Norsk-Hydro Ransomware Attack from the "LockerGoga" Virus. The company makes aluminum for cars, aircraft, etc, and had earnings of roughly $500 million US last year. They indicated they would not be paying, and are taking several days to restore aluminum smelting operations.

Video Games are *REALLY* Stupid.

[Click to enlarge the image at right, truth from a guy trying to break free from it... ]

I just read a whole bunch of gunk from kiwifarms and other sites, and the whole New Zealand mass shooting is just so terrible & sad.  Condolences to all New Zealand Islamic families involved.  No one should die like this - it is awful.  The shooter, Brenton Tarrant is in custody, and appears to have acted alone.  His GoPro live-streaming of the whole event on Facebook is deeply disturbing.  I had to duckduckgo search all the various meme's involved, and that is the scary part.  (I had to look up "Remove Kebab" - had no idea wtf this was.)  I read his "manifesto" and it is weird - there is a small resonance of partial-truth to it, which makes it a painful read. 

I didn't know about *many* things which have been hidden/censored/obfuscated by the MSM. Example: I did not know about the 2 girls from Denmark and Norway, who were raped and murdered by Islamic terrorists in Morocco in December last year, and the video of them being killed by beheading was broadcast by the killers.  Only on the site, was there even any mention of this awful event.  I read MSM news reports everyday, and had never even heard of this horror.  And I didn't know anything about the Muslim child-sex rape-gangs that have been terrorizing British towns.  The number of Muslim rapists taken down for raping and abusing children (13 year old girls) in various British towns is shocking and something I had no knowledge of.   [These events are documented on Wikipedia, and are a matter of legal public record in the UK, as the criminals - all of whom appear to be ethnic Muslims - are documented and named:   One example:    In the Halifax child-sex abuse ring, there have been 26 people convicted, with 9 Muslim men convicted in February, 2019, ie. just last month.  There was *zero* information about this on the wire-services or news sites I look at.  No wonder the Brits voted for Brexit.  How could you not?

What is disturbing as well about the Tarrant video, is how much it looks like a "Fortnite" game.  I only know about Fortnite, as I watched a young lad play this game for at least an hour, back last December.  I was staggered at the complexity and quality of the simulation.  It is a *very* well done internet-enabled, multi-player video simulation - scary good, really.

We are on a problematic path here...  Video games teach the wrong things, and program folks to be deeply desensitized to violence and the tragic pain of others.  Best really, for folks to just walk away from this stuff.  Really.

And as for this political censorship/gun-control bullshit - really, here is a very informative video, with some real numbers in it.  It is short bit of talking-head about some truth:   Never seen this guy before, but he has some real facts, and speaks directly about what is seriously wrong now.  Plus, he as a link where you can donate some money to the families of the people that were killed in the New Zealand attack.

Dr. S, below, is always here.   He never gets old, does he?  I don't know which c-link is worse... the live-streamed GoPro-video of the Christchurch shootings (the video seems to be worrying the authorities more than the deaths of the innocents), or the "auto-death-dive" autopilot software in the Boeing 737 Max-8, which killed not one, but two plane-loads of trusting people, flying in FAA-certified aircraft. By the numbers, the 737 Max-8 and the Boeing software engineers clearly outrank Brenton Tarrant, don't they?

"Vee simply link zee device to a computer..."

Guide to this Site

Wow, check these results. From Feb. 2018, to end of Jan. 2019. Only 1 single down day! Retail traders need to understand just what they are up against. This chart is from a Canadian Bank Quarterly Financial Report, that is doing just fine, thank you very much. And they are getting these numbers, with reasonable VaR as well.

Decided I should put a top-level explanation here. This was originally just my Xerion research log, and some notes about some APL & GNUplot apps I ported to Android.  But I started keeping daily notes (the Xerion neural-network stuff and the other AI research is oriented to financial markets, as I need to trade to pay the bills.  So I started keeping notes here.  And then it got political, as I saw political activity destabilizing most attempts at financial market analysis - AI or just plain old hum-int.. Since my site is self-financing, and not subject to censorship (like Google and Facebook are), I decided to just try to tell the truth.

[Mar. 22, 2019] - DJIA down over 400 as key this.  Interesting. I went long again too soon on the latest swing, since for life-operation purposes, I have to capture some dividends, so I am profoundly lucky to have extracted all the cash I need for this real-estate thing I have commited to doing.  Also, my deep studies of the hearts-of-darkness reveal more MSM deception.  The site has surpised me.  It is full of hard numbers, actionable information, and real, honest social debate.  It is not a "hate site" at all (and of course, is nothing to do with NZ, the Kiwi chosen as an animal-avatar meme/glyph probably - ie. a "flightless bird" - kinda reminds me of the expression the "zipless fuck", from Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying").   It is shocking, really, the breadth and extent of the MSM disinfo that now bubbles thru the veins of the modern body-politic.  People - especially the pols in NZ - are truly going batshit crazy, bending over backwards to *not* look like the "White Right".   JHC, since when did the whole faking world become a "South Park" episode?  

I wonder how many folks who went long after the Fed said it was not going to keep rate-fucking the Trumpists, are acting like that clip where Cartman screams "god fucking dammit!".  In New Zealand, their strange gov't has enacted a law to ban all semi-automatic rifles, and their female PM has put on an Islamic headscarf, and had their Parliment recite a prayer from the Quran, which explicitly denounces Christianity!  Fuck, no wonder the DJIA is falling like a 737 Max-8 with "Auto-Death-Dive" engaged.  Western culture seems to be in self-destruct mode out at it's periphery, where I guess it has always had issues.

JFTR - We here absolutely denouce Tarrant and Brevik and especially music-hating losers like Stephen Paddock, (the Vegas shooter), and their violent awfulness.  But lots more awful killings have been done by Muslim Jihadists, and the numbers prove it.  Tarrant is an outlier of an outlier - a single nut-job who - like Paddock - seriously seems to be an operative of some clever Islam boys, with good deep cover, as much as he is anything.

Tarrant apparently recently travelled to Turkey and Pakistan.  His "manifesto" (which I read completely), looks to be crafted to trigger and initiate exactly what is happening - cultural and social self-destruction and self-assault policiies by reactive, brain-numb socialist pols who see their jobs as being political controllers.  Historically, the pure genius beauty of Western culture, was that we got past this "Kings-as-Divine-God-chosen Leaders" crap, and chose self-organization,  free/open communication, with a free press, "free thinking" (ie. accepting the option to legally opt-out of religious god-nonsense), and free expression of ideas.   And yet, here we are in 2019, throwing it all under the bus, because of a single murderer.  This is both tragic, and deeply stupid.  These idiots in New Zealand (and Sweden, I am told, for a different Morrocan, girls-being-beheaded-by-Muslim-rapists video) have made it a criminal offence to share or even view the video, in their strangely-broken nations.  The NZ State now even has a national "Censor", which actively restricts internet communication. 

In Turkey, the Prime Minister is broadcasting Tarrant's GoPro murder-video to assist (effectively!) his re-election campaign, and making direct references to Gallipoli.   I am certain this will work well for him.  He survived a coup attempt, and now, he can become a trans-national big-boss, if he continues to play this hand this well. 

Seriously, I am seeing a historical event unfold that is a curious outlier.  The reactions of the Turkish state (broadcast it all), versus the strategy of self-assaulting cultures Sweden and New Zealand (try to hide it all), makes the neo-conservatives who elected Trump look like sober, wise and sensible folks with good, solid rational judgement.   What is "exceptional", is the curious campaign of disinfo, that the MSM seems to be trying to run.  Jacinda (Jocosta?  - wasn't that both Oedipus' mothers' and wife's name? ) is just doing it so wrong, that it is almost beyond belief.   I don't think any of the FiveEyes intel should even flow thru NZ now. 

The Islamic Jihadist attack in France, in Nice, killed 86 people.  Ten of the dead were small children.  The weapon used was a truck.   The New Zealand response to their crazy-lone-gunman attack - to ban all private ownership of semi-auto rifles, mass-censor the internet, and criminalize private communication  - makes them and their government look like weak, stupid, reactive fools.  They should be deeply ashamed, and reverse this profound and aggressively stupid action, as this action damages Western culture, and seriously degrades their island's national security.

And note: It is "Western Culture" that I am concerned about saving. This is *not* a code-word for "White Culture".  The magic pure beauty genius of Western Culture is that we are goddamn motherfucking free.  We have free speech and this is really, really important.  Folks from a whole shitload of turdbucket nations and cultures come here, and the open up, and breath the crisp, cold air of true freedom, and they goddamn like it!  I have personally worked beside just about every race and/or nationality.  I don't give a flying fuck what the cuck horseshit religious god-garbage-puke-stupid shit-eating nonsense foolery they profess to believe.  That is all between them and their dumbfuck godthing.  All that religion garbage is puke-stupid drivel, and everyone truly knows it, deep in their heart.  But we all have to live and work together on this wee-tiny damp dirtball planet, and we need a cultural context and operational governmental mechanisms so we can fucking do this.

And the only culture that really even half-way works, is Western Culture, because - after several fucking awful *centuries* of horrible/awful fuck-stupid religious war, we finally stopped the Catholilc fascists from burning at the stake, honest scientists, dissenters, and adherents to other Christian sects.  We had to kill a lot of Catholic evil to make this happen, and we had to dump boatloads of dogma into the cesspool of history.   it was a long, painful, horrible history of constant violence, cruelty, mass-murder and social destruction.  Read about the formation of the United States of Holland or the "Sea Beggers" or the Huguenots of France. Read about the astonishing atrocities commited by the "Hapsburg" kings of Spain, and the amazing history of Catholic horror in Spain, and the psychotic brutality (and pure evil-genius) of the Spanish gangsters that rape-murdered entire cultures in Central and South America.  I've personally stood on the bridge in Ronda in Spain, where Spanish fascists threw hundreds of Spanish partisans to their deaths, back during the Spanish Civil war.  I've been on the battlefields in both Concord USA, and Quebec city, where battles were fought that secured the operational algorithms of our Culture.  I've stood on pyramids in Coba and Tikkal, where major civilizations flourished, which were reduced to defeat and slavery as the result of Spanish conquest.  (The Mayan's had both math and effective astronomy, and big cities that produced serious economic surplus - for a while.)

The history of Western culture is a history of bloodshed, violence and - yes - advancement.  It took a long time, and a lot of terrible pain and sacrifice to get it to the point where it can operationally include everyone.  And it does this, and does it reasonably well.  But it must have freedom of speech, freedom of communication, and freedom of *thought* to continue to thrive and operate.  This "data freedom - thought freedom - expression freedom" is a key feature of why it works.  We can agree-to-disagree, but you cannot *impose" your world-view on me, and I must not try to *force* my world-view on you.

This actually works.  But we have to make murder a crime, and punish crime harshly.  And we have to have all the other laws *fairly enforced* and *honestly, and fairly ajudicated*.  These twin ideals of openness (no secret "star-chamber" shit), and a fair and honest chance to defend yourself in open-court (no cop death-squads operating under deep-cover), are what lets the whole model work.  It is why Canada can take in 20,000 Muslims, and it is fine - so long as our government does not fuck up, and start jerking things around just for them.  And they want this!  They *want* to fucking escape the shit-stupid Imam-insipired fascist horseshit of Saudi Arabia - where women could not even fucking drive their own SUV - or the butt-shot-off madness of the Syrian War.   Fuck ISIS.  The Muslims here hate ISIS more than we do.  We and they are being happy, feeling good, and smiling as we watch those murdering motherfuckers die like the shit-eating insects they are.  (Dudes:  Sometimes, a little *hate* is ok, eh?  WTF). 

Bottom line.  Censorship of the data-channel is goddamn bad, and must stop, no matter how horrific the message is.  JHC, did you govbot NZ wanksters not see those images of the Cantor traders, doing their "Well, this is a bad last trade..." dives off the WTC?

[Mar. 21, 2019] - Time Flies Like an Error.  The Ethiopian Airlines crash seems to have finally shocked the witless into action.  Media reports are now naming the Boeing "Auto Death Dive" system, and providing details (the MCAS), and reports document the furious lobbying effort Boeing is making to return is badly-designed aircraft to the skies.  Here is the link the Reuters report:  FD: I have no positions in, or related to Boeing.  My deep frustration and anger over this incident stems from a "Pandora Sensation", that as someone who recognized early on what had happened, I failed to at the very least send a physical registered-letter to my own country's Minister of Transport requesting that at the very least, an airworthiness-related directive, at a level greater than the obscure Pilot Safety Bulliten that was circulating in the US.   Specific details on the MCAS (the "Auto Death Dive" system), are provided here.  Note the date of this second link - Nov. 13, 2018.

This was *not* simply a "pilot training problem".  The MCAS is described:

"...the new system in the 737 uses data from the aircraft's AOA and airspeed sensors to proactively counter pilot error, adjusting the aircraft's controls to push the nose down if the sensors indicate the aircraft could stall."

Pilot error.  This is the concept here.  This is what sends me in to a white-hot rage.  Some idiot "Poindexter" of a designer - concious of the fact they have built a bigger, heavier aircraft that is more likely to stall violently than previous models of lighter 737's - decided to introduce an *active* system for force the nose of the aircraft downwards.  And this idiotic system stayed engaged even when autopilot was actively disabled.  This represents a criminally stupid control system, which in the event of sensor failure, could force a non-stalling aircraft into the deck.  And this happened not once, but twice, before the fuckwits at Boeing or the FAA, decided that this was a really fucking stupid bad idea and that the aircraft should all be grounded. There appears to be no single, simple switch to dis-engage "Auto Death Dive", as it was deeply integrated into the flight-control software.  And this is the problem.  That plane-load of people in Ethiopia did not need to die. 

My assertion is that this MCAS "system" represents a profound failure of computer system design, and actually seems to be what people like Elon Musk have been speaking about, when they refer to the lethal risk that AI technology represents.  

Historically, pilots were warned of stalls or "incipient" stalls, if attitude and airspeed fell outside a safe envelope.  But this modern control system explicitly removed control from the pilot, and forced the nose of the aircraft down, under machine-control.  I look at this, and I feel the same feeling of sick revulsion, that I feel when I review the details of the New Zealand mosque attack.  What the f*** were they thinking?  How does the human brain reach this profound point of catestrophic failure?    What kind of a f*ckwit designs a flight control system that uses electrically-driven motors to force the nose of the aircraft down into the ground?   Historically, there were cables connecting the flight-controls to the ailerons and elevator and rudder.  Now, modern aircraft have only wires, with electric motors that operate the flight control surfaces - ailerons, rudder and elevator.  This is "fly-by-wire", and always made me uneasy.  But the tragedy here, is that some witless computer-programmer, working with a "design team", actually built a system to fly a working aircraft down to its death, automatically, under computer-control.  This is madness.

This failure-of-design is not just present in Boeing aircraft.  It is a characteristic of the class of errors that can occur if you link real-world operational devices, directly to computers, without human override being possible.  This is the plot-device in "Dr. Strangelove", and part of what makes the film so comical.  Everyone is trapped in a nightmare scenario of world destruction, that is occuring directly as a result of their own design efforts, and which they are powerless - by design - to stop.  "Purity of Essence" - "POE" is the recall code prefix.  Indeed it is.

If you surrender control, you program - with certainty - your own eventual destruction.And this seems to be where we are now, and where we are going. 

The whole idea with AI and related computer technology is to augment and assist - not to completely override - human control.  And this is where the design failure occurred.

Here are details of the 18 Canadians who died in the Ethiopian Air crash:

I personally feel very bad about this, and I realize now, it is part of the reason I do this website.  But I should have done more.  After the Indonesian Lion Air crash, I should have written a formal letter our Transport Minister - as a pilot and computer specialist - that questioned the airworthiness of this aircraft, and at least insisted on a review of it's flight control systems.   Look at the names and faces of the Canadians killed.  I can't save or even fix, the world.  But maybe, had I taken some explict, political action on this issue - an issue where I was pretty sure I knew what happened - I could have saved those folks.  

Re. the trading: Ran the same trade again.  Took out $1600.  The new system approach I am using is hacked together from modern neural-science, and much less from numbers-driven AI.  Data-driven predictive analytics is good, but not great.  I've been deeply studying very bad things: Brevik, Tarrant, HItler, psychological characteristics of militarism, etc. It's awful - but this deeply dark, dank stuff does not pop spontaneously into existence.  The awful clarity it brings, lights the way to profitability.  My last seven out of seven trades have been profitable.  This research is difficult and dangerous.  And profitable, it seems.  Why?  It's like I have Mephistopheles whispering in my ear.  I think, actually, Goethe talks around this in Faust, in the scene where the good Doctor comes back to his study after a walk with his dog.  His is trying to write... "In the Beginning was the Word"  but no, he changes it "In the Beginning was the Thought".  Still, this is wrong.  His dog is growling, worried.   Faust writes: "In the Begining, was the Act", and nails it.  Inverting the biblical, Plato, all of it, he crafts the spell to summon Mephistopheles successfully, who rises from behind the stove, in the guise of a travelling scholar.  This deeper understanding I gain from the depths of the dark pits of true human nature, offers benefit.  I suspect Goethe knew this.  To understand & write a treatise on light, one must study deeply the true nature of darkness. And nothing is capable of greater darkness than a human spirit gone wrong.

[Mar. 20, 2019] - Risk is rising.  Read some details on the LockerGoga ransomware attack  on Norsk Hydro, the big aluminum smelter in Norway.  They make a lot of the world's aluminum, and have indicated they will not be paying to decrypt their encrypted files.  They estimate several days before full systems operation is restored.

Also, have done a deep-dive into the world of "White Supremicists" enablers.  For me, this stuff is such terra-incognita, that I feel like a Martian.  I think Islam is an awful religion - but I have pretty much the same feeling for Catholic religious dank.  It's all a massive slime-pit of neural-stimulational trickery and NLP-style patterning and framing.  It's really quite sickening - but we should look at it, and the filth should not be censored, since only by shining a bright light on it, can we hope to degrade it's power and effectiveness on the sad, easy-to-manipulate minds of young males. 

Young males are *really* easy to toggle and tweak.  The entire history of military marching songs - which are designed to sound like drinking and f*cking songs, if you even just scratch the surface - is amazing and consistant.  But so self-similar across cultural context, that it shows absolutely the neural-effectiveness of the strategy.  And I know about young males - white or otherwise.  All they want is that thing that the females have, if they are healthy and well-fed.  I know the deep truth of this, as I was there once.  And it is Spring, rite?  (Rites of Spring...).  The sap is rising in the trees.  And the "trees" are rising in the saps. 

JHC, it is the same story, old as humanity.  How do you get young men to leave their homes and go to war, where they will be horribly maimed, killed or just f*cked-over?  Play them songs that promise "Lore Lore Lore", or "Laura, Laura, Laura" - the big-titted daughter of the local "Forester".   What is curious and tragic, is that this neural-marshal thing can even work in the shattered minds of those who hate females, and would kill one pleading for its life.  I cannot grasp why this should occur. 

The New Zealand thing is awful - but it should be studied and analyzed, not hushed up, and memory-holed.  This is perhaps why we should just not have female political leaders.  Women should get equal chances that men get.  We need them and their wisdom.   But the female PM of New Zealand, who is trying to "unperson" Brenton Tarrant is playing exactly into his picture-of-the-world, and the MSM is applauding her ignorance and stupidity.  I honestly think the Islamics might be wiser than I thought.  They seem to do a better job than anglo-christians at protecting their own women.   Putting women into politics at the very highest positions, seems to be creating more problems than it is solving.  Their natural nurturing behaviour seems to cause them to make *very* bad decisions.   The best thing New Zealand could do, is to avoid changing anything other than the security procedures around it's public buildings, churches and mosques.  They should mourn the victims, compensate the living, and treat that Tarrant character as a simple, sociopathic criminal.  No one buys into his nonsense.  But by attacking their own society, and it's sensible traditions, they play right along with the silly plan that destabilizers like Brevik and Tarrant seem to have.   That female PM of New Zealand is dancing like a puppet, on the strings held by these evil sierra-deltas.  This is just so wrong.

[Mar. 19, 2019] - In case you missed it above, here is some dude with some hard facts about the number and extent of terror attacks that have already happened this year of 2019.  It's not even Spring.  The guy who did the awful terror attack in New Zealand, described himself as an "eco-fascist" and a person who hated conservatives because they support "corporatism", yet the mainstream media (MSM) is making this guy out to be an Alt-Right type, when if you read his half-truth "manifesto" (I have), he identifies with the Left.  And his "manifesto" is full of obvious contradictions and outright "shitpost" jokes.  His objective was to fuck things up, make people hate each other, and reduce the sense of social safety. 

It appears the media-spinners, gun-banners, supporters of censorship and dishonest pols are behaving as the shooter-terrorist expected they would.  This needs to change.  In case you missed this, here are some facts about terror attacks this year:   There is also a link to a site where you can donate some money to families of the victims killed in Christchurch.  Interestingly, the markets were up today.  These terror attacks seem to be becoming a semi-normal, expected risk-factor now, much like authors and behavioural scientists suggested would happen.  Everyone is using these tragedy-scenarios to execute on their dishonest political plans and strategies.

[Mar. 18, 2019] - Dick Dale, of the Del Tones died. He was 81, and known as the guitarist who invented "Surf Music".  His tune "Misirlou" was used as the music for Tarentino's famous film, "Pulp Fiction".  Here is Dale performing in 1963, at the intro to the film "Rebel in the Ring".  This is possibly the best guitar-intro to a movie ever...

[Mar. 17, 2019] - We've entered a world where change is made just for the sake of change, now.  Well, think about this.  Do we need "Securities Regulators"?  Is it perhaps time to just abolish the SEC?  The SEC attacks Elon Musk, because Musk communicates with Tesla shareholders, publically, using Twitter.  This is absurd.  And it is becoming Theatre of the Absurd.  The SEC is maybe Waiting for Godot?  It's nuts.  And in Canada, we have the same self-serving collection of trough-divers doing a whole bunch of stuff that really just benefits the established, professional interests, and seems to act primarily to engineer an environment attractive for the pros, and thus limits, restricts, degrades and outright prevents small-holders or private individuals from gaining any real market-opportunity. 

I've seen these "government" entities operate from the inside, and they are about as helpful to private people and useful to society as a rotting sack of vomit.  I've watched "government" expand and grow for 50 years in Canada, and the net result is a massive employment-base of self-serving pocket-fillers, and little else of benefit.  Government restrictions on the Health Care system, means there are lots of veteranarians, hundreds of dentists, and absolutely *no* doctors available where I live, a modern city with lots of private business - everything execpt doctors. There are no doctors! It is just hilarious. (The net benefit of this, is that people actually are quite healthy, and resilient - except for the new children, who all seem to have curious diseases like "autism", which absolutely did not even exist when I was a child.)  There are these new "economic" diseases, since there is serious money given to people with these ailments, and the economist in me whispers that the reason is clear why these curious afflictions have emerged... Hint: It's *not* because of vaccinations.

But where to start?  Every single political person who has tried to reduce the cancerous growth of "government" has failed - or died.  Will it take riots in the streets?   We need only look at the toxic, tragic horror-show of Venezuela, to see what modern "socialism" does to a nation.   Or Europe in the 1930's or Russia in 1917, to see how terrible the machinery of "power" becomes as it morphs into "government".   Government is to prosperity and commerce, what cancer and decay are to living systems.  It's continous, relentless, vicious  growth will eventually overwhelm and destroy all that humanity has created, unless we can develop some sort of "sunset" restrictions that can wind-down or at least *limit* the relentless growth of the State ABC's (the Agencies, Boards and Commissions) that infect all social action in all modern societies.

Perhaps we could start with "securities market" regulators?  Do we really need these people? The Stock Exchange's themselves (there are now so many) all have their own governance models, and rules and procedures.  Investors have a *lot* of knowledge-bases to draw upon - some of which are even true!  Money itself is under attack by the Central Banks, and macro-prudential regulation of the financial industry main players (the banks) is well under control, by the Federal Reserve in the USA, and by the OSFI in Canada.  So what the fuck do we need the SEC and the OSC for?  They are remnants of an ancient time, when the "Prospectus" was the only true document an investor was likely to see.  Who anywhere now actually reads a Prospectus anymore?  Well, you should, right?  But they are now written by lawyers and are structured to *hide* information, not illustrate or illucidate.  

Look at events.  The SEC did *not* in any way prevent or act against the machinery that allowed the great Bernie Madoff scam to be carried out.  And this even *after* the details of the scam were provided to their offices, by a careful researcher.  The SEC in the US, is a protective agency that serves the interests of the New York professionals.  It acts to keep the "Bloombergs" of the world in power.  The SEC is just a government machine of restriction and prevention, and it does little else.  Guys who run Blackrock and Goldman Sachs and the richboys of New York love the SEC, because it provides this massive barrier to entry to anyone who would try to challenge the market-power of the New York money machine.  The whole process is corrupt as it could possibly be, and it provides a wonderful example of what a self-serving hyper-bureacracy actually looks like.

So here is a thought.  Could we not simply abolish it completely?  Would this even affect the modern securities markets?  The NYSE (which is actually a pretty good thing), has a whole bunch of sensible rules, as even does NASDAQ.    Why is the SEC even necessary now?   Can the SEC stop a market crash?  No, of course not.  Does the SEC really offer any actual, tangible benefit to retail investors?  No, it does not.  So just who benefits from it's operation, and it's rulemaking and market "regulation"?   Is it not really just the professionals in the finance business in New York, and really no one else, who reaps the advantage?

Why not just terminate the thing, like Jimmy Carter did with the airline price regulators?  Close the entire opeation down, and simply maintain a legal requirement for companies to tell their investors the truth.  If you feel you have been lied to, or cheated, then you have recourse to the courts, same as you do now.   The SEC benefits only the people who work there.

In this modern world of immediate, direct, communication via the internet, it is pretty clear that organs like the SEC are completely and absolutely unnecessary.  Why not just abolish the thing?

[Mar. 16, 2019] -  Finally managed to get out to the range with the Norinco NP-29 (in chrome, yes!), and a box of 115 grain 9mm, and I was amazed at the accuracy that I was able to get.  I'm getting 2 to 3-inch groups at almost the backstop... amazing.  In the debate (war?) between the 9mm and the .45, I am almost ready to switch sides.  

Ok, some CentOS-7 info.  I have this CentOS-7.4 box, but with a bleeding-edge 4.14 kernel, which is now running pretty smoothly - but it was banging away at the internet, with "packagekit" and "yumbackend" all the time.  How about we turn this off?  Except where the hell are the /etc/init.d scripts??  Oh, right, system-bloody-d (arrrrgh...)  Yes, I fear I am becoming a cranky old dinosaur.  Bollocks.  Yes, we must accept change.  "Ya can't put yer foot in da same river twice, dipsh/t lizard!"  (Cheech Wizard said this.  Richard Nixon said: "You can if it's frozen.")  (Nixon was a smart fellow.  He was a better a man than any fa&&ot newspaper reporter, IMHO)  Anyway, how to regain some measure of control of my computer?  Here is what I did:

   1) List the "systemctl" "services" running, and see if "packagekit" is among them...

       systemctl -l | grep package

      ===> if it's running, you will get response: 

       packagekit.service                loaded active running   PackageKit Daemon

      Hint: For amusement and education, to see *ALL* the systemd "service" files (there are 437 of them on my CentOS-7.4 box), you can enter:

             systemctl list-unit-files

   2) Become root, and first disable and then stop the current "packagekit.service" thing

       systemctl disable packagekit.service

       systemctl stop packagekit.service

   3) Check that "packagekit" service is no longer running:

      ps -ef | grep PackageKit     

   4) Now, if you want to update, you can do it under your own control, with:

       yum update -y

   5) You can also use "dnf", but I don't know it (or why it was needed), but it is supposedly the replacement for "yum". 

[Mar. 15, 2019] - Tools for analysis of mean reversion and trend, and traditional technical analysis trickery such as Fibonacci retracements, head-shoulders, penants, etc., when combined with the results from modern behavioural economics seem to work better for trading stocks than value-driven analytics or AI-driven predictive efforts.  Interesting results can be obtained using AI technology, but AI-driven predictive analytics, while useful, does not seem to offer as much of an edge as one would think it should.  Perhaps the pros are using machine image-recognition of traditional technical patterns?  There seem to be some curious market movements (or lack of movements) in modern markets that suggest evidence of rather non-rational decision making.  But perhaps it has always been this way?  

Sometimes, I feel honestly that the "best fit" for the market activity I observe, is what one observes in a drunk, teenage girl. In earlier times, women were said to "swoon".  "What the hell does that mean?", I recall thinking.  Like when you first encounter "Eigen values" or matrix "determinants".  "WTF is this?" is one's first reaction.  I swear I learned more math, physics & econometrics in a bar asking my clever friends to explain stuff to me, than I ever learned in lectures.  In lectures, I was mostly mystified, like the nonsense-fraud that I was taught in Church. "God is everywhere" some moron would say.  My thoughts: "Is He even up my arse?  Was he swimming in my vomit when I threw up last nite? ... you lie-spewing fool..."   What sad, nonsense dis-info children are subjected to.  Religion and the god-lie are just so bad for kids. 

And now these stupid-violent video-games they are all playing are almost worse.  The tragic events in New Zealand of another live-streamed mass-murder, are a *direct* result of the violence of modern "computer gaming", which is probably the single most idiotic, pointless use a computer can be put to.  A "video-game" is a tight-loop of behaviour re-enforcement that is just a really bad idea.  They are like the rat with the electric neural stimulator in it's medial hypothalamus (the 'pleasure centre').  The bar-pressing rat and the child-gamer will just stay in the trigger-loop, until they drop from lack of sleep.   The sad idiocy of "computer games" is matched only by the tragic awfullness of god-belief and other delusional superstitious human-behaviour errors.  This is the truth.  It is painful to see clearly, because you realize then that a lot of human effort is mostly futile.   Birds, wild animals and dogs have more sense than most people.   But, you can make a lot of money, it turns out, if you operationalize this awareness.  People are mostly dishonest, cruel, selfish and stupid, and even really smart people can be *really* stupid.  This is a shocking observation. And yet it is the truth.  It means that the "Age of Enlightenment" is still only just getting started, doesn't it? 

[Mar. 14, 2019] - The 737 Max 8 "Auto Death Dive" problem was apparently reported at least twice by pilots, who experienced aggressive automatic control movements during climb-out, which caused the nose of the a/c to pitch down, and the a/c to descend at 1200 to 1500 feet-per-minute, once autopilot was switched on.  Rapidly switching off autopilot, allowed the aircraft to resume a normal climb.  This is a software, sensor or computer problem, or some combination of all three.  Grounding all these aircraft was the right decision.  It now appears that the people killed in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft crashes were killed by bad computer software.  A modern aircraft flight-control system is a real-time AI, and the one in the Boeing 737 Max-8 has a lethal flaw.

PM update:  Xplornet wi-max internet offline again this morning for all of Europe open => 5am to 7am local time.  Modern technology is not reliable. There are constant problems.  <big sigh...>.   Here is the "Song for Brexit", ("Pearl & Roy, (England)") written by Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople, back in 1974.. ("Nyaa Nyaa Nyaa... Your on the lamb, can't control it. You're just a sham, you mink-stole it!")  Thank-you Sony Music for putting the track up on Pootube.  

[Mar. 13, 2019] - The Gov. of Canada has just announced that the Boeing 737 Max 8 and the 737 Max 9 aircraft are now banned from flying in Canadian airspace.  About bloody time.  A re-write and replacement of the fly-by-wire software can probably fix the problem, but that will be a decision for the experts.  Yesterday, our internet access here was offline - I spent an hour running diagnostics and confirming that the problem was not anywhere in my equipment.  The problem had to be in the cell-tower (again).  In the last 8 days, I have run into 5 specific incidents of bank systems and credit-card transaction devices failing to operate.  Our modern technology does not work well, and as time drives by, it seems to be getting worse, with basic operational reliability degrading with each "upgrade".

But not everywhere.  The OSFI's LAR (liquidity adequacy requirements), and the LCR (liquidity coverage ratio) calculations that the Office makes the Banks carry out each month, is keeping Canadian Banks comfortably solvent, *and* sufficiently liquid so that they can absorb serious delta-events (like the US-initiated real-estate-driven 2008 financial system near-failure).  The Banks here have to report LCR (which is Total High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA) divided by Total net cash outflows over the next 30 calendar days times 100%) to the OSFI each month.  Thank-you, Jeremy.  Bloody well done.  The LCR number just has to stay above 100%, and a "down-spike storm" (analogous to all the idiots on a Ship-of-Fools rushing to the same side of the boat at exactly the same time), should be survivable. (Marine designers, in the old days, designed their hulls to address these sort of possible instabilities.  At least the good ones did...)

And of course, there is VAR (Value at Risk).  It is actually a pretty good measure, and very useful for keeping tabs on the "herd of cats" that is a typical trading floor.  And why trade?  Why take the risk?  For the money, of course!  Trading is also *essential* for a bank, as it's customers demand it, and if done right, also comfortably profitable.  (See the chart at right.  Every single day, except one, for the whole year, they make money.  Nice.)

[Mar. 12, 2019] - Folks are still using vocoders.  Oh well..  I'm using results from current behavioural finance research in my trading, and getting better results than I get with the AI stuff. (A lot better, actually.  It's weird...)   Google says CERN guys invented the "WorldWideWeb", and it's 30 years old today.  We were using it in the 1980's, with our DECsystem20/20 & Vax750 at Treasury (it was called DECnet).  Technology is a bit of a timewaste.  It's Keat's and "Bright Star" that matter, and the music.  And nature - I recall the first time I put my telescope on Andromeda galaxy, and saw the whole thing, side-to-side, with my own eyes.  And the girlfriends, truth be told.  They brought with them such pleasure & fine times.  Unless it makes you rich, technology can just be a fool's distraction, if one is not careful.  Turn it off, and go interact with real people, since you will die really soon, and then it won't matter at all - even if you are the Emperor of the Roman Empire.  The only memory of your existence will be the words that you wrote - for example: The "Meditations", by Marcus Aurelius.  Roman history is irrelevant, but Marcus Aurelius actually lived and wrote, and we have his words still today, long after Rome became just a sad city of religious fraudsters.

History truly is mostly noise - like news.  It matters not at all - not one tiny bit.  But some people actually lived, before they died.  And some left notes, which can be helpful.  They called Marcus a Stoic, but I think he was secretly an Epicurean.

[Mar. 10, 2019] - A blues song..: "Woke up this morning... & all my clocks were wrong..." (Daylight time has arrived.  In winter... meh...)   Could be worse.  I could be flying on a Boeing 737 Max 8, with the software code for automatic "push-the-stick-forward", which some have called: "Auto Death Dive".  Not so funny for all the families of the folks killed in the Ethiopia Air crash of another *new* 737 Max 8.  Plane only was delivered in Nov. of 2018, just 3 1/2 months ago.  New aircraft should not nose-dive.  I remember reading a comment from a 737 pilot, who observed that if the engines experienced issues, the 737 had the "glide characteristics of a set of car keys".  Putting an automatic software-driven program to "push the stick forward if the airspeed gets too low", means that if you fly thru a swarm of bugs, which get sucked into your little pitot tubes, so you get mulitple, consistant "we too slow" airspeed indications, then your a/c will *automatically* point it's nose toward the ground.  Seriously.  This is insane, but typical of the "Didn't-Think-It-Thru" (DTIT) syndrome which seems to pervade modern technology design.   Investigators should tell the truth about what happened when a tragic outcome occurs, since we are more likely to be killed by a Fukushima, than by a Hiroshima.

[Mar. 07, 2019] - Curious about the Telegram ICO (Initial Coin Offering)?  Surprised that there seems to be no public information on available?  Surprised that the "public" portion of the ICO was cancelled?  Jesus H., people.  They got $1.7 billion USD.  The company consists of 15 guys, operating about 5 inches away from being rogue.  Good gracious, is everyone complete insane?  Telegram was an interesting business model, which now appears to have reached it's end point.  I've been reading about it, and it is just brilliant.  The Spirit of John Law is not dead - he was just resting, like the Norwegian Blue.  Just review my "Economics 2019".  Don't even read anything, just look at the picture. Oh my, my.  If you are hoping to "spend your Grams", then I wish you well.  Will TON ever actually exist?  Why should they even bother, now?  Come on, people. I see France wants to introduce a "Digital Tax" and assess Google and Facebook and such, on their worldwide digital income.  This should be amusing...  "French Econ. 101:  How to Blow Up Your Economy".   Brexit will be seen to be a fine, wise idea, as Europe begins to tear itself apart (again).  History is not dead...

<begin> Hey, Telegram me all your money!  Ah, there we go.  That's nice...  </end>

On the "real investments" front:  No ICO's, no Bitcoin in our portfolios.  A girl just walked by wearing her new bathing suit - she's off to the "Y" to go swimming... amazing Asian bod, and at her age.  I should be writing a Diet+Fitness Book.  But so boring, it's a solved problem, right?  Eat *lots* of good food, stay *really* active, and get good sleep, and do work that you really enjoy.  Result?  Health & a thin body.  Solved problem, until it isn't eh? and the "reaper" drops by for a chat, with a bottle of "Black Star"...  <sigh>) 

Anyway, here is the market observation for today: (I will have to start doing an Investment Letter or some such thing. Samuel Johnson was right - writing for free is wrong.):  I am fully long again, as I have never seen a market with such resilience.  This market has had everything but the kitchen-sink thrown at it, and thrown by big people throwing *hard*.  And yet it keeps ticking along.  Not a ripping great runaway boom, just a solid 2.9% GDP growth last year in good, old USAland.  Damn good.  Impressive, really.  What it comes down to, is that North America is still a fortress of sanity - more or less.  Europe (mostly just the funny-talking French), want to impose a 3% "Digital Tax" on Google, Facebook and Amazon's world-wide income, if they do business in France.  This is so crazy-stupid, that I just laughed out loud, for a long, long time. 

Why don't they just take a few of those lovely old St. Etienne revolvers, (one of the most beautiful production handguns ever made - some of them are just fine works of art!), and start shooting at each other's toes?  After a while, they might figure out that this is not really a good idea, right?  Would it not be fine also, if they could learn to *shrink* (instead of constantly expand) the great bloated beast that is their State-expenditure "trudeau", as well?  (A "trudeau" is a "water-hole" - ie. you are "in the hole", and "underwater", as a "mountain of debt" actually grows downward...)   Could they not just *shrink* that stinking great slug of socialist-state-failure, and give their "Gillet Jaunes" and other French citizens, who actually do the real work in the country, a chance to live, buy and sell, without being tax-assaulted all the time? 

Poor France.  They keep re-writing their same history, without really learning too much from it.  But my, those St. Etienne's are pretty... 

And the French also made one of the most beautiful cars in all of history - the Talbot-Lago, of 1937.  The "Goutte d'eau" (tear-drop) car, with it's use of smooth reverse-curves at a time when automobiles were still mostly box-on-box designs, was revolutionary in both engineering and as pure artwork.

I have a great love for France, a country where love & passion are respected and valued, and reasonable time is scheduled for meals (instead of Japan, for example, which flips it the other way around...).  Hang in there, France.  Of Course, We Still Love You!  Without your scientists, our doctors would still be treating tropical disease with air-freshener, and probably not even washing their hands before operations - like they did in England for hundred of years - until the "germ theory of disease" was proven by Louis Pastuer in 1864.  If you could just back off on that routinely-exploding *taxation* machine that your Enarchist's are so in love with, eh?  Pull the plug on the filthy, soul-destroying State-sanctioned "tax monster", and free the working people from their "economic Bastille". 

For the rest of us, just invest in North-Am Co's in either "BAMA" - (the Boston-Atlanta Metro Axis), the "Golden Horseshoe" around Ontario Lacus, or the "People's Republic of Califoxico".  You'll probably do just fine.  Sometimes it will hurt a bit, but if you stick with quality, and make sure to read the back-pages of those annual and quarterly reports, and dump the skanky gunk that fails to make money, obfuscates results or uses fibrillated language, you will likely live long and prosper.

[Mar. 06, 2019] - ...

And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die,
  Lift not your hands to It for help -- for It
As impotently moves as you or I.

