Dr. Keynes Was Right

It's the Distribution, Stupid
MARCH 22, 2014 7:15AM

Dumb Jocks

I had been mulling over writing this all up, under the title "What's a Quintillion Among Friends", but it's only a bunch of college basketball games and not worth the effort to get the number exactly right.  Nah, ain't worth it.  BUT...

Two things happened.
1) I saw Nate Silver bloviating, on… Read full post »

MARCH 21, 2014 10:48AM

Boots and Pants

There's a new Maxwell GEICO commercial out, of which I've only seen the last few seconds, where Maxwell is sitting by the pool (beach?) in a deck chair, phone in lap.  He's jiggling his trotters whilst looking dreamily at the phone and chanting "boots and pants and boots and pants".  I… Read full post »

MARCH 19, 2014 6:26PM

Not Tonight Honey. No Interest

Narrator:  Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear... Mr. Peabody (and Sherman...) please set the WABAC to 1790, France where we'll have some cake with Marie Antoinette.

Control Room:  Ummm... Mr. Peabody is an animated dog, there is no WABAC, and Marie likely had nothing to… Read full post »

MARCH 17, 2014 2:40PM


A story out today, "ARMs are back! Reverse mortgages too! Is this housing bubble 2.0?" contains this prized morsel of wisdom:

"A typical first-time homebuyer may be unable to afford a typical home in the near term, if mortgage rates and home prices continue to rise without sufficient increases in inc… Read full post »

A wealth of confirmation over the last few weeks, but I'll resist temptation, and keep this missive to one, Jeremy Rifkin's riff on the death of capitalism.

What he misses, or at least doesn't say, is what's really driving the death spiral.  And that factor is what I've mentioned a few times… Read full post »

MARCH 10, 2014 11:27AM

Marty and Rust Go Camping

(Yes, don't read if you've not watched.)

Is it just me?  The final episode of "True Detective" was truly defective. 

First off, there's no way that they would have survived those wounds for hours.

Second, the Jesus pose in hospital was a bit much.

Third, McConaughey's religiosity at the Os… Read full post »

MARCH 6, 2014 2:57PM

Hey Guys, Watch This

Apple is in trouble.  Before the iPhone, it was a small time computer assembler, with little impact outside a few niche sectors.  The iPhone changed all that, not least of which was morphing Apple from a computer company to a toy company.  Not that anyone, Jobs possibly excepted (I don… Read full post »

MARCH 6, 2014 1:56PM

Winner by TKO...

"In today's fights over financial reform, the advantage goes to those who hold the low ground, the underground, the dark room where a rule can be modified in ways only a small handful of experts can follow. These are the battles the banks can win."

That's from Jesse Eisinger's DealB%k column today.&nb… Read full post »

MARCH 3, 2014 11:33AM

Mind the Cutlery

(One of the tech pieces.  You, too, can be a finance quant; just like learning taxidermy from those matchbook cover correspondence courses.)

When I was a kid, the parents had many sayings related to child rearing.  Some were intended to restrain the kids just for the sake of the parents'… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 27, 2014 1:33PM

Bitcoin, the Supernova of Deflation

Wherein we discuss the confluence of quants, computers, macroeconomics, and SQL.

Herbalife is a ponzi scheme, although it remains legal.  So is bitcoin.  Whether either will survive 2014 is up for debate.  For this piece, bitcoin is discussed.

For those who're lazy (or don't like my pros… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 26, 2014 9:24PM


At various times along the way I've asserted that even the 1% need Obamacare.  In general, the point is that some things are simply too expensive, even for the rich, if only the 1% can afford them.  Even if marginal cost is low (a fact virtually ignored by the MBA types),… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 25, 2014 8:01AM

Catch Me, If You Can

Yesterday, I tossed in a metaphor to the growing realization that there just might be limits to making "new" tech.  Specifically, that:

May be vendors should include a phone life's supply of Prozac?
You know, with the stasis of tech, we enter a Dark Age, where little ever changes, the archetype…

Read full post »

FEBRUARY 24, 2014 8:10PM

Boris Godunov

A recent itch, motivated in large part by the carping from the smartphone gallery, is that Moore's Law nears repeal.  Unless some new physics becomes evident.

