Sunday, May 31, 2009
This is a fabulous documentary about the Enron scandal.
It's for everybody who works in finance.
And anyone else with any savings in the stock market.
Unfortunately, bigger scandals have occurred since then.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Part 1
The CFA L1 exam is something that I've clearly done a LOT of reading on. But unless you are already enrolled in the CFA program, it isn't something that blog readers will either start or finish.
However, do read about my experience studying for, and passing the CFA L1 exam on Rodger's Writing.
He wrote about a lot of potential problems in the economy -before- the financial problems started in 2007. Here's an excerpt from his website :
'At the beginning of 2007, Bert started warning about a financial crisis, which could turn into the worst since the early 1930's. But almost everyone scoffed at the idea. In April 2007, the headline of his prestigious Bert Dohmen's WELLINGTON LETTER was: "THE PERFECT FINANCIAL STORM."
While everyone on Wall Street talked about the huge amount of "liquidity," Bert pointed out that genuine liquidity is cash, and that Wall Street confused liquidity with "credit" which could disappear overnight. And that's exactly what has happened.
The world financial system is leveraged beyond comprehension. It's estimated that $500-700 TRILLION of derivatives are outstanding. Compare this with total economic activity (GDP) of the world, which is around $50 Trillion, and you can see that even a 5% drop in value of the derivatives is beyond the rescue capability of the world's central banks.'
From what I understand, he was an early adopter of technical indicators. His analysis seemed spot on, so, I've subscribed to his newsletter, and recommend it to others.
I came across this webpage, while doing a search for something else. I'm not sure all of these are Chinese proverbs, but I like a lot of them, such as:
A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.
While so many people talk from theory, or opinion, I like to listen to people who speak from successful experience. For years, I went to the MIT Enterprise Forum, and listened to business people present how they made their business succeed. While I value my teachings from business school, I got so much more out of these presentations.
Of the hundreds of proverbs, here's a sample:
A bad word whispered will echo a hundred miles.
A bad workman blames his tools.
A man cannot become wealthy without earnings apart from his regular salaries.
A man without a smiling face must not open shop.
A person who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the man doing it.
A vacant mind is open to all suggestions.
A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
Better the cottage where one is merry than the palace where one weeps.
Corporations have neither bodies to be punished nor souls to be damned.
Despise learning and make everyone pay for your ignorance.
Dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails, not their tongues.
Don't build a new ship out of old wood.
Don't waste good iron for nails or good men for soldiers.
Easy to believe in heaven's law, but so hard to keep.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.
Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever.
Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.
Learning is treasure no thief can touch.
Rotten wood cannot be carved.
Men trip not on mountains, they stumble on stones.
The diamond cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The one who first resorts to violence shows that he has no more arguments.
The one who understands does not speak, the one who speaks does not understand.
To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.
Two good talkers are not worth one good listener.
Victory has hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.
With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Little known to me, and the rest of the general public, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Honda sold electric vehicles in the mid 1990s.
They performed fabulously. GM's EV1, designed as a family car, actually accelerated faster than a Corvette!
Most anyone who leased one, wanted to own it. Yet still, GM and most other companies refused to allow their customers to buy the cars, then repossessed, and crushed most all of them. The exception was Toyota, which sold a few hundred of their RAV4s.
Who Killed The Electric Car? is a fabulous documentary about the story, which I highly recommend to everyone.
There are number of myths circulating about the subject, which the documentary disproves. One being, the range of the batteries was not far enough. To see why, check out the official website.
or purchase the documentary from Plug In America
Or watch the documentaries on Youtube.
Who Killed the Electric Car Part 1 of 10
See some more electric car links here:
Real life EV Stories:
Info on the Honda EV:
Dave Muse claims to have owned an electric car for 25 years.
Electric Cars Are For Girls
I first heard about them when I attended the Electric Car Parade in Santa Monica, January 2009.
Some Plug In America members get to test drive some of the new trendsetting electric cars before the rest of the general public does. Lucky!
Some quick facts from their website:
- Today's batteries can take EVs 300 miles on a single charge.
- Battery Electric Vehicles (EVs) are by far the most efficient motorized vehicles in the world and use 3-4 times LESS energy than hydrogen fuel cell cars.
- EVs powered by the US electrical grid are cleaner than gas, E85, biodiesel & fuel cells.
- Plug-in cars capable of 50 miles per day would meet the needs of 80% of the American driving public. Source: U.S. Department of Transportation.
- We will never fight a war over electricity.
Check it out!
Recently, I have had the honor of meeting Rachel Sparks, and seeing the great documentary she has produced: The SOLD Project.
It is about young girls (and boys) in Thailand who are tricked into, abducted into, or sold into, prostitution. It is a very moving documentary.
