Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gold standard inevitable?

John Butler, CIO of the Amphora Commodities Alpha Fund, claims we may be seeing an international gold-backed currency as early as 2013. Is he crazy? Maybe. But Reuters is willing, apparently, at least to countenance the possibility he is sane.

Check it out:

For a deeper discussion of the issues, check out Butler's article The Buck Stops Here: A BRIC Wall. Or Butler's fascinating historical presentation at his recent book launch . . . which is just one among many in a whole series of articles and interviews by or about Butler on the Amphora website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gorgeous time-lapse sequences of Earth from space

One of those serendipitous finds:

I don't know how NASA got the rights to Howard Blake's "Walking in the Air," but that's the ethereal background soundscape to this series.

Sequences include:
  :01 – Stars over southern United States
  :08 – US west coast to Canada
  :21 – Central Europe to the Middle East
  :36 – Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean
  :54 – Storms over Africa
1:08 – Central United States
1:20 – Midwest United States
1:33 – United Kingdom to Baltic Sea
1:46 – Moonset
1:55 – Northern United States to Eastern Canada
2:12 – Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean
2:32 – Comet Lovejoy
2:53 – Aurora Borealis over Hudson Bay
3:06 – United Kingdom to Central Europe

Original (plus a whole lot more) at the NASA Video Gallery.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why you should do what you love

I'm sure you have heard the advice to do what you love rather than love what you do. I thought the following podcast from RadioLab did a great job of explaining the logic behind it.

Regular speed.

Double speed.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Doormat warning

Occasionally you bump into something unexpected. This was unexpected. A doormat. Available at

Yes. A bit of morbid humor. A reference to John Donne's Meditation 17, a meditation on death:
All mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language, and every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. . . .

If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. . . .

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.