Is Global Warming truly happening?

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is a cyclical event that is in a constant state of flux. Global temperature fluctuations began millions of years ago as earth temperature changes shaped the amount of ice covering much of the world. We are currently enjoying a temporary reprieve from the deep freeze known as “the little ice age” that took place between the years 1400-1800 AD. A “temporary” warm period took place during the medieval period and lasted 400 years. Small-scale temperature cycles of about 40 years exist within larger-scale cycles of 400 years, which in turn exist inside still larger scale cycles of 20,000 years, and so on.

 

.Earth Temps: A.D. 0 to 1950

Approximately every 100,000 years Earth’s climate warms up temporarily. These warm periods, called interglacial periods, appear to last approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years before regressing back to a cold ice age climate. There are well known and explainable Astronomical Causes that are responsible for these cyclical climate changes. Without getting into too many mathematical details, the 3 major cycles are defined by variations of the distance between the sun and earth due to orbital movements:

  • “Short” 21,000 year cycle: Earth’s combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun (precession of the equinoxes )
  • “Medium” 41,000 year cycle: Cycle caused by the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth’s orbit ( tilt )
  • “Long” 100,000 year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit
  • ( cycle of eccentricity)

As illustrated in the figure below, over the past 800,000 years the Earth has undergone major swings in warming and cooling at approximately 100,000 year intervals, interrupted by minor warming cycles at shorter intervals. This represents periods of glacial expansion, separated by distinct but relatively short-lived periods of glacial retreat and warmer earth.

Earth Temps Over Last 800,000 Years

Except for two relatively brief inter-glacial episodes, one peaking about 125,000 years ago and the other beginning about 18,000 years ago (the long “100,000” year cycle), the Earth has been under an “ice spell” for the last 160,000 years as shown in the figure below.

Earth Temps Over Last 160,000 Years

It is evident that we are approaching the “end” of the current “short” 21,000 years “global warming” cycle, and should expect a “global cooling” period during the next 100,000 years or so. This period will include some temperature fluctuations caused by “short” and “medium” temperature cycles, but for the most part it will be significantly colder than our current stage. The ice cap size will increase significantly, sea levels will drop by 100’ or more, and the average air temperature will most likely drop by 3°C or more.

Global climate cycles of warming and cooling have been a natural phenomenon for hundreds of thousands of years, and it is unlikely that these cycles of dramatic climate change will stop anytime soon. We currently enjoy a warm Earth. Can we count on a warm Earth forever? The answer is most likely… no. In fact, based on historical evidence, the likelihood of a “global cooling” period in the next 1000-2000 years is very high.

Since the climate has always been cyclical and will likely continue as long as current earth orbital cycle remains intact, it is highly recommended to focus our resources on preparing for global cooling and the inevitable consequences of reduction in ocean levels, colder temperatures, and increased amounts of ice and precipitation, instead of crippling the U.S. economy by forcing major reduction in man-made carbon emissions to the atmosphere in order to achieve small temporary reductions in global warming.

How to choose the best diamond for your budget

How to choose the best diamond for your budget

Diamond Shopping

For most people, buying a diamond could be a challenging exercise. Diamonds are shining rocks that come in different sizes, shapes and colors, and to the untrained eye, many of them look almost the same.  Diamond education is critical since minor differences in color, cut or clarity of these beautiful rocks could significantly impact on the final price. The goal is to get the “best diamond” at your price range and for that we need basic diamond education.

Prices of Diamonds Always Rise

In shopping for diamonds, it is important to realize that the cost increases dramatically as diamonds move through the retail chain. A diamond purchased straight from the source (i.e. the mining company) could easily cost less than half the cost at the retail store. Purchasing a diamond in a wholesale center or in major diamond exchanges (located in Israel, Belgium, Russia and South Africa) will dramatically reduce the overall purchase cost. A 1 Carat GIA certified round diamond, with G color and VVS2 Clarity could easily cost $8,000 at a US retailer. The same diamond could be purchased at a direct wholesale exchange in Israel or Belgium for less than $4,000.