When I saw it, I remembered what Benizir Bhutto said when I saw her speak once. She wanted to build a society where every child was "fed, clothed, sheltered, protected, nutured, educated, and loved". In other words, child prostitution is the antithesis of such an ideal.
See the trailer here:
more videos here:
the website here:
and the blog here:
The organization is now creating non-profit groups to help prevent village girls going into prostitution. One method is education in the villages. Another is the creation of scholarships to pay for the schooling of young girls who are at risk of becoming prostitutes.
See how little it takes, and consider donating, here:
It was awesome! So, this wasn't just another "reading". It was presentations, trade show, talking with industry experts, socializing, etc.
See my other blog, Rodger's Writing, for my comments on the conference.
AWEA - American Wind Energy Association
The American Wind Energy Association is a fabulous website about Wind Energy. Like their Danish counterparts, the AWEA website has a wealth of information. So much information, it can take days to read!
Check out the FAQ:
and Wind Energy Basics
and Wind Potential
"North Dakota alone is theoretically capable (if there were enough transmission capacity) of producing enough wind-generated power to meet more than fourth of U.S. electricity demand."
and Wind Power myths versus facts:
One myth is that wind turbines kill a lot of birds. Yet studies show that for every bird killed by a wind turbine, 700 are killed by cars, 1000 birds are killed by cats, and 5500 are killed by stationary buildings and windows!
A few decades ago, I understand the Wind industry was composed of a just a small number of companies and inventors. Looking at the AWEA website, it is amazing how sophisticated and professional that the Wind industry has become!
Monday, May 25, 2009
This website has an incredible amount of information on it. It is a really great primer on Wind Power. The technology, environment, public policy, and lots more. Very easy to read too!
The Danish have got it figured out. Over 20% of their electricity comes from wind power. Each megawatt produced by wind power is money that does not need to be sent abroad to purchase fossil fuels. And, about 90% of the wind turbines they produce, are exported. Their currency is definitely not going to depreciate because of their wind industry, but appreciate.
The Kondratieff wave cycle goes through four distinct phases of beneficial inflation (spring), stagflation (summer), beneficial deflation (autumn), and deflation (winter). Since, the last Kontratyev cycle ended around 1949, we have seen beneficial inflation 1949-1966, stagflation 1966-1982, beneficial deflation 1982-2000 and according to Kondratieff, we are now in the (winter) deflation cycle which should lead to depression.
Check it out.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
He expands on the simple exponential functions that we learned in high school. And applies their consequences to the real world.
One example, a population of 10,000, and a population growth of 7%, will double its population to 20,000 in only 10 years. In 20 years, the same population will be 40,000! And that is not for the metropolitan area. That is for the same land mass! If a city thought it had problems with only 10,000 people, imagine the problems with 40,000!
He also notes how our use of oil is expanding in an exponential function. And that we will soon have serious issues if we don't get things under control.
The implications should blow your socks off.
Part 5 of 8 is here:
Go to Youtube and watch all 8 parts, starting here:
I met the director, Josh Tickell, and his wife, Rebecca Harrell, at one of the openings in Santa Monica. They are very smart, and very enthusiastic about their subject.
And Josh knows what he is talking about. He was a very early adopter of using waste vegetable oil to drive diesel engines, and drove around the country in his veggie van.
The film looks at the problems of using imported oil. And a lot of things you probably haven't heard about. As much as I am interested in, and read about alternative energy, I was surprised by a number of the points the film brought up.
One being huge health problems that oil causes. His own mother, living in the New Orleans area, exposed to the many oil refineries there, had multiple miscarriages! Hurricane Katrina caused an oil spill bigger than the Exxon Valdex. That Rudolf Diesel originally invented the diesel engine to run on vegetable oils, and mysteriously and suddenly disappeared. That the prohibition of alcohol in the twenties is arguably linked to repressing the use of alcohol as a fuel for transportation.
But unlike a lot of documentaries, it offers solutions to the issues. He looks at multiple realistic ways to eliminate the use of imported oil. Wind, solar, conservation, algae to create biodiesel, buildings that produce food and energy.
This film not disappoint you. See the trailer here:
And see the whole show in the theater
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Peter Schiff is a stock broker, and a brilliant guy who foresaw a lot of the economic problems that started occurring in 2007.
I read Peter Schiff's book, Crash Proof , in 2007 and was really impressed. So impressed, that I went to a conference to see him speak, and shake hands with him.
Check out the great speech that he gave at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, in March 2009:
Peter used to be invited to speak at organizations, and talk shows, and his ideas were usually scoffed at. Now that he has been proven correct, a lot of these same organizations don't invite him back.