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We like 'The Happy Meal Project'

On April 10th this year New York photographer Sally Davies bought a burger and fries from McDonalds and took a photo of it. Here's that photo.

Since then she's taken a shot of the same plate every single day as an experiment that combines ughness, morbid fascination, processed food longevity and the arguments against stuffing junk down your face from a vegetarian viewpoint. And it surely is compelling when you look at the photo from day 145, September 2nd:

Oh lordy it's hardly changed, even though (quoting Sally) "Its sitting on my coffee table with nothing covering it. No bugs, no mould, no smell, nothing. "

Go see the whole of "The McDonalds Happy Meal Project" at this link, or visit Sally's website here.

recommended read

This article/interview in Wired published this week. Here's how it starts:

For a while there, things didn’t look too good for British writer Simon Singh. The best-selling author of the science histories Big Bang and Fermat’s Enigma knew he was heading into controversial territory when he switched tracks to cowrite a book investigating alternative medicine, Trick or Treatment? What Singh didn’t count on, however, was that writing a seemingly innocuous article for London’s The Guardian newspaper about especially outrageous chiropractic claims—one of the subjects he researched for the book—would end up threatening his career. The British Chiropractic Association sued Singh, hoping to use Britain’s draconian libel laws to force him to withdraw his statements and issue an apology. Losing the case would have cost Singh both his reputation and a substantial amount of his personal wealth. Such is the state of science, where sometimes even stating simple truths (like the fact that there’s no reliable evidence chiropractic can alleviate asthma in children) can bring the wrath of the antiscience crowd. What the British chiropractors didn’t count on, however, was Singh himself. Having earned a PhD from Cambridge for his work at the Swiss particle physics lab CERN, he wasn’t about to back down from a scientific gunfight. Singh spent more than two years and well over $200,000 of his own money battling the case in court, and this past April he finally prevailed. In the process, he became a hero to those challenging the pseudoscience surrounding everything from global warming to vaccines to evolution. It’s not necessarily a role he sought for himself, but it’s one he has embraced—he’s currently touring the world, talking about his case, libel reform, and how important it is to make sure scientists can speak truthfully and openly. Wired spoke with Singh about his case and the struggle against the forces of irrationality.


A room with a view (part 20) summer vacs edition

This week reader PS offers us a dreamy late evening (update: mistake made, as PS just wrote in to say it was in fact early morning) shot he took of Lake Maggiore.

The lake is in the Swiss Alps near the border with Italy and gives us a slice of Europe to leaven the recent Americana in the series.


The Friday OT (special guest post doubleheader edition): U2; Silver and Gold and Led Zeppelin; Over the Hills and Far Away

For reasons that are unnecessary to go into, today's Friday OT is being run by reader 'BE', who was asked for a good song and came up with two great ones, so rather than choose let's run 'em both with BE's comments. Enjoy:


Ok, so I was thinking a song both topical to the markets we follow, and also a bit of an obscure but often-overlooked track on one of the best live/tour/soundtrack albums ever.....

Silver and Gold, U2..... and unless I've missed my guess, I'll bet that you're as much a fan of the 5 min. mark when Edge "plays the blues" as I am!

I don't often miss a day of IKN, but I do remote work in the Canadian resources sector so I'm occasionally off the grid - hopefully there hasn't been a U2 tune recently that would rule out the above - if so, here's a respectable alternate, with no particular relevance to anything other than it's just such a great tune

Over the Hills and Far Away - Zep - I love Zep! climbed the mountain behind Jimmy's castle on the shore of Loch Ness back in my reckless youth, same place where they filmed his sequence in the Song Remains the Same concert film - good times!

Trading Post (got the builders in again edition)

Andean Resources ( ( up 48.9% at CAD$7.16, which prices in a possible bidding war. We shall see what we shall see.

Troy Resources ( ( up 8.6% at CAD$2.66. Troy was one of the first stocks to react to the news, coming as it did at the beginning of the Aussie Friday session late last night. We're updating our coverage on TRY this weekend in the NOBS fundy report (which was programmed before today's Argy newsflow surge, by luck or judgement good or bad).

Minera Andes ( up 11.6% at $0.96 on strong vols. Mine were sold this AM at 95, fwiw.

Ventana Gold ( up 11.4% at $9.48, so a good lucky richochet picked up by the port here, too. DYODD.

Fronteer (FRG) up 1.1% at U$7.53 and clawing back some of the early week loss on the buyout news. Sprott upgraded FRG to a buy this morning, which might be a factor.


Locojhon is a regular round these parts and always good for sending your humble scribe a smart but biting mail or two about all things LatAm. So instead of keeping the fun to myself this time, here's a mail he just sent in to IKN Nerve Centre minutes ago:

Wanna bet???

...that none of those from LatAm nations opposed to US hegemony will be found in the USA--even though the whole world knows they are here?

Like the ones who blew up the airliner; the corrupted ones who fled from Bolivia and Venezuela and other nations after a regime-change???

There are too many tales to be told if repatriated back to where the damage was done.

How about a reader contest, Otto--closest to the correct number the US turns over to others by the end of the operation?

My guess is zero.

WASHINGTON — The United States and several other countries have launched a new operation to hunt down and capture international fugitives wanted by Interpol in the Americas, US officials said Friday.

The initiative, called "Operation Far Away," is "an intelligence-driven operation designed to target, locate and arrest criminal aliens believed to be hiding in the United States and in other Western Hemisphere countries," US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

The operation is expected throughout the month.

Interpol will coordinate the operation with participation from Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Peru and the US territory of Puerto Rico.

In 2009, Interpol issued more than 5,000 "red notices" for wanted criminals or suspects.

If you owe the bank $10,000 you have a problem.....

