Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Scientists say that the earth was formed some 4.5 Billion years ago as a hot accretion of rocks and dust. There was no little or no water or oxygen on the planet. In 1944, Otto Schmidt noticed the obvious. He noticed that if the earth were about 60% smaller is size, eliminating the oceans, the continents would fit together like a jig saw puzzle. The planet started as a hot ball of materials and some 1.5 billion or more years ago it expanded as water was added to the mix. The process continues to this day.

Any fourth grade science teacher can tell you how to set out a magnet wrapped in white paper for a couple of days in order to collect "mini asteroids". It is no secret that hundreds of thousands of meteors are being absorbed into the earths atmosphere daily. Many an elementary kid can tell you that the largest star in our neighborhood, the Pistol Star, is more than 100 times the size of our sun but it cannot be see because of all the cosmic dust trapped in the Milky Way. Most of the meteors hitting the earth are absorbed at the atmospheric level but a very small percentage are defined as meteorites when they survive the trip through the atmosphere and make it to the earth. While we think of this as a rare event, it is not. Indeed, 300 to 400 people are killed each year as a result of being hit by a meteorite.

Where did all the water come from?

In recent years, NASA has been able to confirm that a large number of comets through off water that has the same properties of water that is here on earth. It has long been known that comets throw off water vapor, when the "Linear Comet" burned it self out near the sun, NASA was able to determine its composition. Asteroids and comets that constantly hit the planet earth are known to contain water.

The Global Warming crowd has a few things upside down. Some 2 billion years ago, the earth was so hot that it burned up all the oxygen it could find. Today, 60% of the surface of the earth is covered in water and even though the "big spray" was long ago, the earth continues to expand in both land mass and in water mass. The 55,000 tones of meteors absorbed daily are a small drop in the big bucket earth but one can collect a lot of drops in 4.5 billion years. The long term evidence is that the earth is continuing to cool.

One of the conundrums the global warming crowd runs into is that their tidal measures of sea level differ from satellite measures. Satellites confirm that sea levels are rising, by even more than the earth based systems would indicate. The volume of water on the earth is growing! The size of the earth is growing by 1 to 3 millimeters per year. An inch every 8 to 25 years.


The USA is currently "hydro cracking" at the rate of 4 million metric tons per year. One of the primary reasons to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen is to boost the energy output we get from hydrocarbon materials. The least expensive conversion is with the use of natural gas but petroleum and coal are the most common fuels used. Thick gooey tar and dirty coal can cleaned up and made useful by the process of cracking water molecules so that hydrogen can be mixed with hydrogen to make coal liquid and to make goo usable.

If the USA wants to save itself from the "hands of OPEC" and save the world from GLOBAL FLOODING (Oh My, Lions and Tigers and Bears), then all it has to do is increase our rate of hydro cracking. Increase the rate from 4 million metric tons per year to 20 and we no longer need to import oil from OPEC. Increase the rate to 37 million metric tons and even Canada will be forced to find other sources of tax revenues.


The green crowd dreams of the day when windmills will be used to crack all the hydrogen we need. Their dreams are wilder than those of Don Quixote. We can all chase windmills all day long but the USA has enough coal to supply our energy needs for 200 years or so. Coal is dirty but cheap. Even after spending big money to convert coal into clean liquid, it is still cheap.


When I was in the 4th grade, I was taught that nine planets circle the sun. Today, we no longer count Pluto as a planet and we add about 5,000 minor planets to the count each month. There are more than 400,000 minor planets. The point of mentioning the Pistol Star and 400,000 planets is that it is human nature for man to make himself out to be so much bigger than he really is. We like to believe we are in control of the earth and, even, the universe. We are very tiny specs of dust. If you were to paint a wall in your home with a scaled picture of the Pistol Star the Sun would be about the size of a golf ball and the earth would be too small to see.

The earth is not about to run out of hydrocarbons and it is not about to burn up from excess heat. All the while, humans run around trying to find ways to save the planet. I applaud all rational efforts to "save the planet". We indeed need to continue to reforest millions of hectares and we need to burn clean fuels.


A fundamental economic law is that taxes reduce the activity taxed. The USA needs to make an important shift in taxation. We need to reduce taxes on income and increase taxes on consumption. If politician were willing to give up control of the purse strings, the "global problems" would be solved. Those who burn dirty fuels should be taxed more than those who avoid burning dirty fuels. By offsetting a tax decrease on income with an increase on tax on dirty fuels, the people of the USA would see an increase in income and a decrease in pollution (no more global warming, global flooding and no more money wasted turning good corn into weak alcohol).


Verizon made a major shift yesterday. Verizon is opening up its network. Hallelujah!

The big mobile build out is gathering steam. Over the next five years it will become very common for people to be connected by multiple devices to a net work that is growing exponentially. Computers are morphing into many forms. The features being added to GPS devices are increasing their computing and communication capacity while more and more "non-computer" devices are being connected to the Internet. Verizon just confirmed that the "phone function" of the cell phone is quickly declining in importance relative to the "Internet connected computer function". The big Verizon competitor, AT&T went the other way by trying to lock up the Apple I-pod. Apple and AT&T would love to build a network of proprietary products that must use AT&T's cell network. Who really wants to pay for AT&T's network if they have a free WIFI connection handy? I do not know the break down but I am confident that most of the people working at the local coffee shop are connected through WIFI and not expensive phone networks.

I mentioned the Nokia N810 the other day as being a neat product. It is not at cell phone. I believe the Nokia N95 is the cell phone version of the N810. The point is that I will pay zero in additional monthly fees to use my N810 as an Internet phone. Verizon wants to secure the cell phone piece of your business. If you want to buy a dual band device so that you can use the Internet as often as possible, Verizon says fine, but when you cannot connect through WIFI, make your connection through our network.


Without getting deep into details, I must mention that the net present value of the stock market keeps jumping each time interest rates fall. Yesterday, I mentioned that the big decline in interest rates is making houses more affordable. Lower interest rates provide stocks a double whammy: 1) by lowering the cost of doing business, lower interest rates tend to increase profit margins, and 2) by lowering the returns on alternative investments, lower interest rates increase the Net Present Value of a companies shares.