Total Pageviews

Thursday, June 30, 2011


We are almost halfway there to the end of the year (day #181).  On this day, some good things happened:

  1905:  Einstein published his paper on relativity
 1953:  the first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line (Okay, maybe not the most energy efficient car, but can you believe that the 2011 version has a lower miles/gallon rating than my Honda Fit?)
  1990:  East and West Germany merged
  1997:  Hong Kong returned to China

Wow, nothing much happened in history today.

Hawaii is reported to have the fourth cleanest beaches (beaten out by New Hampshire, New Jersey and Oregon).  New Jersey???  You think it might be a bit too cold on those other beaches?      California ranked #22.  Did you know that Hawaii has 463 beaches on 300 miles of coastline.  By the way, those South Pacific movie beaches, Lumahai (above) and Hanalei on Kauai, are about the most foul with the highest bacterial content, but Kaneohe Bay might be the worst.

Of 400 metropolitan areas, Honolulu, at 4.9%, ranks #13 in lowest unemployment.  #1, #2 and #4 are in North Dakota.  The U.S. average is 9.1%.

About our national debt and the current debate, go to my HuffPo on The Simplest Solution for our National Debt...IS TO INCREASE IT!  Thus, this cartoon is funny, but only an exaggeration of reality, as are most of them.

The next Susan Boyle could well be Cindy Chang.  This 42-year old housewife, whose family did not even know she was participating, was scintillating on America's Got Talent.  After you get to that link, click on her performance.  Tears of happiness will come to your eyes.

I guess some settlement in Greece was more important as I thought, as the Dow Jones Industrials jumped 153 to 12,414, as major world markets also increased, save for Mexico.  Gold dropped ten bucks to $1502/toz.  What's happening in Libya anyway, as oil, even with the recent tapping of the strategic petroleum reserves of the U.S. and Europe, is not appearing to do much, as the price is increasing again.  The NYMEX is $95/barrel and the Brent Spot is at $112/barrel.

Tropical Storm Arlene never did reach hurricane strength and did very little damage to Mexico.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I yesterday had a nuclear posting, so I thought I would continue peeking at this subject today.  While the Greek Government has been at the precipice this week, some provocative competing news emanated from that country.  A colleague sent me the address to a web link regarding what might well be cold fusion.  I found the information fascinating, but sorely lacking in compelling evidence.  However, I share the following because the potential is sufficiently newsworthy that you should be aware of this concept.  Breakthrough or scam?  Scam might be too condemning, but I do wonder, because the Rossi Energy Amplifier was reported in the Journal of Nuclear Physics, and that is not exactly a true scientific publication.
Imagine a technology that was invented in Italy and is being marketed in Greece, where promised is a 90% reduction in electricity merely through the combination of hydrogen and a nickel catalyst, where 30% of this metal is transmuted into copper?  Several decades ago I had my staff review an idea being promoted by a local scientist on the Big Island, who said he could get "cheap" hydrogen just from sunlight and a rhodium catalyst.  They did not think well of it, we declined to support, and I got a lot of heat from the Hawaii State Legislature (really, only one person).  While these two processes are not similar, the point is, can something so simple as hydrogen and nickel change the nature of electricity production as we know it?  Sure.
Why Greece?  Not sure, but I think it has something to do with the inventor (Andrea Rossi--with his apparatus to the right) feeling comfortable with Christos Stremmenos (former Greek Ambassador to Italy, who also happens to be a chemical engineer).  Further, this country is purported to have 83% of European nickel deposits.  Oh, I should add that the process is akin to cold fusion, although more recently, they don't mention this in their announcements.
So here are the details: 
  1.  Companies:   Ampenergo (the Americas) and Defkalion Green Technologies (rest of the world).
  2.  Product:  the Rossi Energy Catalyzer, a low energy nuclear reactor, is being marketed as Hyperion.
Want more info?  Try clicking on the following:  white paper, a 23June2011 posting from Cold Fusion Nowcompany overview and a video.  
What is the reality?  I would give this development essentially zero chance of reducing electricity generation costs by 90%.  Just the price of hydrogen makes this process expensive.  So why do I even report on it?  It could still have entertainment value, and I could be wrong.
The Dow Jones Industrials rose another 73 to 12,261, with world markets also all up.  I guess the Greek Parliament's passage of this current mid-term fiscal package, 155-138, was a relief.  What will the rioters do tomorrow?