- Quatrain #72, from "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam", as translated by Edward Fitzgerald

[Mar. 05, 2019] - Once one reads enough, the suspicion occurs that there really is nothing new. Same thing happens if you look at price series. Market action is a direct function of human psychology, as much as it is of economics and business conditions. My favourite stand-alone bookstore (and it's coffee place) closed, and re-opened in a shopping mall. It was good, and now it is just awful. This curious drift towards the awful is not just a feature of our modern times. The early 1700's in England, with the rise of the "coffee houses", and the early creation of joint-stock companies, and the initial mechanisms for "underwriting" - it was all brilliant and emergent - and it gave way to a sclerotic, atrophied culture of tea, bad food, and the toxic politics of socialism. Quite fascinating, really. The UK "Brexit"is of course profoundly necessary. But why can they not simply negotiate a "free-trade" deal with the EU, and leave it bloody at that? It's not as if this is a new idea. The comically awful behaviour and ignorance of our political folks is most curious. And yet it is a common, constantly recurring feature of human history. Nothing really changes, it seems. It's like Ground-Hog Day.
So, here we go: Remember in Dr. Strangelove, where the Soviet Ambassador, when questioned about the veracity of their intel that the USA was also working on a "Doomsday Device", looked at President Muffly, and said: "Our source was the New York Times..." Well, ok. No "conspiracy" nonsense here - we know the USA uses Canada (the "Blarney/Shamrock" program) to intercept and transcribe/record *all* US international telephone calls.
This is one of the disclosures in the Snowden material. It was also common knowledge among telecom IT and "Intelligence" folks in Ottawa. The sad criminal Canadian company "Nortel" was, shall we say, *involved* in this a wee bit. (Remember, the "telephone" was invented in Canada. It really has been our thing, right from the very beginning.) The data was collected - illegally, many assert - by the Communications Research Establishment, a quasi-secret Government agency, working with phone company entities. Since we only captured US calls, then the illegal wiretapping was supposedly *not illegal* under Canadian "Security of Communications" law. This was (and remains) bogus legal sophistry, in which - in the opinion of many - both the black-letter and the spirit of the law protecting private communications in Canada, was and is explicitly violated. When the Snowden material showed the amazing extent and breadth of the wire-tapping efforts that Canada (and other "Five Eyes" nations) were providing for the USA, a new piece of bogus US "law" was created "The Freedom Act of 2015" (what a filth-sucking lie of a name, eh?) to authorize the *domestic* component of this appalling exercise in mass-wiretapping.
So now, the New York Times has a fine article suggesting that the deeply dishonest US "authorities" (can you tell how much I hate this illegal spook-monkey crap? It attacks the basic essence of free, democratic political process. It is pure, perfect evil, IMHO.) have actually "not really been using this data" for a while, and they may let this filthy program lapse, without renewal. Great. Fine.
Now, can we all finally shout-down the bogus Israeli-sponsored attack-campaign against Huawei and release Huawei Chief Financial Officer Ms. Meng Wanzhou from her deeply-illegal arrest? And also disconnect ourselves from this grotesque, illegal US-sponsored mass-surveillence activity? OK? FFS! This is not "conspiracy" hype, and I quote from the fictional Soviet Ambassador in Dr. Strangelove: "My source is the New York Times...".
Listen up, political people in Ottawa! Could you stop being so wrong & stupid, and stop this illegal, dishonest foolishness? Please? How many new governments will it take, before this criminal wiretapping activity is halted, I wonder?
Now, does it not strain credibility to suggest that the NSA will actually shut down this program? Will it really be shut down? Of course not. They will just get the wiretapping spook-monkeys in Ottawa to do it for them, like they have always done. This is why I just blow my top at the criminal dishonesty of the attacks on Huawei, and even the *family* of it's executive people. That is just so very wrong. The USA govthugs from the so-called "US Justice Department" who initiated this exercise are not any different from the folks who ran "security" for the ISIS horror-show of the "Islamic State". They are just very bad people, pursuing dishonest and cruel strategies, with way, way too much authority. We need to change this, and change it soon. In Canada, we need to re-write our extradition arrangements with the USA, and reduce our co-operation with them. Too many of their agents are just very bad people, who cannot be trusted to be honest, or to act within the law - even their own questionable laws. In the fake-game of "fighting terrorists", we are turning to the creation of our own state-terror apparatus. This really must change.
[Mar. 04, 2019] -Afternoon update: Down 404 on the DJIA. I went fully long again. All-in, as they say - old-man stocks with 5% dividend yields.  Song for today: "St. James Infirmary Blues" ... "Put a 20-dollar gold piece on my watch-chain, the boys'll know I died standing pat..." Big Grin (Best version is by Cab Calloway, in 1933 Betty Boop cartoon, "Snow White", with Koko the Clown doing the moves.  Here it is:   Love the way the Red Queen turns into an Asian dragon. 

This weblog desperately need re-factoring, yes.  On the list.. Here is a CentOS-7 note:  This has been driving me crazy, and has been seriously messing-up my production CentOS-7 box.  This ghost-bastard process "polkitd" (the policy-kit daemon), would come on and run full-on, flat-out, and burn 7% to 15% of the CPU, just hammering away at nothing. (Do the developers test their code, I wonder?  hmmm...)  It would make Firefox clunky and slow, since the box is an old HP-Compaq: (4 GB memory, Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 running at 3.00 Ghz * 2, 64-bit, with Gnome Verision 3.28.2).  Box runs good, but this ghost-bastard "polkitd" thing would come on after a sleep-to-memory/resume cycle, usually after the box being quiet for the night. 

You could see it with "top", burning away between 7 to 15% of cycles, just banging full tilt, doing squat.  Turned out to be a bug, with a simple fix.  Prgm: gnome-settings-daemon:plugins/account/gsd-acount-manager.c  is an autostarted thing that just checks to see if your account password has expired. (FFS, eh?).  The thing checks notifications rate or some damn database somewhere, but then if nothing has been notified, it just restarts itself, in what is essentially an infinite, query-till-you-die, loop.  <big sigh...>

Solution: Become root.  Navigate to /etc/xdg/autostart  and remove program "org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.Account.desktop"  (I moved it to a new dir called "/etc/xdg/removed_from_autostart").  You won't get warnings to update your account password if it "expires", but that is not a problem for me, obviously.

Results: Initial experiments indicate Firefox 52.2.0 ESR runs a *lot* better, without the head-banging clunky-slowness that characterized its operation when "polkitd" was in idiot-loop mode.  This tiny fix actually makes a *huge* difference to the operational usability of the box.   Thought it warrented a note here on the GEMESYS blog.  Here is the Red-Hat tech-log bug-report on the issue:

Oh, and Market-Notes: Went long again, and then again bagged out with another profit this morning.  I want to take a safe/sane long position, but this market is showing evidence of insanity, so I find it profoundly difficult to be a portfolio manager.  Any "portfolio" holding action seems to get kicked and bashed.  My concern is that the modern results from the new neuro-science of humans is being actively deployed on a big scale, to very effectively attack the positions of any small-scale traders remaining in the modern equity markets.  It's a curious, (almost paranoid?) perspective, but it seems to jive with reality.  I have to constantly remind myself I am operating in an environment where everyone else has more information, better and cleaner raw data, more money, more computing resources, and more analytic ability (more analysts, obviously), and are on average probably a lot smarter than I can ever hope to be.  This has always been the case in the markets.  The pros always have numerous advantages.  What is new, is that AI's, fast nano-second front-running algorithms, and the modern results from neuro-science and behavioural economics can be drawn upon.   This means it is even *more* difficult than it was in the 1890's (and even the 1980's !) - if that is possible. 

So, why stay in the game?   For the money, of course.  Sometimes, the confluence of crazy behaviours in a diverse marketplace can offer small, occasional opportunities.  The secret is to stay away from the process, when that is not the case.  Of course, you use computers to paint the picture that either you or your AI must interpret.   This itself is very challenging now.  The market world has become very complex and unforgiving.  But I suppose it was always that way.  Your city would fall to an evil bandit army of cruel warriors, who would capture your wives and children, and sell them into slavery.  We just watched this classical war-fighting economic model play out in Syria, with the rise and fall of the sadistic murder-cult "Islamic State".  The ISIS folks just took a page from history, and used the god-lie and related cultural-filth to underpin their evil, and create a back-story for the low-IQ types that believe in ghosts and spirits (sadly, most of humanity, it seems).   We have not really improved or changed much since ancient times.   The DJIA fell about 200 points as I wrote this. Harsh times.  Stay on the bounce, & keep your weapons well-oiled.

[Mar. 02, 2019] - Wow, things are really getting weird.  Facebook (which I used to use a tiny bit, just to keep in touch with friends and family), has now become completely toxic and broken.  Really strange.  Not sure why.  Their algorithms now seem to prevent me seeing anything from 4 family members, and there seems to be no way to alter "News Preferences"  to fix this. It's time folks walked away from Facebook and Twitter, maybe.  Looks like I have to download/install Telegram after all.  The mainline web-products are becoming seriously borked.  Curious.  We will all have to be come hackers, I guess.  The big-company "algos" are "managing" too much.  Private folks will have to create new models, and retake some level of social system freedom. The Google/Facebook/nation-state-control thing is becoming ugly.  Looks like we need new methods and new models.  :)

[Mar. 01, 2019] - Fiat lux.  From funny-money, to lovely-sunny.  Here is a stupid-useful, bone-simple hack, but it is the difference between "great/it's usable" and "Arrgh../it's garbage":  I get financial reports from PRNewswire, Reuters, CNW, etc., and they have company data, with complex HTML tables.  Try to capture this stuff, with copy-paste, and you get a sh(t-smear of gunk if you just paste into a text-editor window or notepad.  So, solution: If using Firefox (like me, a cranky old guy), select topline "Tools" dropdown, then "Web-Developer" then "Page Source", and you should get the sh(t-smear HTML for the whole rendered page. Use right-click on the mouse to pop-up selection menu, an just select the whole page of smear, copy with Ctrl-C, and then paste into notepad (or vi if using Linux) with Ctrl-V and then save the glop of HTML page-render-source to a "yatta-yatta.html" document.  You will probably have an obfuscated bag of smear that is unreadable, BUT, if your browser can open a local page, you can probably just open this HTML file,and at least read your complex financial reports with their embedded HTML tables.  (Being able to capture-and-read-later complex reports with tables, is the mission-critical use-case here at Lorcalon Farm (aka "Ice Station Zebra" or maybe "the Fortress of Solitude".  It's minus 20 C this AM, feels like Mars.)  The wi-max network link is not always up/working/useable, so off-line storage is helpful.

If using Firefox (which will not directly open local files as per security restrictions), you can still refer to and open local files, if you use "localhost". To load an HTML file saved in "C:\doc\econ\XYZ_Q1_Report.html", you can enter, in a new Firefox tab: "file://localhost/c:/doc/econ/" and get a directory list to choose from.  (If you try the Firefox recommended: "file://///", then you will get a top-level directory listing, but it will not be selectable or useable.)

There is a bunch of unhelpful, outdated and wrong info on this issue re. Firefox that comes up in Google searches, it is pretty comical.  The web is becoming toxic now, but such is progress. "The more it changes, the worse it gets" seems to be the modern drift.  Also: I had to tweak three "security" options in FF's "about:config", setting all three to false.  I run FF 47, which is old (and lets me do this and have it work - modern FF's may not do this.)  The tweaks are security. ---> checkloaduri , disable_button.openDeviceManager ,  fileuri.strict_origin_policy --- all set to false.  Toggle them back to "True" with "about:config" in FF, if you are browsing unknown sites, to dial-up protection.

But being able to capture and then read-later, financial reports with their tables visible, is critical, as most of the numbers one needs to review, are reported in html tables.

[Feb. 27, 2019] - More research:  I just happened to check what Lockheed-Martin "Skunk Works" folks were up to, and I was gobsmacked to see that McGuire got a US *Patent* (!!) on his magnetically confined IEC fusion reactor!  The patent application was filed back in 2014, and was granted by the US Patent Office last year.  The device does not seem to be substantially different than the variant that Bussard had designed, shortly before he died - the W2C or some such thing.  I built a working IEC Fusion Reactor back in 2006, so I know a little bit about the technology.  The US Patent Office granted the patent, number: 9,959,941 B2, last year, in May, 2018.  I read it, and it is quite light on details.  Here is a link to the .PDF of the document (via Google):

Truly, I hope they can make the damn thing work.  The problem with fusion, is that without some way to manipulate gravity, you have to use electrical fields (magnetism) to confine the plasma, and you burn as much energy (or more) to do that, as you generate from fusing the deuterium into tritium and helium.  Demonstration Fusors use a metal confinement grid, which proves the concept works, (a verifiable neutron field is produced), but the grid limits fusion-power output, and the deuterium gas has to be a very low pressure (ie. a high-vaccum, mean free +ion-path => ~1 cm).  Kapitsa (the Nobel-prize winning Russian physics genius, who suggested the Tokamak idea), tried high-pressure deuterium.  That didn't work either, nor did the "Stanford Ignition" experiments with a bunch of hot lasers pointed at a deuterium pellet.  I wanted to try a deuterium-infused-palladium grid, and also a big "Bucky-ball" of inter-connected little IEC grid-balls.  But again, the big neutron flux (which is a fine *generating* process in a typical fission reactor - it makes more U235 break apart, chain-reaction style), serves to slow down, and limit the effective D2-D2 fusion reaction. Fission works really good (U235 isotope "burning" is millions of times more energy-releasing than burning coal, for example - see this: ).  But fission is really dirty, leaving a bunch of radioactive junk behind, and uranium is rare, and enriched U235 can be made into atomic-bombs rather easily (not good.).  Fusion is nice and clean, just a little tritium produced, along with helium, and deuterium (heavy water), is pretty common, and is not radioactive (but don't drink it).  Canada-designed CANDU reactors use heavy water as a moderator.  They work great.  I am using their electricity right now, to type this, and heat my cold house.  We have four of them over on Lake Huron, pumping out a Niagara-Falls level of kilowatts, and lighting our cities. (Thanks again, Mr. Tesla, for the polyphase AC grid system).  But fusion is what makes the Sun work.  Just look up on a sunny day, and see what is possible.  Feel the warm sunshine on your face, and your are feeling directly, the output of a natural fusion reactor. 

Like every physics hacker, I have tried to come up with some way to fiddle gravity.  If we can manipulate gravity, we can make fusion work easily.  Plus, we can make hover-boards!  But "anti-gravity" is basically a science joke.  I can make a hot laser that lases air (a pretty awesome trick, really), but I cannot do anything about or with, gravity.  Except fall down, on low-friction ice, sometimes.  <BANG, DING, OW! ...big sigh...>   See, we need some way, to create a singularity, artificially, in a lab.  We need to be able to fiddle the structure, or shape of space itself. If we can do that, we can just squish the D2 together, and it will fling out energy in a big fountain of heat and light.   And we can also make "Flying Shoes", which would be pretty cool.  Wow

Update: The Google Patents stuff is pretty good.  Well gone, Google-folk.  Here is McGuire's  Skunkworks patent for the Lockheed-Martin Fusion Reactor:  Can I order one to heat my farmhouse yet?  (I am actually serious about doing this...  Until you have a working proof-of-concept, you really don't have anything at all, right?  I actually have a design for a prototype "fusion furnace" to heat a house.)  I am also serious about gravity.  (Yes, I want some Cavorite.)   Some folks think you can use lasers to fiddle gravity, creating "analogue gravity":  

[Feb. 26, 2019] - Money is funny.  And Bitcoin block-chain money is the funniest of all, perhaps.  The ledger, distributed, reminds me of other schemes I have seen in history.  Paper money, when first introduced, was quite revolutionary.  Some would say, "revolting". But using gold, or a combo of gold and silver, limits monetary expansion to the rate of  mineshaft construction, which is too restrictive and silly.  So money (which is always a bit funny), has been invented.  It is the social-glue (and the social-poo - see above), which holds any society together, and allows trade to occur, and prosperity to be created.  So live long and prosper, eh?  no matter how funny your money is.

[Feb. 25, 2019] - Seemed to have lost all my formatting on these notes - makes them difficult to read.  Sorry about that, will try to fix. I need to re-factor this blather-blog into sections. By pure chance, happened to read all the National Post stories on Canada's AI *government sponsored* AI efforts - the Vector Centre in Toronto, and a AI "Supercluster" in Montreal.  (Oh my gracious, how I want to write: 'Super-Cluster-Fuck', a very popular term in military lexicon).  JHC, but we never learn in this cold northern outpost, do we?  Throwing gov't money at something is *the very best way* to kill it dead, dead, dead.  You remove all the needed economic incentives and social-economic-business discipline when you thow mega-bucks at an "Institute".  I feel sorry for Dr. Hinton. Vector will just be a welfare agency.  He is one of the best, smartest AI researchers I ever encountered - it was from him and his Xerion code-base, that I began my adventures with neural nets.  (The neural-network stuff really works - even simple NN's can suss out weak signals in noisy data that other, more traditional statistical and surface-fitting techniques can miss. The recent Kepler planet-hunting work using TensorFlow is a good example of what is possible...).   My datasets are small, and still, there are some weak but useful signals present.  Here is a truth:  High-yield financial securities show consistant (and tradable) evidence of serial-autocorrelation.  The old-timers (and bond-guys) knew (know) this, and they made their nut by trading long-wave trends.  But modern markets are *really* mean-reverty, and nano-algo front-running has made stop-gunning the new mainline sport on the big exchanges, so execution is now pretty much everything, and AI's don't help with that.  But a messed-up, broken-up goof-nasty world, still presents some opportunities - you just have to accept that you will pay a big vigourish to get anything useful and sensible done.  And then you will be subjected to price-volatility and market-violence (and maybe even fraud), as the process drives thru time, and tries to shake you from your good position.

It is an ugly, difficult and painful world for a sane investor these days, yet perhaps it has always been this way.  The right choices are rarely obvious, and the obvious choices are rarely the right ones.   Modern markets, and their nano-second algos just amplify the difficulties that investors have always faced.  Full disclosure:  Got another sweet positive delta, & bailed.  Maybe it's the phases of the moon, or something.  I keep hearing that old CCR tune "Bad Moon Rising...", playing in my synethesia-driven neural background. (yes, I have always seen and heard colour, music and data in self-similar gestalt.)  Remember, just because you have an AI, it does not preclude you from making use of the neck-top Bio-I - what Hercule Poirot would call his "little gray cells...".  Just don't make Lord Edgware's error.

[Feb. 22, 2019] - Asked: "Why lasers?", and the short answer is found if you google "laser wakefield electron acceleration".  I remain interested in controlled ionization and its role if certain atomic process evolution.  Plus, hot lasers are pretty cool technology.

WRT the AI stuff, I am finding that methods employed by J.M. Keynes (the great economist), turn out to be probably the most effective trading strategies that individual investors can deploy.  As I indicated at the time, in these running-notes, I (we) remained long and basically - all-in long - thru the Christmas 2018 meltdown, driven by the gross miss-steps of the US Fed.  (What data are those guys actually looking at, anyway?).  A real slowdown started showing up around September - Asian exports started tanking, and the Baltic Dry index started heading south with a vengence.  The comment by Powell ("We are a long way from neutral") scared the hell out of everyone, and provoked the equity sell off, it appears, and yet, the reactive-response to this slowdown (which really started to become visible in the soggy Christmas retail numbers), meant it was probably easy to fix - ie. just recognize that we are in a world of "Steam-punk interest rates" - ie. the Victorian model of 2% on the Gilts - which for the Vic's, (and even the Edwardians) was a nice trade -they would buy them at a discount, and then harvest them, when they came due, and were refunded at par + the yields owing.  It wasn't until the post-WW2 socialist idiocy in the UK, that the wheels fell off.

And as long as the USA avoids the toxic miasma of "socialism"  (the worst, most tragic and grotesque stupidity the world has ever seen), things American will be OK, fine. And it's little brother Canada should do OK too, since we are running a TW3 low-val currency economy, which keeps the whole place buzzing like a little beehive. Anyone who wants a job here can get multiple offers, it turns out.  Retirements are causing rolling labour shortages in many areas - both skilled and unskilled.   Keynes traded in a similar world, and did just fine, too.  His algos are documented in several books.  And they seem to work better than the AI's (which actually work OK.  But execution turns out to be difficult).  So, full-disclosure:   The trading portfolio is well into the black, by a non-trivial amount, the low-risk yielder in LIC is holding its own, and throwing off it's 5%. 

The Fed guys need to realize, we are in a Steam-Punk world, where 2% is a *big yield*, and that the job of the central bank should be to keep inflation at zero.  If the cen-bankers want 2% inflation, then they are being unwise and wrong, and don't understand what the heck is happening.  Inflation - ie. ANY INFLATION AT ALL - is a bad, toxic device phenomenon which is used to impoverish investors and wage-earners, and if the money-brains at the Central Banks can't learn this simple truth, then these folks need to be replaced by people who have some skills in actual business, as well as academic economics so they have some understranding of how business process unfolds thru time.  Inflation is like cancer - even a little is bad.  I grow weary with the group-motion of the old suit-and-tie guys who have never taken a real risk in their entire lives.  They have dangerously limited understanding of how the economic world actually works.  I would prefer they be replaced by a heuristic AI, truth be told, and the gov-boys sent out to find some productive employment.

[Feb. 17, 2019] - Pure techy stuff:  I needed Adobe on a CentOS Linux box (7.4), and found the trick to putting Acroread 9.5.5 (Adobe Reader), on the box at two sites:

1) Location of last Linux version:  "' as an rpm file.

2) Libraries (special for CentOS 7), needed to get it to work: ""  (from a Physics lab in Holland.  Works. Confirmed.  It took a lot of messing around, but I got Adobe Reader working on my CentOS 7.4 production box.

But I managed to wipe out GNOME desktop, and to fix it, I uninstalled stuff, and had to re-install with:

yum groupinstall "GNOME Desktop" "Graphical Administration Tools"

I kept getting a transaction error:

Transaction check error: file /boot/efi/EFI/redhat from install of fwupdate-efi-12-5.el7.x86_64 conflicts with file from package grub2-common-1:2.02-0.65.el7_4.2.noarch

due to the hacking to put Adobe "acroread" on the box, and resolved it with: 

yum upgrade grub2 firewalld

which got rid of another error, related to a program "fwupdate-efi" not being found.  But Gnome would still not start.  I had "su" to become root, and remove a "99-nvidia.conf" in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d directory, so I could recover the X-windows GUI environment.  (The machine does not even have nvidia, so unclear how the config file got there...).  I put these details here so anyone else who has this issue can find the solution. 

[Feb. 14, 2019] - World just keeps getting sillier.  The lack of wisdom that characterizes modern politics is really sad.  Our best people avoid politics now, because it is a sh*t-show of stupidity and deception that resembles collective madness, perhaps?  In Canada, instead of strong, wise leadership, we get fake scandals, drift and deception.  Our business climate is not bad, (thanks to the fine wisdom of our Victorian founders), but our parlimentary process looks to be wrong.  Of course our federal Attorney General should listen to the Prime Minister on serious legal issues that would determine if a major Canadian construction firm should face *criminal* prosecution.  She *should* be influenced by our PM.  What is wrong with people's thinking now?   But she has resigned from cabinet, and hired a lawyer (seriously!), which is plain idiotic.  So now, another fake, irrelevant manufactured-for-the-media "scandal" has been puffed-up by our hollow politicians, so they can get airplay.  Maybe they could focus on building that pipeline to get our Alberta oil to Asia instead, eh?  President Trump in the USA has a lot of faults - but I envy the Americans, as at least they have a strong leader who can take on difficult projects and actually get things done.

[Feb. 9, 2019] - The N2 TEA Laser is a curious device.  It really works.  I recall reading the SciAm article in 1974, when I was very young (I read everything I could). Lasers are mainstream tech now, but in the early 70's, they were still pretty new.  Rail-guns will make better weapons than lasers ever will, since a mirror is all the defence one needs against a laser attack.  I've often wondered if charged uranium or thorium isotopes or ions could be accelerated in the atmosphere to near light-speed, and used to "ablate" say, the cranium of your enemy, or his warship. (Neutron ablation is a problem in hot-reactors, and also in IEC fusion devices.  A photo-micrograph of the reaction-chamber wall, will look like swiss-cheese after your reactor has been running for awhile.  A proton has about 1800 times the mass of an electron, so a proton or neutron beam ought to pack a bit more of a punch than an electron beam.  But the air just stops and scatters it.  Or maybe a heavy isotope of something?  The Yanks use "spent" uranium a bullets in their high-speed gatling guns they put on their warships. These work good now that the interlocks prevent them from tracking targets thru 360 degrees, and shooting the tops off the shipboard antennas. If your a/c isn't cut to pieces by the storm of heavy-metal, your kids will probably die of radiation-related diseases 20 years after the war ends. <sigh...>  ).   Tesla had supposedly considered this (he was looking at charged mercury droplets, accelerated from inside a sphere on top of his "tesla coil".  This was all in the "Star Wars" research efforts under Ronald Reagan ("Ron Ray-gun" among the folks in the community).  Lots of money spent, but no actionable technology - at least none that reached the public.  It remains that a squad of well-supplied guys (or gals?) with M-16's and RPG's, are probably more lethal than a big boat full of lasers and rail-guns.  Accuracy still counts, and when everything is moving and fluid, the general "static-ness" of big, high-powered, high-tech stuff typically proves its undoing.

And here is another annoying tech problem.  People wonder where the "Aliens" are.  Well, they probably all whacked each other.  In order to interact in any way, we will need ships that can travel near light-speed.  But if you have a near-lightspeed vehicle, you can just fly it into any planet of folks that you don't like, and probably vapourize any Earth-sized orb.  A ship the size of a submarine, travelling at even some fraction of "c", will impart enough kinetic energy to obliterate a planet - and any citizens on that planet will have zero time to react, since you will be approaching at near the detection limits of any sort of radar or image-monitoring device.  It's a sobering thought.  Any "starship" of any kind, will be a perfect, undetectable, and un-stoppable, planet-killing machine.   Any civilization that can develop ships than can reach relativistic-speeds, offers extreme threat to all those around it.  It's the KE=1/2mv**2 relationship - the energy-transfer grows linearly with increases in mass, but at the square of the velocity.  If you fly a starship into a planet, you would either bore a hole right thru it, or more likely, blast it into small bits. Consider: A megaton of TNT (a million tons of TNT), is a popular way to characterize an atomic explosion. 1 megaton is equal to roughly 4.184 petajoules (peta => a million billion, or 1x10**15).  A joule is a measure of energy.  It is one Newton acting over a distance of 1 meter.  A Newton is the force needed to accelerate a mass of 1 kilogram at a rate of one second per second.  So the Joule is a unit of energy, and is measured in meter-seconds squared per second.  Our popular unit of power, the watt, is the work that one joule of energy per second provides.  If you push one ampere of electricty thru one ohm of resistance for one second, you have used 1 watt of power. 

Ok, so if we measure our starship's mass in kilograms, and our velocity in meters per second, then we get our kinetic energy in joules.  The Endeavour Space Shuttle weighed 78,000 kilograms without fuel, empty.  Lets assume we can fly up to 2/3 the speed of light, which is roughly 3 times 10**8 meters per second x 2/3 => so we have 2 x 10**8 meters/second.  So, the KE in joules of the impact of a 78,000 kilogram starship hitting a planet, would be 78,000 x 2 x 10**8 x 2 x 10**8.  The really crazy biggness of this number comes from squaring the 2/3rds speed of light.  We have to multiply (2x10**8) x (2x10**8), and we get a crazy big number that is equal to: 40000000000000000.  And then we multiply that by 78000 kg (the mass of our small starship).  This gives the KE (kinetic energy) in joules: 3.21 x 10**21 joules.  Now, remember that a one megaton atomic bomb, is about 4.184 petajoules (from Wikipedia..).  One "peta" is 10 to the 15th power. So our basic 1 million ton TNT A-bomb is 4.185 x 10**15 joules.  But smashing our small starship into a planet at 2/3rds of lightspeed, gives an energy of 3.21 x 10**21 joules.  So, divide it out: 3.21x10**21 / 4.185x10**15 = 745697.8967.  

So, the energy released by this action, would be greater than the same energy as seven hundred and forty five thousand quite big atomic bombs, all being set off at the very same time.  Foooosh.  Nothing left.  Remember, the Hiroshima bomb was much *less* than a megaton. It was around 15,000 TNT tones equivalent.  A megaton is 1 million tones of TNT, or roughly 67 times more powerful than the Hiroshima uranium bomb.  The biggest hydrogen bomb the Russians set off, was around 50 megatons.  Fusion-power is pretty awesome.  It blew a hole in the upper atmosphere, and contaminated the world for a while.  Yet it was nothing, compared to what a single lightspeed-bombship would do.

So, where are the Aliens?  If they had any conflicts at all, they will have simply used  starships to lightspeed-bomb each other's planets.  So there likely aren't any Aliens at all, even if there were some to start with, somewhere.  And if there really were some, they would be smart to keep *really quiet* about their existence, right?, since any rogue pilot with a lightspeed ship could obliterate their homeworlds.

 [Feb. 7, 2019] - Ok folks - up on my soap-box:...

Science is good. Religion is bad.  And Politics is tragic.  I watched the full "USA State of the Union" Trump-speech, and I felt like I was back in Byzantium, watching Theodora's husband at the theatre.  And it was pure theatre - Nero would have loved it.  But I had a bit of Sartrean nausea watching the amazing rhetorical brilliance of the whole thing.  People who respect the law, and like to eat sausage naturally feel sick watching either being made.  National politics is just office-politics on a grand and scary scale.  Trans-national politics is too often just gangster-games, economic fraud, or bombing.  We need to stay focused on reason & rational action, and distrust theatre.

One thing for sure: We Terrans had better pursue the "Elon Musk Doctrine", and move our political-social focus outward, off-planet, or we risk collapse into collective violence and mass-warfare.  We desperately need low-cost mass-energy conversion devices, and we need them soon, before we start killing each other en-masse.  Planetary population has gone from 2 billion to 7.5 billion in my lifetime so far, and this growth-rate will not continue.  This is mandated by the laws of mathematics and diminishing marginal returns.  Population will either S-curve, or spike-retrace, like market-prices do.

Really, if we can build fleets of nuclear-powered submarines, we can build fleets of nuclear-powered spaceships, but not if we are fighting with each other on half the planet.  We need to get the witless politicians, pretty-boy smooth-talkers, and brutal lie-monkeys off the political stage, and recognize that our "nation-states" are dangerous social-political-economic constructs - much more dangerous than our technology.  We need to *limit* government activity, and remove restrictions on technology, instead of constantly doing the opposite.

For example, I am certain we can "tickle" palladium-saturated deuterium or deuterium ions in a low-density vacuum environment, to fuse directly into helium and tritium, and release some serious energy in the process. (So was Nobel prize-winning Russian physics genius, Kapitsa - read his 1976 Nobel acceptance speech...)  But there is some trick to it that we don't know yet.  I've built a high-vacuum fusion apparatus (the IEC Fusor), which has a small neutron-output signature (proving hot fusion is occuring), but it is not an economic device - the power input needed is 1200 watts (from my Molectron Power supply), but the net additional power output is probably no more than 1 nano-watt, not enough to be useful.  But it is a *gain* (the device gets hot, as do the resistors...), so anyone running an IEC Fusor is way, way ahead of anything that ITER or the Big Science guys are doing, at least from an engineering-economic viewpoint. Sure, fusion power is the "Holy Grail", but we just need to look up on a sunny day, to see the truth of what is possible.

My electrcity to the farmhouse comes from a heavy-water fission power reactor, where uranium atoms are giving up their lives to energize our local power grid.  Works pretty good.  But we must move our technology along, and reach the point where PNR's (Personal Nuclear Reactors) are available, effective technology, so we can live both here, and in space and off-planet.  Mars and the Moon are very cold, and the moons of Saturn and Jupiter are really cold.  It was minus 25 C *here* a few days ago.  At my place, if we lose our wireline link to the big reactor on Lake Huron, we risk freezing even here, unless we can cut forest wood and burn it in the wood stoves at a rate that is sufficient to prevent the house cooling down below freezing-point (a non-trivial task that requires a lot of chemistry, technology and effort - gasoline, diesel-fuel, chain-saws, a tractor, and a hydraulic wood-spliter powered by a small Briggs & Straton gasoline engine, as well as the human effort to cut apart the trees, dry the wood, and fire the stoves). 

So we must push the technology now, and push it hard.  And we now *must* focus outward.  "Climate Change" is irrelevant, as folks on this planet face a brutal, painful population crash regardless of whatever fuel they burn.  But markets survive spike-retrace events because of underlying growth and a viable economic-technology mix.  We need to keep that magic mix happening.  We need to dump the superstitious foolishness of religion and godism, and recognize that Science is our only choice now, and that we have to try *a lot* of different ideas and approaches.  And we need a flexible, free-market-driven economic environment, so that viable, successful technologies can reach rapid commerical acceptance, they way our AC power-grid model did.

And we need to see that the political people are very dangerous, and their tub-thumping theatre can be as tragic as it is grotesque.  But just because most people are weak and stupid and easily misled, does not mean we all have to be.

Do science like your life depends on it people, because it does.  And make sure your children study, stay in school, study science, learn math (at least some..a little goes a long, long way), and become and remain fluent in technology.  Leave the stupid god-books on the shelf, or in the museums, where the failed, dead things are.

We had a market burp today, but the path probably remains upwards, to levels that will amaze and distress.  Stops will be gunned, but the DJIA need only grow for a few years like China's economy, and we will see 40,000, and pundits will blanch, choke and sputter.  USA, despite it's crazy wildness (or its wild craziness?), remains in the drivers seat.  And they know science, and how to connect it to the economy, better than anywhere in the world.

[Feb. 6, 2019] - Re-designed N2 TEA laser, with larger capacitor, using two-layers of acetate dielectric.  A small 35x32 cm capacitor worked well (also double layer), but was repeatedly damaged by over-voltage dielectric breakdown (like the first very large capacitor was).  Beam spot on white paper is quite bright, with close-up image of the beamspot shown above.  Note that you can see the diffraction lines (they are very clear when viewed in reality, but become blurred by the cellphone camera).

A note here on construction: If you build a home-made TEA laser, when you fire it up the first time, it will almost certainly fail to lase.  It is critical that the electrode-rail separation be adjusted when the laser is on.  I use a highly-insulated screwdriver, and make light taps on the beam-rail electrodes, to get a narrow gap roughly 1.2 to 1.7 mm.  You have to fuss with the rail-gap, and also with the spark-gap distance (I seem to need roughly 4 mm gap.  If the gap is too narrow, or if the capacitor has too much inductance, you will get no laser action, even if you see lots of arcing between the electrode rails.  The rail-to-rail arcs are *not* responsible for the laser action.  Also, rail-geometry is critical, as one of the rails has to be raised up off the capacitor to allow pre-ionization to occur.  Holding the insulated handle of a long screwdriver, I have to tap, tap, tap gently on each end of the right side rail assembly (two nested "L" rails made from aluminum, weighted down by a plastic pipe with a cylindrical piece of steel inside the pipe).  When the correct inter-electrode gap is achieved by tapping and moving slightly the rail assembly bit by bit, the beam-spot will suddenly appear on the paper.  It is almost magical.  And although the above image does not show it well, there is a distinct pattern of vertical diffraction lines in the beam-spot, which I find quite curious.  An artifact of the edge of the rail geometry perhaps?

[Feb. 5, 2019] - Markets tracking as per forecast (to my surprise - I am always surprised when things work - Murphy's Law is the only true rule...).  Polar vortex (-23 C temps) replaced by +12C temps - quite the swing, approx. 35C in a few days.  I remain a student of early technology, electrical, computer, particle-beam and traditional weapons, nuclear power devices, etc.  The early stuff was highly tractable, operationally verifiable, and most importantly, repairable in the field.  Image at the right side is a highly sensitive H. Tinsley Co. Ltd. galvanometer, which could detect microvolts of current.  Henry Tinsley founded the company in 1904, in the UK.  The wooden-boxed device (wooden box in image) is a 3184D "Potentiometer" which (along with my surge-protector for the wi-max internet link), I recently repaired.  Same for the "Electrohome" quad-stereo receiver, and the Black-Asus Intel-based uni-processor (runs CentOS 6.6 Linux, as it is a 32-bit box, and it really works well.) 

Why my attraction with the old technology?  Because when it breaks, one can fix it.  That means it can run forever, at least if parts remain either available or can be fabricated or scavenged.  If you can't open your "black-box", understand exactly how it works, and fix it, then one day, it will probably kill you, and perhaps all those around you.  My 3184D is interesting, as like the big Electrohome receiver, it was manufactured in Canada.  This Tinsley device, which I acquired at an antique sale, was made in St. Jerome, Province of Quebec.  Like my "church steeple" Webley revolver, I had to buy it and restore it, because it just looked so cool.  Cool   Will be putting together modified version of TEA laser, and now hope to build a carbon-dioxide laser.  The operational characteristics of the N2 TEA laser is quite amazing.  Why does lasing occur orthogonal to the electrode rails?  I made a much smaller capacitor, and it lases almost as well, with a bright blue beam-spot on plain white paper.  Electrode shape seems to be quite critical.  I will publish my specs.  And I need more resistors (I have melted a few...).  I want to try a custom-made power-supply, using a computer-monitor flyback transformer, or perhaps a transformer scavenged from a micro-wave oven.  Perhaps I will even make a hologram rose.

[Jan. 31, 2019] - Polar vortex weather... was minus 25 degrees C this AM.  Vehicles have to have their block-heaters plugged, in order to start.  Internet has been offline for several days.  I finally repaired it myself this afternoon.  Mars weather, and Mars technical profile - ie. you are on your own, make sure you can use a soldering iron, have lots of spare parts, and know you way around both the hardware and the software.  Mkts are tracking as expected, and we remain all in and long.  These are curious times we live in now.

Moved TEA Laser images to "TEA Laser Details" section. 

[Jan. 25, 2019] - We're having Martian weather here.  It was minus 23 C a few nights ago. (Well, Mars is more like -70 C, so not quite..).  Built a tiny-perfect version of the TEA laser, with much smaller capacitor, and it still worked ok. Speed of light limits beamline electrodes to roughly 46 cm, given what I assume my capacitor dielectric factor is.  Building another version tonite.  Market is tracking ok, so I remain in "watch but don't trade" mode.  Folks are calling for the SEC to investigate the Dec. 24th low-volume meltdown, but no where is anyone saying "gunning for stops", which is pretty clearly what the algo's did. 

[Jan. 22, 2019] - Experimenting with the N2 TEA laser, and managed to blow up the capacitor (see image at right - over-voltage dielectric failure.  Oops!).  This laser is fascinating, and raises many questions - such as why the strange diffraction pattern on the beam-spot, and why does the laser produce a much brighter beamspot forward, rather than in the aft direction?  Probably the beamspot diffraction pattern is an artifact of the 337.1 nm wavelength light passing out from the space between the beamline electrodes. But it is quite pronounced (I am using no optical focusing).   I must rebuild the device, with enhanced-layer dielectric (two layers of desktop acetate plastic), so I can try higher voltages without destroying the capacitor.  How many layers, before capacitor inductance becomes too high, and there is no laser action?  And how do I make a dye laser?  And how can I put the whole thing in a vaccum tube, and then still adjust the rails?  And how about using CO2? (carbon dioxide).  Will I need to water-cool the thing then?  Hmmm.  Cool

[Jan. 21, 2019] - Happy Martin Luther King Day!  US Mkts closed, so no action.  Missed the lunar eclipse last nite.  Too tired from a couple of all-nighters.  But some nice results.  Building a super-radiant N2 laser in the basement has been educational.  Nitrogen actually *absorbs* UV light pretty effectively, so it takes some finesse (which my Webster's defines as: "To bring about by adroit maneuvering" for verb-intransitive), to actually get N2 to lase, and generate a beamline.  But it does, and quite well, in what is termed a "super-radiant" manner.  But it all depends on timing (like much in life, as well as physics). 

The excited state for the N2 molecule is only about 2 to 3 nano-seconds, so to pump them all up *quickly*, is critical.  The capacitor has to discharge *now*, where the duration of the now-event is less than 2 nanoseconds.  That means the spark-gap (which is just a fast switch), has to switch quickly, like "BAP!", and not "BAAAAZZZZZZP!", which is the problem I was having.  I was using two pointy screw-nails pointed at each other.  This was fine for a tesla coil, but really bad for a TEA laser.  The photo at right shows the new, two-spheroid spark-gap, which is set to 4.3 mm (as measured by micrometer). 

It really is quite exciting (for the person, as well as for the nitrogen molecules..), when you get it all configured, turn on the voltage, and you get a bright beam-spot.  I spent at least two days fiddling with different capacitor sizes, rail types and rail geometry, and voltage levels, before I determined the problem was my (very) crappy spark-gap device.

Of course, I want now to replace the (amazingly loud and bright) spark-gap switch, with a big thyratron tube.  I found a 5948A thyratron on Kijiji (from a military radar array), but it is burned out, apparently.  I need to be able to switch at least 15 KVDC at no more than 1.5 nanoseconds, and this turns out to be non-trivial requirement.  There are some semi-conductor devices (thyristors) that can respond this fast, and to this much voltage, but I am unsure of how and where to acquire these.  Plus I also need a trigger-pulse generator, which can operate quickly.   So for now, it's the spark-gap, or nothing.   I want to put the whole assembly in a glass tube, and try the laser with different pressures and different gases. (I have a gaseous diffusion pump, and a mechanical vacuum pump.)  Carbon dioxide apparently works well, and lets one stimulate up a good strong pulse.   Of course, my objective is to build a multi-megawatt device that can do interesting work.  Cool

[Jan. 20, 2019] - TEA laser works, but if I run up to 20,000 volts DC, and move the spark-gap distance too far back, the dielectric gets punched thru at the spark-gap connection.  But I found I could just cut a piece of acetate, a couple inches square, and put it over the hole, and continue to use the capacitor & the laser.  Here is a video of the TEA laser in operation, that I made earlier this evening:

[Jan. 19, 2019] - Update: TEA Laser works incredibly well now, to my surprise!  Wild The key was to build a spark-gap device that had a spherical electrode on one side, and a flat piece of aluminum metal on the other.  This lets the spark-gap switch close in 1 nano-second, which is required to drive the discharge circuit, and hence for the laser-action to take place.  Population inversion now occurs, and the laser beam spot now gets brighter, as I increase the voltage.  As per professor Csele's notes, I found the spacing on the spark-gap was critical.  At a close spacing, (maybe 1/16th inch), I got no laser action.  But increasing the gap to 3/16ths, and I got perfect, consistant laser action, and a bright beam spot.  And the beam-spot has that strange optical property that coherent laser-light has, where it appears bright yet diffuse, made up of light-dots (and this happens, despite the beam being UV, and only visible in the photo-responsive action of the highlighter ink.). 

[Jan. 19, 2019] - The first TEA Laser variant was invented in Canada, in the late 1960's, at the Defense Dept. Research Centre, in Valcartier Quebec, by Jacques Beaulieu.  It was kept top-secret, (the Cold War was on, the DEW line was in operation, we had been doing "duck and cover" drills at our school, etc...)  so details were not published until 1970.  Here is the Wikipedia stub: 

A modern version has been made at Niagara College Laser lab by Professor Mark Csele, with details here:

And last night (morning?), around 5:00 am, I managed to get the electronics to work, and I got some consistant beam action, which was dramatic.   I must have tried 20 different electrode rail configurations, and at least as many capacitor sizes.  The electronics of the trigger circuit is *very* critical, as a discharge event that is only 1 or 2 nano-seconds long, has to occur, in order to "pump" the energy into the nitrogen molecules, so they will lase as they fall back down to ground state.  My beam was sloppy and intermitent, but on a piece of 8'' x 11'' paper covered with highlighter ink, quite bright.  (The UV beam is invisible, at 337.1 nanometers wavelength).  The beam-shape was about 1 inch wide, but only 1/4 inch high, and very bright on the highlighter-covered white paper.

The electrode rails were inverted aluminum angle-V, and a double set of smaller aluminum rails, set in an L-shape.  Inter-electrode rail gap was set using a paper-clip that I had micrometer-measured to 1.5 mm.  I used a hand-wound copper induction coil to connect the plates of the capacitor, and had put the spark-gap right at the edge of the capacitor plate (made using a bolt and a twisted bent piece of aluminum foil.).  The electrode rails are roughly 46 cm in length.  Curiously, the voltage wanted to be in the 7 to 8 kv DC range - higher voltage levels did not work.  And a resistor placed across the rails did not work.  In my larger setup (the dielectric is big - maybe 3 feet long, by 2 feet wide), the capacitor plates seems to need to be coil-connected, to create a resonant circuit?  I need to learn more about "transmission lines", and the details of the capacitor operation at discharge. 

