The 30 Greatest Sports Conspiracy Theories of All-Time: Ranking Sports’ Most Notorious Fixes, Cover-ups, and Scandals

51rqIithrtL The 30 Greatest Sports Conspiracy Theories of All Time: Ranking Sports Most Notorious Fixes, Cover ups, and Scandals

Separating fact from myth, Kalb attempts to determine which of these long-held conspiracy theories hold water, and which ones fall flat under scrutiny. Ranking the conspiracies from 1 to 30 and the likelihood of each conspiracy from 1 to 5, Kalb boldly asks:
  • Did baseball avoid integration in the 1930s and 1940s with an unwritten agreement?
  • Was Super Bowl III a fixed game?
  • Did Sonny Liston throw both of his fights vs. Muhammad Ali?
  • Was the NBA’s first-ever draft lottery fixed?
  • Why did Michael Jordan really retire from basketball the first time?
  • Are some NASCAR race outcomes too good to be true?
  • Did the New England Patriots cheat their way to a dynasty?
  • What really happened at the 1921 Kentucky Derby?
  • Why weren’t any Japanese players signed to major league contracts from 1965-1995?
  • And much more!

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William S. Burroughs’ Wild Ride with Scientology

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You probably knew that William S. Burroughs had experimented with some unusual ideas during his time — but did you know he joined the Church of Scientology? Pop Apocalypse author and English professor Lee Konstantinou reveals the secret history of how Burroughs almost became an Operating Thetan.

In 1959, the same year Olympia Press published his most famous novel Naked Lunch, the writer William S. Burroughs visited the restaurant of his friend and collaborator, Brion Gysin, in Tangiers. There, Burroughs met John and Mary Cooke, a wealthy American hippie couple who were interested in mysticism. Burroughs recalled, “There was something portentous about it, as though I was seeing them in another medium, like they were sitting there as holograms.”

Who were these portentous holograms? Scientologists. Indeed, John Cooke is reported to have been the very first person to receive a status of “Clear” within Scientology, and was deeply involved in its founding. Cooke had been trying to recruit Gysin into the Church, declaring that the artist was a natural “Clear” and “Operating Thetan.” Ultimately, it was Burroughs, not Gysin, who explored the Church that L. Ron Hubbard built. Burroughs took Scientology so seriously that he became a “Clear” and almost became an “Operating Thetan.”

On a research trip to the New York Public Library, I discovered that Burroughs had left behind a rich paper trail documenting his exploration of the science-fiction inspired Church.

I was looking into Burroughs’ life as part of a bigger project about his influence on punk, which led me to the the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection at the NYPL. The William S. Burroughs Papers have a range of amazing materials related to Burroughs’s exploration of Scientology, including extensive handwritten notes Burroughs took on Scientological training materials, notes from auditing sessions Burroughs conducted, and even a cut-up of auditing questions.

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According to his biographer, Barry Miles, Burroughs very quickly incorporated Scientology into his worldview. In an October 27, 1959 letter to Allen Ginsberg, Burroughs wrote: “The method of directed recall is the method of Scientology. You will recall I wrote urging you to contact local chapter and find an auditor. They do the job without hypnosis or drugs, simply run the tape back and forth until the trauma is wiped off. It works. I have used the method—partially responsible for recent changes.” Burroughs thought that the Church was teaching techniques that might help him resist social control by erasing negative images called “engrams” and its ideas came to inform his art.

Only two days later, Burroughs wrote again to Ginsberg: “I have a new method of writing and do not want to publish anything that has not been inspected and processed. I cannot explain this method to you until you have necessary training. So once again and most urgently (believe me there is not much time)—I tell you: ‘Find a Scientology Auditor and have yourself run.’” Scientology appears throughout Burroughs’s oeuvre, and especially in his innovative cut-up trilogy of the sixties and in the avant-garde films he made with Gysin.

Again and again in his writings and interviews, Burroughs mentions the E-meter as Scientology’s most important contribution to a science of the mind. The E-meter, Burroughs thought, was “really a sort of sloppy form of electrical brain stimulation… a lie-detector and a mind-reading machine… Not the content, only the reactions.” Elsewhere Burroughs described the E-meter as a “useful device for deconditioning,” or the elimination of imposed or habitual reactions of symbols and figures. The goal is to achieve something like a “floating needle,” a therapeutic method Burroughs claimed to sometimes use. In his book of interviews, The Job, Burroughs explained his view that Scientology could help counter “the Reactive Mind… an ancient instrument of control designed to stultify and limit the potential for action in a constructive or destructive direction.” Burroughs associated the Reactive Mind with Mayan calendars, which he described in the same interview as “one of the most precise and hermetic control calendars ever… on this planet, a calendar that in effect controlled what the populace did thought and felt on any day.”