......(and as the old saying continues) if you owe the bank $1,000,000 it's the bank that has the problem. On the other hand, if you owe one of the world's five biggest oil companies $232,469,958 and agree to pay it off over a term of 17 years at a 2% interest rate, then nobody has a problem and everyone's happy.

Here's Bolivia's La Razon on the story about Bolivia's State run YPFB oil company's debt to Venezuela's PDVSA (excerpt translated):

La Paz: To June 30 2010 Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) owed Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) U$232,47m for diesel imports, according to Bolivian Central Bank (BCB) data.

Import volumes for diesel in the first six months of this year accounted for 54% of total national sales according to YPFB statistics.

The State report on medium and long-term public debt published by the BCB stated that YPFB owed U$232,469,958 for diesel imported, an amount that will be paid off over 17 years at an annual interest rate of 2%. Diesel is the most popular fuel in Bolivia's internal market CONTINUES HERE

Copper: A strong analysis of the bull case by Andy Home of Reuters

In today's Reuters Metals Insider (click here, pages one and two of the PDF) Andy Home publishes a great analysis of dynamics in the copper market. You're advised to click through and read it all, but here's a goodly sized excerpt:

To understand why it's worth considering what is happening further up the supply chain. Extreme tightness is already a constant in the copper concentrates market.

The exact numbers for this year's mid-term concentrate deals are still unconfirmed by either miners or smelters but the consensus view seems to be that they came in at or just below $40 per tonne and 4.0 cents per pound.

Those in the spot market have been lower still, headline treatment charges recently falling to near zero. These are distress levels for smelters the world over.

And the problem is that no-one, least of all the smelters themselves, can see where the extra mine supply is going to come from to boost concentrates availability. World mine production grew by an anaemic 0.3 percent in the first five months of this year, according to the International Copper Study Group. Capacity utilisation fell to just 77.5 percent.

A lack of new projects and the ageing of the world's existing mines, translating into declining ore grades, are going to continue keeping the concentrates market in deficit.

That in turn will directly impact global smelter run rates, even allowing for a continued improvement in scrap availability. This chronic mine under-performance is a wellflagged feature of the copper market. But combining it with relatively low inventory of refined metal creates a heady bull cocktail.

No wonder that a growing number of big bank analysts are forecasting copper prices to hit all-time nominal highs at some stage next year.

Bears beware! The warning signs are already there in that front-month LME tightness. The small backwardation in the Nov-to-three-months period could be just a taster of what lies around the corner for the copper market.


When Argentina suddenly becomes the fashion place for risk capital...... just know it's going to all end in tears.

But no matter in the very short term, as today's news about Andean Resources ( ( and Goldcorp (GG) has set off a mini-bullrun in juniors exposed to the land of the Kirchners. For example the Argy silver play Mirasol (MRZ.v)....

...and much to my pleasant surprise (cos I didn't sell 'em yesterday) Minera Andes (

Meanwhile, wiser souls are indeed looking a little further afield for the next big gold deposit to get sold. Example Ventana Gold (

Others too. DYODD

Andean Resources ( (

Back in July we dedicated more than one IKN space to Andean Resources ( ( and its excellent round of drill results (here's an example, with links to coverage reports) so yesterday's unsolicited bid by Eldorado (EGO) swiftly followed by friendly bid from Goldcorp catches this humble scribe's eye.

The bit that really grabs the attention, however, is the price being paid. Now for sure there's a whole lot of underexplored ground on the plot down there in Argentina (there's 215 km sq in total), but if we go on just the current outlined resources so far, it's still a hefty price tag being paid. What we have is:
  • 2.54m oz gold indicated
  • 523,000m oz gold inferred
  • 23.56m oz silver indicated
  • 3.12m oz silver inferred.

If we use a 65:1 ratio for the Ag/Au that brings us to a total of 3.996m oz Gold Eq (the lion's share pure gold). And yes, it's high grade, and yes it's near surface and yes there may be a lot left to add to that resource count yet, but still, we are talking about


And that's a price tag to make you sit back and think about things. Things like, "That'd still be a hefty price tag if the gold count doubles" or things like "Wow, Ventana Gold ( is dirt cheap here".

Disclosure: No position, long

Chart of the day is...

...uranium, two year spot price from this page. Source: The Ux Consulting Company, LLC

Back in late July this humble corner of cyberspace took flak from the momo crowd for daring to suggest that the spike being seen in U was another round of market spec rahrah and that, in fact, the supply situation for uranium wasn't tight at all. This post explained it all (with pretty charts and everything) and here are the words used to wrap it up:
The bottom line is that there's seemingly no supply squeeze on the horizon and it doesn't matter what the market shillers might think. Uranium gets pumped to no result from time to time and this time seems no different, just the reasons ("OMG!!! Chinese Stockpiling!!!") change. DYODD, dude.

Since then, U has dropped back from U$46.50/lb to this week's U$45 on the spot market. IKN once again apologizes for failing to buy into the Canadian market bullshit hype....and for being right, too.

DYODD, dudette. DYODD, dude.


Fulp on BNN does Rare Metals (and moves markets)

Here's the chart of Tasman Metals (TSM.v). Check out 11:50am, the time Mickey Fulp picked TSM out as his favourite play of all the REE sector right now on his 5 minute segment on BNN today:

See the whole interview as recorded on BNN right here. where Fulp talks about TSM and other REE plays. Disclosure: no position in TSM or in any of the companies.

The 33 trapped Chilean miners: It's possible that only 32 want to come out

Here we go with a direct translation of this report:

Chile: One of the trapped miners 700 metres underground in the San José mine might not want to be rescued, due to the fact that his wife recently met his lover at the entrance to the mine.

The wife of Yonni Barrios, Marta Salinas, and Barrios's lover, Susana Valenzuela, were both waiting that the mine for news of the rescue when they met for the first time.

