Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 10/30 - $5B Food Stamp Cut Looms, One Year After Sandy

Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 9:26 AM


A year after Sandy, flood insurance premiums are skyrocketing

Congress passed a law to get rid of that shortfall by raising insurance premiums and eliminating those federal subsidies. But roughly one million homeowners from coast to coast and in Hawaii will see their rates skyrocket. In the next five years, Kelleher's annual premium could jump from $850 to more than $9,000.

Venezuela’s Christmas Saved for All as Bonds Pay for Toys

While the auctions will help Maduro fulfill his pledge this month of ensuring the nation’s happiness during the holidays by alleviating shortages that caused annual inflation to soar 49 percent in September, concern is deepening that PDVSA will need to sell new bonds for the first time since May last year to replenish supply. With the state oil company considering a sale of as much as $3 billion before year-end, Barclays Plc says the glut threatens to increase Venezuela’s borrowing costs, which are the highest in emerging markets.

Brazil's Hypermarcas Plans to Reduce U.S. Dollar Debt Exposure

Brazilian consumer conglomerate Hypermarcas SA (HYPE3.BR) will repurchase up to $300 million of its outstanding overseas bonds, as part of its strategy to reduce its exposure to U.S dollar-denominated debt.

Most Americans adding debt faster than savings

For many Americans, the financial impact of this lack of savings has been compounded by heavier borrowing. From 1992 to 2010, people now nearing retirement, meaning those age 50 to 65, increased their total debt by 69 percent. For a fifth percent of these households, the debt was from mortgages, which have the potential to increase in value. But the remaining 80 percent of the debt was from credit cards, accumulated installment debt like auto loans and other revolving debt such as home equity loans, according to HelloWallet.

Should the US be treated like an emerging market? (CNBC)

"If any other country on the planet played the government game that was just played in the States, the currency would have been destroyed and the bonds would trade up to distress levels. The only reason it didn't is no one can afford to let that happen," said James Sullivan, JP Morgan's head of Asean equity research

Fed Seen Avoiding Historic Loss by Holding Mortgage Debt

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in June announced the Fed was abandoning a plan to eventually sell mortgage debt as part of efforts to reduce the balance sheet. The central bank instead plans to let the securities mature. The Fed, which funds its operations with interest income from its bond holdings, currently holds $1.4 trillion in mortgage bonds.

California Agencies Gamble on Pension Bonds to Cover Debts – and Lose

Some public officials and investment bankers have portrayed pension obligation bonds as a good way to shore up pension funds. The proceeds can be invested in the stock market, reaping returns potentially higher than the bonds’ interest rate.

But that gamble is not panning out so far for at least five pension obligation bonds issued by California public agencies between 1999 and January, an analysis by The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

5B food stamp cut hits Friday

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the cuts translate into $29 per month less for an average family of three. They will be left with $319 per year or $1.40 per person per meal, based on cost estimates from the Department of Agriculture's "Thrifty Food Plan."

Fidelity Global stocks chief expects debt haircuts in euro area

Greece carried out the largest sovereign-debt restructuring in history in February 2012. Private-sector investors agreed to take a 53.5 percent loss on the face value of their bond holdings, reducing the country’s debt burden, which stood at 170.3 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2011.

After a wave of Sandy disaster, a trickle of aid to victims

Federal agencies say they have been trying to push out the money as quickly as possible but that Sandy spending is proceeding at the usual pace for disasters, which means it could take years to account for all of the money Congress has approved.

China oil giants risk paying high price for energy addiction

As domestic oilfields age, the three companies have in recent years poured billions of dollars - the biggest amount in the world so far - into the acquisition of unconventional and traditional hydrocarbon assets overseas to boost reserves.

They have also invested heavily in risky projects such as deepwater drilling at home and abroad.

U.S. now expects to lose $9.7 billion on GM stock

The chances of taxpayers breaking even on the remaining stock are slim. For that to happen, GM's stock price would need to quadruple to more than $140, the report says.

$277 billion into stock funds so far this year; highest since 2000

The wall of cash into U.S.-listed mutual funds and ETFs (including those that invest overseas) has hit $277 billion, and that’s with just over two months to go in the year, according to TrimTabs Investment Research. That’s the most for one year since $324 billion for all of 2000, which of course is the year the last tech bubble burst.

Report: Pension Crisis Risks Crippling Illinois

Lawrence Wyllie, former superintendent of the Lincoln-Way school system, draws nearly $300,000 each year in retirement and there are 99 more officials who are paid more than $15,000 per month from the system.

The system reported that it is nearly $56 billion short of meeting its retirement payments over the next 30 years

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 10/29/13

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


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Implosions. Droids.

