Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bending the Curve - a guide to tackling Climate Change in South Africa

“What is needed now is a public groundswell - people acting themselves, but also demanding action from governments - and a new generation of visionary leaders with the courage to implement the changes required. This book is an excellent and timely contribution to advocating action at all levels of society, starting with the individual.” David King
Bending the Curve is not just another book about the climate crisis, but a guide - co-authored by 24 experts - that will help you move from deliberation to action. Whether you are a parent or policy developer, or work for a corporate or civil society organisation, you will find a wealth of practical ideas for making changes at work and in your personal life that will improve the lives of everyone and help to tackle this scourge. There is no time to lose. We all need to get started now

“We are told that we need an elite that ploughs back; that filters down the line to every one of us. Going green used to be a trendy option and a marketing gimmick. Now it has to be a primary purpose. Bending the Curve is a positive step in that direction.” Derek Watts

Bending the Curve was born out of a need for South Africans to have access to better information about how specific sectors of society can contribute to tackling climate change.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wrestlers and Wankers - you're what's wrong with the world

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JSE sinks below 19 000 - time to jump ship?

Following Asian markets, the JSE has sunk 1.8% after shedding more than that yesterday. BEARing in mind the JSE was well over 30 000 last year, it's odd that no one in the media has used the word 'CRASH'. This is because the crash has been staggered and propped up, but we already know property and many other markets crashed. It took stock markets a while to catch up to reality, which says something about how delusional finance has become around the world (and the BOYZ behind all these transactions).
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Monday, February 23, 2009

“The markets might be at six-year lows, however the prospects of getting a job are at lifetime lows.” - BLOOMBERG

Why so serious? Plenty of reasons. See below for the state of the economy...
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“The market has been having another panic attack,” Richard
, who oversees about $50 billion as chief investment officer
at City National Bank in Beverly Hills, California, said in a
Bloomberg Television interview. “Ultimately, we’re going to be
seeing some of the buys of the century in equities likely this
year, but maybe it’s a little too early right now.”

Deere, the world’s largest maker of farm equipment, slid 20
percent to $28.89 and Caterpillar, the biggest maker of
earthmoving machines, lost 14 percent $26.66. The Fed Bank of New
York’s general economic index slid to minus 34.7, the lowest
level since records began in 2001, from minus 22.2 percent in

A gauge of homebuilders in S&P indexes dropped 16 percent.
Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., New Jersey’s largest homebuilder, had
the steepest decline, losing 42 percent to 88 cents.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was the only stock to advance among 30
in the Dow average, rising 7.5 percent to $50.02.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

LightLane's Lasers Make an Instant Bike Lane

Cool idea!
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Fed up with seeing friends getting clipped by cars, the designers at Altitude combined two things we love -- bikes and lasers -- to create an instant bike lane and make nighttime cycling a whole lot safer.

Their bike-mounted gadget, called LightLane, beams two bright red lines and the universal symbol for cyclist on the pavement, neatly delineating a bike lane to remind motorists to yield a little space. It should make everyone feel a little more comfort on the road.

one of the biggest benefits of bicycle lanes is that there is an established
common boundary that both drivers and riders respect and must stay
within," designer

It should cost around $50, and we think it's the best idea for a laser since Andy Samberg put one on a cat.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Dow Crashes Through 8000 Because the Market Knows the Bailout Won't Work - Here's Why

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The Dow broke through a bottom reached in November, pulled down by a steep drop in key financial shares. It was the lowest close for the Dow since Oct. 9, 2002, when the last bear market bottomed out.

The blue chips' latest slide dashed hopes that the doldrums of November would mark the ending point of a long slump in the market, which is now nearly halfway below the peak levels reached in October 2007.

The market's inability to rally signals that investors see no immediate end for the recession, which is already 14 months old and one of the most severe in decades. Investors also haven't been impressed with two major economic initiatives from the Obama administration this week, an economic stimulus package and a mortgage relief plan.

The Dow lost 89.68, or 1.2 percent, to end at 7,465.95.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Manuel says don't worry about 'Recession' - I say 'get ready for it'

A few things happened in 2008 that caught almost everyone unawares. Many say that no one predicted the housing bubble and credit crisis. Some people did. They were dismissed as being 'negative'. This blog is one of those.

Once again, while we all may wish that the economy recovers quickly from the current malaise, this is dependent on exigenous factors (external) becoming benign. This is too much to hope for. World economic growth is prjected to be a paltry 0.5% in 2009. That means little or no positive flows are likely to prop up either South Africa's economy or any other.

Another important factor to remember is current energy prices are an illusion. >$50 oil does not reflect true extraction costs, and this cannot continue for much longer. This is an artifical and temporary reprieve thanks to corrupt dealings in those markets. We are wrong to be grateful for these, because higher energy prices stimulated investment in alternatives, and also in further production capacity. Both of these are now no longer possible. The result? An energy supply crunch in 2009, possibly in mid-2009. As demand tries to turn, energy prices will spike, only worse than in 2008.