What Makes Diamonds Unique

Every diamond is unique, and there are a variety of factors which affect the price of a diamond. Focus on those factors most important to you, and choose a diamond that satisfies your individual standards for beauty and value. This might be a very different diamond than someone else with a similar budget would choose. The first important thing to consider when shopping for a diamond is its certification. There are many certifications available but I would recommend the GIA (American Gemological Association) certification. It is a high standard certification that provides a thorough, independent evaluation of the diamond’s quality and is accepted around the world. Review the link to learn how GIA diamond grades are established, and how those grades affect the diamond’s price. The GIA guide provides a simple explanation of the 4 C’s (Carat Weight, Cut, Color, and Clarity).

 

The four C’s determine the true value of a diamond:

1) Carat Weight

The first of the C’s is Carat weight. A bigger diamond will have a higher Carat weight and it is important because a bigger diamond cost more in general and is more impressive. The diamond shape must be considered because each shape will have different dimensions for the same Carat weight. Two diamonds of equal carat weight may also appear very different in size based on the shape of the diamond. For instance, a 1 carat marquise tends to appear larger than a 1 carat round. The chart below illustrates why.

Size

Length

Width

6.50

6.50

5.58

5.46

7.76

5.69

10.18

5.33

8.67

5.66

6.12

5.69

6.57

5.09

5.68

5.60

6.35

5.39

6.14

6.89

Crown

33.2

30.2

33.3

36.9

34.0

29.2

31.8

28.7

32.1

28.1

Diamonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the carat size of a diamond increases, the diamond’s price increases at an increasing rate because the larger the diamond, the more increasingly rare it is. Fewer than one in one million mined stones are large enough to produce a finished 1 carat diamond. So, as carat weight increases, you will typically pay much more in total price. The cost of a diamond is categorized id Carat Bands, so it is recommended to look for a diamond at the upper end of the carat cost band (i.e. 0.99 carat or 1.49 carat) in order to get the biggest diamond in the carat cost band. The table below illustrates the typical relationship between diamonds of equal quality and increasing carat weights:

 

CARAT WEIGHT

1.00

2.00

3.00

Price-per-caratTotal Price

$ 6,000

$ 6,000

$ 12,000

$ 24,000

$ 18,000

$ 54,000

 

Two diamonds of the same shape and carat weight may still appear different in size based on the proportions. A deeply cut diamond has a greater proportion of its total weight “hidden” in the depth, resulting in a smaller diameter than a well cut diamond. A well cut diamond may even have a slightly lower carat weight than a deeply cut diamond, yet still have a larger diameter, making it appear larger in size.

 2) Cut

The second C is the Cut, and diamond cut proportions are important because they determine the “fiery” multicolored reflections out of a well cut diamond. When light strikes a diamond, approximately 20% immediately reflects off the surface (as glare). Of the 80% that enters, a portion will escape through the bottom of the diamond. A well cut diamond will have each facet properly placed and angled so as to maximize the amount of light that reflects back out of the crown (top) of the diamond, to the eye of the observer. This reflected light is perceived as scintillation, fire, or brilliance.

In the diagram below, three common light patterns are shown. When light meets any facet of a diamond, it will either reflect (bounce back) or refract (bend while passing through the facet). The angle that the light hits the facet determines whether the majority of light reflects or refracts, which is why cut is so important.

If the diamond cut is too shallow, entering light strikes the firstfacet at a low angle and passes through the facet (refracts), escaping through the bottom of the diamond.
If the diamond cut is too deep, entering light strikes the first facet at an angle sharp enough to reflect to the second facet, but the light strikes the second facet at too low an angle, causing the light to refract (pass through the facet), escaping through the bottom of the diamond.
In a well cut diamond, the light strikes each facet at an angle which allows most of the light to reflect back to the crown (top). As it passes through the crown facets at a low angle, the light refracts upon exit. In this case, refraction is a good thing, as the bent light travels to the observer’s eye and is perceived as a lively multicolor fire or brilliance.