Announcements for the latest Samsung Galaxy phone abound.  This is from AnandTech.  Pay special attention to the comments. … Read full post »

FEBRUARY 24, 2014 8:35AM


(Another comment, elsewhere, that gets elevated to essay.  Kind of a selfie, I guess.  The context:  whether any of the other semiconductor companies can, or even should try to, match Intel.)

The larger issue, and certainly not imminent for the momo or day trading types, is what bec… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 22, 2014 1:18PM

Hair Brained

The 2008 FOMC transcripts are released.  As you can see, they're extensive.  More text than my single set of eyeballs really want to endure.  Fortunately, the NYT has plenty of eyeballs, and have gone through them.  And published a number of pieces.  

What's missing from the w… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 21, 2014 8:58AM


Ok, I know I should enter some blogging, commenting twelve step program, but may be tomorrow.

Anyway, one of the many postings, many places, chewing on the WhatsApp buying led me to post the following comment (it starts with a snip from a previous comment):

-- younger users will move from them… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 20, 2014 4:11PM

Viva la Difference [update]


Here's an interesting quote (from here):

Does that ring a bell? That kind of trade is similar to transactions in derivative products known as credit default swaps that played a key role in the financial crisis. Credit default swaps allowed investors to bet on the health of housing-related secu… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 19, 2014 7:50PM

REM [update]

It's the end of the world as we know it
(It's time I had some time alone)
And I feel fine, fine
-- REM

Yes, yet another pot shot at the Zuck for dropping $4, $12, $16, $19 billion (depending on how you count) for something called WhatsApp.  For the record, Forbes says that's for… Read full post »

So, yesterday Nocera talked up some recent books, such as "The Second Machine Age" and "Who Owns the Future?".  His column, both a confirmation and contradiction rolled in one.

Confirmation, to the extent that the effect of technology is largely as talked about in this endeavor.  Contradicti… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 10, 2014 2:00PM

Love Actuarily

The AOL brouhaha has finally been outed.  We think.  The company, at least its CEO, hasn't the foggiest idea what insurance means.  Hire an actuary or two.  I might even volunteer; kind of like a HuffPo contributor.  No, while I'm a nice guy (mostly), I'm not a Fellow.

Most l… Read full post »

The first in a, likely weekly, series of recaps of silliness and succor during the previous week.  Now that there's no foobawl on Sunday to distract...

Let's start with Maher, from Friday.  I didn't note down the numbers, being snuggled up in bed whilst I watched, and transcripts don't appea… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 5, 2014 1:42PM

Icarus Goes Upscale

There once was a movie (1965), "Boeing, Boeing", a farce (it had to be, of course) starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis.

Bernard's life is turned upside down when his girlfriends' airlines begin putting new, state-of-the-art aircraft into service. These faster airplanes change all of the existing rou… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 4, 2014 2:45PM

You Get a RetroGrade of F

Today's NYT brings yet another context-free Brooks column, wherein he makes yet more claims of a rosy future.  Sort of.

He starts by trashing previously gold standard smarts, then poses the rhetorical query:

But what human skills will be more valuable?
So, what are his candidates?
... people who c… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 3, 2014 10:16AM

Malcolm's Fallen From the Middle

This endeavor started with a missive which asserted that the Bernanke/Obama recovery plan couldn't work

In 2009, who are the unemployed? Not, by and large, workers in factories that will make goods for American consumers. The deindustrialization of the economy, in progress since the 1970's, makes any… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 2, 2014 5:43PM

Frozen Orange Juice

Do you prefer your orange juice from the orange, or from the frozen can?  Can is cheaper, and, if your water is decent, will taste just as good as the kind in a gallon jug.  Which brings us to Humira.  I'm watching a golf tournament, and there was just a commercial… Read full post »