Salinas was surprised when she heard Susana shouting her husband's name amongst a group of mine family members.

The wife, 56, admitted to being 'horrified. However she is determined to stop her rival from winning her husband.

Salinas commented to her friends, "Barrios is my husband. He loves me and I'm his wife. That woman has no legitimacy."

However, Valenzuela has said that the 50 year old mine, who she met during a training course five years ago, was planning to leave his wife to be with her. Continues here

"We're in love. I'll wait for him", added Valenzuela.

Oh Lordy, the guy is toast now. The Sun is now running the same story in EngLang. Well, I suppose he could end up selling the book rights to Murdoch...

UPDATE 2: Hold crap it's getting worse! Thanks for the headsup from reader 'Anibal' left in comments to this report that includes:

"....At least five wives have been forced to come face to face with mistresses whose existence was kept from them by their husbands, who have been trapped more than 700 metres below since a cave-in on Aug 5. One miner has four women fighting in an effort to claim compensation....."

Trading Post (I kissed a girl I liked it edition)

Rio Alto (RIO.v) down 1.0% at $1.00 on low volumes. Having rushed up and got itself a one handle last week, RIO can't decide which way to go now. According to Gary Biiwii, the short-term persepective has the under at 90 and the over at 120, so I suppose on a risk/reward basis you're best long right now....if you believe them there charts, anyway.

Fortuna Silver ( up 2.5% at $2.83 and still rockin' on nice volumes. The gift that just keeps on giving.

Petaquilla ( down 4.8% at $0.40 with the stubborn longs beginning to work out just how bad that fwd gold sales deal really was. Toldyaso.

Minera Andes ( up a penny at 88c. I still haven't taken profits on the chunk bot at 75c. I still want to. Might even take this 88 if nothing else turns up soon. I'm giving myself til tomorrow, fwiw.

News roundup (we offer a trim, shave and something for the weekend, sir)

chop chop!

The Economist is often mediocrity defined when it comes to its LatAm coverage, but it does offer up some decent perspectives on occasion (which keeps me from scrubbing its LatAm desk from my RSS). A good example today as TE offers up Ethanol's mid-life crisis on Brazil's sugar/ethanol sector. Interesting reading material and food for thought.

In our Presidential libido gossip column section, Paraguay's Lugo, currently under treatment for cancer, is not the father of one of the football team he's supposed to have procreated, according to DNA testing announced this week. Two positives and a negative so far.

We like that Brazil's Lula and Colombia's Santos have signed an eight point bilateral trade agreement this week. Lula then presented Santos with a pretty gong to hang round his neck and Santos said warm and fuzzy things about how wonderful Brazil is. Ahhh, ain't diplomacy cute sometimes?

Oh noes! Argentina is Communist too! The turncoats have only gone and bought a truckload of Russian military hardware, for the first time ever, too. Whatever happened to those carnal relations of the 90's eh? (update: link now works)

A taxi driver accused of sexual abuse his female passengers in Lima denies the charges, as (in his words) he only forced them to perform oral sex while threatening them with a screwdriver. Oh well, that's alright then, isn't it?

Goddam freakin' Socialists....

...and their twobit freakin' banana republic mindsets, always raising taxes and makin' it difficult for us fine upstandin' people to move in and make money. Freakin' pinko commie swine.

Oh...wait a minute....

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Ecuador’s government will propose a 3 percentage point tax reduction for businesses to help boost investment and job growth in South America’s seventh-biggest economy, Production Minister Nathalie Cely said.

President Rafael Correa’s Cabinet agreed yesterday to propose a cut in the corporate income tax rate to 22 percent from 25 percent in an effort to at least double investment by next year, Cely, a 45-year-old Harvard University-trained economist, said today in an interview at her offices in Quito CONTINUES HERE

Mariner Energy (ME) kaboom, but maybe Shute might want to reconsider his 'long MCF' call

One person is missing after a rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay, the U.S. Coast Guard said.It happened around 9 a.m., and as of 10:15 a.m., the rig was still burning, the Coast Guard said. Rescue crews from New Orleans and Houston are responding.Officials said there were 13 people aboard the rig, and all but one are accounted for.Two helicopters from Houston and three from New Orleans are responding to the blast. Two other fixed-wing planes and two cutter ships are also responding, the Coast Guard said.The rig is owned by Mariner Energy.

Peru: Latest polls for the 2011 Presidential election

The poll published by pollsters IMA today is based on Lima & Metro area alone (where for example Ollanta Humala is less popular and Luis Castañeda is better known) but the main takeway is that Alejandro Toledo is continuing his slow but steady rise in the polls.

Although not even officially running yet, Toledo has been more active in the last few weeks and everybody now expects him to announce he's throwing his hat in to the ring in the next few weeks.

Right now it's looking like a three-horse race. None of them appeal very much to this humble scribe, but if I could make one request it'd be "no Keiko...please, no Keiko".

The USA once again confused about how South America can develop quite nicely without its presence

Abiding in Bolivia takes down the woeful crap written about Bolivia and lithium in today's WaPo article. El Duderino's article entitled "Washington Post dreams lithium while Bolivia moves ahead" takes the gringo ignorance to task (and rightly so) but is also indicative of a more general issue. Really, when are you guys going to get it through your thick skulls that South America is not tied to your Manifest Destiny apronstrings and has a whole bunch of other choices when it comes to FDI?

Colombia's unemployment problem

Underreported by English language media (I wonder why?) was this week's unemployment report from Colombia's DANE stats office (sidebar: DANE is one of the very few gov't run stats offices in South America that gives out unbiased, statistically solid reliable data and has not buckled under the pressures to manipulate data from gov't circles, as so obvious in places like Argentina and Peru). The 12.6% unemployment rate announced was a full percentage point up from the June figure and means there are some 2.7m Colombians out of work right now.

