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Heart to Heart with Hillary
Let’s go to the movies
Graham Macdonald MBMG International Ltd.
Kondratieff - Genius or Fraudster? Part 1
To begin, we must explain who Kondratieff actually was.
Nikolai Dmyitriyevich Kondratieff was a Russian. He was born in 1892 and died at
the young age of forty six after being sent to a Gulag in 1930.
He became a professor and was also Director of the Institute for the Study of
Business Activity. However, in 1926, he published a paper called, “Long Waves in
Economic Life”. This was deemed to be a criticism of Stalin’s Soviet economic
policies, especially agriculture, and this is why he was arrested.
The major topic of the paper was that economies that based themselves on
capitalism showed boom and bust cycles that ranged between fifty to sixty years.
The time period in question was 1789 to 1926 and the main premise of the
argument was based on prices, movement of capital, international trade, interest
rates, wages, bank deposits, and other relevant information. Using his own
theories, Kondratieff was able to predict the Great Depression a few years after
writing his thesis.
The basic thoughts of Kondratieff are that there are times when people
accumulate things and periods where they consume too much. Putting it more
succinctly, when things are cheap, people buy them and then assets build up.
When prices begin to go up then people start to eat into these savings in order
to keep up a certain standard of living. When new production cannot keep up with
consumption because of higher pricing then the economy goes into decline until
we start with cheap prices again. At the point the new growth cycle starts all
over again. This is explained in greater detail below.
The Kondratieff Wave Cycle goes through four phases:
Spring - Economy is kick-started. Unemployment falls, production and
income starts to go up and the cost of living is quite stable. The feeling is no
longer of deprivation but accumulation. Manufacturing starts again in earnest -
especially that of innovative new products.
Summer - Economy doing well and inflation is on the up and up. However,
growth cannot go on indefinitely. Resources, both human and material, begin to
grow short. Companies and people have become lazy with accumulated wealth.
Autumn - Economy is not doing so well but things still feel okay. Flat
growth occurs but consumption continues. Increased debt sets in but buying is
still on the up. The economy is on the way down.
Winter - Economy is not doing well at all, large debt is retraced so
things can start afresh with a new Spring. The words are Depression and
Whilst the latter season is not where anyone wants to be, Kondratieff was quite
right in thinking that this was when all the rot was cleaned out and the economy
was brought back to reality. Ian Gordon (IG) is one of the world’s leading
experts on Kondratieff, and he says, “I don’t think that there can be any doubt
that we’re now in Winter. We’re in the period when debt is cleansed from the
economy, so, as I say, that the economy can be renewed with little debt in the
IG continues, “The 1921-29 Bull Market occurred in the 3rd Kondratieff Autumn
and what we’ve just gone through was the 4th Kondratieff Autumn. They were both
once in a lifetime experiences for investors. Basically, the Federal Reserve did
exactly the same as the current Federal Reserve has done and is doing… the
Federal Reserve flooded the economy with money.”
Kondratieff believed that by studying cultural, economic and social life over a
period of time this proved there was a long term economic cycle that could be
used for forecast future economic peaks and troughs which would enable the
people in power to plan accordingly. This is because he worked out there were
certain traits which were always there during the phases of the ups and downs of
the Long Wave.
The diagram shows how the cycle works. It starts with things on the way up where
prices start to increase slowly in pace with new economic growth. At the end of
this period, inflation is very high and when it tops out then the world knows to
expect a recession. After a few years things start to improve. People think that
the good times are back and get reckless with money again. However, things are
not as they seem to be and the reality is the economy never recovered. This
leads to financial panic and massive losses on stock markets worldwide.
Deflation sets in as does economic depression.
Anyone can see that this is exactly what has happened over the last decade or
so. Therefore, why do people believe Kondratieff to be a fraud? The reason is
they give no room for fluidity. The Theory was devised over eighty years ago. At
that time the average age of a man’s lifetime was about sixty in the Western
world and a lot less elsewhere. Also, there were a couple of world wars that did
not help the normal economic cycles. On top of this, most of the major European
currencies were taken away in one go with the creation of the Euro.
To be continued…
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
Snap Shots: by Harry Flashman
Be brave! Take the camera off “Auto”
is still, despite the digital revolution, all about handling the
variables involved in producing an image. And by handling all the
variables yourself, you have total control over how that image turns
out. And that entails mastering the M or Manual mode.
Now there are people who say that this is not necessary. Today’s cameras
are smarter than we are, etc., etc., etc. You can twirl a knob, or
select from a pull-down menu, the “portrait” mode or the “action” mode,
and let the camera do the rest. That is all very fine, but you will get
the portrait, or the action, that the camera ‘thinks’ is right. Not what
you necessarily want, and there’s a big difference.