Gold increased $10/toz to $1512, with the NYMEX at $94/barrel and Brent Spot at $111/barrel.

The first named Atlantic storm, Arlene, looms to attain hurricane strength as she makes a Mexican landfall just south of Tampico and north of Veracruz tonight.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Well, reports on the latest Fukushima (above) disaster show costs up to a quarter trillion dollars.  While this number is at the high end of prognoses, I would not be surprised if Japan will ultimately face a trillion dollar bill for that Great Tohoku Catatastrophe when everything impacted is added up.  On this basis, I fear the worst for the future of the country.

But how do you value the fact that a thousand square miles and more might remain inhabitable for centuries (the radioactive pollution is similar to Chernobyl (above), where it is expected that the land there might become safe in 300 years).  There is a world of difference, as it turns out, between a nuclear bomb and a nuclear powerplant.  In any case, there is no future for nuclear fission power on Earth.

In space, nuclear power works.  The Sun, for example, creates heat from nuclear fusion, combining hydrogen to form helium and energy.  But that is fusion, and I remain confident about these terrestrial applications someday.  However, when I worked on inertial confinement fusion at the Lawrence Livermore  National Laboratory a third of a century ago, I did not think that the operative laser was going to be invented for half a century.  Likewise, ITER in France, using magnetic confinement (that donut), is so far away from commercialization that we cannot today consider fusion as a solution to Peak Oil and Global Warming.  There is Chuck Helsley's (and Bob Burke's) heavy ion fusion scheme, but I haven't heard much about their advancements recently.  Maybe this will inspire them to send me an update which I can post in this blog.

A colleague, Tom Burnett, sent me an analysis of nuclear power in space.  For now, no one is considering shooting off 1000 MW nuclear powerplants into space.  Yes, there was a serious discussion to send nuclear wastes into space until someone asked what happened if the rocket crashed on land?

The problem with solar PV is that far away from the Sun it becomes useless.  So small nuclear devices have been used for certain space projects.  However, there have been some problems just getting them up into space.  In 1964 a launch involving a plutonium 238 powerplant suffered an accident, and the global isotopic nuclear burden (which largely came from nuclear bomb tests) went up by 4%.  There were others.  So NASA has given up on nukes in space?  Nope.  The rover "Curiosity" (right)  of the Mars Science Laboratory scheduled to be launched later this year  will be powered by, get this, radioisotope thermoelectric generators, fueled with 10.6 pounds plutonium 238 as plutonium dioxide.  Notice how the publicized drawing says nothing about this:

I wonder how many people know this?  Curiosity will test for microbial life on Mars.  Haven't we done this already?  Oh, by the way, this project will cost $2.3 billion of your tax dollars.

What is happening to our stock market, as the Dow Jones Industrials again jumped up, today +145 to 12,189, with much of the whole world going up by more than 1%?  Gold increased a buck to $1502/toz and oil rose, the NYMEX at $93/barrel and Brent Spot at $109/barrel.  I would guess that those semi-feeble protests in Greece are just visible signs that their legislators will tomorrow vote for further cuts, thus avoiding what loomed as that hypothetical straw to break the back of Europe, catalyzing yet another crisis for the world economy.


Monday, June 27, 2011


Al Gore--Vice President, Nobel Laureate, Climate Change Warrior--unfortunately got divorced and has become almost a caricature of global warming.  Those "Polluters and Ideologues" are winning the PR war.  He and I had our initial exposure to the subject through Roger Revelle (right), my experience leading a National Science Foundation Science for Citizens effort for which Professor Revelle was an important advisor.  This was almost 40 years ago.

