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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Truth

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Hovertext: Seriously, you can write whole books using this technique.


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How the Red Sox could win, with quantum mechanics.

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mkalus
7 hours ago
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jlvanderzwan
7 hours ago
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"But is it a TRUE Scotsman?"

Profit At World's Largest Shipping Company Plunges On Collapsing Global Trade, Sinking Crude Prices

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Back in November, Nils Smedegaard Andersen, CEO of Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, gave the world a reality check when it comes to global growth and trade.

“The world’s economy is growing at a slower pace than the International Monetary Fund and other large forecasters are predicting” Andersen told Bloomberg. "We believe that global growth is slowing down [and that] trade is currently significantly weaker than it normally would be under the growth forecasts we see."

That amounted to a harsh indictment of the IMF’s “built in optimism bias” (to quote HSBC), a bias which leads the Fund to perpetually revise down its estimates for global growth once it’s no longer possible to deny reality. “We conduct a string of our own macro-economic forecasts and we see less growth - particularly in developing nations, but perhaps also in Europe,” Andersen added. “Also for 2016, we’re a little bit more pessimistic than most forecasters."

His comments came on the heels of a quarter in which Maersk’s profits fell 61% Y/Y. On Wednesday, we got the latest numbers out of the shipping behemoth and the picture is most assuredly not pretty.

For 2015, profits fell a whopping 84% to $791 million from $5.02 billion in 2014. Analysts were looking for a profit of $3.7 billion. 

For Q4, the net loss came in at $2.51 billion, far worse than the Street expected. Shares of Maersk fell sharply in repsonse.

Not helping matters was Maersk's oil unit, which took a $2.5 billion impairment charge. "Given our expectation that the oil price will remain at a low level for a longer period, we have impaired the value of a number of Maersk Oil’s assets," Andersen said. The company needs $45-55 a barrel to break even. Obviously, we're a long way from that. 

The outlook for Maersk Line - the company's golden goose and the world's largest container operator - racked up $182 million in red ink last quarter and the outlook for 2016 isn't pretty either. The company now sees demand for seaborne container transportation rising a meager 1-3% for the year. "Freight rates in 2015 averaged a monthly $620 a container on the key Asia to Europe trade route, with the break even level at more than $1,000," WSJ notes. "In February the cost of moving a container from Shanghai to Rotterdam fell to $431, according to the Shanghai Containerised Index, barely covering fuel costs."

"Guidance," Citi wrote in a note this morning, "implies no respite for 2016": 

"2016 guidance for an underlying net profit significantly below 2015 (US$3.1bn) vs. US$3.4bn consensus. Maersk Line significantly below 2015 (US$1.3bn); Maersk Oil a negative underlying result (breakeven at an oil price US$45-US$55); APMT flat and lower in other divisions. Heavy CAPEX continues at c.US$7bn. We expect consensus to reflect guidance."

"Maersk Line expects an underlying result significantly below last year as a consequence of the significantly lower freight rates going into 2016 and the continued low growth with expected global demand for seaborne container transportation to increase by 1-3%," the company said in its annual report out Wednesday.

Here's a look at how swings in crude and freight rates affect the company's bottom line:

Addressing the global deflationary supply glut, the company said it's being "severely impacted by a widening supply-demand gap". "The demand for transportation of goods was significantly lower than expected, especially in the emerging markets as well as the Group’s key Europe trades, where the impact was further accelerated by de-stocking of the high inventory levels," Maersk noted. "In 2015, global economic conditions remained unpredictable and our businesses and long-term assets were significantly impacted by large short-term volatility."

Right. So as we've said on too many occasions to count, global growth and trade has simply flatlined and one look at the Baltic Dry certainly seems to suggest that there's no "recovery" anywhere on the horizon. Indeed we learned last month that in November, US freight volumes suffered their first Y/Y decline since 2012 and before that, the recession.

So once again, central bankers had better learn how to print trade or else it will be time to start "liquidating" excess inventory. And we mean "liquidating" in the most literal sense of the word...

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mkalus
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Fire From Moonlight

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Fire From Moonlight

Can you use a magnifying glass and moonlight to light a fire?

—Rogier Spoor

At first, this sounds like a pretty easy question.

A magnifying glass concentrates light on a small spot. As many mischevious kids can tell you, a magnifying glass as small as a square inch in size can collect enough light to start a fire. A little Googling will tell you that the Sun is 400,000 times brighter than the Moon, so all we need is a 400,000-square-inch magnifying glass. Right?

