COLLECTIVE MADNESS


“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Madoff and Fairfield Greenwich Advisors - $7.5 Billion!


Fairfield Greenwich Advisors
An investment management firm

More than half of Fairfield Greenwich's $14.1 billion in assets under management, or about $7.5 billion was connected to Madoff.

This is from their web site and what they claim as their due diligence efforts:

FGG's due diligence process is deeper and broader than a typical Fund of Funds, resembling that of an asset management company acquiring another asset manager, rather than a passive investor entering a disposable investment.

A number of areas of inquiry are examined by a team of FGG professionals who specialize in evaluating respective areas of risk. Typically, a manager has been investigated and monitored for six to 12 months before that firm can be accepted onto the FGG platform. Long negotiating periods enable FGG to be more confident of its decisions before proceeding with a manager. Areas of examination are centered around the following:

1. Portfolio Evaluation, Investment Performance, and Financial Risks:

A core area for further analysis is to attempt to dissect and further understand investment performance, how a manager generates alpha, and what risks are taken in doing so. As portfolio management and risk management incorporate elements of both art and science, FGG applies both qualitative and quantitative measures. FGG:

  • Examines independent prime broker trading records
  • Conducts detailed interviews to better understand the manager's methodology for forming a market view, and for selecting and exiting core position
  • Analyses trading records
  • Conducts a number of qualitative and quantitative tests to determine adherence to risk limits over time
  • Confirms portfolio loss risk controls, diversification and other risk-related control policies, as well as any experience regarding unexpected or extreme market events
  • Reviews the risk and return factors inherent in the strategy
  • Evaluates capacity issues, which may affect alpha, as well as expected opportunities going forward within each candidate's strategy
  • Analyses the various drivers underlying a particular portfolio's risk
  • Evaluates credit risk and market risk both at the instrument and portfolio level
  • Assesses the extent to which leverage is used by a manager, as well as how it is used, the funding sources, and the impact on the risk profile of the fund
  • Investigate whether or not private or special registration securities are held, and determine how the daily trading volume and inventory held compares to the float and/or daily trading volume for a given security
FGG also conducts many quantitative reviews of investment performance in light of:

  • Fees and fee structure
  • Historical draw-downs
  • Return volatility
  • Commissions earned
  • Performance return in calm versus volatile markets
  • Current/historical correlation of the fund under consideration with standard industry benchmarks, peer groups, and other FGG or competitor funds used as benchmarks
FGG attempts to understand the return attribution for individual securities in the portfolio, and conducts a full suite of VaR analyses and stress tests to model the loss distribution function under extreme market scenarios. Leverage, concentration limits, and long/short exposures are examined over time to assess whether they have remained within operating guidelines.

Style fidelity is another key area of inquiry; the manager's trading pattern over time and through various market environments, FGG determines whether the manager is prone to trade outside of their area of expertise.

2. Personal Background Investigation:

FGG examines the abilities and personalities of the individuals involved in managing the fund through extensive interviews, as well as background investigations.
FGG verifies:
  • Education
  • Personal credit standing
  • Litigation and regulatory background
  • Track record
  • Other indicators

FGG explores the manager's experience and qualifications relative to the strategy being managed. Prior professional associations of a manager's key personnel can be crucial in understanding a person's experience and character and how they run their investment management business.

3. Structural and Operational Risk:

"Operational risk" refers to the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, human resources, or systems, or from external events. Operational failures, including misrepresentation of valuations and outright fraud, constitute the vast majority of instances where massive investor losses occur. Other operational risks include staff processing errors, technology failure, and poor data.

Pricing models, as well as the adequacy, independence, and transparency of valuation procedures, contingency plans, and other trading and settlement procedures are all matters for close scrutiny by FGG professionals.

FGG seeks a sound understanding of whether a hedge fund possesses key controls in the areas of portfolio management, conflicts of interest, segregation of duties, and compliance. FGG carefully assesses the controls and procedures that managers have in place and seek to determine actual compliance with those procedures, often suggesting modifications, separations of responsibilities, and remedial staff additions.

4. Legal, Compliance, and Regulatory Risk:

FGG's legal, compliance, and accounting teams specialize in investment management regulation, securities compliance, corporate operations, and tax issues. Hedge fund managers function within an ever more complex legal and regulatory landscape, and the role of this part of the diligence exam is to determine the seriousness of any deficiencies in this area which may cause risk of sanction, loss, or reputational embarrassment.

