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The Crystal Ball - June 12, 2018 by Imad Abdullah PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Imad Abdullah   
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 17:09



The Crystal Ball is a periodic greeting, whimsical and satirical, with featherweight and some weight, reflections and projections on the past, present, and the future.

Our world is a fascinating place, offering us the gift of time together with all the feelings and senses we have, our mind, family and friends, and the mundane such as Presidential Elections, Sports, Hurricanes, and Grand stock market Meltdowns. Casino life and the Las Vegas fame are no match for the wonder and excitement of the New York startling money game.

On the wondrous side, The Crystal Ball attempted in the past to place a perspective on our Universe, where some scientists estimate that there might be 125 billion galaxies. As light travels 6 trillion of our land miles per year, they pegged the Universe at approximately 14 Billion Light Years across, some 84,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles give or take, and still expanding in search of its ultimate fate.

Backtracking on the time line, we can’t seem to be too sure about the exact time of the famed Big Bang, possibly in the vicinity of 10 to 15 billion years ago. In creating matter, scientists have “Temperature” all figured out: about the first 10 to the -43 fraction of that Big Bang second (10 + 43 zeroes), the Temperature was 100 million trillion degrees, and Gravity was born. In the next few fractions of that second, and as the Fahrenheit was dropping to one billion billionth degree, matter emerged in the form of electrons and quarks and the electromagnetic force appeared. By the time we’re down to the one Trillion degrees, protons and photons came spinning, and a minute later at the one billion degrees, Helium, Lithium and Hydrogen.

Following our ancestors through time, Earth assembled itself around 5 billion years ago, bio-life near 3.4 billion years, and about 700 million years multi-cellular plants and animals came about. Our humanoid ancestor appeared 15 million years hence, and we’ve finally arrived to Homo sapiens the last 100,000 years, a very recent past tense. A century and a half ago life expectancy was 37 years, as Evolution was not concerned with our longevity but only in re-production to maintain our species, as grandparents past 37 would then compete with their siblings for food supplies. Our physical make-up was not of concern to evolution and perfection thereafter evaded us, let alone being granted a biological warranty. In perspective, an economic recession may be good for our health as it creates stress, which may force evolution to continue our mutative advancement to a better physical specimen.

Explaining The Big Bang evaded scientists so far, and through the ages just about every one dead or alive has grappled with this question at some time to no avail, Until Now….


The Crystal Ball offers its own Theory herewith, which may be closer to what occurred than all the rest and especially as it cannot be disapproved scientifically or otherwise. If anything, it would put your mind at ease for understanding the previously mysterious unknown:

“ On our earth and whenever we had empires that dominated all others, they ended destroying everything around them including themselves, as in the case of The Roman Empire, The Persian, The Ottoman, The Mongols, and some of the World War 2 tribes. If you belong to others I didn’t list there is no need to get uptight, it’s a theory

The way Washington D.C. is at odds with itself now and for the past few years, and the current dominance of the world by the US gives rise to strong similarities of those past empires, which leads us now to The Big Bang

Before this incredible blow-out which happened about 13.8 billion years ago, give or take a few, similar empires were battling it out between stars and galaxies and with very advanced weapons that traversed great distances in light years. Such was their technology then, way more advanced that we can comprehend since it would be safe to assume they had a lot longer than the last 13.8 billion years to build their advanced techniques.

In due course one power became the dominant of all, and just as happened on our earth and after a period of supremacy, they got into internal "Washington DC" type squabbles and they literally ended blowing-up the whole Universe (actually Universes), and which became known as The Big Bang.

