Thursday 30 June 2022

Financial Hurricane Season Underway.

Baltic Dry Index. 2186 -18   Brent Crude 116.15

Spot Gold 1816          US 2 Year Yield 3.06 -0.04

Coronavirus Cases 02/04/20 World 1,000,000

Deaths 53,100

Coronavirus Cases 30/06/22 World 551,819,640

Deaths 6,356,292

1886 - The construction of Tower Bridge began on 22 April.

1894 - Tower Bridge was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales with great celebrations, on 30 June.

Homepage | Tower Bridge

We have arrived at the end of month, end of quarter and end of half year. Normally, an occasion to dress up the stock casinos and especially the stock indexes to boost money managers all important bonuses.

But this year no amount of dressing up stocks will alter the fact that most stocks have entered a new bear market. Central banksters everywhere outside of Japan and China are raising interest rates and have ended a 40 year era of ever lower interest rates.

While it’s unlikely to be a 40 year era of rising interest rates, it’s all too likely to be a 1 to 2 year period of rising interest rates, crashing many companies that gorged on debt to buy back their stock to boost the CEO’s remuneration package.

The era of low interest rates grossly distorted investment decisions into mis and mal-investments.

We are only in the early stage of finding out just how much mis and mal-investment occurred. I suspect we are on the cusp of several new Lehman Brothers disasters hitting over the next two years.

But for today, time to try to dress up stocks and cryptocurrencies.

Time to take some profits in those commodities that haven’t already crashed ahead of our arriving new global recession.

Time to seek safe haven in the fiat dollar as interest rates rise globally. Time to add some fully paid up physical gold and silver ahead of the central banksters folding as the new recession spawns social discontent and yet more Magic Money Tree excess.

What comes next is a financial hurricane of excitement and pain.

China’s Shenzhen stocks rise nearly 2% as data shows factory activity grew in June; Asia stocks slip

SINGAPORE — Chinese markets rose on Thursday as government data showed factory activity grew in June, but most other Asia-Pacific indexes fell.

The Shenzhen Component gained nearly 2%, and the Shanghai Composite advanced 1.31%.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up fractionally. Shares of artificial intelligence software company SenseTime plunged as much as 50.5% on Thursday after a six-month lock-up period for some of its shares ended. The stock was last 44.22% lower.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan dropped 1.49%, while the Topix slipped 1.21%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.92%.

South Korea’s Kospi declined 1%, while the Kosdaq was 1.33% lower.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares was down 0.48%.

In economic news, China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for June was at 50.2, slightly lower than the expected 50.5, according to a Reuters poll.

The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis, and the index has been under 50 since March.

South Korea’s factory output grew mildly in May, government data showed. Industrial production increased 0.1% from April’s figure. Service sector output grew 1.1% in May.

Japan’s industrial production dropped 7.2% in May, according to government data. That figure was much lower than market consensus and could have been affected by lockdowns in China, Rob Carnell, ING’s regional head of research in Asia-Pacific, wrote in a Thursday note.

----Overnight in the U.S., stocks fluctuated on Wednesday after the major averages made a failed attempt at a bounce in the previous session, and as the market prepares to close out the worst first half of the year since 1970.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session up 82.32 points, or 0.27%, to 31,029.31, while the other benchmarks closed slightly lower. The S&P 500 dipped 0.07% to 3,818.83, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged down by 0.03% to 11,177.89.

Rate hikes, recession fears and inflation concerns have plagued the market.

ANZ Research in a Thursday note said markets have been “cautious and lacking strong conviction” as central bankers say they will prioritize tackling inflation.

“The bottom line is that until the inflation data show a sustainable moderation, it remains risky to jump on softer economic data and declare that the peak in central bank interest rates for this cycle has been priced in,” the note said.


A lesson from the past long ago discarded.

The true costs of very low interest rates

Artificial distortions can cause ‘clusters of errors’ by businesses

Caitlin Long  August 11, 2010

Markets tend to cheer falling interest rates. Low interest rates, however, can entail real economic costs that become evident over time.

