Want one. This is vid-cap image of new Tesla "CyberTruck", debuted on Nov. 21st, 2019. Finally, something that looks like the world we are now in. I like the design for Canada - Easy to sweep the snow off, or de-ice. Love the fact the body is stainless steel. Wonder how well the electronics in the thing will stand up to a bright gamma-ray burst?

[NEW: Updated sAPL to fix problem where files were not being written to the Android device - Nov. 27, 2019] The GEMESYS Apps (gDOSbox, GNUplot37 and the APL interpreters) for Android are available now as APK release files on Github. It is not possible to upload these newer versions to the Google Playstore, due to a range of restrictions Google has put in place. These updated Apps contain security fixes, as well as upgrading the target API from API 8 to API 23 (Android 6.0). Android versions back to API 8 should still work, an all versions going forward should still work. These Apps have all been tested on various Samsung tablets running up to Android 7.1.1. If anyone has questions, feel free to email me as indicated in "Contact..." section. One can download and install these .APK's from here: https://github.com/Gemesys/gemesys_repository/
[Updated: Nov. 27, 2019 with SHA256 hash-signatures for each .APK]

New Z-80 "NorthStar" SBC (Single Board Computer). GEMESYS Ltd. is now a hardware manufacturer. :) Running tests. This Z80 runs at 10mhz, slow by modern standards, but good enough to get some real work done. And the little "NorthStar" is easy to program, from Linux, Windows, MacOSX or even an Android device if the tablet or phone supports USB-OTG.

Build of second Z80 "NorthStar" Single Board Computer (SBC). Runing tests,build looks good!

Original Z-80 "NorthStar" prototype, running with two screens. (Second screen on left, is slave-screen). Controlling laptop on right, is running a sine-wave test program.

Xerion Training Video - Neural Network Processing Example

This short little video shows Xerion training down a neural-network, using market-price training-case data, created by the GEMESYS TSM (Time Series Manager).

[Update: Nov. 14, 2019] Looks like this is working again. I have not gone thru the javascript that is being served, but it looks like now both HTML5 and Adobe Flash are working. Ideally, the Flash video should be tried first, and then HTML5 (which is actually an unhelpful term. There are several, of course incompatible, video formats which might be on offer by a provider. Webm is the one supported by Firefox, but there are others.) Quirksmode has gone dark (so it cannot be used tor checking video format operation anymore),and with the recent new offerings of Disney+, and the bandwidth burn being generated by Netflix, video has become problematic and difficult (again). If you cannot render this simple video, send me a note, and indicate what browser/OS combo you are using. Thanx.

Guide to this Site

This is not a copy. This is one of the very few surviving actual front pages of the "Honolulu Advertiser" newspaper, dated Nov. 30th, 1941. Note the very TOP HEADLINE which says "Japanese May Strike Over Weekend!". After this paper came out, US
"operatives" went around Honolulu, and confiscated every copy of this paper's front page they could find. Can anyone, in the age of the internet, really believe the "surprise attack" lie anymore? The USA gov't manufactures public opinion, the way Boeing makes aircraft, or Ford makes trucks.

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 sometimes 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.

[Dec. 9, 2019] - GameOver & Dridex - Reading about the "Russian Boys" behind the Dridex fraudware.  You can see how profitable so many things are now, when you can see just how much cheatware and black-hat filth the internet and the financial system is dealing with.  What kind of a dimwit criminal steals over $100 million US, and then paints his Lambo in dazzle-glow colours to drive around the streets of Moscow?  Well, lemmie tell ya - a Ukranian lad who got turned and works for the FSB!   He figures now his "Evil Corp" is 10-feet tall and bullet-proof.   Tsk tsk.   Poor Russia is still so deeply embedded in "spy culture".  It would be good if they could just engineer an honest, stable, First-World economy.  My analyst friends are skeptical this will ever happen.   I sort of thought it had, but I sometimes see the world thru my rose-coloured lenses.  

The story of "Evil Corp" is hilarious - and tragic.   I am waiting for the movie-rights to be sold...  Will Disney make the movie?  Or maybe Sony?

https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/two-russians-indicted-over-100m-dridex-malware-thefts-a-13473

Like all really genius-evil stuff, Dridex was simple.  It used phishing and spear-phishing tricks to get idiots to click-thru to sites that would install sh/tware on their machines, and then would actively insert "collector"  fields into *real* banking documents.  This was the trick.  You are filling out a *real* form from your real bank, and the form has two extra fields where you have to enter account number and password or pin and such.  You do this, and *whooopsee!*, all you money is siphoned out of your account, a few moments later.   Blame the f*ck-stupid software of web-browsers and javascript for allowing idiocy like this to be possible.  

Prediction:  Web-browsers are going to die soon for financial sites.  They blow chunks, honestly.  Complex, crappy and written by drunken monkeys who are primarily interested in hacking your privacy for profit.  Really. 

Soon, we might have to migrate back to app-ware, with tight-security features, and probaby closed-source design.  Of course, the risk there, is that these apps get reverse-engineered, and then hacked.  Ideally, your first communication with any financial site, should be complex authentication, which involves key-exchange, hash-code verification of software *at each end* (yours and theirs, by you both!).  You could be connected to a bogus *bank site*, and the bank-site (the real one) could be connecting with a bogus version of the client-side app.  Each one needs to run solid verify-check calculations on the other, and only then, let a login occur.  

Really, the whole internet is going to have to migrate (quickly) to military-grade encryption and verification technology, or we will be putting the World financial systems at real risk.

But this will also mean an end to the "surveillance/spy culture" so beloved by Russia and China.  (and USA also, it seems).   The bootfookers that run the the big spyland countries are just gonna have to accept milspec-level private communication for everyone, or else see their economies die.

One way or another, some interesting changes lie just ahead.  One thing I am curious about, is how well the Tesla Cybertruck handles high-levels of gamma radiation.  Do you think they test for this?  It's difficult, since one needs a nice. "bright" gamma-source to do the flash-tests with.   The idea is to ensure your on-board electronics do not get cooked or damaged by the high-energy gamma packets.  (Generally, you need access to the inside of a nuclear fission reactor, to really get enough gamma-ray brightness to do a real test.  Most modern low-voltage electronics do not survive very well, unless specifically *hardened*.  Old vaccum-tube circuits did much better.)

Wouldn't one feel annoyed if an air-burst with bright gamma, fried your Cybertruck's electronics, just when you needed them most?

Imagine a Post-Nuclear-Family-Roadtrip:  "GF:  Honey, start the car!"   Me: "I can't.  The computer-screen is completely black."   GF: "What!?  What??!"   Me. "I can't even get a reading on the battery-level.  Nothing.  The whole system is DEAD!"   GF: "Then we're stupid, and we're gonna die here..."   Me: "No, not yet.  We'll take the Lincoln..."   GF: "Doesn't it have a computer to run it also?"   Me: "Yah, but it's old, it was in the Faraday-cage hardened garage, and when the computer fails, the engine parameters default to baseline values."  GF: "What the f(ck does that mean?"  Me:  "It means the old bugger will run, but it will just run badly.  But it should run, if mice haven't crawled up the air-intake, and made nests..."   GF: "Maybe you should check that..."   Me: "Right." 

 [Dec. 7, 2019] - Happy Pearl Harbour Day.  Got that "Ghost Fleet" ready for action yet?  Polished up the feed-ramps on the Rail-Gun?  Able to spool-up 50 megawatts in 30-seconds?  Well, no problem if not.   We are at peace, and we should do all we can to keep it that way.  

When a nation gets all jingo-ed up and starts rattling the sabres and swashing the buckles, they should look at some of the first war-pics - the American Civil war.  Or the actual real pictures of Hiroshima, and the acres and acres of burnt and rotting corpses - almost all women, children and old men.  The Japanese had these horse-drawn wagons - big flatbeds - piled high, five or six bodies deep of corpses that had to be buried, lest everyone still alive would die of cholera or typhus.

In Europe, entire cities were burnt and smashed.  Russia lost over 20 million dead.  That was more than the population of Canada at the time.  Germany was destroyed.  England was bankrupt - sure they won, sort-of, but they lost their Empire, and a rich, prosperous country was crushed under the twin horrors of massive debt, and socialist government policy.  England actually had *currency controls (!)*  (if you can believe it!), until the 1970's!

https://www.nytimes.com/1979/10/24/archives/british-abolish-controls-on-foreign-currency-some-outflows-are.html

It's actually kind of hard to believe.  The awful and absurd "currency restrictions" were introduced in 1939, at the start of England's war (USA would not join the fight until Pearl Harbour happened, although they did front the Brits some "lend-lease" hardware that was *very* helpful).  But the currency controls were not removed until by Margaret Thatcher, in 1979.   The controls probably did much more damage to the UK than Hitler's bombers ever did. 

And what most folks also forget, is that Japan struck out at Pearl, to damage the warship fleet that was being use to strangle it's island economy.   USA had *blockaded* Japan, and was preventing Japanese ships reaching their home ports.  So the Americans are completely full of sh/t, when they suggest that Pearl Harbour was a *surprise*.   This is a lie.   The USA government of the day knew the day Yamamoto's fleet put to sea, they knew it's destination, and they knew exactly what was coming.  Roosevelt, a liar and a fraud, was even careful to take real action to try to withhold the information, and there is hard evidence that operatives in Hawaii acted to surpress the solid, real-time information (such as the entire Japanese attacking air-fleet being picked up on radar, and this information being transmitted to the military base at Pearl!)

An amazing document, is the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper front page, from Nov. 30th, 1941, which has the headline "Japanese May Strike Over Weekend!".   Paul Brown has a copy on his wall, in Panama.  What is not as well known, is that Mr. Brown explained that US agents went around Honolulu and tore off the front page of every copy of the paper they could find.   There are only a couple of copies of this front page from the main Honolulu paper in existence. 

Roosevelt knew *exactly* what was happening, since the US had been closely monitoring Yamamoto's fleet.   Roosevelt needed a "surprise" attack, to get American public opinion to back another "Great War", which most Americans were against.  There is overwhelming proof that Roosevelt knew *exactly* what was planned, as there is proof that the Japanese Naval cryptographic codes had been broken, and that the US was reading *all* of the Japanese Naval communications.  The research into this is of a very high quality, and is fully supported by documents obtained under USA  FOI (Freedom of Information) laws.  This is not *conspiracy theory" nonsense - it is as close to proven fact as any historical information ever can be.

https://www.independent.org/issues/article.asp?id=408

Funny old world, no?  Roosevelt makes my stomach turn.  He knowingly let thousands of *junior* American sailors die (most of those who died at Pearl were kids - 17, 18 years old), just to whip-up the public to support America's entry into World War 2.   And he could have reached a peace-deal with Japan - there is lots of diplomatic information that makes this very clear.   But he wanted war, even if that meant being a partner with a criminal like Stalin. 

The "March of History", once war begins, is for many, just a short march to the graveyard, or the veteran's hospital. where life in a wheelchair awaits.  And remember, the true face of war, is that unarmed white van in Iraq, with Reuter's reporters inside it, being shot to bits by American warplanes as they filmed the murders, or those Twin Towers in New York City burning & crumbling to the ground.  Or those hundred-thousand corpses of Hiroshima - mostly women and children.  That's the face of war. Or the more than 50,000 dead Americans from that sad Vietnam conflict, where America just cut and ran, and left Vietnam to be overrun by Communists.  

What is the old expression? "The first casualty of war is the truth."   I think that is more true than I realized.

So lets not let the liars & bastards scam us again this time also, eh?  :) 

 

[Dec. 6, 2019] - A small win for the Eh-Team    Like that old Pogue's tune:   "I bet on a horse named "Bottle-o-Smoke", and My Horse Won!"    ("Bookies cursing, cars reversing ... I bet on a Bottle-o-Smoke!")...   😎

We bet against the Bay Street Analysts, and it played well.  Love it when a plan comes together...!   Yesterday & today, at least, the "Eh-Team" takes it..  :)  => 🙂

Yesterday, we re-acquired our entire bank-stock portfolio at a nicely lower price-point, and extracted some cash.   This is "path-dependent" trading, and it is a bit crazy.  I honestly don't recommend it as a strategy.   It's just that it sort of keeps working.   And like every enterprise large and small, we have expenses.   And it can really work, if you are able to see and know things that other miss.   (What? The fractal dimension of the Time Series?  The Hausdorf dimension?  Do you know your embedding space?  What is your largest Lyapunov exponent?  Do your Hurst Exponents show a mean-reverting process?  Is the Xerion Neural Network thing finally working to give you that "edge"?)

Honestly, it's like this:  The harder you work, and the better you prepare and plan, the *luckier* you will be.   Luck - pure randomness flipping the right way - is really important - but so is having done the background work, made the big position changes, and taken some big - but controlled - risks.  If you know what you are looking to see, and are properly positioned, then the action-plan just slides along and one can achieve the good outcome, just by following the plan, if and when the "stars line up"  (.ie randomness "toggles a switch" in your favour...).

It is pretty clear, that the ongoing trend of the market is towards the upside.  There is just way too much cash sitting in silly (and hyper-risky) bonds and fixed-income paper, that is yielding basically somewhere between negative and bugger-all.  If you want to *invest*, you have to "dance with TINA"  (TINA => "There Is No Alternative") and buy stocks.   In Canada, that means bank-stocks and/or telecom companies.  Oil & gas and mining is tough - and slowly getting tougher.   If you are an expert in that area, then by all means.  But I worked for the banks and the tech-guys and the telecoms.  I know them.  So that is where we put the bets on, and roll the dice.  But it feels funny to go in one direction, when the rest of the world is going the other way.  [And WIN.  That is the key, which I forgot to mention.]  Anyone can be a contrarian.  The key is to do yer homework, so that your bet contains a real edge. You bet against the world, and WIN.  An investor who takes more money out of the market than he puts in, will have a lot of times when things don't work.  So when things *do* work, it's a curious feeling.

Oh, also been running some simulation experiments on the Z-80's.  I'll post some of the results here.  The Z-80, even at a slow 10 mhz, is a fine little math-engine, and that is really surprising.  And it is deeply satisifying to run code you designed and wrote yourself, on a machine that you build yourself with a soldering iron.  :)

[Dec. 5, 2019] - Kings of Oblivion - (Out of Africa, and Into Ca-Na-Duh?)  We are the only country in the world, whose name literally means: "WTF?"   The true story is, that when Jacque Cartier first came ashore at what is now the Gaspe peninsula, in the year 1534, and asked the native Indians,  (in French) "What land is this?", their response was: "What the F*ck?" or  "Ca - naa - Duh!?"  (Some suggest it was actually: "Who Are You?" => "Ka Nah Tah?")   Later on, the story was put about that "Ka-na-Ta" meant "Meeting Place" in Iroquois/Huron language, but I like the true story better.   It is unlikely that the local Indians in Gaspe region, would have spoken the Huron/Iroquois language.

But "WTF?" is actually a good name for this country.  Think about it.  In these curious modern times, what is the first thought that occurs when you start to read the newspaper or data-feeds, about current political and economic events?  What is your first immediate thought?   Is it not honestly: "WTF?!"

[Dec. 4, 2019 - PM] - Scam-Scam-Sam! - The internet and the public telecom networks are certainly enabling all manner of scam-slugs.  We updated our phones to show "call display",and I see now the strange numbers that keep calling us (and speaking Chinese) are coming from a Turks & Ciacos Islands Area Code.  (649).  And research shows you do not even have to physically be there.  The call could be originating in a call-centre in Romania or Ukraine or Thailand.

Hilarious.  Here is a "sh/t-list" - as a public service - of Carribean (Blue?) area codes.  Unless you have friends down there, the calls from these A/C's will probably be scams:

 Area code Location
268 Antigua and Barbuda
284 British Virgin Islands
473 Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique
664 Montserrat
649 Turks and Caicos Islands
767 Commonwealth of Dominica
809 Dominican Republic
829 Dominican Republic
849 Dominican Republic
876 Jamaica

 232   => Unassigned Area code.  This code is used by scammers/telemarketers as a "spoof" code. (They fiddle the "displayed" number, in the Call-Display.)   All this scam-sh/t can be prevented by the carriers if they really want to do it.   All it will take, is *ONE* simple piece of Federal Legislation, and then  "Sammy Scam-Scumface" can be put out of business.

In the meantime, learn to use your "Harrassment Filter" on your cellphone.  Works fine.  Just drop the scam-numbers into the black-list, (like you do with all your sh/tbag blackhat IP#s from Romania and China on your server, right?), and your phone will not ring every few hours will scambags running APTs on you. <sigh>

The scams are part of a bigger problem, that seems to be messing up and degrading communications technology everywhere now.  And maybe politics and economics as well.  There seems to be this "Gresham's Law for Information" => "Bad information drives out good" - just like with money.   So, as part of my ongoing research to determine just how the internet went so badly off the rails, I found this interesting article:

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/04/jaron-lanier-interview-on-what-went-wrong-with-the-internet.html

Really interesting part about how "Wikipedia" now is, with it's active support for the "petty meanness", that differentiates it from a real encyclopedia, such as "Britannica".    Lanier suggested it contributes to "Digital Maoism", where there is *only* one correct viewpoint, and I think he is really onto something there.  This is a serious problem, and he has named it.   "Digital Maoism" is maybe just the next phase-jump beyond the evil ugliness of "political correctness".   And like the damn "robots taking over", we are maybe already there. 

There is no social debate anymore.  There are just echo-chambers and shouting-matches - with fat, angry screamers who say things like:  "You're White!  You don't even have a culture!"...  (Hey, I saw the video on the internet, so it must be true, eh?)   🙂 😀

[Dec. 4, 2019] - Robots Have Already Taken Over. - Interesting and important info quanta:  Several estimates suggest that over 75% of all stock trading is done by computerized algorithms.   Also, roughly 80% of all website traffic is robots, apparently.  That number is bigger than I expected, but it explains a few things.   Basically, the robots have *already* taken over, does not it seem?  Recently I was pleasingly surprised to actually make contact with a real person, who offered to sell me a thing I needed.  It was complex and took time to complete the transaction, but that is the case everywhere now.  I have a real-estate purchase transaction that was suppose to close last August.  It is now December, and still we are waiting for final survey work to be approved and registered, and nothing can occur until that is done.

The Amazons we have here in the future, are little high-powered ARM chips that will power the AWS data-centres.  Nothing like my mental picture at all,,,

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-designs-more-powerful-data-193840191.html

Will the robots make our lives better?  At this point, that is unclear.  I was rather hoping for a future with Amazon Warrior Women, and Asimov-style "3-Laws-of-Robotics" style robots.  But things never quite turn out as expected, do they.   The "Amazons" and the "robots" were not as I expected they would be...  :)

[Dec. 3, 2019] - Send in the Amazons! - Finally created an Amazon account, and ordered some electronic components from China.   The original "Amazons" of the ancient Greek world, were fierce female warriors, known for their ruthlessness and their military ability.  And of course these myths - some of which appear to be based in truth - suggest they were very cruel to any male prisoners they captured.  

My capture by the modern Amazon was not so terrible.  What makes Amazon so impressive, is their rapid fulfilment.  It is very difficult to actually buy anything on the internet, it turns out.  I ran into this last year, when I needed a tire for our Kubota tractor.  It was a special size, and trying to actually acquire the thing turned into such a complex and problematic project,that I finally went to a local TSC store, bought an inner tube of the correct size (they had ONE in stock), and had a local tire shop install it.  The Dealers - as usual - do not maintain stock, and were only able to offer incorrect-size options.   (The tractor is four-wheel drive, which means tire-size front and back must be absolutely correct to factory-specs, or the transmission will be damaged...)

But I recall when trying to buy the special tractor-tire last year, it was *only* Amazon, who could offer a "shipped to the door" price.  They had a whole delivery-committment detailed and costed, and curiously, they were the only business that was able or willing to do that.

"With bricks, clicks and a big outfit named after warrior chicks!" - how we shop here in the future...  :)  

[Dec. 2, 2019] - Why has the Internet Gotten So Difficult? - Oh my, what a curious time.  I had a plan to spend some funds to acquire some material - but I have curiously been unable to do this today.  The electronics I was planning to buy, has been *revised* from a version 1 to a Version 2, and the specific features I *really* wanted have been deleted from the design!  😮..

Well, change happens.  We know that.  So I start checking out newer/different tech I can use to address the change, and I do a Googles-search on a specific common technical item, and it says: '19,200,000 hits..." and I get exactly 3 pages of 50 responses each, and no more.  What?

So I even try eBay (god, how I hate eBay).   And eBay's search/display algorithm explicitly prevents me from seeing *any* Seller information, and when I expand the search - let's say I was looking for "computer monitors" -  I start getting pneumatic valves, small wiring harness assemblies, cell-phone accessories, and pages and pages and pages of other complete garbage that has nothing even to do with "computer monitors".   EBay is completely borked.    Obviously, they must be crazy successful, I guess...  :)

When you can happily tell your customers, with money in their hands, to "Go fAAk-off!", then I guess things must be ticking along pretty good...   🙂    (Or maybe something else is happening?).   Fu-san has the solution for this.  She buys from Amazon Japan, and has what she wants air-freighted (for $20) from Nihonia to Can-Nada-stan, and everything works fine, tickety-boo, no-problemo.   At first I was skeptical.  But as the DHL truck pulls away - after delivering a box of stuff she ordered four days ago, I have to bow to her wisdom.   (And these four days cross a weekend boundry!  The real delta-t is only two business days!  Hell, in this country, I can't even get a telephone call returned in two days, much less a package delivered from the other side of the planet!)

Amazon, Apple and All-of-Asia seem to be able to *get it right, & get it done*, and everyone else seems to have their head up their arse (except DHL and Loomis, who also seem to be getting it done right now...).   I confess a little bit of astonishment at this curious turn of events.     Sites seem a lot more concerned with "blocking robots" than they are with attracting customer/clients.  

But - just when I am ready to give up - the 'net lets me make contact with an actual honest and fine person who offers me the exact thing I need, and I have to take my hat off to him (and the magic of this crazy communications medium...   Awesome, really...  :D

[Dec. 1, 2019] - Faak Buy-Day - Black Friday in Cda was followed by Silver Saturday and White Sunday, apparently.  The Sunday, Dec. 1st ice storm pasted small white ice-balls on everything, and made for a slow day, but the "Silver Saturday" was pretty wild & impressive.   The malls were packed, and spending was happening at a fierce level.   I never imagined I would see Waterloo's famous "Connestoga Mall" massive series of parking lots completely full. 

My GF wanted an iPhone, and so we had get the Fido folks (the carrier we use) to upgrade the SIM card in her Android phone to a "nano" SIM (basically just the chip), so that it could then be swapped into the  iPhone.  Fu-san opted for the iPhone 8-Plus (big screen, with haptic "home button" still present.  The X-R was an option, the original iPhone 8 is a very nice (smallish) form factor, but the iPhone-8-Plus, with it's big screen, is just a clear winner.  

The price of course, is insane.  You can get a fine Android phone for $100 if you shop around.  But the iPhone has the same GUI as Fu-san has on her iPad and Macbook-Air, and that just makes for a compelling reason-to-buy.  Price is less of a factor here.

There is a reason why Apple is so successful.  They do a lot of very difficult things right.  The phone was $750, but came with a $70 store credit, which of course, one uses for a silicon case.  There were a ridiculous number of red-shirted sales people in the Apple Store, and so there was always someone to help you buy.  The phone "setup" was handled at a different table, and of course was problematic, since Fu-san had forgot her Apple-ID password.  But we managed to remember the pswd for the associated email account, and with web-mail access to the email account (which we were able to get from an Apple fellow with an online-MacBook), we reset the pswd for the AppleID which Fu-san already had, and thus the new iPhone and the old iPad now know about each other, auto-magically.

The key here is that most modern technology gets about 95 to 98% of the job done right.   But it often fails to complete.   Before we got the iPhone, we went to the Bank, where Fu-san's new credit card was waiting.  Registering this card took multiple tries, and was frustrating.  Only when I managed to recall some specific information about her account setup (which was over 10 years ago), and confirm this with the bank staff (via their computer terminal access), were we able to use the automated telephone system required by the Bank, to register and make active the credit-card. 

There was no chance to actually speak to a live person (the automated Bank system indicated this would be at least a 1/2 hour wait on the line), and the credit-card was useless unless activated, and even in the Bank Branch iteself, there was no mechanism for a client's new credit card to be activated.  The only option for the cardholder customer was to mess-about with the automated telephone system, and ensure that a myriad of unique numeric information quanta could be remembered and then entered by keypad, correctly.    We finally were able to get thru this process, but only because I was able to verify a hunch, and confirm some information, in the Branch.   The process was just not great.  A better approach:  Use a human, and KYC ("Know Your Client.")   Like in the old days, right?  :D

Of course, it needs to be secure, and fraud needs to be prevented.   But most technological methods always fail to reach 100% operational quality.  They get 90 or 95% of the job done, and role it out.  But that last 5 or 3 or 2% makes all the difference.  And in all truthfulness, it often takes almost as long to get that last 4 or 5% done, than the entire project has taken.

But this is what Apple is able to do.  From the POV of the end-user, Apple gets 100% of the way.  (For a Developer, Apple is a nightmare of restrictions, grief, complexity & cost).  But at the pointy-end of things, where the technology is in the end-user's hands, Apple's stuff seems to them to "just work".   And that is the key for Apple.   If Fu-san had been trying to register her credit-card herself, the technology to do this would have simply failed.  It would have been a complete fail, and she would have not been able to use the card. 

But at the Apple Store, you are sat down at a table, and you do not leave the Apple Store, until your phone is working, and you have your Apple ID setup so it works.   Real people make sure this gets done, and useful help is provided.  The Apple technology reaches the 100% operational success level - or at least gets a helluva lot closer than most Banks - or really any other consumer-facing  technology - is ever really able to do.    It is the key driver for their outsized success. 

[Nov. 29, 2019] - Fake it 'Till You Break it - My main machine that has the old Android development environment on it, which I use to create the gDOSbox, the APL's, and the GNUplot37 application-packages (ie. Android .APK files), just would not work to compile or built anything.  Turns out I had - at some point in the last 5 years - just copied all the "development" area for all the various Android apps, from one of the two Linux laptops, over to it.   I had forgotten that I had to hack a bit of a semi-custom version of the apps and their dev-environments together to run on that machine - which is just a 2400 mhz 2-gigabyte RAM Intel processor - but it is a uni-processor, and is 32-bit, and thanx to the Google-folk who like to break stuff, it would not run "aapt" (the critical little Android-Asset-Packaging-Tool", which is critical, since it is the little magic program that bundles-together all the programs-and-pictures-and-datatables that are the guts of an "Android Application".

In case you don't know, an Android ".APK" file (an Application-PacKage), or "App", is just a bag of files that have been "zip" compressed to make them smaller, and then put into a "bag" as one big file. When you download an ".APK" file and install it on your Android tablet or cellphone, all that is happening, is that this big bag-o-files - which also has a digital signature on it, to prevent fraudsters from switching or changing the contents of what's in the bag - is just opened up and unloaded into the" Downloaded Files" area of your tablet or phone.

So to install any Android application and use it, all you need to do, is to download the .APK file to your phone or tablet, and then start up some sort of "Files" program on your device, and find the file in "Downloads" area, click on it, and say "Yes" when it asks if you want to install it.

What is  really funny, is that back in 2014, I had encountered similar problems "packaging" up my .APK files, and had learned that Google had just broken the "aapt" program code for some Intel 32-bit machines, and said "f*ck it - we don't care, since we want it to run faster on the 64-bit machines anyway.  If you don't like this, then piss-off."    I guess I had forgotten this little gem, as it make so little positive impression on me.   Don't believe me?  Well, here are the bug-reports from 2014 (I had a tough time finding these.  They do *not* show up in standard Google searches.  .... I wonder why, eh?   <ha ha ha>...

https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/37002453

https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/36977086

Now, strictly speaking, it's not fair to blame Google for this. Android is *supposed* to be a "open source" project - ya, like RedHat Linux was supposed to be...  :)   [Ever get the feeling that "open source" has kind of become a code-word, for "Hey, let's get a bunch of kids working for us, and get them to write all our code for free!"    Ever get that suspicion?   No, me neither.  That would be too depressing, right? ]

What is so funny, is that searching this weird issue down, (which required special custom searches where I limited my time-window from 2010 to 2015..) I ran across my *own* posting from 2014!   Look at the "Mar. 17, 2014" entry for issue 36977086 that starts with "ru...",and that is ME!   Just hilarious.  I guess it was St. Patricks day, or something.

Anyway, I fixed the "sAPL" (see the top "Github" screen, where the contents of the "gemesys/gemesys_repository" are indicated.  You can easily download, from Github , the sAPL application package - as an .APK file for installation on an Android tablet or phone, OR you can just download the sAPL.zip file-collection, and drop it into any directory on a Windows machine, and then unzip it.  Once unzipped, just run "apl.bat" and you will have a nice little working APL, which can do slick little quicky programs, to calculate and computer anything you want.

How to make over $100,000 in the Stock Market, using APL

sAPL is 100% freeware, and my original purchase license from IP Sharp Associates in Toronto specifically *encouraged* me to copy and share it with anyone who was interested.  It runs as an emulator for IBM 370 32-bit mainframe assembler code, but it runs as an MS-DOS program.  On the original IBM P/C, circa 1983, it was so *slow* that the IP Sharp timesharing service, just decided to give it away as a promotion for their mainframe timesharing business.  That is how I bought my copy, with the "please share this software" license.  That license had no restrictions, IP Sharp does not even exist anymore, and even the Iverson family (the family of the inventor of APL, Ken Iverson), have lost interest in APL, and are creating other language products.

But I still use APL, on my iPad, on my Blackberry Playbooks, and on m Android tablets and cellphone (the Huawei).  It's a really great language.

Oh, and of *all* the computer models I have developed for hacking the stock and bond and commodity markets over the years (there have been many, believe me..), I realized today, that the one model which put the absolute most money in my pocket (well over $100,000), is the simple one that I built (and still use) using sAPL - first on the Blackberry Playbook, and now on my various Android devices (Samsung tablets of various vintages and sizes).  It even runs on my iPad, under a custom built gDosbox for iPad, which was only installable on my iPad, after I hacked it to get "root" access using the Russian "RedSn0w" software, and then installed all the Cydia applications, like "ssh" and "terminal".

The simple bank-stock stock-price model, incorporates a simple dividend-discount model, some interest rate and  growth assumptions, estimated pay-ratios, etc. and then it just drives the little model forward thru time, and sees what the expected evolution should look like, an then makes a mechanical estimate of the expected share price of the bank stock in question.  That model has just beat the pants off of every other model, and I was lucky enough to have a good slug of real money invested.  Been running it since 2007-2008 time frame, and it's simplicity and robust assumptions have allowed it to perform well.  One needs a *robust* (ie. non-fragile) investment approach, if one is going to bet one's life-savings on an investment strategy.  And this simple model, written in sAPL, and running on an Android tablet (and in a Windows "command-line" shell), has provided that.   :)

Don't laugh at or belittle APL.  It can fill your pockets with cash, and let you have a nice life, if you learn to use it wisely!   Thanks Ken!    :D

sAPL and gDOSbox, and the other GEMESYS Ltd. App's, can be downloaded from Github, here:

https://github.com/Gemesys/gemesys_repository

Just highlight the .APK file on the Github page, click the Github "Download" button, which drops the file into your Android "Downloads" directory on your Android tablet or phone, and then click on that file, and click "Yes" to the "Do you want to install this App?" question.  Note: you might have to tweak the "Settings" on your phone or tablet to say "Install from untrusted sources"  to do the install.  If you are paranoid (a good idea, these days), you can check the SHA256 hash on the "sAPL-release.APK" file, and confirm it matches the one, shown on the screen up top.  On any box with "gpg" installed, from command line, you can compute the SHA256 hash string with this command:   "gpg  --print-md  sha256  *.apk"  (The --print-md just says: "print the message digest".  Message digest is just the type of encryption used.)  Make sure your generated hash matches exactly the hash-strings on screen up top that shows the github sha256 hash-strings in green-text.  The SHA256 hash for the latest GEMESYS Ltd sAPL .apk file is:  5CAAB0FE D7A2697D 82999D59 52F6C491 4833074D F7439E3C 42C0E765 1123C1CD.

Maybe there is an Android App for generating SHA256 hash codes for downloaded files?  I will see if I can find one.  If I can't find one, and point to it, I will write one, and post it to our github software repository.

[Nov. 27, 2019] - APL for All! - I updated the GEMESYS APL applications on Github.  They are easy to download and install on an Android phone or tablet.  The APL language was the first really useful interactive computing language, and it was very popular before spreadsheets became ubiquitous.  It's great for quick calcs and programs on tablets and phones. The sAPL and APLse are particularly nice, and gDOSbox allows Ms-DOS applications to be run on an Android device.  Note: if you download and install gDOSbox, you will want to turn on file-access permissions for it! 