In 1961, Burroughs created a short film in collaboration with Gysin called Towers Open Fire(warning: NSFW!), which was a plotless film designed to show the process of control systems breaking down-showing Burroughs, in camouflage and a gas mask, firing an “orgasm gun”; a boy in underwear; a spinning Dream Machine; a shot of a man masturbating; among other disturbing images. Gysin’s biographer notes that the film even used snippets of dialog taken from a Scientology pamphlet.

Scientology appears again disguised as the “Logos” group in Burroughs’s 1962 novel The Ticket That Exploded. As described in the book, Logos has “a system of therapy they call ‘clearing’. You ‘run’ traumatic material which they call ‘engrams’ until it loses emotional connotation through repetitions and is then refilled as neutral memory’ When all the ‘engrams’ have been run and deactivated the subject becomes a ‘clear.’” In the 1964 novel Nova Express, Scientology is for the first time openly described in Burroughs’s fiction. During an interrogation scene in the book, an unnamed character declares “The Scientologists believe sir that words recorded during a period of unconsciousness… store pain and that this pain store can be lugged in with key words represented as an alternate mathematical formulae indicating umber of exposures to the key words and reaction index… they call these words recorded during unconsciousness engrams sir… The pain that overwhelms that person is basic basic sir and when basic basic is wiped off the tape… then that person becomes what they call clear sir.”

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At the start of 1968, Burroughs deepened his relationship to the Church. He took an intense two-month Scientology Clearing Course at the world headquarters of Scientology in Saint Hill Manor in the UK and Burroughs was declared a “Clear,” though he later claimed that he had to work hard to suppress or rationalize his persistently negative feelings toward L. Ron Hubbard during auditing sessions. The Berg has almost a dozen files filled with Burroughs’s pamphlets from Saint Hill as well as his almost unreadable hand-written notes on Scientology courses and questions he prepared for auditing sessions he himself conducted. These files include, as I’ve mentioned, an attempt to create a cut-up from auditing questions; from the start, Scientology was very much connected to the cut-up technique and Burroughs’s theory that language constituted a kind of virus that had infested the human host. At Saint Hill, Burroughs entered an intense and obsessive period of auditing sessions with an E-Meter, including a process of exploring past lives, though he slowly began to grow alienated from the Church and what he considered its Orwellian security protocols. Burroughs’s antipathy for Scientological “Sec Checks” are apparent in his strange and violent story, “Ali’s Smile,” which was published in the collection Ali’s Smile/Naked Scientology.

Burroughs eventually rejected Scientology—because of what he called “the fascist policies of Hubbard and his organization”—but cautiously endorsed some of its “discoveries.” His break with the Church developed over course of the late sixties in the pages of the London-based magazine, Mayfair, where Burroughs wrote a series of increasingly hostile “bulletins” about his adventures with the organization. These bulletins culminated in Burroughs’s amusingly titledMayfair article, “I, William Burroughs, Challenge You, L. Ron Hubbard.” This piece was republished in the Los Angeles Free Press. In his challenge to L. Ron, Burroughs wrote:

Some of the techniques [of Scientology] are highly valuable and warrant further study and experimentation. The E Meter is a useful device… (many variations of this instrument are possible). On the other hand I am in flat disagreement with the organizational policy. No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought.

For his inquiries, Burroughs reports, he was expelled from the organization and in 1968 was put into what Scientologists call a condition of “Treason“; though the exact circumstances surrounding this incident remain unclear. Burroughs’s public battle against the Church continued in a 1972 issue of Rolling Stone, where he expressed his support for Robert Kaufmann’s exposé, Inside Scientology, published by Olympia Press. Here Burroughs uses his harshest language yet: “Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties.” Strangely enough, despite his break with the group, Scientology reappeared in the 1972 film Bill and Tony, which Burroughs made with Antony Balch (the masturbating guy in Towers Open Fire). In Bill and Tony, an image of Burroughs’s disembodied floating head recites instructions for how to operate an auditing session.