Galaxies and stars have been expanding from the center of The Big Bang ever since. In the process some infinite bio-matter and possibly cells of those ancestors locked into meteorites blew in the direction of our earth and others, and we were given a new chance at life on our earth and maybe elsewhere we have not reached yet ”””

Some of you if not all are going to ask the very smart question: so, where did them folks before The Big Bang come from? Some of you may even invoke “The God Question”

Very smart questioning, but the above theory is only to explain “The Big Bang” and not all that transpired before it. Given enough time and in due course, the answers to your questions will be addressed by The Crystal Ball. To give you a preview The Crystal Ball is looking into “Previous Big Bangs” before the last Big One since the same process is not contingent on just one and could have occurred a number of times before, especially as The Black Holes continue to swallow planets and Galaxies and may be spitting them back in time towards earlier bangs, or even building “ammo” for the future ones…..

How close did we get to executing our own “Big Bang”? Actually not that close even though there were many large scale wars, annihilating large numbers and leveling some cities and at times countries. As it continues today and with very advanced weapons that are continuously re-invented and upgraded, the difference is the level of relative parity among some of the countries in their ability to “get even”. A smaller country with might may consider parity as being able to inflict damage on an adversary equal to its own damage regardless of whether its own annihilation may be equal to a fraction of a much larger enemy.

The outcome of the upcoming meeting between President Trump and President Kim Jong Un of North Korea is eagerly awaited by several countries already in possession of nuclear weapons or anticipating to develop them in the near future. The meeting in Singapore is a door opener and one cannot expect to have all issues simmering for the last 70 years to be resolved overnight. As the process unfolds, the US will keep in mind the intended impact on those other countries.

Though there is much anticipation for results, it may not be to the benefit of various parties to have quick results especially if an agreement to end the 70-year war is signed. A full normalization and reunion of the two Koreas runs counterproductive to much of the world as it will have to contend with a re-united Germany situation in the far east with all the industrial dislocations it creates for others. A peaceful peace period with lower sanctions is a good outcome, and it allows each country to claim success and to continue negotiations for more easing in the relations. China, Japan, Russia and the US are all big boys and understand the needs of each of them to claim progress without losing leverage. A world scale Chess game without the Chess outcome of “Checkmate”.

Now to our own reality and our more comprehensible world, Visionaries tell us that the rate of technical progress is doubling every decade, and the rate of change is accelerating. At today’s rate, the 100 years of progress of the 20th century would equal 20 years, and the next 20 years will be achieved in only 14 years, then in 7.  At this rate of exponential growth, the 21st century could move us forward 20,000 years of progress, a phenomenal reason to stick around.

Back to what’s on everyone’s mind and ever since Wall Street was pumped up again in Olympic form with records shattered in split-second time since the last election time, and yet good times are promised ahead.

Many remain squeezed financially in a tight wedge, teetering anxiously since 2008 when Wall Street fell off the edge. Where did all the money go and is it only a paper loss? Was it all before a paper gain, or was there a greenback to be had between the multi-fold layers of derivatives and swaps, or are we in a big swamp? Stocks were behaving like spent athletes cascading on chart lines all the way to ever lows with no “finish line”.

With retirement plans reduced to sledge, Blue Chips lost their edge, as they tumbled with such a magnitude that even Hedge Funds couldn’t hedge. How to recapture some of the lustre lost in the panic and get an uptick bounce, pull up the nest egg back to the highs of the chart line, get to the retirement deadline and enjoy the worry-free pastime? Let’s take it all in stride, ups and downs are the norm and we might as well stay for the ride.

No more clogging along as a rinky-dink lightweight, the National Debt is rejoicing well for now it has become a real heavyweight, the “Billion here and a Billion there” now moved up to “a Trillion here and a Trillion there”, pretty soon almost Monopoly money. Trillions are now household word, Uncle Sam treating his siblings with such largesse that everyone is claiming to be a close and deserving relative.

"Guaranteed by the Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government" is always at stake: the Uncle rolled over Wall Street to shore up its namesake and reassure bond holders in faraway World States. Whether Republicans or Democrats, they cannot mess with either Credit or Faith: at a cost of only 3 Billion in annual interest, they can vote a Trillion Dollars in handouts, one heck of a congressional leveraged buyout. Hold on to your notes, no reason to go to cash and get out of town, there is nowhere to hide if it’s a "world financial meltdown".