The tolerances for an N2 TEA laser are extremely tight, and any variation results in a circuit that creates an impressive amount of noise and sparking, but no laser action at all.  (You get a lot of reflected UV light, which lights up the whole room, but no beam.  And the beam action is *independent* of the arcs between the rails.  It will occur *only* when all parameters are correct.  Any design variation, and the lasing action will not be evident.  In particular, the spark gap has to be tuned to the capacitor & electrode-rail configuration. This appeared to have been my problem, as I had tried several gap-types and locations. 

Also, you want the spark-gap to have a round-ball shape, not a little pointy shape, so as to get consistant switch action.  And further, the electrode shape is curiously critical - the physical geometry of the electrode-edge is a critical pre-condition that will determine whether lasing occurs. 

Electrons scatter to populate the capacitor plates at roughly light-speed, and how the discharge occurs across the electrodes when the spark-gap fires, determines whether lasing will take place. Typically, each end of the rails are slightly different distances - 1.4 versus 1.5 mm.  I ended up adjusting the rails while the device was operating, using an insulated handle screw-driver.  (Do not do this.  Really bad idea.  I am stubborn, and stupid, OK?  Do not do this.  Use a large piece of insulated plastic or adjust with voltage off, using set-screws or something.)  :)

Interesting thing about lasers... the math that describes the "population inversion" action can be expressed using probability-driven tensors, and is very similar to what one has to work with to understand neural-network AI technology. 

[Jan. 18, 2019] - Ok, query was, how did you know?  Why did you hold and stay long thru December meltdown?  (Edit: Of course I didn't know.  No-one can forecast future events.)

It came down to what they call a "Knights Fork" (I really hate chess, but I recall the term) - basically a situation is crafted or arises where either option (from a binary alternative set), results in a win for the agent driving the action.  What we had was a situation where either rates would rise, or they would not rise.  I am naive, and have less information and less resources, but I need to invest.  The economic imperative remains.  So the reasoning was: If rates rise, then it is due to a rising economy and rising economic growth, and history, economics and my own research suggests a rising rate of return on capital will drive rising business profits and hence rising share values & prices.  But if rates are *not* raised (or even lowered), then this has to give a boost to share prices, as it will drive us back towards the zero-rates regime, where bonds have ceased to offer economic returns for average, small-scale rational investors.  Either outcome motivates rising share prices.  So the wild downswing of December was an artifact of the algo-driven trading environment and end-of-year distortions, combined with the "Dr. Strangelove"-style politics wafting out of Washington (Weirdington?).  What is it they call Washington?  "Hollywood for Ugly People?".   But America was well-designed.  The Founders created a rational, self-organizing political process-model, which has stood the test of time.   And New York, for all it's amazing awfulness, still runs one of the better, more honest (most honest?) markets in the world.  

It's like Obama bowing to the Japanese Emperor.  It was a generous and honest action that was impressive.  (The USA nuked two of their cities, right?  I don't think a little bow to their old boss's son was out of order.  If you are an honest person - inside yourself as well as in the external world - you have to sometimes just bow to the wisdom and the quiet, gentle power of historical reality and basic truth.)   America, for all its crazy faults, has this awesome ability to self-correct, without having riots and tanks and military boys in the streets killing their own people (like almost every other nation has done).  One simply must give honest credit to the genius of the USA Founders, even if the curious wild doings of their political machinery makes a sane man cringe with surprise, shock and disbelief.  Blush

I bought a bunch of new parts for the TEA laser prototype, including 25 1-watt, 1-megaohm resistors, to make a current-limiting resistor array (5 x 5 matrix => a single 1-megaohm, 25 watt resistor.  So, I=E/R => 20,000 VDC/1meg = 0.02 => 20 milliamps.  My fridge-sized DC high voltage power supply can supply 50 ma., so I should be able to run this circuit with a spark gap (a short circuit) and not pin the current meter (and destroy both the power supply, and the capacitor dielectric). [We are up 357.59 on the DJIA, as I key this.  What a curious world.]

[Jan. 17, 2019] - I've tried several variants of the TEA laser design, but still no laser action.  I can create an absolutely blistering array of sparks on various electrode rail designs, but no beam-spots on the paper yet.  The tolerances are *much* higher than I realized.  The capacitor needs to discharge in a few nano-seconds.  The inter-electrode gap needs to be roughly (ha ha) 1.4 to 1.5 mm.  (I need a micrometer...), and the current needs to be controlled better.  (I am blasting holes thru the capacitor dielectric, having now gone to a thin, 4mil acetate sheet (a large piece of desktop plastic, sourced from Staples Office Supplies) to address the capacitor self-inductance problem.  Steiner's trick is to use an array of 1/2 watt resistors in a series/parallel config to get a 12.5 watt, 1 megaohm resistor, to limit current.  I have a Molectron DC power supply, that can supply a truly frightening amount of voltage and current.  It is seriously dangerous to work with, and has these interlocks, so both hands have to be touching the control panel, for the HV to be engaged.  Plus, I rewired it to reverse the polarity, so the hot lead is negative, not positive HV.  This makes it a truly lethal device - the hot side is *negative*, which means it flings out a surfit of electrons, looking to find a ground.  If you just lay the hot wire on a linoleum floor, you can get this interesting phenomenon where a big fat sloppy array of sparks spreads out across the floor, almost as if you spilled a pail of water on the floor.  Even after the supply is shut down, the room is full of static electricity, and you can walk around touching things an get little static-electric sparks.

I am working on this laser project, because it is critical that I do not trade any market action until a certain future date.  I can watch - but not touch. ("A man has to know his limitations...").   This laser project is non-trivial, it turns out.  Getting the beam to generate is much more difficult than I expected.  So far, I have just been creating a great light-show, making a lot of ozone (O3), and burning holes in plastic sheets.   The main problem seems to be the current.  I needed the high-current for the fusion reactor (hence the refrigerator-sized HV DC power supply), but the laser application seems to want a much lower current configuration, which operates in glow-discharge mode (the spark-gap fires before there is arcing on the electrode rails).  The state pumping of the N2 molecule happens *before* the arcing occurs.  One approach is to put the whole thing inside a tube filled with only nitrogen (arcing is reduced), and one fellow has documented how he did this.  (The tube needs to be semi-sealed, N2 gas supplied (welder's gas will do), with very thin glass to allow the beam to exit at the end.)   But that is in the future.   I will source & build the 1-megohm 12.5 watt resistor today, and see if I can at least replicate published results.  (Understand this: Science *requires* replication of published results.  This isn't just hacking.  Replication of results is one of the most key things that makes science real, in a world where most information is typically lies, opinion, and supporting narratives for fraud.)

I notice that Royal Bank in Canada has *lowered* their 5-year fixed mortgate rates.  This is what my analysis suggested.  Japan still has negative rates, and Germany and Japan are showed negative 2018 Q3 GDP growth.  We are in for a long period of very low rates, and not much inflation.  What we will get, is scarcity-push price delta's, ie. old fashioned shortages causing price increases.  China is being economically attacked by an dysfunctional US political administration, but that administration is being run by Israel, not Russia.  It is truly amazing how broken and twisted US politics has become.  Israel literally has America by the short-hairs, an astounding and bizarre situation.  Rule of law is being replaced by arbitrary arrest of foreign nationals, and the silly Yankees have dragged us into the same foolish game, and induced our unwise Gov't people to seriously damage our relationship with China, and endanger Canadian's living and working there.

It would be best now for America, if it's Gov't just got out of the way.  Canada is facing the same problems - our gov't is a problem now, not a solution.  It would be best for everyone, if we could just shut down our government for a while, also.   Government is mostly just a giant machine for harvesting taxes, limiting wealth creation, and doing economic and social damage.  It does the best it can, when it just goes away.  So the US political model, is again showing it's surprising strength and resilience - it manages to find the right path, like a heuristic algorithm, or perhaps like Adam Smith's "invisible hand".   And the markets are understanding this simple truth, and showing strength and resilience also.

[Jan. 16, 2019] - The first article on a DIY TEA laser appeared in Scientific American, back in 1974.  I was very young, but I recall reading it.  (Always read anything I found interesting...).  The modern canonical article for DIY TEA laser building, is the 2007 webpage from Nyle Steiner.  He provides detailed plans and images, and shows the quality of the beam that can be expected.  There is a good thesis article from 1971, by V. E. Merchant, from Simon Fraser University (an MA thesis in Physics, which has some helpful math and diagrams).   The TEA laser is an astonishing thing, as it uses just the nitrogen and carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere as the lasing medium. 

Background on Laser "Magic"

With a TEA laser, there is no need for a cylindrical crystal of "ruby", or a vaccum-pump, or a silicon fab (for diode lasers).   I toured the University of Waterloo's Laser Lab when I was in grade school, and the professor showed me a synthetic ruby laser rod about the size of a ball-point pen.  It was expensive.  I also saw, with my own eyes, a 3-d hologram, of a toy Mercer race car.  It was truly astonishing - you could see the underside, or stand up, and look down on the top.  The true 3-d image (lit by a blue-green argon laser) appeared to float in space three inches behind the illuminated photographic plate.  It showed me that science could create actual magic.

The image on a hologram plate is created by encoding variations on a photo-plate using light interference patterns, created by splitting a laser beam, and illuminating the image from different angles.  When you first looked at the laser-illuminated photo-plate, you did not see anything, as you eyes would focus on the surface of the plate.  You had to focus your eyes several inches behind the plate, and then this ghostly image of the little car, would pop into view, as your own brain's neuron-network re-processed the same encoding that your own optical equipment was sending. 

For a young child, this was a powerful and dramatic learning experience.  At first, I saw nothing on the plate in the darkend room - but as I relaxed and extended my visual focus, the image materialized immediately 3 or 4 inches *behind* the plate, and I saw it with amazing detail - and in true 3-d, not fake 3-d. (You could crouch down, and look the details of the *underside* of the little car.).  I realized lasers could create magic.  (And this was before CD's, DVD's or SDI beam-weapons were invented!).

The TEA laser uses a single rapid high-current discharge along the beam-line electrodes to pump the N2 and CO2 molecules up into high-energy states, and as they collapse to ground state, they emit photons, which are coherent in a narrow spectrum band centred at 337 nanometers wavelength (almost all the laser action seems to come from the N2 molecules).  The beam is UV (ultra-violet), so you cannot see it, but it will phosphores blue on a piece of while paper, and be even more bright, if you put highligher ink on the paper.  The fact that you can just "lase air", has always surprised me.  If you use CO2 gas (which is easily available), you can put the whole assembly inside a glass tube, and get even more power - up into the megawatt range, apparently, if you pulse the beamline electrodes correctly (and rapidly).  Who doesn't want to have a megawatt laser to play with? 

Note: Make sure to take basic precautions when working with this stuff, if you experiment.  Wear glasses to block the UV radiation (it will burn your skin, like bright sunlight does), and if using a spark-gap to trigger the discharge, wear hearing protection, as it is awful loud - and the rise-time is *really* short.  Human ears do not accommodate rapid-rise-time noise.  They just get damaged, and badly.  So wear the same David Clark-style "headphones" you wear at the shooting range, if running a spark-gap triggered device (ie. a tesla coil, or this capacitor-discharge triggered device).  If using high voltage, remember it can kill easily, if there are just a few mA of current.  Use all the lab safety protocols every single time you engage the power.  And never reach with two hands to adjust anything on a live circuit.  Even a small discharge up one arm and down the other, can stop your heart like a cheap watch is stopped by a hammer!

My initial attempt does not show significant laser action, as the dielectric of the capacitor is too thick ( I used a big piece of opaque plastic for a window, from Home Depot).  I need a thin mylar sheet, to reduce the inductance of the capacitor, and the inter-electrode gap needs to be small - typically 1.4 to 1.5 mm.  The trick seems to be to get the spark-gap to fire before you get the blistering array of sparks between the beamline electrodes.  It seems to be the corona glow-discharge that triggers the laser action - you want to vibrate the N2 molecules up into a higher energy state, and then let them collapse back down to ground-state and release photon's of the same wavelength - ie. 337.1 nanometers.  That then gives you the coherent beamline of light - which you do *not* get from the UV splatter that occurs when a plasma-discharge spark occurs between the electrodes.

Nyle Steiner's Oct. 2007 article on how he built a desktop TEA laser:

V. E. Merchant's 1971 thesis, on early N2 and CO2 TEA laser design, operation, & measurement:


[Jan. 15, 2019] - Picture at the right is version 0.1 of my TEA Laser, which is running on high voltage A/C (which according to some researchers, should work => 120 pulses/sec.).  I am getting a sloppy, poorly focused beam, but there is evidence of lasing action taking place. Stainless plates I am using are not perfectly straight, and this is a problem.  Also, capacitor diaelectric is out-of-spec thick, and I have to modify the inductance on the plate-connecting coils.  A second spark gap between the two coils seems to improving things.  A piece of paper with u/v sensitive ink (from a highlighter) illuminates in the centre, but the beam is just a smudge.  New metal today.  Also, I have a high-voltage D/C supply, which I want to try. For laser-makers who want more detail, here is the 2015 Hussain & Imran July 2015 article providing information and specifications:  (Note: You can download the .pdf, as they made it accessable. Nice work guys.  Thanx.)

[Jan. 10, 2019] - Jeffrey Vinik, a hedge fund manager who has been in the business for a good long time, and knows a thing or two (and also averaged a 17% rate of return on his fund, from 1996 to 2013, when he closed it) has indicated he is positive on stocks, and suggests we are in the middle of a bull market, not at the end of one.  He is also advocating a return to an old-fashioned stock-picking approach, based on fundamental analysis combined with standard hedge fund long/short positioning.  Curious, as my work with AI stuff has led me to pretty much the same conclusion. 

The AI stuff works ok, until it does not work.  Very little works over the long haul.  Strategies come in and out of fashion, and the current AI-driven algorithmic auto-trading stuff that has worked well for a while, may get gamed (and if fact, it looks like it has been already, given the way a lot of pros got whacked in 2018).  My research (and others, as well), suggests that most of the stuff that works now for the algo traders is really just front-running - ie. trading in front of client positions.  That is illegal, but difficult to prove, and it can always make money.   It is obvious that folks far from the centre of the action, and without a Bloomberg or Reuters terminal for accurate real-time quotes, are going to just loose in any intra-day trading game.   The platform I use is awful now, and has several seconds of latency, which means I may as well be on the dark side of the moon.  I am not complaining, this is just a simple fact.   It is impossible to get price improvement or even at-the-market type prices anymore, since I am routed thru a "cloud" product, run by what is basically a major computer service-bureau (it's initials are: I. B. M.  Ever heard of this outfit? Sick ) .  The more it changes - the more it stays the same, I have learned.  (I'm sorry, but I just laugh out loud now, at the stuff being sold to the kids, or written up in Wired.  Should we get a Mercer? or a Stutz..?  Hmmm...  the colour and shape of our phones and TV's may change, but the humans using them have not changed at all since ancient times..)

So I think Vinik is right.  The only thing that has worked over the time-frame of "decades", is the approach Mr. Vinik suggests.  Most of the academic studies on the markets are worthless, because of the way the datasets are selected.  Survivorship bias explains virtually all they find.  Most investments tank, most stocks go to zero, and most people lie - and all political types lie with great style and profound skill - the Leftists even more than the Rightists.  Truth is a diamond, buried in the City of Dung, where most folks find they have to live.  I love Vinik's comments on weed stocks.   He is probably right on those too. All it will take is change in law, and they will all go up in smoke, right?  {#smileys123.tonqueout}

[Jan. 9, 2019] - The WSJ carries a good summary called "Ghosn in Wonderland", which details the disgusting political assault against the former Chairman of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn.  The Japanese Government, and a group of Nissan insiders, have decided to use what appear to be abusive, illegal methods to try and force Ghosn into confessing that he committed some sort of criminal act, for which there is no evidence that he did.  His pay was pretty skinny by CEO standards, and there is evidence that the Japanese Government is behind this astonishing action which has seen Ghosn arrested and held in jail, without access to legal process.  The whole thing looks like a yakuza exercise (the yakuza are Japanese gangsters and political operatives).  The Nissan "CEO", Hiroto Saikawa, refuses to speak about what is happening, and looks to be a nasty little piece of work - an active member in the inside group that have organized this corporate 'hit'.  There is evidence that Ghosn was planning to replace Saikawa, and that this attack on Ghosn was co-ordinated by a small group of insiders who deeply resented Ghosn, and the success he had achieved.

If you find this bogus process disgusting and unacceptable, then vote with your actions, and avoid any Nissan product.  Don't buy their cars, and urge others to walk away from this company and it's products.  Honda and Toyota make similar vehicles, if you must buy Japanese.  But look at Ford and VW products also.  Don't reward gangsters and gangster actions.  The Japanese "prosecutors" are attempting to extract a "confession" using methods that would be illegal in the UK, USA or Canada.  Apparently, this looks like an Asian thing, with both China and Japan now using this abusive strategy to drive political process.  

Check out Ford vehicles.  We run a Ford F-150, and it is just crazy well-made, and is more reliable than the Murano.  The world can live without Nissan.

There is evidence that the Japanese Government wants to break up the Renault-Nissan alliance, and it looks like Ghosn would have made this difficult.  By removing him, a political objective can be achieved.   But by using arrest and interrogation in what should have been a boardroom decision, Japan looks worse than China. 

This can only benefit American and European auto makers.  We own a Murano, and it is a good vehicle - and I was attracted to Nissan after watching interviews with Ghosn.  But the Japanese Government has a long tradition of "force managing" Japanese auto companies - often badly.  The modern Nissan was formed as the result of being purchased by Prince, back in the 1960's.  The "merger" was mandated by the Japanese Government at the time.  Without Ghosn, Nissan is basically being run by a committee of gangsters.  Why get involved with that?   If you want a Murano-style vehicle, take look at the Volkswagon product.  The only bad thing Volkswagon ever did, was up-tune their cars, so the engines ran better.

One might also want to avoid travel to Japan - at least until they have a change of Government.  And given the *silence* from Macron, Renault and the French Government on the illegal, abusive treatment of their Chairman by the Japanese LDP Government, one might also want to avoid any French automotive product (but hey, that is already the case, yes?  Who outside of France, would buy a French-made car?  If you want European, you buy Italian or German, no?). 

One fact is made clear here:  Our legal procedures - though sometimes also seriously flawed as well - are better than "legal process" in Japan or China.  And that simple fact makes our markets and our investment opportunities better, also.   The Asians just do not quite understand English prepositions, it seems.  They need to learn the difference between "rule by law" and "rule *of* law".   Because we insist on "rule of law", we live better, have and can make more money, and enjoy a higher-standard of safety & security in our lives and our workplaces.    Our expectation now, is that Nissan is probably finished as an independent company, if Saikawa remains in charge.   And Japan just looks really bad for allowing this.  Almost as bad as Canada looks, for arresting Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei.  Canada certainly needs a change of Government.  Perhaps Japan does also.

But the TSX was up 199.58 points today (1.37%) versus a 0.39% gain for the DJIA.  Oil is trading at 52 and change USD/bbl for WTI, so some sanity is returning to the markets. Oil is almost certain to move back into the $70/bbl range over the next year or two.  But it may swing back thru 40, just to take out all the longs first.  I am seeing this pattern a lot, now. Danger, Will Robinson!  But if you can run lean during the plasma-storms, and traffic in quality only, you can not only survive, you can even live long and prosper!  Big Grin

Oh, for the rad-hackers who might be following my blatherspew, check out the recent "Nature" article by Ms. Jennifer Shusterman, Hunter College, City University of New York, on Zirconium-88, a kinky isotope of element "Zr".  Zr-88 decays by electron-capture, which is kind of curious already - but it's apparent affinity for neutrons is about 85,000 times what was predicted (presumably by standard model and traditional cross-sections) in Ms. Shusterman's experiments.  ("Wow!  That cross-section is a big as a barn!")...  Wink  Physics is serious phun, no question.  We might be able to use this Zr-88 stuff to address the neutron ablation problem in higher-output reactors.  I have this silly hack-project which involves building a nitrogen TEA laser, as I just can't leave the physics-phiddling alone.  (I mean, who doesn't want a cheap laser that operates in the megawatt range, eh?  In your dreams?  Maybe...)  Problem with Zr-88, is it is a rad-active isotope, which means rad-protocols and other gov-shyte, which I am not prepared to deal with.  But good luck to Ms. Shusterman.  She found something interesting.  (As an outsider, I can't even *view* Nature Online, so all I have read is the abstract.  But there might be something there, maybe. )

[Jan. 7, 2019] - It was a dark and stormy night. (I am quoting Snoopy, who himself was not original..).  Just awful weather, freezing rain, heavy overcast, pressure dropping like a stone in water.  But hey, could be worse.  We have air, water, and a direct connection to a huge fission reactor over on Lake Huron, which gives us all the watts we can use.  GE has traded up to 8.75 or abouts.  Awsome.  I was supposed to take a position once it fell below 7, but I did not do it.  (My software is better than my wetware, sadly.)  "But we will get by, we will survive..."  (Grateful Dead.)   Funny, technology is magical now, but human conflict is certain to ramp up, I worry.   "I see a world that's tired and scared, from living on the edge too long..." (Blue Rodeo). 

I've been trying to determine the source of the profound unease I see in the world, and I think it relates to having almost perfect knowledge (or at least access to it, via the net), combined with a profound sense of complete powerlessness.   You can only watch the cars crash so many times, and the children get killed, and be completely unable to do anything about it, before you have to either *fully* switch off, or just start screaming in frustration.  

It is a psychological limit-case scenario, like in physics or math, where you encounter the edge-condition or limit.  For folks not familiar with limits:  It's like the way Jacob Bernoulli discovered "e" (the base of the natural logarithms), by taking "n" to the limit in continous compounding for determining compound interest (the formula is y = (1 + 1/n)**n.)   If you assume 100% interest, and dial "n" up from 1 (annual) to 2 (bi-annual) to 4 (quarterly) to 12 (monthly)  to 365 (daily interest) to 8760 (hourly compounding) to 525600 (compounding each minute), etc, the resulting value of y converges on "e". 

Play with it, using APL or Basic or something simple.  You start with 1$ at 100%, which is y=2.  If you compound after 6 months (twice), then (1+1/2)**2 = 1.5x1.5=2.25.  (Compounding more often, gets you more money. That's why the math of "interest" was interesting.)   If you compound each quarter (4 times a year), with 100% interest, then 1.25x1.25x1.25x1.25 = 2.44140625.  Monthly compounding: (1 + 1/12)**12 = 2.61303529.  Dial "n" up to 365 (=> daily interest), and you start getting close to continous compounding: (1 + 1/365)**365 = 2.714567482.)  The "e" value is where "n" goes to its absolute limit, which is infinity. It is roughly: 2.7182818, and is sometimes called the Euler number, after that famous mathematician.  Turns out to be pretty useful.

Our brains have limits.  We "hit the limit", once psychological stimulation reaches a certain level. What happens with living systems, is that the behaviour changes.  This trivial analysis suggest that perhaps we may have exhausted the benefits of mass internet access, and that "switching off" or "decoupling" might confer benefits to "users".  (Note how we use the terminology of drug-addiction to characterize customers of modern comm-systems).  

If there is  benefit to be gained by disconnecting from internet access (social media, broadcast media, youtube with it's intrusive adverts, news shows, talks shows, etc.), than we may be approaching a Gladwellian "tipping point" where all-the-time online access may be seen as unhealthy, and people may pay for being able to be *not* online.  We might actually want to create "avatars" that can interact with the world *without* us having to be present.  The AI's become active servants that are able to act as our "social interface agents" so that we do not have to deal with annoying, stress-creating human agents.

And we specifically may not want at all, much the IoT technology. Looking at some of the CES offerings, and one gets the sense that we might even want to pay to have our houses "swept" for IoT technology that is monitoring our actions, much like foreign diplomatic compounds are routinely swept for audio bugs and cameras.  We don't want to American-bag and Khashoggi-kill the salesmen that come to visit, but we might pay to have an active intrusion-detection AI-based gate-keeper service that keeps them from even putting a foot on the property.  (Like those signs in the USA: "Security by Smith & Wesson").  I envision a series of active AI's that could provide security services and offer active protection against the hostile, toxic intrusions and APT (advance persistant threat) technology that much of the internet seems to enable now.

The world has never been a very nice place, and it now appears the beneficial, altruistic age of the internet is over.  The bad people who are genius/experts in the effective exploitation of human weakness and related psychological flaws evident in living systems, seem to now have the upper hand.  Every website wants to drop payloads.

The whole open-source approach seems to have been degraded now.  It's like rotting meat - you keep finding worms.  There seems to be a worm in everything now.  Almost nothing is pure, or honest about what it is actually providing.  Huawei is criticized for it's router beaconing, but *everything* seems to be "calling home".  Every piece of software seems to be full of little white wiggling processes that telegraph back to head office, what the user is doing.  This is not what folks want, and it is why I am skeptical of new code and new devices.

We may soon hit a "limit", I suspect, where folks recognize that they are being "managed", and that most of the "benefit vectors" flow only one way now.  If there is greater value to be gained by "decoupling" from modern communications technology than by being an active participant, this will change things, as economics remains real.  Technology that assists and enhances true privacy, may become more valuable than the Apple iPhone approach that so delights the children now.   I seriously suspect that business and political people will soon be paying *premium* prices for cell-phone technology that has *reduced* functionality, and enhanced privacy, for example.  Didn't we almost have this?   What you may want is a cellphone that has just-enough technology to make and receive calls - but no other features that can be hacked, or used to track, exploit, monitor or entrap you.   It also means that "IoT" technology may be an unattractive investment, as it may be seen as dangerously intrusive.

If the internet is eventually viewed a nasty, intrusive, dishonest and dangerous place, then you may want to reduce it's access, limit it's reach, and pay money to prevent it being used to monitor your actions, degrade your security, and threaten your safety.   The future of technology is maybe not so bright anymore, since it seems to carry more risk than benefit.  The bad guys might be winning this one.  But perhaps there are some actions "Little Brother" can take.  And there looks to be an opening for a new class of products with a different focus, which offer real, tangible benefit to users. 

[Jan. 4, 2019] - Must refactor this blog, it grows too long, yes?  Manic market action, DJIA up 607 points as I sip the morning coffee.   Oh my, what a world, where the weather mirrors the markets, or is it the other way around?  Money is being made today, and as the Festival of Saturn is now past, the sun is returning to the northern lands.  Makes an old Roman happy to see it and feel it's warmth.   Each day grows longer now, the darkness and cold retreating ever so slowly.  We remain all-in and long, as our theory and our observations both suggest rising real rates plus rising rate of return on capital should occur together.  It has been a rough ride with old Santa Claus (the Satan clause?), and we are up another 50 point on the DJIA in the time it has taken me to key this.  Perhaps this is the turn?

A Little Note on Growth

The December jobs number in the US just blew the doors off. Expectation was for 184,000 jobs added, but the actual comes in at 312,000.  That is a good number.  The unemployment rate ticks up to 3.9%, but in the old days, that was considered the "full-employment" number.  Combine this with Powell's comments in Atlanta about the Fed being sensitive to financial market conditions (keyword is: liquidity), and we have a requirement for a recovery in discounted prices.  As long as the Fed does not "unwind their balance sheet" (ie. dump financial assets and drain liquidity from the monetary system), then worried folks can breathe more easy.  If you look at a chart of daily changes in the SP500 index, since Oct. 2018 to now, these daily 2% swings make the chart look like a heart patient going into fibrilation, compaired to the Apr. to Sept. period of calm.  Think: An old stationwagon, at high-speed, fishtailing out of control on the interstate.  A feedback-controlled critically-damped process will oscillate out of control, and break the machine.  And large, in-period delta's (> 30%), will take any feed-forward process into the zone of chaos, where in-period changes can become very, very large.  It's baked right into the math, it is not necessary to have bad guys or terrorists do anything evil.

In the "Time of the Engineers", (the 1960's), most folks understood this, and economists focused on "stabilization" as the primary role of government economic strategy.  But as the world has become overcrowded, and we became hooked on economic growth, and as economics became concerned with numerous social-welfare issues, the benefits of stability have been forgotten.  The world *requires* a high level of economic growth, to prevent mass starvation and conflict.  Technical change has allowed us to reach these growth goals, and this is good.  But we are dancing with demons now.  High-growth in a limited, confined space, will end badly.

Elon Musk is right.  If we are going to have high levels of growth, then we had better move our efforts beyond this model where everyone is living in a single mud-puddle.  Two immediate requirements present themselves:

1) We need to commit a percentage of global resources to Mars colonization, and recognize that it will be extremely dangerous, and many people may die.  It will be crazy-difficult, and costly.  But it must happen.  We *must* turn our focus outward.  Our world is becoming an unstable mono-culture, and our planet faces an economic and ecological "gambler's ruin" scenario, if we try to drive high-levels of growth, without some sort of outward-looking, external focus.  Population will increase geometrically, and economic growth which supports and sustains population will encounter limits.  If the growth curve of sustainable population drops below the biological-actual population curve, a big dieback must occur.  Malthus will not be cheated.  If the dieback provokes massive violent conflict, and all weapons are deployed, results may threaten the operational integrity of the planetary ecosystem.   The world may be entirely poisoned. 

The human species will benefit from trans-planetary diversity, as well as from the economic benefits of constructing an entire artificial ecosystem on another planet.  Interestingly, China has already demonstrated that it is possible to use a commerical economic model, to transform a significant portion of the real-estate of this planet from a subsistance farming economy, to a modern commerical economy in less than 40 years.  China has been building cities the size of Toronto, at the rate of 15 to 20, every year for the last 15 years.  This level of economic transformation shows what is possible, with focused effort, reasonable management, and rational action.  The profoundly difficult and complex technology required for Martian colonization, will generate a high-level of innovation and scientific development, which will be directly beneficial for everyone here, much as the US space program was helpful in jumpstarting the development of 4-bit and 8-bit microprocessor technology in California in the 1960's.

2) There is no economic rational for connecting high-speed trading robots to the market feeds.   We are already now running into "Dr. Strangelove"-style control problems, where rapid, nano-second automatic trading (and often, also front-running) is acting to destabilize the markets.  Why is this allowed?  Will we really accept "pilotless" passenger aircraft?   Why should we accept "pilotless" trading & investment?  I like, accept, and use AI technology - but I do not completely bet my life on it, as it is sometimes *radically* wrong.   We should think about restricting the deployment of AI technology, where it can damage or hurt a great many, in order to benefit only a very few.  We might start by preventing the connection of automatic trading robots to the electronic trade/settlement systems.  All we need to do is require a human "pilot" be in the trader's chair, and that the trades be keyed manually - using human "meat sticks" (fingers!), rather than algorithmic actions initiated purely by computer link.  This would put all market players on a level playing field, which is so very much not the case now.

We need to develop and use technology, but use it wisely and fairly, and not blindly.  And we must look outward, and not focus all our efforts on inward-directed transformations.   As a species, we risk a kind of "hikikomori", in which human bigotry and prejudgements overwhelm the dialog of public space, and violent conflict becomes the newest normal, if we refuse to leave the confines of our wet planet.  Already, supersition and it's evil twin, religion & religious-cruelty, are infecting many people on this world.  We need to look outward, and challenge more aggressively, the vaccuum of space - rather than the flaws in each other.   And the motivation for this is not altruism, but basic species survival. 

[Jan. 3, 2019] - Must get used to writing: 2019.  Ridiculous number, no?  Couple of months back, I met an old high-school friend who lost all his money, and is living in the basement of a relative's house.  Another is in an old-folks home, while yet another appears to have become a hikikomori (translated sometimes as a person choosing "acute social withdrawal"). 

We should not worry about trading results, if they do not kill us.  If you have a rational/sensible portfolio, and it is throwing off a dividend-stream that allows comfortable survival, then one can probably absorb a 20 to 25% drop from here, and still all be ok.  I see another market sneezing fit in the DJIA that takes us down 435 points before I have even made my morning coffee.  Oh my.   When your portfolio can give up 2 or 3 percent (the typical annual rate on long government bonds), during the time you take to walk your dogs in the morning, then we are having a little volatility issue, aren't we? 

Portfolio Insurance, anyone?   Where are Michael Milken & Ivan Boesky when we need them?  We need more humans in this market.  Why can't the US regulators see that the markets *need* speculators who can add their liquidity to *manage* prices?   This "robot" market is not good, and is starting to look like a critically-damped feedback machine.  (Not a good thing. Imagine an old station-wagon fish-tailing on a high-speed highway)  And there is nothing more idiotic in the history of the world, than to suggest that there exists a crime of "market manipulation". You can only buy and sell.  And you can only do illegal and immoral things, by corrupting the information flow. 

And what has the Federal Reserve been doing for 10 years, if not *aggressive* market manipulation?   So many (including *me too*), warned against the QE the way it was being done - enriching a small few by the bond-buying that drove interest rates below zero.  The unwinding of the central bank balance sheets (esp. the Fed's), carries the risk of plunging us into a 1930's-style downturn, if most people have their wealth tied up in the stock-market, and the stock-market comes off 20 to 25%.  And if those stock investors are margined, then a *multiplier* comes into effect, which can make the wealth-evaporation rate much worse.   Factor in also an uptick in loan-costs for mortgages, student-loans, and consumer debt, and you have an ugly cocktail of costs that may car-crash economic growth.

We here at GEMESYS, deep in the hinterland, are structured to use almost no margin, so a 25% downturn will not kill us.  And I suspect most major investments structures in Canada (and the Canadian banks, with certainty), are setup to be able to absorb a 25% across-the-board negative phase-jump in equity prices. (DJIA now down 573 as I write this. So the price drop is continuing into 2019).   The bank's risk management processes are designed (required by law actually) to be able to absorb 20 to 25% losses, and not impair capital.   But that Yen/Aussi-dollar mini "flash-crash" lastnite, which took the Yen to 78 yen to the Cdn dollar), was a little warning that a dangerous game is a-foot, as Mr. Holmes would have said.  

We are in for some interesting times, I fear.  DJIA now down 635.  This market reminds me of that old Bob Dylan song "... everybody must get stoned!", and I fear investors are going to get stoned by this market for a while.  We are now down almost 3% before 11:00 am, so yeah, like another old Dylan song:  The times, they are a changin'...  from QE to QT, it would appear.  No wonder Mr. Trump is bad-tempered & seeing red, lately.   He is being setup to be Herbert Hoover'ed.       [Remember, the old guru's secret to a long life: "Don't Die!"  In the world of investment, that turns out to be wise advice, that is not as glib as it first sounds!].  My wish for everyone for 2019.  Survive, eh?  Try to avoid ruin.

[Jan. 1, 2019] - Listening to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.  Really quite fun. It's the 1989 Berlin Symphony excerpts, a Delta Music  CD with Peter Wohlert conducting, a seasonal classic. The 12 minute "Divertessement" is cute, with: Chocolate / Coffee / Tea / Trepak / the Dance of the Toy Flutes, and finally, the Clown.  A musical metaphor for our time, really. Quite lovely, as it segways into the gorgeous "Waltz of the Flowers", and then the awesome "Pas de deux" - the "Dance for Two", possibly one of the most sadly beautiful pieces of music ever written.   What must it have been like, to be in St. Petersburg and see this ballet first performed?   Breathtaking, no?

Try to imagine the world of Europe in say, 1906?  There was this wonderful stability and security and peace.  A businessman or an artist could travel from Moscow to London by train, and pass comfortably and in safety thru all the nations of Europe. The British pound was the global reserve currency, and one could transact securely on the bourse's of the world, perhaps using Baring's Bank or Lloyds or any of the big German or even Russian banks.  Barings was founded in 1762, and survived until 1995, when it collapsed as a result of Nick Lesson's rogue trading.  (I love that term "rogue trader". As if one "lone gunman" can take down the world.  Complete nonsense, of course.  Barings failed because it became stupid, like every org that fails.  Stupidity kills, and it kills quickly, which is sad.)  

Look at the failure of Europe - not once, but twice in the 20th century?  It would have seemed quite beyond belief, to a citizen of Europe of 1906.  And it was in 1906, that Einstein wrote his first paper  (as a Swiss patent clerk!) on the Photo-Electric effect.  That paper was only published, because Max Planck said it needed to be.  The world was mostly safe, stable, happy and prosperous in 1906.  And look at that same world, just 10 years later?   A great victory for ignorance and stupidity, was it not?  We have to learn from this stuff, folks.

Of course, I had to play Cowboy Junkies excellent 1996 disk "Lay it Down" (Geffen Records) as it has "Common Disaster" as track two... "Won't you share, our common disaster?...", followed by the disturbingly brilliant "Lay it Down", track 3, a most haunting song of transition and change.  I got to meet Margo Timmins a few months back, after the Cowboy Junkies did their show at the River Run Centre in Guelph.  She has white hair now, but her voice is still hauntingly beautiful, and the show was magically wonderful.  Micheal Timmins writes the songs, and plays guitar, but he is a shy genius.   Their music is just about perfect, and it was the high point of my year to meet and chat with Margo.  Folks drove in from Michigan and Montreal, to see the almost sold-out show.  But there were so many folks with grey hair...

So, Happy New Year - which will be the Year of the Pig (well, "Boar" actually...).  I am reminded of "Niederhoffer's Assertion" supposedly said when he was running positions for George Soros: "It takes courage to be a pig."  And I believe it does.  But there are times in your life, where you just have to go "all in", aren't there?  Half-measures and caution must be abandoned, and vigourous, complete committment is the only approach that will do the job.  But those kind of actions can get you terminated - American-bagged, and carried out in pieces in suitcases, like Jamal Khashoggi was.   I sense we will see some very big changes in 2019.  Stability really is pure illusion, like a magician's trick.

I wish everyone "bonne chance", as we vector into this brave (grave?) new world.  But it is like track 7, on "Lay it Down" - I keep getting that "lonely, sinking feeling", as I look to the future.   Perhaps I am wrong.  (It has happened a few times...)  :)

That disk, "Lay it Down", might be the best music to come out of Canada in the 20th century.  I *never* grow tired of listening to it, which is the true test of any art.

[Dec. 31, 2018] - This last year will be remembered in history, as the year all the *politicians* simply failed.  They all get an F.  Nothing of substance, significance or value was accomplished by any political entity anywhere, it seems.  The failure of the European Union to be anything more than another way for political opportunists to invent new taxes, is particularly tragic. Poor Ms. May should just step back, and be greatful that she can engineer with ease, the "hard Brexit", as that appears to be the right course of action.  Putin of course, looks again like a wise statesman (the man is a real genius - but also a captive of history, like every Russian leader), but he has played a weak hand very well.

The purchase of Redhat Inc., by IBM is also genius - but for the Redhat shareholders.  The code-base of the Redhat Linux O/S has become a bloated horror-show (or what one analyst/reviewer calls: "The Tar-pit of Redhat Complexity".)  I have these 32-bit boxes that run flawlessly - for months on end, with older Linux versions, and even a CentOS 6.6 box, with a Firefox 60.2 on it, but my CentOS 7.4 boxes, despite (or because of?) upgrades to latest kernel versions, will hang regularly like old Windows Vista machines.  When I try to report the bug via ABRT, Yum or DNF or whatever piece of code is running, builds the report, and then hangs, trying to download something from a repository, but it will not tell me what it is looking for, so I can't fix it! 

Redhat Linux has reached the "bloat/fail" singularity, and basically sailed over the event-horizon.  All this crapware (Dracut, Plymouth, etc, etc. - named after towns and cities in Massachewzits - just bloats out the whole thing further) so it becomes progressively more difficult to diagnose basic application and O/S utility failures).  They are trying to make it look like Android and IOs (telephone crapware), with installable "apps", which is just awful.  Could someone tell Linus before we all die, just how awful this bloat has become?  A basic Redhat "ps ax" goes for 3 or 4 screens, before I even start Firefox or a single application.  It's a barf-pile of bloatware, and basic, critical useful stuff (like the SELinux graphical app to set/unset booleans to address SELinux problems) don't even exist.  All the stuff one needs, has to be found and installed.  The basic GNOME desktop is being made to be like an Android cellphone - dumbed down to the point of being useless, children's crapware.   So, for Redhat, this was a very good time to sell the whole mudbag to "I've Been Managed".  Brilliant bloody decision, and the current $175/shr USD valuation is damned impressive, considering the current state of the product.

Everyone should learn this please, for 2019:  Reliability of operation is everything, and is a billion times more important than features or any form of fancy, clever design. This really has to be understood.  This year has seen a lot of really stupid, terrible/awful stuff - like the "push the nose forward automatically" feature on the Boeing 737-Max (aka "auto-death dive") that killed an aircraft full of people in Indonesia, and the "climate change tax" on gasoline that the French government introduced, that enraged the people of France enough for them to trash their own capital city. 

My message for everyone as 2018 ends:  Lets stop-the-stupid, ok?  Please? Instead of high taxes, lets have low taxes.   Instead of "government", lets have "freedom".  Instead of nations-at-war, lets have companies-doing-business.  Instead of feature-laden, high-priced, junk products, lets have stuff that "just works".  Ok?

[Dec. 30, 2018] - Reading a bunch of financial reviews for the year, and market comments for 2019.  These guys give me their views on "sectors", and "recommended market weightings" - ie. "We are overweight financials and communications, and market weighted on ..." pretty much everything else.  What annoying puffery!   Tell me what specific investments you recommend, and why you make that recommendation.  Or what you would short.  Most financial writing is gunk, and most professionals in finance make their money by either capturing the spread, raising money for people and taking a cut, or getting money from people, investing it, and taking a cut.  That is pretty much all there is.  Everything else is noise.   Damn, what a world of weasels.  I've decided to try to write truth here - even personal stuff - because that is, in the end, the only thing that really matters.  Everyone ends up in the graveyard - or worse, maybe scattered across the landscape or vapourized.  Don't worry about life after death, (that is stupid), just try to live while you remain alive.  And try to live within the envelope of truth.  The nature of work, is to determine truth, and then act on that knowledge.  Both parts are difficult, of course.

Taking stock:  The Xerion model is too short-term (3 days ahead, point prediction).  It works, but not enough to trust with big money.  The intermediate momentum models work better, but can be blindsided by events.  This has been proven in the recent price jumps. 

