Meltdown – The men who crashed the world

“The first of a four-part investigation into a world of greed and recklessness that brought down the financial world.”

From Open Culture:

Doc Zone, a documentary series produced by CBC Television, is now airing a four part investigation into the great financial meltdown of 2008…

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What’s Wrong with Venture Capital?

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The old mechanism for funding the commercialization of new technologies is in trouble.

In the summer of 1996, Silicon Valley venture capitalists put a few million dollars into a telecom-equipment startup called Juniper Networks. Three years later, after a few more rounds of funding and the release of its first product, Juniper enjoyed an initial public offering of shares, or IPO. At the end of its first day of trading, it was worth nearly $5 billion, and within nine months, it was worth almost 10 times that. The original venture investors, meanwhile, were able to walk away with profits of better than 10,000 percent.

Around the same time Juniper went public, Silicon Valley venture capitalists were putting money into a new networking startup, Procket Networks. This time, the initial investments were bigger, and over successive rounds of financing, Procket collected almost $300 million in venture money. Three years after it started, though, the company had still not launched a product, and in 2004 its assets were acquired by Cisco in a fire-sale deal. This time the VCs walked away with just a fraction of their original investments…

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Swordfish Attack Angolan Oil Pipeline

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A swordfish attack punctured an oil loading pipe in Angola recently, causing a three-day delay in tanker shipments of Girassol crude. Total, the French oil company which operates the pipeline, declared force majeure on shipments. Total later said that swordfish had damaged a flexible loading pipe. Declaring force majeure frees an operator from supply obligations due to extraordinary circumstances.

This isn’t the first time…
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Horrific Amount of Deforestation in the Amazon from 2000-2008

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Only Remnants of the Rainforest Remain

NASA’s Earth Observatory has some amazing satellite photos of the deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest over the past 8 years. At the link, click on the years posted below the picture to see the progression.

The state of Rondônia in western Brazil is one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. In the past three decades, clearing and degradation of the state’s original 208,000 square kilometers of forest (about 51.4 million acres, an area slightly smaller than the state of Kansas) has been rapid: 4,200 square kilometers cleared by 1978; 30,000 by 1988; and 53,300 by 1998. By 2003, an estimated 67,764 square kilometers of rainforest-an area larger than the state of West Virginia-had been cleared…

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The Truth Behind Swine Flu: Have Cheap Drugs & Greed Created a Pandemic?

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Refining the Swine Problem

Even if global coverage on the potential swine flu pandemic may be an over-reaction and another sign of media manipulation, it’s clear that the outbreak is still a serious issue (which you can now follow via Google Maps). All things considered, the outbreak seems to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In addition to the other questionable agribusiness practices of “confined animal feeding operations” – a new study by the Soil Association suggests that the overuse of antibiotics could also be a major factor in creating antibiotic resistant super-pathogens (aside from the mutant strain of viral swine flu wreaking havoc now). These bacterial “superbugs” include…

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Capitalism vs. Socialism: Marx Was Correct!

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Often Maligned Visionary Karl Marx

The work of Karl Marx is ultra relevant to understanding the world’s current financial mess, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Marx has become intellectually indispensable to many again, as if there ever should have been any doubt. It’s fascinating to consider that during the time period when Marx was writing “Capital,” there were few factories in England –it was largely an agrarian society still– yet somehow Marx was able to see clearly the mess that we would be in today. He’s the most accurate prophet in all of history, there should be no doubt about this. Marx viewed history with a very, very long telescope. How he was able to see so far into the future is a mystery of his particular genius, but Marx accurately extrapolated how capitalism’s endgame would play itself out at the very birth of the system. Marx saw how utterly destructive this system would ultimately become. Look around you: Marx was right.

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The Cost of Greed – Speculators in the Global Food Crisis

 The Cost of Greed - Speculators in the Global Food Crisis

 Profiting off of peoples hunger is a ticking time bomb

Vast amounts of money are flooding the world’s commodities markets, driving up prices of staple foods like wheat and rice. Biofuels and droughts can’t fully explain the recent food crisis — hedge funds and small investors bear some responsibility for global hunger.

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