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Learn to Live to Learn
Heart to Heart with Hillary
Money matters: A short history of the only real currency (part
More on what the market has to say about gold
MBMG International Ltd.
From last week: Major buy signals are generated
when downtrend lines are broken. The 50 MA is then used as a support level
to keep an investor/trader in the major run up. After the buy signal is
generated, as long as the ratio chart stays above the 50 MA, investors
should hold their gold stocks. Major sell signals are finally produced
when the ratio subsequently falls below the 50 MA support.
The recent buy signal on the HUI/Gold ratio is really a
‘minor’ buy signal. The major buy signal has NOT YET occurred.
IF we plot the HUI/Gold ratio on a weekly chart (see
graph 1), this becomes apparent: Note how the past major buy signals have
also been confirmed by the Aroon and Williams % R indicators. As you can
see, a major buy signal has NOT YET occurred!
This tells me that the ‘mega’ buy signal for gold
stocks has yet to occur. By my analysis, this could occur within a month
or two. One could go long gold stocks here; however, the safer bet would
be to wait for the major buy signal to trigger.
So when will this major buy signal occur and can we
estimate an approximate date? As you can see, each consolidation period of
the ratio has been increasing (see graph 2): The first consolidation
period lasted approximately 7.5 months, while the second consolidation
period lasted about 12.5 months.
Here’s where it gets interesting: Note that 12.5
months is 60% longer than 7.5 months. Logically I would assume that the
recent consolidation time frame would be 60% longer than the previous one
at 12.5 months. This means that the recent consolidation period should
last between 20.5 - 21 months. This puts a breakout in the time frame of
mid August to early September.
Is this for real? (see graph 3) I don’t know, but I
thought I would present it anyway.
Let’s have a look at the daily charts.
The HUI has major resistance at the downtrend line and
the 200 MA (see graph 4).
We remain bullish on the longer term outlook for both
the physical (gold bullion) and the equities. In the short term we prefer
the equities to the bullion. We hold roughly 5% in physical gold bullion
in our portfolios, with another 10% in gold- related equity exposure.
I’ll end with a quote from the venerable Richard Russell of Dow Theory
“But where to go? The euro? A fiat, untested currency. The yen? Not a
big enough currency, but it will do in small amounts. The renminbi? It’s
not convertible, it’s only an idea for the future, and the renminbi is
the product of a Communist nation. Gold? Well, there’s always gold, but
gold pays no interest, and gold works against the very concept that the
central bank’s bunker artists are promoting - which is that their
printed paper currency is really money and gold is an ancient relic.”
The above data and research was compiled from sources believed to be
reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its officers can accept
any liability for any errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any
responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not
taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For more information please
contact Graham Macdonald on [email protected]
Snap Shots: Colour or Black and White?
by Harry Flashman
I can remember when all photography was done in Black
and White (B&W). You too? To get different colours, toners were added
to the final bath for the prints - selenium, sepia, iodine - they all gave
a different “cast”, but it was still B&W with a tinge of something
The next thing we did was to hand colour B&W to
give blue eyes staring out of a grey face which had red lips. Hardly
However, we then invented colour film. We learned how
to make it so cheaply that everyone could afford to use it. We made it so
responsive that any simple camera could handle it. We made it universally
This is no object of wonder. We live in a colourful
world - and especially so in Tropical Thailand. However, just how
“true” are the colours you get back from your friendly one hour photo
processors? (Incidentally, have you noticed that most one hour places tell
you to come back in three?)
Unfortunately, colour changes from photo processing
shop to photo processing shop and from brand to brand and film speed (ISO
rating) to film speed. As an exercise, take the same subject with the same
camera, at the same time of day with different films and then compare the
end results. The camera never lies? It certainly bends the truth with
You will also get spectacular differences in colour
depending upon the time of day. The “colour” of the sun’s rays is
measured in a scale called Kelvin degrees and this differs dependent upon
the time of day. The “blue” end of the range is in the morning and the
“red” end in the afternoon. When you are using sunlight as the source
of light for your photographs, the colour “temperature” (the degrees
Kelvin thing) of the sun’s rays will give the overall cast to the
picture. This is why you get “warm” (orange-red) tones in the late
afternoon and “cold” (bluish) tones in the mornings.
