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Thursday, July 2, 2015

WE ARE TODAY AT THE MIDPOINT OF 2015

This is the 183rd day of the year, with 182 days left.  July 2, 1937 was the last date Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan reported in their attempt to circumnavigate the globe, the first Walmart opened in Arkansas in 1962 and two years later President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I should note that Solar Impulse 2 could arrive in Hawaii tonight.  While the above could have been the scene during daylight, almost surely it will be dark on touchdown in Honolulu.

On this day in 2002, Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon, a journey that took a little more than 13 days. He held 116 world records in five different sports, and disappeared on a flight in 2007.  He began his Stanford University years when I was a senior there, and as a student swam from San Francisco to Alcatraz to plant a Beat Cal sign.  He was almost arrested by a guard (the jail had closed two years earlier, but it was still verboten), so he just swam back to San Francisco.  He also swam the English Channel and completed the Iditarod, Boston Marathon and Hawaii Triathlon.

Otherwise, today, Greece is at the tipping point of bankruptcy.  Here is what is happening:

  • Over the past few decades too much has been provided by their government to the people.
  • The average retirement age is in the early 60's, and some females can retire at 43.
  • The unemployment rate is 26%.
  • Public debt as % of GDP is approaching 180%, compared to 110% in Iceland (which already went bankrupt in 2008), 32% in China and 73% in the USA.  Japan is at 226%, but most of the debt is to its citizens.
  • Here is the situation:
    • The European Union has offered additional aid for Greece to remain in the Euro system, but wants significant socialism cuts.  
    • Why bother?  A defaulted Greece would be worse than one that keeps asking for aid. 
    • The Greek government is liberal and doesn't want to take those steps.
    • There will be national vote on Sunday to remain in the EU, where YES would mean pension cuts, strict economic reforms and austere lifestyles for many years.
    • If the people vote YES, the government will resign.
  • What will happen?  I don't know, but with Spain, Italy and Portugal on near life support, and France stagnating, the future looks gloomy.
  • It's worse in Swaziland.



For the first 5.5 months of 2015, China's elephant market increased by nearly 50%, but lost half those gains the past two weeks (in only two days an equivalent of a Dow Jones 2000 point drop).  So the government just pumped money into the economy, which is making investors nervous, for Chinese stock is now trading at 30 times earnings, almost double that of the U.S.

Just this morning the Shanghai Composite fell 5% more in just one hour and someone jumped to her death in a mall.  I can't show the photo, but click on it if you want to see the details.  Keep in mind, though, that the SC just about reached 6000 on 1October2007:


Thus, the closing today at 3912 is a third lower than almost 8 years ago.  Similarly, the Japan Nikkei 225 reached a high just under 39,000 at the end of 1989, and closed today at 20,523, fully 47% lower than the all-time high:

So you look at the above graph and say, hey, that's not so recently bad.  Ah, but this is a logarithmic vertical representation.  It's actually much, much worse, for 39,000 in 1989 dollars is the equivalence of 74,500 today, so as terrific as the Abe stock market looks, it is, realistically, 72% LOWER than their all-time high.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average will close today at around 17,750, which is 3% below the all time high reached this past May at 18,361.

Europe is a basket case, Japan is a pale shadow of its past and China is teetering.  The USA?  We are doing A-OK.  

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Holy Cow, there are now 4 ocean storms in the Pacific.  The most dangerous is Typhoon Chan-hom, now at 75 MPH, but on track to strike Guam, become a Category 3 and threaten Okinawa:


Also just appearing east of the Philippines is Tropical Storm Linfa:


Computer models show Linfa become a typhoon, just skirting the northern Philippines and heading towards Taiwan.

Still just a depression, one projection shows this anomaly to glide over Hawaii:



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