to avoid another tech train wreck, I suggest you bone up on the hype cycle.

See, the royal road to mastering tech stocks like the 3D printers is to understand the cycles of hysteria and the mass mind of the investing herd. If you don’t, you’ll get stampeded every time (no mixing metaphors here at the Rude). Learn this cycle, and you’ll be rewarded handsomely.

Here’s the Gartner Hype Cycle. Study this chart…

This is the cycle of hype most new technologies go through. You can see where the 3D printing stocks peaked in January. Now that the dumb money has been shaken out, we could be nearing the “Trough of Disillusionment.” The market can then begin to climb the “Slope of Enlightenment.” That’s because the industry pretenders get exposed, leaving only the strong horses with real businesses. Realistic expectations can begin to emerge–and the thoroughbreds are left standing.

The length of the complete cycle varies, of course. But you can count on this— the basic pattern is the same. Use it as your trading guide.

Sure enough, since I told you in January that 3D printer stocks were hitting peak hysteria, many of them have fallen off a cliff. Industry superstar 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE:DDD) is down nearly 60% on the year after being one of the best performing stocks in 2013…

The “trough of disillusionment” will eventually come for these stocks. Heck, you might even get the chance to buy DDD back one day. But for now, the hype has left the building.

Regards,

Greg Guenthner
for The Daily Reckoning

PS: Sign up for the Rude Awakening for FREE today to see how you can trade this trend for huge gains…

The post How to Profit From the “Cycle of Hype” appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Categories: Economics

Peak Oil is still our future’s reality

ASPO International - 7 hours 5 min ago

(This is the final replay in the discussion on "The falling oil price may presage a future recession.")

In a reply to my previous contribution, “The falling oil price may presage a future recession”, Civil Economist Magnus Grill (19 October in Swedish) says that I assert, “that Peak Oil does not mean that oil will run out rather than that demand for oil will disappear. Thus it is no longer a question of Peak Oil from a production standpoint rather than now it is from a demand standpoint. This means that Aleklett has completely altered his early reasoning.” I must disappoint Magnus Grill. Peak Oil is still related to production of oil from oilfields.

When we discuss Peak Oil we do this based on the fact that oil production in an area or group of areas reaches a maximum and then declines.

read more

Categories: Peak oil news

Oxford Real Farming Conference: power, lies, and the need for agrarian resistance

Energy Bulletin - 7 hours 9 min ago

The world’s global strategy of food and farming is founded on three great untruths – lies, in effect -- which between them are threatening to kill us all, and in practice are well on the way to doing so.

Categories: Peak oil news

The Market Ticker - What The Hell Is Wrong With US?

The Market Ticker - 7 hours 18 min ago

How stupid are we again?

Health and New York City officials were trying Friday morning to follow the trail of a young emergency room doctor who traveled about the city for three days before being hospitalized for the Ebola virus.

The doctor, Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders who had been working in Guinea, returned six days ago and reported Thursday morning coming down with a 100.3-degree fever and diarrhea. He was being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center.

In the days before Spencer fell ill, he went on a 3-mile jog, went to the High Line park, rode the subway and, on Wednesday night, got a taxi to a Brooklyn bowling alley. Bassett said he felt fatigued Wednesday but not feverish until Thursday morning.

Ok, so this guy was over in Guinea working with ebola patients.  He returned to the United States without going through an isolation period after not only being a known "hot zone" but actively working with patients with the disease and now he has potentially exposed a huge number of people in New York.

I'm sorry, this is just plain stupid -- and we're (probably) going to get damn lucky (again) that this virus is very hard to transmit until you are acutely ill.

But it calls into question our intelligence.

Obviously we cannot isolate everyone that travels internationally (you might as well shut down all international travel if you do that) but someone who was not only in a nation where the disease is rampant but was actively treating ebola patients should have been, in my view, isolated for 21 days on return to the United States as a precaution.

Yeah, I know, I know, the odds aren't high that something "bad" will happen.  So what?  The consequences of being wrong are high and the number of people for which prospective isolation has to take place is very low -- in this case, anyone known to have had contact with (whether precautions were taken or not!) active ebola cases while outside the United States.

Categories: Economics

Beating Climate Change by Retooling the Economy—The Story Begins in Navajo Country

Energy Bulletin - 7 hours 33 min ago

While the burning of fossil fuels causes climate change, simply shutting down these industries leaves workers and their families behind, and often result in a familiar conflict over “jobs versus the environment.”