During the earlier period of monetary stimulus, from 2001-04, many businesses made economic calculation errors that later led to losses. Examples include investments in housing, commercial real estate and mining exploration, as well as the provision of defined benefit pensions to employees.

Interest rates are the most important prices in the economy, according to Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek, because they reflect the collective time preference of individuals to consume either now or later. Accordingly, interest rates co-ordinate allocation of capital across the economy by signalling to businesses whether they should invest. Distortions in interest rates can cause “clusters of errors” in which large swathes of businesses unwittingly miscalculate at the same time.

Hayek observed that interest rate stimulus interfered with economic calculations, causing managers to invest in projects that would not otherwise have appeared profitable. Losses can subsequently materialise as customer demand fails to meet forecasts that were, in retrospect, optimistic. Long-term projects are highly sensitive to interest rates and are therefore more susceptible to such distortions. Pension obligations and long-term, capital-intensive projects are at high risk of miscalculation based on artificially low rates.

To illustrate, capital expenditures accelerated in such long-term businesses as residential real estate, commercial real estate and mining exploration after the monetary stimulus that began in 2001, but losses materialised after interest rate stimulus was withdrawn.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, investment in residential real estate grew by 2.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2000, before monetary stimulus began in January 2001. Then growth accelerated to 6.6 per cent, 10.0 per cent and 16.9 per cent during the fourth quarters of 2001, 2002 and 2003, respectively.

On June 30 2004 the Federal Reserve began to reverse the monetary stimulus just as residential investment growth was peaking at 21.1 per cent. It then decelerated and two years later home prices peaked and housing sector losses began to materialise.

Another area in which many businesses unwittingly underestimated costs is defined benefit pension plans. The widespread pension problem facing markets today is mostly attributable to the decline in interest rates amid waves of monetary stimulus during the past decade. Pension liabilities grow as interest rates fall, reflecting higher present values of future benefit obligations. A dollar of pension benefit granted in 2000 is currently worth approximately $1.32, solely reflecting the drop in interest rates. When managers calculated the costs of providing defined-benefit pensions in 2000, they could not have anticipated that a series of interest rate stimulus programmes in the intervening decade would drive costs up by 32 per cent.

Companies generally set aside funds to cover these pension obligations. However, even if a company funded its entire pension cost in 2000, for example, its asset portfolio returns would probably not have kept pace with its rising obligation. The average S&P 500 pension portfolio earned a cumulative return of 22 per cent since 2000. In the example, the pension plan would hold assets valued at $1.22 to cover an obligation worth $1.32. The company bears responsibility to pay the difference.

Hayek observed that “clusters of errors” tended to happen after monetary stimulus sparked an investment boom. When boom turned to bust he urged quick recognition of losses to free capital trapped in bad investments so markets could redeploy it to better uses. Any further rounds of monetary stimulus to cushion the bust would only prolong the inevitable adjustment and distort economic calculation anew.

If Hayek were alive he would caution businesses to be alert for the formation of new bubbles, especially in long-term businesses in which losses may not yet be fully recognised and price signals may still be distorted. He would agree with the investment caution that businesses have exhibited in the face of artificially low interest rates, and advise corporate decision makers to be alert if a project appeared profitable solely based on interest rate assumptions.

 Where might the costs of the current loose money show up over time? It is impossible to predict with certainty. But low interest rates for a longer period increase the likelihood that businesses will miscalculate. Early signs of an investment recovery are showing up in such long-term businesses as industrial and transportation equipment and machinery. We will soon find out whether this recovery is real or the beginning of another bubble.

Caitlin Long is head of Corporate Strategy, Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley. 

Finally, as we arrive at the month-end, what did the secretive Bilderbergers decide at their unreported secret meeting in Washington, District of Crooks, June 2-5 at the start of the month? Nothing good for the rest of us, I’ll bet.

Global Inflation/Stagflation Watch.

Given our Magic Money Tree central banksters and our spendthrift politicians,  inflation now needs an entire section of its own.