 

 

 3) Color

The third C stands for Color. Diamonds come in a variety of colors, however in a pure white diamond is preferred because the presence of a yellow tint will degrade its beauty and lower its price. The less body color in a white diamond, the more true color it will reflect, and thus the greater its value. The GIA grades diamonds on a scale of D (colorless) through Z (light color). All D-Z diamonds are considered white, even though they contain varying degrees of color. Below is the GIA diamond color chart.

Colorless While there are differences in color between D, E, and F diamonds, they can be detected only by a gemologist in side by side comparisons, and rarely by the untrained eye. D-F diamonds should only be set in white gold / platinum. Yellow gold reflects color, negating the diamond’s colorless effect.
Near Colorless While containing traces of color, G-J diamonds are suitable for a platinum or white gold setting, which would normally betray any hint of color in a diamond.Because I-J diamonds are more common than the higher grades, they tend to be a great value. I-J diamond may retail for half the price of a D diamond. Within the G-J range, price tends to increase 10-20% between each diamond grade.
Faint Color Beginning with K diamonds, color (usually a yellow tint) is more easily detected by the naked eye. Set in yellow gold, these warm colored diamonds appeal to some, and are an exceptional value. Others will feel they have too much color. Due to its perceptible color tint, a K diamond is often half the price of a G diamond.
Very Light Color Diamonds in the N-R color range have an easily seen yellow or brown tint, but are much less expensive than higher grades.
Light Color S-Z diamonds have too much color for a white diamond.

 

4) Clarity

The fourth C stands for Clarity. Clarity refers to the degree to which imperfections and inclusions are present inside the diamond. Diamonds which contain numerous or significant inclusions or blemishes have less brilliance because the flaws interfere with the path of light through the diamond. The position of an inclusion affects how easily it can be seen. Diamond cutters make every effort to cut a stone so that inclusions are not visible through the table of the finished diamond. Almost all diamonds are graded for clarity using the 11 point GIA diamond clarity scale. In grading diamond clarity, the GIA considers the number, size, color, reflectivity, and position of every flaw visible under 10x magnification. The GIA diamond clarity chart is provided below.

 

FL Flawless: No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification. Extremely rare, less than 1 in 5000 jewelry quality diamonds are rated FL.
IF Internally Flawless: No inclusions, only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10x magnification. FL and IF diamonds appear identical unless viewed under 10x magnification by a skilled grader. Less than 3% of jewelry quality diamonds are rated IF.
VVS1
VVS2
Very, Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification. VVS1 inclusions are typically only visible from the facets while VVS2 inclusions are visible from the crown. The inclusions are invisible to the eye, appearing only under 10x magnification by a skilled grader.
VS1
VS2
Very Slightly Included: Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor. Inclusions are not visible to the naked eye. Perhaps 1 in 100 untrained observers can detect VS2 inclusions with the naked eye, on close inspection under ideal conditions.
SI1
SI2
Slightly Included: Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using 10x magnification. SI1 is the lowest grade with flaws often invisible to the naked eye. SI2 inclusions are usually visible to the naked eye, although they will require close inspection.
I1
I2
I3
Included: Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance. I1 diamonds have inclusions that are almost always visible to the naked eye. I2-I3 diamonds have pronounced inclusions.

Carnival of Financial Planning 03/27/14

Hey all,

Financial nerd here with a great carnival of posts from the Carnival of Financial Planning. We have tons of great articles about investment and money making ideas! Enjoy and as always stay financially nerdy!

BUDGETING AND ECONOMICS

Marvin @ Brick By Brick Investing writes Outline On How To Buy Municipal Bonds – A quick and detailed description of how to find and buy Municipal Bonds.

Lily @ Paying Debt Down writes A Few Reasons that Investors like ETFs – In recent years, ETFs have become much more popular and are actually gaining against some other, more mature mutual funds. The reasons for that gain in popularity are explained below.

Alexa @ Defeat Our Debt writes How to Get Rid of Debt on Your Own – There is no easy way to get rid of debt. You have several options, each come with their own set of pros and cons. Here is how to get rid of debt on your own.

Gretchen @ Retired by 40! writes 10 Free St. Louis Family Activities – Heading to St. Louis this summer? Check out this list of free things to keep the kids – and adults – entertained!