The market meltdown was caused by a tsunami of awfulness:  Khashoggi's murder (proving the Middle-East is a continuing horror-show that has no chance of any non-military solution) / Macron's idiocy and his French climate tax (and the ugly Gillet Jaune Paris riot response) / Canada's foolish arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou (and China's idiotic response of arresting two Canadians - an ex-diplomat and a businessman - as spies) / Japan's arrest of Nissan CEO and Director (and company saviour) Carlos Ghosn, for a financial reporting issue, when everyone sees it as a yakuza takeover inside Nissan by some nasty little bastards / Trumps China trade-war plans, plus his twitter-storm of other ineffectual threats, proving he has little operational authority / the UK "Brexit" which is being badly screwed up by PM May / German and Japanese Q3 GDP growth numbers that went negative, in what is probably the most financially accomodative interest-rate environment in human history.  In Canada, we can't even build urban trolley lines and subways, much less big stuff like pipe-lines thru mountains.  China is building whole cities of millions of people every year, and we can't even build a simple coastal gas-station.  It's pretty sad.

World investors look at the sad-awful newsflow, and they see this gathering shit-storm of stupidity that is now assaulting business events.  Macron looks like a complete fool, our Trudeau is an ineffectual embarrassment, Trump appears to be skating close to the edge of sanity, and Angela Merkel, the only smart person left in the room, has said "Ok, I'm done."  Investors are worried about the future now, more than ever before.

I can only applaud China and Japan for not starting a war over those stupid Senkaku islands, and ask why Russia (and clever Mr. Putin) do not simply sell those worthless northern islands back to Japan for a monster bag of Yen?   Use the gabazillion Yen to develop the entire Russian far-east, and let your people get *rich*, like is happening in China.  Otherwise, you will wake up one morning, and discover that China has quietly annexed an entire slice of Asian real-estate, and Russia's eastern border, now runs from Inner Mongolia to the Laptev Sea.  Folks living in New China North, could then vote: Join China and become very rich, or stay in Russia, and remain poor?  If China goes whole-hog and copies the American political model as well as it's economic model, China could easily get away with this sort of thing in the future.   The role of the State is to protect (not attack) private property.  People choose the State they want to belong to, based the quality of the legal and protective services it offers.  Terror States just create dead people and poor people and people who leave.  Politicians should recognize this obvious truth. 

[Dec. 29, 2018] - I can't believe 2018 is ending, with so little accomplished.   I feel like Kurt Vonnegut, coming unstuck in time.  My pretty partner asked me tonite if I remembered 40 years ago (she did), and I said yes, see that car in the photo - it was 40 years ago I had that pretty toy!  I would drive at nite at insane speeds - 100 mph was a nice cruising speed on dark, northern no-traffic roads. (Eventually, I had to get something with wings...)

What do kids do now?  When I lived, we still had "wild lands", where there was no one.  I liked those places.  I was flying in a C-172 once, up north, and took some friends up for a flip - and there were no landmarks, no highways, and no GPS.  We went north & played tourist & messed around, and then I had to go back, and find the bloody airport.  Bugger, but there were no bloody landmarks... I had to dead-reckon until I saw the field, and of course, I never mentioned that I was bloody lost up until I saw the airport and the military jets doing their circuits. 

Like the time I flew to the capital, and had to fit into the pattern at Uplands, between commerical jets, my PA-140 basically throttle-firewalled, in the dark, and me without a night endorsement at that time.   The whole airframe was rattling like a pickup truck on a gravel road...  and I was alone, determined to just go land at an airport that I owned like any other taxpayer... I was going to Ottawa to meet a girl I knew, and a weekend of fine times was planned, so the minor issue of "time to spare, go by air" was no problem.  This was before GPS, and you just calculated stuff with a circular slide rule, did your vectors, and flew on in the dark on VOR and cross checked with the compass.  I felt like St. Exupery.

What do people do now?  What do the kids do now?  They play synthetic video games, and they don't know the feeling of playing for real in the big world of dark, true stuff.  If they fuck up, they just re-start the game.  If we fucked up, we pasted ourselves into the frozen forest, and they found the wreckage in the spring.   Or maybe not.  I remember driving the Sea-to-Sky highway to Whistler, back in '79, in a 4-speed Camaro with a 350 V8 - you could let the clutch out in idle, and it would lurch along, (but not stall).  And training flights from Vancouver Intl, with rain so heavy and ceiling so low, that it was madness - but my instructor was a quite mad Australian, (seriously, this guy was crazy for flying) who would literally fly in any weather - as would I also.  He would say "Weather's rough, do you want to fly?", and I would say (since I had saved up $80 for another 1-hour lesson), "Well, yes, if we can!".  

Years later,  I remember taking this girl I got keen on, up in my little PA-161 with it's little tapered wings, and its crappy 2-axis wing-leveler auto-pilot, and we flew up to the bottom limit of block airspace..(10,000 ft) and she was impressed.  Damn but she was lovely - I still remember the crazy feeling - I had built this cottage on an island in a northern lake, and I banked the a/c down thru a scattered layer, to the lake below, dropping a wing like a fighter pilot in a war film, and I realized, this was probably the high-point of my entire life.  I had it all, and I was flying like my childhood dreams, with a pretty girl who I would have that night, and that it would never, ever be better than it was now, at this very moment.   I hope everyone at least once gets to experience that feeling.   It was a long time ago, and of course, nothing ever lasts.   But for me, flying and taking my friends up to experience the amazing high, was pure dream/magic.   I felt like Roy, in Blade Runner... "I've seen things... things you can't imagine..."   But it is all just tears in the rain now - and when I am gone, it will be swept away, and no one will even know anything special happened, unless I write this blather, that only data-harvesting robots are reading...  Like Lucky's speech in Godot...  But sometime in the far future, long after I am not here, someone doing research on this "time of craziness" might read this, and learn from it.  We were here.  We lived...

We were young, crazy, and it great.  Really.  It was bloody wonderful, and we never expected mean, crazy, selfish nutters to blow it all up and ruin things.  I have these films/videos of the early V2 launches, and remember the X-15 flights - the Dyna-Soar, the Gemini missions, Apollo, and the amazing "Valkyrie research aircraft", the XB-70.  (I have all these Youtube videos of the various XB-70 films that were made).. The golden age of aviation was in the early 1960's - the Valkyrie was *not* a bomber, it was a pure-research aircraft, that provided the flight data to build the Space Shuttle. 

In one of the videos, they have this "family day" where all the families with kids are there at the roll-out, and all the 10 year old kids have these brush cuts, and look exactly like I did.  Hilarious.  By 2018, we thought we would have Moon-bases, and some operational settlements on Mars.   

Trump is right to withdraw all US troops.  The solution to that region is probably going to be based on the ability to generate deuterium-based fusion on a large scale, and deploy it directly from orbital platforms.  <more sighs...>

[Dec. 28, 2018] - Year winds down.  The picture above I took back in October, of the Farm.  Looks like paradise some time of the year - not now, however.  Freezing fog, with snow expected tonite. (Scotland weather.. This is why the Scotish invented raw-wool sweaters and Scotch, I suspect...). 

Markets are dealing with the new-normal of QT, a fading-power USA, and the internet of butchered information. Info on the net is wrecked now. It is either: 1) outright misleading disinfo, or 2) obfuscated hype & mis-direction  3) cloaked in absoluted secrecy and unavailable 4) subject to legal restrictions and copyrights & behind costly paywalls  5) blocked by the local "filter bubble" of one's access methodology (you see only what can trigger behaviour your providers want to trigger, such as that reach for the credit card.. 6) degraded both by the political orientation of the sender and the receiver (you get a different picture on Fox or CNN, and one's own biased prejudgement degrades the signal further)  7) Internal technical/neural problems related to the inherent flaws in our own neural matrix - eg. anchoring to the last data point or most recent image and other NLP trickery, which is used effectively by virtually every info-provider everywhere.   So pretty much all information sets harvested from the internet now, are either wrong, bent or dangerously useless.  And this is serious, since markets only work right when there is reasonably accurate dataflow. 

I was supposed to take a big leveraged long position yesterday, but I have been blindsided so many times, that I elected not to pull the trigger.  I feel too much like Jamal Khashoggi must have, with that bag over his head, before MBS's agents killed him.  So I will say it here.  If there was ever a time to "buy the dip", this just might be it.  If my analysis is even half-way correct, then there are some crazy-attractive opportunities on offer.   But I am already fully long.  The risk is a pull-back to the 18,000 level on the DJIA.  That seems a real possibility, given the political situation in the USA.  The other risk is an earthquake scenario in California.  There have been many seismic events in the "Ring of Fire" this year, but none to speak of in North America. 

When volcanos explode in Indonesia, and Japan gets the big-shakes, then the tectonic plates are shifting.  And it can't just be one side that shifts, right?  We are about due for a large shake on the other side of the Pacific.  (As Warren Zevon said: "If California slides into the ocean, like the Mystics and statistics say it will, I predict this motel will be standing, until I pay my bill..."  Also, the great "Panic of 1907" was triggered by the San Francisico earthquake and subsequent fire. )   But if we lost California, it would create some nice, new ocean-front real-estate.   Trump can go back to being a developer, and a new Silicon Valley could be built in Nevada, perhaps.  We would still be ok, and the USA might get it's head out of it's backside for a little while, which would benefit the rest of the planet.

Remember, stability is an illusion  There is no such thing as "stability".  Violent, continous change has always been the norm, in every sphere.  And we can't even know what the real distribution of possible change-triggers looks like.  We must accept "wild randomness", and leave the "tame" randomness for the casino players.  All the risk "models" are not just sure to be wrong - they are dangerously misleading.  Look at the market prices.  Now, run your risk model for the market prices all being "zero", which is where they are, when the markets are not operational.  The generated number is your true "value at risk".   The trick is not to diversify *within* your portfolio, the trick is to diversify *between* portfolios of asset classes (One asset class is a big stash of weapons and ammo. This is actually, not a bad investment, really.  Cheap, useful, and can be marketed, even if financial markets have gone away.  The "preppers" might actually be shrewd investors...)   I have all these friends & associates who can describe in detail, how *everything* in their country broke, failed, went crazy, etc., and the only option was to leave (latest group are the Syrians. Talking to any of them is a real education.)  But I worked and got the stories from folks from: Pakistan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, China, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, East Germany, Cuba - and other war zones - and they all watched *everything* - including the local money itself, collapse into a state of war and chaos, where everyone lost everything they had.  Events such as the Cultural Revolution in China by Mao, the invasion of Poland by the Nazi's, the Communist takeover in Ethiopia in 1974, and the expulsion of the Asians by Idi Amin in Uganda, are particularly awful events, matched closely by the idiocy of the George W. Bush Iraq war, and the rise of ISIS in Syria - recent events that have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

The world is a shit-hole of violence, horror and cruel stupidity, and market participants who understand this, recognize the necessity of the Brexit, the unattractiveness of Greek debt, and the certainty of failure of political experiments in hyper-bureacracy like the Soviet Union and the European Union.  Yes, the EU is a better idea than the USSR, but big, complex, anti-market models - which the EU is turning into - are doomed to eventual failure.  Those "Borgon" type butch females from Denmark that spend their time inventing massive fines for US technology companies, make me want to just weep.  The EU is a cluster-fail with degraded currency now, and it relies entirely on punishing levels of taxation to operate.  Just blow it up, and everyone in Europe could pay less tax to the Statists. This wll happen, eventually.

The world's bright spot at the moment remains China, but their success is under assault by a variety of ugly, external factors.  The Israelis are determined to damage China, as they fear an alliance between Iran and China.  And that alliance is very natural and sensible.  The USA and the Trumpers are assisting this stupid, world-wrecking project, and this may well be their downfall.   The world would be a safer, more sane place, if Israeli militarism could be controlled and extinguished.  Israel could remain - but it would have to be run as an open, non-racist nation under UN control, not by a bunch of nuclear-armed murder-monkeys.  But this fix is still probably 40 or 50 years off.  Maybe 100 years off.  But this mindless stupidity of the current structure at the butt-end of the big Sea, cannot continue much longer.  It blew up Rome, and it will blow up us, I fear. Either the Jews will nuke the Arabs, or the Arabs will all die from a virus, or the Arabs will nuke themselves in Gaza and contaminate the entire region with radioactive dust.  Or maybe someone will weaponize an airborne flu virus, or a small-pox virus or something horrible-awful that will actually allow Gaza to respond more symetrically to the Israeli warplane attacks.  Firing cheapcrap rockets with fins made from traffic signs, is not going to change anything.  Either all of Gaza will be killed, or Gaza citizens will determine some way to respond to being in that giant concentration camp.  The Israeli's are right to be worried about their "status quo", as it simply cannot continue as it is, for too much longer.

As Bertolt Brecht had MacHeath sing in "The Three Penny Opera" - "The world's a shit, and that is all, there is to it."  

Our tasks as humans, is to try to improve on this sorry mess, during the tiny interval we have to live.  But non-executives like Obama waste their time lecturing people (the most stupid thing a person can do), and crumple right at the point were firm, dangerous action is most needed.  Hence, the virtue of having a meglomaniac as the boss.  I've concluded that the boss probably *should* be a meglomaniac.  But one of my contacts suggests that the Saudi's or the Russians have something really nasty on Trump, and that is how they are controlling him.  (I said: Like what?  My contact: Just speculating... maybe a verified video of him being blown by an 8-year old girl?  Or a 10-year old boy?  Something really awful.  Me: Hmmm, that might actually do it, given the bent moral matrix of Americans.  But it could be faked too.  And it would be illegal to show it, so it could not be distributed.  My contact: Yeah, but you could distribute the transcipt, and have witness types testify, etc...  Me: Hmmm... maybe... ).   I don't believe it at all - but then again, every human has human weakness.  Rumor has it that FBI director in the 1930's to the 1960's, J. Edgar Hoover, was a gay-guy, and that he would entrap targets and film gay-sex encounters they had, so as to control them, which is why no one would fire him.  He was USA's Beria, some suggest.  That seems pretty far-fetched also - probably bogus, like most crazy stories are.  But the guy was "untouchable", despite the dangerous, unlawful behaviour of many FBI agents.

The point is - almost no information can be trusted - even when you have three independent, confirming sources.  We have to navigate in this maelstrom of deception, and it grows more complex, ugly and violent every year.  What is to be done?

<Insert commerical here...>   <big sigh...>

A lot of stocks should be selling at close to double what they are at now, but that assumes that the future actually occurs, and that one's DCF models are not going to be nuked.  There are few decent investment opportunities anywhere, and the US markets (and UK and Canada) probably offer better future outcomes than anywhere else.  So, if the political systems can hold together here (that is the real bet that one must make), then any DCF model (discount of a future stream of cash earnings flow), should show a fat current valuation.  If our country survives, and does not destroy it's economy with French-style Leftist-politics, or Chinese-style Cultural-Revolution mass-murder-mayhem, then we will all do just fine, thank-you very much.  Our banks should be priced at almost twice what they are selling at now, if you assume they are not going to be killed by taxation-demons or EU-style "Borgons"  ("Resistance is Futile!").

This is why everyone who invests, becomes politically involved.  And things are getting weird.  Really weird.  I see a "President Pence" in the future.  But then I also dreamed about my dog waterskiing, so I have learned to apply a very high rate of discount to anything I imagine at night while sleeping...  {#smileys123.tonqueout}

[Dec. 27, 2018] - It sure looks like a liquidity problem, exacerbated by pro-cyclic management responses.  It's not even algos running on momentum.  And it's not tax loss selling.  It's maybe just liquidity - folks are out of cash.  Big guys are out of cash, and little guys are out of cash?  They have all their cash in the markets, and the markets are rocketing down into the toilet, so they are selling because everyone has some serious cash-requirements for the next few months.  This is coupled with the questionable actions at the Federal Reserve, which is acting to aggressively withdraw liquidity from the system in yet another pro-cyclic exercise. (These guys should go read the 1960's stuff on "stabilization" strategies...)  The Fed goosed it hard on the way up, and they are now goosing it hard on the way down.  Old Soros would call this a "reflexive" phenomenon - the market players and macro-managers re-enforce the action that is already underway, so you get an acceleration as the process drives forward thru time.  In economics, it's called (erroneously) a "multiplier", and in harmonic analysis, it is called being "critically damped" - viz. a car fish-tailing out of control, because of awful rear-suspension geometry, like the 1960's Corvettes, which were notorious for being really easy to wrap around phone-poles (which a guy in my neighbourhood did when I was a tiny tot, with his brand-new "Sting Ray"). 

If you have a fission reactor to play with, you can upshift the U238 interactions, and the heat output, by slowing down the neutrons with your damping rods by pushing them in, or by pulling them out, and increasing neutron velocity.  Rods in, you raise up the density of the neutron flux & interactions, as they move slower so the cloud is more dense, or rods out, you can speed up the neutrons and get bigger momentum hits on the uranium nucleus, and increase heat output and reactivity nicely, but non-linearly, in a very dangerous way.  (Each U238 nucleus hit, splits, and flings out more neutrons => "chain reaction").  But pull the dampers out too far, and your reaction can very quickly get away from you, and you get a hot melt-down (cf. Chernobyl or Fukushima).    Fission reactors run on a knife-edge balance of stability - kind of like markets do.  Stability+control is the first objective, heat is secondary.

The point here is, we don't pay enough attention to the benefits associated with maintaining dynamic equilibriums, thru the use of active management methods... like driving in the winter with your windows open a bit, and the heater on full, so the car interior has a nice fresh-air summer-like feel to it... !  Cool (Or having your big BWR bubbling away in a nice, controlled manner, with steam gently spinning the turbines to light up the cities..)   The world is basically a wild-random bit-storm of interactions, and our job is to craft tech which lets us manage the maelstrom so that it throws off wealth and power.  Why can't people just see this simple, clear fact?   Maybe we might have only Homer Simpson in the control room, but at least lets have *someone* sitting there...  Ok?

I remain non-levered long, and it was starting to hurt in the AM and early PM.  If we are dropping into a Keynesian "liquidity trap", then we are all going to be hurtin' bad for the next year or two.  My analysis and models says no, but I always have to consider that I am maybe just plain old wrong.  But then the day ends with a honking big 260 point uptick on the DJIA, and I am up over 4300 C-D's on the portfolio, when I was expecting another down day.  Aye-yah.., as my Chinese friends say.

[Dec. 26, 2018] - Oh my, V2.  DJIA  +1086.25, or 4.98%.  Gracious.  Weasels ripped my flesh, algos ripped my portfolio.  This is getting just a bit silly...   I'm on the highway of regret, and the winds of change, are blowin' wild and free.   But we feel the love... and remain long, & without leverage - the models are saying this junior jump-up is not finished.  We might run now.

[Dec. 25, 2018] - Seasons Greetings to all.  I made my own Christmas Cards this year ...  :D

[Dec. 24, 2018] - Oh my.  DJIA down 653.17, or almost 3% (in one day!).  This makes this the worst Christmas for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ever (in terms of points lost before Christmas).  This is an artifact of the 20,000+ level, of course.  The 1987 meltdown was much worse, percentage wise.  That 1-day 508 point loss was a real eye-opener - as was the waterslide of 1929. 

When I was in University Economics, I was curiously the only one interested in the events of 1929.  In the library, I found all the old, original 1929 to 1931 weekly Time magazines, and I read the business section of every one, just to address my curiousity.  The only one who was interested, was a visiting Prof. from a "red-brick" school in England.  He was a really smart guy, and suggested I write up what I discovered - but I was too busy doing stupid-work that one needed to get done, to pass the courses.    What is funny is how amazingly useful that quicky research effort was. 

I am always amazed when my "worst-case" scenarios slowly play out.  It's like a disaster-film in slo-mo.  From a technical standpoint, the market absolutely should have staged a rally today, so to see this slow ski-slope of losses, suggests a *major* (major major? - remember Major Major, in Catch-22?) re-pricing is underway.  Sure, there is tax-loss selling, but there is no buying pressure coming in.  Anyone who has "bought the dip" here, has been kicked to the curb.

I think I will create an annual "Golden Xenomorph Award" for the fellow (or female) who trashes the hopes and dreams for the Future most effectively during the year - sorta like a "Darwin Award" for the Political Big Shot that does the greatest economic damage for the year.     So who should we give the Award to this year?  M. Macron of France?   Ms. May of the UK? (that has a nice ring to it...), or Dearest Donald of the Excited States?  Or maybe Mr. Powell of the Fed?  Or one of our fine Asian friends?  (Mr. Modi of India, with his astonishing "demonitization" strategy certainly should be in the running...).   Send in your cards and letters, and I will announce the prize in the New Year!   Happy Christmas - time to go out and do my Christmas shopping.  We should spend & celebrate now, since it looks like 2019 will be emerging from the events of this year like a little xeno-guy from the chest of ... (oh just stop it, says my inner-editor... ) Big Grin

[Dec. 23, 2018] - I've characterized US President Trump as an unstable meglomaniac.  Perhaps this is really an unfair criticism.  The media is doing everything it can, to make him look bad.  But he is getting results, unlike the leaders in Canada, the UK, and France, for example.

I must give President Trump credit where credit is due.  China has (in English parlimentary terms) essentially "tabled a bill" which will make it unlawfull to force non-Chinese companies to transfer their technology and intellectual property to their Chinese partners, as a pre-condition for doing business in China.  This is a very big deal. Foreign (ie. non-Chinese owned) firms operating in China have been forced *every single time* to surrender their trade secrets, engineering specs, and patents to get any business foothold in China.  This is one-sided and very unfair.  So Trump has scored a win here, and world business relations will be better for it.   This is what China understands.  Trump has also delayed the tarrifs on Chinese products until March 2019 now, with the implied hope that a more fair, balanced, and equal relationship can be established between US and China. 

And Trump will dump Defense Secretary Mattis as of January 1st, not the end of February.  That makes a *lot* of sense.  There is nothing worse than having some unhappy fellow stay on board when he has already "peed in the soup" (cf. "War of the Roses").   An immediate clean break is almost always a better idea.   Trump wins on this one too.   He is showing executive leadership, when most politicians first consult the opinion polls to determine what they should do.  Or they just bugger off and avoid the problem (like our Mr. Trudeau does), and attempt to spin-manage the bad news (while our people rot in windowless Chinese jail cells, without access to lawyers or any mechanism of legal process.)

Meng Wanzhou is out on bail.  She will have a fair chance to fight extradition to the USA, and the kangaroo-court justice-system of Rod Rosenstein, who does "trial by press conference".  This is just bigotry.  Rosenstein (and the US Justice Department), look like the old Soviets of the Cold War era.  He and the "US Justice Department" are an embarrassment to the USA.   At least Trump is doing his job, being an executive, and getting some results.    The US "government shutdown" is a complete piece of theatre, (nothing important closes) and it looks like Trump might win this one too.  The man is acting like a boss has to act, and demanding results from the flaks, flunkys and obstructionist opportunists (like Chuck Schumer, for example) that are keeping him from doing what obviously needs to be done.

Thanks to the subtle corruption of the US "Democratic Party", and the idiotic US rules that support and encourage illegal immigration, the US has pretty much lost control of its southern border.   Some sort of solution will have to be created, and at least some sort of formal border control (ie. a wall, fence or boundry), will have to be built.   Recent legal rulings by politicized "Democrat" US judges - which mandate the return of deported illegals - shows just how broken and out of control the entire US immigration process has now become.  

Trump's "Mexican wall" idea seemed at first an overkill idea - but with the recent rulings by the politicized US courts, suddenly the border wall is starting to look like a sad, but necessary response to the problem of out-of-control influx of illegals.

There is also a rumor that President Trump is looking at making staffing changes at the US Federal Reserve.   This might a be a good idea.   The Fed is out of step with Europe and Japan.  It seems very odd that Japan would maintain *negative* short term interest rates, *zero* long term rates, and aggressive QE, while the US is looking at 2.25 to 3.00 % long rates, and an aggressive reversal of QE (QT?  Quantitative Trauma? )  

The Q3 GDP growth numbers for both Germany and Japan were *negative*.  With global economies already turning down, international trade under direct threat of big tarrifs, and rule-of-law being suspended in China (and now Japan as well, with the nasty, lawless witch-hunt that is underway against Carlos Ghosn), it does not seem to be the time to be hiking up rates.  Powell looks like he just plain got it backwards-wrong re. the December rate-rise.  It's like hitting the brakes in a high-speed curve - you are going to spin-out badly.  Just doing nothing would have been the right course of action, given the already sagging GDP numbers. 

Folks I talk to in the USA are actually quite nervous about their jobs, and almost everyone is now carrying way too much debt.  The (almost) inversion of the yield curve suggests we are looking at a serious 2019 Q1 and/or Q2 recession now, globally.  It was not necessary to throw sand into the gears here.  The machine is *already* slowing down.  

The Fed cannot see where we are now?  Perhaps they are misled by their big government salaries.  Everyone in Washington (and Ottawa also!) is very isolated from real economics.  They stay rich and happy in up or down cycles.  For the Government boys, the work is light, the pay is big, there is lots of stay-at-home time, cash is always on-hand, and there is a great fat pension after a fews years of timeserving.  

And if you shut the entire place down, no one really gives a flying f%#~Big Grin!  What a wonderful world, yes?  Happy Holidays! {#smileys123.tonqueout}  And don't fear the future.  No matter what we do, it will arrive quietly like a xenomorph on small, silent feet.  And with a fine long-tail for balance.  Cool

[Dec. 21, 2018]  -  The markets blew up again today, with the DJIA down over 400 points.  Financials and technology are being repriced downward at a disturbing rate.  We are now dropping close to 2% a day, and no bottom has yet been found.  This is a dramatic turn of events, entirely brought upon us by unwise political actions & questionable strategies, pursued by foolish leaders. We are all now in trouble.

From Confucius:


[ The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved. ]

Everyone should study Confucius.  What astonishing wisdom.  In the Western World, we had so many wars.  Our systems have evolved, like living things do. We have achieved what we have, and we are where we are, because we tried every other awful thing, and discovered disaster each time.  So, by trial-and-error (or scientific experimentation), we created our democratic+commericial world.  Thucydides wrote of war, but Herodotus nailed the truth of it, saying simply: "In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons."

The right thing is easy to understand:  己所不欲,勿施於人

[ What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.]

In researching my growing sense of disaster - I turned to some classics - and found suddenly the morning news!  What a bizarre sensation - like an archeologist looking for 2500 year old relics, and finding a working computer.   I just learned of Graham Allison, and his book: "The Thucydides Trap", from a google-hit on yesterday's South China Morning Post.   Xi Jinping was exactly correct, in his 2015 proposal to Obama.  China and USA need to craft a viable strategy for engagement as partners and peaceful brothers.

But the USA looks to be broken.  It does not even seem to have a mechanism anymore, to incorporate understanding in its operational process.   And we here, are connected so tightly to them, but unable to have any input or influence on their operations or conduct.   When I was a child in the 1960's, we had Bomarc nuclear-armed missiles, and we built the DEW-line to spot Russian incursion into our Arctic airspace. My mom's cousin had worked on U238 enrichment using the Elliot Lake motherload of ore, during the WW2 war.

We had 28 nuclear-armed Bomarc's at North Bay by 1962, and as a result, we slept soundly and securely in our beds as children.   There was no property confiscation here - except during the war, where the Japanese were made to suffer.  But there were no Red Brigades here.  There was no Cultural Revolution here.  The terrible lie of Communist Ideology failed to gain traction in Canada, despite the Communist Party being able to operate legally here.

In 2nd grade - the early 1960's - the dangerous Kennedy brothers (whose father was a financial gangster) almost got us into a war with Russia over Cuba, because of the missiles that Russia had given to Castro.  We would go do "duck and cover" drills in the gym, to be ready if war occured.   (I secretly prayed that we would be attacked, so the school would be destroyed, in all honesty).  I had a model of a Bomac, and I was proud of it, as I was of the Arrow fighter, which our foolish Tory governement had killed.  But the Bomarc's were great.  They were essentially surface-to-air high-speed cruise missiles armed with plutonium warheads, and it meant that even if USA was wiped out in a "Dr. Strangelove" style Red-Insanity type of attack, we could respond to protect our land, and reduce our enemies to radioactive ash.  That was a very good thing.  Like the ancient Romans, we had known war, and so prepared for it to ensure peace.  This kept us at peace, a peace we still have.  We should all try our best to maintain this peace.

The Bomac launch-site is a tourist attraction now. It is basically ancient history, like Thermopylae in Greece, where Leonidas and his Spartans held off the Persians.

So where are we now?   Look at Rod Rosenstein, the person who runs the  "Justice Department" for the USA.   Inspect carefully his clan identity, and learn what is driving America now.   We cannot even speak of the process that is infecting us all in North-Am, without being called terrible names, and risk being accused of crimes.  Yet these Israel-supporters are absolutely driving the process, and determining the scope, direction and reach of American foreign policy now.  It is getting quite unbelieveable - and dangerous.  Iran is not an enemy of USA, but Trump and his supporters are determined to demonize both Iran and China.   The USA has been sucked deeply into the ugly fraud of mid-eastern politics, and America has fractured itself as a result.  There is no other way to explain the hostile and dishonest politics of Washington now.  The environment there is toxic.

Rosenstein, as US Assistant Attorney-General, is ramping up the attack on China now, as it appears Israel sees China as a great threat.   Any computer-hackers in China are automatically deemed agents of the Chinese government.  This is idiotic, but the Americans fall for it, because Rosenstein is the modern model of the perfect operative.   He has the power to assault and attack anyone he wants, and he is an aggressive supporter of Israel. And Israel fears and hates China, since it cannot bully it with it's disinformation assault and strident shouts of "anti-semitism", nor operate internally within the country, and dominate its media and judicial process.

These Israelis and their supporters are probably going to take us to global war.  Not immediately, but eventually.  There is no alternative path, I fear.   And with a dangerous meglomaniac like Trump in the White House, the clans that support Israel have the upper hand in the USA now, and also in Canada.   The attacks that are being directed against China all seem to have Israeli-supporters fingerprints on them, and this Rosenstein character is a dangerous and disturbing person.   Rosenstein was an Obama man, but has become a Trump supporter, and now appears to be driving the current anti-China actions of his office.  Watching this process play out, is tragic and disturbing.   Recent events confirm the toxic spiral of deception.

Why would Trump exit Syria in the way he has indicated America will soon do?  Defence Secretary Mattis had no choice but to resign, as the decision is simply insane.  But it will give Israel the opportunity to continue to advance it's policy of destabilization of the Arab world.  One has to give the Israel folks credit for effectiveness.  They have programmed things well. And to have this Rosenstein fellow running the "Justice Department" in the USA, means Israeli policy can operate directly through the American legal system - and even reach out into Canada, and smack-down our own legal procedures and even our sovereignty itself.    It is simply astonishing and grotesque.   Whatever you think about China, the arrest of Meng Wanzhou at the airport in Vancouver is completely, absolutely unacceptable to everyone, not just Canadians. Our government made a serious mistake, on several levels.  This action will destroy any chance to reach an improved trade deal with China.

This idiotic and illegal action might not just be the result of incompetance and stupidity on the part of our government.  Perhaps there are other forces at work, that are orchestrating this hostage-taking?   Who benefits from the assault on Canada's sovereignty?  Everyone is damaged by it.  A major Chinese company is attacked, an honest law-abiding person imprisoned, and US-China trade is damaged.  The financial markets are badly hurt (The US Federal Reserve interest rate setting was explicitly communicated beforehand. It is not the cause of the market meltdown.)   Canada is made to look like Putin's Russia, where politics trumps law.  Canada-China relations are damaged badly, and three Canadians are arrested in China in response to our bad behaviour.  But what about this Rod Rosenstein, and the so-called "US Justice Department"?  He is not damaged, is he?  

Rosenstein is holding press conferences, and invents more Chinese "technology demons" for the people of the USA to direct their hate towards.   Can a conclusion be reached here?  Is Rosenstein acting in America's interests - or for the interests of another entity?

And Rosenstein calls Trump "Lincolnesque".  This is just wrong. 

There is simply no reason for China and United States to be in conflict with each other.  This is just crazy, and people like this Rosenstein person are engaged in trying to inflame and destabilize American public opinion to create benefit for a specific group of people, to achieve a specifc political outcome.   The whole "Trial By Press Conference" that the Justice Department is using seems contrary to American law and basic legal principles.  But it benefits the current group that is now running Washington.

We should not be spooling up a war with China.  This is unwise, and these special groups - like the Israeli folks and their supporters and clan-members - should be made to understand that the fraud of this disinformation effort has been recognized.   Folks should understand where the real risks are.  We can see explicit, anti-Chinese racism now in the US operations.  And I see these race-oriented assaults coming directly now, from those in the US that support Israel.  Iran is just not a problem for the USA.   It is only a problem for the neo-fascist Likud militarists who currently run Israel.   It is important for folks to see what is going on.

We here in North-America, must re-think our unwise blanket support for Israel.  We must see what a risk it is putting people like Rod Rosenstein in positions of great political power.   It is not just the "Thucydides Trap" we are falling into.  We must recognize our position in the "Israel Trap" in which we are already ensnared, and which is attempting to pull us into another unwise conflict scenario.  We just don't need a war with Iran or with China.  War is just a bad idea, when it is not necessary.  It is not "anti-semitism" to contain and restrict Israel in the name of peaceful relations among nations.  We should recognize this truth.

[Dec. 20, 2018] - "We can live beside the Ocean, Leave the fire behind.  Swim out past the breakers, Watch the world die!"  - Everclear.  

An associate says I need to install Telegram on my Android tablet/phone so we can communicate securely. Ha ha.  Why bother?  Last nite, I read all the exfiltrated EU diplomatic cables that the three guys of "Area 1" released.  Like the Russian Ambassador in "Dr. Strangelove...", my source was the New York Times.  Chinese (they think) agents simply hacked a diplomatic site in Cyprus, and scooped all the EU low-security diplomatic chatter. 

The cables are actually quite interesting.  It surprises me that anyone even does any sort of analysis.   Oh my.  Another demarche.  That'll fix'em good.  (FFS. I've read a *lot* of formal chatyap.  After a while, I feel like the old Nazi who wanted to just reach for his Luger.)   Diplomacy only works when one has warheads and ballistic missles in one's back pocket.  Or the gunboats and battleships of 100 years ago.  The entire CTBT and the whole anti-nuclear movement is profoundly wrong and tragic.  It is only *because* of US MAD (mutually assured destruction) theory, that we in North-Am avoided nuclear war when I was a child.  Also reading "The Porcelain Thief", an excellent book about China and Taiwan - really well written. 

The stock market reflects not fear, but a genuine rational awareness that the world is now being run by a tragic cabal of self-serving unwise dipshits - there is no kind, gentle way to say this.  It's not "Rashomon" anymore. Now, its "Ran" - (Nihonian for "Chaos").   Or, for you English-types, "King Lear".   For the USA to withdraw all forces from Syria right now,  is madness.  Things have just been stabilized.   Like it or not, without active management of process, free elections will not occur.   A joint operation should have been established between the Russians and the Americans, and they should both remain to oversee re-construction and re-creation of some sort of baseline civil society.   But that will not happen now.   We even have an expression: "Snatching defeat, from the jaws of victory".  

The DJIA is down another 392, to 22,931.  Probably looking at that 18,000 we forecast last year...  Models still have no clear edge yet, too many variables, not enough data, and ceteris paribus assumptions are not holding anywhere, so chaotic, non-linear phase jumps are now the norm. 

Years back, I was trying to estimate Lyapunov exponents to get a sense of the chaotic dimensionality involved in market process.  Looked around 5 to 7 at least.  All my hacking/research/trading/messing-about seems to suggest just momemtum training is about all you can really do.  We are hard-core oversold now, and due for a pop, no question.  But everyday, we keep getting lambasted by bad events and terrible executive decisions.  

Japan seems to be "blowing up real good", sadly.  The idiotic palace coup at Nissan is showing how toxic business can be for even top bosses in Asia-land.  Carlos Ghosn's pay is not much by modern CEO standards, and his exit dollars were not decided, so arresting him looks 100% bogus - basically a put-up job by a bunch of yakuza is what it looks like.  Seen this movie before, too.  The Japanese prosecutors should be deeply ashamed of themselves, for getting involved in this ugly internal contest.  In Waterloo, they paid John Chen something like $300 million (over ten years, or some such thing), to come and save RIM.  The guy did *not* want the job, and they had to keep throwing money at him until he agreed to take it.  Most top jobs are nasty now.  You are set up as a target, and everyone starts taking shots.   In this world, if you are going to be a boss, it looks like you need to have your own armed security service - and that is where the trouble begins, right?  

It's why we need courts that are real, and not just kangaroo theatre.  Disputes are real, and both sides need to have a chance to tell their versions of the truth.  Renault put $5 billion into Nissan, and I suspect they are very unhappy about what has happened.  The auto business is in real trouble - cars are now far too expensive for most people to afford.  A new pickup truck is $70,000 in Canada.   No one who has a farm, has an extra $70K lying around.  The folks who buy trucks are rich Toronto lawyers, and federal politicians on the public payroll.  It is comical.   The "affordable" cars produced here and imported, are tiny crap-boxes, sold mostly to young women.   So the auto-business is tough, and it will get tougher.  Carlso Ghosn is probably the guy you need.   The Nissan "Board" should probably resign, if they want to save the company - again.   Damn, we are now down 421 on the Dow.  I am damn fortunate that I am a paranoid trader, and do not use margin, else I would have been forced to start unloading into this sad storm of the awful.

[Dec. 19, 2018] - The year winds down.  The BBC reports another Canadian has been arrested in China (that makes three of our citizens), and "migrants" continue to flood into the southern US, aided by political agents bent on destabilizing the shaky US administration.  An astonishing lack of wisdom seems to be infecting the world.  The Brexit is now certain to be a disaster, regardless of how it plays out.  If May gets her deal, the UK will have gained nothing excepting the requirement to contribute infinite payments to a bankrupt Europe, as it devalues it's currency to attempt to fund its untenable social-welfare schemes.  The Paris-protests are a prelude of what will have to come.  The "hard Brexit" is the only sane choice now, but disruption will occur, regardless.  The entire "Euroland" experiment is doomed, as they have dumped any attempt to maintain a sound currency, & the rules requiring reasonable restrictions on national deficit spending. 

US politics resembles a "Cold Civil-War".  A gov't shutdown was averted, by law-passing action.  Oh good.   Trump has declared ISIS defeated, and will withdraw all troops from Syria.  Russia won this round & American lost.  The Saudi's are laughing, as they know the low oil prices will bankrupt & destroy the marginal producers.  Canada's government, run by Pierre Trudeau's son, is in the process of commiting economic suicide by destroying our Pacific-Rim trading relations.  China is locating & assaulting Canadian citizens operating on the mainland, and arresting them.  The wreckage is piling up.  Our financial companies - which in Canada are a large part of our economy - are continuing to fall in value, as they see international opportunities evaporate, and a domestic slowdown loom large.

The Chinese have an expression: "When you have reached the top of the mountain, then any direction you choose, leads down."  That seems to be the current picture we are facing now.  

The momentum models have worked great - until they stopped working.   Interest rate increases should benefit the banks and other financials, but if a serious recession occurs, then the fall in home prices, and the retracement of the real-estate market in general, will cause the collateral base of the banks to fall.  My models say it is way overdone, and a 10% bounce in bank stock prices is overdue.  But the models might be wrong as they all have implied "ceteris paribus" assumptions that go out the window if global trade is badly damaged.   And this seems now to be the scenario that is now playing out.

We used to have a "War on Drugs" that was just plain stupid.  But now, we have a "War on Trade" that manages to actually be even more stupid.  I am just knocked-back, staggering at the mind-numbingly stupid, foolish behaviour that I am seeing at every level now.  It's as if leaders & executives really *want* to have a big war, and enhance the prospects for global meltdown by self-destructing whatever they are immediately responsible for.  Curiously awful - but also awfully curious.

(The "Ceteris Paribus Fairy" left me. See the link below and the slide at right. Huawei is a $100 billion US/yr revenue company - essentially a Chinese equivalent of Cisco+Apple.  They build good equipment, near as I can tell.  Arresting their CFO blew the "Ceteris Paribus Fairy" right out of the sky, sad to say.)

[Dec. 18, 2018] - Santa's rally looking weak.  GDP numbers looking soft for Q4.  Retails sales for pre-Christmas looking poor.   Recession will be driven by the new "War on Trade" that seems to be underway.  Attacking trade is really stupid.  We need new leaders.  Our PM in Canada has blown up our Pacific trade links and thrown our people under the bus, China is acting badly, the UK "Brexit" is a disaster, the French have trashed Paris, and the American gov't has gone into "full dysfunctional" mode.  Happy Christmas.  Have a drink.   Could be worse.  Could be raining.

[Dec. 17, 2018] - So awful tragic, it is becoming...  World is morphing into self-destruct mode.  Our "leaders" here in North-Am, appear to be inept or insane liars.  I mean, they are completely foolish and irresponsible to a degree that is shocking, obscene and unbelieveable. Our Prime Minister has managed to destroy a Canada-China relationship that has taken 40 years to create.  And at the same time, degrade our international reputation and impair Canada's sovereignty.   We in Canada, in the past, have operated at a higher standard than most nations, mainly because of our British history - and our small, quiet, internal wars.   We built something that works, so we don't fight each other with swords and bombs at the polling stations, come election time.  We have a working democracy.

It *must* be understood that the arrest & seizure of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, in Vancouver on Dec. 1st, was illegal and wrong.  The entire exercise is political in nature, and should be clearly recognized as such.

And it turns out, the July meeting of the "Five Eyes" spy guys was all about "How can we destroy Huawei?".  Bunch of liars, it turns out, these spy-guys.  Complete scam-artists.  There is *zero* evidence that Huawei equipment contains Chinese hardware to allow data exfiltration. (This from the German intelligence community - it's not just my own opinion)  But there was this agreement between Obama and Xi Jinping, (President of China), to both agree to stop hacking each other's hardware & software for spying (this came because of the discovery of a datacentre in Beijing, where some bogus (exfiltrating) UDP packets were noticed "calling home", which both sides said they had not installed!)  But this was in *China*!  (The Chinese argued they were victims of this stuff.)   So the fear was born that Huawei and other China makers of 5G hardware (for mobile), *might* be insecure.  So, the Bloomberg service ran this story about kinky hardware found on some US server-board computers - from a Taiwan company that had it's fab in Guangdong on the mainland (which is where *everyone* now has their fabs) - but the story looks to be a manufactured piece of fraud - complete, absolute disinfo  (*all* sources were anonymous), and my research in Waterloo has found *zero* evidence of such hardware hacks. No one here has ever see any hardware-hacked system-boards.   These might exist - but it is unclear who is the planner.  Since *all* hardware is made in China, these hardware-hacked boards (if they even actually exist) could have been fab-ordered by anyone.  It is as likely to be the NSA/CIA as it is to be the PRC-army-group or the Directorate-7 guys in China.  Realize: Any machine that does *anything* on the internet, can be hacked.  Once a sufficiently high-level of complexity is reached, it is simply not possible to examine all possible operational features of all possible software+hardware interactions and combinations to ensure absolute security.