So what are we supposed to make of all this? On one level it’s hard to say, but what ought to be abundantly clear is that Burroughs took Scientology quite seriously indeed for the better part of a decade—during what was arguably his most artistically fertile period. Burroughs clearly had his own uses for Scientology. Gysin once quipped that Burroughs was probably the first person to make more money from Scientology than the organization made from him. This may be true, but Burroughs wasn’t investigating the Church cynically. Today, where so much attention focuses on the science fictional origins of Scientology, it is easy to forget how seemingly in harmony the Church was with a whole range of countercultural, “New Age,” and anti-psychiatric practices in the Sixties.

What becomes clear when you listen to Burroughs talking about Scientology is that he associated the group with a range of mind-expanding and mind-freeing practices: Wilhelm Reich’s trippy Orgone Accumulator, which Jack Kerouac wrote about in On the Road; Mayan calendrical mind control systems; hallucinogens (especially the plant yagé) and other powerful mind-altering drugs; apomorphine, which he used several times to treat his drug addiction; the rambling, sarcastic monologues he called “routines”; the Dream Machine Burroughs invented with Gysin, a machine that supposedly could simulate “alpha-waves”; and of course his ultimate weapon in the Burroughs arsenal, the cut-up, which was designed to jam up what he called “the Reality Studio,” aka the everyday, conditioned, mind-controlled reality. If you spend enough time digging through Burroughs’s writing, you get the sense that Burroughs thought he lived in a very literally real science fictional world.

Absent from Burroughs’s writing are any references to body thetans, Xenu, the Galactic Confederacy, Douglas DC-8 airliners, volcanic hydrogen bombs, or other beliefs more recently associated with Scientology, thanks to the South Park episode, “Trapped in the Closet” and Lawrence Wright’s epically long New Yorker article on the defection of the film director Paul Haggis from the church). It’s too bad Burroughs didn’t achieve a higher OT level; he could have mined Scientology’s madcap space opera as a source for even more mind-bending books.

Lee Konstantinou is author of the novel Pop Apocalypse and a professor at the University of Maryland at College Park. This io9 Flashback originally appeared in 2011.

The Ultimate Introduction to NLP: How to build a successful life

51jUa3YFsVL The Ultimate Introduction to NLP: How to build a successful life

Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP and the man who inspired Paul McKenna to greatness, collaborates with Alessio Roberti and Owen Fitzpatrick to reveal how to unleash your true potential and transform your life.

Richard Bandler – the world-renowned co-creator of NLP who has helped millions around the world change their lives for the better – has teamed up with Italian NLP Master Trainer Alessio and co-founder of the Irish Institute of NLP Owen, to craft a simple yet engaging story of one man’s personal change and discovery, to help readers understand the remarkable principles of NLP.

Inspiring and easy-to-read, this fable recreates the experience of being at a workshop with Bandler. Rather than explaining the theories, An Introduction to NLP illustrates the principles and simple techniques that Bandler has developed over the past 35 years in action.

This inspirational book gives you the tools to change your life, overcoming the things that are holding you back: your phobias, depression, habits, psychosomatic illnesses or learning disorders.

Through the simple techniques of NLP, you too can become a strong, happy, successful person and achieve your goals.

‘The must have self-help book!’ Paul McKenna

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The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception

512MEja%2BDBL The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception

Once a top-secret training manual for CIA field agents in the early Cold War Era of the 1950s, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception is now available to the general public. An amazing historical artifact, this eye-opening handbook offered step-by-step instructions to covert intelligence operatives in all manner of sleight of hand and trickery designed to thwart the Communist enemy. Part of the Company’s infamous MK-ULTRA—a secret mind-control and chemical interrogation research program—this legendary document, the brainchild of John Mulholland, then America’s most famous magician, was believed lost forever. But thanks to former CIA gadgeteer Bob Wallace and renowned spycraft historian H. Keith Melton, The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception is now available to everyone, spy and civilian alike.

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Secret Science of Masonic Initiation, The

51RsY1HSDML Secret Science of Masonic Initiation, The

Freemasonry has a deep purpose which can be overlooked in the rush of the modern world. Its ritual says it is a high and serious subject. But how can an individual discover the truths it outlines? Robert Lomas has spent thirty years as a university teacher, and twenty years studying Freemasonry. In this book he shares his personal insight into the Craft and outlines the steps a Mason must take to find self-knowledge. His words are illuminated by the unique symbolic drawings of two masters of Masonic Tracing board design.

The purpose of Freemasonry is to help its members become Initiates in the science of Life. If you want to know yourself, then Freemasonry offers a path to that knowledge. It is a spiritual adventure, fit for the athletic and adventurous mind. The Secret Science of Masonic Initiation reveals that path.