Categories: Peak oil news

The Market Ticker - Bezos' Halo Vanishes

The Market Ticker - 7 hours 49 min ago

From the Journal...

Amazon.com Inc. ’s soaring ambitions are coming at a steep cost, dragging the e-commerce giant to its largest quarterly loss in 14 years.

A surge in spending on new-product development, music and video licensing, and other parts of the Seattle company’s expansion strategy led to a net loss of $437 million in the third quarter, worse than its year-earlier loss of $41 million. The wider loss came despite a 20% jump in revenue to $20.58 billion.

Ambitions eh?

Well, that's very nice.  I'm sure you're aware that it's pretty trivial to spend like a drunken sailor on ambitions -- in his case on that pretty gal in the bar.  Of course that doesn't mean you're going to score on those ambitions, you know.....

I've been amazed for years that the market has given Bezos a pass on actually earning anything at all on these ambitions.  Profits will come, we're told, but the obvious question is "when??"

It has appeared for a couple of years now that the answer was always destined to be never, and that the only way Amazon could possibly maintain its alleged "growth" was to basically give away product, R&D and fulfillment at below the cost of production.  

That shouldn't surprise at all; it's usually very easy to be "successful", measured by the number of units of "X" you deliver, if you don't care if you make any money doing it!

If Amazon can't actually turn a profit while operating then I argue the stock is worthless.

If they can -- why don't they?

Categories: Economics

The Market Ticker - On Net Neutrality (Again)

The Market Ticker - 8 hours 20 min ago

Again?  Sweet Jesus, you're stupid.

October 17, 2014 The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday that he and President Obama agree on the importance of protecting net neutrality.

"My position is unchanged," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a press conference. "The president and I agree—and have always agreed—on the importance of an open Internet."

But net-neutrality advocates responded that as long as Wheeler supports allowing large companies to pay for special "fast lanes" on the Internet, he and the president are miles apart.

Meh.

Such private deals are as old as the Internet itself.  That most of the time they don't involve the exchange of actual money has nothing to do with whether they exist:  In-kind transport is how the Internet works, by and large, and always has worked since the first commercial connections showed up.

Value comes in many forms and all of it can be reduced to dollars, if you insist on doing so.  That it's not denominated in dollars doesn't mean it can't be reduced to them, because it always can.  It's just pointless to do so when the value equation is reasonably balanced -- that is, what you give and get are roughly of equal worth.

You and I can engage in such a transaction if, for example, you brew your own beer.  If I like to drink beer and you have a lawn that needs mowed, you might offer me a few pints to be consumed while mowing said lawn.  This transaction is an exchange of value, and while neither of us formally accounts for it using dollars nor do we hand them across to one another the fact is that such a transaction of value took place.

Such it is on the Internet as a whole; each provider of end connections to someone comes up with a value and pricing model across their network and with the interchange that takes place with other networks.  Some of those model components involve the formal spending (or receipt) of funds, and others do not.  But all of them have value -- and without them the entire network collapses.

The issue that Wheeler has, and refuses to discuss honestly (along with Obama) is that these equations are not always equal and thus someone has to pay someone else, because one party gets (massively) more value out of the transaction than the other.

The obvious one is that you pay for your end connection because you offer only cost, and no value of materiality, to the provider.  But there are many more situations where this same fact applies.

The market sorts this out, in the general sense, and has done a pretty good job.  Disputes and even outright hostilities (sometimes including lawsuits and similar) do arise, but that's part of business and is good, not bad.  Through that process innovators are rewarded; those who can deliver more at less cost.  Those who are not innovative but simply are a sink on someone else's assets eventually find themselves with a business model problem and either have to change how they operate or risk going out of business.  This too is good.

Obama cannot change the law of common business balance and neither can Wheeler.  It's simple: You must give at least as much value as you receive in a transaction or eventually the distortion you introduce causes one of the parties in the transaction to go bankrupt.

What drives people to come up with new and innovative ways to do things that dramatically reduce cost and thus improve the economics of the transaction for everyone is this fact.  If I can find a way to deliver web hosting for less than anyone else, or Internet access, or any other service by using my brainpower and developing a newer paradigm then I win immediately and you, as the customer, win over time.  I win because my margins expand and I make more money; this allows me to hire more people and become larger.  You win because ultimately my innovation causes others to either find a way to copy what I did (without violating my patents and copyrights, if I have any) and that in turn drives down prices, so you get more while spending less.  In the interim my expansion leads to more employment and those new employees (and the raises I pay to existing ones) buys cars, food, power and expensive toys from others -- maybe you.