Both in-house and retained legal professionals interview the management and staff of the manager, research regulatory filings, and review corporate organizational documents, as well as fund memoranda and related material contracts.



60 comments:

  1. wow, nice words...











    ...BS in the end it seems.

    ReplyDelete
  2. For decades here I and a select few of my Agricultural Associates have run a limited access Farmland Investments High Grade Leveraged Trust Optimal Grade Return Corporation. Membership is strictly limited on an Invitation Basis only. The returns are awesome, the risks, nonexistant. The quality of the readers and posters here at the Bar is such that I invite you all to park your money with us. Dividends paid semi-annually. To apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity, post your email address here, and we will contact you directly.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Wall Street Journal says,

    "It is almost inconceivable, though, that he could have built a true Ponzi scheme to a height of $50 billion, in which there were never any real assets, just his superhuman 40-year juggling act to ensure new investors were recruited as needed to provide funds to meet withdrawal requests from earlier investors. If so, he is a genius who should immediately be put in charge of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Obama's phone number at his home in Chicago is listed under a socialist politcal party in California. Here

    Interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey, good lookin' X3NA, wanna invest in some farm land?

    ReplyDelete
  6. bobal madoff, I presume.

    ReplyDelete
  7. There was a specific anxiety in the tackle shop when I noted that the fly rods cost as much as seven hundred dollars. When I had entered the shop the owner was at his desk and computer and I thought I saw a naked lady on the screen but he quickly tapped an erase button. I browsed until I sweated, not wanting to spend a bunch of money when AD(Alcoholic Doctor) would bring out my equipment in a couple of weeks. The single rod I had brought along was a junky five-piece travel rod that I loathed.

    "This stuff would set a man back an arm and a leg," I said.

    "That's a forty-grand SUV you got out front."

    "It's a loaner from my son."

    "I got a cheap beginner's outfit."

    "I've been fishing for fifty years."

    "Then it doesn't matter what you use if you're any good."

    He rummaged in a storage room in the back and came up with a somewhat delaminated outfit he had found in the river and reconditioned. I bought it for fifty bucks. I figured I didn't need waders because it was warm enough to wade in sneakers which proved not true. I drove down to an area called Notch Bottom, a name with a sexual tinge, and after an hour the water was so cold I couldn't feel my legs. I didn't care because I was catching and releasing brown trout plus seeing birds I'd never seen before. I fished about nine hours until twilight with the delight my little Down's brother had when he would throw himself into the pond behind the barn.


    "The English Major"

    Part of this passage rings true--

    "Then it doesn't matter what you use if you're any good."

    and yet this--

    "to wade in sneakers"

    bothers me, as that's something you never do, no no no.

    Slick against slick rock, you are on your arse.

    And, where's the necessary ski pole?

    But, I like this book, guy's an English major, hated teaching, loved farming, is half Swede, likes a road trip, and loves fishing.

    I recommend "The English Major"

    I'm not quite done, but I'm betting he reconnects with his wife, er, ex-wife. She sold the farm out from under him.

    He's beginning negotiating with her now, the old high school flame not working out for her, on the terms of her buying him another forty acres somewheres.

    Doc and he are going fishing in Montana.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very cute, Bernie. Proceeds go to the kids, who will have enough money stashed around the globe to last several generations. But being the Commie that I am, I'd line the whole family against the wall and have them shot dead. Right after they puke out all the secret bank accounts, having spent 20 years mining coal to have their lungs fill with cancer.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well the English major makes it back to Michigan and ends up living on the grand dad's old place, he and the wayward wife having made an accomodation, she in her new digs, he in grandpa's old hut, with a couple of new dogs, one that suddenly died. So it has a happy ending in a way.