Not a good start for President Santos, who made job creation one of the mainstays in his recent election campaign. In fact, his repeated "More Jobs" mantra that started when up against poll pressure from Mockus and became the central theme of his succesfully retooled campaign far outweighed any talk about anti-terrorism, human rights and all the things we gringos wring our hands about when it comes to Colombia. Even in South America it's the economy, stupid.

So Santos, who promised to created up to 2.5 million new jobs and make half a million informal jobs official during his 2010-2014 mandate, gets his cold bucket of reality that's made even icier when the 34.2% underemployed rate is added to the mix. That's a lot of people not putting in a full day's work, people. But as the chart above shows, he's up against an unemployment issue that's long ingrained into Colombia's economy. The current 12.6% jobless rate may be high but it's not unusual either in a country that has rarely seen a sub 10% level (and never for any significant period of time).

Finally, it's worth reflecting that fighting unemployment is one of the best ways of fighting terrorism, too. Those 12% jobless are fodder for the paramilitary and FARC who can offer them food, lodgings and even salaries in exchange for shooting up villages and extorting businesses.

Chart of the day is.....

...silver, a chart sent in to your humble scribe by reader 'A' yesterday afternoon (a respected market player) with "silver looks decent from here" the short comment that came with it.

Looks all chartist mumbojumbo to me, but then again WTFDIK? I personally prefer the chart below, that shows GLD versus SLV for the period that both have existed together and demonstrates just how badly silver has perfromed compared to gold in these last four years, this despite all the rabid silverbugs telling me all along that line how Ag was about to explode and zoom and to da moon Alice and get on NOW and all that jazz (then there's all that silverbug stuff about raptures and ends of times, but we'll let those slide for today).

Casey Research frontruns its own sheep again

Here we go with another episode of the Casey scammers doing their thing. We bullet point.
1) Bayfield Ventures (BYV.v) is the name this time and three months ago Casey got his flock involved in a private placement on the thing (a full share and a warrant). Amazingly enough, the placement came out of lock-up on September 1st (see below).

2) Last Wednesday August 25th after BYV.v released news, Casey Research alerted its premium high paying clients about the stock and even went as far as to "suggest" that it would pump the stock to its proletariat subscribers in the September issue of its box standard monthly "International Spectator". At that time BYV.v traded at 54c.

3) And lo and behold! After opening at 57c today BYV.v suddenly got da pump from Casey Research and the stock jumped to close at 66c on nearly 10X average volume today. And let's recall, today is also the day that those placement shares pumped by Casey became free-trading.

Is this legal? I really don't know, but as I do know the BCSC is a regular reader round here I'm sure we'll find out sooner or later. But legal or not, it's a demonstration of the morals of an utter scoundrel. And of course, it's not the first time the Casey bullshitters have pulled this kind of scheme. Hey David Galland, feel like filing suit on me yet? I'd love it....make my day.

DYODD, dude


Fulp to do REEs on BNN

Thanks to kind reader 'JC' for this headsup. Tomorrow morning (Thursday) Mercenary Geologist Mickey Fulp is on BNN, doing the talkinghead bit and talking Rare Earths (REE). Here's 'JC's mail:


This is Thurs. lineup on BNN.

11:30 AM – Commodities
MAG's Moly/Gold Discovery: Dan MacInnes, president and CEO, MAG Silver
How to play Rare Earths: Mickey Fulp, author, the Mercenary


So check it out, folks.

Trading Post (after the fact edition)

Just to ring the changes, a Trading Post well after bell.

Fortuna Silver ( up 3.0% at $2.76 on heavy volumes. Oh Wayne......waddya gonna do now, dude?

Lumina Copper (LCC.v) down 5.2% at $2.36. This Beaty vehicle went on a helluva ride in August but has given up just a tad of its impressive gains on this first day of the new month.

ECU Silver ( down 4.4% at $0.65.....just can't keep it up, Mikey. Disgraceful innit?

Jaguar Mining (JAG) up 4.6% at U$6.15. Repeat buyers of JAG are now showing signs madness, according to Albert E's definition at least. You know the one about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, don't you?

U.S. Silver (USA.v) up 10% at $0.275, also on heavy volume. Somebody's accumulating here. Somebody with initials 'TK', perchance?

Medoro Resources (MRS.v) down 10.3% at $1.75 on double volumes. C'mon Zeds, Frankie wants you to pump harder! i mean, it's gold, it's Colombia, what could possibly be wrong with this stock? Oh yeah....the fact it's an overhyped PoS the locals hate with a vengeance...i nearly forgot.

When wimpy, no-balls price target calls bite back

On Monday Wayne Hewgill of PI Fincorp took the news out of Fortuna Silver (, crunched his numbers and raised his target....from $2,45 to $2.70 (report linked here). And here we are just three days later and has crashed through his "upgrade" (using the term as loosely as possible) so presumably there's a whole swathe of PI Fincorp clients that'll be hitting the sell button this morning...that right Wayne?

It wouldn't be so bad, but this is the fifth time (!!) Hewgill has changed his call on since September 2009 and always by a few pennies here and a few pennies there. Seriously dude, grow a pair. Take a good look at kitty here cos there's a lesson here for yaz:
They're called cojones. Get some.

More Peru mining production stats

So I put up the post just an hour ago that clearly shows how Peru's exports are riding their luck and immediately (and I mean within half an hour) the "you're just cherrypicking" mail arrives from one the sillypeople that is ignorant to stick up for the corruptos running Peru. So let's first point out this:

Ahhhh I feel better now. Let's plough straight on with the monthly metals production figures for Peru in the period 2006 to date. Starting with copper, the only one that has made some sort of significant move (and I betcha that you can guess when the Cerro Verde expansion came online):

Next gold:

Here's silver:

Here's zinc:

Here's lead:

Here's iron ore:

Here's tin

Here's molybdenum:

All data from Peru's Ministry of Energy and Mining. You see that amazing production expansion? You don't? Oh wow, there's one for owly to comment upon:

Having a bad time in the markets?