Wrong. Here's the real answer: You can't start a fire with moonlight[1]Pretty sure this is a Bon Jovi song. no matter how big your magnifying glass is. The reason is kind of subtle. It involves a lot of arguments that sound wrong but aren't, and generally takes you down a rabbit hole of optics.

First, here's a general rule of thumb: You can't use lenses and mirrors to make something hotter than the surface of the light source itself. In other words, you can't use sunlight to make something hotter than the surface of the Sun.

There are lots of ways to show why this is true using optics, but a simpler—if perhaps less satisfying—argument comes from thermodynamics:

Lenses and mirrors work for free; they don't take any energy to operate. If you could use lenses and mirrors to make heat flow from the Sun to a spot on the ground that's hotter than the Sun, you'd be making heat flow from a colder place to a hotter place without expending energy. The second law of thermodynamics says you can't do that. If you could, you could make a perpetual motion machine.

The Sun is about 5,000°C, so our rule says you can't focus sunlight with lenses and mirrors to get something any hotter than 5,000°C. The Moon's sunlit surface is a little over 100°C, so you can't focus moonlight to make something hotter than about 100°C. That's too cold to set most things on fire.

"But wait," you might say. "The Moon's light isn't like the Sun's! The Sun is a blackbody—its light output is related to its high temperature. The Moon shines with reflected sunlight, which has a "temperature" of thousands of degrees—that argument doesn't work!"

It turns out it does work, for reasons we'll get to later. But first, hang on—is that rule even correct for the Sun? Sure, the thermodynamics argument seems hard to argue with,[2]Because it's correct. but to someone with a physics background who's used to thinking of energy flow, it may seem hard to swallow. Why can't you concentrate lots of sunlight onto a point to make it hot? Lenses can concentrate light down to a tiny point, right? Why can't you just concentrate more and more of the Sun's energy down onto the same point? With over 1026 watts available, you should be able to get a point as hot as you want, right?

Except lenses don't concentrate light down onto a point—not unless the light source is also a point. They concentrate light down onto an area—a tiny image of the Sun.[3]Or a big one! This difference turns out to be important. To see why, let's look at an example:

This lens directs all the light from point A to point C. If the lens were to concentrate light from the Sun down to a point, it would need to direct all the light from point B to point C, too:

But now we have a problem. What happens if light goes back from point C toward the lens? Optical systems are reversible, so the light should be able to go back to where it came from—but how does the lens know whether the light came from B or to A?

In general, there's no way to "overlay" light beams on each other, because the whole system has to be reversible. This keeps you from squeezing more light in from a given direction, which puts a limit on how much light you can direct from a source to a target.

Maybe you can't overlay light rays, but can't you, you know, sort of smoosh them closer together, so you can fit more of them side-by-side? Then you could gather lots of smooshed beams and aim them at a target from slightly different angles.

Nope, you can't do this.[4]We already know this, of course, since earlier we said that it would let you violate the second law of thermodynamics.

It turns out that any optical system follows a law called conservation of étendue. This law says that if you have light coming into a system from a bunch of different angles and over a large "input" area, then the input area times the input angle[5]Note to nitpickers: In 3D systems, this is technically the solid angle, the 2D equivalent of the regular angle, but whatever. equals the output area times the output angle. If your light is concentrated to a smaller output area, then it must be "spread out" over a larger output angle.

In other words, you can't smoosh light beams together without also making them less parallel, which means you can't aim them at a faraway spot.

There's another way to think about this property of lenses: They only make light sources take up more of the sky; they can't make the light from any single spot brighter,[6]A popular demonstration of this: Try holding up a magnifying glass to a wall. The magnifying glass collects light from many parts of the wall and sends them to your eye, but it doesn't make the wall look brighter. because it can be shown[7]This is left as an exercise for the reader. that making the light from a given direction brighter would violate the rules of étendue.[8]My résumé says étendue is my forté. In other words, all a lens system can do is make every line of sight end on the surface of a light source, which is equivalent to making the light source surround the target.

If you're "surrounded" by the Sun's surface material, then you're effectively floating within the Sun, and will quickly reach the temperature of your surroundings.[9](Very hot)

If you're surrounded by the bright surface of the Moon, what temperature will you reach? Well, rocks on the Moon's surface are nearly surrounded by the surface of the Moon, and they reach the temperature of the surface of the Moon (since they are the surface of the Moon.) So a lens system focusing moonlight can't really make something hotter than a well-placed rock sitting on the Moon's surface.

Which gives us one last way to prove that you can't start a fire with moonlight: Buzz Aldrin is still alive.

