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Thursday, October 9, 2014


1.  A week ago I predicted that ebola would become a media pandemic.  This is, indeed, happening.  On Monday I reported that the Hajj barred anyone from those West African countries.  No problem.  The only cases in Europe and the USA came from individuals who spent time in those countries and actually contacted ebola victims. The simple solution?  PLACE A TRAVEL BAN FROM GUINEA, SIERRA LEONE AND LIBERIA.  Prevent even diplomats and medical personnel from departing, unless they've been in quarantine for a month (incubation period is 21 days).  

I can go into specific details why extensive screening won't work, but will only scream my frustration at the ongoing dithering, especially by the Obama Administration.  But I can actually understand their reluctance to evoke the ban, for ebola can never become a worldwide pandemic anyway.  Then there is General John Kelly, who could well be part of the problem.  He is afraid of a spread to Central America, spurring a mass migration to the U.S.

2.  The problem with solar photovoltaics is that the Sun does not sometimes shine, like at night.  You are in effect paying money for something that works only a few hours/day.  Batteries are just too expensive.  Sure, PV is economically sensible in Hawaii, where the 38 cents/kWh cost of electricity is three times the national average.  But we are an exception and only represent 0.00143% of the world.  WHY DON'T WE INVENT A MATERIAL THAT ABSORBS SUNLIGHT AND BOTH STORES AND GENERATES ENERGY?  

Well, it turned that researchers at Ohio State University filed a patent for the first solar battery:  nanometer-sized rods of titanium dioxide covering the surface of titanium gauze.  This is a dye-sensitized solar cell, which I can comprehend, for my PhD dissertation dealt with this concept. This solar battery was developed by Yiying Wu of China and graduate students from his home country.  

3.  The stock market shuddered today.  The volatility index (VIX--also known as FEAR Index) is up:

But don't panic, because the VIX is only up to 19 today, about the average for the entire period below, although trending up.  Here is a historic chart:
That  first spike of 1987 was when the stock market crashed.  The spike in October 2008 is when the Dow Jones suffered its three largest losses:
  • 13 October 2008    - 778
  • 28 October 2008    - 733
  • 11November2008  - 685
The historic Dow from 1988:

That right VIX spike can be correlated to the Dow dropping to 6594 on 5 March 2009, which then in six years going up to 17,280 on 19 September 2014, and ending today at 16,659 after a MINUS 335.  However, YOU CAN'T WAIT FOR THE VIX TO SHOOT UP TO WARN YOU OF A BEAR MARKET, FOR THE CRASH OCCURS FIRST, THEN THE VIX SPIKES!!!

So what is the simple solution to the stock market?  I don't know.  Swiss author Marc Faber of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report, actually predicted the stock market crashes of 1987  and 2008.  He believes that the worst crash in DECADES will occur in 12 months.  Mind you, this article is from April of this year.  I pulled out in December of last year when I feared the market would sink in 2014 or 2015.  So what happened?  The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all-time high in September.  The drop today has more to do with metastability in Europe than anything else.  The USA is economically sound, relative to the world.  All the more reason, I suspect, to worry, a lot.

Super Typhoon Vongfong remains at 150 MPH, with gusts up to 185 MPH and taking dead aim at Japan:

Vongfong, though, is expected to lose hurricane strength when it approaches Kyushu, will storm over central Japan and possibly reach the Sea of Japan, before veering back over northern Honshu into the Pacific.  Said to be the biggest storm of the year, here is Super Typhoon Vongfong from space:


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