    Here is his wife's letter to their son, a gay guy, the nicest guy in the book, explaining why she took off for a while--

    Dearest Roberto--

    You know I'm a phone person and it's real difficult to put my thoughts on paper as you asked. In a way my thoughts move too fast for paper. On the phone I gradually talk myself into what I mean. Just about everyone does this nowadays. I don't know a farm woman who can afford a pot to piss in who doesn't have a cell phone. Besides I was never good at writing. In college I would have flunked the freshman course Communication Skills without a lot of help from your dad. I always admired your dad's word power but in recent years he mostly mumbles. Roberto, small things in a marriage add up. He talked about the weather day and night until I wanted to hit him with an iron skillet. What is the weather anyway? When we made our annual trip down to Hahle's in Suttons Bay to buy some new duds he bought five copies of the same brown flannel shirt while I was down the street buying a cherry pie. Can you imagine this? He kept cooking me fattening meals though I begged him to stop though I admit part of the problem is Pepsi and powdered donuts. He thinks my real estate profession is what he calls a "boondoggle". He used to take a shower every day but in the past few years he would come in from the barn and say, "I didn't sweat today." He smelled to high heavens like a barn. For all I know he's been messing around with this tramp waitress Babe who works in the diner. He no longer likes to polka which used to mean a lot to our marriage. Several times I caught him singing country songs to his mutt Lola who didn't like me. I found a French porno comic book in his pickup given to him by his friend AD. He's been drinking a lot more than me. All of this is why I turned to Fred for love. To be frank, your dad bores the tits off me.

    Love, Mom

    ReplyDelete
  10. WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Sam Brownback will announce Thursday he is retiring from the Senate when his term ends in 2010, allowing the Kansas Republican to explore a run for governor.

    He will be the second GOP senator this year to publicly state he is leaving at the close of the 111th Congress.

    ...

    Brownback will join Florida Sen. Mel Martinez as the second Republican senator to announce his retirement following the 2008 elections. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is exploring her own 2010 gubernatorial bid; if she decides to run, it would create a third open Republican seat in 2010. Democrats, who gained at least eight Senate seats in the 2008 elections, only have to defend 15 seats in 2010, while Republicans have to protect 19.

    Democrats currently hold a 58 to 41 seat edge over Republicans in the chamber with the Minnesota contest between GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken still unresolved.

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  11. Even funnier than Limbaugh and the "New Republic" hitting the 'Washingtonian' phrase on the same day, is Rick Santorum's newest ...

    The Elephant in the Room:

    Between 2001 and 2007, I served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the organization charged with coordinating Republican senators' message to the American people. During this time, Republicans controlled the White House, the House and Senate, and a majority of the country's governorships. We didn't have just one bully pulpit; we had dozens.

    This was both an opportunity and a challenge. And we failed.

    I look back and marvel at the missed opportunities. A few of us were committed to developing a cooperative culture among our leadership and, ideally, a coordinated communications strategy. For the first time in memory, we held bicameral retreats. We talked about joint strategic planning. But the planning broke down in practice.

    I haven't done an "after-action review" to assign blame, some of which would no doubt fall in my own lap. Egos, institutional interests, policy disagreements, indifference and incompetence - all contributed to our inability to shape a governing vision and communicate it to the American electorate. ...

    ...

    Our governing philosophy was not rejected in the last two elections; rather, we could not plausibly explain how our ideas and actions matched that philosophy. That problem continues today, as the government considers whether to borrow and print more money to bail out the Big Three auto manufacturers, which are even less worthy of a bailout than the financial sector.


    Now this is the really funny line, from Santorum's ditty:

    Our governing philosophy was not rejected in the last two elections; rather, we could not plausibly explain how our ideas and actions matched that philosophy.

    What ever the supposed philosophy of the Republicans is or was, it could not be found amongst the performance of those serving as elected Republicans in the Federalist system. The Republicans could not provide a plausible explaination for their actions, within a conservative philosophy, because there was none, neither at the core or in the margins of their performance.

    Republicans ARE NOT conservatives, any longer, if they ever really were. They are Federal Socialists, or as per the phrase of the day "Washingtonians"

    Disparaging to the memory of George Washington, to say the least.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Al-Bob,
    Does the Chick come w/the deal?
    Awesome Return, Indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Real Change
    Wish this Mayor was President-Elect, and his Chancellor US Education Czar.

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  14. Even doug, no longer wanting local control of the schools, but a more effective Federal Czarina.

    There is nothing wrong with acknowledging reality, the Federal impact on local educators is growing. It will continue to.

    Should the conservatives stand against this societal flow, as WFBuckley advocated, or should we work for 'progress' to be better managed, as doug wishes for, on this third day of rain in the Valley of the Sun.

    The same applies to Immigration and the incremental steps towards a North American Union.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You read literally in order to construct your Strawman in pursuit of the pleasure of torching Old Hayseed Horsefeed.