Improving your photography is not really all that difficult, and you
don’t even need to go to school. There are many world class famous
photographers who never had a lesson in their lives. But they did read,
and they did experiment, and they did learn from their own work.
There are really only two main variables, and after you understand them
and what they do to your photograph it becomes very simple.
The first thing to remember is that the correct exposure is merely a
function of how large is the opening of the lens and how much time the
shutter is left open to let the light strike the film. That’s almost it
– that is photography in a nutshell. No gimmicks or fancy numbers – a
straight out relationship – how open and for how long – this is known as
Now I will presume, for the sake of this exercise that you have an SLR
and use it in the automatic, or “Programme” mode. Let’s go straight to
the “mode” menu and look up “A” or “Aperture Priority”. In this mode it
means that you can choose the aperture yourself, and the camera will
work out the shutter speed that corresponds to the correct exposure.
So let’s play with this facility to give you some better pictures.
Select “A” and then look at the lens barrel and you will see the
Aperture numbers, generally between 2.8 and 22. To give you a subject
with sharp focus in the foreground and a gently blurred background, you
need to select an aperture around f2.8 to f4. Hey! It was that simple.
To get those “professional” portrait shots, with the model’s face clear
and the background all wishy washy, just use the A mode and select an
Aperture around f4 to f 2.8.
Now, if on the other hand you want everything to be nice and sharp, all
the way from the front to the back, like in a landscape picture, then
again select A and set the lens barrel aperture on f16 to f22. The
camera will again do the rest for you. Again – it’s that easy!
Flushed with creative success, let’s carry on. The next mode to try is
the “S” setting. In this one, you set the shutter speed and the camera
automatically selects the correct aperture to suit. Take a look at the
shutter speed dial or indicator and you will see a series of numbers
that represent fractions of a second.
First, let’s “stop the action” by using a fast shutter speed. For most
action shots, select S and set the shutter speed on around 1/500th to
1/1000th and you will get a shot where you have stopped the runner in
mid stride, or the car half way through the corner or the person bungee
jumping. Yes, it’s that easy.
So this week you have learned that to get a good portrait shot use the A
mode and set the aperture on f4 to f2.8 and forget about the rest of the
technical stuff. Just compose a nice photograph and go from there. (Do
remember to walk in close however!) To get a great landscape shot, again
use the A mode and set the aperture at f16 to f22.
Finally, to stop the action, choose the S mode and around 1/500th of a
second and you won’t get blurry action shots ever again.
Certainly there are other aspects to good photography, but master the A
and S modes and you will produce better pictures.
by Dr. Iain Corness, Consultant
I’ll just go to sleep for a minute
A lovely young lady called Karen (and I won’t say which
particular Karen) bumped into me at the hospital the other day and asked if
I had written an article on Sleep Apnea recently. I hadn’t, so this one is
for you Karen. Or is it for your bed partner? (I didn’t ask, there’s a limit
to how personal you can get walking past the escalators.)
Put very simply, Sleep Apnea is when people stop breathing for some seconds
while asleep. They are usually not aware of this fact, but bed partners are!
People with Sleep Apnea stop breathing repeatedly during the night,
sometimes hundreds of times and often for a minute or longer.
It is a worrisome situation when the person lying next to you just seems to
have stopped breathing. Was that last breath really their last breath?
Should you start CPR?
“Apnea” comes from the Greek and literally means “without breath”, so it is
an apt word for the condition where people stop breathing when asleep.
Like so many conditions in medicine, it is not quite cut and dried simple,
as there are three types of Sleep Apnea. These are called Obstructive,
Central and Mixed, with Obstructive being the most common.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by an obstruction producing a
blockage of the airway, usually caused when the soft tissue in the rear of
the throat collapses and closes during sleep.
In Central Sleep Apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to
signal the muscles to breathe. Normally as the oxygen level drops, a reflex
in the brain tells the body to breathe to increase the oxygen saturation.
This reflex is normally very powerful. For example, try holding your breath,
and you will find that you breathe again involuntarily. You cannot over-ride
Mixed Apnea, as the name suggests, is a combination of the two. With each
apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for
them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and
of poor quality.
Sleep Apnea is much more common than you would have thought, being as common
as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according
to the National Institutes of Health.