Being in the market good or bad can help even it out, as the indices now are fighting it out as to who will shine and take the limelight. Some of the techs are at historic highs and we’re always kept wondering: are we getting in at the high or are we going to lose the next upside? If anything, excitement abounds and the folks are hyping symbols in hopes that some would go viral and boost-up the account

With so many new Trillions the Dollar keeps looking for a moneyed date, but hard assets and stocks are bound to compensate. Though real estate foreclosures are not as bountiful so far, flagship fire sales are slow to come by, and good selections ought to be grabbed right now. Gold has not yet soared, inflation fears still not high on the mind when there is no money to fuel the demand. Testing the bottom again is not far- fetched as it is only a line in the sand. Nine months from now we could look back if we missed these opportune times, curse the market to go down at least one more time for us to load on stocks big time.

For the US as a whole, the cost of buying international influence is beginning to exceed the means. As the US economy searches for a crutch, the world is in turmoil and the clash of civilizations remains simmering under the wings of religion and capitalism. Can Democracy survive without the ability to print money, and will developing countries importing it go belly-up or get lucky?

Never known to be gentle or kind, nor predictable or benevolent in rough times, Oil is used to giving us the rides of our lifetime. Hopes for Nuclear energy and Wind Power are slow in delivering alternative energies, and “Green” is puzzled where to go from here to get more synergy. As the Earth a few mills back changed course from the circular rotation around the Sun to the 25,000 years elliptical mode cycle, polar ice was bound to increase as it did for millenniums of years, but CO2 warming the atmosphere was counterbalancing the mean ice age Ellipse. Recession has become CO2’s enemy as Gas demand dropped and fewer fumes pollute the air, but in retrospect, it allows more years for fossil fuels to crank the engines between the sporadic bouts of fresh air.

Enough on the money talk and moving sideways to the 24-hour multi-pundit shows, the last Presidential debates gave us good entertainment and slapstick, America riding high on the me-too movement engulfed in a new imaging and sarcasm: Lipstick. Sensitive issues disappear from the debates, and Soap opera takes on a political meaning as an extended series throughout the primaries and elections, and now TV pundits are busy analysing “how they analysed” these events and the conventions, and what to make of upcoming mid-term elections.

The talkative shows and the like continuously pipe their own political as entertainment to the masses through radio and television, the media becoming the perfect channel to provide tunnel vision. Media Control went to the extreme, tempered by advertising for many unsavoury human imperfections and stomach pains, practically pounding and rehashing the same themes.

Ever since Hillary Clinton lost the election to President Trump, conspiracy theories topped by Russia’s intervention in the lections fill the airwaves. So far no proof of any collusion and no smoking gun but for Democrats it is a ticket to influence the elections for Congress come November as it must be miserable being a minority party in Congress nowadays. Both Republicans and Democrats have been there many times before but this time civility in the public discourse is disappearing fast and we’re left as a public to sort out between fake and un-fake news, having to do without the help of the WikiLeaks of Julian Assange ever since his internet lines were cut off at the Ecuadorian Embassy, a prisoner inside his brain serving time on a foreign land within his own country.

The legacy of Presidents straddles the pundits’ acclaims, and as they close on their midterm the remaining time is too short to retrieve the tribulations of the one term reign, let alone the mid of the second term.  Too much to undo, too little time, but maybe the Presidential Library will ease up the judgment of history, given enough time. Unfortunately for some Presidents, there was so much Term left at the end of the money, and they could no longer count on prosperity to buy out a legacy.

China and South Korea took the Olympics to different heights, adding several notches for future host cities and raising the bar as games in the Bird’s Nest were elevated way far by athlete stars. The challenge is crystal clear as future competition is in economic might and who gets to feast, as performance requires countries to think Olympian to go head-to-head with the Far-East.   In China and Russia, former bastions of Communism, fortunes are experiencing the gyrations of Capitalism. From the highs above or maybe the deeps below, Stalin and Lenin are pounding, See I told you so.