    I have a passionate desire to have REALLY Local Control of Education, and just about everything else.

    Bring back 1994!
    (When the Pubs were Gonna Abolish the Federal DOE.)

    Gone Forever.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Building Back

    How investment in infrastructure will boost the economy.


    By Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    America has failed to invest in its infrastructure for the past 50 years, and the bill is coming due. The situation is reminiscent of the ancient Roman Empire, which grew strong because of its advanced aqueduct system, but which fell into decline when that feat of engineering tumbled into disrepair. We're in danger of repeating that history, but it's not too late to fix the problem if we take decisive action now.

    That's why Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, New York CityMayor Michael Bloomberg and I formed Building America's Future earlier this year. Long before any of us realized we were in a recession, the three of us—a Republican, Democrat and an Independent—understood that America needs a large-scale, immediate investment in our nation's roads, schools, parks, hospitals, waterways, ports and more. We are extremely pleased to have heard President-elect Barack Obama pledge to do just that as part of his economic recovery plan. In fact, it's exactly what I talked to President-elect Obama about when I joined the nation's other governors in Philadelphia earlier this month.

    ...

    A massive national infrastructure investment program would give a boost to our economy right now. We have already identified $136 billion in projects across the country that, within 120 days of the new president's administration, would lead to orders from American factories and job offers to American workers. Steel beams would be ordered, as would cement, design employees and more. More than $28 billion of those projects are in California, and that would mean at least 500,000 jobs here, beginning immediately. Time is of the essence, and all infrastructure dollars must produce real results. The members of Building America's Future strongly support a "use it or lose it" requirement to any infrastructure investment to ensure that new funds will be used to put Americans to work immediately and not languish unspent or tied up in red tape.

    By following California's lead, the new administration will be improving the quality of life for Americans, enabling us to compete better with our competitors around the globe, and putting shovels in the ground immediately in order to create needed jobs. The nation's governors stand ready to help.

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  17. Control of Education in our son's case resided in the home!
    ...unlike liberals, I think everyone should have that choice.
    (Simply distribute the proceeds resulting from the deconstruction of the "educational" establishment.

    Fat Chance!

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  18. An impressive performance by that DC Czarina, none the less. It is a shame that the Federal City is not the "shining city on the hill" that Mr Reagan spoke of. Quoting Tennison, no?

    Anyway, whether we wish it, or not, the Republicans will be aiding and abetting the progress that Obama-san promised US all.

    Arnold and the Maverick, ready to work shoulder to shoulder with the fellow that:
    "palled around with terrorists"

    Santorum hit the nail on the head, there is no conservative Republican philosophy beyond empty rhetoric and nostalgia. Not where the rubber meets the road.

    ... could not plausibly explain how our ideas and actions matched that philosophy ...

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  19. Hedge Fund Manager: Don't ever invest with someone who tells you they can get 20% returns, year in, year out.

    Potential Investor: Interesting; What are your fees?

    Hedge Fund Manager: 20% - With 20% of Profits.


    ????????

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  20. Santorum hit the nail on the head, there is no conservative Republican philosophy beyond empty rhetoric and nostalgia.
    ==

    I suppose the $1.4 trillion a year in welfare spending on military contractors doesn't count.

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  21. That is fee for our foreign policy hammer, mat.

    For better or worse.
    Where the Federal Socialists and the Military Industrial Complex merged.

    They build the Apache over in Mesa, assemble it, really. Has an economic benefit to the community.
    Injects funding into the economy, while not providing a consumer good to "soak up" that cash.

    Most of the $1.4 trillion is not lost to the economy, just redistributed within it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Most of the $1.4 trillion is not lost to the economy, just redistributed within it.
    ==

    That's not true. Very little is redistributed. Most of it is lost on junk production that is of very value and utility.

    ReplyDelete
  23. ..very ^little value and utility..

    ReplyDelete
  24. After reading this, it is little wonder trish found talk of making money to be "boring"

    June 22, 2006

    Addressing DOD’s High Manpower Costs

    Pay and benefits for members of the U.S. armed services cost $158 billion in 2004. That makes an average of $112,000 per troop. Because of large increases requested by the Pentagon and substantially more added by Congress, these costs rose 28 percent over the last four years (after adjusting for inflation), twice the rate of compensation growth in the private sector.