I found a nice brief article on the demolition of buildings using the technique called the "Implosion"  from howstuffworks.com that enables a person to become familiar with this technique.  



How Building Implosions Work

by Tom Harris

The basic strategy of the implosion is to collapse a tall building straight down so that 1) it is broken up for removal, and 2) all the debris is piled into the basement of the building 3) without damaging surrounding structures. 

Momentum is used to tear the building apart.  One portion of the building is collapsed a second or two before other parts so that time lag is a part of the destructive process.  Usually the center of the building is collapsed a second or two before the edges, but one corner or one edge of the building can be the starting point, also.  When the center section is blown first, it tends to pull the edges inward.

The main challenge in bringing a building down [with explosive demolition] is controlling which way it falls. Ideally, a blasting crew will be able to tumble the building over on one side, into a parking lot or other open area. This sort of blast is the easiest to execute, and it is generally the safest way to go. Tipping a building over is something like felling a tree. To topple the building to the north, the blasters detonate explosives on the north side of the building first, in the same way you would chop into a tree from the north side if you wanted it to fall in that direction. 


Sometimes, though, a building is surrounded by structures that must be preserved. In this case, the blasters proceed with a true implosion, demolishing the building so that it collapses straight down into its own footprint (the total area at the base of the building). This feat requires such skill that only a handful of demolition companies in the world will attempt it.

The Cracker and Coker Towers demolition, and the BHP Corp Stacks (Twin Smoke stakes) (on the lower right of the same page) show that natural tendency of a tall structure to tip over slowly and land with a might crash.  These emulate what a natural building failure might look like.  The Implosion is intended to PREVENT this from happening.

Here is a nice demo of the Holly Street Towers in London being brought down by a flawless implosion.  The animation is half way down the page.  Here.

And the Schullkyll Falls Tower is nicely done, too.  The collapse begins in the middle with the downward momentum of the center section tearing the structure apart and pulling the end sections inwardly.

And here a 30 second video of an imperfect building implosion in Christchurch, NZ.  The building is tipping over a bit.  I hope their liability policy was paid up.  Their neighbors are not going to be happy.

And another tower.  The demolition began on one end of the building, but all the components fell straight down.

And one of the cleanest an prettiest implosions from Norway: The Phillips Building. (Right top row).

Oops. Not all demolitions succeed as intended.

The key identifying features of an implosion are:  instantaneous onset, high velocity jets of debris shooting out at the location of the explosions, collapse at free fall speed (at least in the initial seconds), an huge expanding dust cloud at the base, and the absolute lack of ANY natural process that causes buildings to crump in this particular way (earthquake, flood, sinkholes, fire, isolated explosion in a boiler room, etc, etc).



The cruiser pulls up at a check point and two heavily armed stormtroopers want to see the identification of Obi-wan and Luke.  They are searching for a couple of droids.  The droids are plainly sitting in the back seat of the cruiser in full view.  But Obi-wan makes a subtle wave of his hand and suggests "These are not the droids you are looking for."

The star trooper follows his suggestion and agrees without critical review, "These are not the droids we are looking for."

Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Obi-Wan: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification.
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.
Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Obi-Wan: Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along... move along.

It seems to be a very natural human tendency to follow and accept the ideas of others that we trust. On the good side, this lets us humans share in each others experience and have a consensus world view that is far richer than any one of us could develop on our own. How would I know why Saturn has rings or how granite is formed if I could not read the explanations of trusted authorities?  On the bad side though, it makes us vulnerable to deceptions.

Byron Katie, and Adyashanti are a two wonderful teachers influential in my life who ask us to look at our beliefs and to question whether they are actually true.  Much clarity can sometimes be found by simply asking, with an open mind,

"Is it true that these are not the droids we are looking for?" 

And that is what I am asking of fellow pp'ers.

Here is the video of the Third Tower to fall to the ground in a pile on September 11, 2001.  No steel framed building has EVER collapsed due to fire, before or since 9/11.  But on that one day, we are asked to believe that 3 buildings did just that, 2 of which were hit by airplanes, and one which was not.  

The third building is the most incredible.  It is called World Trade Center Building 7 and was NOT hit by an airplane yet somehow fell into a heap about 8 hours after the twin towers.  

What is going on here?  

Two videos show a closer look at this building.

This second video has footage of the building prior to its "failure" showing the extent of the fires and damage to the side of the building.  It follows with parts of the Architects and Engineer for 911 Truth presentation narrated by Ed Asner.

Is it true that thermal expansion of steel caused by burning office furniture caused this particular building's behavior?

"These are not the droids you are looking for."

"Move along."

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