FOREX Euro under pressure as inflation fears send investors to dollar haven

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters) - The euro struggled to regain a footing on Thursday, having tumbled overnight against a resurgent U.S. dollar, which benefited from safe-haven demand on renewed worries about higher rates and a global recession.

The euro was at $1.044, after losing 0.75% on the dollar the day before, and heading for a monthly decline of 2.7%.

It also dropped to a fresh 7-1/2-year low versus the Swiss franc at 0.99663 francs, with the Alpine currency another beneficiary of safe-haven flows and also still basking in the afterglow of the Swiss National Bank's surprise rate hike two weeks ago. read more

Christopher Wong, senior FX strategist at Maybank, attributed the euro's fall against the dollar to the market moving away from riskier assets after "central bankers warned of lasting inflation and that they would prioritise combating (it), resulting in broad dollar rebound overnight."

A steady and aggressive global switch to tighter policy has stoked recession worries and shaken financial markets in recent months.

Speaking at the European Central Bank's annual conference in Sintra, Portugal, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said it was important to bring down inflation, even if it meant economic pain, with similar remarks from ECB President Christine Lagarde. read more

Lower German inflation figures also briefly weighed on the euro, said Ray Attrill head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, before "the market realised that there was some special factors there, it wasn't a genuine downside surprise."

"The bigger picture worry is what happens with energy supplies in the eurozone as we head towards the winter... We're quite cautious about the euro," Attrill added.

The dollar was also on the front foot against other majors, with sterling hunkered down at $1.21225, with losses this week leaving it set for a 3.8% monthly decline, while the Australian dollar was struggling at $0.6873


Below, why a “green energy” economy may not be possible, and if it is, it won’t be quick and it will be very inflationary, setting off a new long-term commodity Supercycle. Probably the largest seen so far.

The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking

Mines, Minerals, and "Green" Energy: A Reality Check

"An Environmental Disaster": An EV Battery Metals Crunch Is On The Horizon As The Industry Races To Recycle

by Tyler Durden Monday, Aug 02, 2021 - 08:40 PM

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

With Covid-19 starting to become only endemic, this section is close to coming to its end.

Could Llamas Hold the Key to Fighting COVID-19?

June 29, 2022, at 6:49 a.m.

WEDNESDAY, June 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Llamas are more than beautiful creatures -- they could also help protect humans from COVID-19 and a large array of similar viruses.

Contained in their blood samples are tiny, robust immune particles that could protect against every COVID-19 variant, including Omicron and 18 similar viruses, a team of researchers reported.

The findings suggest that these "super-immunity" molecules, known as nanobodies, could be precursors to a fast-acting, inhaled antiviral treatment or spray. This could potentially be stockpiled and used in the ongoing, evolving pandemic and against future virus spread.

Llamas, along with camels and alpacas, have unique immune systems, the researchers explained. They produce antibodies that have a single polypeptide chain instead of two chains. Therefore, their antibodies are roughly one-tenth the size of typical antibodies, are exceptionally stable, and can firmly bind to viruses.

"Because of their small size and broad neutralizing activities, these camelid nanobodies are likely to be effective against future variants and outbreaks of SARS-like viruses," said study author Yi Shi, director of the Center of Protein Engineering and Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

"Their superior stability, low production costs, and the ability to protect both the upper and lower respiratory tracts against infection mean they could provide a critical therapeutic to complement vaccines and monoclonal antibody drugs if and when a new COVID-19 variant or SARS-CoV-3 emerges," Shi said in a Mount Sinai news release.

The team researched this theory by immunizing a llama named Wally with the short fragment or spike of the coronavirus that latches onto the protein on the surface of human cells to gain entry and spread infection.

Repeatedly immunizing Wally caused the llama to produce nanobodies that recognized COVID-19 and many other coronaviruses. This gave him super-immunity.

The team was able to isolate and validate a large number of highly potent antiviral nanobodies effective against a broad spectrum of SARS-like viruses.


Could Llamas Hold the Key to Fighting COVID-19? | Health News | US News

Next, some vaccine links kindly sent along from a LIR reader in Canada.

