Dr. Keynes Was Right

It's the Distribution, Stupid
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 »

JANUARY 31, 2014 2:46PM

Howard's End

Howard Hughes was, arguably, the last truly innovative American capitalist.  Today, the likes of Apple are gifted with patents on such silliness as a rounded corner rectangle.  The processor in that rectangle was created by a bunch of Socialist Brits, for crying out loud.  And built by… Read full post »

JANUARY 31, 2014 12:52PM

SNAP, Crackle, Pop

In today's news from Wal-Mart:
"... the sales impact from the reduction in SNAP (the U.S. government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits that went into effect Nov. 1 is greater than we expected."

OK, so Goliath took a hit.  How long will it be that all them good ole Southern capita… Read full post »

JANUARY 28, 2014 9:02AM

Balloon, Meet Pin

Watching Keith Olbermann voice-over sports clips is to see an utter waste.  I had no concept of Olbermann before is MSNBC stint, but I do catch bits of him whilst waiting for the local weather to come on.  And thus I discovered "bye, Felicia".  Who the hell is she?  Near as… Read full post »

JANUARY 26, 2014 2:49PM

It's a Catastrophe

How would you like to be a P/C actuary for one of the Bermuda Re-insurers these days?  (In what follows, the discussion is around so called CAT bonds, which will be explained.  While the events discussed were covered by regular liability insurance, such events should be covered privately, a… Read full post »

JANUARY 24, 2014 6:42PM

We All Scream For Ice Cream

All these limp wristed whiners need to shut up.  Yes, it might be a tad chilly in the Meadowlands for the Super Bowl (and on Ground Hog's Day, in case you forgot; census day on Block Island, too).  So what?  Here's some important data.

Here's the rundown on the NFL Championship games.&n… Read full post »

JANUARY 24, 2014 2:20PM

Treading Water

The quant/bankster types took something of a hit during/following The Great Recession (it is over, right?) for being the enablers of The Giant Pool of Money to bubble up through the housing markets.  Yes, plural; Spain and Ireland to name just two others.  I've gushed untold keystrokes in t… Read full post »

JANUARY 22, 2014 6:46PM

Don't Touch Me, I'm a Real Live Wire

Every now and again, research of nature's laws can be applied to human behavior and actually make sense.  Eye of the beholder and all that, is assumed.

There was reporting a while back that Facebook had lost some teenage users.  Now comes a study of Facebook as organism.  A human virus,… Read full post »

JANUARY 21, 2014 1:12PM

What About Candy Land?

Just when you thought things couldn't get any stupider, candy is now trademarked.  I don't play the game, so I suppose I don't care, but come on?

Developers have not been too happy about the news - especially given that Candy Crush Saga is itself essentially a finessed version of the… Read full post »
JANUARY 19, 2014 12:43PM

Stockholm Syndrome [update]


Shiller gets to go to Stockholm and bloviate, while I'm stuck here in Arctic New England.  Life ain't fair.  At least, he's provided a precis of the proceedings.  And, in the process, elevated my view of Left Wingnuts.

There are two major points:  first, quants mostly get it… Read full post »