    The personnel costs have grown so high that they pressure resources for other military activities, such as training and weapons maintenance, and they put strain on the overall size of the fighting forces. For example, the Pentagon has made new plans for the Navy and Air Force to contain costs by shedding tens of thousands of active duty personnel in coming years.

    The high cost for uniformed personnel makes it no longer prudent to assign them to non-essential or non-military duties, such as truck driving, facilities upkeep, accounting, jet engine repair, and much else. ...

    Military personnel actually only see about 66 percent of their compensation; roughly $40,000 per active duty member comes in the form of non-cash benefits, such as subsidized housing, health care, day care for children, retirement payments, commissaries, and dining facilities.

    When additional non-cash benefits are added by the Pentagon or Congress, the actual expenses are not always apparent. Sometimes these costs show up in DOD accounts other than the Military Personnel account; sometimes they emerge in other agencies budgets (such as the Veterans Affairs’ budget); sometimes the expense is in the form of lost revenues. It might be better to substitute cash pay for some of those non-cash benefits.

    Doing so would require the Pentagon and Congress to understand and acknowledge the real cost of the benefits and expansions they are advocating. In addition, because many of the non-cash benefits are focused on the costs of family life, it might also tend to attract a smaller number of recruits with families and to give people already in the services a better appreciation of the expense of dependents, thereby reducing costs.

    One of the most expensive benefits for active duty, reserve, and retired military personnel is health care. The Defense Health Program cost $33 billion in 2006, 8 percent of the total DOD budget. This will increase to $64 billion and 12 percent by 2015 under current plans, more if Congress increases the benefits, as it does quite often. It is a very generous program; many active duty families pay no share of their annual costs; retirees under age 65 pay up to 12 percent, which is substantially less than the approximate one-third that federal employees pay. ...

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  25. Almost all the money is redistributed, the equipment junked, injecting the costs of that equipment into the economy, while withdrawing the resources from it.

    The mere existance of the equipment, carrier battle fleets, missiles and bombers, thought to be value to the American people and those living under our security umbrella.

    Te System as deployeed has lifted more people out of poverty, around the world, than has ever been accomplished previously.

    U.S. and China: Two Countries, One System

    China has a big-state-owned banking sector, next to a private one, and America now has a big state-owned banking sector next to a private one. China has big state-owned industries, alongside private ones, and once Washington bails out Detroit, America will have a big state-owned industry next to private ones. And while the two countries are looking more alike, they appear to be on very different historical trajectories: China goes toward capitalism.


    Tom Friedman in the NYTimes:

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  26. Te System as deployeed has lifted more people out of poverty, around the world, than has ever been accomplished previously.
    ==

    Ya, we'll see what the 300 mil Americans have to say about that proclamation. $1.4 trillion of their tax money wasted on worthless weapons system and fake wars. Stolen, really.

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  27. Every year $1.4 trillion stolen by the military mafia and their corruptokrats. Money that could be used to enrich American lives and completely obliterate the jihadi oil ticks.

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  28. No, not at all, mat.
    Providing generations of US residents the highest standard of living in the world. 300 million living well beyond their means for over sixty years.
    The policies have been a materialistic success.

    There is little sign of poverty, other than obesity.

    The China connection, part of the Russell Company program at Yale and in the lobbies of DC.

    If your opinion that all Americans value the ties to their homelands is more accurate than mine, then a vast majority of them will support helping those "back home".

    The economic model that is working best, today, is Walmart's. The US-China connection as strong there, as anywhere. Both on the supply side, but also a growing of the domestic markets, within China.

    That is the American model, metapmorphing around the Globe. The leading employeer in Mexico, the US and growing a chain in China.
    Operating under a US funded security umbrella that even you, mat, enjoy the benefits of.

    Wal-Mart opens stores in China's hinterlands
    18 October 2008

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  29. Rebuilding societies and cultures, not with gunships, but with material prosperity. Spreading manufactured Chinese products in Chinese retail outlets.

    As the IBEC experiemnts in Italy proved the viability of, after WWII. Replacing a centuries old economic model with a consumer oriented one, in a very short period of time. Measured in years, but not decades.

    The failure in Iraq, exemplified by the fact that there are no Walmarts, or reasonable facsimile, there.

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  30. There is little sign of poverty, other than obesity.
    ==

    You don't get around much.