Now it doesn’t stop with orange and blue. If you use
other sources of illumination for your photographs, you will get even more
different colour casts. Look at any photographs you have taken where
fluoro lights were the principal light source. The resulting photo will
have a distinctly “green” hue. Similarly, if “ordinary” (tungsten)
light bulbs are the light source you will get a very strong orange cast to
Take a look at the shots I have used this week to
illustrate colour shift. Even though they are printed in glorious
newspaper grey monocolour, you will see an obvious difference. These shots
were taken at an open air night concert, and the guitarist is Lam
Morrison, for the music buffs. The two shots were taken less than 5
seconds apart, but they look totally different, do they not? The shot on
the left was taken by using the flash with the camera (which overpowers
the stage lights), while the one on the right was taken after turning the
flash off and letting the stage lights be the source of illumination. If
it were in colour, you would actually see that the left hand side is blue,
while the right hand side is a yellow/green.
Pro shooters will use this colour shift to impart a
mood to their shots. When taking a restaurant, for example, you want to
evoke a warm, friendly mood. So, turn off all the fluoro’s and the
camera’s flash and turn up all the tungsten lights. End result is that
warm inviting glow.
Now, if on the other hand you want the bleak wintery feel to a photo,
get up early in the morning and take the shot of someone standing alone on
a windswept beach. The blue cast from the early morning sun will do that
for you. If you are not an early riser, then bung a blue filter on the
lens and get the same effect - that cold blue cast through the picture.
(But that’s an old pro shooter’s trick!)
Modern Medicine: Antibiotics - the universal panacea?
by Dr. Iain Corness, Consultant
one of the greatest discoveries in medicine was the antibiotic. The other
major advancement came with the discovery of anaesthesia (or anesthesia if
you come from the left hand side of the Atlantic Ocean!) For countless
centuries mankind died from bacterial diseases. Microbes that could bring
armies to their knees went unchecked. Plagues decimated populations, but
smarty pants that we are, we developed antibiotics and we reversed the
tables. “Human beings kill millions of bacteria,” could even be the
headline for a newspaper! When we did manage to produce penicillin and sulfa
drugs, we were so impressed with ourselves, that we gave out Nobel prizes to
Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey, Ernest Chain and Gerhard Domagk, the first
three involved in penicillin and the final chap in sulfa drugs.
However, it wasn’t that easy. We did develop
antibiotics. They did kill bacteria. But the bacteria did not take all this
lying down either. They developed new strains which became resistant to the
antibiotics and started to become rampant again. We, in retaliation,
developed new antibiotics and the balance of power returned to our favour.
After all, the “good guys” should be the winners!
But are we? There has been a price to pay for all our
“smartness” with now a plethora of pills and potions. That price is even
more noticeable in countries like Thailand, where self medication is the
norm. The price includes more antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, more
symptoms caused by the antibiotics themselves and an overgrowth of other
organisms such as yeasts.
This was all brought home to me the other day when I
chanced upon a discussion in my city office. The manager had a chronic sinus
condition and was raking through his desk drawer to see what
“antibiotic” he had to combat this. Coming across some self prescribed
amoxycillin he asked me what did I think. I replied that I considered that
it was probably next to useless for a chronic sinus condition, so he put
them back in his desk. However, the office girl piped up that she needed
some, so she would have them! Now both of them are intelligent people and I
consider them as friends, but the medical training that either of them has
had in pharmaceuticals, let alone clinical medicine, is one big fat zero.
Yet both of them feel qualified to prescribe potent medications for
themselves. This is potentially dangerous.
Coming back to the sinus problem - amoxycillin, one of
the earlier penicillin derivatives, is not an antibiotic which gets good
tissue levels in the sinus region and by this time, most bacteria which
inhabit the ear, nose and throat have long since become resistant to
amoxycillin. For my money, taking amoxycillin for his chronic sinus problem
is a waste of his money!
Now the young lady - it turned out that her symptoms were
not pathological, but represented a normal situation. If she had taken the
amoxycillin she would have ended up with a severe attack of “Thrush” an
irritating complaint that ladies can well do without.