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Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas

51ETm0510yL Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas

The nation’s most-cited legal scholar who for decades has been at the forefront of applied behavioral economics, and the bestselling author of Nudge and Simpler, Cass Sunstein is one of the world’s most innovative thinkers in the academy and the world of practical politics. In the years leading up to his confirmation as the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Sunstein published hundreds of articles on everything from same-sex marriage to cost-benefit analysis. Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas is a collection of his most famous, insightful, relevant, and inflammatory pieces. Within these pages you will learn:

• Why perfectly rational people sometimes believe crazy conspiracy theories
• What wealthy countries should and should not do about climate change
• Why governments should allow same-sex marriage, and what the “right to marry” is all about
• Why animals have rights (and what that means)
• Why we “misfear,” meaning get scared when we should be unconcerned and are unconcerned when we should get scared
• What kinds of losses make us miserable, and what kinds of losses are absolutely fine
• How to find the balance between religious freedom and gender equality
• And much more . . .

Cass Sunstein is a unique, controversial, and exciting voice in the political world. A man who cuts through the fog of left vs. right arguments and offers logical, evidence-based, and often surprising solutions to today’s most challenging questions.

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PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick – Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Southwest Of Iquique, Chile! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]

April 10, 2014 – CHILE - A 6.0 magnitude earthquake has struck Chile, says the US Geological Survey.

chilequake01 PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick   Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Southwest Of Iquique, Chile! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]
USGS earthquake location map.

The epicenter of tremor was located 84 kilometers to the south-west of the port city of Iquique in the north of Chile, the same area of northern Chile where a massive 8.2 earthquake struck on couple weeks ago. The earlier quake, which caused a tsunami, killed six people and forced almost one million others to evacuate.

Two  powerful 7.6 and 6.4 magnitude aftershocks were also recorded following that quake.

Today’s 6.0 quake nested at a depth of 17.5 kilometers (11 miles). There have been no official reports of damage or injury in Chile or Peru, according to Reuters.

chilequake02 PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick   Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Southwest Of Iquique, Chile! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]
USGS earthquake intensity map.

There is no threat of tsunami after the earthquake.

Hundreds of earthquakes have occurred along Chile’s far-northern coast in the past two weeks, starting with a 6.7 magnitude quake that hit on March 16, causing the brief evacuation of 100,000 people in low-lying areas. No tsunami followed.

An 8.8 magnitude quake and accompanying tsunami hit central Chile in 2010, killing over 500 people and destroying 220,000 homes, among other damage.

Seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region).

The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

Most of the large earthquakes in South America are constrained to shallow depths of 0 to 70 km resulting from both crustal and interplate deformation. Crustal earthquakes result from deformation and mountain building in the overriding South America plate and generate earthquakes as deep as approximately 50 km. Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world. Other notable shallow tsunami-generating earthquakes include the 1906 M8.5 earthquake near Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the 1922 M8.5 earthquake near Coquimbo, Chile, the 2001 M8.4 Arequipa, Peru earthquake, the 2007 M8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru, and the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake located just north of the 1960 event.

peruquake03 PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick   Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Southwest Of Iquique, Chile! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]
USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Large intermediate-depth earthquakes (those occurring between depths of approximately 70 and 300 km) are relatively limited in size and spatial extent in South America, and occur within the Nazca plate as a result of internal deformation within the subducting plate. These earthquakes generally cluster beneath northern Chile and southwestern Bolivia, and to a lesser extent beneath northern Peru and southern Ecuador, with depths between 110 and 130 km. Most of these earthquakes occur adjacent to the bend in the coastline between Peru and Chile. The most recent large intermediate-depth earthquake in this region was the 2005 M7.8 Tarapaca, Chile earthquake.

Earthquakes can also be generated to depths greater than 600 km as a result of continued internal deformation of the subducting Nazca plate. Deep-focus earthquakes in South America are not observed from a depth range of approximately 300 to 500 km. Instead, deep earthquakes in this region occur at depths of 500 to 650 km and are concentrated into two zones: one that runs beneath the Peru-Brazil border and another that extends from central Bolivia to central Argentina. These earthquakes generally do not exhibit large magnitudes. An exception to this was the 1994 Bolivian earthquake in northwestern Bolivia. This M8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 631 km, making it the largest deep-focus earthquake instrumentally recorded, and was felt widely throughout South and North America.