NY Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

Regulatory Focus COVID-19 vaccine tracker

Some other useful Covid links.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus

The Spectator Covid-19 data tracker (UK)

Technology Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, among other things, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported.

Interesting, but how will it make money?

Work begins on Mammoth, the world's largest CO2 direct air capture plant

Nick Lavars  June 29, 2022

The ultimate contribution that direct air capture might make in helping us address climate change remains to be seen, but there's no shortage of startups, governments and research groups driving the technology forward. Chief among them is Swiss outfit Climeworks, which has today broken ground on its second direct air capture (DAC) plant in Iceland, and one that marks significant progress in its ambitions of removing gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year by 2050.

Climeworks has operated at the cutting edge of direct air capture technology for some time, switching on the world's first "negative emission" power plant in 2017. This came about through a collaboration with carbon storage company CarbFix, which in 2016 made a major breakthrough in this area by demonstrating how CO2 can be mineralized in less than two years, rather than the hundreds or even thousands that it traditionally takes.

That pilot plant was capable of safely stowing 12.5 tons of CO2 every three months, and paved the way for Climeworks' first proper direct air capture plant, which began operation in Iceland last year. Orca, as the plant is called, is capable of absorbing 4,000 tons of CO2 each year and features a modular design consisting of stackable units, which will be key to the company's plans of scaling up its operations.

Climeworks has now broken ground on its second commercial direct air capture plant, which will also employ a modular architecture and is designed to soak up 36,000 tons of CO2 each year. Construction is expected to take 18 to 24 months, with CarbFix to store the captured carbon once operations begin. As with Orca, renewable energy will be used to run the direct air capture and storage systems.


Work begins on Mammoth, the world's largest CO2 direct air capture plant (

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Recession Plus Inflation?

 Baltic Dry Index. 2204 -91   Brent Crude 117.19

Spot Gold 1822          US 2 Year Yield 3.10 +0.02

Coronavirus Cases 02/04/20 World 1,000,000

Deaths 53,100

Coronavirus Cases 29/06/22 World 550,643,002

Deaths 6,353,680

“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.”

Harry S. Truman.

It’s starting to feel a lot like the next global recession has already started, even as we continue to suffer from very large inflation, especially in foodstuffs and energy.

It’s also starting to feel like neither the G-7 leaders or central banksters know what they are doing or are in any way on top of events.

I wonder if this is how they felt as Rome declined and ultimately fell.

If we are already in a new global recession, we are in for a world of social unrest, labour unrest, massive debt defaults, massive Magic Money Tree issuance to try to buy off social unrest, and a new age of leftist populist politics.

Asian stocks lose bounce from shorter China quarantine, slip on inflation fears

TOKYO, June 29 (Reuters) - Stocks fell across Asia on Wednesday morning, extending overnight losses on Wall Street amid concerns over recession, inflation and high oil prices, which also boosted the safe-haven dollar.

Japan's Nikkei index fell 1.01% in early trading, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 1.1%, dragged lower by Australian shares (.AXJO), off 1.29%, and Korea's KOSPI (.KS11), down 1.57%.

Asian shares had ended the previous session on a positive trajectory after China announced an easing of its quarantine requirements for inbound passengers, in what some observes saw as the biggest relaxation so far of its "zero COVID" strategy. read more

But the impact was petering out on Wednesday.

"Inevitably, markets tend to overreact to these sorts of news," said Carlos Casanova, senior economist at UBP in Hong Kong. "In order for that to be sustainable, we really want to see these measures materialise into actual reopening."

Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) which hit a four week high the day before, lost 0.6% while the Hong Kong benchmark (.HSI) fell 1.3%.

The losses in Asia followed a turbulent day on U.S. markets, with the S&P 500 index down more than 2% after data showed U.S. consumer confidence dropped to a 16-month low in June due to fears high inflation could cause the economy to slow significantly in the second half of the year. read more


European markets set to slide at the open as investors weigh up the economic outlook

LONDON — European stocks are expected to slide at the open on Wednesday as global sentiment remains volatile and investors monitor the economic outlook.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 51 points lower at 7,276, Germany’s DAX 87 points lower at 13,141, France’s CAC 40 down 47 points at 6,039 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 132 points lower at 21,806, according to data from IG.