So in these cases, indiscriminate antibiotics would have
been a waste of money and not done the trick for one person and given the
other another nasty condition as well. Perhaps now you can see why I am not
altogether in favour of self medication with prescription drugs. If it were
just a case of “any old antibiotic will do” then it would be different;
however, antibiotic prescribing is a sensitive and difficult area of
Going back to our friend amoxycillin, adverse effects
include superinfection, a nasty type of bowel disease and liver and blood
disturbances as well as interacting badly with the contraceptive pill and
gout medication. Is it worth it? I don’t really think so. See your doctor
Learn to Live to Learn: Integrity
with Andrew Watson
Here we are, at the ‘I’ word, a word which in the
dark world of gratuitous malevolence, people might dare only to whisper.
Where fear and fascism reign, the voice of integrity is suspicious,
seditious. In such places I would love to plaster the walls with the
word, hang banners ten feet high! Daub the word on walls a hundred times
in the fashion of Graham Chapman in “Life of Brian”.
Integrity can seem like a golden light which brings
peace and warmth, purity of conscience and a clear path, free from
regret. It is not the same as righteousness from which it should be
distinguished. The remorseless pursuit of righteousness, if left
unchecked, can easily develop into an aggressive nature, unforgiving and
intolerant of human weakness and fallibility, unable to engage in
reconciliation or consider compassion. In the place of integrity,
paranoia and wild imaginings are cancerous impostors. Last week, I was
sent a poem written by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, entitled; “From
the place where we are right” which talks about the hardness which can
overcome the determinedly righteous.
From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.
The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.
But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard
in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.
So, maybe in the self-chastening determination to
demonstrate integrity, it is possible to lose sight of it altogether?
The “wood for the trees” and all that? English poet Samuel Johnson
offers some clarification here, “Integrity without knowledge is weak
and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and
dreadful”. So what, then, if neither integrity nor knowledge are
present? I grant this condition is unusual, but is there anything to be
done in such a seemingly hopeless case? In my experience, it’s best to
follow Howard Gardner’s advice, echoed on these pages by many, which
is; when asked or expected to compromise ethically, morally or even
legally, Get out! If that’s the only way to keep your integrity
I think it is true that maintaining your integrity
can be a lonely business, especially if it is under threat. You can
reach the mountain top and find it a desolate and lonely place. But the
air is pure and you can take a long deep breath and just maybe, you can
smile. But in some areas of the world, one might search long and hard
before recognising kin. When you do, these people are like a new family.
There is often much shared experience, sometimes but not necessarily
painful, which might somewhere along the line, I would have thought,
increase wisdom whilst simultaneously decreasing the potential we all
have to repeatedly make the same mistakes. “What does ‘integrity’
mean, really?” Students ask me. “It means doing the right thing.”
I reply. “Make sure you always do the right thing, with strength and
honour”. I suppose integrity is like an ethical thread which weaves
its way through our being. And, as my students remind me (they say it in
the movies somewhere), “What we do in life echoes throughout
In education, a belief that the primary purpose of
schools is to nurture the human spirit and to shape society is one which
can be uncomfortable. It is one which requires consistent reflection and
challenge. Transformational leadership requires personal integrity.
According to Chris Wright, part of the new breed of “Super head”,
from whom integrity positively radiates, “The key role for the school
leader is to communicate a vision for the school community which
encapsulates what it is to be truly human within the context in which
the school faces itself. To challenge the stereotypes of prejudice and
the dynamics of hatred can be uncomfortable. For instance, to critically
reflect upon the rise of terrorism in the UK can often lead to
But if the role of a leader is clearly critical, it
is important to point out that pursuing or maintaining integrity is not
an elitist concept, the preserve of the few at the expense of the many.
On the contrary. In its purist sense, integrity’s heart is
egalitarian. It’s classless. It could reasonably be argued to have a
spiritual dimension. I think it is true that in order to demonstrate
integrity, we are often required to challenge and overcome our own
preconceptions, assumptions and prejudice, and perhaps go still further,
if we ever intend to fight iniquity on behalf of others. Moreover, it is
a code by which we live, reflected in what we do and how we do it,
personally and professionally. So how, you might very well ask, does
someone like Chris Wright live out in reality what he professes to be
important? Well, firstly, he is passionate about his personal Christian
faith. Secondly, he is committed to living out his belief and
understanding of his faith which is by demonstrating love and compassion
for all human beings in respect of recognition of God’s image in each.