Subduction of the Nazca plate is geometrically complex and impacts the geology and seismicity of the western edge of South America. The intermediate-depth regions of the subducting Nazca plate can be segmented into five sections based on their angle of subduction beneath the South America plate. Three segments are characterized by steeply dipping subduction; the other two by near-horizontal subduction. The Nazca plate beneath northern Ecuador, southern Peru to northern Chile, and southern Chile descend into the mantle at angles of 25° to 30°. In contrast, the slab beneath southern Ecuador to central Peru, and under central Chile, is subducting at a shallow angle of approximately 10° or less. In these regions of “flat-slab” subduction, the Nazca plate moves horizontally for several hundred kilometers before continuing its descent into the mantle, and is shadowed by an extended zone of crustal seismicity in the overlying South America plate. Although the South America plate exhibits a chain of active volcanism resulting from the subduction and partial melting of the Nazca oceanic lithosphere along most of the arc, these regions of inferred shallow subduction correlate with an absence of volcanic activity. - USGS.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick – Strong 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Managua In Nicaragua! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]

April 10, 2014 - NICARAGUA - A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck near the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

nicaraguaquake01 PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick   Strong 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Managua In Nicaragua! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]
USGS earthquake location map.


It said the quake, very shallow at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km) and therefore more powerful, struck at 2327 GMT north of Managua, 14 miles (22.5 km) northeast of the town of Nagarote.

A magnitude 6.4 quake is capable of causing severe damage.

nicaraguaquake02 PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick   Strong 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Managua In Nicaragua! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]
USGS earthquake intensity map.

The quake was initially reported as having a 6.2 magnitude. - Reuters.

Tectonic Summary Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity

Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

barbadosquake05 PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick   Strong 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Managua In Nicaragua! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]
USGS plate tectonics map for the region

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Columbia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake. – USGS.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse – U.S. Stocks Collapse, Nasdaq Plunges 3%, Worst Day Since 2011; Marc Faber Predicts That The 2014 Crash Will Be Worse Than 1987; Top Economists Warn Germany That EMU Crisis As Dangerous As Ever; And The IMF Warns Europe’s Banking System Poses Threat To Global Financial Stability!

April 10, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - U.S. stocks were slammed on Thursday, with high-flying technology and biotech shares leading the declines that had the Nasdaq Composite posting its worst session in more than two years.

dowjonesdown01 GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse   U.S. Stocks Collapse, Nasdaq Plunges 3%, Worst Day Since 2011; Marc Faber Predicts That The 2014 Crash Will Be Worse Than 1987; Top Economists Warn Germany That EMU Crisis As Dangerous As Ever; And The IMF Warns Europes Banking System Poses Threat To Global Financial Stability!

“The market is coming to its senses in some of the high-flying tech names; it looked like there were some pretty hefty amounts being paid for the prospect of eventual earnings. Any of us in the market more than 15 years feels the hot breath on the backs of our necks when we see such high prices being paid for tech stocks,” said Jerry Webman, chief economist at Oppenheimer Funds.

“One of the interesting ironies is when you see a shift towards stocks with pretty low prices and away from momentum that tends to happen when the underlying economy is still growing,” Webman added.

The Nasdaq Composite declined as much as 141 points, and ended down 129.79 points, or 3.1 percent, at 4,054.11, its hardest hit since November of 2011.

Momentum stocks including Tesla Motors, Facebook, Google, Priceline Group and Amazon.com declined, along with biotechnology companies, with Pacific Biosciences of California, Zogenix and ChemoCentryx among those hit.

“Clearly investors are nervous about high-flying momentum stocks. There is a rethink on whether better earnings and economic data will support a resumption of the momentum that was driving biotechnology and higher-flying technology stocks earlier in the year,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.

“We’re back to a valuation focus; investors are gravitating towards something tangible, like earnings and revenue,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.

“We’re entering earnings season and they are not going to have much to show. Investors want to see earnings and cash flow,” said Ablin of new technology and biotech firms that have seen their shares run-up on bets for future performance.

EBay fell after reaching an accord with activist investor Carl Icahn to halt his proxy battle by saying it would appoint, at Icahn’s urging, an independent director to its board. Family Dollar Stores slid after saying it would cut jobs and close hundreds of stores as the discount retailer struggles to reverse declining sales.

Rite Aid gained after the drugstore chain projected full-year revenue that beat expectations; Bed Bath & Beyond declined after forecasting quarterly profit beneath estimates. Shares of Ally Financial fell as the former financing arm of General Motors made its market debut.

nasdaq GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse   U.S. Stocks Collapse, Nasdaq Plunges 3%, Worst Day Since 2011; Marc Faber Predicts That The 2014 Crash Will Be Worse Than 1987; Top Economists Warn Germany That EMU Crisis As Dangerous As Ever; And The IMF Warns Europes Banking System Poses Threat To Global Financial Stability!

