Mahavishnu Orchestra: Jazz-Rock Fusion

I saw this group in the early '70s at the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, SC. They were NOT a rock & roll band.

In its first version, the band was led by "Mahavishnu" John McLaughlin on acoustic and electric guitars, with members Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on bass guitar, Jan Hammer on electric and acoustic piano and synthesizer, and Jerry Goodman on violin.

This group was considered an important pioneer in the jazz fusionmovement. McLaughlin and Cobham met while performing and recording with Miles Davis during the Bitches Brew sessions. McLaughlin was also influenced in his conception of the band by his studies with Indian guru Sri Chinmoy, who encouraged him to take the name "Mahavishnu" which means "Divine compassion, power and justice."

McLaughlin had particular ideas for the instrumentation of the group, in keeping with his highly original concept of genre-blending in composition. He particularly wanted a violinist as an integral contributor to its overall sound. As the group evolved, McLaughlin adopted what became his trademark: a double neck guitar (six-string and twelve-string) which allowed for a great degree of diversity in musical textures, and Hammer became one of the first to play a Mini Moog synthesizer in an ensemble, which enabled him to add more sounds and solo more freely, like the guitar and the violin.

Their musical style was an unprecedented blending of genres: they combined the high-volume electrified rock sound that had been pioneered by Jimi Hendrix (who McLaughlin had jammed with on his initial arrival in New York as part of the Tony Williams Lifetime), complex rhythms in unusual time signatures that reflected McLaughlin's interest in Indian classical music as well as funk, an improvisational concept that was rooted in jazz as well as Indian music, and harmonic influence from European classical music.

There has been a significant resurgence in the popularity of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in recent years, with bands like The Mars Volta naming them as an influence. There have been no less than five major tribute recordings released. In addition, a very comprehensive and critically acclaimed book Power, Passion and Beauty: The Story of the Legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra by Walter Kolosky (AbstractLogix Books) has been published. It contains interviews with all of the band’s members and quotes obtained specifically for the book from many famous admirers such as Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny, the artist Peter Max, Bill Bruford, and many, many more. The Mahavishunu Orchestra have also been sampled in contemporary music, most notably by Massive Attack on their track "Unfinished Sympathy" which sampled "Planetary Citizen" by Mahavishnu Orchestra.(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mahavishnu_Orchestra)

Steve Jobs Should Shut Down Apple – Michael Dell’s Recommendation

Jobs had a public war of words with Dell Computer CEO Michael Dell, starting when Jobs first criticized Dell for making "un-innovative beige boxes." On October 6, 1997, in a Gartner Symposium, when Michael Dell was asked what he would do if he owned then-troubled Apple Computer, he said "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." In 2006, Steve Jobs sent an email to all employees when Apple's market capitalization rose above Dell's. The email read:

Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn't perfect at predicting the future. Based on today's stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs

Now…

Apple’s market cap — it is an astonishing $186.7 billion dollars — that’s bigger than:

Google $172B
Cisco $131.7B
HP $117.5B
Intel $110.4B
Verizon $85.7B
Amazon $51.7B
Research In Motion $34B
Dell $26.5B

Source: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/01/5-questions-about-the-apple-islate/

Permaculture: A Guide to Sustainable Living

Holmgren's 12 design principles of permaculture

These restatements of the principles of permaculture appear in David Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:

  1. Observe and interact – By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy – By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback – We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services – Make the best use of nature's abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste – By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details – By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate – By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions – Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity – Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal – The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change – We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

Your Precious Metals Could Be Confiscated by the Government

This is very troubling to me. It makes me want to move out of Georgia.

From Mark Nestmann, who is an expert on wealth preservation and international tax planning solutions. He is the author of many books and reports dealing with these subjects.

Link: Keeping Precious Metals Offshore.

An increasing number of Americans are concerned enough about the threat of precious metals confiscation to want to store gold or silver overseas. But laws in effect in 21 states may stand in their way.

I learned about these laws last year when one of my subscribers in Arizona called.

He wanted to buy gold from a foreign dealer for storage offshore, but the dealer refused to sell to him. The reason: the Arizona Model Commodities Act. After some research, I learned that 21 states have enacted the MCA or some variation of it: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.


What if you arrange for a company to purchase gold or other metals on your behalf and that company stores those metals on your behalf in a foreign bank’s vault? While nothing is certain in life (other than death and taxes) a strong case can be made that this is not a “foreign financial account” if the following conditions apply:

  • The company does not itself sell the metals but only brokers purchases and sales
  • The metals are held together in a designated area of the foreign bank’s vault
  • Each bar or coin is identified by a unique, certified number.
  • The bars or coins in the vault are individually packaged and labeled so that it they are readily identifiable as your property.
  • You can take physical possession of the metals at any time.

Naturally, the IRS might disagree with this analysis. And if you enter into such an arrangement, I highly recommend confirming my interpretation with your own tax advisor.

Practical Solar Energy Advice for Homeowners

Gail the Actuary provides a forum for home owners with experience to offer advice to home owners who are considering solar energy additions.

The questions below were the focus for the responses.

Link: The Oil Drum

1. Is it best to work with someone who both sells and installs solar PV panels? Or is this something that people end up doing themselves, using a variety of vendors?

2. What brands/ types are best?

3. How much maintenance is required?

4. What experiences have people had who purchased solar PV, then moved to another home? Did the addition of solar PV help the resale value?

5. What have buyers experience with battery back-up been? Is a small amount worthwhile, even if a homeowner is on the grid?

6. Are there any particular issues with inverters that readers should be aware of?

7. If you have purchased solar PV, are you generally happy with it?

8. Where does one find good material to read regarding solar PV?

http://campfire.theoildrum.com/node/6123

Some interesting links from the post:

http://www.dsireusa.org/

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/PV/pv.htm

http://www.homepower.com/home/

http://solarprofessional.com/home/

http://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html

http://www.solarpathfinder.com/

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a400/beavercreekfarms/renewable4.jpg

http://www.outbackpower.com/

http://www.outbackpower.com/products/smartre/

http://sunelec.com/

http://zomeworks.com/products/pv-trackers/introduction

http://www.wattsun.com/

http://www.exeltech.com/pvacproduct.htm

http://www.ecodirect.com/Micro-Inverter-Solar-s/245.htm

http://www.altestore.com/store/Inverters/Grid-Tie-Off-Grid-Capable-Inverters/c561/

http://www.freewebs.com/simplesolarhomesteading/photos.htm

http://solarbuzz.com/