Yes, there are these PRC army-intelligence guys who have the entire China internet completely monitored and data-tracked.  If you use the internet for political purposes in China, or talk about anything controversial  ( like the mass-murder in 1989 in Tiananmen Square, for example), you get flagged, visited & maybe arrested.  But from here, we need to tell China that it must *not* mess with our business people, or you will just make a bad situation a lot worse.  You will damage public order, guys.  Release our people.  We were wrong to arrest Meng, but don't double the wrong, by being arrogant-stupid, Ok?   This whole thing is becoming like a "South Park" episode.

We *know* from Snowden's material, that *all* the internet here is completely "harvested".  And in Canada, the "Shamrock/Blarney" folks in Ottawa have been tapping all US phone calls, since the 1970's.  This would be illegal, except we do theirs, and they do ours.  It's like a data rape-gang.

Some Sandvine guys supposedly found some hacked code on some machine years back, but this story about kinky hardware attached to the boards to open a hardware "backdoor" to the o/s, looks like an invention.  The Intel (the chipmaker) computers have AMT, a built-in webserver which could be no-password accessed, and could exercise complete control over your machine. Its on most of the 64-bit machines made by Intel.   To test it, I enabled the AMT on my machines, and I could start (and stop!) them remotely from any ssh-enabled machine on my LAN - including mobile phones and tablets.  This is just the "Clipper Chip" of Bill Clinton's day.  It exists and is installed now to allow remote control of server-board machines.  Folks try to disable and stop it, but it is difficult to full disable it.  And it was discovered to have a no-password backdoor also. (The "Silent Bob is Silent" exploit).  

But this "China is monitoring our comm grid, and Huawei is part of it the guys doing it, so don't buy Huawei 5G hardware or routers !!" - looks to a planted story.  The CIA/NSA (and CSE in Ottawa who monitor all USA foreign/overseas telephone calls), are worried because Huawei looks to be honoring the Obama-Xi Jinping agreement - and not letting *any* monitoring hardware to be installed (and the rumour is - I have not seen the boards) but the rumor is that Cisco and all our makers of back-bone switching hardware *do* allow physical exfilatration equipment to be installed, to assist the "Five Eyes" datastream monitoring activity.  Read the Snowden material.  It's all there.

So my conclusion is that Huawei is being targeted with a "Big Lie" style campaign, as they offer non-Five-Eyes made hardware, and are the only ones NOT putting the taps on our backbone router devices!   Is this not just hilariously ironic?   

The German spy-guys are the ones who have also become deeply suspicious of the anglo-collective (the Five-Eyes spy-group), because the Germans actually *do* have quite a lot of evidence re. exactly how the CIA/NSA exfiltration of the TCP-IP/UDP internet backbone data is occuring. (Remember, their spy services now combine both East and West expertise and knowledge-bases)  There are folks in German Intelligence that have suggested that to be secure => you have to remove *all* computers from your secure areas, where sensitive stuff is discussed and documented - ie. you use typewriters, and manual, physical documents, because once an electronic version is created, it *will be* hoovered up with 100% certainty - if not by comm. spyware, then by monitoring the microwave signatures produced by the keyboard drivers in the machines, or the screen-display hardware, and such tricks.   There truly are no secrets anywhere now.  

We need to stop doing this stuff.  Everyone.  Especially our own government.  We need to take Vaclav Havel's advice in his famous article, and learn to live in truth.  Really.  Our leaders have locked the door to the flight-deck, and they are pointing the aircraft at the ground.  We have to get these folks to pull back on the wheel, and not destroy the world we have all worked so insanely hard to build, because seriously, that is what is at stake.  Nothing stays static.  We are manufacturing bigotry and hatred and this is idiotic.  It will grow and destroy us all.

We all make mistakes.  China did a really horrible thing at Tiananmen in 1989.  But we rounded up all Japanese in 1941, and put them in Concentration camps, and stole all their stuff - money, houses, cars & property.  And then we mined, refined and supplied the yellow-cake uranium for the atom bombs that nuked their cities.  It was total war.   And China and Japan - despite terrible hatred on each side - have managed to make peace work for both nations.  We have also worked hard to engineer peace.  But the project has to be ongoing.

We need to de-couple from American disinfo, and not be so amazingly stupid, and spout nonsense about "keeping the process apolitical".  I hear the stupid foolishness that some in our government spout, and I just want to weep.  The Tories can be clueless sometimes, but the Liberals are being just amazingly stupid here.  We have to fix this.

[Dec. 13, 2018] - Discovered something.  Significant result.  Looks like I will have to go dark also.  Ta.

[Dec. 12, 2018] - Reminded of an old quote, by an old king to his young son: "If you knew with what little wisdom the world was ruled..."   When I worked as a young lad for "Treasury",  I recall the cheat-sheets that we would prepare for the Minister, so he could appear wise, and respond to questions in the House during Question Period.  The little sheets had to fit in a palm, and not be visible to the Opposition benches.  Imagine boiling down *all* the economic data to a tiny squint-worthy document, smaller than a playing card... But at least both sides focused on actual numbers, and real events.  Now, it is all just media-politics, exploding balloons and the fireworks of fantasy.

We live now in a time of growing madness, governed by arrogant smiling children who believe their own fantasy-world is an objective reality, and scary-crazy old men who do much the very same thing.   Their lies launch past each other like rockets, but it is all just a circus show for the crowd.  This is theatre without any substance at all.

But perhaps we are just reverting to the historical mean.  Justinian's wife was a whore and a show girl, and they both loved the theatre more than anything, as did Nero.  The history of England are the plays of Shakespeare.  In Japan during Edo times, it was common to go see kabuki performances, and spend the entire day in one's box, eating, laughing, drinking and watching the play unfold.   Even our courts have decoupled from law, and offer theatre instead.

But shows come to an end, don't they?  And so do nations.  If we destroy world-trade, then the recent events in France are the accurate picture-of-the-future.  And regardless of what the American's do, our survival in Canada as an independent nation (or group of nations), requires that we get a new government at the national level very soon.  Our current federal rulers appear to have no idea what they are doing, nor how fragile things are at this time. 

In Canada, one grows weary of watching the federalists of Canada fly our future into the ground, all the while lying to us, saying how great everything is.  It's fine for the Ottawa actors, with their huge tax-funded salaries and massive pension schemes - but for many others, life is a grim struggle to make their month-end numbers.   Only the elite would suffer if we ended the entire fraud of Federalism, with it's "carbon tax", "income tax", "employment tax" and the mis-management of the national currency.  We would be better off if we just removed all parasitic fraudsters.  The theatre-show could just end, as all shows must.

[Dec. 11, 2018] -  The Paris riots show that the newest political idea might be a "Frexit", as Macron has managed to make the Euroland concept look like an instrument of economic assault.  US response? => Saudi-shoeshine-guy Trump gloats, as Paris burns.  And China, which makes all of America's products at a cost-base of maybe 30-cents on the dollar, is now demonized as the bad-guy for being too successful.  This is madness.  So the market is revising upwards the rate of discount it applies to future earnings, as the future vision of prosperity & peace, is being replaced by a vision of conflict and destruction.

The failure to sustain the price-bounce on the NY markets looks not to be an algorithmically-driven response this time.  The algo's are being over-ridden by sellers who need the cash, it looks like.   The hedge-funds perhaps are over-extended, and they are trying to reduce leverage too quickly?

I wonder how that "yellow vest" fits?  Democracy does not seem to work right anymore, and rule-of-law is being replaced with American instructions.  In Canada, our leader looks like a sock-puppet of the United States, and has decided to destroy our relationship with China by doing a "Khodorkovsky" on a female Chinese business executive at the Vancouver airport.   In USA, the Trump and his gangsters look to be puppets of Saudi Arabia, and that other warship-of-hate at the anus-end of the Mediterranean Sea.  It's more than a little awful.

[Dec. 10, 2018] - If shipping anything to GE or GE-controlled entities, make sure to get payment before you ship.  The American boys that run GE have only one card left to play.

[Dec. 09, 2018] - P3-model shows even greater oversold.  If market does not turn next week, (and turn *hard*), then we will have entered a new regime of madness.  We will have sailed-off-the-edge-of-the-map, and previous datasets will no longer have any predictive ability. (Yes, this happens.  Know it.)   

Studying Paris protests - now riots.  These events are maybe more significant than the 9/11 attacks on the USA.  World may change.   Macron is acting like an Emperor - Doofus-Maximus.  He may well have to resign, which is bad, because France *needed* reforms.  Might be the end of the Great Euroland Project - which we forecast would end, and end badly, since all it seems to offer is extra government, free immigration of the poor and criminal class, and much higher taxes, fees and costs for business operators.  A political strategy that hurts wealth-makers is unwise and unsustainable.  Examine China, which has gone wisely, exactly the other way.  

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor (she has Hitler's old job), flies commercial flights (not State Aircraft) and lives in an ordinary Berlin apartment.  Macron, a member of the French ENA leftist-hyper-elite, lives in the "Elysee Palace".  What kind of idiots have their leader live in a Palace?  Hmmm.  We know the answer, don't we?  He paid 200,000 Euros for new carpeting, and has a hair-dresser whom he pays 10,000 Euros/mo. using French tax money.  The price of petrol was over $7.00 per gallon, and his "Climate Change" strategy was to raise fuel prices by 23%, putting most farmers and small-business people into red-numbers on their income-statements.  But it will be the actions of Immanuel Macron that will be "red-lined" here.

France influences half of Canada, in a very big way.  Legally, half of Canada is French, and the strange awfulness of French politics has a deep influence on our local political scene.  We even have a quasi-Frenchman running the place here, who is more concerned with "aboriginals" (they used to be "Indians"), than with Anglo-Canadians.  He is probably a good man, and has shown fine political courage in the past.  But he is a poor leader, as he has shown he is unable to take decisive action when the need for such action is critical. 

We were supposed to build a pipeline to export Alberta oil, but the project has been blocked by B.C. eco-terrorists.  Trudeau has done nothing. Now, the Socialists who now run the oil-producing province have order production cuts.  (What?! So, we are OPEC members now? ) 

No. It turns out we are Putin's Russia.  We are now hauling business-executives off of aircraft, and throwing them into prison on bogus, "Trumped"-up fake criminal charges.  I wonder if Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, will get to know Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once this obscene example of "judicial hostage-taking" is over.   Trudeau's decision to allow this New-York initiated arrest, has hurt Canada badly.

So our "Prime Minister" - Justin Trudeau - is now every bit as much of an embarrassment to us, as Emmanuel Macron is to France.  Trudeau prospers, because he is very politically smart.   But by kowtowing to Donald Trump's America, he has done spectacular damage to Canada - and to our future relations with China.  He asserts this is not the case, but he cannot be that stupid.   This "airplane arrest" should not have been allowed, and I find it as profoundly offensive as when Putin's agents grabbed Khodorkovsky.  We look like terrorists.

Ms. Meng broke *no* Canadian law, and for her to be arrested in this manner in Canada is absolutely wrong.  It is an error, and should be corrected immediately.  And this remains true regardless of what your opinion on China is.  We are not required to break Canadian law (our "Charter of Rights"), in order to assist American political strategy.

[Dec. 08, 2018] - This is a nice tribute to John Lennon, sung by David Bowie - "Imagine", from the 1983 "Serious Moonlight" tour.

[Dec. 07, 2918] -  Tomorrow is the anniversary of John Lennon's murder.  He was shot down while standing outside his New York apartment building, December 8th,  1980, by an American assassin who was seeking infamy.

Image at right shows the MCL-P3 model results for TSE-listed stock, symbol: CM.  This should not be considered investment advice, just a demonstration and presentation of the results of a mechanically calculated, computer-driven exercise.  The P3 model suggests a significant over-sold condition is now evident for this security.  (Full Disclosure: We have a position in this security.)

[Dec. 06, 2018] - With the possible exception of the folks in the Cdn astronaut program, or perhaps Elon Musk, I sometimes think I might be uniquely lucky.   Yes, I am still long, but the AI's are making it clear that I will be ok.  I post this here to establish the truth of this approach.  Today, when we were down 700 points on the DJIA, I was feeling a little worried.  Perhaps it was the end...?  Looked pretty bad.  But by day's end, we closed down, only 79.40 on the DJIA, and 234 down on the TSE. 

Canada is always a puppy to USA, and it is on my list to craft a political enterprise that can fix the Trudeau failure-model.  But I realize I can't do everything (anything - but not everything...).   Tomorrow, we are likely to be up, if B. Baruch and the models are to be believed. 

[Dec. 05, 2018] - I did not see one news story on the Paris riots in our local MSM.  Amazing.  Yes, Paris is burning.  I've been reviewing events there, and suddenly, the "Brexit" looks like a very good idea.  The UK Prime Minister May has failed to do it right (the Brits will still get screwed by heavy Euro-taxes), but a new PM can fix that error with new bit of legislation.  The "Hard Brexit" is the correct way to go.  But it will take new players who see the Eurofraud for what it truly is - just another big tax.

The French riots - by the well-organized "Yellow Vests" - are based on real anger.  Skip the MSM drivel about George Bush (he was *not* Winston Churchill), and google "Paris Riots 2018 France Taxes" and check the images of Paris burning.  Trump was right on this one.  OECD reports France now has the *highest* tax rate per GDP of any modern nation, (detailed data going back to 1965) and has now surpassed Denmark (the "Nation-of-Taxation"), taking now 46.2% of its GDP back in taxes from the people of the country.  The only good, high-paying jobs in France are government jobs.   (Carlos Ghson ex-boss of Renault-Nissan would agree, I am sure!).  If you live in France, and are not a government blade from the École nationale d'administration (the school for elite, top-tier civil-masters), then your life will be to service "les boys" from that interesting special place.

Macron's grand plan to fix this problem: Jack up gasoline taxes, to fight "climate change", and cut back nuclear-powered electricity production (and make it more costly for French householders and businesses to live)!  What an astonishing and outrageous scam!  This would have driven most North Americans into the streets, also.  Macron and Mohammed bin Salman were overheard compairing notes on social repression strategies, at the recent G20 conference (by the "Hot Mike" folks...)  Interesting snippets were heard...  Remember - Top Bosses of the World - there are no secrets anymore, guys.  We are watching you!  Cool 

If I were a "Yellow Vest" in Paris, I would direct my actions at the ENA, and avoid setting fires in the streets of Paris.  But French political-economic awareness does not reach the same level as North American understanding, so their problems only compound over time.  (The French think we are stupid, and we *know* they are unwise by just reading their history.  We agree to disagree.  But their wine is good, even if their politics is beyond tragic.)

Here is the Reuters note from the OECD.  Unless you are a rich "ENA Government Worker", life in the European Union (the "People's Republic of Taxtakeistan"!), is just a costly grind, and the grinding gets worse, year-by-year, apparently.

[Dec. 04, 2018] - Some days, I am sure I have fallen down a rabbit-hole.  Isn't it time for a bucket-shop drive?  What about the SOES bandits?  How is Drexel doing?  How's the gang at Lehman Bros?  Does Livermore still get all the green lights as he motors into town?  "Would you have confidence in me Sir, enough to let me borrow your watch, and return it tomorrow here at this same time?"  Today, as I watch the DJIA down 592, before the big day of mourning tomorrow (I'll say..), I am reminded that nothing new ever happens in the markets, or in the politics of this planet.  Oh - there's the ticker. Now down a nice round 600 points.  Not too big a deal, when the index is at 25K+.  But it reminds me of that time back in '87. 

Really, the most valuable tool we have at our disposal, is our own imagination.  Guys, make sure to listen *carefully* to the warnings that your wives and girlfriends give you. As Hamlet said to his old school-buddy: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."  I'm reading a detailed piece of scholarship (true, cross-referenced, fact-checked, written by a Phd type, etc.) and it offers evidence that nothing is really new. 

Folks (and their praxis [:accepted practice or custom]) here on Dirt just do not ever really change. 

Ok, now down 774 on the DJIA (mourning, did you say?) and still falling.  JPM has lost 5.35/shr  (about the entire value of GE shares now), C is down to $6.123/shr (pre-the 10-for-1 consolidation), and things are looking somber. Even grim...  Will be interesting what the MSM makes up today to explain this. The BDS (Bloomberg Disinfo Service), suggests this is due to "trade hopes fade, yield curve flattens".  No mention of it being because Trump and Pompeo are giving too many kneelings to Heeber & the Bed-Sheet Boys, thus causing the World to lose faith in American power.  (Read Roman history, lads.  When the power at the centre crumbles, & you can't fluvius enough denarii to the sagittariorum, problems begin to compound rapidly, especially if the tax-take is down.)

The mkt-pause tomorrow is a good idea.  Folks in the Excited States can reflect on just what they really want.  Do everyone a bit of good.  I think I'll go skate on the Rhine.

[Dec. 03, 2018] - Curious stock market in Canada.  USA is going straight up (DJIA futures up 450+ pre-open, DJIA still up +270 to 25,814.  Canada is flat to down (TSE index up just 9.96 pts, at 1:10pm -> basically, no change..).  Strange market here.  Oil is only a tiny part of Cdn GDP.  But Canada is either a gathering storm of disaster, or the most aggressive BUY of the 21st century. My models and AI's all say "go go go", but our markets are like King Arthur in Monty Python, yelling: "Run away!".

Our financials should be 10 to 20% above where they are now trading (just based on their tier-1 capital bases, never mind the near 5% dividend yields and discounted future cash-flow streams...)  But we are priced ilke the Argentina of North America, curiously.

[Dec. 02, 2018] - Wall Street Journal reports results of CIA research, that shows that it is certain Saudi "Prince" Mohammed bin Salman knew of, and almost certainly, ordered the murder of American-resident Washington-Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul.  The CIA/NSA also intercepted explict text messages last year, (2017) where Bin Salman discussed how “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements”.  This information is part of a classified CIA assessment, based on the SIGINT (signals intelligence) communications intercept efforts, which were explicity detailed by the Snowden materials, as well as being common knowledge among anyone in Britain or Canada who had interest in, or involvement with, computers, telephone-systems, or internet communication technology in the last 50 years. 

Signals intelligence and communications decrypt technology is the reason why Hitler's Germany was defeated in less than 7 years.   Virtually all the Nazi codes were broken and read - even the high-level, high-security "tunny" material that Hitler's generals used.

With the rise of the internet, and somewhat more secure communications (based on factoring big numbers, rather than spinning metal disks) massive advancements have still been possible in the "watch everything, exfiltrate everything, exploit everything" approach that is the modern world now.  There are no secrets anymore, but the rule of law remains, does it not?

The great tragedy is that - in an attempt to advance American interests - the current American leaders are failing to act with a sense of justice and integrity that has previously defined American foreign policy. 

Trump does not make America "great", by going on his knees to a Saudi "Prince" who murders journalists.  And Mike Pompeo's comment that US legislators are "caterwauling" about the Khashoggi murder is disturbing.  Pompeo has stressed the importance of "American interests" in determining the correct response to Saudi Arabia.  This is beyond just being sad, as it appears to explicitly condone and support a criminal act, which under US law, is itself a criminal act ("aiding & abetting" - which has a long history in American common-law).

There is concern now, that the US intell-services knew Khashoggi was being targeted by Bin Salman, and that Pompeo (a former head of the CIA) is attempting to downplay-spin the event for various unethical reasons.  If the USA knew what was likely to occur, and did nothing, then all involved are guilty of a criminal act, under American law. 

We cannot be sure of Mike Pompeo's "mens rea" (mental state), but it is clear he is saying that Saudi "murder squads" working for the Saudi "royal" family members to attack and kill journalists, is to be condoned, so as not to upset "American interests".  This is explicit. 

This may not make him a criminal, but it does do great damage to American "soft-power", in that it proves beyond any doubt that America is not what it once was.  What would Washington or Jefferson say here?  

History has also shown that American interests have rarely been successfully advanced in foreign adventures, where the USA has provided explicit military support to violent, non-democratic, totalitarian states-entities that murder their citizens.   Saudi Arabia is not Vietnam, and 2018 is nothing like 1968.  But we all do best, when we study and replicate that which brings successful outcomes, rather than when we emulate the patterns of failure.   Even Trump must know this, and realize the current approach is fraught with a high risk of eventual failure.  Saudi Arabia is bogus, and some of it's "royal"  types were *directly* responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington.  Supporting this entity does not and will not make America "great".

Perhaps America could transfer it's military bases to Qatar, and seek to engineer a more neutral stance in the Persian Gulf.  The Saudi-supported warfare in Yemen is horrific.  It is almost certainly not to be contained.  The continuing US approach risks becoming an ever-expanding horror-show of failure and compounding violence as things are structured now.  No one will win anything anywhere, if America continues down this path of moral failure.   America needs to demonstrate "greatness" by being good, and not by supporting evil.  It is really that simple, guys.

[Nov. 29, 2018] - "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S. Thompson (or so I am told).  Too bad Thompson didn't live to see this curious world.   We have to engineer rapid and sustained economic growth, else we will all choke on our own fumes, or die fighting over food.   Bravo to NASA for the successful INSIGHT robot-spaceship landing on Mars - first pictures look pretty cool.  About time we sent some people there - (like the B-Arc, perhaps?). 

[Nov. 27-28, 2018] - It is a tad sad to see the internet, this magical communications medium, become what it is now - adverts, selling, and political propaganda.  Add also cruel behaviour and nasty deceptions, as well.

Here is Tim Wu's take on why the internet is awful now:

[Nov. 26, 2018] - Memo-to-self: Try to hold the winners.  Took profits in some trades, and any of them would have generated positive delta's. Oh my.  Hey ho, and up she rises!  (Call me Ishmel, I guess).  DJIA up 348.  Dead cat bounce?  Not what my AI's said.  So, ah, why not hold the positions that I at least put on...?  Hmm...   It irks me when my machines see the future, and I do the Roman senator thing, and get all sober-second-thought on action.  

I have this economic model that suggests that rising real returns on capital correlate with rising interest rates, and rising asset prices.  It's the base-line mechanism of the business cycle, and the taxation of profits has been the primary blocker holding the whole process down.  We may well see a DJIA of 35,000 within 18 months.  

Reading about Akira Kurosawa's life.  Astonishing times he saw.  He saw his big home city - Tokyo - smashed and burnt to bits *TWICE* in his lifetime... the Sept. 1st, 1923 earthquake and fire which destroyed the place (>100,000 dead), and the March 1945 American firebombing (Tokyo was a city of wooden buildings), which again completely destroyed the city (>125,000 dead).  He writes about being a young boy at the time of the 1923 quake and fires, and seeing the Sumidagawa river on the day after, in the burnt destruction of downtown Tokyo, running red with brick-mud, - and seeing *hundreds* of bloated corpses floating face-down in the water with their anuses open like big fish-mouths - even babies tethered to their dead mothers looked like this.  And all this was bobbing gently on the river surface.   And then, as a middle-aged man, he saw it all happen again, this time the result of careful American incendary bombing.  

When he made "Rashomon" in 1950, the gate was carefully constructed to look like the re-occuring standard picture-of-the-world that he simply saw with his own eyes. 

What happened to Tokyo - twice - in the 20th century, makes the 9/11 attacks on the USA back in 2001, look like just a bad day at the office.   The key tragedy in the USA now seems to be a failure of the imagination.   

The thugs who murdered Jamal Khashoggi thought they were acting in secret, as did that evil creature, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  But we saw *everything* they did - even when they drained Jamal's blood into the sink, to make air transport of his dismembered corpse easier.  Somehow, the death of one honest journalist can fit inside a human imagination, easier than those burnt rivers with hundreds of bloated corpses.  And it is inside our minds, with our imaginations, where events must first be understood.  Only then, can we take aim at the problems, and begin to craft solutions.

[Nov. 25, 2018] - The anniversary of Yukio Mishima's protest, Nov. 25, 1970, where he took his own life.  I often wonder if it changed anything.  Problem with history is that it is always happening, and only the passing of time can show the truth of things.  I managed to find and play with a BCL 102 gen 2, and was concerned it's bolt-release was sensitive. (I like all mechanisms to exhibit perfect build quality - why not, eh?).  Also looked at a Derya MK12 - interesting.. a cool turkey gun from Turkey.  And then I found a great Black-Friday/Cyber-Monday price on a T97 gen1.  The happy luxury of choice!   

Tech note from the edge:  Had to swap a good-for-bad ethernet card in a two-card network box, which routed LAN to bigger net.  Got the cards installed and working, configured correctly, but IP forwarding would not work. You have to turn on NAT (network address translation) to get the cards forwarding packets to each other.  If running Linux, and you have device "eth3" connected to the internet, and device "eth2" connected to your LAN, you can use "iptables" to turn on packet-forwarding:  (as root, from command line:)  " iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth3 -j MASQUERADE ".  That will let your LAN boxes hanging off device eth2, see the internet, which is plugged into device eth3.

[Nov. 22, 2018] - "I'll miss this system here.  The bottom's low and the treble's clear" Listening to Townes Van Zandt tonite.  Figured out how to fix the "dac_read_search" SELinux errors I keep getting on my CentOS 7 HP box.  I'll write it up later.  A run of successful trades... worked pretty good, I am pleased.  Put Pet Shop Boys "Go West" on the big-screen, and the big-stereo... "We'll find our promised land - we'll find a place, where there's so much space..."  Just hilarious.  "Go West!  Life is peaceful there - where there's so much air!"  Love the lyrics to this tune. "Sun in winter time... we'll feel just fine!!"  (And ya know what?  It's true!)  Tomorrow (today later, actually), gonna try to buy a BCL 102, gen. version 2, 'cause we build them here, and they work good, and Black Friday has come north.  "I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home..."   (from David Bowie, "The Man who Sold the World".)  Trouble is, the BCL looks like it's sold out, everywhere. <sigh...>

[Nov. 21, 2018] -  The disappointment with Trump is very real.  People who are right-of-centre, and welcomed a strong and decisive US president, are quietly disgusted with his response to the Saudi-ordered Jamal Khashoggi murder.  Khashoggi was a US-resident and a journalist for the Washington Post, and Trump has said his murder is not worth risking the possible jobs created by US arms sales to non-democratic Saudi Arabia.  This is wrong. 

If Trump were a real leader, all he would have to say is the weapons sales are contingent on Mohammad bin Salman being arrested and put on trial for murder.  Perhaps bin Salman might be acquitted due to insufficient evidence - but at least the US could still stand tall on the world stage, having taken a firm stand.  The ball would have been in the Saudi's court, and they would have had to act.  The US-Saudi Arabia alliance could have been preserved with honour and dignity.  And MBS would have been held to some limited degree of accountability.   But to just say, "Ah, whatever..., we need the jobs and the money" stains the United States with something very dirty that will not be washed away.  

Trump's moral authority, and the moral and political authority of the USA, has been seriously degraded, and the entire world is much poorer for this act of political cowardice.  Trump's behaviour here is grotesque.  And worse - he appears to be a puppet.

Does America really want its leaders to operate this way now?   If you have a job, working for Boeing or Gruman building warplanes for the Saudi Arabs, how will you feel?  What about if you are in the military, or maybe you work for the NSA or the CIA, and have heard the torture-murder recording of Khashoggi being killed.  Will you retain loyalty to your "Command-in-Chief"?   My social-economic models predict that this will not be the end of this awful affair.  The USA has taken a wrong turn here, and history suggests a correction will be required.

[Nov. 19, 2018] - Trump is in trouble.  Despite CIA report the Saudi "royals" are murderous gangsters, he is defending them, as predicted.  Even Republicans recognize that Trump is owned by the Saudi gang, and that his defense of bin Salman is wrong.  But Trump is a Saudi guy, and it is becoming clear.  Folks in the "intelligence community" fear Trump will now try to fake-up a war with Iran.  IC folks fear a repeat of the Bush fake-up of intel data used to justify the Iraq war - the "weapons-of-mass-destruction" lie.  That's why CIA went public with Khashoggi murder report. 

CIA (and rest of 5-i) knows Mohammad bin Salman ordered the hit on Khashoggi, and that bin Salman is very bad & dangerous.   And they *know* Trump would bury this critical intel, and demand faked intel to allow bin Salman to hide within deniable doubt.  But there is no doubt here.  The Saudi "royals" and their henchmen are toxic evil - the worst actors on the stage - and USA is bootlicking them.   This action does *not* make America "Great".  This action makes America look like a stooge and a wart-covered toad, burrowing in the mud and excrement of a Big Lie.   Trump risks going down in history as the president who covered America with shame.  The other fear in the IC, is that Trump will try to fake-up a war with Iran.  There is a real chance he might try to do this, in conjunction with the Israeli militarists.  But Iran would get Russian assistance.  So we really are close to initializing a scenario which could morph out of control very quickly.  If bin Salman is not removed, Trump might have to be.

This may well trigger a market reaction.  Most folks have no idea how serious the torture-murder of Jamal Khashoggi has become.   Saudi Arabia is not a democratic entity.  It's true face has been seen clearly, and America cannot maintain any moral integrity if it continues in the alliance with such an entity.  America remains a quasi-democratic entity, and it requires it's moral integrity to function, despite what some argue.  But if Trump continues to run cover for the *proven* Saudi gangster regime, he risks doing great damage to America, and the ability for America to have dominant influence in the world.

What Mohammad bin Salman did to Jamal Khashoggi is no different than what bin Laden did to New York and Washington with his hijacked aircraft.  Bin Salman will have to be arrested and put on trial, or the Americans will have to remove Trump.  The current political structure is not unstable, and some resolution will have to be crafted.

[Nov. 18, 2018] - (check out the "WW3 Scenario" option sub-menu. A roadmap for Middle East peace...after the war.)

[Nov. 17, 2018] - I've been asked: "What is 'information weaponization' (IW) ?".  My definition is: "Information management done to produce an outcome similar to what happens in a military action.  You engineer a victory for your side, and a loss for your adversary."   From  "Propaganda is an example of weaponized information: misleading or biased information of a political nature that is usually spread by governments. ... Weaponized information is one form of social engineering. The presentation of the information may be skillfully crafted to exploit common cognitive biases and errors." 

Exfiltration of private communication is also a method by which information can be weaponized, and this has been well understood since ancient times.  (It is why military agents typically execute spies for treason).  

But the systemic exploitation of cognition errors and cognitive biases is also part of IW now.  If you can make your counterparty believe something untrue, you can explicitly direct his behaviour toward an outcome that provides a victory for you, and a loss for him.  One need not waste time with "Game Theory" abstractions.  You only need to disinform your enemy sufficiently so as to successfully motivate him into making decisions and taking actions which ensure the successful outcome of your strategy. 

Once AI technology is deployed into the domain of modern neural-science and behavioural economics, I now believe that the Elon-Musk-Scenario ("AI, sufficiently advanced, may be used to seriously damage humanity.") might actually be both possible and likely.  If I had access to a complete market-beating AI, would I use the wealth generated for me, in a positive way?  Or would I use it to accumulate power, and begin behaving badly?   

My market AI stuff works annoyingly well.  I am seriously running into a "human problem", where the suggested trades are *very* uncomfortable, and I am not putting them on.  This is a real problem.  I don't like what the AI is telling me to do, so I often don't do it - and then I watch the market trade down to the point indicated, (I don't act), and then the market reverses, and shoots off, and I see that the trade would have made thousands.  I am finding this process deeply unnerving and unpleasant to say the least.    As humans, we are weak, and full of fear, and this makes us *very* easy to manipulate.   Our cognitive apparatus evolved for jungle-survival, and watching the grasslands.  It does not work well at all, in the high-stress, high-cost, high-reward environments of the digital netherworld.  At least mine does not. 

The weakness in most formal systems, is visible in the bathroom mirror.  And it is why in the "AI's versus Humans" struggle (which is already very evident in the stock and bond markets), the AI's will win, and win consistantly.   This suggests difficult times ahead, in a number of unique and non-predictable ways. (For example: It means professional money managers will be outperformed by an AI.  Not just sometimes, but every time, every year, year-in and year-out.  That job is basically an anachronism now. [My Pocket-Oxford defines anachronism: "An out-of-date thing"] )

But if World War 3 happens, then perhaps we need not worry much about job descriptions.  As a clever guy I knew who has since died, once reminded me: "Libraries will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no libraries." 

If we are entering the beginning of a "Time of No Libraries", then investment strategies may be measured in survival of one's farmland, and wealth ranked by the number of cartridges one has in storage.  Big Grin

[Nov. 16, 2018] - From market perspective, news is noise. It's mostly poo-throwing monkeys and old women banging on tin pots.  It just exists to get your attention, and then mis-direct you.  Probably that is the first rule of investing: Mostly, ignore news.   And in this internet age of the "digital hive-mind", almost all inbound organization-generated information is aggressively designed to mis-direct.  It's not just lies and fraud.  It seems to be *all* datasets generated by commercial or government organs.  This may turn out to mean that most "big data" is a dangerous fraud, and that the "cloud' will prove to be a toxic trap.   Perhaps Elon Musk is right.  I see direct evidence of AI technology being deployed.   And it does not look like it is helping us.  It is helping a small few take control more effectively. Democracy is like the devil, in that it is the details.  And the details show it is failing in the USA.  Judges with political views are determining election outcomes. 

And most folks don't realize Trump is doing what his is doing, because he can do little else.  His locus of control is very small, and so he acts where he is able to act.   Being US president is a sucker's job.  There is almost no authority.  One is simply set up as a target for the professional governmentalists to attack. 

If I were Trump, I would have everyone on that "Mueller" strike-team arrested for treason, the Washington Post shut down as a security risk, and Jeff Bezos arrested for tax evasion.  One cannot fix the problems external to one's house, if the one is under assault from the inside.  Peace and security begin with loyalty and harmony-of-action.  I don't like the Chinese communists, but they demonstrate they know what they are doing, and are doing it rather well.  America, on the other hand, looks like it's badly broken.

At some point, the toxic sh/it-show of American politics is going to be reflected in the markets.  Either someone will try to take out Trump, or his supporters will act against his enemies in a more direct, effective and co-ordinated manner.  The current situation is deeply unstable, and this instability will manifest.  The intense anger that many people feel will not be ameliorated by faking the election results.  And people rarely bid up prices for paper-securities in anger.   I see lower valuations ahead, and a retreat to defendable positions on all sides.

[Nov. 15, 2018] - American Airlines pilots explicitly state they were unaware of the automatic "force nose-down" (some are calling "auto-death-dive") software in the 737-Max Boeing aircraft, that could activate in the event of air-speed sensor failure, even if the auto-pilot was set to "manual flight" mode.  Pilots - rightly so - very much dislike "automatic" control systems that explicitly prevent a pilot from exercising control over their aircraft.  The fact that such a control system was designed-into the 737-Max, and that then this feature was explicitly hidden from pilot-operators, is disturbing, to say the least.

We may see Boeing share price do an auto-death-dive of its own.  If it can be shown that Boeing hid this information to enhance market-uptake of the 737-Max, then their liability could be significant. Fly-by-wire is bad enough, but "auto-fly-by-bad-software-even-when-you-think-you-have-switched-auto-fly-off" suggests the aircraft design process is broken.

This dangerous trend towards "loss-of-private-control" is again evident here.  The NSA and CIS explicitly corrupt the integrity of our telecommunications system (mass cable-tapping STORMBREW and BLARNEY systems), degrade security of our computers, networks, and cellphones (FAIRVIEW, DROPOUTJEEP, etc.), and mandate "back-doors" which are operational in almost all machine-systems now.  And aircraft designers are inserting *hidden* code (which they know pilots will not like or accept), into their aircraft control systems, to address design issues they know are evident (the 737 has the reputation of having the glide-characteristics of a set of car-keys).  Laminar-flow wings (which are more aero-efficient), also have the nasty characteristic of violently "whip-stalling" if airspeed is too low.  So the designers sneak in a "just push the damn wheel forward if we detect an incipiant stall" hack into the flight-computer code.  And Boeing elects *not* to tell pilots about this (as no-one will want this loss-of-control override).

People need to realize just how wrong this modern approach is.  Computers and cellphones should be *fully secure*, and not have any back-doors by design. Our communications grid should not be hacked by spyware to assist spys.  Aircraft flight-computers (which do most of the flying), need to be free of "design-hacks" which degrade and impair pilot control.

Our modern systems are being used to build a world where private, local control of the technology we need and rely upon, is being deliberately corrupted so that centralized control can be asserted and maintained.   Not only does this attack our basic freedom of action as human agents, it can also just kill us.  

[Nov. 14, 2018] - As suspected, there is strong evidence that bad software caused the Lion Air crash in Indonesia.  Pilots are now reporting that automatic the "force-forward" of the control-wheel (to pitch the nose of the 737-max downward), was not documented in the Boeing aircraft flight-training manuals, was not included in pilot training, and when activated in level flight (as the result of false air-speed indication, possibly due to plugged pitot-tubes or other flight sensor failures), could cause the nose to be forced down, and that this apparently could occur even if the auto-pilot was switched to "manual flight" mode..(!)   If this is true, then Boeing is probably in serious trouble as an aircraft manufacturer.

[Google "pitot tube" for explanation of this sensor.  Failures of pitot tubes, which measure air-speed, can result from insects building nests in them.  This is a *very* common problem]

Bad software can kill people.  And as a software specialists, we *know* that most software is bad.  That is simply the truth, and results from the nature of the software engineering process that is considered acceptable now.  Beta-level code is pushed into production, and upgrades are made later, with the production platform being used as the test-bed for the code.  This practice was unthinkable in the 1970's & 1980's, but has gained currency with the economic success of companies like Facebook and Google, which deliberately engage in a strategy of constant, aggressive software change.  Facebook actually brags that it writes and deploys into production software that "breaks things".  

But in Boeing's case, the code worked fine - the flaw looks to be in the design itself.  Imagine the pilots, now seeing another example of incorrect airspeed (there had been 4 previous flights with airspeed sensor errors).  They turn back to the airport, and in the turn, the wheel is violently pushed forward by this anti-stall feature. "Are we in "manual mode"?  "Yes, we are!"  "WTF!?  The wheel is hard forward!!"  The aircraft is now accelerating towards the ocean, the airspeed still registers 80 kts or some bogus value.  This could happen if all the pitot tubes were full of spider-nests, dead bugs or dirt. Reports indicate the pilots have not had any training on this special automatic "nose down" system, nor is this "feature" documented in the flight manual for the aircraft.  Before they can determine how to disengage this idiotic software, the aircraft hits the water at high speed and explodes into bits.  If this is the scenario that happened, then Boeing is at fault.

[Nov. 13, 2018] - Sometimes, I think the markets have discounted the heat-death of the universe.  GE traded down to 7 3/4, (hatsize - but I have a fat head), and then today popped up to 9.  Could have been a slick trade.  But I am far too far from the action for the fast stuff, and am also having ongoing problems with the wi-max link, as our ISP is overloading the tower we are using.  

[Nov. 12, 2018] - Smell the fear?  Dow Jones Ind. Ave. down 602 today, and N225 in Japan already down roughly 3% as of 9:30 pm New York time.  I am pretty sure this is just the beginning.  There is a wire-service report circulating this evening, saying that a nation-state level attack diverted Google's net services traffic to a China Telecom site, as well as a Russian ISP, Transtelecom.  A Nigerian ISP called MainOne was also involved.  Details are unclear at present, but some suggested it looked like a "cyber-war-games" experiment, which is apparently not uncommon.  The trick is called "border gateway protocol hijacking", and basically involves fiddling the addresses in a big backbone router to vector all traffic for a specific group of IP#s (Google's services, in this case) to a falsely defined router which can then hoover up all the packets.   What made this unique is that it lasted for around two hours.  Google is reported to have said simply: "It was external to us", which is a smart thing to say, because that is probably true. 

The internet (and our democratic political system, also..) are built on trust.  Trust is like air.  You don't notice how important it is, until it is removed.  As trust is removed from the system, we may see something like the mouse in the bell-jar, when the vacuum-pump is turned on. It may become difficult to do things.  A world of lies and fraud, dependent on a communications-grid and computer systems which have been purposely compromised, presents an algorithm for a non-linear cascade of loss-of-confidence.    Most folks at the "executive level" in most major orgs, public and private sector, have no clue how far out we are into this curious realm of potential instability.  We are out on a limb that is hundreds of feet longer than the tree is tall. 

Example:  Do you trust Boeing airplanes?  The Lion Air crash in Indonesia appears to have been caused by a software error, where the control wheel is forced-forward by the auto-pilot computer detecting a loss of air-speed.  The control-wheel automatically is pushed forward by flight computer, to prevent an aerodynamic stall which can be lethal in a big jet.  But if the airspeed sensors are all wrong, this action might also be lethal.  What is the truth?  Media reports are deliberately unclear.  But we do know Boeing has sent an update on this issue to all airlines operating the stretched 737-Max.   You would not fly on one, if you distrust computer-controlled aircraft. Yet the homosexual co-pilot who committed suicide by flying the "GermanWings" aircraft into the French Alps after poisoning the pilot's coffee (so he left the flight-deck), shows a situation where computer-override would have saved the aircraft and all it's passengers.   If you don't trust the mentally-ill pilot or the poorly-written aircraft software, then you solve the problem by simply not using commercial aviation services.  Trust is key to the business model of an airline.

What will a world devoid of trust look like?   A smoking ruin, perhaps?

[Nov. 9, 2018] - If you are in the USA, and sell to GE or a related company, or in any way are a supplier to General Electric, you probably want to make sure to get confirmed payment, before you ship anything.  There is the smell of Chapter 11 about them.  

And as for the market in general, one must bear in mind that there is not likely to be any "Trump Jump" in prices this time around.  The tax changes are a done deal, the economy is firing on all cylinders, and the Federal Reserve has made it clear that rates are to be moved up. De-leveraging needs to at least begin, & this will impact equity market values, no way around this fact.  The nanobots and sharp operators will work hard to bull prices (because a lot of folks are going to have difficulty with a declining market-price path), but any further bull movement risks a runaway bubble, which given the money-puffery that has taken place, would be profoundly dangerous, given the instability it could generate in the near term.  As rates rise, there will be sales of fixed-income assets into a falling market (which is what forced selling always looks like), and security prices - bonds and stocks - will most likely be priced lower so that the markets clear. 