The result: unemployment and inflation - cycles of both. Very nasty.
CAPE TOWN — Treasury officials conceded yesterday that if the global economic downturn proved to be deeper and more prolonged than expected it would pose a significant risk to the economic growth forecast they used to underpin the 2009-10 budget announced by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel this week.

“However, if the world economy only starts to recover in 2011 and commodity prices fall further it will have negative implications for us.

“We do have the space to cushion the economy against even a long-term downturn,” Naidoo said.

“It is not a scenario that we wish to contemplate, but it is certainly one that we have thought about and have had at the back of our minds.

They believe the severe global recession will drag down domestic growth much further than the government expects.
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In 2009, the recession will worsen - thus we need to invest in sustainability, not growth [there's a difference]

We can expect the global economic recession to deepen significantly in 2009 and the extreme financial volatility and fragility to continue or even worsen. If or when there is a rebound, it will soon encounter oil supply constraints and the cycle will likely repeat itself.

Freight should increasingly be shifted from roads onto rail, especially on the Gauteng-Durban and Gauteng-Cape Town corridors.

Governments can mitigate the impact, especially by spending money in areas that promote long term sustainability and foster sustainable livelihoods.

Individuals and communities can strengthen their resilience to the tough times by spending wisely, reducing debts, acquiring appropriate new skills, building local economies and even adopting local complementary currencies. - Jeremey Wakeford

NVDL: The idea of investing in growth means trying to prop up already failing enterprises (that are doomed to fail anyway, including banks and housing markets.) Investing in sustainability means growing new things, opening up land to new farming practices, and making more alternative energy systems available. Primarily it is a focus more on rail than road. More on local living and local production capacity.
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Amidst all this volatility, what prospects for oil can be determined for 2009 and beyond?

The IEA warns of a serious supply crunch by 2015 if there is insufficient new investment, and states that “it is becoming increasingly apparent that the era of cheap oil is over”.

Similarly, Chris Skrebowski – consultant editor of the influential London-based Petroleum Review – shows through his megaprojects analysis that depletion of exiting oil fields will outpace oil flows from new projects by around 2012, assuming all goes well with investments.

However, sinking oil prices are causing a flood of delays to or cancellations of new oil projects. Canadian tar sand operations require a price above $80, while deep off-shore wells are uneconomic when the oil price dips below about $50 per barrel.

Needless to say, a major geopolitical event could trigger an oil price spike at almost any moment.

The next oil price shock will trigger another cycle of inflation and economic pain.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Attack this financial crisis with green cards not just greenbacks, and with start-ups not just bailouts - Friedman

When the best brains in the world are on sale, you don’t shut them out. You open your doors wider. - Thomas L. Friedman

NVDL: Intwisting theory. Still seems based on this idea that growth is implicit. I think growth and sustainability are mutually exclusive.
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“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans,” said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper. “We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”

We live in a technological age where every study shows that the more knowledge you have as a worker and the more knowledge workers you have as an economy, the faster your incomes will rise. Therefore, the centerpiece of our stimulus, the core driving principle, should be to stimulate everything that makes us smarter and attracts more smart people to our shores. That is the best way to create good jobs.

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"In the face of the overwhelming evidence that we could no longer afford to continue living the way we were, why did we continue?" - my comments on Budget 2008 were 100% correct.

This is a soft voice withering in the wilderness, but mark these words. All the applause for a great budget is also a national endorsement of a license to consume - in a basic sense - as we have been. And that's nuts. - Nick van der Leek, February 21, 2008
Part of the job of Finance Minister (think of Allan Greenspan too) is to 'be positive'. To say things that will please the market.
Are the markets too sensitive to deal with 'too much' reality? Apparently so.
So the cup is ALWAYS half full. Last night the Rand was R7,87 to the dollar (a five year low) as speculators feared capital flight, but after checking the fineprint we're back to 'normal' levels (whatever that is). Sure enough the economy - reflected in terms of the JSE - is right as rain again, bouncing happily up to 30 000 based on fundamental bullshit. Someone makes a speech and says, "Hey, things aren't so good, but really, they're not so bad either." What does that mean? So if everything is right as rain and the storm clouds are gathering (presumably for more rain) but all's well in Vegas, where is all this going? Back to Delusionville. Financial Wishfulthinkington. The JSE is up 1.82% to 30025.240.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Porn and Sex Districts - KunstlerCast

'There is a huge amount of loneliness and alienation...and failure to connect..." James Kunstler

Human networks have been destroyed by our alienating built environment and cultural landscape...

The Internet places many people two clicks away from pornography at all times. James Howard Kunstler believes porn has become just another consumer product to fill a very severe need of adult Americans to replace the human networks that have been destroyed by our alienating built environment and cultural landscape. In this episode, Kunstler and host Duncan Crary discuss porn and adult entertainment with regard to cultural and urban planning concerns. They also discuss the sex districts of Montreal and Amsterdam. Released: Feb. 5, 2009.