The Android default, on modern devices, has the file-access to the internal Android device storage disabled by default.  Just select "Settings" (the little Gear-icon) on your Android tablet, select "Apps", and find gDOSbox and enable  "All permissions" for it, and you will be able to see the contents of the directory on your Android device called: /storage/emulated/0 (which is actually the internal virtual "/sdcard" directory.   This works with my older Samung Tab-8's and with my Huawei cellphone, which runs Android 5.1.1, but not with my Samsung Tab-A which runs Andriod 7.1.1.   This is just nasty.  I do an upgrade - and I lose the "ftp" access to my previously useful Tab-A!  This is really a pain.

[Android, Samsung & Google - Right up yer Kilt!] - Android, sadly, has become a rather frustrating & restricted platform.   It is part of why I am interesting in returning to older, simpler technology, like our home-made Z-80 SBC.   With modern stuff, the only choice is to "root" the device, or avoid upgrading - otherwise you risk having some Googleoid pull the rug out from under your feet, just as you were hoping to use your little tablet to do some dividend and probability calculations on some data you wanted to transfer-in...   My expensive Samsung Tab-A, which was actually a nice little machine - is worthless, if I cannot migrate my files to and from it with the little FTPserver app I have been using. 

[Update]// Later this same nite, I determined I can use plain FTP from both my Windows and *older* Linux boxes, and I can get to my on-board virtual "/sdcard" file-directory on my Samsung Tab-A device.  Fine.  But the CentOS-7 box, with it's slick and cool Gnome interface, only lets me see the top-level "/" directory on the Android device - but none of the actual files in my shared virtual /sdcard directory.  (This is the internal "sdcard" - typically in the  "/Storage/emulated/0/" area on the Android device.)  FTP to the Android device from an old, orginal FTP client, just shows me that directory contents only - but *no* access to anything else.

Really, this whole "Locked-by-the-manufacturer* approach, where you don't have access to the computer device you bought and paid-for, is just silly & wrong and should be changed.  Device makers should be required by law, to make a "root" capability available to anyone who wants it.

My iPad - which is "rooted"  - runs "ssh", and it can use standard Linux utilities (called "scp" for "secure-copy") - in Windows, Macbook, and Linux - to migrate files to and from it.   This makes the old iPad-1 *very* useful.   But the Samsung, with it's restrictive Android 7.1.1, is locked-down by design, and this makes it 1) difficult to use, and 2) much less secure to transfer files in or out, since to transfer files I have to use old FTP (which is not encrypted), so using wifi, means my files are going out over the air in bloody plaintext!  This is so crazy.  In the name of "Device Security" I have to end up using a "no-security-at-all" wireless transfer approach.

Curious how our technology is often 3 steps forward, followed 4 or 5 big steps back!     :)

I really understand why IBM paid $34 billion for RedHat, since the Open-source model is really the only sensible way to go.  The real "pirates" are the ones who support the DMCA model, and are always trying to create little moated-fiefdoms with monopoly characteristics and large, inflowing revenue-pipes of FUD-generated funds.  Yes, I know - I will have to get the tin-foil hat, and a soap-box to stand on...  when all I really want to do is have "operator" access to my own computer, so I can use it!   :D

[Nov. 25, 2019] - Bank stock rock & roll - Updated the database, ran some charts and technical calcs.  Surprised at just how much these things have swung in the last 5 years.  This is more than a "credit cycle" - there is some real market dynamics going on here.  You want to hold bank stocks because they fling a nice dividend - payout ratios are typically 40% or better with Cdn banks - everybody holds the stuff, because yields are 4 to 5% for the "big six".  But you have to endure swings in your capital of 20% or more, so the gain from the dividend can be dwarfed by the brutal hit to your portfolio value.

This little 5-year stock price chart for BMO (Bank of Montreal) shows the swings typical in this industry.  It's a bit harsh - and they all do it, you can't *diversity* your way out of this violence.  The high dividends are needed to keep people holding this stuff, since the volatility-violence is pretty intense. 

In reviewing analysts reports (and creating a few myself), I am still surprised a how most analysts miss most big turning points.  I once did a study for a provincial "Treasury" Ministry, where we looked at about 10 different statistical/time-series measures, and took all the best forecasts from all the best analysts on the "street" (Bay Street, here).   The "interest rate* forecasts were worse than useless (the "null" - ie. "no change" forecast *always* beat the best attempts to predict any future values of rates).  [To a young "juniour G-man" economist/computer-boy, (me) this was actually a shocking discovery...]

I've basically learned, that you pretty much cannot forecast the future.  Even really smart folks, with a lot of technology and good data, cannot do it.   We all need to accept the basic truth of this.

You can *make* the future happen. [Planning & Building].   And you can *prepare* for future "worst-case" scenario-events.  [Insurance and hedging].    And you can jump hard on an attractive opportunity, when it (surprisingly) gets offered.  [Trading & Speculating].    But the world and the universe is just too chaotic and non-linear, with too many "extreme-istan" style process drivers, to let you predict too much.  [Except I did a study on interest-rates, back to Babylon and Sumarian times, and weird high and low interest rates can remain in place for a *long* time.  Rate changes are serially-autocorrelated also, which means bond-prices *really* trend.]

Bank stocks used to act a lot like bond prices.  Well, they still do.  They act like really long-dated bonds, so that means they are naturally volatile as f**k.  This really sucks for ordinary investor-guys, who are looking for stability and sanity.  No one likes to see 20 of 30% of their capital get vapourized by dumb-guy political chatterbots and leftist lie-mongers.  But that has been our recent storyline.   Bloody tiring.

I want to buy a Tesla CyberTruck, and also do some serious building projects, so I am going to be forced to take the trading up a level.  And of course, I am not sure I have an edge.  Without an edge, I will get nuked by randomness, my research suggests.   And yet, I am also certain to get nuked by inflation, if I don't engage the investment/trading/speculation process.  Between Scylla and Charibdis,  I seem to recall from the classics...  

I have a very soft spot for old BMO, as it saved my arse after I got blown up in the 2008 Great USA Housing Fraud Bubble burst.  Full Disclosure:  I do not own BMO.  But I did load up, back in fall of 2008, when BMO did a secondary offering, in the low 30's.  By Feb. 2009, it was in the 20's, but I held on till the high 50's, IIRC.  (Should have just held it, eh?)

I've seen some crazy sh/t in my life.  Canada retail "Savings Bonds", paying 18.75%, in the 1980 time-frame, when Volker killed US inflation with his 20%+ interest rates.  And now, negative yielding long Gov't bonds in Japan and Germany, with Cdn gov. long-bonds yielding just about nothing.  It is simply *crazy*.  And now MMT (Modern Monetary Theory), which says you can just hack the money-supply to an insane level, and get no inflation, and no problems.  This is nuts.  My first real economics job was with Trudeau's "Anti-Inflation Board".  It was absolutely surreal.  I remain quite astonished that the Canadian "Federation" has remained intact.  I *fully* expected Quebec to vote-for, and carry-out their *separation* exercise.  But of course, it makes a *lot* more sense that Western Canada separate, and establish itself as an independent national entity.

But there is that insane & violent reality to the South of us, which keeps us nervous, and cohesive, even in our radical differences.  We all kind of buy-in to the chaotic model we have now, and we all sort-of agree on most of what is in operation now.  This whole English parlimentary thing, seems to work ok - not great - but better than anything anywhere else. 

It's like our stupid bank stocks - they lurch up and down, and are really awful investments - compared to catching a unicorn like Apple or Tesla - but they survive.  They don't trade thru *zero*, like garbage like General Motors did (does?), and they don't explode in your face, and destroy *all* your equity (and portfolio) value, like Dome Petroleum and Laidlaw and Stelco and Royal Trust and Nortel (and many others) all did.  I know a couple who lost most of their life savings, as their "Financial Advisor" had invested most of it in Nortel.  I had a lunch with another working Analyst, in downtown Toronto, back when Nortel was trading over $100/share, and we both agreed, that since the silly company was not making any accounting profit, they could not be worth more than $20/shr.  (Even that was too generous...).   (I had an advantage, as I had worked for them on a contract, too.  I did all these programming gigs.  Serious stuff - I could write/fix anything.  I even worked for Lehman Bros., in the 1990's truth be told.  Most organizations - inside - are just toxically awful and almost dysfunctional.   I am honestly, actually amazed, when anyone anywhere can actually get anything done, that requires more than two or three people working on it.  :)

So, in Canada, we get pulled back to these awful, volitile and horrible bank stocks.  And Phone companies.  They are terrible investments, really.   But they are not so awful, that you lose *all* your money - like many *other* investments actually are.  (I know a guy who had many hundreds of BitCoin on deposit with "Mount Gox" or whatever that particular scam was called.  He lost - of course - all of it.).  

What I have learned in my detailed studies of investment alternatives - is that *most* investments actually destroy *most* of your wealth.  This fact is ignored, as the *graveyard* is not included when long-term investment analysis is done.   Some silly academic doofus stands at a point in time, and looks at a bunch of investment-valuations, and he then looks back in time, and sees how well they all have performed, and he thinks he is seeing how it works.  But this dumb bastard *ignores* the huge "graveyard of investments", which is chocked so full of dead, zero-valued money-destroying failures.  [The technical term is: "Survivorship Bias"].   Once you include the "graveyard", long-term investment returns basically go negative, or close to it.

The truth is - most investments - go to zero, eventually.   I see this in my own long-term database.  It still has HAND and PALM and CMGI.   It has JAVA and NTL and RIMM.  It has "GM-Old"  (the series is renamed) and LEH (which for a while was still on the "Pink Sheet" market).  It even has Fannie-Mae and Washington Mutual and a bunch of other American trash (and a lot of Canadian trash too...).   It has Citigroup at 75/shr - but remember, this value was actually created by a 10-to-1 share consolidation.  It's really $7.50/shr.  I had some at $25.  I remember reading some stuff in the WSJ, and selling the position on my cellphone, in a Starbuck's parking lot.  Citigroup will have to trade up to $250/shr, before it recovers even close to it's old valuation.

An old stock-price database is basically "junk DNA".  It will mostly have dead-investments.  Any process that lives, will have graveyard data.  Evolutionary truth is actually in our own DNA-history... it has datasets of crap that we no longer use, but are still gigabytes of sequences in the human genome.   Look at *any* process carefully, and you will see the awesome power of the graveyard.   The graveyard is where almost *everything* goes - especially your investment values.  (I still have some Nortel "preferreds" in one of my portfolios.  I keep there to remind me to be careful.  It was inherited, and was still worth $12/share when I got it.  It is now 0.00. )

So really, that is the secret to *great investment success".  Just don't die.  I almost bought some CHK, when it was 2 dollars and change per share.   Then I remembered Laidlaw.  CHK is now at  0.58/share.   Most stocks go to zero.  Eventually, *all* oil companies will go to zero, or be acquired. 

And eventually - all of us - every, single one of us - will find our own way to the graveyard.

Except the banks.  Banks can live forever, if they don't blow-up their capital.  So as long as Jeremy (and his successors), keep the dear fellows reporting their capital numbers *every month*, and the contigent-capital preferreds do their jobs - the Cdn Banks can be immortal.  Even if Canada itself may not be.  Someday, I am pretty sure, the politcal map of North America, will be different.  I think there is a very good chance the Canadian Banks stocks - all of them - will come off 20%, as the credit cycle tightens a bit, and real-estate prices moderate and go flat-line or fall. (20 to 25% down, would not be difficult at all).  So the banks stock prices could track-back at least 20 to 25% - or maybe even 30% to 40% (like they did in 2008).  But they probably won't die.   :)  (And look at their long-long charts.  They track upwards, with the economy.  They grow by percentages, and that means they will double, and double again, etc., if they don't die or self-destruct.)

[Nov. 22, 2019 - PM] - How to Win a Darwin Award (Financial) -  Oops.  Damn.  I think I might have won a Darwin, at least in the Financial category.   After some serious sleuthing, I found the report, that has the big "This Report NOT to be Distributed in the United States Under ANY Circumstances!" letters printed vertically on the side of each page.  It has the "Industry Model" and specific econ-models for each of the Big Six in Canada.   The PCL's (provisions for credit losses) are basically SFA, and the NIM's (net interest margins) - on a "teb" - taxable equivalent basis - look to be fine.  Better than my anecdotal and truffle-pig-sniffing style research suggested was likely to be the case.   I see a real possibility of a real-estate meltdown in the next few months, beginning with collapse in the real-estate market around March or April of 2020.   But maybe I am wrong.  It just looks like *everyone* - even the shoe-shine boy -  is long real-estate, in a seriously leveraged way. 

But this might not be a bad idea, truth be told.   We may not get a crash - just a growth flat-line, and price stability, with the currency taking the delta.  Cdn dollar could track back to 65 - 70 cent range, and this would just be a crash for foreign holders, with no real change locally.

The continued strength of the bank stocks feels surprising and unlikely, but such is the way the markets work.  What is really happening, might must be just more of the ongoing assault on rational savers, which has characterized the last 10 years.  Just because you have been f*cked for 10 years, does not mean you cannot be f*cked for another 10 years, does it?  If we start to see some serious inflation start to manifest - then I am back to the previous model-picture, which suggests that it is only in equity positions where there is likely to be any safety. 

Hiding out in the stock-market, does not seem rational - given the nutbar crazy 20 or 30% annual swings that now occur - yet the economic models suggest this might be a viable strategy. 

I truly find it surprising when my neo-prepper, "Chicken-Little" (the sky actually might be falling) picture-of-the-world seems to align with what the sober, secret "we-only-talk-in-coded-acronyms"  reports the bank-bank-analysts publish.   Funny old world.  Except I cashed out a fat chunk of our bank-stock positions - only to see the bastards get bid up even higher.  (Master Livermore said carefully and clearly: "When they are high, they can always go higher"...)  I am really terrified, truth be told, that we are setting up the "mother of all meltdowns" - but so far, I am just another guy who is wrong.  

Reading thru the methane-swamp-gas-stinky nonsense of MMT in the USA political landscape, and following the "Tragedy of the Commons (House of)" in Canada, one gets the sense we are all just certain to be financially beaten, robbed and murdered by our political leaders.  Their foolish ignorance seems to know no limits.

But commerce still finds a way to happen, and so, it seems, do the market spirits of growth.  And when the markets smell fat and growing profit-piles in the near future, the equity prices start catching bids.  If this aligns with an economic sh/t-storm of "Inflation-Beginning"  (like that lovely J.M. Turner painting "Colour Beginning"), then we might end up with a "Sunrise With SeaMonster" lovely rising market, instead of being crunched to bits by sharp Dragon's teeth.    ...  :)  (PS:  I still want a CyberTruck - broken windows or not...)

[Nov. 22, 2019] - Don't Short Tesla. - I read how some clever fundboy in USA named Chanos or something like that has apparently covered his "short" position in Tesla.  Rumor has it he lost 175 million USD on the trade.  Excuse me for the chortle, but really.  Go short Tesla?  Really?!  They appear to be the only car company that doesn't suck. 

I  was in Toronto recently, saw a grey Tesla on Adelaide St, near where we had our old office, before we rusticated.  Looked nice.  Don't ever short sh/t that works.   Want a good short?  Short that oil+gas company, where the guy who started it drove his SUV into a bridge-wall, and committed suicide.  That sounded like a good short to me when I read about it.  Anyone who would short Tesla would have to be insane, or filled with Arrogance-Beetlejuice or something.

I got a demo of Solidworks the other day, and just yesterday, figured out how to use the multiple-workspace feature of Gnome on the CentOS-7 box I now use as my main machine.  Funny thing happened - my Windows machine blew up - the power supply destroyed itself with that awful "Phhhttssz.." sound electronics makes when it dies.  If I had the schematics I would fix it - but I just started using the CentOS-7 box full-time.  Its a bit of a learning curve, but not bad.  Using it to type this.  I'm deeply worried about the next 12 market months.  I see dragons and monsters waiting to kill and eat the foolish. But I suspect if Tesla fails, then we all fail.  

Here's the thing about Tesla.  It *should* work.  The whole idea is painfully obvious, and it's not about what people think.   It is that the production process to fab one has to be ultimately easier, and more amenible to fully-automated build.  An electric vehicle has about 1/4 the parts as a gas-engine car.  The enabling technology is the lithium-ion battery.   If you can make that work,then you have it.  The battery tech - combined with advanced software and reliable computer hardware - means you *should* have a quantum jump in process.   You should be able to jump to a different Leontif matrix of "technology transformation co-efficients" (to use one economic model) or jump to a very different "production function" (to use a different model - but same idea) that has better (ie. lower) K & L values.   Once you build one working prototype, it is possible to see if the jump has actually occured.

So, if you actually are a real analyst who can think - once you sit in a Tesla, or drive one that actually exists - you should be able to figure out that it probably isn't a good "short" idea. 

Here's a kinky idea.  Tesla takes the "CyberTruck" design - runs a fab where the stainless body is made say, *three* times as thick (literally, you just key in a different number into the fab-robot that 3D-prints the exoskeleton?), put it much thicker bullet-proot glass facet-panels - and some solid, run-flat tires... and maybe you have a military vehicle?   And then Tesla becomes a defense-business contractror?  If Honda can make little jet-planes, then why can't Tesla make armoured, electric cyber-jeeps, based on this "Cybertruck" design?

See, we have to get modern production building stuff at *much* lower costs.  And the actual, operational features of the technology have to be *much* more reliable and easier to use.  This is now technologically possible - but it still does not work financially.  The demand is not there, because the costs are still too high.  The trick is to price cars and trucks like iPhones and laptop computers - and use the same aggressive automation to fabricate them.   And it's a no-brainer, that labour-rich enviroments should be used to do the high-touch, labour-intensive part fo the fab - ie. the final assembly.  You need to keep labour costs low, so you can keep the product cost low. So the Third-World, labour-rich, low-labour-cost economies should be building *all* the cars and trucks now, right?  But we need sensible Free-Trade in the car-parts to make this model work.  And this economic experiment has already been run - see the old "Autopac" deals done in the 1960's that linked the US and Canada car-making economies around the Great Lakes.  It was a big win for everyone involved.

Now, we need to make the same interlinked, tarriff-free arrangements with Mexico and Asia.   This would let North Americans buy cheaper modern vehicles, and that would ramp demand.  If the pickup truck costs $70,000 (Canadian), then the farmer or contractor says: "Oh fuck that..." and walks away, and does not get the benefit of any new tech.  He has to keep driving his old rusty truck, until his business-model implodes, and he grows old and dies.  But if a new truck, with new, advanced technology, could be had for $20,000, he might be able to put 10K down, and not feel too bad about borrowing/financing the other 10K.  But you are an idiot if you borrow $60,000, and use it to buy a depreciating asset.   Right now, the new pickups are just too stupid expensive.  But if we could build pickup trucks in China, or India or Africa, at *much* lower cost, then the North American farmers and working types, could afford to buy the darn things, without mortgaging their houses or going into crazy debt.

But these revisions to fix the financial economy, cannot and will not come into play, if we do not have global free-trade.  Introducing 20% tarriffs will blow this model to hell.  This will condem the Third World, labour-rich areas to extreme poverty, will deny North Americans and Europeans of the low-cost modern products (that can and will ramp-up demand), and will continue to encourage mass-migration of the extreme poor from the southern "sh/t-hole" countries, to the northern lands, where safety (and unemployment) await.    

Letting the high-labour-cost northern economies, become interlinked with the low-labour-cost southern economies, will reduce conflict, and make for cheaper products - which will confer benefits on *both* economies - north and south.  The ignorant politicians who erect tarriff walls to "protect jobs" are actually destroying opportunity in not just the labour-rich, southern world, but are also forcing higher factor prices forward onto their own economies, which will reduce demand, reduce growth, reduce the tax-take, and increase costs to do anything in the high-labour-cost economy especially.

Modern electric vehicles could be fabricated and assembled in labour-rich economies of South America, Africa, India and China/Southeast-Asia/Indonesia, and sold in North America and Europe at *much* lower prices than more complex ICE (internal combustion engine)  vehicles.  But we need to outgrow the brain-damaged maximum-stupid idea, that tarriff's somehow "protect jobs".   They just do *not* - tarriffs are just a big, fat *tax*, paid by everybody who buys, uses, or simply needs, products.  Politicians who think tarriffs are helpful, need to be educated, or removed, before more damage is done.

Globalization - the interlinking of economies that have different labour-cost-levels, especially - is the key to reducing the financial issue that is preventing the new technology from gaining traction in northern high-labour-cost economic areas.   The Apple iPhone is the perfect example of how it actually *can* work.   We need to build new "CyberTrucks" for 20,000 to 30,000 ($Cdn), not $70,000 to $80,000 ($Cdn).   And I am pretty sure this could be possible, if we could have these new machines metal-bashed (using *stainless steel* - not the sh/t called "mild steel" that is used now and turns quickly to rust) and assembled in labour-rich southern economies, for export to the high-factor-cost economies of the north.   This has worked for iPhones - and it could work for Cybertrucks - but we have to get the goddamn politicians out of the way.  And that may take not just another time-wasting *election* - but perhaps a change in how we tax and govern ourselves, up here where it is freezing cold half the time.

I seriously, would not be surprised if the left-side of Canada (geographically, not politically!), might just set itself up as a seperate nation, and de-couple from the existing Canadian Federal model, at some point in the near future.  The failure of the Ottawa "mafia" to offer the western provinces anything other than high taxes and economic drain, at some point should encourage enlightened folks to just look eastward, and want to make their own international economic arrangements.  Western Canada could, as a seperate nation, actually make exactly the kind of deal, that needs to be made with China - a complete, free-trade arrangment, with easy movement of raw-materials and high-value, high-labour-input manufactured products.  If they just cut-loose from Ottawa, and the socialist fraudsterism of the high-tax+ welfare-state model that the Ottawa liberal-leftist mafia tries to enforce on everyone, they could immediately initiate exactly the kind of East-West/North-South Free-Trade-Zone arrangement that would benefit each side greatly.

I wonder if I shall live long enough to see it happen?  Could it happen in 10 years?  or more like 100 years?  Or more like 5 years?   I suspect that the current political model - where one gets to choose between a bunch of lefties that all support increased taxes and more government, at election time, will have to drive some real change at some point, someday.   Ottawa offers us nothing to Canadians, just like Washington offers nothing to most Americans.   I wonder how much longer, people will tolerate the current group of clowns that now control the process - in both countries.  It's curious.  In both nations, the *politicians* are the biggest problem we seem have.  :)

[Nov. 21, 2019] - Free Trade? - In USA, Schwab is bidding for TD-Ameritrade.  The story is interesting, since in the USA, not even the SEC can prevent disruptive pricing models from being offered.   Trading commissions have been eliminated for Schwab clients, apparently.   Of course, in all honestly, trading *commissions* should be negative.  As a customer of an online broker, you should be *paid* for putting your capital at risk.   Each trade you do - should create a *payment* into your account.  The pros have been paying for order-flow for years, since the algos can front-run the order-flow, and make consistant, very-low-risk profits.   Because all this happens at a time-scale that the silly regulators can't see, they assert it does not constitute a problem.  This is because they are lazy and stupid, perhaps?   I do not know.  Obviously, they do not trade, and have not experienced the special joy of being front-run on every single online order.  

And you can't even control your order routing (there are 10 or 12 active markets now in Canada alone, more in the USA), or make your order "Fill or Kill" or make it "All or None" (ie. require the trade to be executed as a block - instead of it being executed as little dribs and drabs, as the price quickly changes...).  

The online trading *experience* is one of the little-duckling being perfecty plucked by experts and pros.  You can't even prevent your order from being "sent upstairs" and used to provide benefit for the house.   In a fast market, if your order is filled "in-house", without being sent to an actual market, there are so many perfect ways to be hosed.  I *never* use "market orders", because of the games that are played with order-routing.  In many cases, your order may be routed to a "market" where the market-maker *pays* for the order-flow - so your online broker gets paid twice - once by you the customer, and once by the dark-market player, who hopes to (and just about always does) profit from your order-flow.

If you trade using the big-bank online-broker model - your order will also be coded with an explicit code that identifies you as a retail client.   If you check out a proper quote-service, which has the ladder of bids and offers, (called a "level two" quote service in Canada), you will see that almost all brokers are coded by numbers that anonymize them.  This is of critical importance, so that a selling or buying broker - who everyone knows works for one of the big funds in Canada - is not assumed to be acting for the big player.  Otherwise as buyer, they will see the price gap upward, or as a seller, see the price gap lower - as the few remaining market-makers respond.

But the poor rubes who have to trade thru online brokers that are bank-affiliated, get coded as what they are, and the whole market can see the duffers (like me!) coming a mile away.  We are easy targets - as we have to lay all our cards on the table, and hope we can get filled near the existing market price.  If you go with a market order, you are certain to be clipped by your order being slowly filled in-house.  If you use a limit order which sets the price you will transact at, you are certain to be "penny-ticked" ie. your bid will cause another bid to be generated 1-cent above yours - or for your offer, will cause another offer to be generated 1-cent below your offer. 

This means that if you want to deal in quantity (say several thousand shares of an expensive stock), you will have to offer *below* the market, or bid "above" the market - and then the stupid online computer system the online brokers make you use, will fling out annoying error messages, telling you that your order is stupid and needs to be confirmed again, because you are trying to bid above market, or sell below market.  By then, the price has moved.   Always - because your actions have now tipped your hand.  As the "retail" guy, you are the one supplying the capital to the game.

The experience of using modern "online" brokerage trading platforms can be a bit awful.  It can be comically frustrating & makes one want to abandon the whole process.  ("So, why do it?".  And the answer again, is "For the money, obviously"!)   But as an online trader here in the *future*, you *earn* every godd*mn nickel you make, trust me.    I would seriously advise anyone to avoid this game, and do something productive.  You will make more money (probably), and experience less grief, almost certainly.  Trading "commissions" should be zero or negative, no question about it. 

But of course, the big online shops now make most of their money investing the free cash balances of their customers.  And of course, the customer gets none of these funds - all the cash investment profit goes to the online broker firm.  At least that is the way it is in every online broker I have investigated.    In Canada, commissions of typically $10/trade are common, and places like Edward Jones still try to hit the customer with old-style *BIG* commissions that can run into the hundreds of dollars (I cannot understand how this economic model can still exist, except that I suppose people are even more lazy and stupid than even a hard-core cynic like me thought possible. )

Here is link to Reuters story:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-td-ameritrade-m-a-charles-schwab/charles-schwab-in-talks-to-buy-smaller-rival-td-ameritrade-cnbc-idUSKBN1XV16S

In Canada, there is basically no competition in the financial services industry, due to the extreme and onerous regulatory structures that lock-down the ability for anything disruptive to occur here.  This probably explains part of the big "Canada Discount" that is evident in our markets.  There is just not much in the way of any real competition in Canada, for really very much of anything.  This is beneficial for existing industry players - in fields like accounting, financial services, banking, law, medicine, etc.  But it means that we just do not ever get the benefits from disruptive economic models.  Anyone who wants to do anything innovative, first goes south.  Then, they stay, and get Green Card's, if they can.  Why?  For the money, of course!  :)

I'm really not complaining, but it would be good if it were possible to actually do things here that caused change to occur.   In 50 years, nothing has really changed.  Hell, we still have a "Trudeau"  as Prime Minister up in Ottawa, raiding the fisc, and blowing up our Federal finances...! ("Trudeau" means "Waterhole" in French.  I think we should name our massive federal debt the "Big Trudeau" - because it means we are "in the hole" and "underwater".   And the whole massive debt-loading was begun by the first "Waterhole" we had in power, back in the late 1960's

Nothing ever really changes too much here - not even the names or the pretty-boy faces... Except the federal debt.  It gets bigger, and more costly, each year.!    And the insane madness of MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) says we don't even have to worry about it!   What a hilariously foolish world we are now embedded within.  You just have to keep your sense of humor, and remember that nothing really matters very much.   If you can keep your capital intact, and take a little profit every so often, then you will live long and prosper.

If the trades are working, and the bills can be paid, then just remember to "pay the vigorish" and don't sweat the small stuff - because it actually all is small stuff!   We've actually had a pretty good year - much better than most.   But I feel like an old navigator on a southern voyage - filled with a curious and growing sense that we are about to sail off the map, and into the mouths of dragons.    :D

[Nov. 20, 2019] - "Future's Uncertain, & the Past is Always Near.."  So, goin' to the roadhouse, gonna have a good time?  Probably not.  We have a good time here at our house.  :)

New chart at top - a Cdn bank stock I follow.  They pay a high dividend, which still exceeds 5% (just), and this is a good return, in today's ugly world of insanely priced bonds.  But the stock has swung between 98 and 115 this year, which is crazy - and dangerous as the dickens for ordinary investors.  At current valuations, if real-estate markups come down to earth (quite possible - I've seen it happen Canada-wide twice in my lifetime - real-estate markets can fall 25% in 6 months quite easily), then the share prices of all banks will likely come off sharply - probably more than 25%, as the economic linkage between real-estate prices, mortgage-portfolios, bank assets and then bank stock valuations - is quite non-linear.

What folks need to realize about banks, is that their valuation is primarily a function of the quality of their underlying assets (their loan portfolios).  That means if the real-estate market unwinds just a little bit, then the equity value of all banks can unwind a bit more than a little bit.  And one can see what the linkage parameters are just by inspecting what happened in 2008-2009.  It was a perfect economic experiment.   (Who says economists can't run controlled experiments?  Of course we can.  But it is all of us that are the lab-rats! :)  )    Once you accept that truth that : " *you* are the lab rat", then economics makes complete sense, and is quite scientific!    Folks just don't like the results, and often vote to blow up the world, rather than just pay their godd*mn bills!  (Like the USA, (and Canada), for example).  

It's a funny old world, really.   The whole China trade deal thing is smoke and mirrors.   The USA will *not* likely remove their tarrifs, and the Chinese economy will be ok, regardless.  That is why they are not in any rush to agree to Trump's pre-conditions.  Their whole "Belt and Road" idea is the best future direction for them to take.   China and Europe are natural trading partners.  Russia (and the Russians) can grow rich becoming "Silk Road" merchants (again), if they want to.   Conflict is not necessary.

We have to envision a world, where the USA is not the Big Boss.  That is still a long way's off, but it almost certainly will come.  I have this nightmare scenario where the global trading relationships break down, and North America becomes a "fortress".   We will be ok, and we will survive, but not as easily as we do now, I suspect.

An Historian, 200 or 300 years in the future, will look back on these times, and marvel at how naive and silly and downright stupid most of our leaders were.  How they missed opportunity after opportunity to create stability and peace, and instead made choices that drove us toward instability and conflict.   Much like we do now, when we look at the First World War, or the European wars of Religion - Crusades, Catholic vs Protestant, etc.     The World is run by idiots and self-serving fraudsters, who grab power because humans are lazy and easily misled.   I suppose it always has been this way, and always will be, except during rare periods where the "stars line up" and everyone demands positive change.  :)

So beware.  A trade deal of some sort with China will be signed, but it will not offer any real market uplift, I suspect.  We are now basically at that place on the highway, where all the cans have been kicked to, for the last 30 or 40 years.   There is just no way to avoid this.   The bond market is complete bullsh/t - for ordinary investors -  and the stock market has been bid-up hard, and is now "priced to perfection".    The pros are able to filter gains from the current market enviroment by using statistical arbitrage - basically surfing the volatility waves.   This is great for them, but it means that ordinary investors have no attractive investment choices.   It's like being at the top of the mountain.  Any direction one takes, leads down.

See, the bank stocks in Canada should have dividends around 6% to 7%, to compensate investors for the high risk they have to take on for holding bank equity - which can swing in value sharply in anything changes, especially if real-estate valuations change.  And of course, it is very easy for bank-stock dividend rates to be 6 to 7% (instead of the 4 to 5% they are now).   The bank stocks just have to fall in price a bit (well. more than just a bit).    And we know this can happen - just check any bank-stock share-price chart from 2000 to 2010.  

So we are at a curious time now.   There are just darn-few attractive investment opportunities on offer.  Those that appear attractive, carry substantial risk - probably a *lot* more than most folks realize.

Imagine the whole modern process running in reverse.  The dead won't climb up out of their graves, and nothing "Twilight Zone" will happen - but imagine a USA, driven backwards, with economic growth replaced by economic shrinkage, and the current world of great *plenty* morphing into the more traditional "scarcity" that economics has always recognized.  Not sure what could cause this transition - it's just that historically, it always seems to happen this way.  