A sensible level is 18,000 to 20,000 on the DJIA, with low-risk short rates around 4.00%.  This is not a heroic or extreme forecast.  I would expect this 12 to 18 months from now, yet I understand that lately, I am almost always wrong on time-frames, as events seem to cascade quickly now, at "internet-speed".   Maybe 3 months out might be a better call (Feb. to March 2019 time frame..).     And if low-risk short-dated notes are sporting yields of 4.00%, then low-beta stocks will need dividends in the 6.50% to 7.00% range to compensate investors for the risks they have to accept if they hold stocks.  Stock prices may not come off that much (to make 7 percent dividends), but it would not be awful or extreme if they did.  Oil prices are trending down (for now), but I notice that Starbucks has just pushed thru a 10% price increase on a standard "tall" coffee - from $2.05 to $2.25.  Inflation is everywhere now, but "hedonic adjustments" are keeping it from being reflected in CPI numbers.   (It is not just the "news" that is faked these days...).   Inflation is not good for stock prices.

[Nov. 8, 2018] - Suddenly, all the arrows are pointing down.  Curious.  Very negative indicators, restrained sentiment, and no reason buy, anything anywhere.  The usual f-news dis-info on the wires ('American investors really happy with "gridlock" ', etc...), but there is no catalyst for positive price movement anywhere on the horizon.  Too many economic agents - companies, consumers and governments - have just got too much debt.  Even if rates stay at 2.00%, this debt is a problem.  At 3.00%, the carry-costs will begin to bite, and at higher rates, the erosion of capital value will accelerate.  Our models show difficult times ahead. 

But perhaps the social difficulties are even greater. America trains it's fearless young men to be *excellent* killers, and then acts surprised at the social results.  We have similar problems here, but the US scenarios mystify us.  Why would a Marine shoot up a bar full of young women, and murder policemen?  Why does a millionaire gambler shoot up a music festival?  Yes, these are suicides, but they are carefully planned events.  Why not at least use such evil skills for a practical purpose?  America seems to be somehow, socializing a curious format of self-destruction. "Muckers" perhaps?  Are we all at risk of "standing on Zanzibar"?

See, the most disturbing thing, is that this movie and book have already been written.  We are embedded in a future-world now that is profoundly predictable, and disturbingly nasty.  Between Baysian base-rate awareness, current machine-learning AI-techniques, effective agency monitoring of all communications traffic, and the tragic characteristics of people (who can learn, but cannot change their behaviour), the agents of the powerful (and the cruel), can exercise significant social control.  Perhaps there are those who sense this, and realize that this lack of options and check-mated life of boundries and limitations, makes life intolerable?  This zeitgeist is deep in literature.  Huck Finn could "light out for the Territories...", but there are no such places now.   Richard Russel steals an airliner, does some wild aerobatic flying, and then "calls it a night".   Is the future of America, collective suicide?  That will be unfortunate for us all, I fear.

[Nov. 7, 2018] - So America had a big election.  Wow, changes everything, right? Or maybe not at all?  The eternal media-contest between the "Demo-Rats" and the "Re-Bubba-Cans" has become a weary, ongoing charade of rhodomontade.  The whole political process in the USA looks bogus.  You get two choices at the polls, and neither is attractive.  The voter in the USA faces not so much a "Hobson's Choice" as a "Hobbes" choice of options that are often nasty, brutish and a bit short on accuracy.  We have the same problem here.  We have these elections, and the "Government" always wins.  Faces change, talk happens, taxes rise.  And then the winter comes.   

[Nov. 5, 2018] - My Japanese friends ask: "What you think about big American Erection"?  I bite my tongue so I don't laugh, but to myself, I think: "Well, somebody's gonna get  ..."  What a world. 

Spent part of weekend fixing my Rails 5.2 internal webserver, which was not executing the "Destroy" link to delete records from the database.  I built gcc 4.8.5 from source (using gcc 4.4), which was pretty interesting.  Once I had gcc 4.8.5 working, I built node.js from source.  Node includes a version of Google's V8 thing, source of which can't be downloaded now.

Shame about Google.  Fortunately, there are archives.  Even after tweaking Gemfiles, running "gem install yatta-yatta" and then "bundle", I still could not get the Rails webserver to serve up some javascript to the browsers.  Turned out I had to "precompile" the "assets" (not just .jpgs, but the javascripts and .css files).  Do this by cd to /web/Websitedir/app/, and you should see dirs: "assets controllers models views" and some other dirs.  Run (from command line interface, if Linux):  "rake assets:precompile".  This is critical, as it creates the javascript files that bring up the little "Are you Sure? Y/N" dialog box when you click on "Destory" in a standard CRUD app, and lets the "link_to" "delete" method work.  The "precompiled" files each have long hex filenames.  "Rake" is a Rails utility. (Google "Rails Rake" for details). 

My little web-based data-management thing for news and other stuff, works again.  Happy Dance!  {#smileys123.tonqueout}

[Nov. 1, 2018] - Happy Day of the Dead! Now don't think I don't have greatest respect for cryptanalysts - being a fan of both Turing and William Gibson.  Here is URL for the "Cryptographer's Toccata".  GEMESYS Note: Render at high volume:...

[Oct. 31, 2018] - Happy Halloween! The Scary time of year!  Mkt recovering, but fear remains.  Wanna see something *REALLY*  scary?   Check out the Spook Budget = NIP + MIP growth over the last 14 years.

USA  is planning to spend  $81 billion on "Intelligence" activity - military & civilian, in 2019. 

That is some serious money.  The USA could colonize Mars with that much money each year.  It is truly a shocking amount of cash, all lifted from the pockets of USA taxpayers..  To see how the "Spook-Budget" has ballooned since 2005, check out the cash-table shown on the URL below.  Most scary damn thing I have seen in years.  Growth-rates like this in the "non-productive" government sector cannot be supported (ie. costs doubling every 14 years).  This is a *proven* pathway to economic self-destruction (just ask Victorian England, or Soviet Russia).   If you grow gov't spending like this, you *will with certainty* wreck your economy.  As an economist, let me just say simply:  HIstory shows this process is not sustainable.  One day, once *everyone* hates you, and your military is stretched to the limits, the Rhine will freeze over, and what you have brought to others, will be brought to you. Rome didn't "fall".  It chose to "fall on it's sword."

At the very least, take a spin thru: J M Keynes: Economic Consequences of the Peace, written in 1919. When Keynes (who was on the Peace Commission), saw that UK and France were going to crush the German economy in the "Peace Treaty", he resigned in disgust, and wrote this book.  Even if you just read the first Chapter, take a look.  With "Brexit" looming, Europe destroying the Euro experiment of "sound money", and the USA in "self-destruct" mode, it resonates well with our modern times.

The current US policies in the "Middle East" look to be batsh*t crazy insane, completely designed to create crisis, magnify conflict and destroy opportunity.  You can't spend your way to wealth, cheat your way to honesty, lie your way to truth, or fight your way to peace, anymore than - in the words of the old Vietnam vets - you can fuck your way to virginity.  Blush

The USA is rightly critical of mail-bombers and church-shooters.  So why do the spy-guys think these strategies will offer successful outcomes in non-USA situations?  The HUMINT specialists and gov't military analysts don't grasp the logical disconnect here?  Blink  Scary times all around.  But hey, the DJIA is up 429 today.  Woo hoo.  Party now.  Die tomorrow.  The future?  IBG/YBG, right?  Live well, and leave a nice looking corpse. {#smileys123.tonqueout}

[Oct. 30, 2018] - Scary times... GEMESYS fcst for GE stock price:  [* hat-size *]

[Oct. 29, 2018] - 5:17 am.. Oh hell.  IBM is buying RedHat for $34 billion USD.  I've spent *years* migrating everything from Windows to Fedora & CentOS (the opensource versions of RedHat Linux).  Everything I have built now runs on variants of RedHat Linux.  And now RedHat will be eaten by IBM?  "Upstream" will now be IBM corporate???  Yikes!  My earliest memories as a wee lad are trying to use 3270 terminals to access a VM/370 & its "minidisks" so I could run my Fortran stats stuff on time-series.  Those 3270's each looked like a giant cannon pointed right at your head.  You don't think to worry about the NSA, when you wake up to find the dripping horse-head of IBM in your bed... Unsure  One way or another, "Upstream" is going remain an ongoing source of grief, I fear. ("Upstream" being a term that is common & key to both the NSA exfiltrators and RedHat/Linux users) Sad

Reading some stuff on Traffic-Analysis and old-fashioned cryptography.  The "Index of Co-incidence" is really interesting.  Got Turing's B-Park (1941) papers also, from ArcXiv at Cornell (thx guys..).  I use something called AIQ - actual information quotient - just the quanta of true, useful info divided by total input data-info as per a Shannon number. (On the interent now, AIQ is almost zero, as 95% to 99% of info is toxic clickbait green-snot now.) 

An agent using internet data can make *better* decisions by *reducing* typical internet info stream density - like what F-4 Phantom pilots did in Vietnam war, when they shut off most of their sensor-based warning technology and just used their eyes. (Plus, the beaconing of their radar made them "bright" targets, just like data-vomiting Firefox web-browsers and Apple/Windows O/S's do for us now..) 

Turn off your lights and EM-signatures, shut the hell up, and just pay attention with dailed-up passive observation.  (Be quietly "on the bounce" as the old Army boys used to say..)  That pays off more better, & sometimes best, if the AIQ is negative (which is what deception does for you).  AIQ can fall below zero, if you are dealing with lies and fraud presented effectively as truth.  Tough world now.  News is not just fake, it is very carefully engineered - see that GCHQ paper on deception - like the "dazzle" paint-jobs on First World War ships (which was actually very effective). 

There is some really solid neuro-science that explains exactly why and how this works. ( And it explains why I get disoriented and nauseous in most supermarkets...   I would literally get dizzy from the chromatic overload - which was exactly what marketing experts wanted to happen, it turns out..  It's why humans often feel so much happier and more content in natural settings, than in cities.  AIQ becomes highly positive, and you just feel better.)

[Oct. 28, 2018] - Must-read GCHQ paper on how magicians use deception, developments in neural-science, & NLP trickery, and how it can all be used to engage in covert online dis-info/disruption exercises - what financial markets are facing currently - and is underway in the lead-up to the US mid-term elections.

[Oct. 27, 2018] - Coming up on 70 years since "Black Friday" - not the stock market crash - but the day when all Russian encrypted data went dark for the early NSA folks, back in 1948  (the Russians improved their encryption, rendering all military & diplomatic messages unreadable by the Americans). 

Tim Cook's comment about "data weaponization" got me thinking about just how bad it has become.  When Soviet decrypts went dark, the pre-NSA cryptanalysts very wisely switched to "T/A-Fusion" - traffic analysis of *all* communication in Soviet Russia - encrypted and plaintext, combined with detailed economic+geographic indexing and analysis.  This allowed a good picture of Soviet military and economic structure to be viewed, which was valuable when the Russians successfully exploded a test nuclear bomb in 1949, and the Americans needed to know if and when the Soviets might attack them. 

Trying to analyze the world markets and economic activity to locate and exploit investment opportunties is not much different than what NSA/GCHQ/CIS folks try to do.  Nowadays, everyone sees everything, yet we are also more in the dark than ever.  The NSA wisely tries to "Collect Everything & Exploit Everything" (see slide above right) - and yet, the wisdom to use the "weaponized" data seems to be declining.  The use of deception is routine, in every context now.  And sadly, it seems bad people are being supported, and offered modern weapons, while good folks who are trying to tell the truth, are allowed to be set upon by the worst kinds of evil people.

As Khashoggi was being killed, I wonder what his last thoughts were?  He probably thought "Goddamn-it..!  My friends who told me to be careful, and said I was in great danger, were right.  And I waved it away, and said I'd be fine.  What a fool I've been...! "

Hitler was apparently terribly paranoid, and insisted that the advanced teleprinter technology the German High-Command was using to communicate with, be enhanced by adding extra rotating-disks, to improve device security.   But he was not paranoid enough, as the British were able to decrypt the transmissions from the "Tunny" device, using a machine called "Colossus" - which was the very first vacuum-tube electronic computer.

Nowadays, in a world of weaponized-data, where billion-dollar government agencies are tasked with "Collect-it-all / Exploit-it-all" mandates, we grapple with the issues surrounding the mass loss-of-privacy.  You cannot alter the political system with fake mailbomb devices, as some poor fool in the USA has tried to. But if it is wrong to try to influence American politics with mail-bombs, why does the US Government think weaponized drones can change political outcomes in foreign places?  A government agency operating with a satellite link and some weaponized drones, can drop a high-explosive device right into your bedroom now.  All they need to know, is what time you go to bed!  Big Grin  Is this a good idea?  We now have mass-monitoring of all traffic on the interent, but in a world awash in evil agents - many of whom are state-funded operatives - this government weaponization of data, *degrades* our collective security. 

[Oct. 25, 2018 pm] - Bimbo fights back.  If data is "weaponized", then ya just gotta use yur "robot" to target carefully.  Xerion AI work has provided some real insight into the "October Waltz" we have been having.  Image shows results of dirt-simple SAR trade that netted me $1K(Cdn).  If I had more courage, I would have left the trade on for a few more days, and netted 4 or 5 times this amount.  But now that I am using the AI-tech for real money, figured I would be cautious, and run very small for the first while.  Sometimes, I just withdraw the net cash from the account, and put it on the desk, and touch it with my fingers.  It's all plastic now, with holograms on it.  (We are actually *much* more advanced here, than the Excited States to the south... I need to keep reminding myself of this.  I wish my American cousins could chill out just a bit.  We have our own Conservative Tree-House here too.  It's up in Ottawa, by the river.) Cool

[Oct. 25, 2018] - Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has made a very key point at a conference in Europe.  While the USA is involved in a media dance-of-deception leading to the mid-term elections in November, Cook is pointing out the real dangers of "weaponizing" personal data.   His point is valid, and should be given more coverage.

[Oct. 24, 2018] - The Trump administration has revoked the US visa's of the Saudi agents who carried out the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.  So, these Saudi "security agents" actually had US visas, and the US knows their names?   What does that tell us?    It seems certain now that there will be a landslide in the November elections for the Democrats.  But that will not likely change anything.  The Saudi money is corrosive and appears to be actively corrupting US political activity.  

 [Oct. 22, 2018] -  If you love your children, or care about the future, or just enjoy freedom, eventually, you become political.  We should not do business with Saudi Arabia.  But others will.  Nothing will change unless quality people make it change.

[Oct. 19, 2018] -  The Trump administration may well be undone by the actions of the murderous House of Saud.  And scenario projections suggests this will bring instability and conflict.  Saudi Arabia lies as a great prize, which may be taken, once the Americans withdraw their support.  And the march of events will likely force this action upon them.  To go down any other path will repudiate all they claim to stand for, and incur political costs that a democratic Government will not wish to bear.

[Oct. 17, 2018]  - It just keeps getting more unbelievable.  The torture-murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul is starting to look much like the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Duchess Sophie.  That murder, in July 1914, triggered the First World War. 

This recent gruesome and horrific killing of Jamal Khashoggi - an American-resident journalist and a personal friend of Recep Erdogan, the democratically elected leader of Turkey (a nation which is a NATO-member state) - shows the true nature of the Saudi's.  The Saudi's - and their "royal family" who run the country - pretend to fight terrorism, but it would seem now, the Saudi's *ARE* the terrorists.

Osama bin Laden, the terrorist killer who organized and funded the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, was a Saudi Arabian.  We need to keep this fact in mind.  The US was attacked by Saudi's, but George W. Bush and his associates responded by attacking Iraq, and blaming Iran, nations that had nothing to do with the 2001 attacks.  Why?

The murder-team that was sent to Istanbul included a "doctor", who was involved in the dismemberment of Khashoggi's body.  Khashoggi's fingers were cut off.  Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the "crown prince" who runs Saudi Arabia, is widely believed to have ordered the killing.  The hit team was M.b.S's own personal "security" staff.  The Turkish authorities have explicit images of each of the members of the murder team entering Istanbul, at the airport. They have surveillance recordings of the entire murder being carried out.  The gruesome assassination and dismemberment of Khashoggi's body, was accomplished with the killers wearing headphones, listening to music, to distract themselves from the blood.    Khashoggi was beheaded, in the same manner that the ISIS terrorists use to execute their victims.

The USA is now a net-exporter of oil.   Canada is also a net exporter.  And the Europeans have North Sea oil, and new pipelines that connect them to Russian oil fields, which are both willing and able now to export to Europe.  And we have electic cars that work.  I drove one last week.  They work fine.  We can all live fine without Saudi oil.

History looks like it is about to begin again, and with a vengence.  The current "royal family" regime in Saudi Arabia is finished, as Saudi money is now shown to be dripping in fresh blood.  Who on this planet could seriously consider either travelling there, or doing any business with this murderous regime?

[Oct. 15, 2018] - These are strange times.

I see Microsoft is open-sourcing their 60,000 patent portfolio.  Smart decision and a wise move.  Everything I have now, runs on Linux.  CentOS-7.4 is reasonably stable, and the market/AI/database production stuff runs on it.  The Market-AI stuff sort-of works, but not good enough to put much real money on.  It's the older, simpler almost automated "back-of-the-envelope" stuff that consistantly makes money, and provides trading direction. 

I recently made a massive shift in the portfolios, and it looks like it might work out, despite the risks.  It is a *very* crazy time now.  Yes, the markets might implode, but there is also a risk that they might run away on the upside.  We all could actually live *without* Saudi Arabia oil.  The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, in the Saudi Embassy, shows that we should not do business with these people, at least not until the person who ordered this killing is arrested and charged with murder. 

[Oct. 11, 2018] - My research suggests that the SuperMicro hacked-boards were more likely hacked by CIA Intel-Q-Inc types rather than the Chinese.  The idea was to drop these exfiltrating server boards in China, and poll them to monitor Chinese monitoring activity.  The whole Bloomberg story looks like it might be a CIA dis-info campaign to sanitize the entire screwup, since the hacked-boards were discovered.  Just because the boards were made in China means little - because ALL hardware (> 93%) is made in China.  Problem was the boards got dropped into a bunch of US companies in error, and that put the CIA/NSA boys in *direct* violation of US law - ie. wiretapping domestic entities without a court order.  This is only scenario-construction on my part. I have zero proof of this, since real IC types do *not* talk about their work (Official Secrets Act, Oath to the Queen, etc.)  The very fact that 17 spies talked to Bloomberg reporters in USA, basically proves there is rotting fish lying about.  Intelligence officers - current and retired - just do not talk about their work.  If many are hyper-chatting to Bloomberg reporters, almost certain that they are painting a false picture.  (I told a guy that if the SuperMicro hardware-hack story was true, it could take the DJIA down 10,000 points. So far, we are down 1,600, which is a pretty good start.  Oh my.  But I believe Apple and Amazon when they assert that the story as reported by Bloomberg, simply did not happen.  Meanwhile, we can all swim out past the breakers...

[Oct. 10, 2018] - Lovely weather, and a big 830 point down-day on the DJIA. Oh my.  But I got Firefox 60.2.1 installed and configured on a CentOS 6.6 box, which I use for video experiments.  Firefox 60 does HTML5 video, and bundles the libavcodec with the browser, so the grief-factor in getting streaming-video to work is lowered.  But the bookmarks, from previous versions of Firefox, may not import, and in my case (and for others also), attempts to import plain .html files of bookmark data, will cause Firefox 60.2.1 ESR (Extended Support Release), to crash completely.  I developed a workaround, using the ".jsonlz4" binary files that Firefox keeps in a  bookmarkbackups directory.  (See the "Firefox+Video HowTo" section on this site).  Hope it helps! Cool

[Oct. 4, 2018] - Turns out there is no "record"-level locking in SQLite3.  A database without record-locking is a bit silly. If you use SQL cmds to BEGIN TRANSACTION and then COMMIT, you have to lock the whole database, which given that RAILS and modern browsers support the PATCH method of posting, means SQLite is a poor choice, even for small, researchy applications. You need Postgress or something like that.   But I've hacked an approach together which allows effective page locking & sharing among cooperating users.   Oh, and Google removed all my apps from the Playstore because I didn't check a box saying they aren't for children. Oh my...  Logged into to developer thing, clicked check-boxes,  and re-submitted.  I think they are all back.  Someone search "GEMESYS" on Playstore and let me know, someone please..

[Oct. 3, 2018] - Example pic-of-the-day shows using Firefox 52.2 ESR (the default bundled with CentOS-7.4) in "fullscreen" mode with "menu-bars" turned off, and colours adjusted to dark-background values.  You can make an almost acceptable quote-screen, using Yahoo Finance.  (Verizon has not completely destroyed it, though they are trying..)  Linux gained it's first serious production acceptance in the harsh world of finance and trading, where MS-Windows (think the BSOD) and Apple's toys for leftist-journalists, were viewed as consumer-grade fluffcrap.  Linux/Unix made the telephone system work, and now, it makes the internet work (sort of..).  My Rails 5.2 server is running nicely/proving useful - got it working in SSL mode (w. self-signed certs), but it remains unclear how to install sane record-locking so multiple simultaneous updates on DB frames can be done correctly. <sigh..>

[Oct. 2, 2018] - Read the Kepler paper on how they used TensorFlow to classify exoplanet candidates based on the light-curve data from the Kepler star survey, and a training-set of human-astronomer identified exoplanets and false-positives (generated, for example, by eclipsing binary stars). A convolutional neural-network is trained using this training set, and then that network is used against the full Kepler data to search for additional exoplanets, identified by v-shaped downspikes in the light-curve data - which are termed "TCE's" - threshold crossing events.   The researchers used their trained network to run against the full population of Kepler light-curve observations, and found a bunch more candidate exoplanets.  It is a neat bit of work.  But it is also a bit of a "bottle of smoke", since their training data (which indicates "actual exoplanets vs. false positives") is only an opinion-base of researchers assertions - we don't know if the light-curve down-spikes really are exoplanets or not, and what we don't know for sure if their "false positives" really are false positives or not.  But still, the technique is clever, since you can perhaps teach the machine to work at least as good as the best-judgement of qualified experts.  And lets be clear - the *really* interesting exoplanets - the Earth-sized ones - make *very* small TCE down-deltas when they are orbiting at a life-sustaining distance away from their small, Sun-sized stars.    I am hoping I can get more detail on how these guys actually built their CNN (convolutional neural network).  I'd like to know in detail, how they built the TensorFlow data input pipeline.  The Kepler paper is here:

Also got MPlayer built and working on new box. A thing of note:  All the doc on the net talks about /dev/dvd as the DVD device.  But on a CentOS-7 box, the DVD device is /dev/sr0.  So, give that you have compiled and built MPlayer with libdvdread and libdvdnav, as well as the other little gem you need, you can then play a DVD full screen :

    mplayer -fs dvdnav:// -mouse-movements  -dvd-device /dev/sr0

Note: Your DVD device might be: /dev/dvd.   I had *no* /dev/dvd on my system, with the new Linux kernel (4.18.11).

[Oct. 1, 2018] - I just realized I am in direct competition with Microsoft. Blush  I am building a research-box that runs on Linux, no virtualization, and has fast Windows emulation.  Seems to work, once I got a new drive.  I bought a WD 1Tb NAS-grade unit ("colourcode":red => 5400 rpm instead of the colourcode:blue WD drives, which are 7200 rpm, and are cheaper, but fail sooner.)  NAS-grade drives (for Network-Access Storage devices that run 24/7 365days/yr) are slower, more expensive, but have longer MTBF. Paid the extra 20 bucks at Yoshiwara's.  Installed in the box, ran dps-scan from new BIOS, (ran for 2 1/2 hrs), and installed CentOS-7.4, which has kernel is 3.10. I used ELRepo site to download & install latest "mainline-stable" kernel, Linux 4.18.11.  And started all over from scratch to build the perfect *production* box.  Got it roughly done (equivalent to the top screen (from experimental box) at about 5:00am this morning.  WINE built and runs well.  Built Lynx and the tls stuff, libzmq, Python, MPlayer, DOSemu, yasm, slang, and a little basic interpreter I forked from github and am building for a tiny SBC.  Ran, got PIP, and downloaded  the Python modules needed to do math and make images.  Also installed LibreOffice this time, and hacked around with "Calc" and "Writer".  Some tailoring was needed, but I built a work-grade document (mixed text and hand-drawn graphics), and migrated some financial spreadsheet stuff from a Windows box, and confirmed it all works. Amazing.

The resulting box and environment just kicks, and beats out Windows10 and Apple <insert-mountain-name-here> OS/X style machines, both of which I own & sometimes have to use (and fight with).  What surprised me was how well LibreOffice works.  It's a tad complex (like Krita, for example), but it offers operational advantage.  I learned Linux CUPS and installed and then removed drivers for HPCP1215 laser printer (which only works on a Windows-8 box, because of HP software trickery, which disables black-ink printing if a colour toner cartridge becomes empty.)  

Excellent site for those struggling with the "tar-pit of complexity" that RedHat stuff seems to have become. I built my first RedHat webserver back in the 1990's (but got shutdown by the OSC's rules re. non-stockbrokers giving financial advice).  Running a production RHEL server now must be a challenge.  The site below documents some of the grief folks now face.  Everyone now needs to be a wizard.

Spent much of the day reading stuff about Linux history and current grief-points ( like the systemd garbolfoonnery of complexity - So a giant bag of *many* coded binary bags is better than init-scripts that a human-being can read and change (& fix)?  Sure about that?  Looks like an "Employment Security Act" for RedHat employees...)  Great site, lots of info.   And the "Tarpit of RedHat" page link below is actually very useful - has a section downpage which details steps one can take to harden a production RedHat server.  CentOS-7.4 (and I suppose RHEL-7 also?) has this brown-storm of running daemons, which makes a "ps aux" about 5 pages long.  Even a poly-thumbed hammer-hacker like me can tell it's just a bit too much.  Dr. Bezroukov's site is a treasure-trove of useful information.

[Sept. 29, 2018] - Downloaded Linux kernel 4.18 (latest stable from and ELRepo), and latest stable built of WINE (3.16) - deployed kernel, and ./configured and built/installed WINE successfully from soure - about 3 or 4 times, in various ways.  In *all* cases, WINE (and even "winecfg" in Xwindows), returns: "bus error (core dumped)", which is the machine trying to address something out in null-space where nothing can be found. In my case, hacking it down, looks to be a bad disk. (Update: It was.) Flash'ed a new BIOS (latest from HP, circa 2015) into the HPdc7900.  Ran the 'dps' disk-check/verify (from the BIOS - before Linux even loads) - and dps reports error "7", which translates as a read-error.  Dps says very clearly: "Your disk is bitched.  Go buy a new one."  (I did.)  Disk file-system is "xfs", the famous Silicon Graphics f/s which is pretty good.  Booted Linux "Rescue", umounted /dev/sda1 and ran "xfs_repair", and it reported all was ok. (It wasn't.)  And Firefox, Jupyter and a bunch of other stuff is all running *fine*.  But WINE died screaming every single time.  WINE - and everything else - runs fine on the experimental box (an almost exact copy of the HPdc7900), except it is an HP-Compaq PRO 6200, with a 4-core Intel processor (the HPdc7900 is a 2-core 3.00ghz Intel cpu).  The first image at top is from the 6200, where everything runs now (Linux kernel is 4.14, SELinux policy file updates done to fix DAC error blizzard, and setroubleshoot problems).   But the "bus error (core dumped)" thing is worse than a "segmentation fault", and looks to be because of a hard disk read-error. (It was.)  Even building all of WINE on a USB stick, and running it from there, generates this nasty awful error.  So, looks like I fire up the F-150, and drive into the Emerald City, and buy a new 1-TB drive (smallest they sell now, at Yoshiwara's Computer Emporium).  ($79.99, WD-Red-NAS)

Oh, yes.  Does your Linux fling "TPM kacks, cannot do the PCR thing..." errors at boot?  Wanna know *exactly* what this means?  Found this good read from Univ. of Eindhoven in Euroland...  "Da nasty scales uh ignorance done dropped from my eyes, and da good lite uh knowledge did finally shine thru da glass darkly..."  (I think the Cheech Wizard said that..)  The solution to the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) fail, is to enable TPM in the BIOS.  

[Sept. 27, 2018] - Bit of an exercise, but got the new HPDC box running 64-bit CentOS 7.4 (but with the original 3.10 kernel, not the 4.15 kernel on the experimental box).  Built Lynx, DOSemu, varrious security libs, Python 2.7 and slang from source, made pip with, and installed about 20 modules into Python using pip, including Jupyter and Ipython.  Still need to build WINE (WINdows Emulator - which is not actually an emulator), but it looks doable.  There is a funny bug where Firefox 52.2 (ESR) reports it is *not* the default browser, but if you have "firefox.desktop" in the user Desktop dir, it all works ok (ie. Jupyter hands the keys to the browser correctly, and you can log into the Jupyter in-session server seemlessly.). (Tried a bunch of xdg-settings fiddles, but no effect). 

So, back to where I was back in Jan. of this year. I want to build TensorFlow from source, import it into Python, and replicate what is running on the experimental CentOS74 box.  The idea is then to use a modern codebase (in 64-bit-land) to replicate the APL stats & simulator/robot-trader tools and AI thing I have built with Xerion, but which runs in 32-bit-land.  The Jupyter/Python stuff works ok, example shows the 1 million randoms histogram, generated and displayed in real-time in a Firefox browser window (right), using a small interactive Python program, and the in-session webserver started with "jupyter notebook", and running in left (black xterm) window.  A rather kinky approach, but it seems to work.

[Sept. 26, 2018] - Find I am using Linux for most work now, and I miss the old 32-bit NSYS (CentOS-6.6) box that died, with it's ancient IDE Maxtor.  I used it for real work.  The video-research box is in the living room (guess why..), so in the office/lab, have to do another build.  This time, a development-focused CentOS-7.4 box, but will try KDE instead of Gnome for desktop. Running 2605 packages onto a Seagate 500gb drive.  (The CentOS-7.4 image above shows Gnome 3 desktop running financial/economic prgms, with current kernel).  This is all old, state-of-the-shelf technology, but I have requirements for backward compatability with old DOS and Windows stuff.  Note: I had curiously difficult time telling the CentOS 7.4 installer to just wipe the old hfs disk partitions from the Seagate drive.

[Sept. 25, 2018] - Ethernet card in gateway box went wonky.  Wiggle the RJ45 plug, it would work, (and the LAN would lite up...), let go, and the lights (and data!) would go out.  Hilarious. It took *hours* to track it down...  Replaced the bad card which had the loose socket with a "new" (old) Intel card.  LAN runs faster.  Did another kinky trick.  Grabbed the Cydia "Samba" stuff (2 daemons and some monitoring/setup progs), and installed to the old iPad.  Had to run "ldid <prgm-name> -S" on each of the installed Samba binaries, so they would run.  ("ldid <programname> -S" lets unsigned executables run on the jailbroken iPad).  I use the iPad as a flat-panel Linux box.  But as a file-server for music and videos?  (It actually works not bad, if you have a local WiFi that is quick.){#smileys123.tonqueout} 

Have not found any decent open-source (Cydia) CIFS client software for the iPad, but the "smbd" and "nmbd" daemons work, and I can mount a Samba share (basically the whole iPad filesystem as read-only access) from any Linux box.  So a big directory of videos on the iPad can be served up to any Linux device, with "mount -t cifs -o user=root  -r // IPAD" assuming you have created the IPAD mount point, and the is your iPad's static IPv4 value.  You edit the "/etc/smb.conf" file on the jailbroken iPad to set the share-names and their access restrictions.  What is comical, is how well the old 2010 vintage iPad (First Generation) works as a file server.  On the iPad, you can start a terminal session, and enter: "smbstatus", and you get a nice table of who is logged into the iPad, and what files they have locked for viewing.

[Sept. 22, 2018] - Gotta refactor this site soon - getting slow...  Marathon backups got most stuff slotted onto the little Dlink RAID-box. Tired of tech for a while.  Spent last 24hr biking & reading Nihon fiction - Haruki Murakami's "Hear the Wind Sing" & "Pinball".  I really liked Pinball.  I've read most of Murakami's stuff, back around 2K+1-4, in T.  Weird time it was - busy/not-busy, 9/11, farm deal, folks died, gf's went u/s... then teaching, then radiance-tech project c/w lotsa thermal neutrons and BTI dosimeters registering success and trace T3.  NETTGLO, eh?  As one grows, fantasy morphs to memory, it seems.  Picked up a new nickel-plated Norinco NP-29 few months back - price was too good to pass up.  Had to replace a clocking extractor, but now she runs smooth as a Pinball Wizard.  Perhaps a use-case for the Chinese USB sticks presents itself here...?  (I *really* like the Nickel-Norc.  Here's a pic. of her on the desk, at right..  Some China stuff is really very fine.  They are getting better.  Strength thru the Joy of Wealth, I guess.)

[Sept. 21, 2018] - Can't trust the little USB sticks.  WIth big files, they fail "diff" tests on created files that are > 1gb, and they fail *randomly*.  (Two different copy actions result in two different MD5 hashes - each different from the source!) Oh my.  Like the way MacBooks do floating-point.  Most of the time, it sorta-works.  But maybe not 100%...  Guess that is good enough for folks now, eh?  I had an expensive quartz-tuning Technics receiver go U/S completely this AM - dead as a road-killed toad.  Pulled a 1970's era "Ravel" pure-analog receiver out of the closet, complete with it's *wooden* case, wired it up and fired it up.  Works fine.  Nice sound. Big transistors, wide as a thumbnail, held down with screws.  I know I'm sounding like an old guy here, but our modern tech is not doing the job, is it?   

Also dug up a new-in-box Dlink-DNS-323 Samba-box, and a couple of shrink-wrapped 1TB matched Seagate drives - slid 'em in and config'ed a two-disk NFS RAID box, (Mirrored, not striped).  It's little blue-light LED glows and flickers happy as I dump bytes to it.  To mount with modern CentOS 7.4, you might have to tweak the version of the server-message-block code to see it.  But after a bit of fiddling, I have all the machines seeing it.  It tests out 100%.  I checked it by copying a bunch of big .tar files and then running diff on source vs target, and everything reported "identical". 

[Sept. 20, 2018] - Another WTF-moment in my Adventures-in-Dumperland. A big Android-NDK tar-file failed "diff" check after backup copy.   (My first computer when I was a tiny child, was a DECsystem 20/20, and we had to make backup-tapes using a tool called "Dumper", DEC's version of "tar").  I copied all my Android stuff to a 32gb USB stick.  The app big files (the .apk's and such), all checked-out ok.  So, then I started up a cp session to copy all the *.tar files to the little stick, and we went to Costco to get some steak, Brie-cheese, gyoza, and plutonium. (Just kidding on that last one.)   The first .tar (a biggish ndk-linux for x86..) checked ok with diff, but the 1.2 gb Android SDK for linux failed diff test ("... files differ."), and generated completely different Md5 hash values.  Oh my!  I umount the stick, and run "e2fsck /dev/sdb1" (all this work is on the new(er) machine, which sees the USB stick as "sdb", rather than "sdc" for the borked NSYS box which has two HD's).  The USB's ext2 filesystem reports clean.  But the copied SDK binary file differs from the sourcefile, as do several others.   Everything *looks* ok, and no errors are reported during copy.  So basically, I need a "copy with verify".  And the USB sticks really are NFG.  I will have to build a RAID-box, and run it as a network storage for backup use.  Got a NIB Dlink 323 box, and a couple of 1TB Seagates, still in shrinkwrap.  Will set that stuff up as a 2-disk RAID.  If I can get my own PGP encrypter prgms running, I can maybe use AWS/cloud backup also.

[Sept. 19, 2018] - After a bit of flailing around - I determined a working protocol for copying to USB sticks:  Used "fdisk /dev/sdc" to remove existing vfat32 partition, wrote a Linux (type 83) ext2 partition (no journalling) as primary partition #1, started it at cyl 16, and used the ending cyl as default.  Wrote the new partition, and exited fdisk.  Then, used "mke2fs -t ext2 /dev/sdc1" to format the stick.  After format completes, it is critical to run "partprobe /dev/sdc" to make Linux kernel aware of new partition.  Remove and re-insert the stick.  Then: "mount -t ext2 -o sync /dev/sdc1 /SDISK", which mounts the USB stick  with write-cache not enabled.  This has worked.  Since I am not rebooting the machine, it was critical to have "partprobe /dev/sdc".  I had to find that program in /NSYS/sbin, as it was not in the Linux rescue image sbin.  Many previous attempts resulted in scrambled file-systems, which appeared to be ok, but failed when "diff" or "md5sum" was used to verify the files.  It is critical that the "partprobe" be correctly run, otherwise the kernel will merrily use what it thinks is the disk "geometry" and block-tables, and you will get results that may look like they worked, but your data can be wildly wrong, and the directories corrupted.  Make sure to run "e2fsck /dev/sdc1"  and *also* check that large files are being copied correctly, with either diff or something like a hash-calc'r (I used "md5sum").  I transfered the source-tree for ImageMagick from NSYS, and built it on the new machine.  It ran and installed OK, so I am confident that the USB stick now works.  I've also migrated a bunch of *.tar.gz files - including Python, which I built from source (and enabled openssl by removing the comment-out "#"'s in the Makefile for it.  SSL has to be enabled for the "" Python prgm to be run to bootstrap "pip", which you need to get numpy, scipy, scikit, matplotlib and jupyter.  The "pip install jupyter" ran to completion, and I was able to draw a gaussian histogram of 1 million random numbers from within Jupyter Notebook + Firefox browser, so the new box seems to be working.

[Sept. 18, 2018] - problem here is I cannot reboot the broken NSYS box, may loose disk,and the partition changes I make to USB stick are not being seen by kernel.  Tried partprobe, hdparm and blockdev. CentOS/RHAT recommends "partx" (will try when current copy experiment ends).  Memo: The little NAND USB sticks are crap technology, I fear.  To get then to work, you mount with "-o sync" option.  A 500 mb file copy can take 40 minutes. This is a bit silly.

[Sept. 17, 2018 PM] - determined to crack this, as USB stick only thing I can get mounted on NSYS box.  Four tries.  This time, used only "parted" (partition editor), and wiped partition and redefined it at ext2 from parted prgm.  Ran e2fsck to confirm filesystem clean.  Been able to put all /HOME directories on first 32gb stick ok, except /home/android_dev, which has the android-sdk-linux, and many large (> 1 gb) system image files.  Looks like its working ok this time.  I've created on USB stick all files from /home except android_dev - copy now in progress.   Was able to migrate the Rails server stuff using a WD-BOOKdrive (but it's only 500 meg), but lots of /usr/local/src stuff remains that has not been copied from logical drive /root.  Complexity of modern software is high.  But I don't think many people are getting more value for the time-costs that are required.  The dollar-costs are low, but the time that is destroyed banging on a problem that was solved 50 years ago (ie. systemic backups of critical systems), seems high. (Lots of .java files...) Whistle

[Sept. 17, 2018 AM] - Curious.  The backup to the USB stick looked fine - except for the stuff deep in system-images in android-sdk-linux.  DIrectory "system-images" was empty (!)  When I tried to manually create files in it, all I got was "input/output error".  Running "e2fsck /dev/sdc1" produces thousands of inode errors.  Back to square one.  Curious that this is so very difficult. Looks like the journalling feature (that makes an ext2 into an ext3 filesystem)  damages the USB's operation.. Umounted, and running "e2fsck /dev/sdc1 -y" (fixing the dtime and clearing the compression bit on about 1 million nodes).  The fsck looks to have wiped out the ext3 journal, but the stick can be mounted as ext2, and all the files appear to be there and readable.  Spot-checks showed most ok.  Now running the long e2fsck.  

[Update:] - More research. Looks like using ext2 on USB for Linux partitions is the way to go. But you must ensure you "umount" right.  Confirmed I have a single, correct Linux (type 83) partition table on USB. Reformatted the stick with "mke2fs /dev/sdc1"  (no '-j' option). Then, mounted, copied some dirs, umounted, and checked stick with "e2fsck /dev/sdc1" and it reports clean. Doing this sequence for a few directories at a time.  Confirmed my Panda/sim stuff (a complete DecSystem20 emulator, running TOPS-20, with a 500mb RPO7 disk image) copied over fine, ran "diff" to confirm USB-stick and rescue-recovered /HOME dir version are isometric. Also, various .android device images appear to be copying successfully. 

[Sept. 16, 2018] - Backups.  Using USB sticks. In Linux.  Do this:  Stick the USB stick in the USB port on your Linux box (my NSYS box, running a rescue ver. of CentOS 6.6 from the CD). The 32 gb USB 2.0 stick I bought indicated compatible with Linux 2.6.31 and up. On CentOS 6.6, running "uname -a" reports kernel version 2.6.32-504", so we are good.

I've got /dev/mapper/vg_nsys-lv-home mounted as /HOME and the root logical volume mounted as /NSYS using Rescue Linux that booted from CD.   I wiped the FAT32 partition table from the USB stick as follows, to create new Linux partition. From Bash prompt on rescue Linux, running as root:  Run "dmesg" to confirm USB stick seen by Linux.  Mine was /dev/sdc.  So:  "fdisk /dev/sdc".  Then, c to toggle DOS-partion-mode off, n for new partition, select type=Linux (number 83), and choose 1 partition, with defaults (start cyl: 2, end cyl: 29000 were defaults for a 32 gb USB stick)).  Use w cmd to write partition table to the stick.

Then, make (ie. format) the ext3 filesystem.  (I used ext3 for backwards compatability). "mke2fs -j /dev/sdc1".  The -j means use ext3 journal stuff.  Label the USB stick with "e2label /dev/sdc1 MY_LABEL".  Run "blkid" and "df" to confirm.  Then, "mount /dev/sdc1 /SDISK" where SDISK is mount-point directory for the stick. Then, cd to the logical volume that you have mounted that has your needed files, and copy it all to the stick.  My stuff was in /HOME, so cd to that structure, and: "cp -v -p -r * /SDISK".  I have about 27 gigabytes of stuff (the Android dev environment is big, for example, as it has device images), so the copy will run for *hours*, but should fit on the stick.  (My first attempt failed, as I had not created proper partition table for Linux (ext3) on the USB stick.)  When it completes, check some big files with: "diff /HOME/bigfile /SDISK/bigfile -s" which will report files identical if they actually are.  Maybe confirm you can mount and get files from the stick also.  

