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Friday, October 17, 2014

IT'S FRIDAY, AND ALL IS REASONABLY WELL ON PLANET EARTH


In Hawaii, Hurricane (supposed to become one today) Ana appears to be sliding just south of the Hawaiian Islands.  On the other hand, in 1992, Hurricane Iniki took this path, suddenly making a right turn to devastate Kauai:


This was a Category 4 storm, which at 145 MPH, caused $3 billion (in 2014 dollars) of damages to the island.  So you just never know, and people in Hawaii remain anxious.

And speaking of Category 4, Hurricane Gonzalo was one yesterday, but today "only" a Category 3 at 125 MPH, is bearing down on Bermuda:


That over-hyped Ebola scare affecting the stock market, compelling CNN to almost continuously repeat stories of this micro-crisis and scaring the Obama Administration to name an Ebola Czar (that's Ron Klain to the right)?  Well, the United Nations declared today that Senegal has overcome Ebola.  Senegal is just above Guinea, which, with Liberia and Sierra Leone, will continue to face some difficult times for many months to come.  While perhaps a tad early to declare total victory, Nigeria, too, appears to have contained their Ebola outbreak.


Only one person has died of Ebola in the U.S.  But be was a Liberian citizen who snuck through airport control by lying. Every year from 3,300 to 49,000 are killed by the flu in the USA, and worldwide, 250,000 - 500,000.  Even though the flu can be transmitted through the air, we still fly.  Ebola can only be contracted by touching fluids from an infected individual.  Global traffic deaths number around 1.25 million each year, and we still drive.  Oh, get your flu shot.

American stocks are doing well today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 263 points, and much of the world also showing gains, even the  Japan Nikkei.  However, the Japan stock exchange has dropped by almost 2000 the past month and is way less than half of what it was in 1990:


In 1989, the Dow was in the range of 2500, so we have jumped by almost a factor of 7, while Japan is close to one third its peak in 1989.  Russia and Greece are also looking vulnerable these days, and Europe continues to be a messy basket case.  In comparison, the USA is doing fine, indeed.

The darlings of the American sports world are the Kansas City Royals.  They miraculously have won eight straight games in the post season, and for first time in 29 years, made it into the World Series.

The San Francisco Giants, too, eased into the Series from wild card status.  That's Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, the best pitcher in baseball today.

The World Series begins in  Kansas City (the American League beat the National League in the June All-Star Game) on Tuesday, October 21.  If it goes seven games, that will be on October 29.  On three days rest, Bumgarner could pitch his third World Series game on the 29th, if it goes that far (first to win four games is the American champion--we have never won the World Baseball Classic, and at best reached #3 in 2009)


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