Certainly, this weird voodoo MMT economic theory, that suggests that we can just spend a trillion dollars each year more than is collected in taxes - and that this will *not* affect the value of money - this just seems complete madness.   But so far it seems to be holding true - which just tells me that the process of corrective re-alignment is *really* gonna be major-level *non-linear*.  Corrective change of some sort will occur, but it will not happen smoothly.

So get yourselves ready for the "Big Shift"  (or should it be called the "Big Sh/t"?).  The USA - the world's biggest economy - simply *cannot* continue on the path it is on, without blowing up something at some point in the future.   World trade, perhaps?    Either we get a wild, runaway inflation, or a sudden loss-of-confidence in the US dollar, or we get a major military event, and a rapid shift from a commerical economy of *plenty*, to a command/control wartime economy of traditional scarcity. 

Deficits and runaway-spending are like virus-infections. They don't matter until - suddenly - they matter a lot.  It's just  highly non-linear, I suspect.   A jump occurs from one orbital phase-space to another.   There won't be any gentle transition.    This sort of thing happens a *lot* in nature.  

When it happens in economics, we get political reactions, which usually make things worse, and so the process accelerates and takes on a life of its own, with the change being magnified and multiplied with each cyclic swing.   Like a car "fishtailing" at high-speed, or a "flash-crash" and recovery in an "algo-driven", nano-second level timed-event-process in the markets.

There is just too much nonsense being passed off as "wisdom" these days.   It's going to bite us all hard, I sense - perhaps sooner than most expect.  :/

[Nov. 19, 2019] - "No Reg. Day"?  Had to dig a grave and bury my dog today.  Not much fun, but it's done.  And I had to participate in a telephone "Town Hall" on Investor Education that the OSC (Ontario Securities Commission) phoned me about.  Unfortunately, it was really just industry promotion.  No chance to make comments.   But they did at least offer some contact numbers for folks who might want to learn more.   "OSC Launchpad" was also mentioned, but no information about this program was provided.  <sigh>

I am a huge fan of anything that might improve or enhance investor education.  I want everyone to be the "Richest Man in Babylon".   So in honour of my dead dog Domino (see the "Good Dogs" sub-menu option at topline menu on this site to see his picture), maybe we could make this "No Regulations Day".   I serious believe we should just abolish the "Securities Commissions".  It has often been said "The best regulation, is no regulation"

This has never been more true for the securities industry, than it is now.   Here are the reasons why this is true:

1) Regulations stifle FINTECH innovation.  The modern "Financial Technology" has already changed the world.  For example, it is estimated in the USA, that over 70% of all trades on the major US Stock markets, are initiated by computerized algorithms.  These "robot traders" do well, and have made for a volatile market, subject to rapid swings.  The major players can acquire and use trading technology, but specialist technology companies cannot offer any investment and trading services, because of securities regulation.  Many other technological service offerings are also restricted by regulatory statute.   This reduces economic opportunity for everyone.

2) Regulation creates - especially in Canada - a restricted industry structure, with a few players.  This small base of players (basically the 5 big banks, and a handful of others), means that competition is limited.  Removing regulations would allow a more competition, and the deregulated environment would induce everyone to be more careful.   A deregulated environment could *reduce* fraud, as private firms would be able to make a viable business in offering investment verification and vetting services.   The current model risks making investors lazy and complacent.

3) Regulation keeps costs for individual investors high, and forces them to take on higher risk that would otherwise be the case, if there were more alternatives.  In a world where 30 year gov't bonds are yielding less than 2% (or worse in some cases - Germany and Japan, where yields are near zero or even negative), the portfolio professionals and mutual-fund sellers - who take MERs (expense ratios) of 2% or more, means that there is no *low-risk* profit for investors.  Investors are forced to take on higher-risk investments, just to earn any income stream at all.   

This has created a rush in to higher-risk dividend-paying stocks.  But it does not have to be this way. 

The current regulations prevent people like me from running portfolios for investors, despite my having passed the courses (Canadian Securities Course and Conduct and Practices Course, etc), and an Honours degree in Economics.  I am also even prevented from making explict stock market recommedations.   This is annoying.  The regulations lock small-scale professionals like me out of the industry, and walls-off a significant domain of economic opportunity - both for our business and our clients.   I would be happy to structure and manage investment portfolios that would perform better, and be safer than typical "mutual fund" alternatives, and do so at much lower costs.  Also, I would educate my clients, so they understood *exactly* what they were getting.    But the burdensome, ineffective, annoying regulations explictly prevent me from doing this.

Let me be clear; I am not complaining.  We are fine.  But it is sad that I cannot in any way offer  financial services, the way I can offer consulting services.   I am explicitly locked out from an industry that really could benefit from additional dis-intermediation and competition. 

The current model - in which the regulators and industry players lock down the market (and restrict and limit any competition) - just drives up costs and protects existing established players.  This model should be changed.

And the *best* change, would be to simply remove all these regulatory restrictions.  The Ontario Securities Commission in particular, should be abolished.

Of course, this will not happen.  At least not in my lifetime.  But it would be a good thing if it could.  :)

[Nov. 18, 2019] - Slip-Slidin' Away? - Looking at the long-wave DJIA chart, a retracement to the 20,000 level, would not be too surprising, would it?  Given the time-frames involved, we would probably expect 4-to-5 years for it to play out.  And a future-picture of events suggests this is not impossible - and maybe even likely.  Consider: USA - given it's out-of-control government spending (the "new" economic models - MMT, whatever - suggest that the USA can just borrow-and-print, and there will be no inflationary impact) combined with irrational, television-style democracy (truthyness no longer matters at all - just spin spin spin...) serve to make those tarrif-tax income numbers extra attractive. 

The USA should implement a National Sales Tax, (like Japan has, like  Canada has, like the UK has...), but they won't.  So expect the tarrifs to stay, regardless of whatever "deal" is made with China.   And USA seems to want another war in the Middle East (the American gov't strategy there seems designed to create conflict - they are mirroring Israel, apparently).  And the election next year will be an ugly result, regardless of who wins.  Democrat win, we get either Biden or Warren, each of whom has promised to destroy the economy.   If the GOP wins, then we get more Trump, and almost certainly a medium-level war somewhere, given the shallow madness of the current policy directions

So, although everything looks pretty hunky-dory now (it does), and the market is reacting to this, I suspect, the future - 12 to 18 months out - looks kind of ugly, I fear.  

At the very least, I would caution that any investment strategy structured now, has to take into account the significant probability of a DJIA at 20,000 level, with the next 3 to 6 years.  That won't be a big deal, we will be ok, and be able to handle it - but the big stuff is done. 

Technological change is not going to offer in the next 30 to 40 years, the gains and benefits that it has offered for the previous 30 to 40 years.  I am pretty sure about this.  Physics has nothing to offer - just obscure debates on the number of particles (angels?) on the various quantum "pinheads".  And fast CPU's are just being used for gaming and television watching.  Electric cars are crazy-expensive, and out of the reach of ordinary people (and their ordinary incomes!), and savers are getting sh/t-kicked with ultra-low (and even *negative* interest rates).

For the last 10 years, the only alternative has been high-dividend paying stocks.  But now, they are getting both expensive, and risky.   And the Americans are now likely to elect a president that hates rich people.   Doubtless, that will work well - once the fockwit Democrats retake the White House, I predict within a finite amount of time, that there will be *many* fewer rich people in America!  The people may still be there, but their money won't. 

Where will the money go?  Where it has always gone - it will simply go away, the way it always does in history.

It's important for folks to understand, that part of the job of a financial economy, is to simply vapourize wealth.  It is made to *vanish* into not-being.  Don't believe me?  Study the history of the *very* wealthy banks of the Republic of Venice.  Look at the magnificant, complete destruction of the Chinese economy, - not once, but twice! - by the Chinese Communists (the second time of course being the tragic madness of Mao's "Cultural Revolution").   Human beings remain really stupid about basic economics, and it is impossible to educate them, when "madness takes control".   As far as economics goes - we are mostly like Brad and Janet, stumbling into Frank N. Furtter's country house.  We just keep falling into "time warps"  - and will party hard with magic-money, until the "blackness" hits, and the system figures out a way to erase all the stored-up wealth.  :)

My old dog died today.  He was a good fellow.  You can see his picture in the "Good Dogs" menu sub-option.  He was 16 and two months, and he knew it was over, since he could not even walk anymore.  I would carry him and feed him, and hold him so he could drink water.  He was wearing special "doggy diapers", with fancy, Japanese-designed doggy-diaper-covers that fit on with velcro.  We sat in front of the fire last nite for a while, and then I put him in his chair where he slept.  This morning, he was gone.   We will miss him.  He peed on the floor, and left brown-gifts sometimes (he was old), but he was a fine fellow.   He had an honest, and straightforward nature, and he loved being a dog, and doing dog-things.  He is lying in his chair, with some flowers, and now I shall have to dig a grave.  It's raining, of course.

[Nov. 15-16, 2019] - Runaway Market? - Wow, looks like the earlier model was better.  I had developed this view - esp. for October - that we would see a big uplift in the US markets - and it would affect the Cdn markets, and this pretty much came to pass.  My long-term trades had now made money, and all was right with the world.  But then, I grew concerned - pretty much for the same reasons the clever fellow, Joseph Zidle at Blackstone, has mentioned. (The not-obvious stuff, like the messed-up repo-market in the US, which needs "technical adjustment" (Fed-slang for "more money"), and the negative-convexity of MBS's (see below), & the $13-trillion dollars in negative-yielding gov't debt, etc.  This stuff does not make front-page news, but it gives economists with long-wave experience sleepless nites if they any big positions on...)

https://www.investopedia.com/blackstone-group-warns-of-the-mother-of-all-bubbles-4775625

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/negative_convexity.asp

There are a number of really serious, un-connected, negative events around the world, that might indicate a real fracture in the global economic growth process-model is coming.   I got a chance to take a solid profit on a series of long-term trades, and I did so.   But we are still tracking upwards - today - in a strong and vigourous fashion - which the earlier models suggested might occur.  Yes, I sold too soon.  But that isn't always bad.

I have this short-term, 5th-order model that works pretty good for stock prices - but the program would always fail on long-wave stuff.  (The simple line-fitting models work annoyingly well.  I have the quite cool Xerion Neural-Net stuff that is oh-so-clever - but the simple curve-fit models (I have several, with different characteristics for different stocks), really just plain work.  They seem to capture trends and cycles good enough to sense what is happening, and then they provide a mechanical (consistant) way to get a feel for how far "off-the-curve" we are, and offer clear indications of when an attractive-probability bet might be placed.  

Anyway, the 5th-order, non-linear fitting program would always crash on long-wave fits, and I assumed it was hitting a data-limit.. But I realized - I have *gigabytes* of memory on the CentOS-7 Linux boxes, and it *must* have enough memory.  So WTF?   Well, turns out the non-linear stuff was just failing because it couldn't invert the co-efficient matrix to get the correlation matrix, and was just kacking - and barfing out an error and then just f*cking off.  JHC, you see why you have to write your own code?   The monkey-children who write code leave you hanging when you need the results most!  :) 

Key fact: I can just run GNUplot manually, on the temp. dataset created by my TSM program, and when the "Singular Matrix" error occurs, I can just issue a "replot" command to GNUplot, and get a plot of the non-linear, 5th-order plot.   And yes, I know running regressions against just a time-index is not great statistical science - but it just keeps helping to make money, ok?  :)

One of the applications I have for the Z-80 boards, is to hand-off Xerion matricies (actually TSM matricies created within the TSM data-manager program), and multiply them by the Xerion-generated matrix (basically, the trained NN-model), to get the short-term forecast.   This is almost ready to work.

But this long-wave stuff - good, old-fashioned non-linear curve fitting - this  has a *lot* to say, and is useful for market operations.   Don't believe me?  The "time" factor is *really* important in trading.  Probably the most important factor, in many cases.   Time heals all wounds, and time (plus compound growth), can make you rich.  But only if the process does not die, or implode.  This is key.   Really.    Find  Jesse L. Livermore's little monograph, called: "How to Trade in Stocks".  Livermore made and lost and then made back 4 multi-million dollar fortunes in his lifetime.  

He wrote his little book, shortly before he shot himself in the washroom of a New York restaurant.   He had married a women who had been married 4 times before, and each of her 4 previous husbands had committed suicide. (What was he thinking?!)  At the time he died, he had lots of money.   A million in cash in his NYC apt, according to a witness who saw his wife stuffing cash into shopping bags for removal, before anyone came to check, after she heard of his death.  Evidence suggests it was real psychological abuse that drove him to his death.   His story is fascinating, because as a successful market-player, he had to be extraordinarily sensitive, so his clever (but profoundly evil) 2nd wife probably knew exactly what she was doing.  HIs life-story reads like a classical tragedy.  

Livermore was one of the most interesting characters of the 20th century.  HIs "pivotal point" analysis, and his later-in-life understanding of the critical role of "time" in the art of speculation, suggests that running a regression on a time-index, is probably valid from a statistical-science point of view.  Time itself actually is a key driver of any investment process-model.  The 5th-order non-linear curve-fit - simple, back-of-the-envelope stuff, really - which is shown as first picture, shows evidence of remarkable fit characteristics, over a very long period of time. 

The implication is that, as long as the USA economy does not implode, or go pear-shaped because of some awful event (or series of events), the compound growth that an economy is driven by, will likely continue to continue.   Maybe Warren Buffet is right?   It has certainly demonstrated a remarkable ability to weather seriously awful events, in the last 40 years.  So, we have to accept the possibility of a runaway market.  As the master said: "It ain't over till it's over".  And it looks not be over yet... :)

I must also talk about the long-term TRASER model that I have, which is insanely profitable, but so very difficult to trade - psychologically.   Later....  :)

lNov. 15, 2019] - A VT-100 for the Z-80 NorthStar? - Didn't expect this to be so difficult!  We thought we should have a "stand-alone" version of the NorthStar, with a terminal option.  Even getting a prototype has proved to be difficult.  Terminals have disappeared.  I had thought I might find an old DEC terminal on eBay or Kijiji or something - but no chance.  There is *one* VT-100 for sale in the USA, for something like $1499.00 (USD) on eBay!   Oh my.

Only alternative looks to build one.  We don't have the keyboard code yet for the NorthStar, and it will take up room in the 64K address space, so it makes sense to have a second board with the keyboard and video stuff on it.  Such a design exists, and I could put it together, if I can get the parts, the kit, or at least the board and sufficient information about the thing.  The chip is a: PIC32MX250F128B-1/SP-ND Microcontroller, which has been flashed (ie. program-loaded) with firmware to make it be a VT-100 ASCII terminal.  The kit is offered here (sold out at present):

https://www.tindie.com/products/petrohi/geoffs-vt100-terminal-kit/

and it is apparently a version of this project here:

http://geoffg.net/terminal.html

This is astonishingly cool, IMHO.  I can't *get* a VT-100, but it looks as if I can put a board together which will accomplish the job, given than I can scare up a PS/2 keyboard (I have one), and an existing VGA monitor (got one of those, also). 

This means a slick way to use the Z-80 NorthStar, will be as a little special-purpose, off-line engine.  This VT-100 board, would let the Z-80 have it's own display screen, using the second serial port.  The NorthStar's first port would still be used for access from your Linux, Windows or Apple P/C (running Linux program "screen", or Windows/DOS "Kermit" or Windows "Termite"), but the VT-100 board would allow a VGA monitor to be attached to the second serial port, for off-line display of results from the processing done on the Z-80.  That would be both cool and useful.

Must look into this idea further... :)

[Nov. 14, 2019] - The Z80 - "NorthStar" SBC moves toward production -  We got delivery of the JLCPCB shippment yesterday afternoon - just as I was on the phone to DHL, asking where the hell my package was!  Hilarious!   I was actually (politely) asking the guy in their call-center - "What do I do if it does not come *today* also?  Like I was told it would yesterday?  Eh?  What should I do?"  Just as the gentleman on the line was explaining the options, the dogs started barking, and wonderful Wendy in the Loomis truck rolled up in front of the house, having navigated the driveway without problem.  (It's a long, tree-lined thing..)

And there was the package from China!   With 10 lovely new circuit boards, all set to be turned into little Z80 "NorthStar's"!    Wonderful.   As far as I am concerned, globalization is just bloody marvelous.   Magical, really.   We used JLCPCB.  I'll open the package and inspect the boards today.   They were well packaged; bubble-wrapped, solid box, inside sealed DHL bag, complete with a moisture-aborbing package and firm, well applied shrink wrap.

[Nov. 13, 2019] - The Kind of People Who Sh/t on the Floor - Hilarious story on MW about the UK Financial Regulator's "staff problems" - which of course was first reported by a British newspaper, the "Evening Standard".  What makes this story so comical, is that it provides an accurate window on Europe.   The "upper-class yobs" who run Europe - UK & France especially - are the type of people who will shit on the floor, so that the cleaning staff have to clean it up.  The idea is to keep the lower-level people in their place, and re-enforce the hard truths of the ancient European class structure.

Government people who enforce regulations are what they are.  A certain type of person is drawn to embed themselves in the ugly, toxic hierarchy that characterize government work.  In England, this is particularly true.  England is an awful place - but as European places go, it is very much better than anywhere else in Europe, at the political and economic level, typically.  But the bloody-awful class-system still survives - just as it does in France.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/staff-at-britains-financial-regulator-rebuked-for-stealing-plants-verbal-abuse-and-defecating-on-floor-2019-11-13?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

At first, the story seems like a pure joke - but then I remembered the French Palace of Versailles.  It is a cursed structure, built by French King Louis 14th, and it had no washrooms or bathrooms. 

It was built without any indoor plumbing, or even private places to crap. If a "nobleman" wanted to defecate, he simply walked into a corner, dropped his pants, and laid his "etron" down on the floor.   The palace staff would rush to clean it up.   This is the truth, I "sh/t you not."!

The Versailles Palace is a giant, horrific monument to extreme French shittyness.  It honestly is a giant shit-house.  With big mirrors and bedrooms.

The Palace of Versailles is also a perfect monument to explain why the French Revolution started, and was carried on with such aggressive intensity.  

I wonder someday, if we will ever have a "Market Revolution", where we can all just remove the "Noblemen" and "Noblewomen" who run the Government Regulation ABC's (Agencies, Boards and Commissions), that so plague and degrade everything they touch.  

The SEC in USA, and the various Provincial "Securities Commissions" here in Canada, are completely useless organs that in the rapid-access, real-time internet age, do absolutely nothing whatsoever to protect or benefit the consumer or the investor. They serve the interests - political and economic - of the established industry players.  These self-serving "Regulators" offer no benefit to anyone else.  They are just keepers of the big moats around the castles of the rich.

I would imagine the UK version is probably not much better.  These market-regulators are very effective at stopping lots of useful activities, (they prevent even qualified folks from making market-forecasts that can be distributed to the public), restricting investment options for small-holders, (requirements for "Prospectus" documents - which no one ever reads - are costly, restrictive, and mean that only the very wealthy have access to the securitization marketplace), and at blocking modern fin-tech (financial-technology) developments from being offered to the marketplace.  

I could write 50 pages here on why the SEC and OSC and other "regulators" are the biggest single negative force that operates to limit and suppress innovation in the modern marketplace.  But that would just be TL;DR.

But if one ever needed more evidence that "The Best Regulation is no Regulation", the "Noblemen" floor-shitters at the UK's  Financial Conduct Authority should really provide the final nail in the coffin of the need for "market regulators".   They are as unnecessary as they are disgusting.  Why not just end all of them?  Make the "Regulators" go out and get real jobs, and do something productive.  Like maybe cleaning toilets.

[Nov. 12, 2019] - High Crimes, End Times, and the Nature of Progress - It is the end of the world, I suppose.  The snow began here today, and we went from green lawns, and leaves-needing-to-be-raked-up, to  deep-winter tonite.  LIke being on Mars.

Here is today's theme song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-5oGnvfUEU     [Great Big Sea: "It's the End of the World as we Know it..."]

The Past is a dead thing, like that skull Hamlet holds when he talks to his gravedigger friend.  We must always attempt to focus our human vision forward, to the future, where the open set of possibilites lie waiting to be grasped and exploited. 

We test the rockets first.   This is what we always must do.  We test them first, and see if they explode without people in them.   And when they explode, and make a terrible mess, and the awful smell of the failure stings our nostrils. and our hearts are heavy with disappointment, we remember why we do the testing.  You have to remember that each failure is a necessary stepping stone on the path to success.  It sounds like a glib, rose-coloured bit of psychological over-glossing, but it remains there quietly as a true fact.  

In doing research, one discovers these algorithms that work.   They just work and work - but it is the algo that works, not necessarily the technology.  The technology breaks, and breaks regularly, because it is a *made* thing, subject to the violent forces of entropy.  And the "Algo for Success" actually encodes failure, as a key part of what makes it work.  Psychologically, this is actually quite difficult.  We are not just fooled by randomness, we are actively hurt by it.   But it is like a violent team of strong horses, which if we can harness them, can be made to do wonderful work at our commands.   Horses are awful and wonderful.  It seems a crime to harness and command them, yet the animal is discomforted if it is not offered the opportunity to be directed and led.  (..like people also?)

This paradox lies at the centre of all human effort.  Progress is painful and difficult, because to have any progress at all, one must push out into the raw and dangerous places, take real risks and expect to be hurt, and have clear plans for what action you will take when painful outcomes are experienced.  It is the price of real progress. 

The universe is a raw, violent malestrom of perfect chaos - and yet it is clearly governed by hard, physical laws which can be observed, understood, and then manipulated to the benefit of all people.  Each of us is required to at least address this truth, and decide how to respond.  Those of us who see what is real and actual, have a duty to engage the "task of making progress".  

And this is sometimes difficult to accept, because it involves enduring things which are not comfortable - sometimes downright painful and awful.

To really make progress - really, in any sphere of human activity - one has to take risks and these risks are real.  I have this video of a Russian rocket, which is actually called "Progress", and it lifts off, rises up on a wonderful pillar of flame, and then arcs over to smash into the ground, with a huge explosion.    But that terrible outcome means that the rocket really actually was honest Progress, in the purest sense.   Because that is what human progress actually looks like.   The "Agorithm for Success" involves pretty much exactly that.  Sometimes, as your plan is moving forward,  you will crash and your efforts will be blasted to small atoms.  Each atom will be experienced as a feeling of painful failure.  The Algorithm simply requires that you endure this.  And that your overall plan must be crafted to endure *many* of these kind of events.

To make progress and achieve success, you must - in a random universe - execute many trials, and be able to withstand the painful, failed outcomes.  It is this very capacity for endurance of failed attempts that allows one to "stay in the game" and to continue to execute additional attempts, that leads to real success.   In the markets, this means taking early (and unpleasent - painfully unpleasent!) losses.   In the lab, it means long hours, exhaustion, and worthless, unpublishable results which are inconclusive.   In "affairs of the heart", it means enduring solitude, operating alone and accepting that one's attempts to win the most beautiful girl in the room will not often be successful, and that rejection will be more likely than success.  (But you should still try... right?  Be aware of the truth of this... :)   )

The "Algo for Success" which defines the process of progress is simple:  Know what you want, and go after it.  Work hard, study, and learn all you can, always be learning and studying - it does not end in school.  School is an artificial environment, and sometimes, prevents real learning from occuring.  Keep learning. Read everything.  (Repeat as needed..)   And plan and then execute the plans.  Run many trials.  Expect that many plans will fail, and keep the cost of each failure small and manageable.   Expect sometimes 4 or 5 failures in a row.  Evaluate each result, and know why it failed.   Adjust future planning accordingly.  Make plan-changes that  move one towards better results, if you can see a clear path for improvement.    If doing science or engineering, you might have to endure 50 or 100 or 1000 failures, before you find the magic that works.   Keep careful notes, and write the date on each page.  Keeping notes will let you move faster.   Move towards what works, and gives the results you want, rather than towards what is comfortable and easy.   Be aware that much human effort is designed to vector your efforts away from what you want, and towards what the other person wants.  Be harshly judgemental of other people, and avoid the dishonest and fraudulent, but be quiet about your awareness.  Honestly, many people are either unwise, misguided, ill-informed, or just stupid, cruel and nasty.  This is a sad truth. 

Make your own moral decisions, and do not be swayed by or vectored away from your plans or beliefs by the comments made by other people.   Beware the opinions of others.  There is almost always nothing useful there.  Set your own goals, and then work to achieve them.  Try to "March to your own inner drummer", but try to retain a capacity for human empathy, (which gets more difficult over time, yes).  

And do not spread your efforts out too thinly.   Concentrate your efforts, and learn some things really well - better than most - and exploit this domain-knowledge if you can.  Be focused and careful in *any* financial negotiations.   Be 100% honest - but also be careful not to give away details of a private plan that will degrade its chances of success.  Take action and do things, rather than talk about doing things.

But the key factor behind a successful outcome, is often lots and lots of unsuccessful attempts that the observers of the successful outcome did not see, and will not likely ever see.  If you can keep the resource-costs, emotional-costs and risk-factors small for each trial, and you can then run a lot of trials (attempts), then you will find you are using randomness to your advantage.  Randomness will then help, rather than hurt, you.   Eventually, the "stars will align", and randomness alone may give you a spectacularly successful result - even beyond your most optimistic expectations.  Make sure that you can *recognize* when the awesome & wonderful result occurs, so you can sieze it and make it yours.

Enjoy it, when that happens!   :)

[Nov. 11, 2019] - Lets Declare a Truce Everywhere Today - How about an "Armistice" today?  We always go thru these exercises to "Remember the Dead, without whose sacrifice, your freedom would not be possible today."  This is fine and good.  We remember and respect the dead. But what about the living?   Why not make today a "Put down your goddamn weapons for a few minutes, and stop fighting" Day?  How about make today a day of actually doing a real traditional "Armistice", where we all go have a good meal with some nice wine, and nobody does any silly fighting?    Make it a pointer to some future possibilities, and not just reminder of the bloody victories and tragic failures of the past.

[Nov. 10, 2019] - Running on Empty, Running Fine - Went to a marvelous Halloween/Day-of-the-Dead party costume last nite.  I went as a moonshiner/bootlegger, which actually has a very fine old historical traditiion in Canada, from Halifax to Windsor, Kenora to Vancouver.  Canadian history is full of these almost unbelievable stories of wild, successful, (basically criminal) exploits of smuggling high-value product, that have made families rich, and border cities prosperous. 

I have to be careful these notes don't just turn into a Samuel Pepys thing.  Although his "Diary" makes great reading.  In a private diary, one tell's the truth, unlike most public scribbling.  They are useful sources of knowledge.  I recommend the "Secret History"  of Procopius - but make sure you get a full accurate text that has not been 'bowdlerized" (the lewd bits censored).  If you read Lysistrata and miss the part about the "Spartan letter staff'?" hidden under the Spartan envoy's robe, and such like, you are denied the comic genius of Aristophanes, and you also miss the fact that history never really changes much.  Procopius decribes Justinian's wife Theodora for what she probably was - a clever dance-hall whore who rose to the very top, by strategic star-f*cking.  

In a hyper-crazy world like our own, where the top boss of MacDonalds gets fired for just doing some consensual penis-vagina stuff with a co-worker, reading the true stories from history let us see clearly how very much on the edge-of-the-edge our current social-civil-commercial features and methods are now.  We are all living in Extremeistan now, to use Talab's mythic term.

Much of the world has to be running on empty now, with so many of the indicators - from financial to social-psycho-technical, jammed right up against the edge of what is feasible or sensible.   Women have decided to become men.  And men are trying to be women.   My reading of history (many histories - secret and otherwise), lead me to believe that much of what is on-tap now, is just not going to last, survive or be used in the future.  

But it has always been like this.  Civilizations rise and fall.  Prosperity ebbs and flows.  And the Great Wheel of Fortune revolves and does it's thing to make the "Revolutions" happen.  Bottom goes to top, top goes to bottom, and wise folks grab a little moonshine, and simply say, "Bottoms, Up!"

The party was full of Hungarians, a group of people who know how to party well.  They are a wonderful people.  There was this lovely tall young women, dressed in red, and I heard the song "Erika" in my mind's ear, and thought of Justinian and Theodora, or Donald and Ivanka, and I realized once more, again, there are only a few true things that really matter.    :D  Let's all be honest guys - for just a few seconds - and realize that the path to salvation and redemption (and maybe prosperity and power and joy and freedom and zen-satori-enlightenment & everything else), really lies between "Little Red Riding Hood's" thighs.   Leonard Cohen nailed it down well (I am sure he did, probably, many times....) but I mean figuratively - the alpha and the omega.  It is source, origin, destination and gateway.  If you are a healthy male, and you meet Little Red Riding Hood on the path-of-life - damn, but you realize that you are the Big, Bad Wolf.   You have no choice.  One has to disguise this truth, I guess.  But if there be veritas in vino, in a few drams of  honest moonshine - there is a lust-for-life that would do Iggy Pop proud.  

When I had to leave, there really were "von hunderttausend kleinen Bienelein wird umschwärmt"   (the swarm of "bees") buzzing around the fragant "Erika".   All large lads, some with tattoos.   What a world.   As the German's conquered Europe back in the mid-20th century, their soldiers sung "Erika", while the Russians sung nationalistic, patriot songs.  But the Germans were wise.  The trick with any big campaign is to enlist the young and strong with hearts full of joy, and make it fast and sharp and effective.  Go out, do it, take the territory, and then go home, and make babies. 

The greatest danger in any rapid-change project, is to get bogged-down, as we all now realize.  If the Germans had shut-down their military adventuring in the 1940 time frame - after taking Holland, Czechoslovakia, half each of Poland/France, and annexing Austria - and then spent their time consolidating gains, and ramping up hardware production rates - the entire historical outcome from their efforts would probably have been very different.

We learn this in the markets.  Go big when you feel you must - but don't be greedy, and always "sell too soon".  And don't get over-extended and stretch-leveraged in a high-beta environments. In markets, as in life, love and war, greater-than-5 standard-deviation events occur more often than Gaussian distributions of ROR's (rates-of-return) suggest they should.  It is the job of the markets to carefully prevent a too-rapid accumulation of mass-wealth.  Re-basing events (market crashes), are necessary, to keep the financial world working without runaway asset inflation and currency deprication.

I have a little sign in my "Kämmerlein", (small office) from my grandfather.  It is a small wooden carving of the truest words and most critical warning ever written in one sentance in all of human history: "Ve git Too Soon Oldt, Und Too Late Schmart." 

I was supposed to write about interest rates.   But I have to be honest about what I am really more interested in.  :)   Take a look at top page, showing almost 30 years of the US 30-year Treasury Bond yield.   Do you see a trend, maybe?   Remember that bond prices and yields move inversely.  Very low yields mean very high bond prices.  Of course we know that when prices are high, they can alway go higher.  And often this does happen. 

But  is the USA really ready for zero long-bond yields?   And if the Americans swing hard to the Left in the next election, it will impact their economy hard.  Real hard.  We have already had the Obama-rama Free-Meds/Free-Lunch party, and we've watched as the Animal Spirits Trumped those who said we could not MAGA.  But the future may see us dropped into Biden's-Big-Bucket-of-Bullsh/t, or worse, like "Borat's Jew", we might all get thrown into "Warren's Well of Wickedness" and drown like poor Pussy did in the nursery-rhyme... :O

Shall we party like it's 2099?

[Nov. 8, 2019] - New Runners of the Purple Blade - Wise old Hunter S Thompson, in his lucid moments, suggested that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.   That was an astute observation, and perhaps even good career advice.   Not much of the cool stuff that we thought we would get in the future has actually been crafted, and the rotting stench of bloated Government hangs over most nations now, obscuring and discomforting everyone, without them even knowing why.  Everyone ignores history, or simply watches a deception-drifted and lie-filled version of it on their pay-TV channels.

I had to completely give up all Television.   We have screens, and I watch music videos and obscure documentary material I find on the 'net.  Or some torrented stuff sometimes.   Modern television seems to be designed for autistic, mentally-retarded lunatics or drug-users or something.  It is both mindless and annoying at the same time, which actually takes some doing.  I can't watch it for more than 10 or 20 seconds, without feeling discomfort.

But I feel wonderful, having left it behind.  And I do a fair bit of outside work, which is also fine.   My "screen time" usually involves programming something, or researching some crazy data-case that seems curious and interesting.  I note that Elon Musk is planning to debut his Electro-Pickup-Truck on Nov. 21st, and it is supposed to look like something from the 1982 film "Blade Runner".   Cool.  If we make some serious money, maybe we will buy one.  

I keep seeing references to Philip K. Dick novels all over the place.  It's like J. M. Keynes warned about economics - how often current government policy derives from the fetid mumblings of some old economists from 50 or 100 years earlier.   I wonder what Keynes would say about "Keynesian Economics" today, if he could see it in practice.  