Direct Download:


( 19 MB | 21:36 mins.)

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

1000 people die of AIDS each day in SA - that's 365 000 per year!

The scariest thing is that most people aren't even aware that this is a crisis. And this is the fault of the Mbeki government and the ANC.
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UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe, left, reacts with  South Africa's  health minister

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – South Africa's health minister on Tuesday promised a dramatic increase in treatment for AIDS victims to overcome the legacy of a decade of governmental denial of the epidemic.

Barbara Hogan said the government wanted to provide AIDS drugs to 1.5 million people over the next three years — up from 700,000 at present, conceding that thousands were without the treatment they desperately need.

South Africa has an estimated 5.7 million people infected with HIV — the most of any country in the world — and nearly 1,000 people die every day of AIDS-related diseases. But former President Thabo Mbeki and his health minister downplayed the crisis.

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2010 FIFA World Cup host city posters [PICTURES]

Check em out - Cape Town's is quite nice...and Durban's too.
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2010 Bloemfontein
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Monday, February 9, 2009

SA Needs Passports because our Home Affairs are HOPELESS!!!

I went to Home Affairs to get a temporary passport. I had to go back 2-3 times (still don't have it), and each time, they had a different excuse. Now the reason I needed a temporary passport in a hurry was I was unexpectedly invited to Dubai. I was supposed to leave on a Sunday and after paying them, was assured it would be ready in time. The trip didn't happen for a few reaqsons, so I went back to Home Affairs on the Tuesday (this is after the Sunday I meant to leave, and I would have picked it up on Friday). Know what they said? Would I mind waiting 20 still wasn't ready. On the previous visit they'd said, tersely: '5-10 working days.' This despite assuring me when I applied for it that 5 working days was the ballpark figure.

Suffice it to say I still don't have my passport. Have a look at the brilliant system they have for photocopying your ID for their records. Real state of the art.
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All South Africans travelling to Britain will need a visa starting from March, the British embassy said Monday, citing lax security on passports issued here.

Nearly 420,000 South Africans visited Britain in 2007, making them the fifth largest group of visitors to the country.

Currently South Africans are allowed to stay for up to six months without a visa, but embassy spokesman Russ Dixon told AFP the rules were being tightened due to concerns over loose security.

"The major issue of concern was the ease with which non-South African nationals could obtain South African passports," he said.

South Africans are among the nationalities most refused entry to Britain, and they have also increasingly overstayed visas or begun working illegally, the embassy said in a statement.

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UFO photographed by South African

The guy didn't see this at the time he was taking a panorma of photos, but only later when he downloaded them onto his computer. The starnge object appears on only one photo.

I am guessing the UFO is a terrestrial creature known as a leaf, that fell off a tree and blew by...

Far less strange things have happened.
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Mnr. Brian Smith, sy vrou, Ronel, en hul seuns, Sean (15) en Brendan (11), is gemesmeriseer oor die vlieënde voorwerp op een van hul vakansiefoto’s.

Die Smith-gesin het die week voor Kersfees by Dikhololo, noord van Pretoria, vakansie gehou. Op hul laaste dag 19 Desember het hulle na ’n uitkykpunt geloop waar mnr. Smith ’n reeks van sewe foto’s geneem het om ’n panoramiese beeld van die oord vas te lê.

Maar twee weke later, toe mnr. Smith die foto’s op sy rekenaar by die huis aflaai, het hy tot sy verbasing ’n VVV daarop ontdek.

En die foto’s is volgens sy Samsung- mik-en-druk-kamera se tydsaanduiding slegs vier sekondes uit mekaar geneem.

Op die vergrote foto lyk die voorwerp soos ’n vlieënde rots met ’n blink ring rondom. Hy het aanvanklik gedink dit is ’n stofmerk op sy kamera se lens, maar daar is nie op enige ander van die sewe foto’s ’n soortgelyke merk nie.

“Ons is Christene, maar iets vreemds het hier gebeur. Ons is nie mense wat glo in ‘klein groen mannetjies’ nie.
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Woolworths becomes 'cheapskate' - YAY!

Woolworths are vrek expensive, and on the few occasions I shop there, I tend to regret it. I know some people who shop there and nowhere else - they tend to live in places that could fit about ten of my loft apartments, and have a nice moat to go around the whole shebang too.
Oh the layout and the Woolworths product is great (and all), but you're not getting any value - not close. So I think it's good that they're shaving some bucks of their stuff. The question will be - how much? Enough?
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JOHANNESBURG, Feb 9 (Reuters) - South African retailer
Woolworths (WHLJ.J) has cut prices on 5 percent of its product
lines as it grapples with a consumer downturn in Africa's
biggest economy.

Woolworths, which has been losing market share as its
hard-pressed middle income customers switch to cheaper
supermarkets, said on Monday the cuts applied to a range of
products, including basics such as oil and rice.

The food and clothing retailer said the price reductions
were part of a drive to make its food division more mainstream,
rather than focusing on pricier items such as ready-cooked meals
and speciality foods.

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