Jeremy @ Modest Money writes Satisfying Your Shoe Addiction On A Budget – One in eight American women own more than 50 pairs of shoes, and 43 percent of women own between 20 and 49 pairs. If you don’t want to quell your shoe love just because you need to stay on budget, get familiar with coupons.

Harry Campbell @ Your PF Pro writes Using a Credit Card to Buy Fee Free Stocks with Loyal3 – “It’s easier than ever to invest your money in stocks these days. Not only are companies battling it out when it comes to lower fees and expense ratios but lately we’ve even seen a rash of companies that are allowing individual investors to buy and sell stocks with zero trading fees. Obviously there are hidden costs behind the scenes like bid/ask spreads and buy/sell ratios but even those expenses have gone down as trading technology has gotten better and faster in the last decade. ”

 

CAREER AND INCOME

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes More Disclosure on Fees coming for 401(k) Retirement Plans – The Labor Department recently proposed a new rule that would make it easier for employers and employees to locate the exact fees that are attached to their 401(k) retirement plans.

Erastus @ Sprout Wealth writes 3 Simple Ways to Start Making Extra Money Now – We all like making extra money but it can be challenge to find ways to do it. With that said, I would love to share with you simple ways to start making extra cash that you can reap benefits sooner.

 

DEBT AND CREDIT

Lauren @ L Bee and the Money Tree writes How to Deal When You Are Just Treading Water – We have all times in our debt payoff process where we are just treading water. An emergency drains your savings and you have to replenish it. Your employer cuts back your hours and you can’t afford much more than your basic bills.

Jon Haver @ Pay My Student Loans writes 7 Steps to Determine How Much You Should Borrow for College – The value of a college degree continues to rise in today’s economy. Unfortunately, the cost of a college education continues to rise as well. Many students turn to student loans to cover the cost of their education.

 

INVESTING AND SAVING

SBB @ Simple Budget Blog writes Paying Yourself: How to Take Care of Your Own Expenses in a Budget – Don’t complete your weekly budget without paying yourself as well. Here are some suggestions on how to do this and what you should pay yourself for.

Kyle @ The Penny Hoarder writes How to Turn Your Furniture Into a Money-Making Investment – Have you ever made a profit on a piece of used furniture you’ve purchased? We’ve got a few tips on how to make money buying and selling used furniture….

Crystal @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff writes I’m Earning Money, Now What? – I got a call yesterday that made me smile. A friend of mine explained that they are now earning more than they need to pay their bills, and they wanted my ad!

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves writes Is It Time To Take A Sabbatical? – The corporate treadmill is pushing people to the point of breaking.

Wayne @ Young Family Finance writes How to Pick the Best Summer Camp for Your Children – Summer camp is more than just tents and bonfires. Here are a few tips on how to pick the summer program right for your child.

Michelle @ The Shop My Closet Project writes 5 Cheap Ways To Be Fashionable This Spring – This change in season (and the end of my No Shopping Challenge) has me thinking about transitioning my wardrobe into Spring without spending a ton of money. The following are 5 inexpensive ways to transition into a Spring look while using your current wardrobe.

Mr. 4HWD @ The Four Hour Work Day writes Passive Income Requires Active Income First – Passive income is probably one of the biggest reasons why so many people are starting niche sites or writing a blog these days. Just in the personal finance sphere alone, it seems like there are hundreds of new blogs popping up every year. Some have good information, some have bad, but they all have one thing in common. A lot of new bloggers see the opportunity that exists to write about something they love and get paid for it. Once you’ve established yourself, you can hire other people to

Danielle @ Saving Without a Budget writes Do a lot of people Cheat on their Taxes? Actually, No! – The annual taxpayer survey from the IRS Oversight Board recently found that a whopping 86% of Americans think cheating on taxes isn’t right.

Bob @ Dwindling Debt writes Skip the flashy gadgets and Save Instead – The difference between starting a savings program when you’re in your 20s versus doing the same when you’re in your 30s or even 40s represents a huge difference in what you will have in your retirement and savings accounts when it’s time to retire.