After a 283-point plunge, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 266.96 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,170.22, with American Express leading losses that extended to all but two of its 30 components.

The S&P 500 declined 39.10 points, or 2.1 percent, to 1,833.08, with health care and technology pacing losses that extended to all 10 of its major industry sectors.

The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of investor uncertainty, jumped 15 percent to 15.89.

For every stock rising, roughly four declined on the New York Stock Exchange, where 802 million shares traded. Composite volume cleared 3.7 billion.

Equities began the day little changed, with upbeat economic data on the U.S. labor market offsetting disappointing export data from China. – CNBC.

Marc Faber Predicts That The 2014 Crash Will Be Worse Than 1987

Marc Faber says the stock market is setting up for a decline more painful than the sudden crash of 1987.

“I think it’s very likely that we’re seeing, in the next 12 months, an ’87-type of crash,” Faber said with a devious chuckle on Thursday’s episode of “Futures Now.” “And I suspect it will be even worse.”

Faber, the editor and publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, has recently called for growth stocks to decline. And he says the pain in the Internet and biotech sectors is just getting started.

“I think there are some groups of stocks that are highly vulnerable because they’re in cuckoo land in terms of valuations,” Faber said. “They have no earnings. They’re valued at price-to-sales. And this is not a good metric in the long run.”

WATCH: Marc Faber – Coming crash will be worse than 1987.

To be sure, there are prominent investors that disagree with Faber, among them legendary stockpicker Bill Miller, who said this week that conditions for a bad market simply don’t exist.

But it’s not just momentum stocks that Faber is wary of. He says that investors are coming to a stark realization.

“I believe that the market is slowly waking up to the fact that the Federal Reserve is a clueless organization,” Faber said. “They have no idea what they’re doing. And so the confidence level of investors is diminishing, in my view.”

As investors adjust to this fact, and valuations shrink, he predicts a massive decline in the market.

“This year, for sure—maybe from a higher diving board—the S&P will drop 20 percent,” Faber said, adding: “I think, rather, 30 percent. Who knows. But all I’m saying is that it’s not a very good time, right now, to buy stocks.”

Previously, in August 2013, Faber predicted that a 1987-style crash was coming. The S&P 500 is about 9 percent higher since he made that call. – CNBC.

Top Economists Warn Germany That EMU Crisis As Dangerous As Ever
emucrisis GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse   U.S. Stocks Collapse, Nasdaq Plunges 3%, Worst Day Since 2011; Marc Faber Predicts That The 2014 Crash Will Be Worse Than 1987; Top Economists Warn Germany That EMU Crisis As Dangerous As Ever; And The IMF Warns Europes Banking System Poses Threat To Global Financial Stability!
Professor Michael Burda, from Berlin’s Humbolt University, said the eurozone’s
core problem is Germany’s current account surplus
 Photo: AP

Council on Foreign Relations compares Germany’s hardline stance with US policy towards Britain at the end of the Second World War. 

The eurozone debt crisis is deepening and threatens to re-erupt on a larger scale when the liquidity cycle turns, a leading panel of economists warned in a clash of views with German officials in Berlin.

“Debts above 130pc of GDP for Italy and 170pc for Greece are a recipe for disaster once we go into the next downturn,” said Professor Charles Wyplosz, from Geneva University.

“Today’s politicians believe the crisis is over and don’t want to hear any more about it, but they have not tackled the core issues of fiscal union and public debt,” he said, speaking at Euromoney’s annual Germany conference.

Ludger Schuknecht, director-general of the German finance ministry, insisted that the debt-stricken states of the eurozone are well on the way to recovery, ending their EU-IMF rescue programmes successfully one by one. There is no need for any major shift in policy. “The strategy has been right. We need to bring down debt and this is now consensus,” he said.

Mr Schuknecht, the chief architect of the EMU anti-crisis regime, said Europe’s banking union may need tweaking but nothing more. “There are some loose ends. These will be tied in a timely manner,” he said.

This optimism is sharply at odds with the view of almost every foreign-based economist attending the event. Charles Dallara, former head of the International Instititute for Finance and chief negotiator for global banks in Greece’s debt-restructuring, said little has be done to put the eurozone on a viable footing, even if sovereign bond yields in southern Europe have fallen to record lows.

“We should not be distracted by what is happening in financial markets, and look at the underlying economies in Italy and Spain. The pace of recovery is so slow and painful that is going to be challenging for democracies,” he said.