If you mandate that this process not take place through the force of law you get what we had in the United States when there was only "Ma Bell" -- no innovation and much higher prices.

Who remembers paying exorbitant toll charges to make a phone call just a few dozen miles away?  How much do you pay now per-minute for the same call?  Over a cell, zero -- I had two half-hour calls yesterday each spanning hundreds of miles that I would have never, ever made 20 or 30 years ago simply due to cost.

Don't fall for the Democrat crap on this folks.  Innovation requires that the market be allowed to work, not mandated out of existence, and the cost-shifting model Obama favors is exactly why your medical care costs 10x or more what it should and is bankrupting you, Obamacare or no.

Categories: Economics

The Market Ticker - The Real Issue With 'Gay Marriage'

The Market Ticker - 9 hours 14 min ago

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Unless, of course, you're a Christian.  Then Congress and other organs of government will make lots of laws that dictate how your religion must operate, such as what they've apparently done here.

Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

So about that Catholic Synod recently...

The Church teaches: "No grounds whatsoever exist for assimilating or drawing analogies, however remote, between homosexual unions and God's design for matrimony and the family." Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies should be accepted with respect and sensitivity. "Any sign of unjust discrimination in their regard is to be avoided."

Uh...... got handcuffs?

Now here's the problem, in a nutshell: None of this has anything to do with who you love and what gender they are.  If you think so you have rocks in your head.  If you promote this from a public-policy standpoint you're a financial rapist.

Most people know about the so-called marriage penalty which applies generally to those who are married and have two incomes in the family.  Most of the time you wind up penalized for being in this situation compared against one of you filing head-of-household (if you have kids) and the other as single.  Not always, but most of the time.

The government of course loves gay couples in this regard if they can be "married" because a very large percentage of them will have no children (which is generally not true for heterosexual couples.)  

But where the real screw job comes in is when you get older!

See, Medicaid covers nursing home care -- after you spend all your assets down first.  Here's the problem -- your assets are joint if you're married, and that's a huge problem if one of you gets sick and the other is not.  Before you can avail yourself of that program you must dissipate the marital assets first, which means your surviving spouse is fucked after you die.  (While there is allegedly "spousal impoverishment" protection in this regard it's crap in point of fact and will screw the surviving spouse; the annual income that can be "protected" in this fashion is only around $23,000.)  And oh by the way, if you try to transfer assets to get around this you will run into lookback and penalty clauses designed to prohibit that.

The only other meaningful exception is your primary residence (with a cap on value) if your spouse (or a dependent offspring) is still living there.

Marriage should be between you and a religious order, nothing more or less.  It most-certainly should not result in your most-loved individual being hosed should you get older, because we all do.  Yet it does, will, and as the noose of ever-higher medical scams continues to tighten this becomes a larger and larger problem that bites more and more people.

Heh look over there, gays -- you signed up willingly to get reamed like this 10, 20 or 30 years down the road -- and I bet you didn't understand that when you argued for "marriage equality", did you?

Be careful what you wish for -- you might get it.

Categories: Economics

Peter Thiel: Peak oil lives! - Fortune

Peak Oil - Google - 9 hours 29 min ago

Peter Thiel: Peak oil lives!
Fortune
When his hedge fund, Clarium Capital, launched in 2002, Thiel followed a peak-oil thesis, which paid off splendidly as oil prices rose from about $40 to $140. But prices fell off a cliff in 2008, the fund got clobbered, and institutional investors fled ...

and more »

The return of Occupy London: this time it’s truly political

Energy Bulletin - 9 hours 44 min ago

This week, stalwarts of the Occupy Democracy campaign in Britain are continuing to stand their ground in Parliament Square.

Categories: Peak oil news

Achieving Sustainable Societies: Lessons from Modelling the Ancient Maya

Energy Bulletin - 10 hours 14 min ago

The ancient Maya provide an example of a complex social-ecological system which developed impressively before facing catastrophic reorganization.

Categories: Peak oil news

Economics As If Future Generations Mattered

Energy Bulletin - 10 hours 29 min ago

One of the key barriers to taking action on the paramount issues of our time is that these problems are the end result of entrenched cultural, economic and social systems.

Categories: Peak oil news

Resilience Roundup - Oct 24

Energy Bulletin - 10 hours 43 min ago

A roundup of the news, views and ideas from the main stream press and the blogosphere.

Categories: Peak oil news

Strips of Native Prairie Protect Farm Soil

Energy Bulletin - 10 hours 48 min ago

A new conservation practice reduces cropland erosion to sustainable levels even on moderately sloping land: contoured strips within corn and bean fields, planted to native prairie grasses. The deep rooted grasses slow runoff, trapping suspended soil and nutrients. They also provide habitat for insects and wildlife.