Charles @ Getting A Rich Life writes Stop Using Your Emergency Fund As A Crutch – With the fear of investing people too often use the emergency fund as a crutch to not save.

PFC @ PF Carny writes Does Couponing Really Save Money? – Depending on how you do it and how into it you get, it can be either bad or good. Does couponing really save you money? It can, but it can also cost you money at the same time.

Thomas @ Finance Inspired writes STOCK MARKET TIPS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW – Does owning a piece of a company sound attractive to you? If the answer is yes then you may enjoy investing in the stock market. Prior to sinking all of your resources into a stock purchase, it is important to gain a solid base of knowledge in advance. This article has that information. Utilize an intelligent, long-term plan to help you make as much money as you possibly can from the stock market. You are likely to achieve even greater success if you keep your expectations modest instead of ban

John @ Wild About Finance writes 5 tips to finance your next car – Many people finance their vehicles at the local dealership without even knowing that there are other viable and less expensive ways to buy a car. A little bit of research and effort ahead of time could literally save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run, for starters online loans could be a viable solution. Here are five ways you can purchase a car and possibly save money in the long run. Save up ahead of time. Take whatever amount you were willing to pay every month and depo

 

RISK MANAGEMENT AND INSURANCE

Debt Guru @ Debt Free Blog writes Important Factors of Choosing The Right Insurance – There are important factors when it comes to choosing the right insurance for you. You should only pay for the type of coverage you need. Read for tips!

Oscar @ Money is the Root writes Two Ways to Grow Your Retirement Funds…Pay Attention! – A new study conducted by Financial Finesse, a financial education company, reports that there is a growing problem among all generations that may someday keep many Americans from being able to head into retirement with a financial ‘safety net.’

Hadley @ Epic Finances writes Why are so many people Investing in ETFs? – Over the last few years there has been a great proliferation in ETFs, both in the number and type that are being offered to investors.

Sam @ The New Business Blog writes House passes Flood Insurance Bill – Since your home, and its related expenses, are certainly a very big part of your personal finance picture, today’s blog definitely falls under the category of ‘important to know.’

Justin @ Edward Antrobus writes 10 Ways to Legally Lower your Taxes – The IRS website has a lot of resources that will help you to not only understand what your taxes deductions and credits are, but tell you about some that you might not even know about.

Charles @ Getting A Rich Life writes Stop Using Your Emergency Fund As A Crutch – With the fear of investing people too often use the emergency fund as a crutch to not save.

 

REAL ESTATE AND PROPERTY

Hank @ Money Q&A writes Why I Don’t Mind Losing Money As A Landlord – It is a renter’s market. But, I don’t mind losing money as a landlord every month. Being a landlord beats losing a ton of money selling an upside down house.

Marissa @ Finance Triggers writes Quirky tips for conserving cash – Here are a few quirky tips for saving some cash. Read on to find out how you do not have to turn your life inside out to gain control of your finances.

Alexa @ Single Moms Income writes A Day in the Life: Working from Home with Kids – Over the past few weeks several freelancers have posted what their normal work from home day looks like. Now it is my turn!

Cat @ Budget Blonde writes Myra’s Story: How To Launch Your Own Company Online – In 2008, Myra Callan was just another fashionable woman trying to find the perfect wedding accessories.

 

RETIREMENT AND TAXATION

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves writes Should You Ever Borrow On A 401(k)? – For some of you a dreaded financial question may stare you in the mirror at some point in your life.

Jon @ Novel Investor writes Deciphering Form 1099-B – One of the more confusing tax forms for investments is form 1099-B. Tax lingo is part of the cause. It’s like a foreign language at first sight. The tax code, and changes to it, cause the rest. It’s up to you to decipher what the 1099-B says.

Emily @ Evolving Personal Finance writes Why Don’t More People Do Their Own Taxes? – Understanding tax basics is part of being a responsible citizen, so why don’t more people prepare their own returns when they have simple financial situations?

Steven J Fromm @ Philadelphia Estate and Tax Attorney Blog writes Philip Seymour Hoffman: Estate Planning Lessons For Us and Especially Women – Estate Planning Lessons For Everyone, Especially Spouses and Unmarried Women With Children