Risk factors include being overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep
apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children. Males suffer from this
more than females, yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public
and healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and
therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have
Untreated, Sleep Apnea can cause high blood pressure and other
cardiovascular diseases, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and
headaches. And I think I don’t want any of them. It is also stated that
untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor
The symptoms of Sleep Apnea include frequent silences during sleep due to
breaks in breathing, choking or gasping during sleep to get air into the
lungs, loud snoring, sudden awakenings to restart breathing or waking up in
a sweat and feeling un-refreshed by a night’s sleep, including falling
asleep at inappropriate times during the day. While snoring can accompany
Sleep Apnea, snoring is not in itself harmful (other than keeping your bed
Fortunately, these days, Sleep Apnea can be diagnosed and treated in Sleep
Labs, where the respirations, oxygen saturation and other parameters can be
Several treatment options exist, and research into additional options
continues. For mild cases, lose weight. Stop using alcohol, tobacco, and
sedatives, or anything that relaxes the muscles of the throat and encourages
snoring. Sleep on your side. Elevate the head of your bed 150 mm. Use a
nasal dilator, breathe right strips or saline nasal spray to help open nasal
passages. Surgery may be needed to open the throat.
However, the main route for treatment is the CPAP (Continuous Positive
Airway Pressure) machine which forces air into the lungs through tubes
feeding a face mask. It is cumbersome, but may be necessary, when all else
And lots of luck, Karen!
Heart to Heart with Hillary
I bought the books. I read the books. I swore I would never fall for the cons
that are done on the unsuspecting men that come over here. I was wise. I knew
the plots and the pitfalls, and yet I fell in the hole just like as if I was a
first-timer. Hundreds of thousands of baht later, I am back in Blighty and
wondering just how it happened. How did I manage to give away over one million
baht and have nothing to show for it, other than another email saying she has
got married to a Swiss guy, thank you and goodbye? We need more than books,
Rip Toff (1)
Dear Rip Toff (1),
Unfortunately men in your situation are not really ripped off, but you come over
on holidays and commit financial suicide, voluntarily. What you have to remember
is that the bar girls, the ladies of the night, the twirlers around the chrome
poles, are some of the best sales ladies in the world. Bernard Madoff in the US
was found out where he was cheating people of billions of dollars. If he had
only employed some of our girls he would have made even more money, and the
people ripped off would not have complained to the authorities, only to people
like me, knowing their indiscretions are kept confidential between themselves
and me, and half a million readers! Chalk it down to experience, my Petal. And
don’t do it again! As you say, you need more than books - you need a total
re-education! But don’t worry, the girls can do that for you too, if you keep
your eyes open. And if you learn Thai and keep your ears open, you will be
educated even further.
In a recent Heart to Heart column, Hillary and a reader discussed Khru Bah Noi’s
Rice Planting Machine. Is there some way I can get more information about this
I will get Delboy to contact you through your personal email with the details
for Khru Bah Noi. I have to check first that my reader is happy with this
proposal. Hope you understand.
Or as antipodean sorts might say, “G’ day, Aunt DD.” Peasmold Gruntfuttock has
decided to call his book about the lovely local ladies, Yings and Things. You
will, of course, receive a mention, together with some revealing and endearing
anecdotes from Rambling Syd Rumpo. I love the one when you leapt onto the stage
during a variety performance at the Gaiety Theatre and brought the house down.
Down with itchy bottoms!
So you are antipodean now, are you? You were staunchly British before. Probably
‘before’ the alcohol caught up with you so that these days you can’t really
remember anything. That which you can’t remember, you just make up. It’s called
‘confabulating’ (look it up, Petal), and that includes ideas that I leapt on to
a stage anywhere and brought anything down. I hope you do not spend too much of
your time writing these Peasmold and Rambling Rumpo epics, as otherwise it would
be a complete waste of your day. Have you tried going for long walks along the
cliffs instead? Hopefully you might stumble. By the way, what was the “Aunt DD”
reference? If it were bra size, then you are once again, very mistaken.
I’ve done it again, falling in love with a Thai woman who has happily ripped me
off, while smiling. No wonder they call this place the land of smiles. With what
they’ve got out of me, half of Isaan should be smiling, or at least financially
better off. I thought I had met Miss Right. She always seemed so pleased to see
me, but I think it was my bank account she was smiling at. I know I did not know
her very long, but I honestly thought it would be better for us to be together
while we got to know each other better, and keep her away from the bars. That
was a dumb idea, as all it did was get her to know my financial state better,
which is now a lot worse when she left taking as much as she could carry, and
then some, what with motorcycle and house in her name. This is really just a
warning for other poor saps, as I know you can’t get the money and stuff back
for me. But how do you get some honest company round here?
Rip Toff (2)
Dear Rip Toff (2),
It is a pity that the letter from Rip Toff (1) did not come in a few months ago
and save you all this heartbreak, and broken piggy bank too. Some people are
slow learners, my Petal. There is nothing wrong with that, but you should know
yourself better by this stage in your life. I am sorry that your Miss Right
turned into Miss Left Nothing, and I appreciate your trying to warn others to be
more careful, but you are the person you should be warning, before all others.