Well, Gore last week penned an article in Rolling Stones, that noted scientific publication--okay, I'm being facetious, but that kind of venue is the best way to get the message out to the younger generation--entitled Climate of Denial.  I agree with at least 90% of what he says in this rather lengthy tome, most of what I've been underscoring in many of the 1150 postings I have had in this blog.  The right hand column summarizes my thoughts.  Some quotes:

...This script, of course, is not entirely new: A half-century ago, when Science and Reason established the linkage between cigarettes and lung diseases, the tobacco industry hired actors, dressed them up as doctors, and paid them to look into television cameras and tell people that the linkage revealed in the Surgeon General's Report was not real at all. The show went on for decades, with more Americans killed each year by cigarettes than all of the U.S. soldiers killed in all of World War II.
This time, the scientific consensus is even stronger. It has been endorsed by every National Academy of science of every major country on the planet, every major professional scientific society related to the study of global warming and 98 percent of climate scientists throughout the world. In the latest and most authoritative study by 3,000 of the very best scientific experts in the world, the evidence was judged "unequivocal."
(I've reversed the paragraph order here, but this makes more sense)
Here is the core of it: we are destroying the climate balance that is essential to the survival of our civilization. This is not a distant or abstract threat; it is happening now. The United States is the only nation that can rally a global effort to save our future. And the president is the only person who can rally the United States.
Yet without presidential leadership that focuses intensely on making the public aware of the reality we face, nothing will change. The real power of any president, as Richard Neustadt wrote, is "the power to persuade." Yet President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis. He has simply not made the case for action. He has not defended the science against the ongoing, withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community — including our own National Academy — to bring the reality of the science before the public. 
The climate crisis, in reality, is a struggle for the soul of America. It is about whether or not we are still capable — given the ill health of our democracy and the current dominance of wealth over reason — of perceiving important and complex realities clearly enough to promote and protect the sustainable well-being of the many. What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.

At the end he gives the standard pep talk that we all should do what we can, etc., etc., etc.  But that doesn't work.  A fraction of an inch sea level rise and tenths of degree F temperature increase annually mean nothing to the masses, especially with all that dominant disinformation in their minds.  If the major cities of Pakistan and Iraq can withstand temperatures of up to 130 degrees F in a heat wave, hundreds of millions will not perish from 100 degree F temperatures in Europe and the USA.  Neither Gore, nor Obama, nor anyone can provide that compelling galvanizing argument to sway most Republicans, the FOX system, fossil fuel executives and rest of the "Polluters and Idealogues."  Mother Nature will let you know, and by then it could well be too late.  On with THE VENUS SYNDROME!   Oh, what is the simple solution?  I don't know.  I may have given up.

The Dow Jones Industrials jumped 109 to 12,044, with world markets mixed.  Better yet, my portfolio gained 2.3% today.  Gold fell below $1500/toz, down $6 to $1497, while oil is at $91/barrel (MYMEX) and $107/barrel (Brent Spot).


Sunday, June 26, 2011


The Tree of Life premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews, winning the Palme d'Or.  The director, reclusive Terrence Malick (left), has been called a genius and poet.  The movie critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle, said Malick is trying to film God, and that this will be the cinematic achievement of the year.  Enough!  Rotten Tomatoes reported that 66% of the audience like it.  I thought this was the most boring film I have ever seen.  The scientific meaning of The Tree of Life has something to do with Darwin and evolution, thus the title, I guess.  From the Big Bang to Heaven.  Not a bad title, actually.


We see gorgeous space shots and even realistic dinosaurs (above).  All five minutes of them, with no obvious linkages nor transitions to the film itself.  The various flashbacks were, to me, almost meaningless.  Sure, I fell asleep a few times, and maybe I missed important clues.  And, yes, I must be an idiot because I didn't get it.  Some compared it with 2001:  Space Odyssey.  I am reminded of Ryan's Daughter, something I saw 40 years ago.  Uber boring, but it did win an Academy Award for great cinematography.  In part, The Tree of Life also had good cinematography.  But that was it!  An ultimately boring flick.

I actually also saw two more movies today, both very entertaining:

  1.  Incendies, a Canadian film which earned a 94% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.  I took French for my PhD, and think the title has something to do with being burnt, but in this case, not necessarily by fire.  Another example on the evils of religious beliefs.  I will not give this plot away, which is shocking, and an ultimate in family secrets.  The film could have occurred in almost any country, but this one, I think, must have been Lebanon.

  2.  Finally, at home, I saw the 60 year old Starlift, one of those movie star canteens from World War II, but this one had to do with the Korean War, and there actually was a series of Operation Starlifts from Burbank to Travis Air Force Base in those days.  1951 reviews were terrible...but I liked this movie.  Doris Day, Ruth Roman, Gary Cooper, Virginia Mayo, James Cagney, Jane Wyman, Phil Harris and many more.  The songs were memorable:  S' Wonderful, You Oughta be in Pictures, You Do Something to Me, It's Magic, What is This Thing Called Love and more.