The lower open anticipated for European markets comes amid declines elsewhere overnight. In Asia-Pacific markets, Hong Kong shares led losses on Wednesday, with stocks there taking the negative lead from Wall Street. U.S. stock futures were flat early on Wednesday after the major averages made a failed attempt at a bounce in the previous session.

Asia-Pacific markets had been buoyed Tuesday after China’s decision to halve the Covid quarantine period to seven days, with a further three days spent at home, which gave markets a signal that Beijing is relaxing its strict approach to eradicating Covid-19.

In other news, investors will continue to watch for news out of the NATO summit in Spain on Wednesday as well as the European Central Bank’s forum in Sintra, Portugal.

There was momentous news from the NATO summit in Madrid on Tuesday as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that a deal had been reached to admit Sweden and Finland after objections from NATO member Turkey had been resolved.

Earnings come from H&M and Mulberry on Wednesday. Data releases include euro zone consumer confidence figures for June and Spanish inflation data also for June.

Wall Street layoffs likely ahead as two-year hiring boom turns to bust

Published Mon, Jun 27 2022 8:00 AM EDT  Updated Mon, Jun 27 2022 3:06 PM EDT

Less than six months ago, Wall Street bankers were reaping the rewards from a historic boom in mergers and IPOs.

Now, thanks to a confluence of factors that have cast a pall over markets and caused most deal categories to plunge this year, broad-based job cuts loom for the first time since 2019, according to industry sources.

The turnaround illustrates the feast-or-famine nature of Wall Street advisory work. Firms were caught understaffed when central banks unleashed trillions of dollars in support for markets at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ensuing surge in capital markets activity such as public listings led to a bull market for Wall Street talent, from 22-year-old college graduates to richly compensated rainmakers.

For the first time in years, bank employees seemed to gain the upper hand. They pushed back against return-to-office mandates. They received record bonuses, multiple rounds of raises, protected time away from work and even Peloton bicycles.

But that’s over, according to those who place bankers and traders at Wall Street firms.

“I can’t see a situation where banks don’t do RIFs in the second half of the year,” David McCormack, head of recruitment firm DMC Partners, said in a phone interview. The word “RIF” is industry jargon meaning a “reduction in force,” or layoffs.

The industry is limping into the traditionally slower summer months, squeezed by steep declines in financial assets, uncertainty caused by the Ukraine war and central banks’ moves to combat inflation.

IPO volumes have dropped a staggering 91% in the U.S. from a year earlier, according to Dealogic data. Companies are unwilling or unable to issue stock or bonds, leading to steep declines in equity and debt capital markets revenues, especially in high yield, where volumes have fallen 75%. They’re also less likely to make acquisitions, leading to a 30% drop in deals volume so far this year.


China’s economy didn’t bounce back in the second quarter, China Beige Book survey finds

BEIJING — Chinese businesses ranging from services to manufacturing reported a slowdown in the second quarter from the first, reflecting the prolonged impact of Covid controls.

That’s according to the U.S.-based China Beige Book, which claims to have conducted more than 4,300 interviews in China in late April and the month ended June 15.

“While most high-profile lockdowns were relaxed in May, June data do not show the powerhouse bounce-back most expected,” according to a report released Tuesday. The analysis found few signs that government stimulus was having much of an effect yet.

Shanghai, China’s largest city by gross domestic product, was locked down in April and May. Beijing and other parts of the country also imposed some level of Covid controls to contain mainland China’s worst outbreak of the virus since the pandemic’s initial shock in early 2020.

In late May, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held an unprecedentedly massive videoconference in which he called on officials to “work hard” — for growth in the second quarter and a drop in unemployment.

Between the first and second quarters, hiring declined across all manufacturing sectors except for food and beverage processing, according to the China Beige Book report.