In the wrong stocks? Nothing seems to trade well? All around you crowing about their big wins while your portfolio treads water? Well, it's time to take some sage advice from Chopper:

Especially for readers 'M' and 'B'.

Peru: Export growth is down to sheer luck

Now I'm not saying that plain dumb luck is a bad thing. Au contraire mes braves, a decent dose of fortune coming your way is always a good thing and as the golfer Gary Player once remarked, the more you practice the luckier you tend to get. but can we please just STFU about the amazing economic management of the Twobreakfasts administration as the cause of the Peru growth "miracle" one time?

click to enlarge

Take for example this chart, that shows the figures for gold exports from Peru in the January-to-July periiods of the last five years, 2010 included. The golden coloured bars show the physical volume of gold exported and right now it's the second worst figure of the last five years (well, ten years in fact if you care to check the data back even further). The green bars show those gold exports in US dollar value, calculated on a monthly average using the London Fix average for each month (data kitco). Yes indeedy, we're miles up in cash terms thanks to the world markets.

Peru isn't working miracles, folks. It got lucky and got lucky seven or eight years after the real economic reforms (done by PPK during the Toledo gov't.. and btw neither are faves round here, but you gotta recognize the truth too) set the stage for a better economic base. The only good thing that the arrogant García and his criminal band of corrupt lackeys have done is not touch the controls and leave the whole thing on autopilot. Luck has done the rest.

Chart of the day is.....

...LME copper warehouse inventories, five year period.

Today's chart because a certain reader is surely all happy it went under 400k this week. Yeah P, I mean you :-)


More pipes

David's father on the right

Some pretty impressive feedback from this kind of OT post on Sunday about Bill Millin, the D-Day bagpiper who has just passed on. Reader and subsciber "David" sent over the following and also kindly gave permission to share.

My father was the Pipe Major of the Clan McClay Bagpipe Band in Portland, Oregon until he died in 1974. Here the band is marching in the Rose Festival parade through downtown Portland around 1965. He was a B17 bomber pilot during the war from age 21 - 23. i was a piper from age 5 to 18. and studied piping briefly in Edinburgh where i was pursuing a degree in Philosophy - which lasted 3 months, at which time i took off for Asia, age 18.

I forwarded the story to my piper brother in Maine and he replied:

On Saturday I had a reed pop out of my chanter as we began to march onto a field and we were assaulted by hordes of midges, which landed on and died on our white shirts. Yet I kept on marching. Not quite the same as what Millin had to endure, I know.

My chanter reed is from 1965. When Dad was pipe major. I look at my reeds like single malt whiskey. They get better with age.

We all have had such interesting lives.

subsc. David In Thailand

Then when asked if I could share with a wider audience, David wrote:

it's an honor.

i used to play every tune mentioned in the article taught to young Davie by his dad on the back porch. His pipe band would practice every Tuesday evening in the field next to our house - in the summer i would climb high in the cherry tree and be in heaven.

People, this blog is a never-ending source of wonderful surprises to its author.

Continental Gold ( place your bets on the halt at the bell folks

Continental Gold ( was just halted at the bell.

Otto says it's about to announce a $50m financing at a price of $5.25...bought deal, of course. Timestamp on this post 3:11pm local time, 11 minutes after the bell.

Time will tell.

UPDATE 3:20pm: Ok, I was pretty close!

August 31, 2010
Continental Gold Limited Announces $57,000,000 Private Placement Financing
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2010) -


Continental Gold Limited (the "Company" or "Continental Gold") (TSX:CNL), is pleased to announce that it has entered into a financing agreement pursuant to which a syndicate co-led by TD Securities Inc. and Clarus Securities Inc. (together, the "Underwriters"), has offered to purchase, on a bought deal private placement basis, 10,000,000 units (the "Units") of the Company at a price of $5.70 per Unit (the "Issue Price") for total gross proceeds of $57,000,000 (the "Offering"). Continental Gold has also granted the Underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 2,000,000 Units, which is exercisable by the Underwriters at any time up to 2 business days prior to closing.

Each Unit will consist of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant shall entitle the holder to acquire an additional common share at a price of $7.50 during the period ending 24 months following the closing of the Offering. In the event that the blah blah etc etc

A headsup on oil & gas smarts

Toby Shute over at Motley Fool is good, good, good at Oil&Gas. By way of example check out an article he published today on Contango Oil and Gas (MCF) and also pay attention to the dialogue in the comments section underneath.

We at IKN like sharp, independent brains in this market. Shute wins.

Trading Post (peripheral vision edition)

IKN welcomes today's multiple visits from a company known as "Goodman & Co Investment Council" what on earth have they found interesting at IKN all of a sudden? :-)

Riverside Resources (RRI.v) up 13% at $0.87 and on a real zoom recently, probably due to the deals it's struck with Cliff's. Good to see nice guys winning, JMS.

Focus Ventures (FCV.v) up 4.4% at $0.47. Wabbit season!

Minera Andes ( up a penny at $0.88. This humble scribe owns and is looking for a place to sell in order to rack up a short-term trading gain. Nicely in the green here but going to try and wait for 90c+ prices before ringing the register. DYODD, dude.

Continental Gold ( up 4.5% at $5.80 and 'Son Of Colossus' is the Canuck trading desks' tennis ball du jour, with plenty of volume and opinion coming from this NR before the bell (the stock was halted on this yesterday, too). Some point to the knockout grades reported, others to the possible weakness of true vein width. Personally it's really easy to leave this stock alone and watch from the neutral corner, with neither the country nor the team making appeal.