And to meet “honest company”? The same places you do in your country, and that’s
not the bars either.
Let’s go to the movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in
Public Enemies: US, Action/ Crime/ Drama/ History/ Thriller –
With Johnny Depp as the criminal John Dillinger and Christian Bale as
G-man Melvin Purvis in this Great Depression-era drama about the FBI’s
attempts to shut down organized crime. The film features a strong
supporting cast, including Billy Crudup, Channing Tatum, Giovanni
Ribisi, Stephen Dorff, Rory Cochrane, and Oscar-winner Marion
Cotillard. Rated R in the US for gangster violence and some language.
Generally favorable reviews.
Dear Galileo: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – From Nithiwat Tharathorn, one of
the famed “Fan Chan Six” – i.e., one of the six neophyte
directors who collaborated while in University on what is probably the
most enchantingly delightful Thai film ever, Fan Chan (My
Girl) (2003). All six have since gone on to direct other films —
this is Nithiwat’s second film on his own; his first solo film was the
sweet Seasons Change (2006) about students at a music college.
In Dear Galileo he continues his examination of students in love
as two teenage girls plan to backpack for a year in the “Big Three” of
Europe – London, Paris, and Rome. Filmed on location in Europe.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: US/ UK, Adventure/ Fantasy/
Mystery/ Romance – The latest and darkest Harry Potter episode, the
Sixth. Generally favorable reviews
I think it’s a dazzling film with brilliant cinematography, fantastic
effects, and moments of emotional power. But I think you’ll find it
incoherent unless you’re a close follower of the previous films, or have
immersed yourself in the books. If not, large sections of the film will
make absolutely no sense whatsoever. If you’ve read the book, you can
plug the plot holes with what you know. Otherwise, all the characters
seem to know things the audience is never privy to.
And you’ll also be at a disadvantage if you have problems with
rapid-fire British accents, particularly lower class Ron Weasley’s.
I find one of the most interesting aspects in the “Harry Potter” movie
series has been the watching of the three main cast members — Daniel
Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson — as they grow up: very
literally age from children into the young adults they are here. For
years now, we’ve seen their slow and often graceless shift into
puberty. Early glimmerings of romance were present in the previous
film, but here the stirrings return in full force as Harry pairs up with
Ginny Weasley, and Ron, after some fumbling, embraces his
long-foreshadowed connection with Hermione. All very well done.
And I also enjoyed another developing personality, Draco Malfoy, played
by the rather interesting actor Tom Felton, who really comes into his
own in this episode as he struggles to accept his evil destiny.
District B13 Ultimatum: France, Action – A sequel to the 2004 French
action film Banlieue 13 which was a notable success worldwide and
is now something of a cult classic, particularly for its stunt sequences
that were completed without the use of wires or computer generated
effects. Thai dubbed only/ no English subtitles.
Thick as Thieves / The Code: US/ Germany, Crime – A master thief
recruits a younger crook to help him steal two famous Faberge eggs from
an impenetrable vault in an effort to pull off one final job and repay
his debt to the Russian mob. With Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas.
Generally savagely poor reviews with a few which say it’s an OK
time-waster. Rated R in the US for sexuality, language, and some
The Secret of Moonacre: Hungary/ UK, Adventure/ Family/ Fantasy – A
pleasingly old-fashioned fairy tale, probably just perfect if you happen
to be an 11-year-old girl. By the Hungarian director and animator Gabor
Csupo, who gave us Bridge to Terabithia in 2007. The film’s
magic realism is frightfully English.
The International: US/ Germany/ UK, Crime/ Thriller – With Clive
Owen and Naomi Watts. An Interpol agent and a US district attorney
attempt to expose a high-profile financial institution’s role in an
international arms dealing ring. They put their own lives at risk as
their targets stop at nothing – even murder – to continue financing
terror and war. Rated R in the US for some sequences of violence and
language. Mixed or average reviews.
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: US, Animation/ Action/ Comedy/
Romance – If you enjoyed the previous two installments, you should like
this one as well. Excellent for kids and families. Mixed or average
Wongkamlao: Thai, Comedy – Popular comedian turned director Mum
Jokmok both directs and stars in this well-received romantic comedy
which parodies Thai high society and soap operas.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: US, Action/ Sci-Fi –
Super-intense! This film has a high noise level, smashing images, a
loud and relentless score, and everyone yelling their lines at high
speed – if this is your idea of fun, go. Generally negative reviews,
but that doesn’t seem to matter. It’s hugely popular.
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