The employment situation likely won’t start to improve until China stimulates its economy more in the fall, China Beige Book Managing Director Shehzad H. Qazi said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

So far, there’s been little sign that stimulus has kicked in, especially in infrastructure, said Qazi who is based in New York.

“Transportation, construction companies aren’t telling you they’re getting new products,” he said. “They’re telling you they’ve slowed investment, their new projects have actually slowed.”

Unsold goods piled up, except in autos. Orders for domestic consumption and overseas export mostly fell in the second quarter from the first. Orders for textiles and chemicals processing were among the hardest-hit.


“Suckers think that you cure greed with money, addiction with substances, expert problems with experts, banking with bankers, economics with economists, and debt crises with debt spending”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Global Inflation/Stagflation Watch.

Given our Magic Money Tree central banksters and our spendthrift politicians,  inflation now needs an entire section of its own.

ECB to drain cash in offset to new yield-capping scheme -sources

SINTRA, Portugal, June 28 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank will likely drain cash from the banking system to offset any bond purchases made to cap borrowing costs for indebted euro zone states, two sources told Reuters.

Bond yields for Italy and other debt-laden countries have surged since the ECB unveiled plans to stop buying debt and raise its interest rates for the first time in over a decade next month to fight runaway inflation.

The market turmoil has forced the ECB to speed up work on a new bond-buying scheme to curb yields. This leaves it in the difficult position of raising borrowing costs for the euro zone as a whole, while at the same time capping them for some of its weaker members.

To avoid this apparent contradiction, the ECB is considering pairing the new bond-purchase scheme with auctions at which banks can park cash at the ECB for a more favourable interest rate than the ordinary rate on deposits, the sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

This would allow the ECB to 'sterilise' the bond purchases under the new scheme, in a repeat of its weekly "liquidity-absorbing" operations of a decade ago. These offered banks an interest rate up to that of the ECB's refinancing operation, then 0.25%.

An ECB spokeswoman declined to comment.

Unlike a decade ago, the ECB has created 4.48 trillion euros ($4.74 trillion) of excess reserves in the banking system via a plethora of stimulus over the past decade, creating ample room for manoeuvre.

The planned solution would also be more convenient than selling bonds from countries where borrowing costs are lower, such as Germany, as this would likely cause losses for the local central bank.

Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco alluded to such a move earlier this month, when he said the ECB did not need to sell bonds to sterilise its purchases and could work with interest rates instead. read more

The new scheme, aimed at fighting financial fragmentation between euro zone countries, will be unveiled at the ECB's Governing Council meeting of July 21.


Inflation Hits July 4 Cookouts With Food Prices Up as Much as 36%

Mon, June 27, 2022 at 7:15 PM

(Bloomberg) -- Add Fourth of July cookouts to the list of what Americans will pay more for this year — a lot more.

Ground beef prices are up 36% from a year ago, while chicken breasts gained by a third, according to a survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation. Overall, revelers can expect to spend 17% more on food for a barbecue, marking the biggest increase since the lobbying organization began tracking data a decade ago.

In 2021, the cost of an Independence Day cookout declined by less than 1%, according to the group. But much has changed since then. Costs for fuel, labor and key farming inputs like fertilizer have soared. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has worsened the situation by disrupting global agriculture supply chains, according to Roger Cryan, chief economist for the Farm Bureau.

Paying more for burgers and lemonade (up 22%) hits just as one measure of US consumer sentiment fell to an all-time low. How that will impact spending remains to be seen, but the shoppers did pull back in May, and there are more predictions of a looming recession.


Inflation Hits July 4 Cookouts With Food Prices Up as Much as 36% (

Below, why a “green energy” economy may not be possible, and if it is, it won’t be quick and it will be very inflationary, setting off a new long-term commodity Supercycle. Probably the largest seen so far.

The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking

Mines, Minerals, and "Green" Energy: A Reality Check

"An Environmental Disaster": An EV Battery Metals Crunch Is On The Horizon As The Industry Races To Recycle

by Tyler Durden Monday, Aug 02, 2021 - 08:40 PM

Covid-19 Corner

This section will continue until it becomes unneeded.

