Here Thar Be Monsters!
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History went through a major shift this last week. No, none of the various saviors showed up with angels in tow. No, the ground didn't shake, unless you live in Texas next to fracking operations. No, the skies didn't part and in fact comet ISON fizzled out.
There were, however, two major events that have changed global dynamics, though if you only watch main-line media (as in jacking heavy drugs), then the news was drowned out by B-movie stars dying and Obamacare hand-wringing.
The first Big Deal was China launching Chang-e 3. In case you live under a rock, the Chang-e 3 is an orbiter/lander craft sent on its way to the Moon a couple of days ago. By the time you read this, it should be entering a low orbit to begin a photo session with Diana (see Greek legend if that reference escapes you). Later, around February, a rover will drop down to the surface and (likely) soft-land to do a little propecting for minerals and exotic isotopes that could fetch a pretty penny back here on terra firma.
Keep in mind that only the US and USSR has soft-landed on the Moon, and neither of them since the mid-70s. In fact, you'd think the Moon had a "no trespassing' sign on it the way those two (former) nations have been avoiding it. A landing will put China in a very exclusive club and the first new member in 40 years.
The other Big Deal is that the yuan passed up the euro on its way to becoming the new global currency. I'm pretty happy about that, seeing as how I bought a truck-load of them years ago in anticipation of this moment. What's really important though is that this is first natural (the euro is artificial) currency to challenge the US dollar. It used to be the mark and franc were fairly desirable in their own right, but the euro tried to go head-to-head and died. The yuan has risen up from the ranks to take the number 2 spot.
By the way, since you'll likely be doing business in yuan soon enough, the word 'yuan' simply means 'money'. "Renmimbi" means 'the people's currency' and is the official name of the yuan. Just so's ya know before you make a fool of yourself in front of your new Chinese bosses.
Back in the 70s, when Japan took a serious run at the title, folks in the US were singing "Take This Job And Shove It" while sporting "Made In America" bumper stickers. Seems no one cares or has even noticed for that matter, now that China is buying up the world. Guess those 'Merkans are too busy trying to log on to the Obamacare and food stamp websites.
Talk about a country getting its ass whipped.
That giant sloshimg sound (not Ross Perot's giant sucking sound) is global power and prestige cascading over the international date line on its way east. Does America seriously think it can challenge China on behalf of Japan over some oil blocks in the South China Sea, when the 'enemy' owns about a third of the US national debt, property and equity? That new sound you hear is me laughing hysterically thinking about the Chinese flipping the switch on all the electronic gear they built for the US military and shutting the whole thing down without a shot fired.
What will be really interesting is to see what China finds on the Moon. That nothing has soft-landed there in four decades is a bit strange, considering it is the closest celestial pit stop and is supposedly packed with valuable rare-earth minerals and hydrogen-3 (used for fusion generators). The Chinese certainly know it, since the Big Daddy of their space program has said as much in the last week.
More to the point, what will they find/not find with regards to the US Apollo program landing sites? Will they discover the alien technology that the US has hidden for decades? Will they find Kubrick's signature and Disney's brand? Will they tell the rest of us, or just use it to keep the US in line? And does this account for all the recent efforts to establish world parks, no-fly zones and other "keep away" signs around Apollo landing sites?
Stay tuned...this story is just beginning. In the meantime, do you feel those historic shifts now?