Thursday, September 25, 2008

So what's next?

The master plan to privatize profits and socialize losses is now stall. This $700 billion dollar plan is massive. Can you imagine how much that is?
Say you have lots of $100 dollar bills, stack it up in front of you. 
It would be 3.9 inches high to be $1 million dollars. 
It would be 327 feets high to be $1 billion dollars.
It would be 43.4 miles high to be $700 billion dollars
That is about 3/4 of the Washington DC beltway loop or a bit longer than the distance between DC and Baltimore
This will cost every American family $10,000 

WaMu is seized by FDIC and sold off to JP Morgan for $1.9 billions. But the major cost would be the $30-54 billion dollars of write down on toxic loans

Friday, September 19, 2008

What happen to capitalism?

Today Commisioner Cox, who was afraid of being fired by John McCain, quickly drafted an ingenious plan to ban short selling out right for 799 financial companies.

Now for those companies that weren't invited to such exclusive party start knocking on the door wondering if they just missed the memo. Well the party has just started, let's see how the host are going to handle that. 

Below is a very nicely put statement from Reggie Middleton's Blog 

Note to Commissioner Cox: You have doomed the last two independent investment banks. Congratulations. By actually trying to directly manipulate the US capital markets by literally banning the short selling of a certain cadre of stocks (while allowing the long buying of those same stocks) you have upset the natural equilibrium of our capitalistic environ. You must learn to wrap you mind around, and grasp the difference between, price and value. The short sellers were driving the prices of these investment banks down to match their value. Now, with your short sighted intereference, you have allowed - no, let's be more accurate, you have overtly facilitated the divergence between price and value. 
For one, you cannot prevent astute investors from taking bearish positions on a company. You preside over the most advanced, and complex financial markets in the history of the world, not some third world nation that is just opening its first exchange as an extension of the town food market!
Word has it that the clients of Morgan Stanley are fleeing, despite (or maybe even because - due to the drastic socialist nature of) your actions. Because you have allowed longs to bid prices up way above their intrinsic economic value, you have injected an unprecendented amount of volatility into the system. This increases the cost of capital, my friend, not decrease it. When the truth meets reality, what do you think will happen to share prices? That's right, they will fall that much more. A market needs two sides to a trade, not just one. I hear you plan on preventing investors from selling stocks at a loss next, which will be music to the ears of those at the IRS!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The point of no return

Another historical day on wall street. After Monday drop of 500+ points, the DOW lost another 450 points today. While the Russian market had to be forced closed 2 days in a row after dropping more than 17% each day. A quarter of the Russian market value vanished in thin air within 48 hours. 

However, we still see some "level headed" financial analyst spoke out about the matter regarding the lost of confident of Morgan Stanley and Goldman 

Quote: "Glenn Schorr, an analyst at UBS AG, said today in a note to investors that the market reaction was ``insanity.'' Goldman and Morgan Stanley aren't at risk of running out of money because they keep plenty of cash on hand and can borrow from the Federal Reserve and a consortium of banks set up over the weekend, he said, noting that both have enough capital to absorb any losses."

So the market is insane. Goldman and Morgan Stanley have plenty of cash. If they do, why are they considering merger with other banks. Why did Morgan ran out to the Federal Reserve for loan immediately when it was available back in Feburary? Why does credit-default swap on Morgan Stanley debt cost so much? 

We will always have those outspoken champion calming down the market. The so call "insane" market is indeed very emotional. It is better to join them than fight them. In the long run the truth will review itself if not sooner. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The so call unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is expressed as a percentage, and is calculated as follows:

As defined by the International Labour Organization, "unemployed workers" are those who are currently not working but are willing and able to work for pay, currently available to work, and have actively searched for work.

So what does that definition imply? If a bunch of people decide to give up the search then guess what! The number of "unemployed workers" decreases hence the "unemployment rate" drops. How wonderful! Now we can cure all unemployment by giving all those who are seeking for a job a nice share of welfare so they would stop seeking. Eureka

The bottom line is that many formulas like these are very misleading and do not reflect the actual condition of the economy. Critical decisions are made by government officials and top executives basing on these misleading numbers. Resulting only to cascade and magnify the incorrect information.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The five elements properties within your food.