“There has been too much belt-tightening and not enough structural reform. Credit is continuing to shrink in the heart of the eurozone. What is needed is a collective effort across the entirety of the eurozone to boost confidence, with a new package of fiscal measures and an end to austerity. Imagine how powerful that would be,” he said.

Benn Steil, from the Council on Foreign Relations, said Germany’s refusal to allow the eurozone rescue fund (ESM) to recapitalise banks directly means there will be no back-stop in place to prevent problems spinning out of control if European banks fail stress tests later this year, as expected.

This ignores the key lesson of the US stress tests, where government capital lay in reserve to ensure the stability of the system. “There is the potential for a fresh crisis if they announce the stress tests without the ESM being able to recapitalise banks,” he said.

While Mr Steil did not cite specific countries, there are concerns that some Irish, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian lenders may fail tests as they grapple with a backlog of non-performing loans.

“Germany and the creditor states are going to have to decide whether they will accept fiscal transfers or whether it is best to wind down the project and let the eurozone unravel,” he said.

Mr Steil compared Germany’s hardline stance with US policy towards Britain at the end of the Second World War, when a prostrate UK emerged with the world’s biggest debts – though US policy later changed. “We are hearing the same language as in the 1940s. The crisis was all the fault of lax policies in the debtor countries. It was precisely the way the US spoke when it was a creditor,” he said.

Mr Steil warned that the achievement of primary budget surpluses in Italy and Greece may prove a Pyrrhic Victory since history shows that heavily-indebted countries are most likely to default once they have crossed this line and can meet day-to-day costs from tax revenue. “This is a good time for Greece to default,” he said.

Professor Michael Burda, from Berlin’s Humbolt University, said the eurozone’s core problem is Germany’s current account surplus – more than 6pc of GDP – and flat wages for a decade. “Germany has to become less competitive or the eurozone is not going to survive. You can’t just save forever. It’s mercantilism and we don’t do that kind of thing anymore. All Germany has to do is to make its people happier by raising their wages,” he said. – Telegraph.

IMF Warns Europe’s Banking System Poses Threat To Global Financial Stability
imfeuro GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse   U.S. Stocks Collapse, Nasdaq Plunges 3%, Worst Day Since 2011; Marc Faber Predicts That The 2014 Crash Will Be Worse Than 1987; Top Economists Warn Germany That EMU Crisis As Dangerous As Ever; And The IMF Warns Europes Banking System Poses Threat To Global Financial Stability!
The eurozone’s creaking banking system poses a threat to global financial stability, the IMF has warned.
IMF says end of low US interest rates and sharp slowdown in China could also derail recovery
Photograph: Oliver Berg/EPA

The eurozone’s creaking banking system poses a serious threat to global financial stability, according to the International Monetary Fund, which warned European leaders to accelerate plans to support weak banks and create a banking union.

In a report that forecasts a “Goldilocks” outcome of stable growth, IMF financial counsellor José Viñals said the end of low interest rates in the US, coupled with a failure by the Obama administration to monitor risky lending, a sharp slowdown in China and disruption to emerging markets could all upset expectations of a smooth recovery.

“Can the US make a smooth exit from unconventional policies? I call this the ‘Goldilocks exit’ – not too hot, not too cold, just right.

“This is our base line, most likely outcome. After a turbulent start, the normalisation of monetary policy has begun. But a bumpy exit is possible.”

He said the eurozone’s incomplete repair of bank and corporate balance sheets continued to place a drag on the recovery, while the widening gap between Germany and the poorest of the 18 member states was restricting the flow of funds around the currency zone and hampering the growth of smaller businesses. “Thus, further efforts must be made to strengthen bank balance sheets, through the European comprehensive bank assessment and follow-up, and to tackle the corporate debt overhang,” he said.

The IMF, which published the global financial stability report on Wednesday, acts as lender of last resort to bankrupt countries and is one of many economic organisations to worry about the effects on global growth of the US attempting to behave as if the recovery is complete when many countries are still struggling to cope with the aftershocks.

Since last May’s signal from the US Federal Reserve that interest rates would soon begin to rise, policymakers have been wary of the knock-on effects of a return to more normal rates in the US. The hint by former Fed boss Ben Bernanke caused a flight of investor capital from Turkey, Brazil and South Africa back to the US in the expectation of better returns.

Willem Buiter, chief economist at US bank Citi, told an audience at the IMF’s spring conference that the US central bank was irresponsible to predict higher interest rates without putting in place insurance plans for countries that will be hit by the increased costs.