Can't write too much today.  Need to go and build another pyramid on the Salisbury Plain.  Or maybe just climb up the hill?  :)

PS: The Z80's are testing out well.  Running little sims, and they are computing along quite fine.

[Nov. 7, 2019] - Lies, Damned-Lies, Statistics, and guys like Eric Ciaramella - It just keeps getting weirder and more beyond-belief silly down in the Excited States..  The whole "Trump Impeachment" thing is just wrong.  I am not a fan of President Trump - but the actions of the so-called Democrat Party in the USA is just getting deep-ugly.  You have these CIA operatives - who are actively spying on and acting against the interests of the US President - working with senior operatives of the Democrat Party, trying to unseat the elected President. This is crazy.  And it is also deeply wrong.

What is also curious is the strange behaviour of the mainstream US "news" organs like the Washington Post and the New York Times.  You have this amazing story of a Democrat spy-operative, inside the White House "West Wing", who apparently - as a partisan Democrat from the Obama era -  was actively working against the President, and trying to undermine him, using selective information "leaks",  This is a helluva story, and yet it is being supressed, as part of the ongoing media campaign that is being waged to disparage Trump and degrade his Administration.   And that is sad, because it shows how useless and ineffective American journalism has become.  The Washington Post is just a organ of the Democrat Party - a toy for a rich willy-waver like Bezos, that he can use to piss on the White House.   It's really sad.

https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/10/30/whistleblower_exposed_close_to_biden_brennan_dnc_oppo_researcher_120996.html

Why should Trump *not* ask for the Ukraine Gov't to look into possible corruption re. Joe Biden's son's business dealings there? Much activity in Ukraine is corrupt.  This is well known.    So the President's inquiry seems a completely reasonable request.  To me, this whole impeachment thing looks quite wrong.  Except it plays to the election next year, and so it is a useful political trick. 

But that should make it illegal.  And the "secret" actions of this Eric Ciaramella person really smells of treason.  This Eric Ciaramella guy is a CIA operative, and he has apparently scuttled back to work out of CIA HQ, at Langley, Virginia.    And he is an Obama-era guy, who is a "registered Democrat", and looks a lot like an operative acting for Joe Biden's people.   Where the hell does a political system get off, having secret trials, and special protection for anonymous agents acting against senior elected officials?  This is crazy wrong.

But it makes sense now, if this whole thing is another put-up job (like that absurd "Russian Collusion" nonsense clearly was), designed by Democrat Party operatives.

At what point, do the actions of someone like CIA "Analyst" Eric Ciaramella  (a "whistleleaker" spy-guy) and this political hack, Adam Schiff, start to become just plain old-fashioned treason?  

These people are actively working *against* their elected leader, trying to undermine and displace him.  The Americans have their "presidential" elections in only 12 months.  Putting people like Ciaramella in prison for treason,  and removing this Adam Schiff character from office - that seems to be how this should play out, if there is any real *justice* to be done.  But of course, there is no chance of that happening.

If Americans want to replace Donald Trump with Joe Biden in 12 months, they are free to vote to do so.  (God help them all, if 51% of them really are that stupid...)

In the UK - and here in Canada - there is explicit "Official Secrets" legislation that makes it 100% clear that you check your partisan politics at the door, and you shut the hell up about what you are working on - if you are in the "intelligence community", or you are working for or on anything that is sensitive or critical - in any part of Government.

I'm inclined to agree with President Trump.  This whole exercise is starting to look *a lot* like another Democrat-Party initiated put-up job - in the President's words: ... a "Witch Hunt".

There look to be some really serious problems in the American CIA.  Langley looks broken.  Spies and spooks have to be loyal to their State - regardless of whether you like the politics of the Pockerhead-in-Chief.  In Canada, we know this better than anywhere, given the nasty, pretty-boy, light-weights we regularly put in power here.  It is comically awful - but at least we have reasonable "rule-of-law" (not Chinese-style "rule-by-law"...), and this offers a level of protection that makes it all work - even if we have a not-so-good person at the top.

So crazy.  This curious, very-bad-behaviour by the "Democrat Party" in the USA, will probably let Trump get re-elected.  Better the Devil-you-Know, than the Devil-that-Uses-Secret-Spies and looks like a bunch of treasonous, crooked criminals.    : /

Would any sane person, who cares about his homeland, really want hacks like Joe Biden and Adam Schiff to be in charge?  Guys who run *secret* trials and accept hearsay evidence & then rig up special "prosecutions" as political trickery, against their own elected leader?   Guys like Biden and Schiff should be gently squeezed out of the political process, like pus, for the protection and safety of all Americans.  And disloyal whistleleakers like Eric Ciaramella should be fired, and then tried for treason. 

Now curiously, this whole affair may actually be seen accurately for what it is.  If Trump can pull off a better trade deal with China, he might emerge from this year smelling like a rose.  And the Chinese are smart to negotiate more seriously now.   Imagine what the Chinese are thinking to themselves:  ("If we had a disloyal saboteur inside at the top like this Eric Ciaramella person, we would deal with the little fellow in a matter of hours.  Do the Americans respect and reward disloyal behaviour of this sort?  Probably not.   This may work out to the President's advantage in an open election, as no-one likes a bent little turncoat (imagine the Chinese expression for a Benedict Arnold...).   We better do a deal with Mr. Trump now, while he is still in a postion of moderate weakness.  He is likely now to be re-elected, and will then be acting from a position of greater strength, having reduced the power of his enemies." )

Certainly, the market seems to have taken this view.  The Democrats actions are so over-the-top wrong here, that this whole "impeachment" circus may alter significantly the path that near-future events will track.   This bad political behaviour, combined with the good numbers being printed by the economic reports, seems to suggest a trade deal with China will be in place by year-end.  And this is an outcome that everyone with any wisdom at all, favours.  The market seems to be responding accordingly.  Out of chaos - comes order and prosperity for all?

[Nov. 6, 2019] - Beowulf Beginning - Always wanted to build my own loosely-coupled multiprocessor machine.  New picture shows the two Z80 "NorthStar" SBC's (single-board computers) running.  Top is in "[CA]" mode (calculating), and bottom is in "[rn]" mode (running),

[Nov. 5, 2019 - pm] - Hard Where? - Ok, so now we are computer manufacturers.  They are 20 or 30 year obsolete, by one standard, but actually very useful, and completely trustable.. matrix inversions, cubic-splines, multiple-regressions, etc.  All good.  The Z80 is a surprisingly good little math-engine.  Maybe crypto?    Plus with "zasm" and an eprom-burner to burn the flash memory chip, we have *complete* control over O/S and application.  This is pretty much the only vector to fly now.  Too much modern tech is designed to remove control from the "user", and that, as we see, can be serially lethal - to both your business and your life.   We are now officially hardware makers.

And we sold all the bank stocks again.  Attractive (quite attractive) prices, and a suspicion that maybe we might be nearing "peak bank".   We could see a rapid upshift in the Cdn dollar, that would act to balance the divergence between Canada and US listed bank stock prices.  The US-dollar price of the bank stocks might be the right one.   They may come into balance now by the Cdn-dollar side falling towards the US value point.  (We've seen this movie before...)  We still like banks, but we are seeing rapid moves that are almost always followed by rapid reversals now.  Caution is required & caution suggests cash, especially if Cdn dollar shows any strength at all.

[Nov. 5, 2019] - Building the Perfect Wee Beast. - Spent last few days over weekend and Monday, building a second Z80 SBC "NorthStar" computer.   Running tests now, and after a repair of a couple of cold-solder joints on the socket for the RAM chip, the machine looks fully operational and so far is running fine.  It can be run from "screen" on Linux or MacOSX, or from Kermit or TERMITE on a Windows box or laptop.  Or directly from an old VT-100, or ADM-3A if you have one!  The box of parts came quick from Mouser on Friday.  The spare board which I've had for several months, is now populated with parts, and appears to be fine. ;)   And the mkt is offering fun.  Running some simulations on the new little "NorthStar" to test it.

[Nov. 1, 2019] - Apocalypse Cancelled. - Ok, so we don't get the "End-of-the-World" just yet.  More research convinced me that the stock-market, for all its Halloween Horror - is still probably the best place to be.  We re-purchased our positions (and paid some bills with the delta..).  

The logic ("reasoning", really.  Are people *logical* in their market actions?) behind this is not just the "Powell Put" (slang for a view that the Federal Reserve stands ready to pump-up stimulus & liquidity and protect us all against a 1930's (or 2008) style market meltdown), and some more research on where the risks really lie.

Where are the dragons?   What is really, the greatest risk for investors?   My (limited, never enough, really) readings, suggest that historically, we are more likely to be at risk from inflation, than from deflation.  Rising prices are more likely to cause harm, than are falling prices.  Deflation is a risk, yes.  This has been evident in Japan, where the rapid aging of the population is creating unique and serious problems.  [Note: This "rapid aging" is a silly expression really - Japanese folks grow old at the same rate as we all do - what happens of course, is a falling birth rate, so the "population pyramid" changes shape, and resembles an upside-down pear).

Deflation cause folks to stop spending, since just holding cash brings a nice investment return, in *real* terms.  Japanese often hold substantial cash, with typical *rainy-day* family funds often topping $100,000.  But Japan is still doing quite ok, and the major risks in Japan are not economic, but more direct - earthquakes and typhoons regularly smash the place up.  The very land they live on is not stable, and is routinely subject to planetary plate-tectonics that are sufficient to destroy buildings and start fires.  And the typhoons bring mud-slides that can wipe out entire villages.

But the current deflation risks in Japan are quite unique, and are not likely to be experienced in other economic settings.  Throughout history, it is the *debasing* of money that is the norm.  There were many effective ways to do this - from reduction in size and gold content of coins, to replacement of gold coins with silver coins, an then replacement of silver coins with copper coins washed with a thin film of silver (a trick from Roman times, which English King Henry the 8th also used successfully).   With paper money, and now digital money (in all it's various forms), it is beyond easy, to instantiate as much of it as the national "central-bank" authorities feel they can get away with.  The simple fact is this:  There is simply no limit to the size of the "balance sheet" a national central bank can operate.  So, the greater risk is *always* and everywhere from inflation.  And even small inflation (the modern targeted rate of 2.50%, for example), will still cause prices to rise over 50% in 17 years.

Most historical examples show that once even a small amount of inflation is tolerated, it can accelerate to a larger value quite quickly.  Most economists believe a small level of inflation is not just acceptable, but useful, as it keeps consumer demand ticking along nicely.  Folks don't *hoard* cash, since they realize critical items will cost more in the future.  Business enties make investments in improvments for the same reason.  But the move from 2.5% inflation to 4.5% inflation - which does not look like much - changes everything.  Prices will now shift up by over 50% in 10 years.  Anything beyond 4.5%, and it becomes difficult to know if investment is actually working - are your revenue improvements due to inflation, or to your new business process?  For consumers, and wage-earners - you are being paid more because you got a raise, but the prices everywhere are higher, and you feel you are slipping behind.  Are you really?  Depends on which deflator calculations you are using to get a sense of what your *real* wage is.   Do most folks even try to calculate their *real* wage-rate change?  Or do they just get awful *sticker-shock* when they try to buy a big-ticket item?

Once inflation moves into the 8% range, the basic 8-9 rule becomes evident. (Make an investment at 8% and let it compound, and in 9 years, it will double).   Once folks start seeing price moves of over 8% a year, they recognize pretty quickly, that they are getting screwed, if their wages and salaries and profit-streams are not also up-shifting by at least the same amount.  This is the driving factor behind the riots in Santiago and the "Yellow-Vest" protests in France that we saw recently.  The transit costs in Chile and the "climate-change"  gasoline-tax increases in France, were on critical every-day transport costs that could not be avoided.  People knew what was being done to them.   They were being made poorer, while the government people drove in limosines, and lived like royalty, as they drifted from conference to conference around the world, enjoying a millionaire's easy life.

Inflation causes terrible distortions, and damages the signalling mechanism of price-changes.  It can be triggered by tax increases, and then sustained and accelerated  by monitization of debt.  And this is happening now.  The governments don't even need to run printing presses anymore.  When the central bank buys gov't bonds - the net effect is that government expenses are being funded by "printed" money, which is just fabricated from nothing, and dropped onto the "balance sheet" of the central bank.  This is dangerous economic practice, and it introduces real inflation risk into the economy.  So far, it is the extreme rate of technology improvement that is shielding us from this risk, combined with the large manufacturing cost reductions we are getting as a result of China entering the world's commercial trading economy.  China as workshop to the world, has lower factor costs.  We have been able to run inflationary stimulus, but without inflation, because of this global transition.  But the inflation-lowering benefits from this transition won't last forever.

For now, we are in a weird world, where substantial inflation is not showing up yet.  But it will.   In history, every single government entity has used (or made use of) inflationary economic strategies, typically to fund government activity.  (ie. pay the army for a war, in most cases.)   The current world cannot escape inflationary pressures for much longer.

And when inflation begins, and then grows, it benefits share-holders, at least initially.  Stocks are not a perfect hedge for inflation, but they do offer some protection.  As financial assets go, holding stocks is probably the best insurance against the risks of inflation, in the class of paper assets.  Of course, land and physical material items are better (gold being the best, probably), but stocks also can throw off a dividend stream (which gold and un-rented land do not).   They are simple and clear investments.  Stocks can provide income, and also are likely to increase in asset-value during the initial phases of an inflationary (typically a monetary) expansion.   They are *risky* assets that can lower risk.

So, if you expect inflation (it has to some sooner or later - and I am aleady seeing it...), then being invested in stocks probably offers the best protection, next to land ownership in an economy that has sane and sensible land tenure arrangements in place (the joy of "fee simple" ownership.)  To own land safely, you need to be embedded in an economy that either traces its legal heritage back to Ancient Rome, or in a nation which has copied and accepted the correct land-tenure model the Romans used.  Proper, true land-ownership, lets the own "hypothecate" the land - or pledge the property as collateral for the loan, often used to secure the land's ownership.

Given the rate and the extent to which governments around the world are making aggressive use of stimulative policies, and the ease with which "fiat money" is being instantiated, it seems clear that we will be driving that 2% inflation rate closer to 4% pretty soon - and pretty much everywhere.  We are already seening inflation in real-estate prices in Canada.  But it is rational behaviour on the part of consumers and households, as it is one asset class that will not fall to zero, or likely be expropriated by government bandits.  For governments, house-ownership confers a high degree of social stability.   (If you own, and have a big mortgage on your house, you do not participate in riots where you burn down your city!  Land-owners and house-owners oppose such actions, as intensely as government agents do.) 

If an economic apocalypse arrives, it will be in the form of inflation, I suspect.

And the best way to be a "prepper" for this risky possibility, is to own shares in those institutions that enable the mechanisms of social-stability - ie. land and home ownership, and of course also to own a house and some property yourself.  And people are not always unwise.  The high real-estate prices in Canada - rather than being a sign of a bubble - probably are a direct result of most people who are not stupid, realizing that  owning a home, and having some real-assets, is the best way to invest for the future.  And you *MUST* invest aggressively, or you will be impoverished by inflation.  You need to have investments that generate those 6 to 7 to 8% annual gains, because inflation is chasing along behind you, chewing up that money-gain, isn't it?

One really has no choice except to be invested in dividend- generating companies, once the house (or farm) is paid for.  To stay in cash, is to risk seeing it's value erode, anywhere from 2% to 5% to 8% (if it gets nasty) each year.  They call it dancing with "TINA" (There Is No Alternative). :)

So, we are long banks again.  :O  .... :)  ....  :D

[Oct. 31, 2019] - Apocalypse Soon? - So, we have Happy-Happy Joy-Joy Federal Reserve lowers the rates, and all is fine and happy with the world.  This is crazy.  I cannot escape the feeling that we are entering a synthetic "La-La Land" of pure, programmed fake-data deception.  I have learned not to discount this unclear sense-of-dread that I sometimes have felt.   So far, I am wrong.  Short administered rates get lowered in the USA, and zoom, off we go on the DJIA, up another 115 pts.  

I fear the algo looks like this:  A few positive data points,and mkt zooms higher until most human participants cannot take being out, and - about 10 or 15% above where we are now - the humans buy back in (being human, we are pulled by human emotions), and that will be the top, and the turn will be dramatic and violent, and we fall 1200 points in one day.   Then - around about the time of the big British erection - oops, I mean "election" - we will begin  a series of retracements that will continue day after day, as the understanding grows that all the bullets have been used, and the only course is breakdown.  To acquire & hold financial assets, requires confidence in a viable future.  The path is unlikely to track that way, as I see confidence breakdown already.

The market algorithms are on the march.  But in the world, there are too many ugly scenarios on the edge, at the periphery.  Santiago (major city in Chile) burning, transit system destroyed, over $1.5 billion USD damage  (Socialist agents operating- plan is to bring down stable Chilean gov't, and take control of the country by violence?).   Election in Argentina - Leftist fraudsters regain power, - will destroy economy (again).   So South America is a write-off. If you have investments there, kiss them good bye?  ( I will miss the fine Chilean wine..)   Hong Kong riots (the result of mainland Chinese lies and crooked mainland courts), have already brought economic meltdown to the Cantonese enclave.  Query?  Will the protests spread to the mainland, as their economy starts to track a much slower growth path?

And the curious collapse of the European automobile industry - it has not happened just yet - but it is beginning.  Euro-cars are way too expensive and euro-regulations and labour-force rules prevent any improvements or positive/disruptive change from occuring.   Europe cannot change what it is.  As the restrictive, regulated, no-innovation-allowed economies of France and southern Europe, stagnate, and taxes are raised, what outcome improvement is possible?  Europe is the land of high-taxes and lowered demand.  Only government "aristocrats" can make money in Euroland.  (And the hard-working Germans.)  Will Germany decide to end the "Euro" experiment?  Or will it be France?

And who does China export to, if they make an enemy of the West, with their crooked courts, their Communist Government, and their silly, abusive lies?   We can live without China if we have to.  Can they retreat back into their closed, North Korean-style Stupid-Evil-State-Model - and live without exports??   Do they want to take this course of action, and fall back into tragic, leftist *revolutionary* madness?

And do the Americans want to impeach their President?  Or do most Americans want to erase the Democrats? - the party of taxation, deception, unions, gays and oval-office whore-f*ckers?  

The GOP folks can be foolish and make bad choices (any of us can be guilty of that), but the Democrats support and encourage class-warfare, the politics of *race*, and the continual expansion of government, and abusive, economy-destroying regulatory over-reach.  So many jealous and spiteful people vote Democrat in the US (and so many Americans fall into that category).  It is tragic.

Perhaps I am seeing deeply tainted news-flow, and things are really ok.   Or maybe not.  Maybe it really *is* as bad as it actually looks.  :)

[Oct. 30, 2019] - Your iPhone is Hacked - Now we know exactly how the iPhones were hacked.  iPhones have pretty good security - but not good enough, if you use the "Whatsapp" app to make video calls.  The "end-to-end" security that is boasted about is not sufficiently secure to stop the phone from being completely compromised.  This was apparently the work of some Jewish boys at NSO, an Israeli firm of high-grade Mossad-level hackers, who built very sophisticated dropcode-style intrusion trickery into video-calls run on the supposedly "secure" Whatsapp communication application.  Quite clever - and quite nasty.  It looks like if you just installed the WhatsApp video-communication application, and received a tainted call, your iPhone was *HACKED* and you were a dead-man.

Whatsapp is so angry about this company-destroying truth, they have taken the surprising step of actually launching a lawsuit against the Israeli ex-murder-monkeys who run this firm of bandit cyberhackers.   Of course, the black-hats at NSO (the Israeli firm that supplies the security violating software), claim they only sell to police people and "licensed intelligence agencies", but that is an absurd statement, as anyone knows that once code leaves the office, it is in the wild.  And most "licensed intelligence agencies" are little more than sophisticated "death squads" - gangs of government hit-men that take orders to hurt and kill people.

Of course, this NSO company should be prevented from creating and selling software which has the immediate and explict effect of destroying the system-security which the citizens of this planet rely upon to communicate.  There is direct evidence that the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi was explicitly enabled by this software being installed on his iPhone - it allowed the Saudi murder-team to know where Khashoggi was, and when he would enter the Saudi Embassy in Turkey.  

Another wonderful example of Israeli-Saudi cooperation in doing murder.  My, but the world would be a better, safer, and more decent place, if both these nations did not exist.  There might be a chance for peace in the Middle East.   As it is now - there is zero chance of that happening. 

The Arabs will not tolerate a nest of murdering spies with a massive military force, living in their former homelands, and the Jews believe they have a racial-right to hold their stolen real-estate. 

The Jews have the full backing of the USA, a full arsenal of US weapons, a substantial number of nuclear-bombs, developed locally (with American assistance), and they now show a clear willingness to violate global communications security, to enable assassination squads to operate.   This ugly scenario simply cannot continue forever.  It is almost certain that Israel and it's dangerous, unpleasant people will be the source of conflict until they are either removed or a non-race-based political entity can be created at some future date on the land the Israeli Jews  currently hold.  The actions of this NSO company provides yet another example of the danger that the current situation creates.  The world is harmed by this situation and these people.

See, if you cannot trust the security of your communication and/or your equipment, then you are like a man walking across a rifle-range during live-fire practice.    You are a target that *will* be hit, eventually, one way or another.  You might just have all your money stolen.  Or the hackers might just load child-porn onto your computer or device, and then drop your name to the local police.  A hundred ugly scenarios - that each promise personal destruction - are possible in this modern digital world.   The Google research teams have shown that *ALL* Apple iPhones can be hacked.  The WhatsApp lawsuit now shows *exactly* where this dangerous virus is originating.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-cyber-whatsapp-nsogroup/whatsapp-sues-israels-nso-for-allegedly-helping-spies-hack-phones-around-the-world-idUSKBN1X82BE

[Oct. 29, 2019] - Z80 Frogs - Using Kermit on the Pentium MMX experimental board - can now both load and save MS-Basic programs to and from the Z80 SBC, using Kermit and my custom READWRIT.EXE program, than can copy - with minor line-delay - any sized text file to the Z80, either program or data.  The SOLVER.BAS program can invert matricies, and solve systems of linear equations, or linear regressions.    I want to get a keyboard working directly on it, and put a crypto-program on it - sort of a variant of a one-time pad thing.  The encrypt-decrypt would be done directly on the Z80, offline from whatever device one is using, with pass-phrase entered on Z80 keyboard, and message display done on small attached screen, probably an Android tablet, running the USB serial port monitor program.   A cool use-case for a little computer...

Mkt action:  We've suddenly grown cautious and concerned.  Too many funny little data-points in the flow.  Liquidity problems in the US overnite paper mkt (funny repo rates), the Fed's "technical action" to stuff the financial channel with $60-billion US every month - just a "technical thing" - nothing to worry about folks (kind of hand-waving, right?).   And the seriously slowing China economy, combined with the protests in Hong Kong.  (The kids are not alright...), combined with the curious USA assault on global trade patterns - and the issue there is that this stuff has become a new orthodoxy.  The USA really (I mean, *really*) likes the extra dollars being dropped to the bottom-line, of what is effectively a bankrupt National Treasury.  This solves many problems, as does the seriously low interest-rates.  But any change in anything anywhere now, is going to break something.   This was a sudden realization.  We sold just about all the bank stocks, since they were starting to look closer to fully valued (once discounted for the risk expected, and the volatility they have experienced this year), and real-estate prices are getting sort of insane here in Canada.   Tiny houses, long way from work, selling for $750,000 to $1,000,000.  This is moving in the direction of a bit unsustainable and is starting to look artificial (like a bubble...).

Just got a weird bad feeling.  Too much kinky stuff - and we have now had this boomer October, that I suspected (and wrote about maybe happening...)   Suddenly got a sense that November may not look so nice (does it ever, really?).  We pulled a big bag-o-marbles out of the game.

We are now mostly in cash, with only the big preferred positions and a few tag-ends left in place.  The Banks look kinda stretched - whatever the Fed does.... And I've been watching the market action, and I think I smelled sulfur or something....  :?/

[Oct. 28, 2019] - Programming the Crash - I read another Bloomberg story that should create concern.  It explained how JPM, the big US bank, was getting programmers licensed as equity traders, and spending many millions on improving it's computerized trading algorithms.   

Several years ago, it was estimated that over 70% of all equity market trades were due to mechanical, algorithmic process.  The number now, is probably higher.  Is this not a bit of a problem?  Are the markets for stocks - share ownership of productive businesses - really supposed to become this kind of electronic arms-race?  Does not this kind of technological sophistication benefit the largest capital holders at the direct expense of the small-holders?  We know for certain the robotic algos can do an excellent job of front-running customer orders, and reap serious - and consistant profit.

See, there are sound economic reasons why front-running and insider-trading are illegal.  This trickery degrades confidence in, and the perception of fairness of, the overall marketplace.

And this loss-of-confidence reduces particpants.  Sane, sensible folks won't come to "gamble" in a casio that they *know* is bent.  If a few very-well funded banks can allocate *billions* to their systems-development, where does that leave the "little-guys" - the true suppliers of the capital for the entire process?  They are *certain* to lose, are they not?

Put in a bid, and you will be *penny-ticked" (automatic order 1-cent above yours).  Put a stop-loss on - and it will be *certain* to be hit, as the algos have your info, and can dial-back action to ensure all stops are hit, before they initiate their bids.  It just goes on and on.  The pros have always had the advantage - but automated trading just further amplifies this.  This will have to show up in reduced volume, and reduced volume does not signal a healthy market.  We are already seeing the reduced volumes.  We must ask: "Should we really allow computers to be directly connected to market data feeds, and to fully-automated trading?"

Not only will we completely drive away public market participation, we may also be setting up dangerous "critically damped" feedback processes, which could automatically drive prices to very high - and then very low - levels.

Every programmer knows what really caused the "flash crash".  Do we really want these kind of markets?  Is not the end-game here, maybe 5 or six big banks, trading furiously with each other, until one or more fail?  What happens to honest price-discovery then?  Does this algo trading stuff not just butcher the true "animal spirits" of the marketplace, and ultimately prove self-destructive?

[Oct. 27, 2019] - Another (Evil) One Bites the Dust - Really wonderful to hear that US Forces killed that vile piece of human filth known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS mouthpiece.   That piece of pure human evil died the same as Adolf Hitler did - like a rat underground, trying to hide from the forces of Justice.  October 27th should be made a global holiday, and be celebrated every year.  We can call it "Justice Day".  I hope every other former member of ISIS is accorded the opportuntiy to experience the same fate.    Islam is not an evil religion.   Arab culture gave us the science of effective and accurate astronomy, and the Arabic Numerals for mathematics.    This contribution to global human culture places the Islamic Arabs right up near the top, in the list of cultures that fostered the development of our planetary civilization.   It was sad to see this al-Baghdadi person and the ISIS henchmen, degrade and defile a noble and honourable culture with such aggression and ugly cruelty.

But there is always the possibility of evil.  Everyone knows this.  This is why we have police and armies and intelligence specialists and spies.  Evil makes use of lies and it can arise anywhere that truth is suppressed.  Evil needs to be effectively dealt with.  This requirement will always exist.  So bravo to everyone who assisted in the takedown of this grotesque, horrific creature who spread such lies, and caused such great suffering to so many of the innocent.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-baghdadi/islamic-state-leader-baghdadi-died-in-panic-and-dread-says-trump-idUSKBN1X602N

[Oct. 26, 2019 - PM] - Rising in the Fall - This blog/diary is a bit of a fool's project, as research shows no-one except spiders and web-crawling robots is reading it.  Yet, because it encourages me to write *something* everyday, it curiously has this profoundly significant effect on my propensity to get critical work done.  Since I detest marketing, and prefer to avoid dealing in collective situations if I can, our little enterprise has to be self-financing and cash-flow positive, if we are to continue to survive.  So that means, I have to trade.   And one of the keys to successful speculation, is to pull the trigger when the time is right.  

Just paid off all the bills owning, from some trading efforts last week.  Much of what I am doing now, owes more to Daniel Kahneman than it does to Dr. Geoffery Hinton.  Kahneman the behavioural psychologist and Hinton - the genius AI (artificial intelligence) guru - have provided astonishingly helpful, actionable information that I make active use of.   But I found that even if I could use Xerion to get a real edge in the markets, I found it *very* difficult to take the level of risk I needed to take, to get the job done.  A conservative person, by nature, is at an extreme disadvantage in a fast-paced speculative environment.   But a "shoot-from-the-hip" gunslinger, with buckets of synthetic "confidence", will be carried out on a stretcher eventually - market slang for "lose all his money - and probably a bit more also".  

I swear, I can tell in the first 2 minutes of talking to someone, if they have a chance to survive and prosper actively trading the markets.   The combo of skills one needs is bizarre and self-contradictory.  You need enough confidence in yourself and your plan to take action and participate - but also enough fearfulness, so that you exit a bad trade early-enough to save yourself - or else restrict yourself to only a very few type of trades that can safely be held for long periods. 

It really is crazy.   You need to be willing to do things that other people will stare at you and say out loud: "Are you insane?" - and yet also have a solid and actionable plan to survive the routine economic shit-storms that befall everyone eventually, if they hang around long enough with their position on.   

We have - globally - something over 18 *trillion* US dollars of negatively yielding government debt outstanding now.  This is actually unprecedented in human history.  Really - it is.  I got Sydney Homer's book, which has interest-rate history back to Babylonian times - and we have *never* had this sort of negative-interest rate stuff at anything like this scale.  Mostly, interest-rates have been *really high* - like 30 or 40 or 50%, typically.   Sometimes 100%, since that is easy to calculate.  But the key difference, is the money was actually real money.

Now, our money is just commonly-agreed-upon numbers in big calculating machines.  Our governments can fabricate more of it *MUCH* easier than even the German Government of the 1920's Weimar Republic could.    They at least had to physically print some, and circulate it.   Modern Central Banks have no such limitations.  And the bond traders and big bank/financial investment entities know this.  

And what we DO have in history, is examples of "cost-of-carry".  You want to deposit your gold (money) with us for safekeeping?  Well, that will *cost* you.  We will use your gold for our back-stop if we need to, and we will *also* charge you a fee.  That was what the Greek Temples did.  And bank-fees are common and significant in Canada.  The deposit accounts pay virtually no interest, and all transactions generate fees which must be paid.  People accept this, as there is no other alternative, other than to carry large amounts of cash - which is obviously unwise - as it always has been.  So banks always prosper, if they do not act stupid.

But it was not my neural-nets that suggested this October run-up that has occurred.  Rather, it was Kahneman's Book "Thinking Fast and Slow".  And the curious lack of inflation that is being seen.  The Saudi oil-terminals are blown up in a clever, spectacular attack, (which many folks expected would happen at some point), and the world oil market just yawn's.   Now that is interesting.   It means the Cen-Banks can just hammer and hump hard on the cash-generators, and do that 60 billion/month in open-market operations (purchases of gov't debt) in the USA, and there will not likely be any inflationary pop that results.   And this is big news, really.  It is curious, and interesting. 

And it suggests that asset-prices can be vectored higher (perhaps a *lot* higher), without causing too much damage to "money confidence".    And given the state of most State's finances (all the gov'ts of the world are U-boat captains now - they are all seriously unter-der-Water...), these gov'ts have powerful incentive to do this.  This global debt-monitization may blow us all up in the end - but no-on knows when that end will happen, do they?   So, 50,000 on the DJIA, and 30,000 on the TSE is not at all extreme.  Really, just is not. 

When I got my Drivers Licence, you could buy a fine big silver Pontiac, with a V8 engine, power-brakes, bucket-seats, AM-radio, seat-belts, head-rests, etc - for just over 3000 Cdn dollars.  Now, you need minimum $30,000 for something similar.  Petrol (gasoline) was  45 cents per gallon.  Prices have drifted up over 10 times, in 40 years.  So the DJIA at 1000 in the mid 1960's, and the 10,000+ during the dot-com boom post Y2k - no big deal, quite predictable and expected.  The economic process is one of percentage growth, not linear growth.   Kahneman's book is cool, because it shows how truly awful most people are at thinking about subtle, mathy stuff.   Our little brains are just not very good at probability, and making the distinctions between different mathematical processes - and we "anchor" with vengence on the last data item we were shown.  

So, I made the call of "We might just be UP in the FALL" - and because I do these "morning pages" of bloggery - for some reason, it helps to crystalize thoughts, which helps to vector action.   So, fingers reach out to the keyboard, and I do these crazy trades that mostly work.   The hard part is to sit and do nothing, until everything lines up right.  That is much harder than it sounds.  