Thirdly, his marriage to a Pakistani Muslim is a manifestation of his
belief in love as the best way to celebrate life, with all its wondrous
diversity. Fourthly, professionally, his work has included developing
multi-faith “encounter” projects, publishing educational material on
the Celebration of Diversity in the UK and taking a leading role in
regenerating his city’s aesthetic, educational and cultural identity.
Perhaps what Chris does sums it up. He is being true to his own self.
Maybe that’s what integrity is, after all.
Next Week: Knowledge and the Curriculum
Heart to Heart with Hillary
The neighbours in our condominium block have a cat. I think it is a
kitten, but it is driving us both crazy. The owners are out all day and
the cat calls out all day. When they come home it appears that it must
be a perfectly behaved little kitty because there is never another mew
out of it until they leave again the next morning, when it starts all
over again. We have tried speaking to the owners, but they are a
European couple and do not seem to understand any English. The condo
management says that pets are not allowed. They are in the end unit, so
we are the only ones that have to put up with their noisy pussy cat.
What should we do? Will the management help?
George and Mildred
Dear George and Mildred,
There are only two people left to talk to here. Management and the cat
itself. Since its owners do not understand you, I doubt if the cat will.
Invite the management people up during the day to hear it, if it is that
bad. Surely you could have thought of this yourself; however, I think
you probably do need some help.
Once a week I have a night out with the boys at work. Usually this means
I get home in the wee small hours (2 a.m. closing time these days) and
sometimes I am a little the worse for wear as a couple of the lads are
top drinkers. My girlfriend is starting to crack up a bit about this one
night a week. I reckon she is being unreasonable, as I used to get home
even later before the crackdowns in the past year. What can I tell her
to make her see that this is just harmless fun with the lads and is a
break for me from family responsibilities?
I want you to change roles with your girlfriend for one night. She is
going to go out with the girls from work and is going to come home at
something past two, decidedly the worse for wear. In other words, very
drunk. Are you going to sit back happily and let this happen every week?
Will you happily sit at home and not wonder where she is? Will you sit
there calmly watching TV soap operas about cheating husbands and wives
(that’s all there is on Thai TV) and not worry? Or are you going to
crack up about it? It is only Scottish stags that are the “monarchs of
the glen”. I think you should reconsider your responsibilities to the
young lady. One can’t be a stag forever!
This year I went on holidays for a few days in Jomtien, instead of
Chiang Mai. The beach road has certainly changed since I was there last,
but the vendors were just the same, pestering us with fairy floss,
wooden planes, sunglasses, hammocks, som tum, tod mun pla and ice
creams. But there was something different there too, as we noticed that
the police were coming along the beach and the vendors would go
scurrying off like sandcrabs and disappear. However, about ten minutes
after the police swoop, the vendors were all back again. Where do they
go to Hillary, when the police come? They just disappeared like magic!
Is it illegal for them to be on the beach?
Beach vendors are a curse and spoil my own little forays to the land of
deck chairs and banana boats. Hillary would imagine that they should
have some sort of a permit, just the same as the beach concessionaires
have. I commend the police for helping clear the beaches, but I am just
a little worried that I will next be woken up by a policeman asking if I
would like to buy some peace and quiet. But that would never happen,
would it! Not in Thailand, now that complete government backed
transparency is here.
I read much about the problems people seem to have with the songtaews
and even though I only come here once a year I felt moved to write to
you, following my experience with one the other day. Wishing to only go
a short way to the market and then return, I hailed a bus and explained
what I wanted. A fare was agreed upon and the trip was carried out
successfully, with him waiting for me at the market. I was a little
longer than I expected, but he took it all with good graces. When I
returned home I gave him more than the agreed fare, because of the extra
waiting time, but he refused to take the extra! Unfortunately I did not
get his number, but I just wanted to let others know not to judge them
all by one.
I am delighted to hear this, as undoubtedly the drivers do get painted
in a bad light, but I must also add that some of their vehicles look as
if they have also been painted in a bad light too! For a tourist venue,
the drabness of our public transport, as frequent as the songtaews may
be, is appalling. Hillary would like to see the city fathers suggesting
some bright florals, rather than the dull rusting monochromes we have
Psychological Perspectives: Gestalt switch: Changing our relationship to nature
by Michael Catalanello,
The immense power and destructive forces
of nature, revealed last December with the Asian tsunami, were demonstrated
once again with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Natural disasters such
as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis have the ability to change us,
change our ways of thinking about our world in dramatic ways.
was once the figure of a white goblet becomes the background to two
profiles facing one another.