With Covid-19 starting to become only endemic, this section is close to coming to its end.

Epstein-Barr may play a role in some long COVID; coronavirus can impair blood sugar processing by organs

Mon, June 27, 2022 at 8:23 PM

(Reuters) - The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review.

Epstein-Barr virus may play role in some long COVID cases

COVID-19 may reactivate a common virus that lurks unseen in most people, and that effect might increase patients' risk of certain long-lasting symptoms, according to preliminary findings from a study. More than 90% of adults have been infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Most remained asymptomatic, but some developed mononucleosis as adolescents or young adults.

Among 280 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infections, including 208 with long COVID, researchers found that at four months after diagnosis, fatigue and problems with thinking and reasoning were more common in study participants with immune cells in their blood showing signs of recent EBV reactivation. These signs of reactivation were not linked with other long COVID findings such as gastrointestinal or heart and lung problems, however. And EBV itself was not found in patients' blood, which suggests any reactivation likely is transient and happens during acute COVID-19, Dr. Timothy Henrich of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues reported on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

The findings do not prove that EBV reactivation caused patients' symptoms, Henrich said. And even if it did, "There are likely many other causes of long COVID symptoms such as persistent SARS-CoV-2 virus in tissues over time and a dysregulated immune system that may arise from viral persistence," he said. "Further study of various tissues is urgently needed, as are studies that follow participants from the time of acute infection to months or years thereafter."

SARS-CoV-2 can impair blood sugar processing by organs

Infection with the coronavirus impairs the activity of multiple genes involved in the body's chemical processes, including blood sugar metabolism, and for the first time researchers have seen these effects not just in patients' respiratory tract but elsewhere in the body.

Japanese researchers analyzed blood and tissue samples from patients with mild or severe COVID-19 and from healthy volunteers, evaluating the "expression" - or activity levels - of genes that control the so-called insulin/IGF signaling pathway, which in turn affects many body functions necessary for metabolism, growth, and fertility. "The results were striking," study leader Iichiro Shimomura of Osaka University said in a statement. "Infection with SARS-CoV-2 affected the expression of insulin/IGF signaling pathway components in the lung, liver, adipose tissue, and pancreatic cells." The resulting disruptions in blood sugar metabolism likely contribute to COVID-19's effects on organs, the researchers said.


Next, some vaccine links kindly sent along from a LIR reader in Canada.

NY Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

Regulatory Focus COVID-19 vaccine tracker

Some other useful Covid links.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus resource centre

Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus

The Spectator Covid-19 data tracker (UK)

Technology Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, among other things, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported.

Well, if they say so, but I have my doubts.

Lightyear 0: The solar-powered car you can 'drive for months without charging'

 27/06/2022 - 12:51

The Dutch startup Lightyear's futuristic solar-powered car, with its five square metres of solar panels on the roof and bonnet and space-age aerodynamic sleekness, can cover 70 km powered solely from the sun - if the weather is good, that is.

But right now the cost of producing one -  €250,000 - means it's not commercially viable. Or not yet, anyway.

"It shows that it is possible, it serves as a technology demonstrator. But our goal is to be able to reach a mass market in three years, with a car at €30,000," said Lex Hoefsloot, the CEO of Lightyear.

In Navarre in northern Spain where it's been tested, the sun is generous with its rays, but the obvious question remains: What happens when it gets cloudy?

That's where the battery comes in.

"You can use the sun whenever the weather is nice to charge the battery. So the downside of power solar actually isn't that bad when you have a battery with the car," says Professor Gregory F. Nemet of the University of Wisconsin.

Lightyear says that in cloudy climates, based on an average daily commute of around 35 km, its car can go for up to two months before it needs to plug in for a charge. 

In sunnier countries, that could be up to seven months.

"And for Lightyear 0, range doesn’t start and finish with plugs and sockets. The sun is its source," the company says in its presentation of the model.


“Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

Ronald Reagan.