And oh, I don't recommend this.  Trading the markets to make a living, is stupid and awful, and very frustrating - especially now.  These days, you get 10 minutes at the open, and about 5 minutes at the close, and the rest of the time, you will be front-run, penny-ticked, and taken to the cleaners by the algos and the few remaining human professionals.  But mostly it will be the robots who will gut you, so trades during the day are *very* difficult to get done, The entire mid-day - ie. from 10:00am to 3:30pm is best avoided, unless you have a quote service that shows market depth, and some research that shows what is happening, and who is buying and who is selling.   And that is *very* difficult for edge-resident guys who are not downtown, and able to tap into the gossip networks and loose bar-talk.

I sat down and added up the disadvantages that I am facing, being far away from the markets - and they are many.  But there is also advantage in distance.  One literally gets "perspective", and it becomes possible to see how fast the forest is advancing towards the castle.   

As Macbeth learned, it is often a hell of a lot faster than you expect it will be!

Oh, and I must get some video-editing software.  Since everything is copyrighted, we will just have to make our own videos, I suppose.   :)

[Oct. 25, 2019 - PM] - Almost Good Video - Finally, a solution to the Firefox Video problems on my old WinXP boxes:   I found an offline installable version of Firefox 52.3 for Windows 32-bit,  and installed in on the Windows XP machine.  It retained all the Firefox 47 features and the two plugins as described in the Oct. 25th note below (and in the "Firefox + Video How-To"), but I downloaded the Firefox 52.3.0 ESR (Extended Support Release), as an offline, installable package - for 32-bit machines - and just ran the downloaded .exe to install it.  I found this 45 mb piece of code at this site:

      https://www.filehorse.com/download-firefox-32/31842/

The Firefox 52.3 looks to be a good version.   It got the NHK streaming Live TV stuff working.  (Make sure to hit the green download button at screen right.  Modern most-recent versions will also be shown.)   It claims to be operational for Windows 7,8, and 10 -but with the PCDM model (which may not even be needed), it works flawlessly on my old Toshiba Multi-media laptop.  My testbed for this was the NHK Live TV (in English) service.  The key fact here is that this is the *offline* installer - you need only run the .exe on a Windows box, and it should install seamlessly - at least it did on mine.  I did *not* have to hack my bookmarks from my earlier FF version, to get them into  the new version - like I did when I installed FF 60.x on my CentOS 6.6 Linux box.

I was able to download a 2nd archive copy of the Firefox 52.3 using a CentOS-7.4 box, while watching NHK live streaming in real-time, on the Toshiba multi-media unit, and it worked.  (It was only a few minutes *after* the download finished, that NHK started serving a still-screen, and the spinning circle.  Not sure if this was an NHK problem, a WindowsXP/Toshiba issue. I confirmed it was not a network issue, by running a ping-sweep against a bunch of different sites.)

[We recently had the WiMax service enhanced, and our antenna-top transponder now points to a much less conjested tower.  We get between typically 60 to 80 ms on pings to local sites and google.ca, which is typically 5 to 10 times faster than we were getting in the summer on the old tower.]  Pings to several sites from the gateway, showed the network running fast & fine.

But it is still not great.  NHK stopped - spinning throbber only - and the webpage needed to be reloaded, but then it continued.  I suspect it is the NHK servers, and not a local issue.   Youtube works fast and fine.   I notice, also, that many of my favourite Youtube "test-videos" seem to have been removed!  So sad.  :(     But Youtube has become crowded, weird and broken, so the fact that is works at all, is kind of impressive.  (I've re-uploaded a few of my favourites to my "rusfuture" account).

Bottom line:  The Toshiba - with the Firefox 47 tweaks below - plus this offline upgrade of Firefox 47 to Firefox 52.3 - makes a fine and fast video box - even on the old Windows XP-sp3 machine.  Amazing, actually, to see the old Toshiba render high-res videos fast, full-screen,  in real-time, and work well.  Now, I can actually view and update the HTML5 videos rendered from this site AND also stream live TV.

PS:  Here is one of Dr. Lu dwig's videos that  I reloaded & restored. I have studied the 1930's in some detail, and I found this video just fascinating.  It is just a song from Germany in the 1930's.  It has had precisely 1 view (from me!)  It uses codecs avc1 and mp4a.40.2, and has subtitles.

(Click on the little gear on bottom of youtube video screen,and select "Stats for Nerds" - very useful info is provided.)   Or click this link.   It's a great, German-langauge song from 1934, I think is the year.

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC9YVXez6Zw

What is interesting, is just how well, the old Toshiba laptop now works. 

Oh, here is more info.  I have not run virus-scans agains the Firefox 52.3 offline install file (the offline FF52.3 for Windows (32-bit) install .exe file is 45358560 bytes long), and the SHA256 hash of the file I used to do the install is:  5E94AE83  8071FE23  5C48E4A6  653B075B D2640EAA  846D4A68  CFE7DC12  EF12D725.

I don't know if this  Firefox version is free from viruses, but I am using it!  :)

Here is my favourite video (so I uploaded it..) => "Betty Boop Goes to Japan" - and flies her own airplane!

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNhCIdJAOEk

It literally had *no views" at all!  I think Fleischer was a genius.   It's also the only cartoon where Betty sings in real Japanese.   (Great test video.  Also rendered in: avc1.4d401e, mp4a.40.2 ).  The original title is: "A Language of My Own".

[Oct. 25, 2019] - Vexed by Video - More nonsense with video and Firefox.  Video - and the whole Netflix + DRM thing - is a profound pain.  The internet is morphing back into being just a broadcast-TV platform.   And for us, it is like the prisoners in jail complaining about  food:  "The food is *terrible*!  And there is never enough!"   Video on the internet is like this.  It is a shame the web is being used mostly now to serve up junk videos - a real shame.   And it does not even work very well, dammit!   

I have an older laptop, runs WinXP-sp3.  Has Firefox 47.0.2, works well, but HMTL5 video was not available.  I followed the steps shown in my notes on "Firefox + Video How-to", and I discovered that my website itself has been butchered so it only works correctly with advanced versions of Firefox.  I can't see the menu-drop-downs!  No excuse for this - the "features" being made available on  new browsers just enhance user-tracking, the delivery of adverts, restrictions on ad-blocking plugins and removal of easy ways for users to clear cookies and sanitize their information trails.   This is just bad, but of course, it is expected. 

The internet is morphing into an almost bad thing, I fear - it's truly starting to look more like Winston Smith's viewscreen (the protaganist of the Orwell novel "1984", about a really horrible/awful future of extreme state-control and clinical use of torture and cruelty - sort of like what we see on the news... )  

I have to watch the news, because I need to trade to make money to pay the bills.   So, I use internet video.   But lately, it is being broken-by-design everywhere now.  I just discovered NHK Japan is the latest example.  Sad, but so it goes...

I use the Adobe PDM (Primetime Decryption Module) Firefox plugin, to enable HTML5, which at least means my videos that I have posted on this site, can be rendered on my old Toshiba Multi-media laptop.   (But I notice that the drop-down menus do not work!  Why would a commercial site disable standard menu-offering features in a paid-for web-page?.  Something screwy is going on, which I will have to fix.)   Here is link to my  Firefox+Video How-to notes: (Plus, I put the little Z80 "ripple pattern" test video at top of page)

       http://www.gemesyscanada.com/436694377

I explain how the Adobe Primetime Decryption Module can be loaded.  I got the info from www.msfn.org, and I credit them.  I don't use this Adobe PDM thing to watch DRM content -but installing in on older Firefox versions, and tweaking the about:config parameters, lets the HMTL5 videos shown on this site be rendered.   Here is the link to my notes on the Z80 board we are experimenting with.  There is a tiny video at the end of the page, which shows a "ripple pattern" running on the Z80 board.  It is served up in HTML5.

      http://www.gemesyscanada.com/443811843

When I followed my 2017 instructions to get the WinXP-sp3 box FF47 running with the Adobe PDM (just so it could render HTML5 videos), I noticed the plugin reported on the Tools/Ad-ons summary page, a note saying, in yellow text:  "Primetime Decryption Module will be installed shortly", which was stupid, because I had manually installed it.

To resolve this annoyance (HTML5 was not working) required I *try* to installed it (clicking the little gear icon on the Add-ons summary page for the module), and then Firefox would update some fields (and probably authorize a signature or something like that), and if you did an "about:config", and searched for "Adobe", you could see the update-date was set to a new interger value.  Nothing was actually downloaded - just the attempt to update, triggered some sort of verify/check and update of parameter info, which was enough to get rid of the stupid yellow-text message on the "plugin-page", and allow the plugin to work, and the videos to be rendered. 

NHK Live TV still does not work yet.  For now, I can only view NHK Live on the CentOS-7 boxes (running FF 52.2.0 ESR (extended support release)).  The ESR releases are good - as Firefox is supported by the authors for 3 weeks, instead of the usual two.  [   ;)  ]

I will post two screen shots of the "about:config" parms needed to get the HTML5 working on this older FF version.   I no longer trust much information or software on the internet now, and have a very strong preference for just retaining the operation of the code and technology I have.  Literally, every single update or upgrade is now problematic, and breaks things, without offering any benefit, or improvement.   It's just the way it is now, and we have to deal with it.  

If you get any software off the web, you better get all the source and build-tools, and be prepared to maintain it yourself, since it will be *broken-by-design* in the next "release", which will happen in a few weeks.   (The whole process and strategy is offensive to common sense, and tragic-comical in its results.  Almost all the code, pretty much everywhere now - is shitty, low-grade beta-level crap, which will happily kill you if you try to rely upon it actually working.  The 737 Max-8 is an extreme example of what I am talking about... )

Fly safe, if you can!    :)   And remember, the secret to a long and happy life is this: "Don't die!"

[Oct. 24, 2019] - Worlds in Collision - Spectacular lovely weather again today - at a time of year when we expect rain, snow and leaf-less sleet.  Rather than fighting "climate change" (which is not likely even occuring - probably its just natural, random variation in the system, which always occurs on this planet ) - but rather than fighting it - if global-warming/climate-change really were happening - Canada might want to encourage it!  We might join with Russia, and both nations could be constructing carbon-dioxide generators.  If we could have the annual 43-degree isotherm roll up north here sooner in the spring, and stay later in the fall, we could extend the growing seasons of marginal agricultural land, and add substantially to the national food-and-fuel producing cropland area.  This will have to happen, at some point in the future, to ensure we do not all go hungry.

But the whole "global-warming" scare-campaign is looking like just an excuse to raise taxes and jack people up for more cash.  And it degrades and deflects attention from a legitimate environmental movement that should be encouraged.   Our world is small and fragile.  It is not "climate change" that we have to worry about - it is the production and distibution of toxic poisons that is the much greater threat.   We seem to have stopped paying attention to this simple fact, and this oversight may bite us badly in the near future.   The poisonous glop and gunk that is regularly dumped onto our fields as part of standard farming practices now is truly amazing.  The dead bee-hives are a clue that this stuff being used by farmers everywhere, is not as benign as they are being told it is.   

But dialing back on cropland poisons does not get taxes raised, does it?  The Governmentalists love the lie of "climate change",  because of their solution:  higher taxes.   Most people are just sheep-like fools, as just about every quiet, wise person discovers.   Curious world, yes?   But it still is our own little blue marble, so we had better keep the kitchen clean, right?  "Don't shit where you eat."   Wise advice. 

We should really send more rockets, wtth people on them, to other nearby planets, so that folks can look back at our tiny world, and see how small, and fragile and alone it floats in the black sea of space. 

It is  2019 - we are *far* into the future - and this future sometimes looks like its been hijacked by arrogant fraudsters who are funded and supported by proven murderers.  In the USA, this is particularly evident.  I read the details of what is being done to Julian Assange, and it is ugly.  

The CIA may as well just take him out and shoot him, since that is basically what is happening - just more slowly, and behind small doors in the UK courts and the super-high-security prison where Assange is being held.  The URL below offers details, if you are curious: 

(Note:  Seriously - please read this.  The author is a former British Ambassador, and a shrewd observer and honest man.  What he describes is disturbing and shocking, truth be told.  It looks like they are killing Assange.  He is locked in a high-security prison for terrorists, and is held in solitary confinement for 23 hours everyday.  He has no access to his notes or computers, and his lawyers have no place where they can even meet with him.  The guy is a fool, but he is not a terrorist.   This calculated effort to destroy his mental apparatus is profoundly wrong.  I think it may also illegal as well, under British statute & common law.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/

Our political and legal systems require accurate information to function correctly.   But telling the truth about the murder-spies that empower the dishonest folks who control a powerful part of the USA, can get you crushed or killed now.  This is a technical problem, and will require a solution at some point.

I watch Trump as he supports the Saudi Arabs, and Israeli murder-squads and I am very disappointed.   And then Trump goes on to attack America's biggest trading partner, China, and I just cannot believe the foolish and destructive weirdness I am seeing.  The Chinese are doing the hard work of keeping America's technological-edge sharp, and the whole prosperity-parade rolling along, and this is bad?  Trump is just being a low-grade politician in this curious assault, I fear.  It is just unwise, dishonest and abusive to the cause of American - and global - prosperity.

See, given the choice between HIllary Clinton - another curious person - and Trump, I would have voted for Trump.   He was at least something other than the standard career-leftist lawyer-politician   The man could have done the right things.   But he has now just cut and run from Syria, and abandoned the Kurds (Again!),   This action will hand the whole region back to the bad guys - and he could have held it and kept it safe and secure at a *really low cost*!.   This was one of the most astonishingly bad decisions I have ever seen taken in modern times.   The man is just unwise.   He is not what he appears.   He is hollow  and this is very unfortunate for USA and the world. 

The man has also attacked and abused just about everyone around him, who might have offered him helpful support and given him wise guidence.  Yes, it is true that  a *king* has to sometimes be cruel and make difficult decisions.  But does America really want to have a "king"?   And are these even close to something that someone might reasonably call "good decisions"?

[Oct. 23, 2019] - Androids Dreaming (Of Electric Fleets) - Google really has nuked all my apps from the Playstore.  Oh well - you're gonna have to sideload 'em from Github, if you wanna run APL on your tablets and S-Phones.

Meanwhile, I got a ride in a Tesla.  I like.  I really, really like.  Fits my picture of the world.  Love (really "LOVE" the autodrive).  Wanted autodrive since I was 16. 

Downloaded all the Firefox source, last nite.  What a mess.  Custom build system, and a complete mess.  <sigh>  DId the whole GPG thing, found out the public key was expired (this is for the FF 34, a few years back.)   Could not even confirm if code was genuine.    Oh my...

 [Oct. 22, 2019] - "Borking" the Modern Web - Oh my, but I really dislike the modern internet.  Everything good is going dark, and everybody wants to be paid now for every little thing.  To move things in this direction, everything that once worked, now seems to be getting "borked" rather effectively.  Partly this is due to DCM - the wicked copyright enforcing code that is being slotted into everything, and partly it is just old fashioned diminishing returns, margin-compression, and financial exhaustion (the disruptering start-ups running out of money).

The little example videos on this website were served in Adobe Flash, and worked (or could be made to work) in every browser.  But the "new" version of this site's content delivery only serves HTML5 videos, and many of our machines now just cannot see the videos. 

I have no control over how this site's software serves videos.  You can see the note "Firefox and Video" in the Gemesys main menu (top of menu bar on main page) for hints on configuring Firefox.  If you can install a newer or more recent version of Firefox, or perhps a different browser, that may solve some of the problems.  

 [Oct. 21, 2019] - Clouds and then the Storms? - I wrote a note about my video annoyances, based on the fact my site provider seems to have disabled FLASH for video rendering, breaking my site on all my old machines and platforms - and for anyone else using older systems.  This is the modern trend - break it fast - so that the sheep have to bleat and buy new stuff. 

Probably, you want to get off that treadmill.   Have we seen "Peak Tech"?   I am wondering if maybe that might be the case....   Note: we remain long the financials and the telecoms.  That trade is still working ok.   ;)

[Oct. 19, 2019]  - Are We to Become Website-less? - It seems that our website provider has stopped supporting Adobe Flash, and only serves videos from this site in HTML5 - and some version that is not even able to match Youtube.   My editing machines can render Youtube HTML5 and Adobe Flash videos, but when I check the videos on this -  my own site - they render only as "green-screens" with a constant, continous 3000 hertz tone.  Most annoying, and I apologize if anyone gets this exceptionally annoying error.   I know for certain it is a site-provider change, because I can still use my equipment to edit this webpage, and see the videos rendered correctly in Adobe Flash - but only in the site-editing feature - not when the page is rendered out to the public. 

I am deeply disappointed by this change, and I will post a resolution here shortly.   The GEMESYS Github site remains up and available for downloads and installs of GEMESYS Android .apk packages (the APL's, GNUplot37 and gDOSbox - all free and without tracking or adverts or "in-app" purchase requirements.)  Sadly, the Google Playstore has removed all the GEMESYS freeware.

[Oct. 18, 2019] - Crypto Muffins & Information Hiding - Migrated my simple Encrypter/Decrypter written in Tcl/Tk, to the Macbook Pro, and have been playing with it. Now have it running under my hacked-and-forked Tcl/Tk that is compatible with the Xerion AI neural network stuff.    Not super high security, but it is better than sending files around in plaintext all the time - especially if the files contain trading and financial data.  Perhaps I will offer a bounty for anyone who can crack the top screen (it is *not* the same plaintext as the second screen.),  But here is a hint  - it is just the encrypter/decrypter Tcl/Tk program, run a couple of times thru the encrypter.  Should be easy if you are GCHQ, or the NSA!

Oh, and here is something interesting, confirms another quanta of data.  it looks like Boeing knew about problems with operation of the MCAS (auto-death-dive) system.  

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-boeing-2016-internal-messages-164155191.html 

It is unclear what the "pilot's inadvertant lie" actually was from the news-dump here, but I am guessing the pilot in the simulator maybe "crashed" the aircraft (in simulation), because he didn't know how to disable the MCAS "Anti-Stall" system (which I have nicknamed "Auto Death-Dive").

As I've indicated earlier, this philosophy of "lets make automatic control systems to make the world a safer place" - and remove control from the human agent - is a dangerous and toxically stupid idea that I observe to be leaking in to design everywhere.    It's a *really* bad idea, and I now understand that crazy term I first encountered in car magazines, back in the 1970's.  They argued "Beware the rise of the *Safety Nazi* - who would destroy good design, by mandating *safety standards* everywhere!"   I thought it an extreme view - but then, I got a big Ford Ltd that had - seriously - 5-mph bumpers on it.  It meant you can slam into something, in a two ton vehicle, and generally not experience any bumper damage.   Well, it was fun, wasn't it?  The idiot "safety Nazi* approach had allowed big US-made cars to be turned into rolling battering rams!  Great fun for teenagers out on a spree... 

But fast-forward to now, and we now have the idiocy of "automatic control" systems. Think about the logical contradiction in that expression: "automatic control" for a moment.  The two design objectives are mutually exclusive, aren't they?   In an effort to correct a serious air-frame/engine-size design flaw, the Boeing "engineers" put an "automatic push the wheel forward" system into the Boeing 737 Max-8.   But they decided not to even tell pilots how the system worked, and most importantly, how to turn it off.

Plus, these Boeing "engineers" allowed a single sensor to provide input into the system to make it work.  It would push the control-wheel forward, even if the sensor was faulty.  

That such a bad design-decision as this could have been accepted by the FAA, shows that the American FAA is just not up to the task it has been given - ie. providing certificates that indicate aircraft are airworthy.    They need to make wholesale changes in personnel.  But they won't, of course.

The 737 Max-8 should maybe just not ever fly again.  Of course, it will.    Bad design - and the fraud of "automatic control" - has leaked so deeply into the modern design ideology, that we are past the point of making the "social repair" that would have to happen, to fix this foolish and tragic thinking.   This is not a Tesla on "auto-drive" (which might actually be a good idea - and if the Telsa gets confused - it immediately *demands* that the driver *take control*.)  That is the right approach.  What Boeing did, was the exact opposite.

The Boeing 737 Max-8 is the "Comet" of the 21st century. The difference here, is the wings on the Comet were not actually designed to break and fall off in flight.  It was metal-fatigue - an accidental oversight - *not* a deliberate designed-in feature.   The same cannot be said about the 737 Max-8.  

The Boeing guys put the MCAS "Push-the-nose-forward"  (and hit the deck!) system into the design on purpose, and the people at the FAA just "rubber-stamped" this unwise "automatic control" system, when they should have simply said: "What?   We have airframe/engine mismatch.  This thing already has the glide characteristics of a set of car-keys, and you want to deal with this stall tendency by having the control-wheel zoom forward automatically, even if the auto-pilot is in "disabled" mode?  What if the a/c is near the ground, in a crappy part fo the flight envelope, already close to a stall, and this "automatic" system engages because of a data-input error from the angle-of-attack or air-speed sensor?  Won't that slam the entire a/c into the dirt? "

"We can "shake" the "stick" automatically, but I don't think we should just automatically push it forward.   Lets just have a better engine/air-frame match, go with a traditional "stick shaker", and make sure that the "fly-by-wire" technology always keeps the pilot in control, so that he (or she) can always be able to fly the plane - especially if conditions get ugly & hairy." 

But no-one at the FAA said that, did they?  It was just "good enough for government", and "let's go have drinks..."  Heads should be rolling down the hallways at the FAA.  But nothing will happen, of course.    Sad reality:  Boeing should have known better. (But they didn't).  And the FAA could have caught this flaw.  (But it didn't). 

The human should *aways* have an override option.  And it should be clear how it works, and training activity should confirm that pilots and drivers and riders know how to control their machines - especially in edge-condition situations where things are happening quickly.  Is this not painfully obvious?

[Oct. 17, 2019] - I've Been Mangled - Can't figure out why IBM is priced up the way it is.  The $34 billion purchase of Red Hat was surprising, but one can see why.  The dis-info being published is great.  Think about it for a minute:  I could have gone to IBM and said quietly: "Hey guys... ah, you don't actually need to buy this company for 34 billion US dollars.  They, ah, give their software away for free, you realize?  You can download and run a copy of CentOS-7 and once you tweak it a bit, it runs pretty good - and makes use of the 64-bit, multi-core stuff that Intel is putting in all the cheap "gaming" computers they sell to the kids.  You know this right?  You can get all the code, and probably hire all tech-dudes (and dudettes) you need, for oh, maybe 20 or 30 million bucks, right?"

Seriously - this is the truth.  What kind of mary-jane were the IBM folks puffing on?  34 billion, to get code that is given out for free?  Is the revenue stream of services for Red Hat stuff really that high?  Really?   No way it can be.   Don't misunderstand me.  Linux is absolutely marvelous fabulous wonderful genius stuff.  I am using it right now, to key this blather.  (That and the old FF ESR that I have tweaked so it doesn't burn out my visual circuits with the stupid megabright white screen).   See, most software now is crafted to be shitty and only half-baked.  If you want to make it work right, and not "f*ck you up*, then you will need to fiddle and futz with it.  But it is pretty easy to do this, really. 

What is srcreamingly obvious, is that IBM must have decided to pay 34-billion US dollars to **NUKE** Red Hat.  No other scenario makes even the tiniest bit of sense.   Nobody here on Planet Dirt pays 34 billion US dollars for something they can get for free,by doing an FTP copy from a download site.   So IBM did not by Red Hat for the codebase.  And I bet they could hire a ton of Red Hat dudes for - oh - let's say maybe a billion or two.  Like maybe everyone, for 3 to 4 billion?  Right?   So was the RHT service revenue stream really that valuable?  Hmmmm.  I have my doubts.

The only explanation that makes any sense, is the old railroad model of lets "buy them out"  - which is business-speak for "lets kill them and make them all die - commericially of course"  (We are not Russians, and we don't need to throw executives out of windows onto the streets of Moscow.)  Much better to just throw a huge Bag-O-Bucks at them, and co-opt them so they are no longer sh/t-flingingly dangerous competitors.  Red Hat is now inside IBM "pissing out, instead of outside the train on a hillside, pissing in" (to use Lyndon Johnson's great metaphor).

But all this means IBM is facing a curious and uncertain future.  I would have had my clients far away from IBM shares.  (In fact, I did actually do just that.)    Now, at 133 level, that big 4.85% dividend yield is starting to look mighty attractive.  Except I fear that IBM is not making the best use of their cash, if they are willing to pay 34 billion US dollars, for some software they can download off the internet for free.  And anyone who does really unwise trades, is not someone or something that you want to invest in, regardless of how this quarter's revenue numbers look compared to the last quarter numbers.

For 34 billion dollars, I think IBM could have, oh, maybe colonized Mars, or mined the platinum on the Moon or the lithium rare-earth compounds on a nearby asterioid or something interesting like that.  But they just vapourized all that cash (well, actually vectored it into the pockets of some clever "Disrupticons", truth be told.  Plus the US Tax collectors of course.)  Either way, it is just "money gone", from the POV of IBM shareholders.

And all I can do, is sit here at Trafalmador Farm, and gaze in open-mouthed astonishment, at the curious events I see unfolding in the Excited States.    Understand: I really love America.  But I just wish their rockets - and their businesses and foreign policy actions - would stop exploding quite so often, and with such amazing regularity. 

I mean - I offered to put APL2 (a genius-good IBM software product) up on the Android platform of Google's - for effing "FREE" - a pure pro-bono project because APL made such an amazing difference in my own personal life.  I did all these APL projects - Banks, Finance Co's, Provincial and Federal Govt's, small startup companies, Investment Banks and brokers, etc.), and every one was a runaway success.  APL is a genius thing - more than just a computer language, it is a way about representing and thinking about mathematics.  It made my nut for me, truth be told. (And it helped me understand some basic math, which has also proved surprisingly helpful.)

I knew Ken Iverson and his family.  Fine people, despite their abandonment of the genius thing the old man had created.   But IBM folks told me it would cost too much to get their stupid lawyers involved.  So, despite having an APL2 prototype running on Android, I was unable to take the project any further.  And this is really bizarre, because APL2 on Android, would have been a great teaching tool and a clever "gateway drug" for IBM, to pull young, smart student hackers into the IBM ecosystem.  But the dumb bunnies - as a business - could not even accept a dude working for them for free!  No, they would rather blow-up 34 billion US dollars to buy some code that they could have just downloaded from the internet for free.    I honestly fear that the IBM commercial collective - despite being staffed by clever, hardworking people - might be institutionally too stupid to continue for much longer.   Will their customers figure this out at some point?

The comedy here is just wonderful.   Even better than the $18 trillion in *negative* yielding gov't bonds.    The world is run by idiots and clowns, and we are all either audience, or maybe we are down in the ring, dancing with the bears that are wearing skirts?   Lately, I am not even sure which is the case.    The trick, I guess, is when they want to shoot you out of the cannon (or  perhaps assault you with a canon?)  just be sure there is a net at the target where you are expected to land.   :D  

[Oct. 16, 2019] - Hollywood Stories - So I noticed Huawei is doing pretty good.  Their earnings and revenue growth continues, despite the USA assault on their business model & the family that runs the place, the Weirdington lie machines and the dis-info being pumped out by the Gangs of  New York (and the Gangs of Hollywood also, of course).  Quite interesting.   

I watch some of this madness in jaw-dropped astonishment.  Like watching Trump abandon the Kurds to the murder-squads from Turkey.  These Kurdish guys were hard-core "Brothers-in-arms' with the tiny USA contingent (like maybe 1000 to 1500 men, reports indicate) in Syria that was fighting the ISIS evil.  But  Trump has decided to "cut and run" in a truly cowardly fashion, and let the Kurds - US allies in that hard fight against Islamic State - be attacked on all sides by the Turks and the Russian-backed corrupt Syrian "government" forces.  It is a sad example of Trump's shocking failure to actual think about things carefully before pulling his mouth-trigger and making (and executing) weird-bad US policy.   It's a breath-taking and almost perfect tragedy, sort of like the Fall of Saigon to the communists.  

And it tells the world (again) clearly:  Don't ally yourselves with US forces, as they will abandon you as soon as the political winds in Washington shift a few degrees.   Be educated.  If you have to interact with a US "official", smile politely, nod your head to whatever he (or she) says, and then carefully step back as far as you can, while you watch the arc of destructive foolishness that the unwise, dangerous creature will unleash all about him (or her).  One does not know whether to laugh or cry.   I guess most folks try a bit of both.  My god, but America is a perfect sh/t-show of tragic foolishness and bad behaviour now.  What a bunch of curious creatures.

On that thought, I wondered what happened to that fat Hollywood movie-jew that raped all those women?  And I found Uma Thurman's interview, where she speaks about the time Harvey Weinstein tried to rape her in a hotel room, where they were discussing a movie plot.   I like Tyler's stuff from "ZeroHedge", and found this note interesting.  But I still don't know what happened to that fat jew rapist and his ugly, sleazy brother.   Doubtless he got a good lawyer, and managed to avoid jail time for his actions.   But the Thurman interview (from 2018) makes interesting reading, as apparently starlet-doxing seems to be an old Hollywood tradition - a sort of filmic "droit de seigneur". 

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-03/uma-thurman-says-her-assault-weinstein-was-bat-head

Thurman is at least honest about not actually getting up and going over to open the door and leave, when her first assault occured.   And that is really where the truth probably resides.   The "metoo" girls didn't want to break the trade.   This explains the staying power of a fat slug like Weinstein. What he did - according to the girls - seems to have been not much different from what many others in his position of "movie industry" power also did regularly.

Ya just gotta love America, eh?  The land where the cops show up to do a "welfare check" (ie. to make sure some woman who lives alone, is ok and safe), and the stupid cop, in a cowardly act of ignorance and fearfulness, actually pulls out his piece and shoots and kills the poor old woman.  But I guess it is Texas, where apparently, things are more than a little cruel and crazy.   Really, cops are often of questionable value, it seems - often more dangerous than the criminals.  (This same tragic foolishness happens here also.  A few years back, in a nearby town, a women called the local police because she feared her husband was suicidal.  The cops showed up at the house, saw the husband in the back yard with a rifle, and promptly shot and killed him. )

The moral of this story seems to be:  If the cops show up at your house - shoot the bastards first, before they decide to kill the homeowners.   Now really, this is *not* a good strategy.  Once a homeowner whacks a few cops, then obviously more will show up, since they obviously know where you live, right?   So perhaps it might be good idea to teach your Peace Officers not to open fire on every dark shadow they see,  when they are checking on the safe-status of a homestead?  The "shoot first" approach really seems unwise, and is likely to raise the body-count on both sides quickly, and then really, everybody is disadvantaged.

Just a thought. 

Oh, and it appears the "Big-Legal-Daemons-of-New-York" defending Harvey Weintein (the "Miramax Rapist"?  Sounds like a movie title!)  have manage to push the Harvey Weinstein rape trail out further, now into 2020. This keeps Weinstein out jail, and is a wise and sensible strategy.  They will just keep pushing this whole thing into the future, as the old British concept of "Justice delayed is justice denied" does not apply in USA - nor really anywhere now, given the crowded, overburdened courts.  (Next trick will be for Harvey to get "sick".  Since we all agree he is a sick-f*ck, it won't be hard for his Legal-Daemons to convince a Democrat Judge of this.)   But the USA is really crazy.  DSK can do what he did - a hard-core sex assault - and get away with it.  But Weinstein, who was running a traditional "casting-couch" model - where the girls certainly knew the score - looks like he will actually be brought to trial.    Or maybe not.  Maybe someone could give Harvey a loaded luger, lock him in the bathroom with his bathrobe, and ask him to do the honorable thing?   :)

[Oct 14-15, 2019] - Z80 Power - The little Z80 "NorthStar" SBC (Single Board Computer), is amazing.  One can buy a bag of electronic parts, score a board and some software from your local genius, and assemble a machine that can invert matricies and solve equation systems. 

Still a bit of work to be done on the I/O and storage (on board SD card, a vide- screen, and a keyboard are in the works for the V2.0 model)  - but there is magic in being able to work at a low (high?) level of technical detail, and make the thing truly work.  More notes and pictures in my sub--menu section "Z80 NorthStar Notes".   Jump direct with this URL, if you want...:   http://www.gemesyscanada.com/443811843   

To get the Z80 up and running, you have to load the 8K MS-Basic interpreter.  If running on the MMX Pentium board, this involves copying the file RAMBASIC.PKT from  MS-DOS (from the MMX experimental board) to the Z80.  To make this work, the pins on the serial port (COM1 in this case) have to strapped together.  Pin CTS (Clear to Send) has to be strapped to DTR (Data Terminal Ready), and pins for DCD (Data Carrier Detect) and DSR (Data Set Ready) have to also be strapped to DTR.  Once this hack is made (and a Null Modem cable is used, which simply crosses RS232 transmit and receive signals), the MMX board running MS-DOS can copy files to the Z80.  Otherwise the DOS operating system cannot "see" the port as available.  I wrote a Fortran program to then load - line by line - the MS-Basic program from the MMX to the Z80.   I used Fortran, since it is the only compiler I have that is common to the MS-DOS MMX board,  and the other machines.  It runs everywhere, even on the MacBook (since it can run in DOSbox).

