Thursday, April 17, 2008

SAR #8108

The drug industry is interested in the survival of patents, not patients.

Welcome to the Future: Oil has passed $115, on its way up. Wheat's up, Rice, too. Riots have begun. Troops are guarding unharvested fields to prevent theft. This is what peak oil looks like. Not suddenly one day there is no oil, but steadily every day oil costs more and everything that is dependent on oil costs more. Our education on just how much of everything is dependent on oil is just beginning. Welcome to the foreseeable future.

Taking Stock: Goldman Sachs, in a market forecast entitled "Fasten Seatbelts", advises its clients to prepare for another 15% drop in the S&P, for a total of 30% off the 2007 high. Wells Fargo says that those who are now bullish on stocks are "bordering on delusional".

Sign Here . . . and Here: "Prestigious" doctors are presented with drug-company-prepared research papers and told to sign them. They're also given checks, which they also sign. So the studies don't mention the side effects or the subject deaths. It's not Big Pharma's fault - their name's not on the research. And the "authors" certainly had no idea - they didn't do the research. As Kojack used to ask: Who d'ya trust, baby? (c) none of the above.

Recipe: In Haiti desperate women prepare "biscuits". The main ingredient is yellow clay, trucked in from the nearby mountains. Salt and vegetable fat are added to make a dough that is then baked in the sun. For many Haitians, the mud biscuits are their only food.

Funhouse Mirror: The tightening of loan standards means some companies are having trouble raising enough funds to file for bankruptcy protection while they try to restructure. Too broke to go broke?

Don't Splash! New data indicates oceans will rise 1.5 meters (nearly 5 feet) by the end of the century, three times higher than the last IPCC estimate. This will wreak havoc with low-lying places like Bangladesh and Florida.

Old Soldier: America is not a military dictatorship, exactly. It’s a more of a militaristic oligarchy with a fascist overtone and a theocratic undercoat. It’s the civilian leaders, not the four-star generals, who want to drag us into war everlasting. As General MacArthur said: "Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear."

Science Fair: A 13 year-old German kid claims NASA's comforting estimate of a 1 in 45,000 chance of an asteroid hitting the earth any time soon should actually be 1 in 450. By 2036. NASA and the European Space Agency say the kid is right. I made a model volcano for my science project.

Psst! It's not just the demand for oil that is pushing up the price of food. China has just contracted for potash from Canada for the rest of the year at double the going price. Pass it on.

Flattened Tax! McCain wants to remove the federal tax on gasoline "for the summer". Summer apparently lasts until election day. This will look like a Really Good Idea when the next bridge collapses and kills a couple of dozen Republican voters. Tell the truth; when you're going down the interstate and come to a bridge, don't you wonder, just for a moment?

Burp! We may be quite close to triggering the release of huge quantities of methane into the atmosphere. At that point it would no longer matter what we do. Gaia takes over.

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