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mkalus
11 hours ago
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satadru
4 hours ago
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100°C is warm enough to autoignite substances like carbon disulfide, so I'm seeing the possibility of a (very large) moonlight firestarter kit here...
New York, NY
manderay
49 minutes ago
Just got caught reading this backstage before a show and the director's assistant thought I was studying. xkcd FTW.
rclatterbuck
11 hours ago
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Optics are pretty neat.

Indian lawyer unsuccessful in attempt to sue Hindu God for mistreating his wife

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Indian lawyer Chandan Kumar Singh has made at unsuccessful attempt to sue popular Hindu God Ram. Mr Singh said that he took the action because he felt "Lord Ram was unjust to his wife Sita", and he wanted a court in the eastern state of Bihar to "acknowledge this fact". The court wasn't convinced with his argument and rejected his plea last week, saying it wasn't a "practical case". And to add to Mr Singh's woes, a group of his colleagues have accused him of "seeking publicity", and one of them has sued him for defamation. Ram is the hero of the Ramayana, the Sanskrit epic of 24,000 stanzas. He is revered by millions in India and around the world.



Mr Singh is undeterred by the criticism, and believes strongly that he has a valid case. He quotes from religious scriptures to support his argument. "It's well known that Ram asked Sita to prove that she was pure after he rescued her from the clutches of the demon king Ravana. He did not trust Sita," Mr Singh said. "Ram's treatment of Sita shows that women were not respected even in ancient times. I am aware that the case may sound ridiculous to many, but we have to discuss this part of our ancient religious history. I will file a case again because I really believe that Indians have to acknowledge that Ram mistreated Sita."

Mr Singh also rejected allegations that he was merely seeking publicity. "I filed the case because we cannot talk about respecting women in modern day India when we know that one of our most revered gods did not treat his own wife with respect," he said. But he admits the reactions have taken him by surprise. "I expected some objection but did not anticipate that my colleagues would turn against me. I was only talking about justice and had no intention of hurting anybody's religious sentiments," he said. "Is it wrong to seek justice for women? The court's acceptance of my plea would have sent a good message that respecting women was important to Indians."



But his colleagues are not convinced. Lawyer Ranjan Kumar Singh said that the plea "insulted Hindus". "He has a history of filing publicity-seeking pleas. But this time he has gone too far. He has hurt our sentiments," he said. Ranjan Kumar Singh has also filed a defamation case against his colleague. "We have also requested the bar council to cancel his licence to practice law. All lawyers are united against Chandan, he needs to learn a lesson," he said. "We see Ram and Sita as one and worship them as a couple, there is no question of us believing that Ram mistreated Sita," Ranjan Kumar Singh added. But Chandan Kumar Singh insists that "his fight isn't against Ram". "I too worship Ram. I am a practising Hindu. I apologise to people if they feel hurt, but I cannot ignore the fact that Sita wasn't respected," he said.
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Man Arrested For Allegedly Throwing A Live Alligator Into Wendy’s Drive-Thru Window

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(WPTV.com)
There are a few things alligators do well: chomping on stuff, looking like dinosaurs, and gliding around in swamps, marshes, and the like. They are not good at flying, however, and as such, should not be tossed carelessly into the drive-thru window at Wendy’s. A Florida man was arrested recently for allegedly attempting to do just such a thing.

While it’s unclear whether he was asking employees to cook up the reptile, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission incident report says the man heaved the gator into a Wendy’s restaurant in Royal Palm Beach last October, reports WPTV. The suspect was only just taken into custody by U.S. Marshals recently, however.

Officials say the 23-year-old man had pulled up to grab his order, and a server handed him a drink. When the worker turned around, the man allegedly reached into the back of his truck and threw the three-and-a-half foot alligator through the open window, where it landed inside the restaurant.

Law enforcement say the suspect admitted to picking up the alligator by the side of the road and bringing it with him to Wendy’s. The gator was later released into a nearby canal to go about his day, while the customer is facing charges of aggravated assault and unlawful possession and transportation of an alligator.

Man accused of tossing gator into Wendy’s drive-thru window [WPTV.com]

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mkalus
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dukeofwulf
10 hours ago
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When asked about his actions, Florida Man said "Wat, dey don't take paymen in gata?"
cbenard
10 hours ago
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Florida Man
Plano, Texas
sjk
1 day ago
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Way to perpetuate the stereotype, Florida Man!
Florida
jhamill
1 day ago
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I can't stop laughing at this.
Ontario, California
dreadhead
1 day ago
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Florida man.
Vancouver Island, Canada

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Junk

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Hovertext: We need to stop enabling Saturn, you guys.


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mkalus
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tante
18 hours ago
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Junk
Oldenburg/Germany
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