Buiter said greater co-operation was needed to insulate weaker countries from the ripple effects of policy changes in the US.

A refusal by the European Central Bank and its boss Mario Draghi to make borrowing cheaper for local banks was also a concern, he said.

“We talk about the US exiting loose monetary policy and low interest rates, but the eurozone has not yet even entered. Europe is too confident that everything will be OK when its banks are still in need of massive support,” he said.

“The markets are strong, but investors are still sniffing the glue provided by Draghi and his declaration to do whatever it takes to rescue the euro.”

Buiter said the banking union needed a €1tn fund to underwrite European banks and not the €55bn proposed by Brussels.

Alistair Darling, the Labour MP and former chancellor of the exchequer, said the banking union was desperately under-capitalised.

“In my experience €55bn only rescues one bank,” he said.

“We kid ourselves into believing that it is all over and a banking crisis could never happen again. This is very dangerous. “

Viñals also explained that a repeat of the sub-prime loans disaster that sparked the financial crisis was also possible, though less in the housing market and more in the sale of corporate bonds. He said the value of low quality bonds, issued by companies with a high risk of going bust, was more than double the level over the last three years as the amount recorded before the crash.

While commending US regulators for being “on top of this”, he said a panic could increase the costs of financing company debts and trigger a flurry of defaults and a second crisis.

Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, argued that the US economy was still fragile and in need of huge support from the central bank.

Signalling that many members of the Fed board support chair Janet Yellen’s doveish stance, he said: “US unemployment is higher now than it was at its peak in the last recession. US workers are not in as strong a position to withstand shocks and face many obstacles to higher productivity and wages from technological and structural changes.”

Viñals said emerging markets from Turkey to Indonesia could struggle in the face of rising interest rates, weakening corporate earnings, and depreciating exchange rates.

“Indeed, in this scenario, emerging market corporates owing almost 35% of outstanding debt could find it hard to service their obligations.

While the situation varies widely across countries, those economies under recent pressure also share some vulnerabilities in their corporate sectors,” he said.

To solve issues that reveal the inter-connectedness of national economies, he said: “We need greater global policy cooperation as we are all in this together. This extends to monetary policy, financial regulation and supervision, and ensuring orderly market conditions.” – Guardian.

EXTREME WEATHER: Smoky Brush Fire Rages Wild In New Jersey – Flames Leap 40 FEET HIGH; 250 ACRES Burned; Fire Was Near The Raritan Center Industrial Complex! [VIDEO+PHOTOS]

April 10, 2014 - NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES - A large brush fire with flames 40 feet high raged near Edison, N.J. Thursday, burning 250 acres and sending thick plumes of smoke into the sky.

newjerseyfire02 EXTREME WEATHER: Smoky Brush Fire Rages Wild In New Jersey   Flames Leap 40 FEET HIGH; 250 ACRES Burned; Fire Was Near The Raritan Center Industrial Complex! [VIDEO+PHOTOS]
A brush fire in Edison is burned the swamp grass of the north shores of the Raritan River Thursday.

The fire burned near the Raritan Center industrial complex, which houses hundreds of businesses, including day cares, hotels and a FedEx facility.

Wind gusts over 15 mph pushed the fire from Edison into Woodbridge, according to Edison Fire Chief Brian Latham.

newjerseyfire01 EXTREME WEATHER: Smoky Brush Fire Rages Wild In New Jersey   Flames Leap 40 FEET HIGH; 250 ACRES Burned; Fire Was Near The Raritan Center Industrial Complex! [VIDEO+PHOTOS]

newjerseyfire03 EXTREME WEATHER: Smoky Brush Fire Rages Wild In New Jersey   Flames Leap 40 FEET HIGH; 250 ACRES Burned; Fire Was Near The Raritan Center Industrial Complex! [VIDEO+PHOTOS]

newjerseyfire04 EXTREME WEATHER: Smoky Brush Fire Rages Wild In New Jersey   Flames Leap 40 FEET HIGH; 250 ACRES Burned; Fire Was Near The Raritan Center Industrial Complex! [VIDEO+PHOTOS]

After several hours, the fire was 95 percent contained, Latham said. A helicopter was being used to help douse the flames.

WATCH: Chopper 4 captured video of a large brush fire with flames leaping 25 feet high raging near Edison, N.J.



Officials said the state forest service would stay on site overnight to observe and make sure hot spots didn’t flare up.

There was no immediate word about a cause. – NBC New York.