Iran is no longer on the side lines, wondering when it will become again headlines. Now in the bulls-eye, the Nuclear has everyone up in arms, a good reason to showcase the threat and build more arms. Yemen is in flames, the world unable to intervene to end the carnage, and Libya is still lost in its own desert, looking how to restore itself to prosperity given the outlaw guns all over its territory.

The world has been at war in Syria with no official declaration, East and West face to face and yet both claiming to fight the same jihadis. Turkey, Israel and Iran vying to control the skies over Syria, held back by Russian missiles on one side and by the US and its Allies in unwanted bases holding fictitious boundary lines. Seven years in the making, the end is not within sight when so much oil sits underground and in territorial sea waters of the Mediterranean, and as some claim a mother lode of gold deposits awaiting mining in peaceful times. Millions of refugees fill the land, many already scattered all over the world in faraway lands.

The War on poverty has always been a misnomer, as only prosperity stops discontent and embraces factions, and channels frustration to productive action. Otherwise, political might is the only ticket to financial health, and everyone needs a political party to grab at the wealth. Worldwide” needs more Middle Class to preserve peace in lieu of conflict and confrontation, and to stop unproductive condemnations.

Space is not the only domain of zeroes upon zeroes. The Journey this year takes us into seldom charted territory where, in the world of Nanotechnology, space and time are being narrowed to infinitesimal limits, giving hope that we may finally invade the inner workings of our systems for the ultimate frontiers. Technology at the leading edge is exploring what it takes to start “Reverse Engineering the Brain”, possibly “Uploading the Mind” onto some advanced future techno machine.

Which leads us to our Human brain after 3 billion years of evolution: we’re told it combines digital and analogue methods of computations, done through 100 trillion inter-neural connections that each can conceivably be processing information simultaneously. The smallest neurons, the Granule Cells in the Cerebellum, are packed about 6 million per square millimetre, and a single cubic millimetre of Cerebral Cortex may contain on the order of 5 billion synapses of different shapes and sizes. In 2020, we could be sending billions of nanobots into the brain to collect the info and maybe start the upload. Time is on our side, at least for those who will be around to witness the miracles of time.

In Texas, Houston landed again in the eye of the tiger, hurricane Harvey undoing the repairs after Hurricane Ike of 2008. Laser focused on the Texas coast from the Atlantic several days out, the eye passed over the Texas coast and dancing again and again all over several towns, dumping over 56 inches of rain over Houston in three days. Floods exceeded The Biblical and the records were shattered leaving behind shattered lives and shuttered dreams. Awaiting doomsday is an eerie feeling, believing the weather experts hard to do when the predictions are off the charts. Right they were and going through a hurricane is a survival experience for many. Texas is still in the aftermath, many steadily carrying the load of rebuilding shattered lives.

As we continue our quest for self-actualization and getting ourselves up to par, the big challenge is how to understand and maximize what we are. Meanwhile and in line with the US Government pledge for better times ahead, please accept a Trillion Wishes as a Prosperity Package instead. Onto the good times with a simple coin flipside, use it as a token down payment for the future upside.

One last time back to Wall Street, and maybe some cheers for an astute event of some 100 years: History buffs may recall one famed financier, Henry Clews and his book in 1908 “Fifty Years on Wall Street”, where he investigated the American stock panics of 1812, 1823, 1825, 1837, and 1857. Recapping the financial credit crisis of 1907 and the panic which ensued: “too much credit for the redeemable cash and too much speculation and reckless expansion”. Many railways and industrial companies were forced to liquidate their holdings, and insolvent firms and institutions were wound up. The cure he argued: “More Lending”.

Until the next Crystal….

Imad F. Abdullah, June 12, 2018, Houston, Texas

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Last Updated on Sunday, 17 June 2018 16:31

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