Extorre ( up 5.5% at $3.87 and has been on an offensively good run recently. Yale knows how to push them buttons, doesn't he?

Oceanagold ( ( A free fundamentals report on the company as featured in The IKN Weekly

To give you an idea of the coverage we offer gold mining companies in The IKN Weekly, click here for a free download of the analysis on Oceanagold ( ( found in IKN67 and dated August 15th (sorry, you don't get the full IKN Weekly newsletter, just the NOBS fundamental report from that issue).

At the time the stock was standing at $2.79, so it's done well in the two weeks since the report and added 21.8% to the price.

Want to find out why the market likes this small/mid-sized producer? Click and read today's freebie, brought to you by your loving and caring IKN.

Small Silvers, year to date update (August)

To make things a little more orderly, we're going to update on our regularly tracked basket of 10 silver tickers at the end of each month. Come December we'll have the winning winner, but until then here's how they stand in chart form.

(click to enlarge and make easier to read)

Leading the pack is still U.S. Silver (USA.v) (we applaud) but the biggest change we see on the list now is a more general one. Plenty of our small silver names have gone into the green on the year and are also beating out our benchmark silver ETF (SLV) ticker that tracks the metal itself accurately. So we now have the following five officially doing well in 2010:
1) U.S. Silver (USA.v)
2) Bear Creek (BCM.v)
3) MAG Silver (
4) First Majestic (
5) Fortuna Silver (

Then (just behind FVI) comes SLV, with under that the four tickers still in the red for 2010. The rolecall of shame is:
7) Endeavour (
8) ECU Silver (
9) Impact (IPT.v)
10) Great Panther (

So congratulations to that paragon of the mining community Mexico Mike Kachanovsky, as his paycheck providers at ECU aren't in last place any longer and have only lost their shareholders nine percent or so this year. It must make your unrelenting paid pumpage of this dog seem all worthwhile, Mikey.

Next update end September.

Chart of the day is....

...the US dollar on monthly candles.

Change We Can Believe In™


Fronteer (FRG) ( versus AuEx ( year to date

An interesting chart.

Subscribers got a Flash update regarding FRG sent over before the bell this AM, by the way.

August 30th, International Day of the Disappeared

Today is the annual commemoration of the tens of thousands of people that have been disappeared by oppressive governments over the years and around the world, though it shouldn't need much pointing out that Latin America as a region has suffered more than nearly anywhere else from this practice with the famous cases of Chile's Pinochet regime, Argentina's Dirty War standing alongside the lesser-reported cases of the thousands missing in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and many other states.

IKN publishes below the UN Human Rights Office's statement on this occasion today, available at its origin here.

Statement by United Nations Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances
Geneva (30 August 2010) -- Today the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances commemorates the International Day of the Disappeared. All over the world, events have been organized by the families and associations of victims to remember those that have suffered the terrible fate of being disappeared. Yet, the Working Group believes that this day ought to be commemorated by all. It is gratified that the Human Rights Council has accepted the recommendation of the Working Group that 30 August be proclaimed the International Day of the Disappeared. The Working Group supports the call by the Human Rights Council for the United Nations General Assembly to recognize this day annually. This would put a further spotlight on these heinous acts.

Thirty years after the Working Group’s establishment, which will be commemorated at an event to take place in Geneva on 5 November this year, it condemns the fact that enforced disappearances continue to occur all over the world. The Working Group reiterates its solidarity with victims, their families and others who work on the issue. It pays tribute to the many relatives of victims, human rights defenders, non-governmental organizations, lawyers and other individuals and groups who work untiringly and often in difficult circumstances to denounce cases of enforced disappearance, discover the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared, and work to eradicate this terrible practice. It invites all Governments to support the efforts of those working on enforced disappearances and to take all available measures to protect them and others, including witnesses to these crimes.

To end the practice of enforced disappearances States should continue promoting and giving full effect to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Defining enforced disappearance as a separate and autonomous criminal offence and bringing domestic legislation in conformity with the Declaration would significantly contribute to the prevention and eradication of this odious practice. The Working Group stands ready to assist states in their endeavors to give full effect to the Declaration.

The work of the Working Group is dependent on the cooperation of Governments. The role of states in investigating cases of enforced disappearances is essential to determining the fate or whereabouts of disappeared persons. The Working Group therefore calls upon Governments to fully cooperate with the Working Group and take all possible measures to address cases of enforced disappearances regardless of when the disappearance occurred, who the victims were or who the perpetrators are.

States should bring all those responsible for these crimes to justice; refrain from any act of intimidation or reprisals against those persons who contribute to the eradication of this crime; and fight impunity wherever it exists.

The Working Group is pleased to note that recently in a number of countries more has been done to investigate disappearances. It is also gratified that in various states there have been convictions for those who have perpetrated enforced disappearances and that in some cases reparations have been paid to victims or their families. More, however ought to be done to prosecute offenders, provide integral reparations to victims and family members, and to preserve memory.

The Working Group recalls that, as noted in its recently released General Comment on the Right to the Truth in Relation to Enforced Disappearances, the right to the truth entails the right to know about the progress and results of an investigation, the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared persons, the circumstances of the disappearance, and the identity of the perpetrator(s). The Working Group emphasizes that the right to the truth should be enjoyed by all the victims of enforced disappearances as well as others affected by enforced disappearances. Reconciliation between the State and victims of enforced disappearances and/or their families cannot happen without the clarification of each individual case.

