Did I just oversleep and miss the apocalypse?
I was on my family's annual mountain retreat when "The Great Earthquake of 2011" struck, bringing heck itself to the East Coast and, particularly, that most self-important place in the world: Washington, D.C.
What, with no Internet or email — and no reason to bother with the little shortwave radio I tote around by habit — we didn't even know it had happened until we descended from the hills on our way home.
On our return to Liberty Park, we checked over the house as best we could...
I told my wife that it almost always looks like a hurricane just hit the joint, so how are we supposed to tell if the earthquake did any additional damage?
Bad Choice of Words
In the end, things turned out reasonably well. When Irene took out the power, I simply brought the storm lanterns, water jugs and gas stoves into the house, and we were as tidy as could be.
So far, the only real damage was to my wife's foot: She dropped a table on it while moving the yard furniture into the garage. Fortunately, I hadn't put away the first aid kit yet.
You see, it's all about being prepared.
You know, the sort of preparatory habits they tried to inculcate in us in Boy Scouts?
If you are prepared for what's coming down the pike, you can sleep soundly through screwy events like earthquakes, hurricanes — even market crashes.
It's the End of the World... and I Love It!
Over the past few weeks, I've tossed out some pretty damn dire predictions at you fine folks, many of which have already come true to one extent or another. That head and shoulders triple-top failure was particularly vicious, especially when its 19% drubbing took the rest of Wall Street completely by surprise.
However, those who prepared accordingly with an array of put option contracts were able to enjoy their own little storm parties, laughing away while the markets unraveled.
Why Are They Laughing?
Well some of them, quite obviously, have had way too much to drink. But my friend Jim K. was celebrating gains of 110%, 62%, 43%, 74%, and 73%. Those gains could have been much higher, but Jim considers himself "a rather conservative investor" and didn't choose to hold any of his positions longer than eight days or so.
(Jim, to answer your question regarding some kind of memetic conference or cruise, I'd say the latter is a damn fine idea (especially once winter socks in Liberty Park), and will gladly pitch it to the boss.)
Jim is one of those brave souls who was willing to beta test my latest investing system, and it has paid off for him in spades.
Not only was he able to make a string of clean profits off the whole mess; he clearly understood exactly what was going on — and what's coming down the pike next. And that sort of clear, calm understanding is worth its weight in gold.
The rest of you fine folks might care to keep an eye on your inboxes for word of Viral Investing's official launch, which is due sometime in the next week or two.
It's all about being prepared. Speaking of which, let's get back to an interesting little fold in that whole string of East Coast disasters a lot of you may have missed...
There's at least half a dozen nuclear power plants that have been built here on the "safe" East Coast that have suddenly found their basements solidly lodged in an active quake zone while hurricane winds rake over their roofs.
That sort of double whammy is exactly the kind of "unlikely" event that took out the Fukushima plant and irradiated half of Japan.
The best the local authorities could do to prevent a massive disaster was to shut down the plants and hope that standby cooling power would hold up.
Now, some are wondering if this was all a fluke or a dangerous new trend. After all, this series of quakes was actually the second sizable seismic event in this area in the past few months. And just a few years back, there was a veritable hurricane superhighway running up the East Coast, with storm after storm hitting these "safe" cities and towns...
Talk about an uncomfortably risky, unprepared position to be in.
The true shame is that this risk is really quite unnecessary.
My compadré Nick Hodge tells me there is a new hybrid beryllium/uranium fuel — already being backed by GE, Hitachi, and Toshiba — that increases the efficiency of the radioactive rods used in this sort of power plant. More importantly, it can absorb and transfer far more heat than traditional uranium fuel pellets.
This transfer mechanism can help prevent a nuclear disaster from happening ever again. The fuel greatly reduces heat transfer if there's ever an off-thermal event, like in Fukushima. And even if water pumps fail — again, like in Fukushima — this fuel's lower operating temperature expands plant operators' critical response window.
No Excuse for Them — or You
Now I know the big utilities will whine that this is not the time to spend on big capital projects.
To be blunt, that's just crap. First of all, wouldn't we all really rather they did this BEFORE a Fukushima disaster hits Stateside? And secondly, it doesn't cost all that much, as this fuel can be used in all existing boiling water reactors without retrofit.
Now here comes the really, really cool part: If you do this right — if you prepare yourself — not only can you badger your local utility into properly protecting yourself and your loved ones, but you can also cash in on the whole deal!
A Simple, Profitable Solution
You see, Nick is something of an "alternative engineering geek," the sort of guy who spends waaay too much time tracking down all those odd little companies that turn out to have THE next absolutely necessary pick-and-shovel technology.
I'm pretty damn sure he's done it again.
This time around, he found the company that owns the process that bonds beryllium to uranium to form these super-efficient low-temp fuel rods.
I expect shares of this company will do rather well in the coming weeks, especially once the post-mortem reports on the events of the past few days reveal just how close we came to a Fukushima-style disaster...
I won't burden you with the whole rundown here in Wealth Daily.
I'll tell you point blank that you have no excuse not to be prepared for the next round of disasters.
Good luck and good hunting,
Editor, Wealth Daily