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  31. The economic model that is working best, today, is Walmart's.
    ==

    Hmm,..
    Care to invest in their stock?

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  32. I get around quite a bit, mat.
    Color tv's everywhere I go, even out on the Res, the direct tv dishes are to be seen, on every abode.

    Now, if you leave the United States, well then, things get a bit iffy, quickly.
    The primary objective of the three North American countries, as Vincente Fox told US, on Larry King Live, integrate Mexico, first economicly then politically with the rest of America.

    Elevate them to parity.
    Or depress the rest, the option he did not express, or a combination of the two.

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  33. It is part of a diversified portfolio, if you're going to hold retail, Walmart is the one to buy.

    But if you do, you're betting on the success of globalization and stability in China. That is the wave Walmart and the US are both riding, I wouldn't bet against the wave. But the individual surfer, that's another question, entirely.

    ReplyDelete
  34. SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Earth's protective magnetosphere has two large holes that are letting in disruptive solar winds, scientists said on Tuesday.

    Scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco have yet to determine what human activity to blame this on, but Capitalism leads the pack.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Color tv's everywhere
    ==

    I'm not sure if to laugh or cry, dRat.

    ReplyDelete
  36. This is the oddest winter storm warning snow storm I've ever been in. Hasn't snowed here but both Spokane and Moscow/Pullman are locked down.

    I must live in the charmed inner circle of all being.

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  37. I think so, Bob. But Bush would have been a much better friend had he been more engaged at ending the flow of money and political power to the jihadis.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Solar AC

    http://greenlight.greentechmedia.com/2008/12/18/150-solar-start-ups-part-5-solar-ac-and-heat-868/

    ==

    Some interesting collaboration between Israel and Italy.

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  39. Bobal, it's proof that Al Gore is right, when even your snow days don't have snow.

    ReplyDelete
  40. The one I found interesting, out of Cambridge, Mass.

    Refrigeration without moving parts: the refrigeration technology behind our product is called thermoelectric cooling, an elegant technology that doesn’t require any moving parts. Thermoelectric cooling devices are based on the Peltier effect discovered by Jean Peltier in 1834. When a current is passed through a circuit of two dissimilar conductors, there will be a rise or fall in temperature at the junction depending on the direction of the current flow. We believe thermoelectric cooling is a disruptive technology that will some day displace conventional, vapor-compressor refrigeration in consumer and commercial applications throughout the world.

    Technology challenge opens opportunity for innovation: the drawback of thermoelectric technology is a low cooling efficiency, which, so far, has limited its use to small applications in consumer electronics such as computer micro-processor cooling blocks. Our innovations remove the barriers to thermoelectric cooling for larger scale applications and enable this technology to be used effectively and economically in solar-powered applications. We are developing proprietary designs and devices that increase the efficiency of thermoelectric systems and optimizes them for solar-powered applications.


    Budgets in at $12,000, for an off grid AC option. That's a viable product, if they can really get it to work.

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  41. Just listen to AlGore, then expect, and do the opposite, you'll be ok.

    You must be getting hit hard over on the coast too, X3NA.

    What's that NA stand for, not applicable? :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. In Soviet Russia Putin authorized open access to the civilian navigation signals of the GLONASS system, to Russian and foreign consumers, free of charge and without limitations. That's an astonishing thing, considering the remarkable coverage provided by the system, but I suppose they don't have those Capitalist animal spirits yet!

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  43. I was going to take a picture bobal but my camera died. We got about 2 inches.

    ReplyDelete
  44. US extradites reputed Colombian drug cartel chief

    The reputed kingpin of a violent Colombian cartel blamed for smuggling cocaine worth $10 billion to the U.S. was flown aboard an FBI plane to Miami on Friday to face a 12-count federal indictment.

    I guess he was taking the spirit of the Columbia Free Trade Agreement a little too far.

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  45. Police said there have been so many collisions they are not responding to accidents unless there are injuries.

    Sounds like great hookybobbin' weather to me. Wish I was a kid again.

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  46. My dad used to tell of a story growing up in Spokane where he skipped school one time with a bunch of his buddies. They rolled these 2 massive snowballs in the middle of the road to stop the school bus then started pelting the bus with an armory of snowballs they had stockpiled.

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  47. Anarchists in Snowland!:)

    It's starting to come down here now pretty heavily.

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