[Update/Note: The above appeared to work fine, but some directories were missing.  And 'e2fsck /dev/sdc1" reported (after umount of the USB stick), produced a blizzard of bad inodes.

[Sept. 14, 2018] - And the new Rails 5.2 server is up and running, with my sqlite3 database "active-record-linked" to it via my little app and it's Ruby/Rails .erb and .rb programs. I can query and update my pages from my iPad, Winbox, MacBook, Android-tablets and Linux laptops or boxes.  Whew.  Thought it was history after the NSYS Maxtor went skanky.

Rails 5.2 is different than the Rails 4.x stuff, and getting it all running on a new box was more effort than expected.  Still have to tweak-in the ssl stuff.  Hint: if you've setup your experimental Ruby/Rails web-server, and the little guy is not visible on your LAN, here are three things to remember:

1): start Rails with it's listening binding to (not your box's IP #), and note that production images are slotted into ../public/assets, not ../app/assets/images (which will work in development mode, but *not* in production).  You can use "rake" to precompile .jpg's to tweak performance if you've got lots of pics..  

2): Make sure to open your tcp listening port in the iptables INPUT chain (the Linux complex firewall on CentOS) *before* the typical final "reject everything" entry in that chain. (Or your box will stay invisible to even your other LAN boxes).  Inspect the iptables firewall tcp listening ports with: "iptables --line -vnL", and after your change remember to run "service iptables save", or you changes will be lost when the server is shutdown. (A fine example provided by Silver Moon: )

3): Keep security tight (keep SELinux set to enforcing, don't open ports you don't need, monitor your /var/log/secure logfile, montor IP traffiic ...), so the script-kiddies don't mess with your box or use it for bitcoin mining.  (And forget bitcoin mining.  You can have more profitable fun using the public stock markets, and trading against those who run insurance companies and pension funds, even if the nanobot-algoboxes kick ya every now and then..)

Oh, also make sure to test your server by yanking out the plug while it is all running fine, and then rebooting, and restarting with "rails server -b -p 80 -e production" (or whatever config you have chosen), and make sure it all fires back up without issues.

And, uh... do lots of backups, eh?  Big Grin

[Sept. 13, 2018] - This has turned into a major project.  I have recovered the files on the NSYS box, using the "rescue" option on the CentOS 6.6 boot dvd.  Basically, I skipped directly to the shell, and managed to mount both logical volumes (root & home) from the RAM version of CentOS, and used an old WD Book-drive (which had an .ext4 file sys on it), mounted with "mount /dev/sdc1 /NSYS" to grab critical files.   /NSYS becomes the mount point for the /dev./mapper/<yattayatta>root logical volume.  And I recovered my Ruby/Rails webserver and database.  But now the hard part: Building the Rails server on a big ASUS box. Got most of it working, except the node.js stuff, as I can't compile with gcc 4.4, need clang 3.4 at least. 

So, trying to build clang++ and it is comically difficult.  Got LLVM built, but the build for clang is crapping out at [47%], unable to find include file 'llvm/Option/'.  (Here is the fix: edit the ../include/clang/Driver/ file, find the include for "llvm/Option/", and just stick the full path name in front of "llvm".)  The Ruby/Rails server started as a lab experiment to verify some technology for a client's request.  But it morphed into a useful internal tool & database that I want to keep using.  The world is running on this massive mountain of constantly changing codebags, and the cost of using this "free" software is high, as the coin you spend to use it is time.  But curiously, the continous improvement - the constant change - is analogous to the "rapid-prototyping" model I exploited using various APLs.  And the return to languages like Ruby and Python (interpreters, with compiled parts for speed), is exactly what APL delivered, and is now recognized as a best-practice.  The more things change, the more they stay the same. 

I learned "cmake" (again).  Too bad no one has solved the "moving library" problem yet.  Reminds me of Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle".  All those lib files were here yesterday, but - **howl!** - today, they've just floated away!.  And your cmake/make build stuff won't run at all!  Here in 2018, software is not really much better, sadly.  (Except Python, maybe.  It seems to "just work".)   The "clang" build (failed at [95%] on the CXX linking of the clang executable) got fixed by tweaking the path to the LLVM StringSwitch.h file, deep in a program called "TransRetainReleaseDealloc.cpp"  (good name for a HeavyMetal band) in clang source dir ARCMigrate.

And then with a bit more machine-magic, I was able to nav to the Rails test dir, and "rails s" brought Ruby/Rails to life (see my new TV picture at screen right). 

[Sept. 12, 2018] - Ok, I don't hate Dracut.  Turns out you can catch the CentOS "Grub" boot screen, press "e", then downarrow to the vmlinuz image, press "e" again, and stick "rdshell" at the end of the vmlinuz boot line, press return, and then "b" to boot.  With a trashed "root" structure, this will half-boot the box, and drop you to a "Dracut" shell, which is basically a RAM filesystem running a tiny, crippled pre-boot Linux, used to sysgen your real image on the disk.  And from this little dwarf O/S, you can access your logical volume (with some "lvm" commands to Dracut, which can let you get to part of the physical disk.   Harald's witchcraft stuff is: (at the "dracut/#" prompt:)  "lvm vgscan" then "lvm vgchange -ay" and then "blkid".  This cryptic sequence will give you a list of your logical volumes on your physical disk.  And (WHOO HOO), you can actually "mount" some of these (maybe, depending on the damage to the disk's ext4 superblocks), and then mount a usb stick, and use "cp -v -p -r <mount-point-on-buggered-disk> <mount-point-on-USB-stick>"   - in my case, what is on the "/dev/mapper(yattayatta)_home" logical volume, which is bloody good (since it has an entire Android development environment for one of the APL apps I built..   I *cannot* mount the /dev/mapper..._root  lvm though, which is why the grief.  After mounting the source (as /HOME) on the damaged disk, and the target on the USB stick (as /BOOK/home_l2nsys), I can run a cmd from "dracut" which is basically:  "cp -v -p -r /HOME/android_dev  /BOOK/home_l2nsys "  which should copy the android development structure from the buggered Maxtor drive, to the USB stick, which can then be copied onto the new CentOS 7.4 box which has a secondary 1-TB drive.  (One issue - the USB stick is built with a vfat filesystem.  I may have to get a new one, and build it with ext4..  But at least I appear to be able to recover part of the pooched Maxtor disk.  It would be nice if Dracut would let me get to a network card, but I have found no google-doc that tells how to do that... [Later edit: May need to get a really big USB stick - android_dev has these userdata.img and systemdata.img files, each of which is basically an entire virtual "android device".  And each one seems to be many gigabytes!]  The "cp" cmd has been running now for *hours*!)

On a happier note, I successfully installed the Adobe Flash 31.x plugin on my CentOS-7.4 box's Firefox 52.2.  My Ruby/Rails webserver looks like it may be lost forever in the Nsys (6.6) box crash, but the experimental video-server stuff  (built using fine old Apache), is running ok, and I can now serve and render videos easily using Firefox 52 on the CentOS-7.4 box.  Also, copied the entire experimental video webserver to another, offline box. <big sigh...>

Moral of this sad story:  "Do yar fooking backups, lad! Otherwise, yar beein a lazy dumb-arse!"   In two words:  "Do backups!"  Shocked

 [Sept. 11, 2018] - The CentOS-7.4 box needed a fix.  Turns out the Firefox 52.2 ESR browser had wonky sound - Yootoob sort-of works, but most other websites - which have sound attached - would not render right.  ( A good test for complex rendering? url: which shows an animated fat guy with gold, falling and speaking...)  Some audio-visual stuff on the web is in a legal gray zone (some code has patents, but unclear if these are legally enforcable, based on both prior-art, and on precedents that support scientific inquiry - ie. patents are not supposed to stifle and impair science research).  You can fix audio-broken Firefox 52.2 by installing "ffmpeg", a video/audio converter, and it's related development libraries. Once these libs are installed and correctly pointed-to, Firefox runs right (almost). But you need to install epel, and config the rpmfusion repository to be active.  Then you can "yum install  ffmpeg ffmpeg-devel", and a truckload of code will be installed.  And you *need* it all, for stuff to work right.  I'll put the details somewhere soon.

[Sept. 9, 2018] - All the best information can usually be boiled down to two-word sentances.  Eg;  Fiat lux.  Jesus wept.  Keep going.  Don't stop.  Be good.  Stay strong.  Look out! - and that old Anglo-Saxon expression we all know and love (that starts with "F").  Best advice my second flying instructor gave me (as he was exiting the A/C, and I was about to do my first solo flight): "Don't crash." Wink  Given the continued expansion of US M1 (money supply - see latest chart in "Economics 2018" tab), I am thinking my market advice is similar: "Won't crash".

[Sept. 4, 2018] - Look at the "Stars and Space" tab, and see the false-colour image of the north-polar region of Saturn, with the amazing Hexagon-of-Hyper-Typhoons. Reminds me of Blue Oyster Cult, who explained: "It's the nexus of the crisis, the origin of Storms". 

[Aug. 31, 2018] -  Best Growing Year Ever - here at the farm.  Amazing weather has allowed three crops to be taken so far, with this Aug. 31st image at right, showing a 4th crop growing well.  Canada loves the "new climate", eh?  You don't get rich in agriculture, but it is a model which is well understood, and with a bit of care and attention to detail, can be run with happy efficiency, and generally successful outcomes.  As Lou Reed said:  "There are problems in these times.  But, hey!, none of them are mine!"  Big Grin

[Aug. 29, 2018] - Well, it's been a lovely summer, 3 crops so far off the farm, with a fourth growing like terraform-weeds.  Amazing - sometimes all the numbers line up;  Perfect growing weather this summer.   That M1 chart from St. Louis Fed is the big datapoint.  Can't fight that.  The micro-moves suggest hardball strength, and too much cash on the sidelines. As Paul Simon says: "Who am I to blow against the wind?" 

I've got the tech-stuff working well. DIsabled libvirtd on my video-player 6.6 box with "chkconfig libvirtd off".  And downloaded latest SQLite3 snapshot source for the research box, and built it from source. You can use it to sanitize the "moz_places" table in the Firefox <yattayatta>.default directory (filename: places.sqlite), by removing websites that it has tracked (F-Fox keeps a table of *every* website you have ever visited..).  Eg. if you are doing risky research (think: fuel for your Topaz thermoelectric gen-set), or latest developments in the PU-Thorium fuel cycle (hint: India has a working Thorium reactor), you might want to sanitize your browsing history. for security reasons.  Why Thorium?  It is one of those revolutionary technologies - fission power without too much dirty rads.. 

Thorium is actually quite magical. It's the "secret sauce" in vaccum tubes, painted on the glowing cathode heaters, that lowers the Langmuir work-function, so electrons literally "boil" off the hot wire with glee.  Like all great discoveries, it was a happy accident.   The GE tests at Schenectady labs in the late 'teens, were not even supposed to include the Thorium. It gives tubes their low-cost magical transconductance.  (I have this amazing re-gen radio circuit that uses a single 6.3 volt heater vacuum tube, running on only 40 volts DC.  It's like a piece of witchcraft, how well it works.)

The magic comes from element #90, Thorium, (or more accurately, thoria, the oxide of thorium) which wildly alters the "work-function" of the hot wire.  The single tube works as a hot diode.  See: Langmuir's 1923 article:   (this is only an abstract, sadly)

 For info on new Thorium fuel cycle in fission reactors: See: .

Returning to our sheep: For Windows boxes, just download the SQLite3 binaries & slot them in somewhere.  To remove a link from "moz_places":  Start SQLite3 with places.sqlite, then: "DELETE FROM moz_places where url like '%<put-url-here>%'; "  Don't forget the damn semi-colon at line-end, else SQLite3 prints three stupid dots.  (Why not print a semi-colon, guys?)  To list tables: ".tables".  To dump a table to a .CSV file: " .mode csv  / .headers on  / .out  myfilename.dmp / SELECT * FROM moz_places; / .exit ".   The / means press return.  The ".yatta" commands are SQLite commands. The original SQL stmts like SELECT and DELETE work.  Larry Ellison must be proud, eh?  SQL took over the world.  I guess the IBM folks must be pleased, too.

[Aug, 26, 2018] - I have a market forecast of the Dow-Jones Industrial Average falling to 18,950, by March of 2019.  [See the "Economics 2018" tab].  This number actually surprises me, but given the M1 data from the St. Louis Fed, coupled with 25% tarrifs, it actually looks quite possible.  It's a "back-of-the-envelope" calculation, but it looks both prudent and corrective.  See, the markets act, when the political folks won't or can't. (Eg. Oil prices.) We have to expect US zero-risk 10yr yields to move towards 4%, (from their almost 3% now), and stocks to offer 5.5% to 6% dividends (as they are much more risky).  Dow-Jones of 18,950 is only 26.5% below our Friday Aug. 24th close of 25,790.35, so we are just looking at a normal correction, really.  And it will be a correction that restores market economics, like oil going from $140/bbl to $40/bbl (since a lot of mid-east oil only costs $15 to $20/bbl to pump).  Markets do a good job of restoring sanity, when things get silly.

[Aug. 25, 2018] - The CentOS-7.4 box is pretty stable now, and is turning out to be useful and nice to use.  I now have all the apps from the CentOS 6.6 box running on the 64-bit CentOS-7.4 box.  (screen image to the right).   Got the C-Basic interpreter working with LOAD and SAVE cmds.  I want to add vectors to it (like APL uses.)  Been spinning thru astronomy stuff (need to get that Kepler planet study and see how they did it), and had a look at some of the research on Neptune (see the "Stars & Space" tab - I added the two most amazing Voyager-2 pics from that flyby.)  Neptune is cold, but it has seasons, and is very beautiful.    Because it's surface temperature is only about 60 Kelvin above absolute zero, it's white clouds are thought to rain tiny diamonds.  Also, check out the photo of the Martian south-polar C02 erruptions, which make "araneiform terrain" formations - which are now called  "The Spiders from Mars" (!).  Also, an MRO pic of an ancient, dry riverbed - basically a Martian "canal".  There apparently is a lot of water-ice on Mars.  So, as long as we take a good supply of gin and tonic, some O2, and a few air-tight tents, we should be OK, if we get on board an E.Musk-BFR. (Oh, right.  Gotta bring a Topaz thermo-electric gen-set, and a bag of Pu-pellets...)

[Aug. 24, 2018] - Here is the most useful one-line shell script I have ever written.  Took hours to find how to do this..  I just wanted a desktop icon on my Gnome 3.22 screen (the top-level GUI on CentOS 7.4) to start a terminal session, run a BASH shell-script that runs an on-screen-watchable batch-job (so I can monitor if job is working), and then ends, but leaves the xterm window open so I can confirm if things ran ok.  You just edit the exec= line in your Gnome .Desktop (active icons) directory to invoke this BASH script, which is two lines:

gnome-terminal --disable-factory --geometry 175x50 --zoom=1.5 --tab --title='Get the Data using Lynx' --command="bash -c 'cd /home/myuserid/lynx; /home/myuserid/lynx/; $SHELL'"
# --- you just enter 'exit' to close the Gnome xterm window, when done...

The above just cd's to the needed directory (~/lynx) and then runs the shell script there that does the work (  Call this file RunItNow, make it executable, and make an icon in /home/myuserid/Desktop that has the "exec=" line set to "exec=RunItNow" in the RunItNow.Desktop file, and you have a clickable icon that will pop open a terminal window, run your job (and report what it is doing into the just opened xterm window), and then leave the window open so you can spot-check if things ran right.  This works on CentOS 6.6, and on CentOS-7.4 with --disable-factory and --title parms removed, and --geometry and --zoom are not needed (gnome xterm window is a sane size).  Gnome 2.28 on CentOS 6.6 is more flexible, but Gnome 3.22 on CentOS 7.4 works, and flys like the wind, since the 7.4 box is a 64-bit Intel 4-core i3, versus the ancient production 32-bit workhorse that runs 6.6.  

Also note: If your CentOS 7.4 box is kacking .with ABRT's on failure to run the SELinux "setroubleshootd" python program, due to the two SELinux policy-files problem (you will have two policy files in /etc/selinux/targeted/policy - .30 and .31 - because of an upgrade bork), you can fix this by updating your SELinux core policy library and programs, with just an single "yum" command:  As root, run:  "yum update policycoreutils", the SELinux targeted policy stuff will be upgraded, and the "selinuxtroubleshootd" daemon will run again ok (and you will be back to seeing the "dac_read_search" errors pop-up on a regular basis due to the new, tighter, tougher and more secure Linux kernel. (See Dan Walsh's note below for explanation why.)

But, if you have  tweaked SELinux booleans, you will have to re-tweak, as your changes will *not* be preserved. (Bit-fiddle the SELinux booleans from cmd-line with:  "setsebool -P <the_boolean_to_change> <1 or 0>".  (Make sure to use "-P" option or the SELinux boolean changes will vanish when you shutdown the machine! (Why would "Lets throw away all this guy's boolean security edits!", be the default option, FFS?)   Inspect the SELinux booleans with "getsebool -a | less"  (which will use "less" to flip the result into a vi-session so you can page up and down and read the damn things).

If you are running CentOS-7.4 and are curious why you are getting "dac_read_search" AVC (access violation checks) from SELinux, Dan Walsh, explains why here in one of the best-written technical articles I have read in years:

 [Aug. 21, 2018] - I've gotten so annoyed with modern hyper-bloatware, that I am writing my own Basic interpreter in C - but with floating point, of course.  Project started as a hack to put a TinyBasic-like thing on an SBC (single-board computer), but the project has morphed to something I might use elsewhere, since I now have the floating-point stuff working, and have installed a POW function.  It also keeps me from over-trading. I now have a working prototype of what is basically a simple stack-machine, running on my home-built Linux-kernel, and also on a modern CentOS 7.4 Linux, an Apple MacBook (using the C-lang stuff that is gcc compatible), and on a tiny WIndows-8 notebook, using the latest MinGW stuff (which actually works surprisingly well). 

Plus, I put a 32/64-bit multi-lib version of Wine (WINdows Emulator) on my CentOS 7.4 box which really works quite spiffy.  I also put Lynx and my custom home-brewed database stuff on it, and it all works, to my amazement. So all my old Windows-based analytics stuff gets to fly like Richard Russel, on a CentOS 7.4 box that runs like a a 4-core Tibetian windhorse.  I have this math stuff that used to just grind, but on the Linux box now skips along like an XB-70 Valkyrie, and completes in less than 5 to 7 seconds.  Great - except that it says I should buy a doomsday hideout in New Zealand, as this bull market is so long in the tooth, with it's FANGs so seriously extended, that we are in real danger of a serious shredding, once we get another 50 bps uptick on the long bond yield.   

Or maybe all my numbers are wrong - or premature?  Maybe economics will be trumped by politics, and rates will be held low, at which point, (to extend the aviation analogy), we may need to grow little germanwings, lest we feel the love of cumulo-granite, when the US-$ finally makes it's phase-jump to one-to-one parity with the yen. 

"Gimme a beer, I need to sober up."  (I really heard someone say that once, way back when I was in school... the lads had been drinking rum, you see...).  The global economy seems to be saying the same thing, right now.  Gray Cardiff's chart from "Sound Advice" shows it nicely. (See it in the "Economics 2018" tab)

[Aug. 19, 2018] - Strange times, strange month.  Historically, this time of year has been a risky time for equity markets.  As folks return from their vacations, and we move towards harvest season, they typically harvest their gains from the stock market.  But there seems to be more happening.  JPMorgan's chart shows that economic storms often begin this month.

[Aug. 9, 2018] - Reading about Martian glacial lakes of water, under the polar ice caps. Excellent.  Who cares if they have bugs?  Main thing is, Mars has a *lot* of water.  This is good, as it makes some terra-forming possible.  With a few BFR's, we can let the loading begin. Our species history is three steps forward, two or three back.  I'm researching long-wave history and more Bitcoin stuff.   Bitcoin is either a complete bogus scam, or perhaps a brilliant solution to money-starvation and associated falling real wage problem that is limiting global growth.  Still not sure.  

[Aug. 7, 2018] - Tonite, we watched a mother deer try to lure a coyote that was stalking her and her fawn, out into the middle of the alfalfa field, away from her fawn.  Her efforts were unsuccessful, she returned to the fawn, and she and it "high-tailed" it down the field, and hopefully away from the preditor(s).  Minutes later, I saw the coyote walking carefully down the side of the field.  Think life is tough in the big city?  The city is civilization.  Nature, which is so chock full of preditors, is much more challenging. It's survival of the fastest - both of foot and of rate of maturation.  Lesson: Move fast, get big quick, or you will die soon.  

[Aug. 2, 2018] - On July 25th, 2018, SpaceX launched the Falcon-9/Block-5 SpaceX rocket  successfully from Vandenburg Air Force Base, and delivered 10 more Iridium communications satellites to orbit.  Bravo SpaceX!  The future is being created by these guys.

[July 23, 2018] - Creative Destruction !     We need to respect the virtue and necessity of destructive Schumpeterian "storms".   Modern "Safety Nazism" (a term first used by the Auto industry in the 1970's), has become the dominate objective of Government policy.   Is this wise?  We need a new understanding of what Schumpeter and others have said. An aggressive reduction in the scale, extent and cost of delivering "government", would probably lead to both a somewhat more dangerous world, but also one in which there is *much* greater opportunity and self-stimulating economic growth.  The current expansion underway in USA (which contrasts to the stagnation and drift in hyper-social-welfare oriented Canada, for example), seems to bear out the truth of the assertion that "Less is More", when it comes to the toxicity of constant expansion of the  non-self-financed "Government" sector.  In Canada, despite our skills and factor endowments, we still run poorer, with typically double the rate of unemployment and half the rate of economic growth, than our neighbours to the south enjoy.  This needs to change.  We constrain Schumpeter's "gales", and we protect and restrict much human action here as well.  (Except drug abuse, apparently.)   This is perhaps an unwise strategy.   Cool

[July 19, 2018] - Visited a friend who has designed and built - from scratch - a Z80-based 8-bit computer. He used KiCAD, and had the circuit board etched and drilled in China, bought all the parts, and soldered it all together. He then wrote his own monitor program in 8-bit assembler, loads it thru a serial port via a terminal emulator running on his MacBook, which then brings his Z80 machine to life. I am in awe.  He gets a ">" prompt on the screen, and can load and run programs on the bare-metal.  No FPU and no mass-storage, but he can control an old-style joystick, and make it drive lights on a 2-digit LED display.  I have a physical, hacked-together "DOSbox" on my basement workbench, which runs MS-DOS 5.0, and can even read and play a CD-disk, but his accomplishment is far beyond my recycle-bin hackery.  The Z80 chip is actually quite expensive ($10 USD), as it is so old, it is almost antique-status.  But it is the tractability of the device he has built that makes it so wonderful.  There is no hidden "black-boxery" anywhere. The "Tiny" monitor program he wrote is a thing of austere beauty, written in 8-bit assembler.  I suppose he must also have written a translator that transforms (assembles? compiles?) the 8-bit machine-code into actual hex digits, and a simple packet-driver that is first loaded to bring the serial-port to life.  This is much more cool than even a Raspberry-Pi or an Arduino (which themselves are very cool things..)

[July 18, 2018] - Rome did not "fall" because Alaric sacked the city, or because the Rhine was left undefended and froze over.  It ended because it became a better deal to defend one's own borders, and make and enforce one's own laws, than it was to accept Roman civil authority & arbitrary Roman taxes.  Rome didn't fall, it's business-model just broke.  Will the EU suffer a similar fate?  

[July 13-14, 2018] - It just keeps getting weirder -too bad Hunter Thompson is not still with us.  The Dem's post-election ratboys have poofed up 12 Ruski badguys for CNN to talk about, and so Chuck Schumer wants Trump to cancel his Helsinki meeting with Putin. Of course, Trump will meet Putin.  Schumer should resign.

[July 12, 2018] - The "China-USA Trade War!" talk is just theatre. It's like a Kabuki play - lots of sound and fury and big foot-stomping formal positions - but it is for the fans at home.  If China wants to be the worlds richest nation, they will just have to learn to play fair, and not try to cheat all the time.  They should learn the wisdom of inaction - which historically, they were masters at.   Tarrifs are just a tax on your own people, and all tax hurts prosperity & restricts growth.  Everyone knows this, East, West, North & South. Picture to the right is my "Summer Office", where I am working building a road with a hand-shovel and a chain saw!  :D  (Moved the pretty sunset pics to "FeeSimple" section..)

[July 4, 2018] - Happy 4th July, USA!  Met a grad. from Waterloo on weekend who is on his way to new job @ Google in Californistan.  He has promised a .pdf on how to read in raw data for use in Tensorflow.  Would like to replicate my APL/Xerion BJV AI-Forecaster into Tensorflow - have the box, and built Tensorflow from source, but there is no actual usage doc. for it that I have found yet.  Asked on msg-boards & Stackbarf, but still no joy.  Oil broke $75 USD/bbl yesterday, before falling back.  Nice pattern, fairly clear signals now.  But we may need to adjust to a very different future world than what was expected. 

The USA-China trade imbalance is extreme and unsustainable. A broken and bankrupted USA dominated by a few Leftist-billionaires, and peopled by a great sea of low-paid/low-skilled no-future temp-workers & violent Spanish gangsters, is not what folks want to see as their future.  Change will have to come, no question.  Tarrifs and "trade-wars" are bad, but the real damage that has been done to the USA, has come from it's own Leftists.  Folks there know this.  That's why the US markets can keep rising, despite all the "tarrif-tantrums" happening.  Corrective measures are at least beginning to be taken, and real improvements are being made.  The world needs to throw away all the permissive bullsh/t and compassion-sickness nonsense of the 20th century, and get hard and disciplined again - especially here in North Am, where the Left has done so much profound economic damage - just as it did in Russia and Eastern Europe.  But this is not the "End of History..."  It is finally looking like it might be a real Beginning.   Markets will swing violently, but will trend higher, I suspect.

[June 26, 2018] - Above is a "Group of Seven" style image from my northern cottage.  Tom Thomson and other "Group of 7" Canadian artists painted these amazing images, with bright, garish colours - they were ridiculed and laughed at - but the image at right was taken with a Huawei cellphone, with *no* colour editing or post-processing.   The natural world can evidence amazing beauty. (See "FeeSimple" section now for sunset pics.)

[June 20, 2018] - There are these fake pictures of a "black hole eating a star" in all the science stories, based on an article in Science on "tidal disruption events" - basically the formation of energy-emitting accretion disks around black-holes.   Click on "Stars & Space" to see the actual, true "image" data (which is actually quite exciting and interesting...).

[June 4, 2018] - G7 is being L7.  World will have to get used to a new American model, where instead of having a "Lecturer-in-Chief", they have a traditional "Leader". I am not a Trump fan, but it is hard to argue with a 3.8% unemployment rate.   What is happening is exactly what the honest economists said would happen, if the too-high US corp. tax rate was reduced to something reasonable.  But this labour-mkt improvement is not happening during a runaway bubble (like Y2K), so it might be a lot more sustainable.  USA can annoy with its arrogance, but the place is a-rockin', and they don't need anyone to come-a knockin'!  The zietgeist is ugly, but the model is working.  Tough to argue against success.  But it has made me rethink my image of the Visigoth leader, Alaric.  Our histories were written by Christian Latinists.  What if Alaric was in actual fact, an honourable and wise man, reacting against a cruel, despotic and corrupt regime that *needed* to be brought down?  In rotulis de Rota Fortunae.  Mutare est semper.

[May 31, 2018] - Crazy-nice weather.  Some high-winds and minor rain from tropical storm Alberto, but rain was needed. Mkt volatility is also crazy, directly a result of competing AI's.  Best book I ever read was "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator", by Edwin LeFevre (the story of Jesse Livermore using pseudonym "Larry Livingston"). You can read that book four times, and when you read it the fifth time, you can still learn something new. The market action we are seeing now, is not at all new.  And the idiocy of modern government policy is also not new.  I have been researching cryptocurrencies, trying to answer the question: "Could the future see a cryptocurrency become the global reserve currency?"

[May 28, 2018] - Warm summer is finally here.  Boat in water, sunset on lake.  WTI Oil down to $66.29 USD/bbl (down $1.59 today, ie -2.34%).  Technology is working.  Life is fine.  Happy Memorial Day, US friends, family and clients!  Be good to those you love.

[May 22, 2018] - Weather stays cold, market stays hot. WTI Oil over $72/bbl (US), Cdn $ creeping north. Banks strong (& getting stronger).  Even uranium mining is heating up.

[May 17, 2018] - As my research suggested would occur, we are now seeing rising yields on long bonds synchronizing with a rising stock market, and rising asset values. The "Triskellion Trillium" is my latest discovery among the local alleles.

[May 15, 2018] - Tired, but I have the farm in shape.  Must return to the BJV forecaster.  My marketplace research keeps turning up surprising results.  The belief-sets held in the minds of many modern younger folks are scary and very dangerous.  A few years back, the Leftists captured the majority mind-share of the kids in schools, and we find now a curious,  toxic mixture of half-truthed Socialist dis-info seems to have taken deep hold - even in smart folks who should be able to see thru the basic lies of left-wing thinking.  The Left wants to "Tax and Rend", and perhaps that is why I chose to self-rusticate. 

Our governments are unable to take on nation-critical future-focused projects, and the bright young private-sector folks who should be "Building the Future" seem to be either paralyzed by bogus political dogma, or deluded by visions of their own personal greatness - unable to recognize any flaws in their own thinking, only in others.   They have zero capacity for self-reflection.  Such artificial self-confidence pre-programs wisdom-avoidance & ensures certain self-destruction.  I keep seeing this model, over and over.  And I keep seeing the train-wrecks and planes-flown-into-the-ground that result from this increasingly common lack-of-self-honesty. 

Is Humanity condemned to repeat (and now amplify) the same errors with each new generation?  Must the majority of both public-sector and private-sector projects always be exploding disasters, like the cheap-thrills endings of James Bond films?  The only place I see serious beauty, quality and genius-level skills being deployed these days, is in weaponry, thievery and modern surveillance systems.  :/   My BJV Forecaster thing seems to work, and yet I fear it could just be an exercise in teratology, if the Governmentalist-gangsters manage to destroy all future opportunity. 

My farm has a unique allele of Trillium, which I have named the "Blood Trillium", as its petals are blood-red, and slightly deformed.  It is dramatically beautiful. Perhaps it is also a portent of the terrible conflict that I see ahead of us all.

[May 6, 2018] - Completed cleanup from ice-storm damage, and then we had major windstorm which knocked over numerous old-growth trees in forest. Lost power, ran farm on generator.  I was in the forest, using chainsaw to cut down ice-storm damaged tree, as the rain began, line-winds ran up to 120 kph+ in gusts, and then took down trees around me.  Standing there with my little white hard-hat, amid ropes and winches, I felt a tad foolish.  I managed to get my target tree dropped safely without it destroying my power line (the critical objective!).  It is different actually being in the middle of a storm versus looking out of a window at it.  One gets a different perspective. 

[Apr. 28, 2018] - My IP advisors (unofficial so far, just chats..) say I should hush up about what I have been doing..  The future may be dark.   Hoping to investigate the Kepler research (which uses TensorFlow).  The open-source approach is best, in both science and software.

[Apr. 23, 2018] - Happy St. Georges Day.  Research on Bayesian prob. stuff. [Posterier odds = Original odds x Likelyhood ratio].  But you can also address Base Rate Falicy using Frequentist approach (my preferrence); viz: for large sample:  Pr[Event] = true observed # events / (# of false positives in sample + true observed events), and get the same smaller - ie. correct - probabilty.  But if data is faked, your results are wrong. (Eg. "Global Warming" "science", medical errors, gov't statistics from corrupt regimes).  But faked data can make the fakers rich, powerful, and *very* dangerous (Eg. the lies of religion => religious wars, cheating in poker => gun fights, State propaganda => false-flag attacks, then full war).  We must seek accuracy, produce quality, and be effective in our defence of what is true. Could AI-augmented analysis assist in the detection of deception?

[Apr. 21, 2018] - Learned how pirate websites are generating bogus click-views for legitimate adverts - but the adverts are never actually seen - the pirate sites make it appear the ads were served up to page-viewers, but actually the advert is hidden - the person looking at the site hosting stolen material does not even see the ad, but the site owner gets revenue as if the ad was really viewed.  Double-ended fraud:  Cloudflare to server in Ukraine to Swedish "Bullet-proofer" server-mgmt site. Little can be trusted now. 

[Apr. 19, 2018] - Throughout all of human history, the supreme skill and creative excellence of the artificer's art has alway been refected in devices such as these. (viz. the tsuba for a Japanese katana, Edo Period, from collection in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.)  "I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons..." - Leonard Cohen.   

[Apr. 14, 2018] - Ice-Storm Saturday... We are not just fooled by randomness, we can also be saved or destroyed by it, too.   Today, high winds, ice-pellets, freezing-rain, broken tree branches.  Cold, nasty, wet, gray & windy.  Spring in the roaring-40's...   Matches the stock-market action. 

In the 1960's, (before my time, really), the NASA folks were using Fast-Fourier-Transforms + comb-filters to process the radio signals from the boys on Luna.  Clever folks bought IBM 360/44's, and used their fast-math & accurate precision ability to run similar FFTs+comb filters to monitor, extrapolate and trade stock market action.  As a tiny child, first articles I read on computers & stock trading were on this topic.  The IBM 360 was pure magic - like having a machine-gun, when your enemies were howling nutters waving swords and screaming nonsense.  You could just carefully and accurately dispatch them *all*, and then leave, and be home in time for tea and scones, and a relaxing dinner.  The IBM 360 was introduced on April 7th, 1964. You can read the original brochure at the IBM site:     Note the Model 44 use-cases: Missile telemetry, real-time nuclear-reactor control, and digitization of electrocardiogram data for numerical processing (ie. medical diagnosis).  There is nothing we are doing with neural networks that was not already being done in the 1960's.

And the IBM 360/44 ran APL 360, a work of creative genius, on par with the development of written language.  Check out this 1967 document on APL-360.  (Look, make sure you download the APL385 font, which you can get from the UK Vector site here:   It is goofy-easy.  Just download the font, put it somewhere, navigate to your Windows Font directory, click the "Install New Font" and then just select the APL385.ttf file you downloaded and it will be installed. Then your browser will automagically show the APL 360 doc with the correct APL font.  Easy-peasy. The font-download URL is also at the bottom of the APL360 article.) Original IBM research report, RC-1922, from October 16, 1967, on "APL/360 Terminal System":

This article is only a few pages long, and is maybe a 5-minute read for anyone with any sort of technical, scientific, or engineering background.  You can download any of the GEMESYS APL's for Android (see way down below on this page for details), and try APL for yourself on an Android tablet.  All GEMESYS Android apps are freeware for research and learning, no in-app adverts or tracking.   I also have an APL running on the iPad, but Apple restricts any programming language or interpreter from being offered in their company store.   Are they monopolists who should be taken down by the anti-trust folks?.  Big Grin

[Apr. 13, 2018] - Latest results, GEMESYS Market-AI running on new CentOS box. Maybe it works...  (See screen-image of Xerion results, just below this text...)

[Apr. 12, 2018] - Did a little research project on "cui bono internetius" - who benefits from the internet?  Turns out the benefits flow mostly to governments, in the form of expanded social control and monitoring, and then to marginalized terrorists and other extreme-politics entities, followed lastly by a handfull of very large corporate groups (think: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix - the "GAFAN"), that have reached scale.  Everyone else faces higher costs, it turns out, or a degraded revenue stream.  This was not how it was supposed to work, if you recall.  It appears the future has been hacked by the state and it's agents.  <sigh>  Rather like it always has been, no?   Hey, we had a {war/election/new-innovation}!  Who {won/won/got-rich}?  Why, the Government, of course!   What did the people get?  The bill...  Wink   My image of the GAFAN looks like Godzilla, and we small guys are Tokyo! Big Grin

[Apr. 8, 2018] - Happy Hanamatsuri. (Flower Festival)   The weather here is cold.  Bright morning sunshine after a -9 celsius nighttime, (see picture at right - April 8, 2018, Temp: -5 celsius ) and then another hard-core blizzard with heavy snow - on April 8th!  I distrust the "science" that asserts "global warming".  I see exactly zero evidence of such a process at work where I live.   But I see lots of evidence of edge-condition statistical volatility.  Like Mr. Taleb says, we are often "fooled by randomness".   The trick is to try not to be.  No flowers here (and minus 7 expected tonite).  But the technology is working very well...  Cool

[Apr. 6, 2018] - Video-feed work.  Compiled custom MPlayer, Mencoder & FFmpeg from source. Developed methods to use MPlayer to monitor real-time video feed, & Mencoder to record real-time video stream to .AVI file - both sound and video. Non-trivial exercise, but Linux has v4l-2 (video for Linux, ver.2 (ver.1 nfg)) drivers for TV-7133 card and video works - dTV converter output (b-cast channel 3) into video-card allows digital video to be processed, once all codecs loaded into MPlayer (quite a non-trivial task - but now working..)  Can an NN process a real-time video feed?

[Apr. 3. 2018] - On right is screen-image of UTS-Xerion, running net MNnet3040 on CentOS 6.6 Linux, with Unit-Display showing target forecast as of Mar. 29/2018 vectors.

[Apr. 2, 2018] - (Apologies if this site is loading slow - really need to re-factor.)  I built Xerion from source on a much more modern box - CentOS 6.6.  Fast, dual-processor box (Pentium 4, 3.00 ghz, ATI prototype graphics card, hi-res digitally-connected monitor).  Nice images, big tower, runs warm. This turned out to be a big exercise (I documented it, finally). Running gcc kept giving me screen-blizzard of unresolved references - until I disabled the system-current version of the shared library that was in /usr/lib, so the libtcl.a static lib that was in /usr/local/lib could be found & used - the Tcl 7.3 one that Xerion needs! (Duh! or maybe a Homer-Simpson "Dohh!").   This lets me jump OS from Fedora-9 (circa 2008) to CentOS 6.6 (circa 2014).  Not bleeding edge, but current and stable.  (Stability is *critical* requirement.  Anyone listening? Linus?)  I have TensorFlow 1.4 running on a CentOS-7.4 box, running Linux kernel 4.14 (original kernel 3.x version had no sound!) - but stability is not great.  And TensorFlow on the Macbook running Yosemite doesn't do its IEEE 754 floating-point routines right - seems to be an Apple O/S issue.  Linux kernel 2.6.32-504 on a Pentium 32-bit box with Xerion can be trusted to be stable - it just works unless the power fails - and it does it's math correctly.  (I know, because I have checked with Kahan's UCB floating-point tests, compiled from souce.)

So, on my new box, I built and tested a bunch of different N-nets.  Confirmed that something *different* may happening now in markets.  World of 1995 to 2015-7 (which included some pretty wild events, right? - the 1998 Russian default, the 2001 bubbleburst and the 2008 US Housing-crisis/Lehman-meltdown) is curiously different than world of mid 2017 to 2018/now.  Boolean jump-vecs show it.  We are getting these long runs of high serial-autocorrelation - some are  6, 7 or 8 days  (not looking at next day, but at plus 4 or 5 days..).  Some stocks are breaking, and then the break just auto-correlates.  Looks like 1930's, despite the big slushpile of cash that is slopping around.  Really looks different.  Something is wrong with volatility?  Or are all the trend-following algorithms self-synchronizing?   (That is my working hypothesis)  (FD: I am not a fan of options - the vega, gamma and such..., but I bet something is showing up there.)  Something is different with this market - and the quick 500 point drop on the DJIA this morning seems to confirm my fears.  Still long, but hurtin' a bit (like those old cowboy songs...).  Just when I get my tech working, the world looks like it is going to blow the side off, like the old Apollo-13 ship.  This isn't just novichok-assaulted retired spys and Asian trade-wars.. this might be something more systemic...  Reminds me of when you smell burning electrical insulation on the flight-deck at altitude over water... makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.  Are we in for a little burst of "fear" to match the recent "greed"??  

TRASER model is long, but Xerion BJV-NNs say: "Huh? No signal..."  But Xerion is awesome - I have a 172 boolean jump-vector test dataset, and with a slightly bigger hiddenlayer, I was able to train the net down to 100% accuracy (like the old XOR test).  Of course, that net is useless for prediction, but it shows the power of the Xerion simulator (I think it must be the grandfather of TensorFlow - all the same stuff seems to be inside it.)  It is interesting how much better backpropagation works with conjugate-gradient direction selection, combined with a line-search, rather than just using a fixed-step change with various epsilon values.  And I  discovered a parameter to tweak the verbosity level during training, from 0 to 3. (More info shown as backprop/training runs..)    And the "Unit Display" is really cool - you can visually inspect each day of your dataset, and see the TANH node activation values as generated Hinton diagrams.  This technology is quite magical.  And I think I understand why convolutional networks can peform even better.  Widespread use of this AI technology is going to change many things.  Or maybe it will kill us all, eh?  :D 

[Mar. 30, 2018] - Extended third check/verify dataset to Mar. 29 data.  Gives 23 obs. days, with coefficient of accuracy of 52.17%.  (12 right out of 23 obs.).  By the width of hair, but on the right side of the line.  The Xerion-AI (a BJV-NN) can create an indicator worth looking at.  Not perfect, but it's a working AI Augmenter for market action. (Image at right: Xerion running MarketNet on Linux-box)

[Mar. 27, 2018] - Interesting Xerion results to report:  Used different price datasets to assemble boolean jump vectors, made the jump-vector filter delta smaller, and ran NN which was previously trained on two epochs - original Feb 08 1995  to May 26 2017, 5614 observed price-days, then trained on second epoch which was originally test&check dataset (June 8 2017 to Feb 12 2018), 172 price days. Got 68.41% accuracy on main dataset,  58.14% accuracy on smaller dataset.  Ran against 3rd dataset from Feb. 13 to Mar. 23rd, 2018 (20 days), and got exactly 10 for 20 (50.00% accuracy). Noteworthy is that my BJV-NN successfully forecast the unusual  downspike in price of target security prior to its going ex-dividend (an event that generally does *not* usually occur).  Had I taken the trade, (FD: I didn't = still holding), the delta gain to me would have been approx. $10K).  Market is in an unusual flux currently, given trade-war talks, and the (maybe Mossad?) poisoning of the retired Russian spy in England.  If you wanted to damage Russia at low cost, this was clever & sadly effective  tradecraft.   Strange times..  I read on the FB TensorflowML page, about some fellow who built an Etherium-based game, and made $500,000 on his first day of offering the game in the wild.  Seems a little extreme..