Without the hardware modifications,  MS-DOS native cannot get any WRITE access to the COM1 device.  What is curious, is that I can run old Kermit 3.2 on the MMX board, set the baud-rate to 38400, and access the Z80MON on the Z80, no problem.  But Kermit can only "upload"  (using "transmit" command) a text file, not a binary.   

Once the hardware mods are done, DOS can see the COM1 serial port.  One does a direct copy, using the '/B' option (for binary)  for both source and target (eg: "copy  /B rambasic.pkt com4 /B" ).

The CLI command "MODE" may need to be used to setup the port, and on a Windows machine, the special  FT232R device driver for USB port access, may need to be loaded.  If you have run Kermit to set the port baud-rate, parity, stop-bits, and so on, you may not need to run MODE.  You can just "<Ctrl-]>C " to MS-Kermit prompt, enter "Push", run your copy, and then enter "Exit" to end the DOS subsession, and return to Kermit, where you can just enter "C" to reconnect to the serial port, and the Z80.  Then, entering a 'C" and  then a '2000' to the Z80MON (Z80 "monitor" program),  will jump to memory location 2000hex, and start the MS-Basic interpreter.

The hardware hacks to the serial port (strap CTS to DTR, DSR and DCD), and the /B option to the copy command works, and I can thus load some programs & multiply some matricies.  But the Fortran program cannot be made to send the file to the serial port, unless old MS-DOS can be made to "see" the port, by strapping together the RS232 pins indicated above.   Getting the serial port on a P/C to communicate with another computer or device, can be quite problematic, and is functionally impossible with MS-DOS, unless you are prepared to go at the serial port with a soldering iron!   I expect folks using Arduino and Raspberry Pi SBC's face similar issues, as access to hardware ports tends to be seriouly restricted by modern O/S's.

But it really explains the attraction of retro-computing and Linux.  The idea that we are making computers, and people are not even allowed to have "root" (administrator) access to their own equipment, is just wrong.  It's like having aircraft - such as those  Boeing 737-Max8's with the "Auto Death-Dive" feature that flies the aircraft to destruction - that do not allow (or hide) the ability for the pilot to control the damn things.   People die because of this bad design philosophy.    It is just wrong, foolish and lethally unwise to build machines that limit and restrict user-control.

I sound like "The Prisoner", don't I?  ("I will *not* be controlled!  I am not a *number*!)  Quit your job at GCHQ in a huff, and find yourself on an island, with automatic "murder-balloons' to deal with those who try to escape.  What a great TV show... :)  [Q: "Who are you ?"  A:  "The new Number Two."  Q: "Who is Number 1?"  A: "That is not in your need-to-know domain space, Number 6."] 

:)

[Oct. 11, 2019] - Vectoring Value for Victory - The Z80 (NorthStar) research has pushed me to dig into the details of the Intel (and AMD) vectorizing 64-bit architecture that drives the world now.  It all started with the MMX extensions Intel introduced, back in the late 1990's.  Although Intel denied it, MMX really stood for "Matrix Math eXtensions" to the original 8088/i386 architecture (which initially made use of a second "floating point unit" (FPU) chip, to accellerate the floating-point math). As processor development moved rapidly ahead, MMX gave way to AVX (advanced vectorized extensions), and number of registers grew, along with word-size.

Short wiki-summary:   MMX:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MMX_(instruction_set) 

AVX:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Vector_Extensions

The Intel MMX and AVX design work, and it's instantiation in processor-products, has basically changed the world.   Again.  

My gDOSbox development (and the release of gDOSbox on Android, - just a cribbed version of DOSbox with some math corrections, so that floating-point calcs were done correctly), provoked me to learn about MMX, and construct an original, physical "DOSbox" machine for testing and verification.  This machine runs an old Pentium MMX chip (and runs it very well, one should understand).  The old platform - running essentially MS-DOS 6.x (MS-DOS 5.0 with extensions to support a hard-disk, and fast operation), runs remarkably well.   My gDOSbox work was motivated by my need to put some APL interpreters up on Android.  I even had a nice, running APL2 (the IBM's APL2 P/C implementation), and I basically begged IBM to let me release (and self-support the older version of APL2 - but put it up on Android (running on gDOSbox), but their APL group rejected the idea, as there would be no revenue from it, but they felt their would be extensive legal costs required to do the deal, so they nixed the idea.  Too bad.  But when BigCO's are involved, it seems one is not even allowed to work "pro bono" on a good idea.   APL is such a perfect, natural, obvious langauge option for little hand-held computers.  <big sigh..>

So, we remain independent, and largely out of the loop of the Californicational "Storm of Disruption" that has made so many folks so very wealthy.   Good for them & I honestly bear them all no ill will.  World must advance, or everything goes retrograde, we know this from history.

And being independent has forced us to remain in "constant-learn" mode, as well as to develop and implement methods to maintain economic viability in a high-cost / harsh-structure world.  

I've found this trade that just keeps working.  It's like the old "Timex" watch commercial:  "It takes a licking, but it keeps on ticking."   This one trade just works and works and works and works.  It is just goofy.  My reading of markets and economic history suggests this should not be.    So as a research-oriented scientist/hacker, I have stumbled about trying to determine why this is the case.  What (the FOOOK) is going on?.   Any obviously consistant trade should be purged out of the process pretty quickly.  But one must also not be like the Economist who fails to pick up the $50 bill lying on the ground, because he assumes it is fake, reasoning "If it were a real $50-bill, someone would have picked it up already.."  (This story I like, as I really did once find a crumpled $50, on the sidewalk in Toronto. ).   Moral of story:  If you see free money lying on road, best to pick it up quick, as it *might* be real, and certainly won't remain in-situ for very long.

So, in my quest here, I think I might have stumbled upon the answer.  Maybe it;s the market algos, which themselves are an artifact of the MMX/AVX hyper-fast processing ability that can now be brought to bear, on market-process.   Things that could not be done in the past, are now easy and cheap to do in this nano-short-interval world.   And this is making "technical" trades very doable.  And their co-efficient of "doable-ness" seems to be remaining constant (or at least not degrading over time, as one would expect).   The algos (and the fast matrix-math that is required to drive them along), are successfully exploiting human neural characteristics (brain weakness, let's be honest), as the marketplace does the most amazing job of trying to teach you to be a "very-bad-trader*.  (You get routinely rewarded for doing *wrong* things, and you get punished for doing the *right* things.  Your own neural bio-mechanics and and the nature of random-re-enforcement  make a mess of your motivational matrix.  Really.  Know this.)

Like any trade, the one I have identified, is risky.  But the risk is mitigated by the nature of the trade itself, which is even more goofy.  But I begin to see the madness of the modern world, is embedded in a very real, and rational structural, systemic process.   The trade works, because of the nature of things.  And unless Lucretius is re-written by the gods themselves, it will just keep working, because it must.

See, the "slowness" of the Z80, like the limited graphics on the original P/C's, forces one to think and craft carefully.  But as processors become hyper-quick vectorizing magic-matrix boxes, the requirement to be wise and careful and clever fades away.  It's like being able to make an aircraft from iron and porcelain, and have it still fly like lightening,   Same process at work in the markets.  The BigCo's are very fat, and very rich.  The BlackRocks and Goldman's of New York are sitting on $-trillions (not just $-billions) now, and when the average mid-sized finance or tech company meets and their investment committee makes a decision, they don't give a sh/t about trade execution because they don't need to.  Maybe they aren't even supposed to.  Being correctly positioned is what matters - and because the decisions are made by and in - committee's - then the little guys (like me), will always have some small opportuntiy to fiddle about the edge of the process, and take a few nickels from the flow.  And not only does this not change - it actually gets more intensely silly, as automatic (front-running) algos come along to make the execution process even more silly.

Most trading happens as "market-on-close" action, in the last 1 second of the trading day.  Sometimes it is greater than the entire daily volume.  Reasons for this are obvious - and it means the "technical" silly-stuff works even *better* during the day, as BigCo guys are not there to operate against the little frats on the virtual "floor".  So this class of trades just works over and over, day-in and day-out, even though it should not, 

It's partly down to the MMX and AVX magic, that I expect to see a runaway bull run happen in these modern markets.  There is grave danger in shorting this process, as the runaway will be self-re-enforcing as it gets rolling.  The trick is to be positioned to be able to handle a 40% drop in value (and remain economically viable - ie. don't use much leverage), and yet remain in the game at all times (as a 40% run up from here, seems possible again).

See, the guys who could exploit the math, have always had the big advantage.  Napoleon's guys who stuck two sliding semi-log scales on top of each other, so they could do fast-math, and could get their trig-calcs done and aim their cannons effectively *faster* that the other guys army-boys could (the invention of the "slide-rule"), let them win.  Every time.   (one shot too long, one shot too short - do some math, adjust the cannon angle - and KABOOM, you blow the other guys completely to hell.  Boom, boom, boomity boom-boom.  And battle is over, as long as your barrels don't melt.).   And the Naval navigation of the sea.  Accurate clocks?  Angle measurements from horizon to known-stars?  Consult the tables, do some math, and you know how to get their first,  First guy there, slays the natives (or co-opts them), builds a fort, and captures the world.  The story of England, and how they kicked Spanish and French arse all over North-Am..  And the rise of America - faster, better, and smarter in every single technical endevour.  Don't believe me?  Read about Bowditch.  ("American Practical Navigator" - genius good book that changed the world.)  And Ben Franklin, who discovered (and named) positive and negative electricity.  The guys with the good tech, and the fast-math, win.

The technology gives you the edge.  And that edge lets you win -  *every single time*, until your adversary gets so annoyed, he (or she?) develops & exploits the same tech,  and the situation stabilizes.    See, the rise of China need not lead to war.  It might lead to stability, and balance, as each side now has advantage and capability.   And markets like stability.   China might (and certainly should) open it's markets to the same degree American markets are open.   This could lead to stability and balance.  Russia should be inducted back into the Group of Seven (or Eight, or whatever number is nice.)   Crimea voted, and the vote should be the final word.  Stability should be seen as the desired outcome on all sides.    It we reach that stability, then our whole planetary economy can jump to a substantially higher level of prosperity. 

We can all jump up onto a higher curve, if we get the economics and the math right.  And there might just be a possibility that this is the outcome that we move towards and then reach.  See, the MMX and AVX math is not always an abstraction.  Sometimes, it is a clear picture, and an achieavble outcome, with a fat pot of gold there for the taking once the outcome is reached.  :)

[Oct. 10, 2019] - LIttle-Endian Summer.  We are enjoying a bout of really fine weather - real Indian Summer - warm, lovely.  Won't last, but nice while it stays.  (Little-Endian refers to the Intel processor architectures way of representing number - ie. putting the least-significant byte first.  See the wiki on this:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endianness   )

Z80 ("NorthStar") hacking remains deep-interesting.  The Blowfish algo, as a block-cipher, has these rather big bag of data-tables.  Maybe hard-code these into some extra space in the first 8K monitor?  Not sure.  My private personal  crypto stuff is done on the fly - key is built from entered passphrase, then a series of rolling substitutions and jumps and more transformations are done.   It has not been security-tested.  But I have tested that a single character change to the passphrase results in radically different key-construction   (Earlier version was bad - a partial guess of the pass-phrase, would move the resulting decrypt towards being more like plaintext, the closer you guessed to the passphrase, so a linear differential decrypt algo could have cracked it in minutes, probably.  This was quiet an education for me, as I now understand the critical importance of "salt" and such.   Manufacturing entropy turns out to be actually quite difficult, if you are doing anything deterministic.)

All the 'Blowfish" examples just run binary-data test-case suites.  Of course, I want something that accepts a passphrase, constructs a nice big key, and then read an ascii file.   I have one of these that runs in DOS, so I guess I have a verify program to run regression-test against.  But  I don't have the source for it.  PGP uses Blowfish, I am told, but I need to verify.   Wasn't planning to put encrypt/decrypt in the Z80, but the use-case is just too cool not to try.  Folks need to have *really, really good" data-encryption ability, since it is such a nasty world now.  I just assume that everything is pretty much open, except the locked down financial sites.  It's audit-trails that keep the Banks honest, just like the distributed ledger it lets the block-chain stuff work it's magic.

Best cleaner is sunlight, best disclosure is full-disclosure.   But you don't want to data-dump your identity to the web, along with your credit-card numbers!   (I get several fraud-call per week, and consistent, ongoing APT stuff.   And I am really nobody special.  The bad-stuff is all just done automagically now by "kiddie scripts" that have grown up, and become mean, dangerous, and effective. 

Really, you want to have most of your life *off* the internet.  It's not a nice place anymore, sadly.

But the world has always been like this.  We need not be surprised - just careful.    :)

[Oct. 9, 2019] - And... They're off!  Years ago, when I was in Graduate School (like high-school, but with booze in the cafeteria), I met this guy who made money going to horse races, studying the horses, jockeys, track conditions, the odds, and such like - and used some sort of bastardized Baysian probability estimates to make his bets.  He claimed he did ok, but decided he should get some more schooling.  Wise choice.  Knowledge is like trading capital.  You can always use more - sometimes a lot more.    I wish I could say it was my models that told me this crazy October was likely to be a runaway bull-run, but it wasn't.  It was my long and almost obsessive reading of economic and market history.   October is almost always a down month.  Except when it isn't.

There are so many negative factors weighing heavy on investors now.  So it the market is bubble and pushy and bullish in the face of the goofy crowd of "nightmare-before-earnings-miss" scare factors, then it means there are some serious "animal spirits" moving some of the heavyside big-money investors.   The US needs to match the rate-structures of Japan and Europe.  Or not.  But if they do, then a 10 to 20% upward push would not be unexpected.   Today, looked like the start of the race.   Place yer bets, lads!

No one can tell the future.  But it is like elections.  We have elections.  But always, the Government gets in, doesn't it?   Faces and names change, and goofballs come along and make illegal stuff legal (dope and whoring, for example), and legal stuff illegal (making money by knowing inside info about your investments).   Maybe the old models were better.  Insider trading, drug-using and whore-visiting are not likely to ever go away - legal or illegal.  But the markets will tick along, and wise cities and nations will craft gentle rules that preserve the peace, yet allow prosperity to be earned from risk-taking.   It will always be this way, unless we nuke ourselves or poison our world or all catch Ebola or something awful like that.  (It won't be "global warming" - of that I am certain).  

I re-made the Z80 enclosure by cutting a rectangular hole in the aluminum enclosure, and put a solid piece of Lexan on top.  Looks better.  Also, reading about block ciphers - downloaded all the public versions of Blowfish, and compiled several, and ran the test programs.   I have an old MS-DOS version as an .EXE only, from some German guys circa 2000 or something like that.  I want to understand it perfectly, and maybe put a version on the Z80.  Offline encrypt and decrypt of messages is an interesting use-case for the little "NorthStar"..   :)

[Oct. 7-8, 2019] - Sturm Und Drang & Disruption. ( or maybe: "Beat me Klinger, Eight to the Bar!").  If I didn't live on this farm that makes Eden look like a low-rent housing project, I would have to live in New York, with the bottle and the fork.  Crazy nice here - but crazy ice here too.  The outrageous, ground-zero Babylon craziness of NYC is not unattractive.

We are watching the "Storm and Drive" play out now.  Brexit looms, and the drums make booms.  All about, are signs and portents.  But they are crazy positive, which is so curious funny.   Our modern world began, not it 1608, but in 1777, with Klinger's play.  (Here is a short wiki link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seyler_Theatre_Company  ).    It's pretty clear now, that Trump will not be de-listing Chinese stocks from the NYSE.  More likely, New York (I love NYC, really) will probably just de-list Trump from Weirdington.   I will truly miss Mr. Trump, as his leadership of the Excited States has given old Chaos Theorists like us, the world over, great vindication of our world view (Think not so much "Sturm & Drang" - but "Waiting for Godot" - esp. "Lucky's Speech").   It's just been a wonderful, crazy ride, and as long as it does not end in nuclear war, or something silly like that, quite a lot of fun, truth be told.

The "NorthStar" Z80 project is ticking along nicely.  It's no Raspberry PI.  But that is the point, really. Now that the prototype can accept input, run a super-simple O/S (only a "Monitor", really), and load a runable Basic (with 32-bit floating point math), and can dial-out with a modem on it's second serial port, all the pre-conditions are almost in place.  Time to see if it can do a little crypto.  Just a little bit.  Maybe Blowfish or something like that.  (I have Blowfish running in the MS-DOS emulator (the gDOSbox thing), that Google kicked out of it's Playstore, along with all the rest of our Apps.  Oh my.)   I'm almost at the point that I could write an auto-translator for Fortran-to-Basic, but it might be cool to try to do it in Z80 assembler.   The idea of course, is for all encrypt-decrypt functions to be done completely offline from whatever tech platform one is using - Android phone, Windows/Apple/Linux laptop, or whatever.  The Z80 will have to have a local keyboard also (it has that capability), so that no password in plaintext is created or entered on the sending platform.  We just have to assume that the message sending and receiving platform is compromised, since it almost certainly can be, regardless of what O/S the platform is running.

Oh, and folks have suggested "The Z80 is not powerful enough to do anything useful".  Bollocks to that, I have to assert.  My research in very tiny code bases also supports this.  (Aside: Funny how, when you are looking for something, it often just drops into your lap.  I found this info original in a post on ycombinator Hacker News.  Just abfab amazing, it is.)  Get this:  Famous Dr. "HellMood" has created not one, but *two* programs, each of which is only 64 bytes in length which do surprising things.  They create synthetic (ie. "fake") 3-D animations, using MS-DOS (DOSbox 0.74, with a modified "dosbox-0.74.conf" config file), and these animation example have sound! if you are on a Windows or MacOS platform, since both platforms have drivers which emulate MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) wave-table processing.  I can run "HellMood's" 64-byte .COM files on my Linux DOSbox and DOSemu emulators, and they work, but do not product the sound. 

Make sure you understand the micro-nano size of this code.  Each program is created using MASM assembler (for the old MS-DOS platform, and which is runable on the DOSbox emulator).  I have not tried my Android gDOSbox yet, but I will. The audio magic comes from bit-fiddlng the MIDI UART, so if your device does not have a MIDI UART port or driver, you wont hear the sound.  And you want to hear the sound.  With "INTO_WAR", the sound is a helicopter flying.  For "ESSENCE", the sound is a profundo-bassundo thrum (hint: play it thru sub-woofers and rattle the house a bit...) that is pretty cool.    Each program - IN2WAR64.COM and ESSENCE.COM, are each only "64" memory locations in length.  Not 64K - just sixty-four bytes of 8088 Intel assember code.   I truly stand gobsmacked by this accomplishment.    Each program simulates a complex, ray-tracing type of graphics rendition, but as a tricky set of hacks that I don't complete understand yet (but others do).  Here are links:

https://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=83204

(Author's post re. the technology on reddit "tinycode"):

https://www.reddit.com/r/tinycode/comments/de7dj9/moving_cubes_with_pathtracing_lighting_and/

https://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=82902

(This one above, "INTO_WAR" is amazing.  The helicopter background noise is impressive.  I had this running on a big screen, and my gf looked at it,and said:  "Helicopter flying over a swamp?"  So I am guessing that HellMood (for "Helmut"?) has just about hit the Shannon limit for knowledge transfer here.  64B!   He does it all in only 64 bytes of code.)

So, if you can render a simulation of a simulated 3-D graphics rendering exercise, and make it look like the "real"  thing, and use only 64 bytes of code then I a pretty sure I can put my Xerion models AND an encrypter/decrypter inside my 56K code space. (Remember, on the NorthStar, the first 8K is reserved for the Z80MON monitor program - which now has a "Jump-to:" instruction, thanx to my genius designer-friend who re-flashed the monitor EPROM.  You can load basic at hex 2000, and from Basic, jump to Z80MON with "MONITOR" verb, and from Z80MON, you can jump back to Basic with "C$2000".

It is fun and wonderful to program the NorthStar, since there is "Basically" no operating system to get in the way of what you want to do.   Want to write to the 2nd serial port, and throw the results up on a screen?  Get an Android tablet that supports OTG, grab the .APK for Android-USB-Serial-Monitor-Lite-1.1.7 from Github, install the .APK with ADB, and get two cables - a 9-pin to 9-pin null-modem serial cable (used to control satellite receivers), and a 9-pin to micro-USB OTG cable (from Amazon or your local Canada Computers store) and you will have all you need. Write OUT 33,<ASCII-#> in the Basic interpreter, and you will see it display on the Android screen, if you are running the USB-Serial-Monitor program.  (Baud rate: 38400, No parity, Flow-control: None, 1-stop bit.)   I'll put the code for a Basic program that writes "Hello World" on the Android screen in my next post.   :)

[Oct. 6, 2019] - Zilog Uber Alles. - The Z80 is an interesting project.  It's a nice feeling to actually have control of your computer, rather than having it always trying to control you.  I now have the little Z80 "NorthStar" dialing out to my cell-phone, under program control.  Plus, I can hang a Samsung Android Tablet (an old "Tab-A") onto the first serial port, and control the thing, or onto the second serial port, and have the Tab-A act as a display screen.  Did I mention that it can multiply & invert matricies, and solve systems of linear equations?  :)

[Oct. 4, 2019] - The Silly Season.   Silly time, but the sunshine has returned.  And the fields are rich and green, and the trees full of apples.   And the markets are full of sh*t.   I remain staggered by generally idiocy of most observed events.   A clever fellow showed me a very powerful processor chip, with a form factor smaller than a postage stamp.  The chip was 32-bit, very fast,, and featured an on-board WiFi sub-processor.  An entire FM  transceiver, smaller than a thumbnail on a baby was included on the chip.  And so this amazing device was able to *completely* compromise absolutely every action in one's office, if it was even brought within range of existing Wifi routers, and had power on it.   Amazing!   :)

Who would be so stupid, as to put a piece of *beaconing* technology like this, anywhere near where they lived or worked?  Or in their car?   It's madness.  It's complete, over-the-top crazy-silly weirdness. And yet this is the promise of the future we now find ourselves embedded within.  My GE fridge has a powerful processor to control the single chiller circuit, and an RJ-45 ethernet connect, for uploading PROM-resident program upgrades.   This meant - subject to the details of a June 2015 technical document, and the installation of an upgrade frictionless fan - we were able to upgrade the unit to correct a serious design and/or manufacturing flaw, that would cause the thing to completely ice up.  So yes, I am a huge fan of modern technology.

But we must be careful and cautious, and not become seduced (or deluded) that all improvements are beneficial, especially if they create fragile, compromised environments that are so easily open to abusive and corruption.

I was very much against the whole "Clipper Chip" idea, and the mass-monitoring hardware and software sub-systems that folks at NSA, CRE and GCHQ insisted be installed in backbone routers, gateways and many servers.  We have shot ourselves in the head with this technology, as we have constructed an environment that can be used to corrupt and crash our systems and our economic process-drivers.   Much of modern commerce moves thru and via the internet.  But the machinery of social-monitoring and control, makes us uniquely and dangerously vulnerable. 

Not from China, or other "Big-State" actors - but simply from failure, foolishness and criminality.  And from the  corrupt and dishonest "leaders", who in support of their own toxic and cruel adjenda's, will order journalists murdered, innocent people killed in "drone" strikes (as if the fact that the pilot sit's off-platform makes the murder committed somehow more morally acceptable!), and absurd lies retailed as gospel truth (the wonderful new hyper-taxes that are being crafted by the sh/t-flingers who promote the fraud of "global warming" - now re-framed and pivoted into "climate change" and the supposed "emergency taxation" that must result.)

The world has always had cruel, wicked liars in positions of great power and authority.  But the great danger now, is that these bastards can extend their reach and power, at the simple press of a button, or toggle of a switch.    We have never had a more dangerous & fragile world at any point in human history.   The degree of inter-connection makes me curiously uncomfortable, and I fear the feedom and spirit of  open-inquiry that the internet gave us in the early days, has been effectively replaced by *shopping carts* and mass-surviellence technology that risks creating a truly horrible world of State-driven extreme social control.   And State actors, like China, and Saudi-Arabia, which do not have democratic governments, show just how amazingly awful State agents can behave.  Even democratic states, such as Israel, if they are crafted along religious and racial lines, can develop the habit of using mass-murder as a routine political strategy.  So democratic process is no protection from State wickedness.

But what is new, are those little wifi-enabled superfast processor chips, that will be in everything (the application use-case I saw, was for a fancy light-bulb!)  It scares me, since I know what can be done with the existing mass-monitoring technology.  

We are past the point of warning about things.  The solutions will be to dial-back the degree of interconnection, and reduce the direct reliance on fragile machines that watch and report on everything we do.   It's like in economics, where  the madness of the "just-in-time" inventory model, meant that a small earthquake in Japan, could shut down all global automobile production for several weeks.  Builders need to have buffer-stocks, or they are being stupid.  And we should reduce and *air-gap* a lot more of our technical systems, and reduce the degree of systemic interconnection, so we are not vulnerable to US or Israeli (or yes, even Chinese) system security threats.   If I leave the "sshd" daemon enabled on my gateway box, I am bombarded all day, every day, with attempts to break into my LAN.   The scripts are automatic, and very sophisticated.

Our internet-enabled, hyper-interconnected world that we have built, is dangerously fragile.

This is part of the reason why I am excited about a project where we completely construct -from scratch - our own computer technology, and explicitly use non-internet (no Wi-Fi enabled) processor chips.  The Zilog Z80 is ancient technology, by our modern standards.  And yet, a useful and effective processing environment can be constructed and used to do real work.  The "NorthStar" boards in stand-alone mode, will be nicely air-gapped - and will be simple enough to use and check, but powerful enough to be useful.   I suppose we will have to x-ray the chips, and boards, to confirm that no rogue technology has been on-boarded.   But we have no secrets.  I detail everything in this blog!  If someone wants to know what we are doing, we will happily explain.

But perhaps others are not so interested in, or willing to adopt, absolute public transparency?  Might those folks be our customers or clients?   No technology is perfectly secure.  But the Z80 NorthStar" - by virtue of it's clever simplicity of design and visible, tractable operation, offers some assurance that you will not be "compromised-by-design".   :)

[Oct. 3, 2019] - Algos are Better than Experts.  They really are.  The Algorithms, that is.  They are just better.  Or at least as good.    Study after study, it seems, confirms this.  The "Experts" are never pleased with these results.   I had these two sell signals - but figured, oh come on.  Exactly the same thing, like every other October?  Are humans really this stupid?   Well, ah... yeah.

Given that the USA will now pretty much have to match Japan and Germany, we are almost certain to get more boost on this long bull run.  So selling for repo carries the risk of being sidelined due to a runaway.   But a runaway mkt in October seems unlikely.  But that is when it happens, when it is most unlikely...

[Oct. 2, 2019] - October Comes a Knockin'. - Ok, well, there we go.  You wanna trash the markets, and pick a fight with your biggest  business partner?  If you do, then you will loose money, and impair the path of prosperity.   Remember, the market acts on what is expected to happen, 6 to 12 to 18 months in the future.   Why is Mr. Trump trying to trash the future?   Not sure, really.  This did not have to happen, but there seems to be serious wisdom-deficit now, everywhere.  Mark Twain spoke eloquently on this topic, and the dangers of this month. 

More hacking with the little "NorthStar" board.  It has two serial ports, and I figured out how to output data to the second one, while connected to the first one.  Also, found a little Windows-based terminal program, called "Termite", which works pretty good.  It is tiny, and will auto-release it's lock on the serial port, so you can just copy files directly to load binary images into the Z80 board.  Trick is to use the "/B" (for "binary") switch on the command-line copy command.  That trick, combined with some Windows/DOS batch-job/shell script voodoo to read and echo a file line-by-line, and both binary images and Basic program text can be downloaded in the Z80 board.   Latest image (top of blog), shows test results for the  "Solver" program which runs on the Z80, and uses Gauss-Jordon pivoting to solve a linear equation tableau. 

The little Z80 "NorthStar" really is very cool, and can do real work to 32-bit accuracy (ie. 7 digits of floating precision, which is what TensorFlow was using as it's default, last I looked).  I have the Z80 boot mode stuff working on three platforms now - the MacBook MacOSx, Windows (tested so far on  Win2K &  Windows XP running "Termite" terminal emulator, and easiest of all, on Linux (CentOS-7 and other Fedora flavours), using PySerial (a nice little Python thing), and a few different versions of "screen", including the latest 4.2 version.

As the markets blow-up in their usual October 'Frenzy of the Foolish", the Z80 project is good, as it keeps us all from looking at the price feed quote screens, and makes it easier to hold onto our positions, as per plan.  We remain long, fully invested, and a bit  unsettled by the curious news flow.  In the back of my mind, I am thinking the Z80 SBCs (planning to assemble another one from scratch, this time..), might be the start of a "Beowulf" cluster I wanted to experiment with.  The coolest one I've seen, a full 32-node cluster of Raspberry PI's, running Arch-Linux, is shown in this video:  (It was built in support of this fellow's PhD research efforts, apparently.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_r3z1jYHAc

A cluster of Z80 "NorthStars" will be more simple, with little in the way of operating system overhead.  The current Z80 monitor is less than 8K, and the MS-Basic, (which as the "Solver" program demonstrates, has adequate 32-bit math capabilities), also just fits in 8K.  I got a demo from the board-developer, of a screen-and-keyboard version (more chips, some surface mounted at very high tolerance), which is able to run staggeringly fast graphics (the little graphics screen has it's own fast processor on the back!), and it is really amazing.  The V2 prototype also has a 16mb on-board SD card, for local storage, and audio + keyboard, so it can function as a complete stand-alone computer.  But really, the magic happens when you are just above the bare metal.  In that regime, even a slow, small, machine can do interesting things.  :)

[Sept. 30, 2019] - Bottomless Bowl of Poop? - So, if you study datasets from the domain of "Psychology", things are more interesting in that discipline than they used to be.  Now, instead of just making sh/t up, the psy-ops folks actually do real science and discover stuff that seems to maybe be true.  This has led to interesting observations and the creation of new fields of study - such as "Neuralogical Ethics" - an interesting hybrid study that encompasses Law and neural-biology - the obvious key issues being those of choice, intent, behaviour and the rightness or wrongness of resulting human action.  Or course, none of this is new.  Go screen a print of "The IPCRESS File" - released in 1965, if you doubt this assertion...

https://www.google.com/search?num=50&complete=0&source=hp&ei=Z4eSXdnSA4vt_QaCraHwDg&q=the+ipcress+file&oq=the+ipcress+&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0l10.316.1837..4857...0.0..0.771.4121.5-2j4......0....1..gws-wiz.18Ach8km62M

Modern research areas build on what was already known.  Humans are very easy to mislead, and mis-direct.  And we are terrible at probability estimates - never mind the actual math.  We are really good at automatic vector calculus (based on your knowledge of your own car's acceleration ability, you can make a very good estimate of whether you can pass the moving vehicle in front of you, within the space available.)  But we will fixate on a previous data-point that has been suggested to us, and will mis-estimate probabilities of outcomes we should be able to predict.  And we do it consistantly.   Those who understand thsi weakness, can exploit it very effectively.

Psy-ops research showed that people would eat more soup, if the bowl automatically refilled.  This seems curious, and yet is not surprising.  From the genius of the Stanford Persuasion Lab, the "never-ending continuous feed" of junk-news items was born.  You just delete the timestamp data, and re-cycle junk stories (by junk stories, I mean those that will not make you any money or provide you any benefit whatsoever), and people will scroll thru the dreck for much longer, than they normally would.

Websites use this to hold you on their site, so they can serve you more adverts, and generate more revenue.   You can go to Yahoo news pages, an experience this delightful (not) technology in action.  It is the "Bottomless Bowl of Poop".

In Ontario, small stores and fuel stations are not allowed to even show the labels of cigarette packages now.  And since cigarette advertising is illegal, the makers of cigarettes cannot even communicate their brand to the public.

But politicians can retail every sort of lie and deception during election campaigns, and promote astonishing, junk-science nonsense as part of a comical great fraud to create new taxes and then automatically dial-up the "necessary" tax rate.  It is laughable - but it is part of the "scam-culture" that we have implicitly created in our (sadly misguided, I believe) attempts to achieve "social justice" - (a truly fake and fraudulent concept - but hey, why not?  What would you rather, "Social Injustice?")

But when our citizens who reside within our social collectives of civil society are fed on a diet of fantasy, fraud and fabricated "news", there will probably be some negative outcomes.  Folks will *always* feel dis-satisfied, and that they are lesser-beings than the shiny perfect people they see in the media, telling them ***really important information!!!!***, with all the neural-linguistic trickery that research people can devise.