It's Sunday, and this is a day I experiment on mostly interesting stuff.  First, though, I awake every morning and gaze out over Honolulu.  In a way, it is unfortunate that Kuakini Hospital is right there in the middle.  However, today, the first thing I saw was a rainbow:

In the thirty or so years I have lived here, I have never seen a rainbow that low, essentially over Honolulu Airport.  Yesterday, looking towards Punchbowl, I saw another one:

and over Pearl's sunburst:

Those photos are the GOOD.  Two others are the eight stroke victory of 22-year old Rory McIlroy at the U.S. Open (youngest with Tiger Woods to win a major) last week and the ten stroke win by 22-year old Yani Tseng today for her fourth major (youngest ever).  A kind of BAD, though, is that Rory is from Northern Ireland and Yani is from Taiwan.  Where are the Americans?   Where's Michelle?
A real BAD, though, are those cable boxes, for it turns out they have become an energy liability.  Can  you believe that my Oceanic high definition/DVR box uses 446 kWh/year?  This costs $132 in Honolulu...and I have three of them, so our condominium has a bill of $396/year just for these innocent looking silver boxes.  At most, I must average watching each set an hour/day, so for 23 hours each day they are sucking up electricity for no reason.  If you unplug the box, anytime you want to re-use it, it has to go through the start-up cycle, which could take several minutes, and you never how well this next connection will work, so you can't use a timer.  The Europeans have, actually, solved this problem by  having a deep sleep mode, which only uses 5% normality.  Why, you ask, don't we have this option?    I guess it is because, as in flushing toilets to conserve water (where in much of the world there are at least two flush buttons), we are just plain wasteful.  Apparently, the energy used by the latest refrigerators costs less than this type of cable box.  SO COMPLAIN TO YOUR CABLE SERVER!!!!!

The UGLY?  Easily today, Yoda (above), a 2 pound 14-year old Chinese Crested and Chihuaha poi dog, the victor in the 2011 Ugliest Dog Contest.  Interesting story that when Terry Schumacher found her abandoned behind an apartment building, he thought she was a rat.  Something about the Chinese Chrested, for it was the winner in 2008, and this same CCC combination, named Elwood (below) claimed dominance in 2007.  Wow, Elwood is BAAAD, too.


Saturday, June 25, 2011


Yes, we are spending too much on defense.  To quote from Forbes:

Not counting the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Defense budget is expected to be $553 billion in 2012, up from $549 billion in 2011. That outlay currently represents 19% of the entire federal budget and over 50% of U.S. discretionary spending...

That Middle East war, of course, adds another $120 billion, so now we are way over 50% of so called discretionary (everything minus social security medi-whatever and equivalent and interest on the national debt) spending.   Here was the Federal outlay in 2010:

On the surface, the Department of Defense portion already is alarming.  The truth of the matter is that it is even worse, for the real expenditure is:

Thus, in reality, we are spending nearly twice what is frequently quoted as the DOD budget.  Thus, the military swallows about two-thirds of non-entitlement money to run our entire government.

During those Cold War days when there was a real threat of the Soviet Union we were spending far less.  Today, with a rag-tag bunch (say, maybe 1000 really bad) terrorists, with the world order not at all threatened, we are misappropriating much more.  We have eleven Navy task forces (and, therefore, eleven active aircraft carriers--more than the entire world combined--China has none, Russia has a relic more than a quarter century old and the UK all of one), and each reportedly costs $4.5 billion to annually operate.  So add on to my $50 billion savings of bringing our troops from foreign soil another close to $50 billion here.

Yet, we are building a new fleet of super carriers, the first, to be called the USS America (left), now in construction, to cost $14 billion.  Why?  Especially as an aircraft carrier is today obsolete.  Okay, finish this last one (posturing is all you can do today to scare enemies anyway), and mothball (actually, as it will cost about a billion dollars to decommission each battle group, maybe try to sell them to China and Russia--and if this scares you, then, maybe Saudi Arabia, Japan, Singapore, etc.) at least nine of the 12, bringing the total annual savings now close to $100 billion when you include bringing our troops on foreign soil back home, and having them transition into environmental/energy specialists.  By the way, I miscounted:  we today have 516,273 of our military in 150 countries.  Why? 

