Tuesday, June 08, 2010


When I got up this morning (at 4am; after a week of normal sleep, I'm back on vampire mode), I realized that I hadn't posted May's numbers. Unsurprisingly, given that we only posted about half our normal posts, we had around half the normal visits (168). The mix of operating systems remains unchanged with Windows XP dominating at over 70%, Vista at a touch over 15% and Win7 at 3%. Mac and Linux made up nearly all the remainder with a few crumbs going to various mobile devices. On the browser side of things, the latest versions of IE (38.4%), Firefox (20.1%), Chrome (12.8%) and Safari (6.7%) are used by the bulk of our readers. IE6 seems to have made a long-overdue exit and IE7 (12.2%) will hopefully follow it into the dustbin. The remaining 9.8% of visitors are running old versions of Firefox or whatever is on their smart phone.

The search terms that people used to find us in May indicates a great deal of interest in de-gayification camps and the census, as well as a continuing (and disturbing) level of fascination with unicorns who fart rainbows. The most entertaining search phrase wasn't technically in May as it popped in during the wee hours of June 1st, but it will likely be the Search Phrase of the Month for May and June: "unicorns humping on a bed of roses".

I... I... I don't even want to know. But wait! There's more! The IP address belongs to a major, multinational corporation. Yep. Somewhere in some dank cubical, a faceless, third-shift drone was surfing for unicorn porn. The next time you complain about what something costs, remember that some fraction of a percent of the price is going towards paying this guy.

I will definitely be done with census this week, unless I get stuck cleaning up after someone else again. I seriously hope not. By the end of today, I should have everything done except for two tenements run by local slum lords who refuse to cooperate. I will call them every couple hours from 8am to 8pm for the rest of the week (while being paid taxpayer money to do so), then turn them over to the census office in Boston. If there were any justice, these fine folks would be stripped naked and put in stocks wearing a sign bearing the word "wastrel". I expect instead that they will receive a strongly-worded letter in about five years, if ever.

BP seems to be having some success with the latest attempt to stop oil from pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. No one can say for sure what level of success because no one is sure to an order of magnitude how much oil is flowing out of the pipe in the first place. We are seven weeks into this, with a minimum of seven more weeks of more or less the same. Or seven months if you don't buy into BP management's happy-clappy expectations for drilling the relief well. It's bad and will only get worse. Obama, in his... er... unique management style has declared a complete stop to all off-shore drilling after just declaring that oil companies could stick pipes anywhere including into dolphins as long as they pumped oil. Gulf state politicians are beginning to understand the implications of whipsawing an industry that has numerous other options where to do business.

The stock market seems to have developed a bad case of the wobblies over the last couple weeks. Yesterday, the Dow closed below 10,000 twice in two days and the S&P is edging down to 1,000. Usually, after a couple bad days there is a bit of a bounce, but the overall trend is certainly in the negative direction. The big question that no one can answer is, how long will that trend continue? Here is the view of people who make a living by being mostly right:

I'll reiterate that from our perspective, the essential difficulty of the market here is not Greece, it is not the Euro, it is not Hungary, and it is really not even the slow pace of job growth in the latest report. The fundamental problem is that we have not, as a global economy, accepted the word "restructuring" into our dialogue. Instead, we have allowed our policy makers to borrow and print extraordinarily large band-aids to temporarily cover an open wound that will not heal until we close the gap. That gap is the difference between the face value of debt securities and the actual cash flows available to service them. The way to close the gap is to restructure the debt. This will require those who made the bad loans to accept the associated losses. By failing to do that, we have failed to address the essential problem faced by the world, which is that we have created more debt than we are able to service.

Emphasis is mine. You can't say it more clearly than that. Oh, and by the way, by 2012 we will be Greece. Not in fifty years or twenty years or even ten years. In two years. Less if there is a double-dip.

To end on a positive note, Bigelow is showing off his version of a space station. Using inflatables allows a much larger space to be shipped up while still being able to fit in the cargo space of existing launchers. And just in time for Bigelow to start the first private space station, we now have a private launch vehicle to send it up.

Enough messing around here, it's time to start another day.

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