When one’s perception of the world changes in a
fundamental way, we sometimes speak of a “gestalt switch.” At such
times one’s total perception of a phenomenon undergoes a revolutionary
transformation. A veil is lifted. A previously hidden reality is revealed.
Using the famous visual examples, what was once the
figure of a white goblet becomes the background to two profiles facing one
another. What was once an ugly, disfigured hag is now a beautiful female
face. Nothing about the object has changed. What has changed is something
inside of us, our way of perceiving it.
At some point during human history, our view of our
relationship to nature underwent a gestalt switch. As a consequence of this
perceptual change, the human species has become extraordinarily successful
in dominating the planet. This was not always the case.
was once an ugly, disfigured hag is now a beautiful female face. (From E.
G. Boring (1930) “A New Ambiguous Figure,” from American Journal of
Anthropologists tell us that humans lived largely at the
mercy of forces of nature during roughly 99.994 percent of our time on
Earth. During that time, human survival, like the survival of other life
forms, was governed by such things as climate, the availability of food,
disease, predators, and competition with other species for land and
resources. Then, sometime around 12,000 years ago, humankind underwent a
gestalt switch, a revolutionary change in our understanding of our
relationship to nature.
As the last ice age drew to a close, we cleverly figured
out that we could exercise some control over the forces of nature. Rather
than rely upon the limited supply of edible wild plants and game animals
available in nature, we could grow crops and domesticate the animals we
needed for our survival. We had, to some degree, freed ourselves from
subservience to the forces of nature.
But nature would not easily yield its dominion. Droughts
could still deprive our crops of water, our animals and human populations
of food and drink. Seasonal flooding could wipe out an entire harvest,
placing our growing populations at risk for starvation, disease,
Then, around 6,000 years ago, we learned that we could
assume even greater control over nature by shaping the landscape. Large
scale water engineering projects, we discovered, could help reduce the risk
of seasonal flooding. Reservoirs could be designed to hold large amounts of
water, and make it available during times of severe draught. Populations
grew. Civilizations began to form.
Around 2,500 years ago, a civilization of Greek speaking
people around the Aegean Sea began a series of unique speculations about
the natural world that would eventually develop into what we today call
science. With the advent of science, mankind would come into possession of
a powerful new tool we would use to further overcome the limitations
imposed by nature.
We learned to use the discoveries of science to further
increase food production, to develop vaccines and cures for disease. We
further improved our technologies, our methods of waging war, and brought
about an industrial revolution. We would create weapons of mass
destruction, and use them against human populations.
Today, as we peer out at our vast universe using
powerful radio telescopes, we get a greater sense of the destructive
potential of natural processes in our universe. Although momentarily
tranquil, our blue planet appears a fragile island of life within an
otherwise sterile solar system. We can see the stars of our galaxy, bodies
like our own sun, being born, moving through stages of development, and
eventually dying as they use up their fuel, expanding outward and consuming
any objects captured by their gravitational pull. Scientists predict that
four or five billion years from now, our sun, too, will die, taking with it
our system of planets. Earth, however, will have become inhospitable to
life long before this occurs.
We humans have shown ourselves to be adept, at least
over the short-term, at overcoming the limits set upon us by forces of
nature in our tiny corner of the universe. The human species, like all
species before us, however, is marked for extinction. Whether it will be by
climate change, ecological degradation, collision with a comet or asteroid,
or whether we will exterminate ourselves with chemical biological, or
nuclear weapons remains to be seen.
Our control over nature is temporary. In the end, nature will
undoubtedly prevail. We may, at best, hope to avoid a premature or
self-inflicted demise. Perhaps our prospects to extend our survival will
depend, not upon our ability to conquer nature, but rather understand it,
and a determination to bring human activities into harmony with its
powerful forces: a gestalt switch.
Dr. Catalanello is a licensed psychologist in his home State of Louisiana, USA, and a member of the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Asian University,
Chonburi. You may address questions and comments to him at [email protected], or post on his weblog at
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