I find I keep turning off more and more stuff.  And moving further away, each day, from information sources I used to rely on.  And this is because the information provides very little benefit.  Or, it provides *negative* benefit, as it may knock me off a wise and profitable path, that I wish to remain upon.   

Price movements are now like this, and the tragic-flaw in stat-arb, is that you can make profitable trades day in and day out - and yet still get just whacked, if you miss a run. You get pushed down to the lower curve, where the poor-folk have to live.  If you want to live on one of the higher curves (where you can have both "guns" and "butter"  - ie, you want the city house, the country house, some nice cars,  and also be able to *eat*!), then you need to get away from the bad, tricky data-flows that can "mess up yur thinking".    I sometimes find I can make very basic mistakes - and that these low-level errors can be deadly. 

It's like a machine having  tiny errors deep in the micro-code.  (Intel had a chip that had thise sort of deep, floating-point error in it.  At first, they tried to say "Almost no-one will ever notice..."  But then, sanity prevailed, and they recalled all the chips and replaced the defective ones.  And Intel survived and prospered.)

But with humans, we have this low-level stuff, that can consistantly mess up our thinking and hence resultant plans.   We have to "stand on guard" against these internal flaws, and always be willing to rethink a plan or an idea.   But we also must be bold, and take action quickly, when it looks right.  So these two factors - which contradict each other - drive us relentlessly forward, sometimes in error, and sometimes with runaway success.

Just beware those "bottomless bowls of poop" - unless you need to fertilize the fields...   :D

[Sept. 27, 2019] - Nucking Futz America? - I suppose I can only fall back on the wisdom of Hunter S. Thompson, who eloquently pointed out: "When the going gets really weird, the Weird turn Pro."  This can only explain the crazy sh/t that is coming out of Weirdington-on-the-Delaware now.  I'm watching the day unfold, as I play with some alternate energy designs, review plans for a lake-house made from tree-logs  (fusion reactors in tree-log houses... with 16-bit computers doing the heavy lifting... the 21 century?  Who knows...)  - when all of a sudden, we get a visit by BOB (the old Bolt Outta the Blue), and the US stock market goes weird - and does a  full-on cliff-dive.   Huh?  I look thru my low-qual. datafeeds (all junk-stories/ fake-news tripe), and there is nothing, of course.  (Hint:: The tape *always* has it first.  The news is manufactured typically, to explain the tape action.  Know this.)

But not this time.  Tonite, the news comes out:  USA is "considering" banning Chinese stocks from NYSE, and blocking portfolio investment in China.  WTF?  If this is real, it could only come from a few places.  I am thinking Israel, maybe?   Sad truth is: The "kikes" hate the "gooks".  This is really a sad truth.  Israel and China detest each other with a real passion, and the heebies who seem to dominate the Washington Wonk-Tanks, might have whispered this idiotic idea in to Trumper-ears, to further the quiet "war-with-China" sh/t that certain types seem determine to fabricate.  

Trumpsters would like this, as it would seem to offer more "negotiation" options.  Except this is not "negotiation".  This is just toxic-stupid retrograte dumb-assed horsesh/t, lets be *real clear* here.    This truly is the stupidest thing I have heard or seen in years, and would go a long way to undoing a century of fine and sensible economic policy that has enriched (listen, folks - ** ENRICHED! **) - all the nations on this planet.

But if you want to really f*ck someone or some organization up really good, first thing to do is to go after their money and their ability to have and acquire, wealth.   And it is pretty clear, that there are forces at work that want to "f*ck up America".  And these forces are inside America, it appears.

Let's be more clear:  The China-America trade has Made America Rich.   If America wants to slowly commit economic suicide, by assaulting the wise excellence of the global NYSE marketplace, this sort of policy action would be a *VERY* good place to start.   And having a bunch of gov-toads from Weirdington go and truck-load dump a bunch of ugly, sh/t-stupid "We Gonna BAN ALL YOU LITTLE SLANT-EYES!!!" rules on the NYSE, would be just about the most idiot-stupid thing a wonker from Weirdington could suggest  - at least this week.

The other thing that is starting to become clear, is that this whole "Let's Sh/t on China" nonsense, coming from the Weirdington wonkers - Left and Right - is that it's starting to look like plain, old-fashioned American racisim.   American Gingers of all colours hate the prosperity of wealthy Asians.  For many Americans, the low-level of their political dialogue happily confuses *all* Asians, and manages to equate Chinese (who were US allies in WW2), with Japanese (who were seen as the "Yellow Monsters" who attacked Peril Harbour).   The North Koreans, and the folks from Vietnam, are also remembered as enemies - despite the fact the South Vietnamese and the South Koreans were also deeply committed friends and allies of America.    Oh my.

The real problem today is not so much this idiotic and self-harming stupid policy idea.  Would the folks in New York really want to attack so effectively, their own prosperity?   I rather doubt it.  Like the folks in London, in the UK.  "Don't we all rather *benefit* from having London as the economic capital of a Free Europe?" seems to be the sober second-thought that a lot of people in the UK are having right  now.  Would the USA really be so stupid as to blow-up all its China business, and reduce New York to being a degraded & restricted regional player in the planetary economy?

(If  USA really did this, it could a crazy-big win for Canada.  Once we get rid of that silly Trudeau, and free Ms. Ming from the threat of being sent to an American Gulag, (and get our two Michaels released from Chinese sh/t-hole prisons), Canadian capital markets might get showered with US-dollar investments from China.  But it would be unfortunate to profit at the expense of American stupidty.  I can't see this actually happening, in truth. ) 

What is actually more the problem, is that by letting his Israeli and Saudi handlers float this stupid "trial balloon", Trump has just put a whole bunch of new nails in his own coffin, and shot off the last few toes he had left on his feet.

Now, even steel-bottomed, die-hard Republicans will have to re-consider the wisdom of having a Trump-style President.   The guy is just doing more damage than he is offering benefit.  America will not be "made great" by further degrading it's economic freedoms, or by restricting it's investment options, or by promoting stupid "Asians are all yellow monkeys!" racist foolishness.

By promoting a "Lets-Ban-China-From-Our-Markets" Policy - even as some sort of idiotic "negotiating strategy" trickery - Trump might just be handing the Democrats a victory next year.  This is such an ugly and retrograde idea, that even hard-core "conservatives" - who demand a free and prosperous healthy world without the poisons of heavy-taxation and toxic-additives of abusive government regulation - will question the wisdom of having Mr. Trump as President.

[Sept. 26, 2019] - Mutiny During Bounty.   My, it is getting weirder and weirder.  The Democrats in the USA are maybe making a massive error in starting formal impeachment procedings against President Trump.  Trump is not a fool.   And he is not a criminal.  So the Democrats run the real political risk of looking like traitors and self-serving fools - regardless of  outcome.

Sometimes, your Captain can go quite mad, and order illegal and insane things to be done.  And the crew has a legal and moral responsibility to take action, and relieve the Captain of the burden of command.  But other times, you simply have a group of angry pirates who want to get their sweaty hands on the wheel and change course.  A mutiny is then just a criminal act of betrayal.

Given the group of folks that are on the Democrat list of alternatives, Trump, despite all his faults, actually looks pretty good, compared to the other clowns.   The Demos cannot wait 13 months, and let the people decide?   Looks pretty fish-stinky to me.  Looks like the market might have figured this out also.   One of the biggest problems the USA has, is people wanting to "GO THERE and LIVE."  If the USA was really broken, then folks would be *leaving*, not fighting and risking all, just to get in!

The Demos really look quite stupid, trying to attack the nation's leader, when things in the nation are ticking along rather well.    This "impeachment" nonsense will probably help Trump over the next 12 months.   He can paint the Democrats as the typical whiners and complainers that plague every enterprise.    He can show them as disrespectful of the vox populi and disloyal to the constitutional governance process of the nation.  He can build a fine case that they are taxation extremists, who are unfit to hold absolute power, and that he is needed to ensure the USA tracks a sensible and moderate course.   The Democrats would have been *much* smarter to just wait.  This "Impeachment" thing is an act of desperation, I suspect.   And it looks like the market understands this now.

Enjoying experimenting witth the little Z80 "NorthStar" SBC.  The Z80MON tiny monitor needs a 
"jump and execute" instruction.   I can exit the Basic interpreter to Z80MON, but cannot jump back to the Basic image directly.  One must re-load the interpreter into memory.    But it works.

Converted an old Fortran progam that does matirx-multiply to run as MS-Basic, and wrote some simple procedures to pass numeric data to the Z80.   My developer friend is also working on a new Z80 SBC prototype that has a 16 mb SD card, and video and audio drivers.  The Z80 does all it's floating point calculations with software.  But it does them.  Here is an interesting note, titled "The Z80 Number Cruncher";

http://www.andreadrian.de/oldcpu/Z80_number_cruncher.html

and if you are looking at the top screen example where I do matrix multiplication, and you don't know much about that, here is a nice one-page explanation of how it works and why it is useful (hint, you can solve systems of linear equations, and do regressions and so on).

http://www.personal.psu.edu/jhm/f90/lectures/matrix-w.html

I recalling being mystified by matrix algebra when I first encountered it.  And so I was cursed with finding it everywhere in my professional work, and having to learn it, program it, enhance and modify systems that used  it, use LINPACK, work with LP (Linear Programming) models, and so on..  So, a word of advice:  When you encounter complicated confusing stuff in school, just keep beavering away at it until the penny drops and you undersrtand it.  Best way to confirm you understand something, is to write a program to do it.  If you don't grasp it when you start, you most certainly will by the time you finish the project!   :)

[Sept. 25, 2019] - Dr. Ludwig, we are with you.  Ok, please:  I am in London, in Hyde Park, and I have climbed up on my soapbox: Pls bear with me.   I am a fairly serious history researcher.  I research history, because it is like having a complete cheat-sheet on an exam (fd: I never cheated.  I just reviewed my notes in B-lot, and then went in and wrote the exam.  (B-lot is now the "Faculty of Computer Science", or some damn thing)). 

Anyway, Youtube had these most amazing, very excellent videos that some guy by the handle of "Dr. Ludwig" had posted.  These videos were historical documents - very well researched, notes, etc.  They were songs, from the 1930's and 1940's Germany.  There were very few flyflots, no "hate speech" of any kind, and nothing even about the National Socialists, and their astonishing rise to power.   I studied this stuff in high-school and University.  My interest is actually related to economics.  And science and the history of science, with special emphasis on physics, as it has had such a profound social influence,since the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

The electricity that is powering this computer, as I key this, is coming from the big suite of 4 reactors on the shore of Lake Huron, at Bruce Beach (old reactors were next door, at Douglas Point).

Anyway, these are topics near and dear to me.  Science and it's progress are important, and there are specific social and political algorithms that we can use, to make science work better (at topic for later).  

But what spun me into a white-hot fury, was that nasty  types who run Youtube, censored and removed *ALL* of the "Dr. Ludwig" videos.   These were excellent, and profoundly interesting example of the powerful, well-crafted music of the 1930's and 1940's.   One of my favourites was "The Pilot's Song" (since I have a Pilot's License, like a lot of Computer Geeks do), and I cannot believe there was any reason to remove this video.  It was a song from the 1930's, and was *very* popular with the Luftwaffe boys who flew agains the Brits in WW2.  My father flew a bomber for the RCAF.   My mother had a German+Irish background.  (This is Canada, a very mixed up nation of *many* cultures and peoples.  But we make it work, because we are not stupid).

But the abusers at Youtube blew *all* the "Dr. Ludwig" videos away, despite his careful attempts not to in any way appear to be promoting "Nazi" nonsense or anything like that.

This is an act of vandalism, and it demonstrates two things:  1)  Google should be forced to divest itself of Youtube.   The problem is that Google controls "search" as well as "content".  This gives them way too much market and political power, and it invites abuse of exactly the sort I have observed.   2) Free Speech laws are necessary and important, as otherwise, small groups of SJW's (self-appointed "social justice warriors"),  who are *not * acting in the public interest, can act to assault, damage and degrade the very essence and substance of our historical record.

And this abuse of Truth must stop.

This is critical.  There are few things more important, than accurate, clear, honest information.  It is the first and foremost thing that must be present and protected, before any useful, worthwhile analysis, research, understanding and action can be attempted or undertaken.   It is basic, and it requires clear, explicit legal protection.

And we have this.  Damn Yes!  We have this here in Canada and in the USA.  In other nations, where this standard is not upheld, they falter, fail and degrade themselves, and are reduced to being unimportant followers who contribute little or nothing to the advancement of the human species.  And this is the truth.

We *must* protect our past, and our ability to honestly observe and review it, lest we collapse into not being able to ever learn from it.

So, Google and Youtube:  Listen up.  We are coming for you.  We will use only legal methods, but you are wrong.  The "Dr. Ludwig" videos were *not* offensive, they were *not* hate speech, and I liked them a lot.  The fact that they were "all* banned, makes me angry, and it also makes it absolutely clear, that Google needs to be broken up, as an abusive monopolist.   Having Google own Youtube, is like having "all* newspapers and all TV stations owned by one company, which acts only to promote it's self-interest.   Google (or Alphabet) controls both *search* and *content*, and this is a real problem.  And the offensive removal of *all*  the "Dr. Ludwig" videos from Youtube provides an explicit example of the problem.

The Internet has become insane.  We can watch videos of pretty blonde European woman having their heads cut off by Muslim terrorists in Morrocco, - but we cannot watch videos on Youtube which offer music that  much of the population of Europe was listening to in the 1930's?   This is insane and absurd, and this idiocy and madness needs to be addressed.

I agree that horrific violent videos should be removed from the Internet.  I would also not have a problem if we removed all the Muslim terrorists everywhere, by whatever means necessary.  Heck, if you want to remove *all* the MIddle East completely, by fusion devices, I would not lift a finger to protest.   But if you try to censor and/or re-write or degrade this historical record, then that is a real problem.  We must have honest and accurate information of actual events and of our own history, or we are nothing.

So, there.  Think about it.  This is important.   This quiet struggle to preserve and protect Truth never actually ends.   There should be multiple "Video" services and multiple "search" service providers on the internet.  Maybe we need to use the same legal framework, to protect our abiliity to access the truth, as we used to break up the Standard Oil Trust, and ensure that there was not just one big Oil Company in the USA.  (The USA Anti-Trust Legislation is actually a not bad idea...)

Please, at least think about this.  I give full permission to copy and re-distribute this note, for the purposes of making the case for free-speech protection, and to fight inappropriate censorship of our historical record.  

Ok, I'm down off the soapbox.  Think about this please.  Vote for Truth, and support it when you can, and when you see it being thrown under the bus, or abused and assaulted by liars and fraudsters..

[Sept. 22, 2019] - "Give us the Job, and We'll Finish the Tools!" - Sometimes, I just love English humor.   From Shakespear, to Monty Python, the folks from the United Kingdom have always understood the comedy of reality - and the reality of comedy.  

But how about *negative* interest rates?   Is that really not the funniest thing?  "Hello and Good Day.  I would like to invest my money.  What is the rate I can earn if I buy those government bonds?"  "Sir, they offer a yield of  *negative* 1/2 a percent!"   And the really funny part, is that the response is not: "What !?!  Are you INSANE !?".    No, the response is: "Ok, I'll take 18 trillion dollars worth, please."       And if Germany and Japan are doing this - can the USA be far behind? 

HIstorically, the markets of the major commercial economies track each other pretty closely.  But, if the USA dials its rates down to this level, what will happen to the stock market?   We will have to be looking at a much bigger value of the DJIA.   When the Dow Average moved from 1000 to 2000, that was a pretty big deal.  But the move to 50,000 is going to look a bit different, I suspect.   I am not forecasting a "Dow 50,000" next year, but compound growth is compound growth.  It gets big if it keeps happening, and with negative interest rates, it will keep happening.

The Dow-Jones Industrial Average went from 50 in the early 1930's, to 1000 in the 1960's.  So, in a world of *negative* yields, a simple doubling - ie. 50 to 100, or 500 to 1000 or 1000 to 2000 - this is really not that big a move.  But it means, 25,000 (or 27,000) to 50,000 (or 54,000).    It's even sillier in Canada.  We have these solid, cash-generating financial operations, that are pretty well run, whose assets (their loan portfolio's) are reasonably solid, and which have these anti-fragile characteristics, and are not likely to blow-up or get hammered by dishonest scammers - and they actually deliver real "yield" - yes, it is a risky return.  You are part-owner of a working business, not a passive loaner-of-excess-funds.   Stocks can trade down sharply in times of fear and loathing - just like businesses can have business problems.

Prices for a lot of things are higher in Canada.  But not for stocks.  The TSX in Canada has been stuck in low-gear for many years.  Still below 17,000.  The TSX of 34,000 does not sound quite so wild as DJIA of 54,000.   But it is a reasonable future picture - especially if interest rates in the USA fall.   For if they fall there, they will fall here.  And falling yields means rising bond prices.  And that means rising stock prices.    It will take quite a trade-war, to change this picture.

[Sept. 20, 2019] - Mocktober. - It's really getting quite funny.  There is this old English expression: "Every Dog has His Day."  Well, Woof Woof, I guess.  Typically, October is the month for ugly crash scenarios playing out in the stock market.   But, being the Edward De-Bono reading fellow that I am - always seeking the creative outsider's  edge - I wondered, someday, in my long and twisted life, if I would encounter an October that was a just crazy, runaway boom-whacker of a market.   See, October is "harvest time", and our bio-technic DNA traces still keep us hard-wired to the agricultural cycle (why is this?  I think the answer could be the simple fact that all the folks who did not hard-couple to the agro-cycle, simply died without making offspring.)  The reason the agro-cycle still holds us so tight, is because it was linked so closely to survival.  In northern Europe, if you did not prepare wisely for the winter "lean times", you just plain died. You were a non-thing, and so were your offspring.

So, evolution - even very recent evolutionary stress - has plugged us into the 12-month cycle of sow, nurture and harvest.   And it just seems harvest time in the markets, is sell-and-take-the-cash time.  Now this is, of course, a bit silly.  Financial assets are not apple trees and alfalfa fields.  (Let's be honest, I have both here..)  There is no reason that economic gains should be "harvested" in October. 

My question was - what if one day, in the far future (ie. where I am living right - about - now), the world finally figured this out.   Then perhaps, the 'January effect" might get dialed back to October, and we could see a wild, runaway uplift, in the time when markets often begin to go south for the winter?    Maybe we could get a false-October - a "Mocktober", which was actually a good -  not bad -  month for stocks.

Now, if there ever was a time for this to happen, it might just be now.  All the stars seemed to be lined up.  Fed Reserve in USA (Oooh-Sa!) is looking like it is back to serious easing.  And money-conditions are attractive.  Wages and incomes are rising, and yet, there is this real fear of recession, and fear was also induced by that Saudi drone-attack thing.  But it looks like it was not a big deal, actually.  Maybe even a complete fake.

Mocktober.  A "twisted" October, which actually is a *good* month for the markets.   Sort of like when Larry Livingstone was in Atlantic City, and he checked and saw that UP (Union Pacific) stock was way, way UP, and he thought, in his dark-mind - "What if it is the opposite, And it is supposed to actually be "DOWN" in truth..."   It is not magic or witchcraft.  It is just the dark-mind, trying to craft a binary-toggled scenario of the opposite.  And this is actually how reality sometimes works.  We see, and are consumed by, the flip-side picture-of-the-world.

This is not that nutty.  This might actually be the algorithm that drives us forward for a while.  Mocktober gives way to a November Surprise (a massive, out-of-control market run), and another re-calibration is required,  

Interesting action today.  What my models said should happen.  Surprising, really...   :/

Northstar DC-Z80, a low-overhead, simple, solderable, single-board computer. - Playing with the new Z80 single-board computer prototype.  This is kind of like Jay Leno, driving those cars from the 1920's and 1930's.  Sure, modern tech is faster and actually even cheaper.  But the Z80 - because it is solid and simple - has a curious attraction.  It's fun to know *exactly* what is happening, and why.  A Z80 is almost the "Art Deco" device of the retro-computing phenomenon.

[Sept. 19, 2019] - Common Cents. - Samuel Johnson said that one should not write unless one is paid for doing so.   There is a problem with that, as writing forces thinking, and thinking - if done before action - can make for a good plan.  And a good plan can yield good results.  But the writing and the thinking must be done first, lest we fall deep into neural-traps that our soggy brains, fluctuating emotions, and fractured perceptions set for us.   Few people realize how difficult it is, to bring prosperity into being.

Scarcity and want are the natural characteristics in the world.  Along with cruelty and preditory actions where the stronger crush, kill and consume, the weaker.   That is nature.  Nature is not a pretty day, with sunshine and pleasure and tasty food.  Nature is torn flesh, blood flowing, storms raging and creatures dying in horrible ways as they are eaten by other creatures, who themselves are often starving and hungry.   If folks in the tropics want to burn down the jungles, and replace them with ordered, well-tended farms, then arrogant Europeans should study their own history better, and inspect their own landscapes (and their own fat, full bellies) more carefully. 

We stand - not on Zanzibar - but at an interesting time in human history where an awful lot of standard scarcity has been addressed and eliminated.   Few really starve.  Most have access to modern technology, and no longer need to live in mud-floored houses, and watch their children die of infections or get "river blindness".  Our "taming" of nature, and our construction of modern civilization - even if projected by force of empire - stands as the greatest planetary achievement of our species.

There is a curious madness afoot that suggests that nature is a fine and benign force,  that gods exist and can be "prayed" to effectively, and that "globalization" and free-trade is somehow a bad thing.   People must understand these are lies.  Folks who know, have a responsibility to tell the other folks who are being misled.  Those who are doing the misleading, are gaining power and wealth by promoting these sorts of silly, tragic lies, and wise, honest people have a responsibility to challenge those "authorities" who promote lies, that would lead the human species in a retrograde direction, and reverse our economic, social and scientific gains.

And the USA, for better or worse, remains the crucible where honesty is mixed with action, and fine, strong intelligent people - who know the difference between right and wrong, lies and truth, superstition and science  -  can be created.   (I actually saw a performance of  "The Crucible", that play by Arthur Miller, about the Salem "Witch Trials" of 1693.  It was performed at a large lecture hall at my University when I was a student.   I had a chance to watch the play, and it was just scary-good.  The actors were fantastically skilled, and I was quite transported in time, and felt as if I really was in the court-room, watching the action.  The suspension of dis-belief was astounding, and I still recall the scenes, with that "Films-about-Ghosts" perception that memory offers us.)

American folks should hold-hard to the characteristics that made them what they are.  And that means honest free-trade, free-markets, fair-dealing, free-speech, democratic government, and a focus on aggressively exploiting technology to make the human-world better for all of us.   That's the economic, political and social model that works, and yields freedom and prosperity for the most - not for everyone - but for most.  The lazy, cruel, and the dishonest people will always complain, wherever they are.    So we need to be careful that systems and procedures are not created to reward the bad behaviour of those who are cruel, or the deceptions of dishonest people, or the sloth of the lazy.

So of course, I can't quite understand what the heck is going wrong in California lately.  Or in Washington.  Watching America get this big "hate" on for China and Iran is disturbing.  Seeing the California government attack those folks who are trying to make a living in the "gig economy" is disturbing, and watching how American politicals are attacking American citizens who have become wealthy and successful, is really disturbing.  Perhaps the problem lies in the American schools?   Are the US teachers trying to subvert the traditions of American excellence?  From what I read, it certainly seems to be something like that.

Of course, in Canada, it is much worse.  Here, our government at the Federal level seems interested mostly in creating new taxes, promoting homosexuality and drug-taking, and extending welfare schemes for the lazy and dishonest.  It is almost comical how the current group of "liberalists" who are running the government never speak about prosperity or fairness or tax-reduction or deficit-reduction.  And of course, the degraded value of our currency (at roughly 75 cents US for 1 Canadian dollar), is partly explained by this curiously unwise behaviour of our national government.

Our governments should focus more on economic issues, and leave the "social justice" issues to the charities and those individuals who want to 'help the poor".  Folks should be free to raise money and create organs to "help the poor" and advance "social" causes - but taxes raised from the self-financing sector, should not be squandered on expanded welfare schemes that encourage the destructive behaviour that damages society and degrades our civil structures.  

Is this not just obvious common sense?  We must encourage "common-wealth", and not promote unwise policy choices that motivate uneconomic, school-quiting, drug-smoking, butt-f**king idiotic dead-end behaviour.   And maybe we need to question (and replace) a government that scams us all by creating a new tax on heat (really!), in this very cold country.  

New Z-80 SBC. - Scored a Z-80 prototype board, from a good friend.   His design and build, but I had to order the chips from Mouser.  He has gone on to build V-9, which has a 16mb SD-card, & bank-switchable memory (should be able to eventually run CP/M).  This earlier version is more simple, but does now have a small executor program, which can allow a binary program to be loaded and run.  Just got the EPROM flashed with the executor (basically a very tiny O/S).  A bit of a learning curve but very magical little device.  (True Confessions:  I owned a Horizon "NorthStar" Z-80 box, *before* I bought my first IBM P/C.  Good to see the Z-80 is still being made, and that Zilog lives.) [ Picture at right: Old tech, New Device...]

[Sept. 18, 2019] - Fed-Boy's Repo Depot; - Just keeps getting more silly.  Pres. Tremporary?  Pres. Trompem?  Pres. Twitterump?  Sept. 17th kept me busy sticking chips into a board, and running back to the Government with new pictures, as mine were too old.  (Rules changed from "taken in last 12 months" to "taken in last 6 months", as we all know that Canadians can grow a new face in 8 or 9 months, right?  (At least in Ottawa, they can...)

So, I actually missed the sh/t-storm re. the "Repo-Rate Drama"...   The Reuters article is hokum and comedy - compared to what BoomBerg said.   Reuters says the EFF (Effective Fed Funds) rate went to 2.3% (outside the Fed limit-range of 2.00 to 2.25%).  If you read the Reuters story, it really is projected as non-news.  Here is url:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed/feds-job-gets-more-complex-as-fed-funds-rate-moves-out-of-bounds-idUSKBN1W30FD

Now, if you read the Bloomberg article (which seems to have been removed from the "crap feeds for cheap bastards" (the data-sources I use), they indicate that the overnite repo rate went to from 2% range to a level of 8% to 10% for a while.  That is a *very* different story.   And that means curiously tight money.  And tight money is not like tight jeans (well, maybe a bit...).  

The "Repo" rate is just the overnight rate for money - basically one of the shortest of short term interest rates - and the banks and brokers and hedge-funds don't even like to talk about it.  You can borrow a few million overnight, and typically pay SFA (sweet f-all) for it.  And of course, this market is only for the rich and (literally) well-connected BigCo corporate guys.  If little Joe-Shmoe (like me) wants to borrow $30,000 overnight to cover a tax bill payment or a payroll, you can bet he will pay "Prime+2" or "Prime+3" or some goofus-doofus rate that will work out to at least 6 or 7%, from his bank.    But the BigCo's can (almost always) scoop cash (big $ amounts), at around 2%, typically.

Except not yesterday, Sept. 17th, 2019.   Yesterday, in great big super-rich USA, the wheels kinda fell off - or a least got loose and wobbly.  There was no money at the cheap-laughs rate.   Pros are blaming "big tax payments" that had to be made to the US tax-collectors.   Bloomberg reports various specialists said "Oh, it's really just a "plumbing problem"  (ie.the liquidity was not flowing properly - poop clogging the pipes?), and the Federal Reserve's attempt to inject $75-billion into the repo market was reported to have had "computer problems", and only $54 billion was successfully squirted in, via purchases of short-term paper.

This AM, there was another "injection".  So, groovy.  As the US dials up another sword-rattling  contest with Iran, based on the information their Saudi "partners" provide,  the US Federal Reserve is standing ready to firehose cash at and into, the US markets.  (And there is no inflation, we are told).  So, there is no alternative here, but to remain fully invested, since the new "Powell Puts" are protecting us all.  

The only way that average folks can get any of that lovely "firehose of funds" that the Federal Reserve is washing down the Streets of New York with, is to be long stocks.   It is the weirdest of weird times, as historically (read pages 112 to 114 in your 1994 copy of "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator"), when shortages of short-term money appear - and the overnight money rate jumps up to reflect this fact - this suggests a weakness in the stock market.

But not now, since the "cash" is just glowing digits on computer screens, and the Federal Reserve can really instantiate any amount they want to.  And with President Twitter seeking his "re-election", then that big Fed fire-hose of money is not likely to run dry.   Why should it?  What possible set of events could dry up that "digital river" of US dollars?

I have never made more money and felt more uneasy at the same time.  See, it is the "wisdom deficit" that I fear the most.  I see a future that looks like "Day of the Triffids", but a party-hearty kind of perfect storm of prosperity that looks like a California gold-rush.   We have done best in our portfolios, by doing the least.  Curious times.    :)

[Sept. 16, 2019] - False Flag IPO. - I am calling *bullshit* on the Saudi's.  Ever play "Bullshit Poker"?  Amusing game - you play the serial numbers of bank-notes, as if they were poker hands. Play continues, until someone makes a claim that is so outrageous, the other player calls "Bullshit!".

And this is my view of the Saudi "Drone Attack".   USA-Boss, (and that curious fellow Pompeo) want to blame Iran, of course.  This, despite the fact the Saudi's are basically at war with Yemen.  Are the Americans pols all in some other dimension or something?

But what no one is even talking about - the quiet likelyhood that the Saudi's staged the attack on themselves, as a "false flag" exercise.    Look at the nice uplift in oil prices.  Look at the knee-jerk TrumpTweet.   Bin Salman has already shown he is willing to murder journalists - even if the murder is recorded and broadcast to the world.  Would such a creature - clever & ruthless & evil - be capable of planning and executing this "event"?   Of course.

Look at the profoundly attractive results for the Saudi's here.   The Aramco IPO looks different now, right?   If you are IPOing a big oil operation - what market do you want - an oil market where supplies are glutted, and price of oil is weak and under constant pressure?  Or, would you like a market where oil prices are 10% higher, supply concerns are present  (> 5 million bbl/d may be taken out of world supply for "a while"), and everyone is talking about oil scarcity again?  

Oil fields and pumping stations and pipelines can be repaired very quickly.  But oil market psychology - the key factor in the determination of global oil prices now - has been nicely altered, from concerns about a glut of oil - to concerns about a scarcity of oil.  This is a *very* positive outcome for Saudi Arabia's "royal family"  (Let's assume they are a bunch of murdering gangsters, for the moment.  Like pretty much all parties are in the Middle East, really.)   This event bodes nicely for the Aramco IPO plans.   The success of that floatation hinges on a firm and rising price for oil.  And now, that has been engineered.

Throw into this mix, the Yanks now attacking Iran, and the Saudi boys get a really fine outcome, and at very little cost to themselves.  Remember, HItler and Stalin used this "false flag attack" trick to fake up a war with Poland, and carve it up like a fat turkey between them.

Here is a key-fact.  The valuable Saudi oil facilities are thought to be protected by air-defence facilities.   And their air-defence technology was turned off, it seems, and was not even able to deal with some low-grade drones flying at Cessna-172 speed.   Does this seem credible?

Let's review some of the "off the shelf" missle-defence technology.  (What do I know?  Nothing. But there is a Raytheon plant in the local community here that has been making missle-defence technology since I was in high-school. )

Here is a short summary of the fine technology that is available for shooting down incoming attack aircraft - including slow-moving armed "drones":

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qUFfqAtDb5U

The Saudi boys can't afford *any* of this stuff, to protect their pumping stations?  Or they had it all turned off, at just the right time?  I call "Bullshit" on the this whole event.

[Sept. 15, 2019] - Reap What you Sow. - Curious how Saudi Arabia was not attacked like this before.   Apparently, the attack involved a small swarm of at least 10 explosive-laden drones.   I suspect that this oil-facility attack will prove to be more symbolic than significant.  Blown-up stuff can be fixed quickly.  Attacks against the power-grid, and careful contamination of food and medical supplies would be more effective, as would assassination of members of the Saudi "royal family", at damaging the regime.  

But this attack is not in any way "terrorism".  It is much more like the RAF bombing Berlin in WW2 - an action that was a reprisal for the German bombing of London, which in fact was an accident.  Goring had promised Berlin was safe from bombing, and the RAF proved it was not.  That action marked an escalation of the conflict, but this one may well not.  Reprisal & revenge wars are unwise.  No one wins.   And the Saudi regime is corrupt - rotten at it's core.  By ramping up their war with Yemen, the Saudi regime has everything to lose, and very little to gain.  This attack may provoke negotiations that could end the conflict.

And if oil prices move up, the recent and ongoing correlation between oil-prices and stock prices in the US, means that this bombing might actually move the US stock market *up*, which is almost comical.  Wicked world.