[Mar. 26, 2018] - Weather has become sunny, but cold.  Rain is forecast.  Reviewing TensorFLow tutorial for MNIST stuff.  (Digit and face recognition works.  But the code environment is a bit of a  hot mess...  or perhaps I am being too critical.)    Xerion requires I down-convert Tck/Tk to 7.3, which is a pain on a new machine (the Black Asus, which now has Lynx, WINE and the TSM-Database all running nicely..)  But the NN is the AI edge...

[Mar. 16, 2018] - We're back into a deep-freeze which suggests (to those who follow trends and like bell-curves) that spring remains far in the future, which of course is not the case.  The high-volatility weather, combined with the relentless certainty of the seasonal changes, is perhaps why farmers can become good investors. 

[Mar. 01, 2018] - Crazy busy outside with farm equipment. Like software, the grief or the success of a system, generally driven by two things:  the ease-of-use of the interface, and the overall system reliability.

[Feb. 21, 2018] -  I found I could train the Xerion Jumpvector AI down to 91% accuracy, but could not get better than 45% accuracy on the post-training test dataset. Obviously, as I train tighter on the training data, I push the training first towards the signal, then away from it, as I train down to noise.  I ran 13 separate train-then-test exercises - creating 13 different network weight-matricies.  They all perform pretty much the same. So I trained part-way (to about 72% accuracy) on the main training data - then loaded in the test data, and trained just a little part-way with it, then re-loaded the main training data, and trained a bit more.  I stopped the training early (which was using an effcient conjugate gradient direction selection, with a line-search step method), so you have to watch the gradient vector carefully.  This gives me semi-final results for the 13th network weight matrix of 68.41% accuracy on the primary training data (now running from Feb. 1995 to June 2017), and a level of 58.14% accuracy on the test data set.  If this result holds going forward, then I might have something that can directly assist trade selection.  The true signal is very weak and fraught with noise, but it looks like it might be there.  

[Feb. 20, 2018] - Revisited the whole Xerion-AI project:  With my third version of network weights, for the 4500 record boolean jump-vector dataset (which only trains to 87 % accuracy), I can now get 41.17% prediction accuracy on my test boolean jumpvec dataset, for July 27 to Feb. 15, 2018.  That is a staggering improvement from the 24% accuracy I was consistantly showing.  If I can push the accuracy up above the 50% level, then any casino gambler will tell you that you might just have an edge, if one can manage the betting very carefully.  See info below for this date for more details.

[Feb. 18-19, 2018] - Updated the Xerion NN-AI for dataset from June 27, 2017 to Feb. 14, 2018.  Accuracy co-efficient is 23.4 percent - random results with a couple of degrees of freedom, I am assuming.  (Two purely random variables, each with a 50% chance, so we get a consistant percentage of correct predictions around 25 percent.  Not much use, I fear.)  See third screenshot from top.  Experimenting with TensorFLow.  Built the MNIST stuff, loaded sample MNIST image datasets, setup simple network, trained it, and got accuracy of 90.18 %. 

[Feb. 6-17, 2018] - The V-bottom is back in fashion, yes?   Mkt action typical of tightly-coupled feedback(feedforward?) self-reference system.   Probably computers should not be connected to trading feeds.   No benefit to real investors and companies using the stock market to raise funds.  But the pros have to have some way to make money off of the farmers, clearly.   Too bad the Chinese investors got nuked by the SEC for trying to acquire the tiny Chicago Stock Exchange.  (Anyone even know there was a "Chicago Stock Exchange"?).  Funny also how the Russians are being painted as the bad guys again.  Most of the world disliked Hillary Clinton (if they had any memory of the Clinton lawbreaking projects back in the old days.  Remember her "Cattle Futures" trading?)  Curious to see the latest American witchunt play out. 

Elon Musk & SpaceX Team had a successful launch of the Falcon-Heavy multi-rocket.  Bravo to them! (See "ExoPlanets & Space" for image of "Starman" driving to Mars in Elon's red Tesla Roadster!   

[Feb. 05, 2018 ] - Ugly mkt action provides opportunity for new positioning.  Been focused on mkt action.  Curious how all the news services completely miss the trigger events, and interview analysts who prattle about US Fed. Reserve and interest rate delta's and 10 Yr US Treasuries at 2.85%.  Ho hum.  No new news there.  Fully discounted, of course.  It is the Bitcoin/NIM meltdown, and the $500 million theft from Coinbase in Japan which is driving this.  (Bitcoin Investment Trust thing in Cda did a 91 for 1 split recently.  Perfect indictor of a market floating on foam and fluff-puff.)  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a great idea for a transactional tool - but as an investment, it is just another mechanism to prevent compound growth from operating long-term.  Important to keep the world poor and hungry or no one will go to work, will they?   All investment *schemes* must vaporize wealth, or within 300 years every family would have billions of dollars, wouldn't they?   Studying CNN's (convolutional neural networks, from Stanford course:  CS231N

[Jan. 30, 2018] - I was getting different numbers on the MacBook (MacOS 10.10.5) and the Linux boxes (CentOS-7.4, with current Linux kernel) in Python+TensorFlow simulation.  Downloaded & converted floating-point test suite: UCBTest,  (UCB=Univ. Calif. Berkeley, Sun Microsystems & W. Kahan, early 1990's). Also built "chkprec.c" to tweak precision control-word in Intel (for 32-bit chips), and to my surprise, the program also works to set precision on 64-bit Core-i3 Intel SSE2 chips, if running Linux (CentOS-7.4).  Resolved TensorFlow simulation problems on MacBook, by re-coding program to use *all* 64-bit (float64 instead of float32) floating point variables.

Key Results:  [Jan. 04-11, 2018] -  Successful build of TensorFlow 1.4.1 from source, on Macbook (Yosemite, MacOS 10.10.5), using Xcode-7.2.1, with Bazel 0.9.0.  [See Research Log below the pictures] - AND successful install of Python "wheel" file into Python, (built using the Tensorflow script file: build_pip_package).  Crazy simple: Just rename or copy the newly-built Python wheel-file name from "tensorflow ... cp27-cp27m-macosx_10_4_x86_64.whl" to "tensorflow-1.4.1-py2-none-any.whl" and it pip installs it fine, no problem.  Ran tests to confirm binary TF and newly-built-from-source TF run the same.  See full details of how to build at closed issue:

Strange issue.  Getting different results when running Laplace PDE simulation example on Linux and Macbook.  Mac version evolves to big positive numbers everywhere, whereas Linux version evolves to big positive and negative numbers.  With the sim tensor np.clip-ed to 0-255, the Mac version evolves to blank white image.  On a Mac running Sierra, my Linux box, and an Ubuntu Linux box, the sim evolves to something very similar to the image at right.  Unsure which is correct, doing tests.  [Update: Linux was correct, as usual.]

What's Here...

  • Picture above on right:     Originally, a hybrid-image created with Tensorflow 1.4.0 on CentOS-7.4 Linux box, later, an image of the original 1954 Godzilla, and now a tsuba (Japanese sword hand-guard) from Edo period, now at MoMA in NYC.  This tsuba is from a high-quality weapon, and demonstrates the maker's skill and technological level.  A fine weapon is an example of highly-effective technological augmentation, which is what we must strive to make AI provide.
  • Images One and Two:  Xerion Neural Network simulator, running basic AI software against boolean delta (change) vector training sets.  Picture One is recent result, running on new CentOS Linux box.  (Xerion was originally built as a research tool to run on Unix boxes from Sun Microsystems, back in mid-1990's).  I hacked it to run on Fedora and CentOS 6.6 Linux.  Uses Tcl/Tk (with object-oriented extensions) to setup and inspect the training and runable datasets, and load/save the network weights.)
  • Picture Three:          Experiments with Laplace image-generation program in TensorFlow 1.14 on Linux and Macbook.
  • Picture Four:            Showing results of Python/IPython+Jupyter install and configure with various key packages, including Tcl/Tk (for use with networkx, matplotlib, pillow, etc.).  Works very well.  Real work can be done.
  • Pictures 5 to 10:       Images from the Xerion project in 2017.  The Xerion product is a neural-network framework from the late 1990's, developed by Dr. Hinton's team at Univeristy of Toronto.  I used it here to build and train a neural network to predict the expected direction of market prices, based on boolean-encoded slices of price data for several securities and economic series, sliced also across time.  The process works, but initial results suggested (again) that recent past cannot say much about the near future.  Recent results, with different inputs, are showing more promise. 
  • Next section - the AI Research-Blog:  Field Notes on AI from Lorcalon Farm - where I posted a daily log of what I was doing, and the results (or lack thereof!) that I had been getting.  Did some experiments with TensorFlow 1.4.1, and got it to build successfully from source on my Macbook.  But Xerion is stable, and I can get results quickly with it. (And it does its calculations correctly.)
  • Details of how I got Sharp APL to run on the iPad.  (Uses my hacky version of DOSbox, available on Android, as "gDOSbox" at the Google Play Store). I've put sAPL up as freeware, at the Google PlayStore, for modern Android Tablets.
  • GEMESYS Android Apps - gDOSbox, GNUPlot37, SharpAPL, WatcomAPL, IBM's TryAPL2 and STSC(Manugistics) APLpc - all available as no-cost apps from Google Play Store. No tracking code or in-app selling attempts.  Research results to see if it was possible.  The gDOSbox (and the GNUplot37 and the APL's) do their math correctly.
  • Pictures of versions of background work related to "AI Helper Apps" - Various useful tools I've built to run charting, number-processing and image-generation on the iPad and Android tablets. I first started building this stuff on the Blackberry Playbook, and still have a couple of Playbooks that run Market Price Analysis software similar to what is shown in these images.  (Internals are built using Manugistics APL)

This website is a work-in-progress.  Hope it is useful as a learning resource.  I will attempt to clean it up a bit and re-factor things (it's a bloated mess, now.. but I am telling the truth as I find it and see it...) .  Scroll down to see what is described above.

The whole thing started as the result of technology/investment assessment I did on a small company looking to raise a second round of financing.  I got brought in by the investor group to provide a quick independent assessment.  (The company's tech was fine, and they got their money, btw).  As part of initial discussion (where everyone sniffs everyone's tail like my dogs do, to see if they are bona-fide or not), I mentioned the work I had done on neural-networks, in the 1990's.  The new technology-lead mentioned that Google had just open-sourced TensorFlow, and that really got my attention.  I had gone to Dr. Hinton's lectures back in mid-1990's, gotten a copy of the Xerion product, bought a copy of Slackware Linux (since Xerion was Tck/Tk and "C" based and ran on X-windows), built a working environment on an IBM P/C, (and learned Linux and Tck/Tk along the way) and had used all this to create datasets, transform them, create and train a neural-net, and build a forecasting procedure to predict commodity future prices. 

The thing sort-of worked, but not as good as I had expected.  Until very recently (March-Apri 2018) I had considered it a complete fail, actually - but I learned a lot.  The Linux and Tcl/Tk stuff turned out to be *really* useful - even more so than the neural-net stuff was, since it just did not forecast very well.  But the skills were platinum, and I got pulled into many other projects, which were both interesting and lucrative.  [ I had been doing a consulting/implementation project for a major Canadian Bank/Brokerage firm.  It was Jim Doak, a really fine fellow who was the Research Director at ScotiaMcleod, who put me on to the Hinton lectures.  I remember being just blown away by what NN's had been able to do.  I got Slackware Linux, built a Linux-box using an 80386 P/C, and got Xerion running on it.  Doak went on to become a venture-capital guy, and then be part-owner of a uranium exploration company that found a massive uranium deposit in Mongolia.  The mine was stolen by the local "Government" (and given to Russians), after the ore was found, and Jim died in Ulan Bator attempting to collect on a World Court 100 million US-dollar judgement.  I read about all this in the public media, so what really happened? I don't know.  But sometimes one guy can vector another fellow's life off in a different direction.  Jim was a very good analyst, and an honorable fellow - like a lot of good guy's in the Canadian finance business. ]

But the open-sourcing of TensorFlow meant I could take another run at the market price prediction ideas.  I had a bunch of ideas for a different approach, including using only booleans (up, down, or zero=don't know/not enough signal).   This approach had promise, and I decided to document the whole process on this website as I proceeded.  There is value in being formal and posting results, because it keeps you on track.

At first, I had planned to use TensorFlow, but the multi-machine loosely-coupled environment I've cobbled together at the Farm, is almost all built on 32-bit machines.  I managed to get TensorFlow installed and working on a new MacBook I had, but the Apple environment is annoying.   (Later, I  bought a 64-bit HP, and built TensorFlow from source on CentSO 7.4 Linux)  But Apple is really annoying. I learned that in my initial work that involved hacking my iPad.  I wanted to use the iPad to run local versions of the trained network, so I could just drop in current price-data (after it was boolean-converted), and get my "Go Long / Go Short / Can't Tell What to Do") market-descision assistant tool, by pushing the data thru the trained neural-net.  And because TensorFlow could not be installed on any 32-bit devices, (the binaries are 64-bit), and the development/build environment is very non-standard (it uses "Bazel"), I decided to use Xerion, as I was able to modify it, and the Tcl/Tk stuff, to run on the modern Fedora Linux boxes I was running (and now CentOS 6.6).

I got all that working - and the details re. building Xerion, hacking the iPad, and the work related to installing my own software on it (basically, the open-sourced DOSbox + a special DOS-based APL interpreter from the days of IP-Sharp) are documented here.   The first-generation iPad is a marvelous, wonderful device.  Mine is circa 2010 - and it is still running strong and I use it every day, despite having a bunch of other tablets and computers.  The UI and the UX are just plain very well done, and even with current modern Android ART stuff (on a Samsung Tablet I have), the Apple is just so much nicer to use.  And with the hacks, that open up the O/S, and give you a Linux-like environment with full "root" access, you get a real computer which can do real work -  like grind thru a few matricies and calculate a result value.  (You can also use "" to watch any Youtube video, as they just render to Quicktime, and the thing just works.)

But it was the Xerion work that comprised the main project that is documented here.  I built the thing, and much of the site is devoted to documenting what I had to do to actually make the old Xerion product work successfully, the design and development of the data-management tool, and the boolean converter.  I had built a Time Series Managment database, and procedures to keep it updated, and corrected, but it ran on Windows.  I converted it to run on Linux. This involved running WINE (a framework that lets Windows programs operate nicely within and under Linux)  and it works great on Fedora and CentOS boxes I have.  Developing the Xerion-based neural-network, training it, and then evaluating it was a fairly big exercise.  You can read all about it here, as I logged the daily efforts.

And it didn't work either, just like Dr. Ng of Stanford, in his excellent lecture series, suggests it probably won't.  Market price action is inherently non-predictiable.  You can have an edge (I know this to be true, because I seem to have one - even though I am not sure what it actually is...), but basically, the recent past has no data within it to say anything much at all about the near-future.   This is the third major project that I have done that confirmed this.  Details are posted on this site.  [April 2018 Update: ... took another run at the data, different data, different methods to setup the boolean training vectors.  Getting >50% accuracy on post-training datasets.  Maybe market is just going coherent?  Might have something..., still too early to tell...  April 28, 2018.  Cash in the bank (only a few K).  Maybe it works?  Realize I probably need to apply Bayesian adjustments, doing my estimates wrong maybe..]

And lots of other stuff is posted also.  I decided to re-think the whole process of how an AI (Artificial Intelligence) device should operate for an investor, in a market context.  And in other contexts, also.  Basically, you don't want to try to predict - because you pretty much cannot.  But you can still make better trades and better decisions to get better than average outcomes.  I know, because I have done this - and so have a few others.  And I am not terribly clever or smart - I am pretty average, and actually, rather stupid and careless quite often - certainly more often than I should be.

So, I decided to build TensorFlow on a 64-bit Linux environment (since I just cannot stand the Apple stuff - I just don't like the problems and issues that restrict, prevent, limit and frustrate me at every turn using Apple OSX.  It is ok - it sort-of works - but the hassles I went thru putting DOSbox on my iPad was just beyond anything reasonable.  

I had built a bunch of freeware apps for Google Android with much less difficulty, and they remain available - at zero cost, and with no in-app tracking or advertising - on the Google "Play Store" (an idiotic name - but hey, I am a dodo maybe...).  

The Android apps I built are documented here also.  You can page down to see them - gDOSbox, GnuPlot37, and several APL interpreters: IBM's TryAPL2, the IP Sharp APL (uses the actual assembler-code for the old IBM 370, and an MS-DOS interpreter), the freeware Manugistics/STSC 16-bit PCAPL, and the Watcom APL.  APL is really good at doing things like dot-product, matrix math, and other tensor-fiddling.

It turned out putting TensorFlow on the 64-bit Linux I wanted to use, was a non-trivial exercise.  The Google/TensorFlow team only supports one version of Ubuntu, and all my machines are Fedora and/or CentOS based.  But it turned out to be do-able.  I had to configure and build a local version of Python 2.7.   But I have succeeded in getting the binary of TensorFlow 1.4.0 installed and running on CentOS-7.4, and using the new, latest Linux kernel, 4.14.9.  The new experimental box is an old HP Intel Core-i3 I bought as a testbed - but it has 4 processors, runs the latest Linux, the latest systemd based CentOS, and is the latest 7.4 variant, which does not go "end-of-life" until June of 2024.  

I had four screen shots showing the results of getting the CentOS-7.4 box up and running, and getting TensorFlow 1.4.0 (almost the latest one), installed and loadable on it.  And note, I am using Python 2.7.14 - the latest (November 2017) Python of the 2.7 stream.  I decided to use 2.7 stream, as that is what most of the documentation and data-science material I can find has as its default.  Plus, if you use Python 2.7.14 (the 2.7 stream), then you can be assured the language won't be *changed* as you develop within it!  (Hear me here... "Stability" is the new killer-app...)

The TensorFlow Tutorial had a simple simulation program that generated images, using Laplace partial differential equation (PDE) math, and the initial program used IPython (interactive Python) and Python Notebook (which is now Jupyter Notebooks), to show a real-time simulation of rain-drops falling on a pond.  I fiddled the damping parameter, the image display mechanism, and the background to create something that looks more like star formation via gravitational mass-accretion.  This program verifies that Tensorflow has been installed successfully, and is doing its mathematics correctly.  Oh, I also converted it from the TensorFlow 1.00 version (which I downloaded initially for the MacBook), to what is now TensorFlow 1.4.0, which has a more restrictive and explicit requirement to define a current session. 

The screen image number three below shows the TensorFlow Laplace PDE program, modified to just display interative .JPG file-based images, so it can be run in plain Python, rather than requiring the "Jupyter notebook" to be run - which basically fires up a local web-server, and then serves up the image material - ie. matplotlab graphics, and such - using your local web-browser, in this case Firefox 52.2, the CentOS-7.4 default browser.  Oh, and actually you have to toggle Firefox 52.2 to *be* the default browser, if you want Jupyter to automatically invoke itself correctly.   I used to have a little screen-image at the beginning of this document, which showed the result of letting the Laplace simulation run 10,700 times, instead of the 1,470 iterations in the image below.  The code for the Laplace sim is provide in the "Code" section - just click on the top-line menu, and you can cut an paste it to check your Python and TensorFlow setup.

Much of the site is basically just the daily weblog notes.  I will re-organize things soon, I promise... Just scroll down to see the: "[Month Day, Year]" headings.  Go to the bottom and read up (it's basically a blog, or a diary), or start at the top, and read backwards in time.

My plan now, is to get the Kepler Telescope data and source-code - which used TensorFlow to assist in the discovery of many new exoplanets - and adapt that to what will be my "market pictures" - so I can use the MINST-style image-classification procedures to classify and charactersize my "market pictures".  It won't be forecasting - just assistance and augmentation to assist us in what we already are doing.

I think that is how AI technology will work.  It won't replace people, it will assist them.  It will just amplify their abilities, like so many of our important inventions have done.  Stay tuned, as they say...  Cool

- Mark Langdon,  Director & Owner
  January-April, 2018 

 PS: Getting rather exhausted, unfortunately.  Need to address IP issues.  Torn between my thinking as a scientist (we should be fully open, and publish our work), and requirements of an entrepreneur, which suggests one's key work must be confidential, lest it be stolen and used by others, or even worse, one risks being attacked by "patent trolls" who sift thru patented stuff, and assert that you are violating someone else's patent you don't even know about.  I may have to shut down this website, for obvious reasons. Sad, as I prefer the approach of the scientist.  But I need to eat, too...  CoolBlush

Latest Results - as of Apr. 13, 2018. Post-training dataset showing 56.25% accuracy. A slight edge...

I had just about written off this approach, when I had another idea. Minor changes, and much *lower value* filter used to create the jump-delta boolean vectors. This puts a lot more information into each vector. And this improved results significantly. Plus, I "tuned" the training activity. This is network number 13, which gets 68.41 % accuracy on the main training dataset, and 58.14 % accuracy on the test data set. The results for the test dataset are shown here. Used conjugate gradient for direction, with line-search (Rudi's). Message to you, Rudi: "Thanx for this!"

Laplace star-formation simulation, running under latest TensorFlow 1.4, on CentOS-7.4 (with latest Linux 4.14.9 kernel). This result matches exactly the TensorFlow run on Apple Macbook OSX - but we are now in a pure Linux environment, using latest code for CentOS 7, Linux Kernel, and TensorFlow 1.4.1. Linux and Apple Macbook now evolve the simulation the same, but I had to create, which uses "double" precision (64-bit) floating values on Macbook, due to curious problems with MacOS Yosemite.)

I have Jupyter/Interactive-Python working correctly on Linux, and this example shows the scikit-image being used to create a gray-scale version of the "testimg.png" file which I built using Python with Numpy and Pillow (updated PIL - Python Image Library), created numerically. I also have exactly the same environment now built on Windows. You need the MS C++ compiler to run "pip install scikit-image", as well as a copy of the "stdind.h" header file. I have created a detail log of what I had to do to get Jupyter/IPython and the routines to do these example, running on Linux and on Windows. I will post it once I edit it down, and remove some of the unprofessional language used in the current version (which is so full of profanity as to be unpublishable at the moment...) I had not planned to put the Python image manipulation environment on the Windows box, but I managed to get it working - after downloading a bunch of material as a test - including the MS-Visual C++ 9.0 compiler for Python 2.7, which Microsoft offers at no cost. More info to be offered in the notes on how I got Python and the image libraries to run on Linux and Windows. I also got Jupyter+IPython to run on Windows, and run the same historgram and line-graph test programs I've run on Linux. The example shown here is Linux, CentOS 6.6 on an Intel box, running a Linux 2.6.32-504 kernel, with Gnome 2.28.2. Everything works nicely. Windows version of these image test programs look the same.

Update: Got it working on the older Linux, also. Very cool. Actually, really surprising. By doing the manual builds, one really learns how the components are "glued" together. You need to get "_tkinter" (the Tcl/Tk interface) stuff working, to render images using "matplotlib", without the "notebook" stuff. (The little window, bottom right, with the gray-scale version of the colour image). This means you can build research-grade, one-off apps, to address specific, immediate needs. (See the "Linux Jupyter/Python" section for some *very* preliminary notes, including my hilarious "real-time" note on what I had to do to get Python, Jupyter, IPython Notebooks and Scikit-Image with Tcl/Tk image-rendering working on my Linux laptops. I should edit it up, but I think it is perhaps helpful to see what the user-on-the-edge-of-the-network faces when trying (successfully!), to get software working. (The Linux laptops are truly "Cyberspace Deck's", as per William Gibson's famous 1984 "Neuromancer" novel, published when the IBM P/C was 1 year old.)

Neural-Network-AI Experimental Results: Developed portable Xerion + TSM + Lynx(ssl-enabled) + GNUplot platform on Linux (Fedora/Redhat) laptop platform, (ACER with Intel Centrino). This Linux laptop (Gnome Desktop) also runs current Firefox (modern gtk+2, glib, gdk, etc.). Wine - Windows emulator on Linux - is used to support a runtime-version of TSM, the Time Series data manager, which transforms raw price data into training cases for the Xerion-configured neural network (NN). For the current NN-driven AI under test, the training is sourced with boolean impulse-data from various daily market prices for tradable securities and commodities, for an 18 year period. The resulting neural-network can be evaluated for current datasets (ie. the last couple of weeks) on either this platform, or using an iPad or Android tablet.

[June 28, 2017] - New image, with Probability Calculator, Time Series Manager, (with linked GNUplot graphics), Xerion NN-AI (cmd-line mode runs GNUplot display, Xerion gui showing Hinton Diagrams of network unit values for most recent data case). The "plotValues" tcl/tk prgm shows boolean training target, and output of network boolean prediction in bottom, centre chart). All is integrated using the Fedora/RedHat platform, running on the dedicated AI box, an Intel 32-bit uniprocessor. Linux utilities "DOSemu" and "Wine - WINdows Emulator [or "Wine Is Not and Emulator"], used to support Probability Calculator app, WINE used to run Time Series Manager. Xerion was compiled from UTS source, with various minor modifications to support modern (sort of) Linux kernel (Fedora/RedHat Kernel #1 SMP. (Kernel is "old" now, but has a few custom bits compiled in)). Everything together at last, and running well. Results looking good - both technology, and market tone. Note that I modified the GNUplot display of "Actual" vs "Network Forecast" to show the predicted boolean output on the top (green line), with the actual training target on lower line. This makes it easier to see most-recent predicted network value, which can be expected to drive one's tactical market efforts. FD: I remain fully invested, long.

Here is image of tanh (hyperbolic tangent) function from Gnuplot37, overlaid with hypertanf sAPL function from "neuralxr" workspace. This sAPL workspace will accept the MNnet4~1.WTT file of Xerion weights for the MarketNet network, and use dot-product to vector multiply the weights to "activate" the Xerion-trained network. This will let me "run" the network, on the iPad. I wrote the function to load the Xerion weights file into sAPL, (format: wt <- readfile fname) and second function to convert the text into numeric (format: wnet <- procwt wt). Currently, wnet is just a high-precision vector of 1281 32-bit floats. Since I'm using hyperbolic tangent instead of logistic as my transfer function, I needed to write this tiny transfer function. The tanh function already exists in GNUplot37. You can start GNUplot, and just enter "plot tanh(x)" and see this S-curve, which is the mechanism by which machine-intelligence is stored in a neural-network. Getting closer for an NN-based iPad-runable Augmenter. [Update: I wrote the function on top-left, but then remembered the APL built-in trig. functions, and yes, "7oX" gives hyperbolic tangent for X. The "o" operator is "ALT-o", and when used dyadic (two arguments), it gives access to all the trig. functions. With full precision of 18 digits enabled, the built-in "tanh" function gives slightly more precise results.]

This screen shot from the Linux AI-box is a quick way to post results - not sophisticated, but clear. Speaking of "quick", I used the "quickProp" method here, which models derivatives as independent quadratics. The method tries to jump to the projected minimum of each quadratic. This is one of the minimization methods in Xerion, and it has worked well on my signed boolean data. (See: S. Fahlman "An Empirical Study of Learning Speed in Back-Propagation Networks", 1988, CMU-CS-88-162, Carnegie-Mellon University.) Typically this method uses fixed steps with epsilon of 1, but I used a line-search here. The error value (f:) is driven down below 300, with a gradient vector length of less than 6. From the plotValues.tcl chart, one can see it improves on the previous result. If this network is this good on a different dataset outside the training example, then we might just have something here. I want to thank Dr. Hinton and everyone at U of Toronto for making Xerion available.

Running Xerion with gui, running backpropagation using conjugate gradient and line-search, with new network with twice the nodes. Error level (F:) down below previous 20 node network in less than 400 evaluations. Looks promising...
[Initial Results: - MarketNet was built using signed boolean jump coding. Note that for the graphic (Postscript output, shown using GhostView), I tweaked my plotValues.tcl displayer to shift the actual data +3 up, so it does not obscure the network output forecast. The network is called "MarketNet", and is not fully trained, as I need to reset the "tcl_precision" value to 17 (from its default of 6). With improved precision, the network trains further, and should become more accurate. What one needs to do, is save the weights, and then try the network on a dataset built for a different time period. This will provide indication of whether I am just training to noise or not.]

Network Evaluation Results - May 18 to July 21, 2017. The results show that this version of the network cannot accurately forecast the 4-day-forward data value. Co-efficient of Accuracy is 24% - less than 1/3rd, so actually worse than random. This indicates that there is not sufficient information in the dataset (transformed data for 5 days back, across 6 different price series: - SPX, DJIA, BCE, SpotGold( 3pm London fix in US$), Spot_Oil (WTI Cushing Hub US$/bbl) and CM) to make a useful forecast. I had expected results might at least be close to 40 - maybe even 45%, but such is not the case. One can make money trading securities - but forecasting future price levels - even if the data is boolean classified as just higher, same or lower, is not possible here. More data, across a longer time period and with different transformation methods, may improve the network's ability to predict. But this evaluation currently shows the NN-AI has no ability to make accurate predictions of future market direction for the target security.

Field Notes on AI from Lorcalon Farm

I have hacked and "jailbroken" my iPad Gen-1, and have loaded sAPL on it.  This was the APL product I originally released on the Blackberry Playbook, and remains available for Android devices, from the Google PlayStore. (A Windows Cmd-shell and/or DOSbox version of sAPL is available from the GEMESYS Github account, as a .zip file.)   sAPL is a P/C version of the original IP Sharp APL mainframe product, which ran on IBM 370's, and Amdahl V8's.  This iPad version, running under DOSpad, provides a workspace just over 300K.  It is a small, but reliable, implementation of a full APL.

See the section: "APL on iPad" for details on what had to be done to put APL on the iPad.

I've built a small sAPL workspace, as a proof-of-concept, that accepts the weights, bias values, and structure of a trivial Xor2 (boolean exclusive-or) neural network, trained using Xerion, which can be activated (ie. run), on the iPad.  This has potential applications, as it would allow a complex network to be trained on a research machine, and then the network's weights and structure can be transfered to the iPad so that evolving, real-time scenarios can be entered on the fly, by someone who wants to query what the trained network's "thinks" of a possible data-scenario.  It's a simple approach, but might be useful.  An example of the simple Xor2 network being activated is shown to the right.

Neural-Net run on iPad using sAPL

The following GEMESYS Android Apps are available on the Google Play Store:

gDOSbox  -  This is a full-featured implementation of the DOSbox-0.74 open-source DOS emulator for Android.  It was developed for Android version 4 (KitKat series), and was recently upgraded to work on Android 5 series (and above) devices.  Recent changes by Google to their keyboard have caused issues on some devices, so we strongly recommend the "Hacker's Keyboard", by Klaus Weidner. 

Download "Hacker's Keyboard" from the Google Play Store, then use the Settings icon, scroll to "Language and Input", and select/invoke the "Hacker's Keyboard".  Then, in the "Default Keyboard" option, choose the "Hacker's Keyboard" as your Default Keyboard.  The Google keyboard attempts to hijack *all* user input, and damages the gDOSbox interface routines.

gDOSbox is a full DOS implementation, with corrected math routines, which allows DOS .exe files to be run on an Android tablet. 

GNUplot37 - A version of the GNUplot graph generation tool.  Allows data to be quickly plotted in two and three dimensions, as well as supporting math processing, and curve-fitting to data, and displaying the result.  Try it with:  "plot sin(x)" to see a sign wave.  Then load the demo (hundreds of examples) with "load 'all.dem' ".   To clear the screen, (if using an on-screen keyboard), use "!cls", and use "!dir /p" to review all the GNUplot examples available.

sAPL      -    The original IP Sharp 32-bit APL, which runs in an emulated IBM 360/75 environment as series of .exe files, orginally released to run on IBM P/C's, and them made into a freeware product by IP Sharp, to encourgage APL usage education. APL characters are generated by ALT-key (eg. ALT-L creates the APL quad character, ALT-[ creates the assignment operator, etc.), so the Hacker's Keyboard is required.

APLSE    -   The STSC APL freeware product, directly downloadable from the PlayStore.  (You do not need to install gDOSbox, it is loaded first).  This is an excellent small-footprint APL, which has full graphics support.  It is reliable, and was released as a freeware product to encourage and assist APL education.  Like sAPL, the APL characters are created using ALT sequences, so ALT-[, for example, is the assignment operator.  The "Hacker's Keyboard" is required.

TryAPL2  -   The IBM full featured "TryAPL2" product, which allows a subset of early APL2 to be run on a P/C.  This is a working APL, which includes IBM's variant of the enclosed-array extensions.  APL characters are generated with shift-letter sequences, so gKeyboard can be used with this APL.

WatAPL  -    The original Watcom APL, circa early 1980's.   This was recovered of of an original Watcom APL System floppy diskette, and dates from 1984.  It can be used with the gKeyboard, as the APL characters are generated with Shift-key sequences.

gKeyboard - A basic keyboard, with the APL characters shown on keytops.  Useful for TryAPL2 and WatAPL, and for learning the location of APL characters on the keyboard.

All GEMESYS software is freeware for educational purposes, and contains *no* advertising or in-app usage monitoring or tracking.

GEMESYS Apps for Android - on the Google Play Store:

gDOSbox has over 50,000 downloads on Google Play Store

The following GEMESYS Android Apps are available on the Google Play Store:

gDOSbox  -  This is a full-featured implementation of the DOSbox-0.74 open-source DOS emulator for Android.  It was developed for Android version 4 (KitKat series), and was recently upgraded to work on Android 5 series (and above) devices.  Recent changes by Google to their keyboard have caused issues on some devices, so we strongly recommend the "Hacker's Keyboard", by Klaus Weidner. 

Download "Hacker's Keyboard" from the Google Play Store, then use the Settings icon, scroll to "Language and Input", and select/invoke the "Hacker's Keyboard".  Then, in the "Default Keyboard" option, choose the "Hacker's Keyboard" as your Default Keyboard.  The Google keyboard attempts to hijack *all* user input, and damages the gDOSbox interface routines.

gDOSbox is a full DOS implementation, with corrected math routines, which allows DOS .exe files to be run on an Android tablet. 

GNUplot37 - A version of the GNUplot graph generation tool.  Allows data to be quickly plotted in two and three dimensions, as well as supporting math processing, and curve-fitting to data, and displaying the result.  Try it with:  "plot sin(x)" to see a sign wave.  Then load the demo (hundreds of examples) with "load 'all.dem' ".   To clear the screen, (if using an on-screen keyboard), use "!cls", and use "!dir /p" to review all the GNUplot examples available.

sAPL      -    The original IP Sharp 32-bit APL, which runs in an emulated IBM 360/75 environment as series of .exe files, orginally released to run on IBM P/C's, and them made into a freeware product by IP Sharp, to encourgage APL usage education. APL characters are generated by ALT-key (eg. ALT-L creates the APL quad character, ALT-[ creates the assignment operator, etc.), so the Hacker's Keyboard is required.

APLSE    -   The STSC APL freeware product, directly downloadable from the PlayStore.  (You do not need to install gDOSbox, it is loaded first).  This is an excellent small-footprint APL, which has full graphics support.  It is reliable, and was released as a freeware product to encourage and assist APL education.  Like sAPL, the APL characters are created using ALT sequences, so ALT-[, for example, is the assignment operator.  The "Hacker's Keyboard" is required.

TryAPL2  -   The IBM full featured "TryAPL2" product, which allows a subset of early APL2 to be run on a P/C.  This is a working APL, which includes IBM's variant of the enclosed-array extensions.  APL characters are generated with shift-letter sequences, so gKeyboard can be used with this APL.

WatAPL  -    The original Watcom APL, circa early 1980's.   This was recovered of of an original Watcom APL System floppy diskette, and dates from 1984.  It can be used with the gKeyboard, as the APL characters are generated with Shift-key sequences.

gKeyboard - A basic keyboard, with the APL characters shown on keytops.  Useful for TryAPL2 and WatAPL, and for learning the location of APL characters on the keyboard.

All GEMESYS software is freeware for educational purposes, and contains *no* advertising or in-app usage monitoring or tracking.

The seven GEMESYS apps for Android. No *root* access is required to run any of them!

Examples - iPad/Samsung Tab-A as "AI-Helper" platform, Xerion Xor2 Example, TensorFlow Linear Regression Example

The freeware APL,  APLSE, can be run on the iPad, using appropriate emulation. As an example,  I calculate and generate a graphic of the Logistic Equation phase-space, as a fractal example.  For those who study or work with fractals and Chaos Theory, the "Tent Map" is well known.  That was my first example.

I also have GNUplot37 running on the iPad and it is available from the Google Playstore as an Android app (no adverts, no in-app monitoring, no scams) , and it can be used to visualize a variety of numeric datasets.  Three examples are shown below (all running on my customized, jailbroken iPad, which once jailbroken, functions as an effective Linux/Unix tablet computer.)

The electrostatic field display (see the hundreds of tiny, pointing vectors?), is an example from the GNUplot37 demo programs.  It takes about 12 minutes to run on the iPad, but the information it conveys is impressive.

As straightforward economic series - London Gold price 10:30 AM fixing, daily-data, from 1965 to 2016 is shown.  If you look at long duration, accurate price-series, you can see the mechanism of market dynamics fairly clearly.    The boom-bust sequences in the spot gold market are typical of *all* financial markets.  That is why the attempts by American and European legislators to over-protect the financial system are deeply misguided.  Markets *require* the freedom to bankrupt foolish people who mindlessly follow trends, and enrich those who deploy risk-capital in places where real risk is present.  Risk needs to be recognized as a very real part of how markets do their job.  Remove risk, and you remove the effective, allocative intelligence of market behaviour.  Political people are often quite unable to grasp this simple truth.  Prices have to *move* and sometimes, move *a lot*, in order to do their job correctly.  Blaming markets for bad outcomes, is as unwise as blaming oxygen for causing a fire.

The last iPad display example shown is 3-d graphic showing a surface generated by a trigonometric function, again GNUPlot37 on my hacked iPad. 

My Vision for the AI-Augmenter (or AI-Helper..)

My vision for the AI-Augmenter (or AI-Helper), involves having a series of well-trained neural networks on a tablet device, and being able to interrogate them with current data, and get an "opinion" from them - and possibly display this amalgam of the AI's opinion in a graphic format that a human is comfortable interpreting - perhaps like a cross between the electrostatic field display (a bunch of little pointing vectors), and the 3-d surface, shown in the last example.

Examples of Xerion running the simple Xor2 network on a Linux development box are shown, as is an example of TensorFlow (the Google AI toolset, recently open-sourced), running on my MacBook Pro.  I find working on the MacBook Pro annoying and irritating, and just getting Python to successfully load and access all the libraries needed to run TensorFlow was more work than porting Xerion to a modern Linux, and getting a clean compile from the source.  I had to down-convert Tcl/Tk from 8.5 back to 7.6 and such, but that was not a huge hardship or difficult exercise.  The MacBook Pro hardware is very fine, but the Apple software is carefully designed to aggressively benefit Apple, regardless of the grief it causes independent developers.

Given that Microsoft was accused of being a "monopoly", and faced lawsuits for simply including a browser in its Windows O/S, I remain astonished by the extensive, and unchallenged use of monopolistic strategies that Apple gets away with.  They have restrictive dealer pricing, a "you-can-only-do-your-business-through-our-company store" policy that is a classic strategy of a monopolist, and they want additional cash-payments just to access development tools that are required to write computer programs that are to run on other Apple hardware.   In the 1970's, when IBM attached similar restrictions to their mainframe machines, they were successfully prosecuted by the US Justice Department for monopolistic, anti-competitive behaviour.   I like Apple hardware (which is built off-shore), but the code inside iOS that initiates the "Killed: 9" response when I attempt to run a gcc-compiled C-program, seems more like a monopolist's strategy, than it does a legitimate attempt to protect the system integrity. (See the "GNU gcc & Lynx" section, top line of this site to see what I am referring to.)

Very recently,  Google has annouced it will offer (as open-source), something called "TensorFlow-Lite", which will allow a subset of TensorFlow to operate on a tablet.  This is a very wise idea, and typical of the cleverness the Google folks demonstrate.  The most effective place for an AI tool is right in the hands of the client.

And this is key:  It has to be *unique*.   If AI is to have any benefit for me - especially in a complex, dangerous, tactical situation - it will have to offer something unique that only I have - it must offer me an *edge* of some sort. It need only be a tiny edge (as most are), but it will be the capacity of AI-Helper tools to offer that custom edge, that will make them quickly indespensible.  Once your "AI-Helper" gets understood to be offering you a real, actionable advantage - it will quickly become essential - like a telephone was to a stock-broker of old, or an automatic assault rifle is to a soldier in the battlefield.

The three iPad images below, were made with GNUplot37, which runs on the jailbroken iPad, under the DOSbox port, called "DOSPad-Gsys". The old Ver. 1.0 iPad can be a fully-functional, and useful computer, once the Apple iOS restrictions are bypassed.  The field-lines display is particularly interesting, as it requires substantial floating-point math calculations to create.

London 10:30 AM Spot Gold Price - 1965 to 2016, rendered on iPad, using GNUPlot37, running under DOSpad Gsys.

Example of Surface Plot - 3-D, using GNUplot37 - with contours, and accurate math processing.

Left side is Xerion on Linux, right side is Actnet function in sAPL on iPad, with same network weights. Example training cases produce same network output, both platforms.

Here is the Probability Calculator running on the jailbroken iPad. This shows an estimated probability density function for a possible trade with a 20-day duration. The underlying market database can be migrated to the iPad from the desktop box via secure copy (Linux utility "scp", given that one has Cygwin tools to support "ssh" (secure shell) on the Window's box that maintains the data. ). The idea, of course, is to have a series of neural networks watching all the data in something close to real time, and migrating information like this to the tablet, where visualization can be used to sanity-check the network's recommendations, before pulling the trigger on any given trade.

Wine-2.0.1.tar.xz checksums (MD5 and Sha256). I've just downloaded the stable Wine 2.0.1 code, and have now migrated my Time Series Manager to Linux - currently Fedora and CentOS.

Windows .EXE's for TSM and Gnuplot, running on CentOS 6.6 (Linux kernel 2.6.32-504.el6.i686), using a Pentium 4 (2.40 GHz) cpu, with only 2.0 GiB memory. I built this box just as an experiment (old 32-bit processor), but it runs so well, I can run a WEBrick Rails web-server as well as the old analytic stuff, and it is still snappy quick.