Oh, I should answer some of my whys with a simple, because the Military-Industrial Complex (watch President Eisenhower's--he was a general, too--warning of half a century ago) controls Congress and the White House.  You can't argue against freedom.  But it's more than that, as every state has some military presence.  Just hint at closing a navy task force base, and see what happens.  We are largely the problem.  Amen.


COUNTRY #182: Gambia

Welcome, country #182, Gambia, which is the smallest country in Africa, almost exactly the size of the Big Island of Hawaii, with a population of 1.7 million.  Historically, almost double this number became slaves to America The GDP/capita is $2000 and the life expectancy is under 60.  The country gained independence from the UK in 1965.  It is 90% Muslim.

Want to visit Gambia?  Click on The Gambia Experience to find answers to all your questions.  There is malaria, some terrorism and avoid bumsters.  Bring travelers checks, as credit cards could be a problem.  At least there doesn't appear to be any metastability in the government.


Friday, June 24, 2011


Why can't people work together for the common good?  Tom Friedman today partially explained why, entitled, "Politicians work more on getting re-elected than on trying to fix the country."

A typical example is on the debt-reduction talks.  Republican leaders very publicly walked out (including Rep. Cantor to the left).  I did warn you about this in my HuffPo on "The Simplest Solution for Our National Debt..."  This is, sadly, all about politics, not solutions.

President Barack Obama, worked out an almost perfect compromise regarding escape from Afghanistan:

  1.  Chairman of Joint Chief of Staffs Mike Mullen wanted a less aggressive drawdown schedule, and so did next CIA Director, General David Petraus.  Military leaders always want more (whether this has to do with manpower or equipment or the budget), while the grunts want to get out.  

  2.  Republicans said this reduction at this time was unwise, while 

  3.  Democrats called the cut too timid.  

My view is to get out of the Middle East (86,000 in Iraq and 104,000 in Afghanistan) as fast as possible, and by the end of this year.  In fact, we should bring all of our troops back:

  Libya                 8,500 (ah, leave them there for now)
  Djibouti             3,500 (what, Djibouti??)
  South Korea    28,500
  Japan               32,800
  Germany         54,000
  Italy                10,000
  UK                 10,000
  Qatar                8,000
  Kuwait           10,500

and 35 other countries.  Bring them all home.  In 2005, the cost per military person was as high as $175,000.  This all adds up to around $50 billion/year.  

We have lost only one war:  Vietnam.  We have zero troops in that country.  We won the Second World War 66 years ago.  Why are we still in Germany, Japan...and Djibouti?

The Dow Jones Industrials fell an additional 115 to 11,935, with world markets mixed.  Gold sunk $22/toz to $1503, while the NYMEX is at $91/barrel, and the Brent Spot $106/barrel.

Tropical Storm Meari working northward along the China coast will now, apparently, not reach hurricane strength.


Thursday, June 23, 2011


This is all in red, because the Dow Jones Industrials dropped 60 (-0.5%) to 12050, which was a relief, because the Dow had sunk more than 200 points at one point this morning.  World markets were mostly down, the French CAC sinking more than 2%.  

The bottom is falling out of oil, as the NYMEX crude price, fell $3.44/barrel to $92, with the Brent Spot crashing $6/barrel to $108.  Why?  Not because the President Obama announced dipping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR--bit more than 700 million gallons stored near refineries in Louisiana and Texas), for the notification came after the drop.  30 (and maybe even 60) million barrels will be drawn over the next month.  Let's see now, the U.S. uses 20 million barrels/day, so that is all of 36 hours usage.

Why?  No matter what the wordsmiths say, the reason, I think, is that someone got alarmed a couple of months ago when it looked like the Libyan crisis would send oil prices back up to $150/barrel, so the International Energy Agency and the USA decided to prevent this nonsense.  It thus took all of two months to gain the appropriate approvals, and they picked the exact wrong day to make the announcement.  For one, they are selling when oil is now as low as it's been in months.  The Obama Administration is looking stupid...again.  Something is wrong with the Department of Energy.