Theory: Wuxing and Chinese nutrition

Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water: their savors and nutritional functions

The principle of Chinese diet and nutrition engross heavily on the theory of Wuxing or the Five Phases. According to Chinese medicine, the universe is composed of Wuxing: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. This infers that the human body is composed of those Wuxing as well. A deficit of one the phases correspond to malfunction of one or more of the 12 internal organs. The harmony of all phases will keep the person healthy. All five phases are interconnected with generative cycle and destructive cycle.

The Chinese believes our food is also composed of Wuxing. Each type of food might hold different Wuxing properties. By appropriately adjusting our dietary intake, this practice is believed to help maintain and restore balance in our body. Additionally by understanding Chinese diet and nutrition, we could watch out diet and maintain good health.

Understanding the relationship between Wuxing and food is pertinent in order to know how to choose a healthy diet, prevent and treat illness. Wood is associated with sour, citrus and acidic taste. Sour is astringent and gathering . Sour directly affects the liver with the over production of saliva and injure to the muscles. An excess amount of sour in the body will cause all wood phase’s elements to over react and cause injuries to the associated organs and body tissue. According to the destructive cycle shown in the diagram above, excess of sour could cause weakening of the earth phase with is association with the Spleen. Also by this cycle, sourness could be counteracted or controlled by the addition of metal-pungent foods .

Fire is associated with bitterness. Bitter is drying but yet strengthening . Bitterness directly affects the heart, blood vessels and circulation. It helps us with growth and strengthening of our body. This will help tonify the heart, blood vessel and metabolism. Many heart related problems, such as obesity and high blood pressure, could be prevented if we increase our intact of bitter food. However, consuming too much alcohol, coffee or tobacco will introduce excess bitterness to the body. Too much of it could lead to Spleen energy dryness, congestion of stomach energy and a withering of the skin . It could also invade the metal phases and dry out the lung, which would not be favorable because the lung hates dryness. Excessive bitterness could be counteracted by addition of salty food.

Earth is associated with sweet. Sweet is harmonizing and retarding. Excessive sweetness could cause damage to the water phases. In our society, excessive consumption of sweetness is the biggest problem. One thing that makes sweetness so attractive is its ability to reduce pain by affecting the central nervous system . Excess sweet invade and cause damage to the water phase: including an unbalanced kidney, an overactive bladder, weakening bones, and teeth. Urinary problems and diabetes are directly related to excessive sweetness . Excessive also sweetness repels the fire phase. The damage to the fire phase could be similar as described in the previous paragraph, such as obesity, low metabolism and heart failure. Addition of sour foods could be used to counteract extra sweetness and strengthening the fire phase.

Metal is associated with hot, pungent, and aromatic. Metal is dispersing. "The pungent taste scatters, and is used to expel pathogenic factors. " Pungent is warming and treat cold as well. Metal tonifies water phases. If there is deficiency of water phases, the kidney is usually a deficiency of yang to heat up the body. Pungent warming food could treat yang deficiencies in water phases. Excessive pungent or spicy food could attack the wood and dry out the lung. Muscle knots, slack pulse and unhealthy fingernails could be a result of excessive metal pungent foods in the body. This can be counteracted by the addition of better foods .

Water is associated with salty. Salty tastes flow downward and soften hardness to treat swelling and constipation. In biomedical terms, saltiness create an osmotic gradient when salt passes through the large intestine and draws fluid back to help soften stools and constipation . Excessive salty diet invades the fire phase and injures the kidney. Sweet foods can be used to counteract this excess of salt.

Classification of food and their properties

Understanding the relationship of the Wuxing and taste is important in order to choose a balanced meal and treat any disharmony in the body. Here is some classification of food and their associated phases

Within each food type, there are different intrinsic properties of Wuxing. One interesting observation is that chocolate is under bitter taste. Some research has found out that eating a small amount of chocolate may help blood circulation and prevent heart disease. This is also true for consuming a small amount of coffee or tea. However, an excessive amount of these could render the reverse affect.