The Working Group is gratified that, as of 30 August 2010, 83 States have signed and 19 States have ratified the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The ratification or accession of only one more State party is required before the Convention enters into force. The implementation of the Convention, and the coming into being of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance, will strengthen States’ capacities to reduce the number of disappearances and will help realize the demands of victims and their families for justice and truth. The Working Group urges States that have not yet signed and/or ratified the Convention to do so as soon as possible. It also calls upon States to accept the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals under article 31 and the inter-State complaint mechanism under article 32 of the Convention.

Dundee's terse dropping of East Asia Minerals (EAS.v) coverage

Here's an intruiging one. Dundee Securities today decided to drop East Asia Minerals (EAS.v) from its coverage list. Ok fair enough and a call is a call, but it's the way it was done that raises eyebrows.

East Asia Minerals Corp.
(EAS-V: C$6.20)
August 30, 2010
12-month target price: N/R
Ron Stewart / (647) 428-8324
rstewart AT
Robert Thaemlitz / (647) 428-8392
rthaemlitzl AT

Dropping Coverage

We Bid You Farewell
We are dropping coverage of East Asia Minerals Corp. (EAS-V), effective immediately our ratings, target prices and estimates should no longer be relied upon. Readers should no longer rely on the comments or recommendations made in respect of the company as no assurance can be given as to the accuracy or relevance going forward.

IKN back. File that under "terse", also kinda mysterious, as what you see above was the whole message (bar the normal disclosure blurbs, of course). Betcha Ron and Robert are getting plenty of phone calls this morning, too. Anyone know any backstory to this? TIA. Finally by way of disclosure, no position in EAS.v. Even though we recently covered the company's ding-dong with Northern Miner this author has no dog running in this game.

Stockhouse's subtle marketing push

Although not a member of the 'Stockhouse Community' myself, I was forwarded this mail pasted below from the Stockhouse people by A.Reader this morning. The interesting bit has been highlighted by your humble scribe in red


Dear Valued Stockhouse Member,

I want to personally let you know of some exciting changes coming soon to Stockhouse.

New Editorial:

We will soon be launching two new editorial columns; a "short" report showing you some of the market's biggest scams and overvalued stocks as well as a weekly Q&A with some of the industry's biggest movers and shakers. This will be sent to you weekly via email.

Website Redevelopment:

We are planning a redevelopment of and we would love your feedback! What do like or dislike about the website? What changes or features would you like to see? Let us know - now is your chance to have your say!

Updates on what is happening at Stockhouse

Expect to receive future updates from me periodically. I want to keep each of you informed of what's going on at Stockhouse.

Thank you very much for your continued support of Stockhouse. Please send me any comments or feedback.

Sincerely, Marcus

Marcus New
Stockhouse Publishing Ltd.

Or in other words, Stockhouse has just sent a very big advertising message to all the scammy mining juniors and scumball management teams hanging in Canada (and let's face it, there are hundreds of those):

Dear Scumballs,

You have exactly one week to get yourself signed up as a sponsor of Stockhouse and sent us money every month else risk being exposed for what you are. However, if you sponsor Stockhouse your far less likely to get any spotlights shone upon you.......(ahem, cough, ahem).

Air kisses, Marcus New

Smart marketing technique, Marcus. IKN applauds your inverse scumbaggery and bets that Agoracom is kicking itself right now for not having thought of it first. Hey, I wonder if Thom "Never Met A Junior I Didn't Like" Calandra will be in charge of the 'short report'?

8 multiplied by 0.645 = 5.16

Now here's a piece of news that shows everyone has a price:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - 08/30/10) - Fronteer Gold Inc. ("Fronteer Gold") (TSX:FRG - News)(AMEX:FRG - News) and AuEx Ventures, Inc. ("AuEx") (TSX:XAU - News) announced today they have entered into an arrangement agreement under which Fronteer Gold will acquire 100% of the outstanding common shares of AuEx by way of a plan of arrangement.

Under the plan of arrangement, AuEx shareholders will receive 0.645 of a Fronteer Gold share, $0.66 in cash and 0.5 of a share in a new exploration company ("SpinCo") for each AuEx share. Excluding the SpinCo shares, the offer represents a premium of approximately 50.9% based on the volume-weighted average prices of AuEx and Fronteer Gold shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX") for the 20 trading days ended on August 26, 2010, resulting in a fully diluted equity value for the transaction of $280.8 million. continues here

The murder you heard about and the murder you didn't hear about

The similarities
Both these murders are heinous crimes. Both are despicable. Both are politically charged and come with a background of sleaze, both point to weaknesses in the countries where they happened.

The difference
One was in Mexico and is getting coverage from thousands of news sources and reports, the other was in Colombia and has precisely two reports published on the web in the English language. Now that's a coincidence, isn't it?

Here's an example of the Mex story:
(Aug. 30) -- The Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, known for drug-related violence, saw more bloodshed when the mayor of Hidalgo was shot dead by suspected cartel hitme
The killing of Mayor Marco Antonio Leal Garcia, 46, on Sunday comes just a few days after a wave of car bombs were set off in the state capital and less than a week after the bullet-ridden corpses of 72 migrants were found at a ranch near the U.S. border. Experts suspect that the Zetas -- a bloodthirsty drug gang formed by former Mexican army commandos, and dubbed the most "sophisticated and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico" by the U.S. government -- are behind many of the crimes.

Leal was driving through his rural municipality at 4:30 p.m. Sunday when CONTINUES HERE

Here's how one of the only two stories on the Colombia murder available in English kicks off:

Colombian human rights defender Norma Irene Perez, who was involved in investigating allegations of a mass grave in La Macarena, was found shot to death, according to a Bogota-based NGO.

The Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CPDH) announced in a press release that Perez was found dead with multiple bullet wounds in the rural municipality of La Union, close to La Macarena in the Meta department, on August 13. Perez, a mother of four, went missing on August 7.