Okay, this is the day I try to simplify understanding of the stock market:

  1.  QE2:  does not stand for the Queen nor the ship.  QE is the abbreviation for Quantitative Easing, which is a monetary policy to increase the money supply be buying securities (like stocks) to increase the money supply.  There was a QE at the beginning of the original financial crisis in 2008.  QE2 happened in the fourth quarter of 2010 to resuscitate what was looking like a double dip coming to the recession.  Well, now, the Fed is contemplating a QE3, based on Bernanke's statement yesterday.  Oh, he did say QE3 is not being considered, which means it is being considered.

  2.  Haircut:  no, not what one gets every month or so.  This is the difference between prices a market maker (usually person who sets prices, and could be a computer) can buy and sell a security, and this is called a haircut because the trade can be made at thin spreads (difference between bid and ask price).

  3,  Derivatives:  are contracts to buy or sell an asset at a future time.  Futures and options can be derivatives.

  4.  ETF:  exchange traded funds involve the trading of a collective portfolio as a single security.  Also called indexing, as in mutual funds.  The first ETF was the S&P500 Index, selling as SPDR.  NASDAQ is QQQQ and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is DIA, although there are many considerably smaller, as for example renewable energy funds.

  5.  Hedge Fund:  an aggressively managed portfolio of investments having a goal of generating high returns.  This not the stock the market, in that only a limited number of investors is asked or qualify.  Think Bernard Madoff.

Following up on my blog yesterday, a particular surprise last night was Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., a washer and detailer of cars.  He actually sounds like Frank Sinatra.

By the way, Jackie Evancho has a brand new CD.

Tropical Storm Meari is now at 50 MPH and will become a typhoon in 36 hours.  However, the path has shifted, and the latest endpoint is North Korea.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Save for my fusion food adventures, my blogs have tended, recently, to be doomsdayish and gloomy.  Today, let me be a lot more inspirational and underscore why life is worth living. 

This past weekend Alyssa Campanella (above and right) was selected as Miss USA, which sends her into the Miss Universe contest in Sao Paulo, Brazil in September.  The franchise has been owned by Donald Trump since 1995.  Miss Hawaii, Angela Byrd (left), placed in the top eight.  

My only recollection is that in 1962, I danced with Miss Universe of 1961, Marlene Schmidt (above right), who was dating an eating club friend of mine at Stanford.  Then, of course, Brooke Lee (above left) of Hawaii was Miss Universe in 1997.

Then there is Anna Graceman of America's Got Talent.  You must click on on her name to put a smile on your face.  She sings okay and plays the keyboard well, and is definitely a special talent at all of 4' 3" and 11 years of age.  Watch the post performance questioning.  Anna has a personality with facial expressions that are endearing.  She, apparently, also plays the guitar, a future act to come.  Anna is not as cute, nor sings as well, as Jackie Evancho, then 10 years old, from last year, but Jackie did not win and, who knows, Anna might.

We get these all the time on the internet.  A couple of people sent me this clip of a cat playing with dolphins.  If you like more cats, then watch the top 10 funny cat videos.  Yes, there are these of dogs, also.  Enjoy!

By the way, it will take you 1,700 years to watch all the videos currently on You Tube.  Lady Gaga's Bad Romance (that's her on the left) has been viewed about 200 million times by now.  Don't become #200,000,001.  Seventy percent of contributions come from outside the USA.  I bet you're way below average, as the average time You Tube users spend watching it is 15 minutes/day.

Oh, by the way, the Huffington Post just published my article on:

The World Population in 2050 Could Well Be 7 Billion

Look forward to your comments.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 80 today to 12,110.  I guess investor did not like the message of Ben Bernanke, who announced the end of QE2.  (Someday soon I'll give one line explanations for QE, derivatives, EF, hedge funds and more.)  World markets were mostly down, but the Japan Nikkei leaped 170 to 9629, which closely tracked the Dow Industrials, until 11March2011.  Gold went up $4/toz to $1550.  The price of gold was around $1200/toz a year ago and $600/toz five years ago.  The NYMEX crude is $94/barrel, while the Brent Spot is $20 more at $114/barrel.

Beatriz is now no more in the East Pacific, but there are now two storms in the West Pacific:  Tropical Depression Haima, which will bring some rain to southern China and northern Vietnam, and Tropical Storm Meari, now at 45 MPH, to become a typhoon in a few days and torment Taiwan and Okinawa and/or China.