Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Even the Japanese sewers are better than ours

In what can only been seen as a preview of Mike Rowe's next gig for Dirty Jobs

Japan sewage yields more gold than top mines
Resource-poor Japan just discovered a new source of mineral wealth -- sewage.
A sewage treatment facility in central Japan has recorded a higher gold yield from sludge than can be found at some of the world's best mines. An official in Nagano prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, said the high percentage of gold found at the Suwa facility was probably due to the large number of precision equipment manufacturers in the vicinity that use the yellow metal. The facility recently recorded finding 1,890 grammes of gold per tonne of ash from incinerated sludge.

That is a far higher gold content than Japan's Hishikari Mine, one of the world's top gold mines, owned by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, which contains 20-40 grammes of the precious metal per tonne of ore.

The prefecture is so far due to receive 5 million yen ($55,810) for the gold.


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A number of headline writers did their best to try and find a reason for the sudden spike in stock prices this afternoon. Some reached back to pending home sales data from the AM and others looked to the Bad bank rumors circulating again. The pending homes sales was bad data skewed by huge foreclosure sales in California (for example Northeast pending home sales were down 14%) and I'm not sure what is going to happen with the banks but I don't think the outcome will be good for the banks.


The reality is 8,000 is an inflection point now on the Dow and once it seemed like the market could hold that level people (more accurately computer programs) bought the market. I've been surprised by the simplicity of the trades over the past couple of days -- yesterday the market went straight up at 3pm and today the trigger seemed to be 2pm. In the good old days I would have said that some junior trader probably just fell asleep on the buy button, but I don't know drove them to buy today. The parade of bad news continues -


Auto sales were awful

Disney, Electronic Arts, Pier 1 all reported bad results

The lowering of California's debt rating


but that doesn't mean people aren't trading. Many traders are looking for one more bump up in prices (5% up from here or so) to load up their short positions.


The economy is often described as an oil tanker that takes time to shift course. However, I think the proper analogy right now is a runaway train. The rapid decline of the economy has snowballed and is dramatically altering corporate plans for 2009. State and local governments and consumers have been slower to adjust, but they will be forced to adjust as well.


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Finally, in a sign that all American innovation has not gone the way of the Sears manual typewriter consider this modern marvel:




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