Categories: Peak oil news

On Public Health and Energy

Energy Bulletin - 11 hours 6 min ago

Among the many radical changes that have transformed society since the birth of industrialism, perhaps none have had as great an impact as the revolution in health.

Categories: Peak oil news

Boys get to core of harvesting - Redditch Standard

Transition Towns in the media - 12 hours 14 min ago

Redditch Standard

Boys get to core of harvesting
Redditch Standard
Pupils at Skilts School worked with Fay Yeng from Yum Tum Club using a traditional apple press from Transition Town Redditch and apples donated by Biddle's. As well as sampling the juice and different varities of the fruit, they also had a kite flying ...

Categories: TT news

Transition: Live and Unleashed in the New Forest!

Transition Culture - 14 hours 4 min ago

It’s an all too common experience to plough on with doing Transition, from activity to activity, without pausing to reflect on or celebrate what we’ve achieved.  It was delightful therefore to visit the New Forest this week, both to give a talk but also to see their ‘Live and Unleashed! New Forest Transition’ exhibition at the New Forest Centre. 

New Forest Transition began in 2008, and has been hard at work ever since, working on a wide variety of initiatives.  Doing Transition in an area with a dispersed community isn’t easy. 

There are a number of town and village initiatives, some more vibrant than others, but given the amount of travel required to get everyone together, sustaining New Forest Transition as a network hasn’t been easy.  The exhibition, however, is great testament to all that they have achieved. 

They’ve done regular Green Open Doors events, energy efficiency work with local schools, raised over £2 million in shares for a community solar farm, thermal imaging surveys, a range of other work with local schools, including renewable energy site visits, projects to promote cycling and the New Forest Food Challenge, which led to a wide range of local food initiatives.  They have 3 apple presses that are borrowed by people to make apple juice and cider. Here's the trailer for a film they made about local food in the Forest:

There's the Hale Village Market:

 and of Energy Audits they did for local schools: 

They have joined forces with Transition Southampton for a scheme offering people the possibility of buying fruit trees and shrubs at cost.  Here are some photos from the exhibition:

 

There was also a rather fine globe made from recycled jeans.  Every geography class should have one:

 

It felt to me like there was something very powerful about taking the time, as they put it in their publicity for the exhibition, “to celebrate our recent projects and to find out what we can all do in the New Forest in the future”.  Perhaps it marked the culmination of one stage, one phase, in the evolution of Transition in the New Forest.  Later that evening I gave a talk (see photos below), and the Q&A and subsequent discussions opened the possibilities of what might come next for the initiative. 

 

The success of the solar farm fundraising shows clearly that there is demand for interesting Transition-esque investment opportunities.  They have an established reputation for delivering projects.  Discussions around what’s next focused on how to better build on coalitions with partner organisations, taking more of a REconomy approach, creating an Economic Blueprint for the Forest, perhaps running a Local Entrepreneur Forum with other organisations, identifying some opening for social enterprises and making them happen.  It felt like there was both the enthusiasm and the expertise to take that step forward. 

The next day, I was taken to see the Minstead Study Centre, one of only a few dedicated Sustainability visitors’ centres in the country.  The Centre offers either a 3 or a 5 day residential experience for school kids, immersing them in thinking about sustainability from a range of angles, local food, a fairer world, energy, water and so on. 

The centrepiece is a beautiful residential accommodation block, built using local timber, and to be a showcase for energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Kids staying in it have a monitor which is set to zero when they arrive and which records their use of mains and rainwater, energy and gas. 

The site also features a great food garden, sculptures and artworks, a clay pizza oven (when I arrived, a group were making pizzas having milled their own flour first), a beautiful tipi used as an outdoor classroom, sheep, a beautiful labyrinth modelled on the one at Chartres cathedral, a beautiful fire pit, a pond/wetland, a beautiful thatched wattle and daub roundhouse, willow sculptures and lots more.

I would love to have spent a few days there when I was a child.  The place itself and the diversity of activities undertaken when there clearly have a rich impact.  A delicious lunch with some of the Study Centre team and some New Forest Transition folks was followed by a dash to the station for the journey home.  An inspiring trip, and it will be fascinating to see what happens over the next couple of years.  

If you are in or around the New Forest, the Live and Unleashed! exhibition runs until Sunday 23rd November at the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst Car Park, Lyndhurst.  

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