La Macarena mayor's office claims Perez died after stepping on a land mine and was not murdered.

Perez was a member of the Upper Guayabero Regional Committee for Human Rights. She was among rights workers who in July agitated for an investigation into allegations of 2,000 unidentified bodies in a La Macarena graveyard. CONTINUES HERE

Chart of the day is...

...this table, taken from this Clarín report that shows the YoY price rises of staples in Rosario Argentina (the country's 2nd biggest city and a pretty good barometer).

click to enlarge

You'll also note the nice clear photos and so it's a good time to brush up on your Spanish vocab, folks (e.g. onion pron: "Se Boy Ya").

The main point of the Clarín article is to note how all these foodstuffs are no longer included in the Argentine gov't inflation statistics compiled by the bullshitters at INDEC, because according to the official stats people these products became "superfluous" in 2008. Convenient, no?

lest we forget

Your author makes no apology whatsoever in reprinting every single word in this Economist article. If just one extra person reads the words on offer it would have been worth the copyright risk.

Piping in D-Day

Bill Millin, piper at the D-Day landings, died on August 17th, aged 88

ANY reasonable observer might have thought Bill Millin was unarmed as he jumped off the landing ramp at Sword Beach, in Normandy, on June 6th 1944. Unlike his colleagues, the pale 21-year-old held no rifle in his hands. Of course, in full Highland rig as he was, he had his trusty skean dhu, his little dirk, tucked in his right sock. But that was soon under three feet of water as he waded ashore, a weary soldier still smelling his own vomit from a night in a close boat on a choppy sea, and whose kilt in the freezing water was floating prettily round him like a ballerina’s skirt.

But Mr Millin was not unarmed; far from it. He held his pipes, high over his head at first to keep them from the wet (for while whisky was said to be good for the bag, salt water wasn’t), then cradled in his arms to play. And bagpipes, by long tradition, counted as instruments of war. An English judge had said so after the Scots’ great defeat at Culloden in 1746; a piper was a fighter like the rest, and his music was his weapon. The whining skirl of the pipes had struck dread into the Germans on the Somme, who had called the kilted pipers “Ladies from Hell”. And it raised the hearts and minds of the home side, so much so that when Mr Millin played on June 5th, as the troops left for France past the Isle of Wight and he was standing on the bowsprit just about keeping his balance above the waves getting rougher, the wild cheers of the crowd drowned out the sound of his pipes even to himself.

His playing had been planned as part of the operation. On commando training near Fort William he had struck up a friendship with Lord Lovat, the officer in charge of the 1st Special Service Brigade. Not that they had much in common. Mr Millin was short, with a broad cheeky face, the son of a Glasgow policeman; his sharpest childhood memory was of being one of the “poor”, sleeping on deck, on the family’s return in 1925 from Canada to Scotland. Lovat was tall, lanky, outrageously handsome and romantic, with a castle towering above the river at Beauly, near Inverness. He had asked Mr Millin to be his personal piper: not a feudal but a military arrangement. The War Office in London now forbade pipers to play in battle, but Mr Millin and Lord Lovat, as Scots, plotted rebellion. In this “greatest invasion in history”, Lovat wanted pipes to lead the way.

He was ordering now, as they waded up Sword Beach, in that drawly voice of his: “Give us a tune, piper.” Mr Millin thought him a mad bastard. The man beside him, on the point of jumping off, had taken a bullet in the face and gone under. But there was Lovat, strolling through fire quite calmly in his aristocratic way, allegedly wearing a monogrammed white pullover under his jacket and carrying an ancient Winchester rifle, so if he was mad Mr Millin thought he might as well be ridiculous too, and struck up “Hielan’ Laddie”. Lovat approved it with a thumbs-up, and asked for “The Road to the Isles”. Mr Millin inquired, half-joking, whether he should walk up and down in the traditional way of pipers. “Oh, yes. That would be lovely.”

Three times therefore he walked up and down at the edge of the sea. He remembered the sand shaking under his feet from mortar fire and the dead bodies rolling in the surf, against his legs. For the rest of the day, whenever required, he played. He piped the advancing troops along the raised road by the Caen canal, seeing the flashes from the rifle of a sniper about 100 yards ahead, noticing only after a minute or so that everyone behind him had hit the deck in the dust. When Lovat had dispatched the sniper, he struck up again. He led the company down the main street of Bénouville playing “Blue Bonnets over the Border”, refusing to run when the commander of 6 Commando urged him to; pipers walked as they played.

He took them across two bridges, one (later renamed the Pegasus Bridge) ringing and banging as shrapnel hit the metal sides, one merely with railings which bullets whistled through: “the longest bridge I ever piped across.” Those two crossings marked their successful rendezvous with the troops who had preceded them. All the way, he learned later, German snipers had had him in their sights but, out of pity for this madman, had not fired. That was their story. Mr Millin himself knew he wasn’t going to die. Piping was too enjoyable, as he had discovered in the Boys’ Brigade band and all through his short army career. And piping protected him.

The Nut-Brown Maiden

The pipes themselves were less lucky, injured by shrapnel as he dived into a ditch. He could still play them, but four days later they took a direct hit on the chanter and the drone when he had laid them down in the grass, and that was that. The last tune they had piped on D-Day was “The Nut-Brown Maiden”, played for a small red-haired French girl who, with her folks cowering behind her, had asked him for music as he passed their farm.

He gave the pipes later to the museum at the Pegasus Bridge, which he often revisited, and sometimes piped across, during his long and quiet post-war career as a mental nurse at Dawlish in Devon. On one such visit, in full Highland rig with his pipes in his arms, he was approached by a smartly dressed woman of a certain age, with faded red hair, who planted a joyous kiss of remembrance on his cheek.