Besides the properties of Wuxing, foods also hold a Yin and Yang characteristic. According to Chinese Medicine, foods have an intrinsic temperature and they can be classified as hot, warm, neutral, cool or cold foods. The intrinsic temperature of food does not depend on whether food is hot because it is taken from the oven or cold because it is taken from the fridge but because food is understood to have an inherent "quality" in its nature .

Hot food has strong dry tastes. Eating too much hot food can cause damage associated with the fire phase. Hot food creates excess body heat which in turn causes the person to be restless, insomniac, have a hard stool and excess pimples. Body heat problem can lead to high blood pressure, emotion instability, and loose shen (spirit). Loose shen can be characterized as attention deficit disorder. The person has trouble sticking with a plan, or schedule and often becomes forgetful. Emotionally, the person could have sudden burst of emotion such as anger, grief or becoming bi-polar.

Cool foods have a harsh effect on the spleen and stomach. Cool food is usually associated with raw meat, fruit, vegetables and diary products. Raw food requires more effort to digest and broken down. Food that is cool in temperature also requires the body to heat it up which takes away body qi. Especially, diary products are raw, heavy and stagnant. Consuming an excess amount will cause blockage and digestion problems. Too much meat, cheese, butter, fats and sugar in the diet forms a substance called "phlegm". "Phlegm" tends to accumulate and obstruct various channels in the body .

Next I'll discuss the application of the wuxing diet.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A few alarming things

Congress held a secret session back in March 2008, only the fourth time in the 176 years of American History. So enjoy watching it. Just don't panic or dismiss the whole thing. There are much more info on the web about this secret session.

Summarized here

Part 1

Part 2

Indeed it is time to wake up from the American Dream.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Out of touch, disconnected

The McCain campaign has painted a picture that is distinctly not an American mixing pot that we know of. The RNC kind of sum it up with only 36 delegates that are African American out of the 2,380 delegaes. As compare to the DNC with up to 25% minority and other interest groups from African American, Asian American, Latino American, disability, gay & lesbian... The political party has distanced itself from the rest of the diverse American population with its conservative view, strategy of fear and you're on your own approach.

In addition, the McCain clan further distanced themselves from the average American family given how many home they own and how filthy rich they are. Vanity Fair magazine pointed out Cindy McCain outfit on Monday during the RNC worth at least $300K with the 3 carets earrings that worth up to $280K. So they have to enlist Palin as VP for whom "American can more easily related to". As a mom with a pregnant teen, and a DUI husband. Is that what American can related to, is that who we are?

(img by Getty)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Why Wu Xing

Originally, I wanted to name this blog "5 Elements"; however the name was taken leaving only Wu Xing, the Chinese translation, available. This traditional concept of the 5 elements has been embedded deeply in the Chinese teaching, culture, medicine, philosophy, arts and more.

Wu Xing is a traditional Chinese philosophy which stated that natural phenomenon can be characterized into 5 elements: water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Also known as 5 phases, 5 movements, 5 steps.

The harmonious existent of these five elements are what gives the stability to any given system. The system could be any physical or abstract object. In the domain of medicine, the harmonious states between five elements determine the person health. From traditional Chinese medicine, sickness is the result of imbalance within the body of one or more of the elements. Bringing the body back to balance, relieve the excess of the domain elements and reinforce the depleted elements are the key to traditional Chinese medicine treatments.

It is the techniques and the arts of observing all natural phenomenons and behaviors in the frame of the five elements that helps us to characterize any system; from food, personality, geography, martial arts and flavors.... Given this new perspective, we can look at the world differently than the way most people are perceiving. Nature are cyclical, sustainable only in the boundary of harmonious states, artificial manipulation can bring the system out of balance which often results in dramatic restoration to the balanced state.

Wiki page that gives a good summarized concept of 5 elements

For the past few years, I have been paying more attentions in observing the existent of the five elements characteristics within the food that we ate, the personality of each person that I know and understanding the dynamic interaction between the elements to better explain the natural phenomonons. I'll elaborate on the next post.