[Sept. 14, 2019] - The Great Wall of Government. - Gotta love this story from Reuters, showing the EU Finance Ministers and Government "Economic" managers.  Such big news, eh?  The fiscal spending rules in Europe are now a multi-hundred page document that is pretty much a joke, in terms of restraining out-of-control government growth.   The Finance Minister's want easier, clearer, more simple rules.  And that is a fine idea.  But it won't happen.   The entire Euro project is likely to fail, as the currency continues to degrade in value over time. They wanted D-Marks for everyone, but they are getting Italian Lira, actually.

It is one of those process-models that really can't track any other path, sadly, as State spending slowly (or not so slowly) tracks upwards, without limit, as in truth, with a sufficiently complex rule-set, there really are no true limits. Rules will just be interpreted to achieve desired results.  And that *always* means more taxes, bigger spending, and more debt.  

The photo is great.  "Ahkuto" is the first word that comes to mind looking at the picture, from my Japanese friend.   The smile of true "villians", in the old English sense of the word.   The image is really a bunch of tax-collectors, isn't it?   These kind of folks were my clients for many years.    Like Hamlet looking at his old teacher's skull: "I knew these kinds, Horatio..."  

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-fiscal-rules/eu-finance-ministers-back-push-for-simpler-fiscal-rules-idUSKBN1VZ09A

Each one of these folks is drawing all their wealth from the public fisc, and typically stands at the top of a mountain of government "workers" who also draw all their income from the efforts of the public who work in the for-profit (or "self-financing") sector.   The Europeans have little concept of how truly fragile their high-tax, demand-managed economies really are.   I am no fan of Google or Apple, but of course Euro-types seek to hammer profit-making US companies with fines and taxes, as it is the only strategy these people really have or truly understand.  They are takers.

Europe - and it's States - is a great and very thick wall of  "Government" that encircles the people of European nations. The entire action of these gov-folks is to design and facilitate methodologies that will allow efficient weatlh-extraction from the self-financing sector.

Look at the picture in the story.  Such a smiling group of smug villians, no?   Each of them - and their large and growing taxation and spending and debt-finance operations - is a direct, never-ending drain on the self-financing sector.   What is interesting, is the degree to which this draining project quietly expands each year.  

Of course these smug folks and the other Euro-types hate Trump and the USA disruptive-technology companies, as the USA is really the only nation that even makes an attempt to offer economic and personal freedom as a primary national goal.   The USA has lots of tax-collectors also, (and they look like these folks too - the big smiles of those who suck their income from the State), but at least, there are sometimes attempts in America to encourage and enhance commericial freedom.  At least there, there remains some recognition of the importance of having a large and *growing* self-financing commercial sector.   I am not sure this is ever a goal in Euro-land. 

The UK should disconnect itself from these taxation-nations as quickly and completely as it can, lest it be pulled further into the vortex of debt and fiscal mis-management that is the history (and most likely the future) of Europe.   But even that looks impossible now.  Just absolutely hilarious.

It is only the Germans who understand and attempt to encourage economic sanity, and their 10-year bonds are trading at minus 1/2% yields.   Think about that for a minute.   This is "La-La-La-La" (hands-over-the-ears) comical.   Old Germans: "Achtung!  Vee need strong currency, and fiscal prudence!"    Europeans kleptostates:  "I can't hear you!"     :D

[Sept. 13, 2019] - Happy Friday the 13th! - We are always lucky on Friday 13s.  If the USA tracks towards matching Europe and Japan with negative rates on 10yr gov-bonds, then  the equity markets there could double - it's pretty much that simple.   The instruments on all the trading platforms are being re-calibrated today.   And this is not unusual. Spent too much time last nite reading the legal/technical details from the CTA (Consolidated Tape Association) in the USA.  See, discovered to my astonishment that Europe does not even have a consolidated tape.  The USA has had a consolidated tape of last-sale, volume, and bid/offer with volume and mkt, since 1974.  Not many folks remember 1974.  The original ticker-machines ran at 134 baud - something like 900 chars. per minute, and even in the 1920's, the "tape" could get seriously behind market action.   The various stock and commodity markets in the USA, together maintain the "CTA" - the Consolidated Tape Association, a surprisingly sensible name. 

On the "ctaplan" URL, check out the .PDF files on the left-sidebar.  The key one to read, is the 131-page updated version (updated as of August 27, 2018) of the original 1974 document.  The year 1974 was an ugly year in the markets.  Nixon had resigned, the arab "oil-shock" was hammering the economy, and the DJIA was around 650 or something silly like that.  In many ways, it was a lot like 1933, where the DJIA traded from over 300 in 1929, to down in the low 40's.  Even the market-makers and exchanges knew they needed to make prices and trading action more transparent. 

Key fact was falling prices of the new "mini-computers".  You could have a computer for a couple of hundred-thousand USD, instead of several million (the typical IBM product price-point).  Brokerage firms and banks computerized aggressively, and the stock markets had to transmit honest, accurate transaction+price/volume data at reasonable speeds to remain in business.   On this page, left sidebar, third document down:   https://www.ctaplan.com/plans#110000139099

Open, honest, fair markets, where everyone knows the price and what the action is (ie. volume and such), is the *only* fair way to allocate scarce stuff.  Every other model is just theft by big guys, bandits and/or governments.     Perhaps the smart folks in the world have finally grasped this simple and obvious truth.  Even very poor people benefit from honest markets.  The market - if it is honest and fair - will let them get the best price for their small production.  And that is how small production can become not-so-small production, and even prosperity if luck and hard-work and brains are added to the mix.

We have discovered some really interesting things, based on some unique observations.  Will write up further later.  Enjoy the day. 

[Later]  It's a strange feeling watching the financials run.  Cdn financials should (still) be 20% above where they are trading now.  I hope those who supported the "Great White Short" are being properly educated.  The market provides many powerful learning opportunities.  Mostly, we and most folks, often learn the wrong things.

Monetary conditions - globally - remain quite loose.  GIven this, and the demographic factors that are restricting and damping-down inflationary pressures, the path of least resistance for equity prices really has to still be upwards, assuming the underlying enterprise is making profit - or has the potential in the future to make profit.  And if the USA adjusts it's government bond-market to track towards rates prevailing in Europe and Japan, this will goose equity prices further.  There is just no other rational picture of things.

Looking at the Democrat debates in the USA...  JHC, could any sane person actually vote for any of those people?  It reminds me of that really old post WW2 book: "Ship of Fools".   The Demo presidential wanna-be's are not stupid people.  But they are betting that the American voters are.   They played the "race-card" with Hussain Obama, and now they want to play the "Lets Kill the Rich!" card (with taxes, for now).  These Demos are gonna tee-up a Trump victory for next year.   And that might help Mr. Market move forward also.   What a curious time, really.

Of all those Demos, there is not one I would even want to meet or talk to.  It's not so much that Trump will win, as that he represents one of those old game-theory BATNA's.   A rational "Econ" would like the government to just "f*ck off".   All government actions for most individuals are just a series of costs.   Government never offers any benefit - it is just a necessary-evil, required so that people don't kill each other, and some sort of civil structure can be maintained. 

Elections are almost worthless, as all that happens is more leftists get power, do more "outreach" projects, and just further raise costs for everyone, everywhere.  (High-cost schools that teach junk-science and distorted, manufactured history are a good example, as are hospitals that offer the opportunity to acquire new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Pretty much all "government" is a failure, as there is no mechanism to educated it, or correct it's bad, harmful actions.)

So, these "elections" are really little more than entertainment and disinfo-distro.  This is a *really* cynical view - yet it offers insight.   You end up trying to choose the candidate who will harm you the least.  Critics say: "Trump's Administration is dysfunctional!"   And my "Inner-Trader" says, like the black Doctor in the Simpsons: "Ah, yes.  Fine.  That is just fine.  Very good."  as perhaps, Mr. Trump will not raise taxes to expand the State and create more harm.  He also shows a capacity for learning.  Eg., he fired that silly bugger Bolton, who was a dangerous, warmongering nut-job who should not be anywhere near any political or policy levers of any kind.  Bravo Mr. Trump. 

Has any other US leader, shown a similar willingness to stand-down from a "really bad idea" - ie. another stupid Middle-Eastern war?    Trump is at least able to learn and change.    That is *never* true for a socialist of any stripe.  They just want to bend the truth, and re-frame everyone around them - they *never* learn, and consider this strategy a revolutionary "strength".   This is part of what makes them so very dangerous, and so unfit to hold public office.

But the failure of the US Democrats to find a qualified leader means the world may become a safer and saner place.   Trump gets re-elected, does deals with Russia (which he really should,  The Russians are our brothers and sisters.   We must make them our business partners also.  This is just a plain fact, and will advance the cause of peace and everyone will profit.)  And this would be a positive outcome here on little planet Dirt!   :)

[Sept. 12, 2019] - New Hacks from GOTO & YC.  I managed to get FIrefox & Android working right again on my little bedside Samsung tablet, and since Google is now so heavily censored, I spent some quiet-time searching out new News Aggregator sites.   AI is great, and offers a small edge, but we can use our raw human intelligence, if we can source our little gray cells with accurate data.  Of course, this is getting more difficult to do, each day, do you not find?

Google and even Reuters are just awful now for news.  The whole MSM hates Trump and the Republicans so much, that the news is seriously slanted now.  I had to research details of the North Carolina "do-over" election (the good-guys won),  but  the Reuters and Google-linked stories were all about the Democrat loser, complete with pictures and his demographic data, etc, etc. blah blah.  JHC, on Reuters, all it had were fine pictures of the Democrat who lost.  Info on Dan Bishop, the winner, was not even present.   Hilarious.

The NC winner, Bishop, is a fine, normal guy who has advocated sensible politics and policies that are not stupid-insane. He was barely even mentioned.  Just hilarious, really.  Canada is crashing towards an election on Oct. 21, and it is critical that we remove the fraud-monkeys and their pretty-boy before they do more damage.  We should be Switzerland-of-NorthAM, but instead, the pretty-boy and his fraud folks are trying to make us become the Argentina-of-NorthAm.  We need to course-correct the dangerous and dishonest leftward drift, before it does real damage.

Of course, all the MSM-dreck is written by lefty mugwumpers, so it is useless.  I spent some serious time, scanning gunk to find hard-data, useful-truth info.  Rare and getting rarer, I fear.  But I found a link to ycombinator, and the "Hacker News" summary had a bunch of really useful material.  Wonderful.  Best site on the 'net for useful news, surprisingly. https://news.ycombinator.com/news?p=1   for page one.  Enter different values for p, to page.  The YC summary is dynamic, changes fast in realtime.

I found this very useful data:

Proton Size Measured Correctly: including a link some dudes in Toronto at York, who just measured the size of the "electronic" hydrogen proton properly (and thus explained what was thought to be a muon-proton size measure, which was thought to be bigger - but it turns out the original "electronic" proton (where the electron is not stuck in close to the proton) size was not measured right.  So the anomolous results the German guys found, was just a previous measurement error.  This is real science, done right.  Hard, kinda boring, but critical.   And quietly done here, of course.   The URL:   https://www.quantamagazine.org/physicists-finally-nail-the-protons-size-and-hope-dies-20190911/

Three more really useful piece of data:

BEAM+Erlang:  A truly fascinating discussion from recent GOTO conference for software developers.  Really, really interesting.  I watched the entire 42 minute video (and it actually worked on my Samsung Tablet using Android+Firefox! Amazing!).   I had never heard of BEAM and Erlang.  This looks right.  I built a Ruby+Rails website, with all the who-haw material that entailed (a whole bunch of gunk).  It does not handle concurency well.   Multiple users can stomp on each other's data, in the SQL.  It  is a primitive, not-great-but-it-works way of making a shared database.  Amazing how the web is built with all these crappy, fragile codebases.  This BEAM think looks a bit like APL, actually.  URL:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvBT4XBdoUE

Elixir is a sub (or maybe superset?) of Erlang, perhaps?   I literally have never heard of BEAM, but their high-availability system-service model makes a lot of sense.  If you mess around inside Android, for example, from zygote on up, you see a real attempt to build somthing similar - high-availability, robust-operation, where processes can die screaming (quietly, into the log), and yet the filthy little device keeps on truckin' along, working fine.  Same with code that makes car-screens (think of the Tesla display), or aircraft flight-deck computer screens and sensor-monitoring software, working even if some parts fail in ugly and non-predictable ways.   See, "garbage-collection" is not just for memory-mgmt, it really also has to be applied to running (or runaway) processes that have been spawned and are in full ILL-mode, shitting on everything around them, consuming memory and cycles, and putting everyone at risk (sorta like leftist political people, who want to invade the Treasury and steal the money in the "fisc").

The model that this Czech guy describes (I literally cannot even key his name, because I don't have access to the East-Europe diacriticals on this keyboard), looks really sensible.  BEAM is apparently 30 years old, and was developed by some guy named Armstrong (same name as the famous radio circuit inventor), so it probably is a quality thing.    Czech-guy's demo on his Mac is really enlightening.   I love his load-test examples.  They are literally pure-APL ( plus-reduction itoa of an integer => ie. key in a number, and the computer adds up all the numbers from 1 up to and including the entered integer. )  

The pure-magic comes from the BEAM process/semiphore model that allows a runaway process to exist, or a  process to crash and die from bad input, and these actions do not crash the machine, the GUI, or even bring down the thread.  No "borked server", and no "blue-screen-of-death" nonsense.  For a "web-server", this is how it must work.  I think I will buy this guy's book.  I have already hacked-together (in my fever-brain), a version of this thing, where each little Erlang/Elixir process is a small instance of a trained NN, running against a datafeed.   He runs, like 10,000 on his Macbook, and when I saw that, I got shivers - like Austin Power's saying: "Oh, yeah, Baby!". 

It looks like you  could run 10,000 instances of data-tweaked NNs (ie. evaluating a forward-feeding probability evaluator or something I like that), and then as the data evolves during the day, I can have all the processes eval and then target the ones that looks closest to what we are seeing, evolve forward, and get some re-calced probs with a forward picture, and some action-suggestions, complete with probabilty estimates - and get this in real time.  Oh my.

See, I am struggling with how to program this idea already - and I am pretty sure it is already being used in the marketplace.  (You could modify the "Big Blue" chess-player to do the same thing, right?  So, probably someone already has. )   We are living in a weird golden time, where a guy with a MacBook and a clean data-feed, might be able to edge-out a Goldman trader, or a DB bond-boy, who has the best tech on the planet.    In one sense the Brazilian boys have a point.  Day-Trading is a loser's game.  But we *must* gamble, and play, sometimes.  The trick is to sit on your hands, until all the stars line up, and you are offered *really* attractive trades.  And this takes tech and good, clean data.  

Must research this Erlang thing further.  Hey, I have a Macbook.   Being able to run 10,000 process concurently, and not bork the little box when one goes "runaway", or some go FP overflow, etc,  - damn, but that appeals...  Run 10,000 NN's, select the *best*, then genetic-algo run to select the best of the best.    Pretty soon, you are gonna have to nail what is really, actually the truth, no matter how much fluff, sand, and socialism-fraud-data is thrown at you ... :)

Day-Trading-For-a-Living:  Check this: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3423101     Are all social-science academics - JHC, especially South American academics - just plain comically stupid?   There is a rule in science:  "Lack of Evidence is not Evidence of Lack".   This is as important as "Correlation Does Not Imply Causation", but a lot of scientists (and pretty much *all* "Climate Researchers") have real trouble with these rules.   The three guys from South America, whose last names end in vowels, have made an amusing assertion.   It makes as much sense as my favourite Bay Street "heuristic" ("If the company has a Chief Financial Officer and a CEO, whose last names end in vowels, then the company is probably a sham, and it will probably cheat it's shareholders and trade down to zero eventually.")   

I am not really a "day-trader".  I go months sometimes without making a trade.  But I trade for a living, and have been doing it since 2004.   And I know several other guys who do the same thing, and are successful.  They keep quiet.  Why not?   These Brazil-guys just have not really looked.   So there.  Case closed.  Idiots.   

And here is key fact.  Trading success means that you must undertake aggresive, constant learning-efforts.   You must commit to the task with all your brain-power and research skills.  But that is not enough, of course.  You also have to be lucky.  But there are statistical ways to enhance luck.  Simplest:  1) Do lots of stuff and things, and keep your failure costs low.  2) Research, Research, Research.  Always keep looking, studying, and thinking.  3) Act.  Have a bias towards action. Fortune favours the brave.  4) Be brave, but don't be fucking stupid.  If new data says "You are wrong", admit it *quickly*, and pull in some sail, or hit the brakes & reverse course.  This is *very* difficult for smart, arrogant people to do.  But it will make you lucky.  You smell something wrong, stop, and turn back.  The other guys go forward, and laugh at you, can call you a pussy.   You watch them get killed.  Are you lucky.  Maybe.   My point is, there are algorithms for "luck", just like everything else.  Try to be a Danial Kahneman-style "Econ", and leave your worthless human "emotions" at home.  Be the "Iceman", have sang-froid (cold blood), improve your "luck", get better results.  It's that simple.

FIrefox hacks your DNS!   This is bizarre.  WTF is bloody Firefox trying to do?  DNS resolution does so *not* belong in the stupid web-bloody-brower.   This Swiss dude is so completely correct here.   Glad I don't have to say it.  "DoH" = DNS over Https" - seems like a good idea at first (hey, encrypt the DNS queries!), but would this not complete ruin end-run your "PI-Hole" that acts to filter out advert-laden, junk-spewing websites???   I  was just literally researching PI-Hole yesterday, and thought: "Cool.  Very, very cool."  (I *really* detest adverts.  They are like data-cancer, really).  But FF is obviously a tool for serving adverts, mostly, right?  And all your FF queries will be intercepted by Cloudflare, right?  So you are basically being tracked, hard-core, right?  This article is absolutely on-the-mark.  Please feel free to copy and share.  I wish the Mozilla guys would stop trying to be cun/s.   The O/S is where DNS resolution and network config should occur.  Any app that butcher's that, is just breaking things and hurting people.   URL of article is here:  https://ungleich.ch/en-us/cms/blog/2019/09/11/turn-off-doh-firefox/

 

[Sept. 11, 2019] - Bin Laden Day.  More sad days to recall and consider.  I have a dear old friend that I had thought I would have to kill today..  [Update: But I did not do it.  He has shown some recovery, and has started eating again.']    He is a dog, 16 years old, and he is quite ill.  Among other problems, he now has doggy Alzheimer's, and walks around the house at night, sometimes spraying liquid excrement about the place.  He looks like a walking skeleton now, but still has moments of lucid  behaviour, and he still enjoys a walk, and can eat a few strips of rare steak and some cheese at night for his dinner. (He refused to eat any kibble several weeks ago.)  Despite his cancer and kidney failure, he retains his appetite.

He wears doggy-diapers we bought on Amazon Japan, and this gave him a few extra weeks of being able to sit on my lap while I write.   [ Update:  As he has shown strong signs of recovery, he remains with us.]

[Update:  Can't do it yet.  This morning, he ate his kibble for the first time in weeks.  He is still terribly ill, but the weather is fine, and he is sleeping on the deck in the sunshine, in complete comfort.  So, he gets to have a longer life, as  long as he is not in pain and able to enjoy his time.  Fine old fellow.  I will post a picture of him.  He is a dear old guy.]

Tcl/Tk TEA Party: Found an excellent document explaining how TEA (Tcl Extension Architecture) actually works (more or less).   It dates from 1999, and is pretty critical, actually.  The whole "shared library" thing is really quite a nightmare on Linux (just like on Windows also, there the .so libs are called .DLLs - Dynamic Link Libraries), but there is really no alternative. 

Statically linking everything into giant binary balls creates another set of problems.  Using dynamically loaded libs (you load them as you need them) is more modular and sensible, but you need to have firm agreement on the API's, and in this dynamic world where everything changes every week, this is difficult - almost impossible.  A commitment to backward compatibility is fine, but too much stuff gets "deprecated" too quickly, as everyone seeks a competitive advantage over everyone else.  

But there are also great benefits from moving fast, and this is the world we are embedded within, so one must deal with it.  All "stability" is  an illusion.  I really love the song "Harmony Hall", by Vampire Weekend; - has the line: "Just when a problem's solved, another one appears..."  ( I need an Oxford Comma here somewhere, I think...)

The Tcl/Tk TEA note (by Brent Welch and Michael Thomas) is here: https://www.tcl-lang.org/doc/tea/tea_tcl2k.pdf   It is only 11 pages.  It is a good document.  It is clear and well written, and apparently there is even an example, which one can use as a template for creation of one's own examples.   It is interesting that it was written in the last century.  Good documentation is rare, and often hidden in or obscured by, strange technical formats.   This 11-page .pdf document that explains how Tcl/Tk extensions can be crafted and and deployed,  is a fine model example of what good documentation shouild look like.

I have this idea that I would like to integrate Tcl/Tk, an APL-like interpreter with fast math and simple (but big!) datastructures that are easy to use, and Xerion/UTS (the neural-network AI stuff), into a single application, that I can just use, and just works.  One spends so much time messing around with data-formats, data-management, data cleaning and transformation, hacky API interface stuff, and app-operation details, that the actual objective of hacking the stock market to make some serious money, sometimes almost gets lost!

When we design & develop languages, platforms, frameworks, and such, and then use these to  build software, it is important to see that these actions are not ends in themselves, they are just roadwork to allow movement along the highway from ignorance, confusion and frustration, to the objectives of enlightenment, clarity and the ability to deploy effective action to solve the problem.  And the problem in a fast, high-stakes financial marketplace, is really just to be able to hold your own and participate without being financially eviscerated.

See, most of the strategies that the financial industry suggests average folks deploy, don't really work very well now, especially in this modern low-yield, low-return, high-risk, high-stakes game, where competition is so intense.  You need to do a lot of the same stuff the big guys do, just to protect yourself, and generate a little cash to live, if you don't want to take "World Series of Poker" style risks all the time.   You *must* invest and speculate to make any money at all.  But you need to do it wisely, carefully (and sometimes, really *quickly*!), if you are to survive.

You need to use wise and careful data-management and monitoring, and retain a capacity for good analysis and fast action, and the computer and it's software and data-grabbing and hacking ability is critical.  You don't want to be a computer programmer all the time, but you have to sometimes, to ensure you have and maintain control, and can retain some tiny advantage or *edge*.    These days, good tech and some sort of AI really helps.   Otherwise, you will be defeated quickly by the well-armed specialist who always will have the main advantages.

As a small guy, your objective is to watch carefully, and play only when the advantage is clearly there for you.  You need formal methods (ie. computer programs and algorithms that you can test for accuracy) as a minimum pre-condition to even stay in the game.  That is why a good platform will be an evolved hybrid, which must complement the style and approach of the fellow using it, and this is what I have being trying to cobble together, in my own limited way.   :)

[Sept. 10, 2019] - Verschlimmbesserung.  My, but the Germans sometimes get it right, don't they?  Love this word.  It describes the modern software industry, does it not?  :D   It is defined as an 'improvement' that actually makes things worse.   Is that not just about *everyone's* experience with software "upgrades"?     I "upgraded" a Firefox web-browser to latest code, on one of my little Android tablets, and now the video does not work, of course.  (Worked fine before.  Now, it seems to be borked.)  Our Wi-Max link was changed to a new tower, and we now have roughly 4.0 megabits/sec (good enough for at least one video channel), but now I cannot render it on my favourite little Samsung tablet.   Comical.  But the the laptops all fly, as do the iPads and the Linux boxes.  Great to have a video-speed link working again. But our tech-guy had to climb the 50-foot tower and re-aim the transponder antenna.  He was amazing - perfectly fearless.  I climbed that tower a few years back, and cut the old VHF array off with a hack-saw (had to saw thru rusty bolts - 50 feet up!  Crazy.  And scary.)

Img for Tcl/Tk Now Works! - At least I've got the "Img" stuff for Tcl/Tk 8.5 working.  It actually seems to be pretty solid.  The weird "diplipt" (or whatever it is called) documentaton stuff will still not compile, so I have to do "./configure --exec-prefix=/usr   <then> make all  <then>  make install-libraries " (ie. the last step is not the standard: "make install").  And a run of Wish cannot "see" the Img package.   But as explained in Sept 9, 2019 note below, you can just stick your build directory at the end of the Tcl/Tk "$auto_path" variable, and the Wish cmd "package require Img" will then work, and you can access all the Img stuff (see example/test programs: demo.tcl  <and> tkv.tcl  in the "Img-1.4.9" build directory, ie. the place where you did your "tar -xvf" on the Img-1.4.9.tar.gz file).  Note:  Tech notes on Img are here: https://wiki.tcl-lang.org/page/Img

And the *LINUX* source is at a SourceForge page that takes a while to find, actually.  If you just go to SF (SourceForge) and download Img, you just get some .SO files, which is no good if you want to do anything with the code.    The actual Linux source code is here:

  https://sourceforge.net/projects/tkimg/files/tkimg/1.4/tkimg%201.4.9/

This package (Img version 1.4.9) is absolutely wonderful, but a tad complicated to get it all running.  I am still not 100% exactly certain how the TEA methods allow Tcl/Tk 8.5 to load and link packages.  My VISDAT stuff uses this hacky approach to start a C-program, and than call Tcl/Tk to render the display of data array and then spin the data in 3-dimensions to look for interesting stuff.  (Like money, for example... :D )   Probably, it would be better to have VISDAT run Tcl/Tk, set up the data vectors / tables / blocks and have C-code crunch the transformations.  But VISDAT works fine, and I have other fish to fry, as they say...  (The C-code is use to calc the transforms to give the illusion of 3-dimensions).

Must send Mr. Nijtman's a note thanking him for his amazing fine work.

[Sept. 9, 2019] - Tck/Tk & Img.  Finally got the Img code working.  Woo-hoo.  There is this "Tcl Extension Architecture" (TEA) model that describes how to construct "packages" that offer the ability to extend Tcl/Tk.  It is more than a little unclear and confusing. But there is this very cool thing to load, render (and maybe hack?)  images, called "Img", and it is pretty cool.   (I will need to address the whole image issue with Xerion, pretty soon, so getting some tractable code that actually can load/render different images was/is on the critcal path...)  

The TEA approach is describe here:  https://wiki.tcl-lang.org/page/TEA

The TEA approach is actually how TclX and Itcl get installed into Tck/Tk for Xerion. It's been updated to TEA2, and of course, this enhances the lack of clarity. Despite being a dogs-breakfast, this stuff is still about a billion times better than Python packages, since you can manipulate actual code, and fix stuff if it does not work. Python is really cool, but it is a black-box, and TensorFlow is even worse - a black box with no instructions how to use it correctly,

But don't worry, anything related to TensorFlow will change in 3 weeks, as a new methodology ,/ architechture / framework / GUI or language-spec. will be created to obsolete what you have coded. It's become clear that Google and Apple are using rapid-API-churn as a very clever form of market-manipulation, much as a classical monopolist would. I recall a technical trick Digital Equipment did - they released and marketed for a short time, a fine *terminal* called an LA-36.  (DEC was a hardware company, remember.)  It was built to mil-spec standards, and competitors rushed to copy it. Once DEC knew its product competitors had replicated the hardware+software, they released the LA-120 (which was very different and 4 times faster) to their customers, and let them upgrade easily. The competitors (who were building reverse-engineered copies of these in-demand terminals) - were basically destroyed by this clever strategy, and exited the market. I recall chatting with an engineer who explained the strategy, and said it was quite deliberate, as DEC was used to competing against IBM, which also did similar tricks to assault it's competitors whenever it could.

This is partly why I only work now with open-source code that I can compile on my own equipment. If you do anything else, you will forever be in a race that you cannot ever win, as your business "partners" will attack you with licence-lawyers, bogus patents, and/or restrictions and license-fees on runtime libraries that will render your products un-economic. 

So, I downloaded all the Img source, and have spent some time learning about it, and getting it to work.  I have my custom "Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6" installed on the CentOS-7 box, as well as a modern Tcl/Tk 8.5.13, which is quite stable.   I finally got the Img 1.4 9 code to compile, and the "demo.tcl" image-viewer test program to run.  "Img" ( which is written by Jan Nijtmans, who must be a hard-core image + Tcl/Tk developer/expert - and a scholar & a gentleman, no question), is quite an impressive body of work.   It has a nice BSD-style license, and it is able to load, display and manipulate *many* image formats.  Here is it's wiki page:  https://wiki.tcl-lang.org/page/Img

I had thought it would not compile, but the error was mine.  I had the "tcl.h" and "tk.h" header files from my custom Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6  in my /usr/local/include directory, and they were getting picked up instead of the modern (Tcl/Tk 8.5.13)  ones in the /usr/include directory.  I had to run the configure stuff as: "./configure  --exec-prefix=/usr", and rename the tcl.h and tk.h in /usr/local/include to tcl7.h and tk7.h.  Once I did that (the rename was critical, despite the various "--prefix=" and "--exec-prefix=" values I tried), I was able to get a clean compile.  (Setting the ./configure "prefix" options does not seem to change where Img code looks for the header files on CentOS 7.  Once I blinded the tcl.h and tk.h files in /usr/local/include by renaming them, the "TCL_STUB_MAGIC" constant was found and initialized correctly by the gcc pre-processor, as it then found the *.h files in /usr/include, where Tcl/Tk 8.5 install had put them, I believe. 

Red-Hat / CentOS is always a bit borked compared to other Linux distros, such as Debian, Suse and Ubuntu, I am told.  These silly, multiple areas where libraries and code are located on Linux is comical.  There a so many places where code can hide on Linux boxes!     

The advantage for Red-Hat and CentOS is the rpm and yum package mgmt and install stuff.  But this is also becoming an unclear black-box,  as it is difficult to fix if it breaks.  And with "dnf" (whatever that is supposed to be), we are back in the Red-Hat tarpit of poo again, like with the awful "system-d" fiasco, another "improvement" that causes so much grief.  The Germans actually have an explicit noun for exactly this: "A technical 'improvement' that in fact makes things worse: verschlimmbesserung." 

I still could not get Wish (the "WINdowed Shell" for Tck/Tk) to recognize the package (ie. entering the "package require Img"  to the Wish "% " prompt would say: "Can't find package Img").   I am guessing the shared library files (the .so files) have to be copied into  "/usr/lib" maybe?  Why this does not happen as a result of the "make install-libraries" step, I am not sure.   But if you just add the build directory to the Tcl/Tk "auto_path" variable, then it works.  Eg:  start Wish, and at the "%" prompt, just enter this, given that your build directory was:  "/home/Img/Img-1.4.9" : 

             set auto_path "$auto_path [list /home/Img/Img-1.4.9]" 

That will add the build directory with the shared lib files, at the end of the Tcl/Tk auto_path, and you will be able to run:

             package require Img

and you should get back the value: "1.4.9", indicating the version of the "Img" image-library set was successfully loaded into Tcl/Tk.

You can then source the "demo.tcl" program, and confirm it works.  I built with gcc 4.8.5 20150623 (Red Hat 4.8.5-28), on a CentOS-7.4 Linux box, kernel: 4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64 - Jul 10 08:46:17 Edt 2019.   [You get version info for gcc with "gcc --version", and you get the full kernel name for your Linux with: "uname -a".   Also, you can use "whereis tcl" and see where stuff has been installed to. ] 

Top screen shows picture from Mars Rover, with IMG demo screen, showing the various graphic formats it can read and display, in top-right of screen.   I had almost given up getting this stuff to work, so I am glad I kept messing with it.  It looks pretty slick, and runs well.  The "tiny viewer" is called by sourcing the file"tkv.tcl", given you have successfully loaded the "Img" package.

[Sept. 8, 2019] - The Worst Mistake of Computer Science.   Of course, this was the development of "C".  But some guy says it was "Null", which is hilarious.  Great copy.  Here is my comment: (which is the truth, really... ):

This is a great article, thanx for publishing it. But I am not sure we should throw “NULL” under the bus, just yet. It seem pretty canonical, and as I grab my copy of “pdp11 peripherals handbook”, on page B4 at the back, is the 7-bit Octal representation of the ASCII code from 000 (NUL) and 001 (SOH) up to octal 177 (which of course is DEL).

Check my “Gilman and Rose”, “APL – an Interactive Approach”, and page 304 explains how to use NULL to set up data-tables with embedded Nulls, but which print and it “takes NO time, just as if it isn’t there at all!” (used instead of the “idle” character.) Grab my Windows APL Plus-III for Windows (from Manugistics), and the []AV (Quad-AV), for the APL “Atomic Vector”, (256 chars long now), starts with NUL, which is also []TCNUL (a terminal-control character). Tying to get rid of the NULL character, seems like trying to get rid of the “U” in English. (Like the original Latin. Don’t need it, just use “V” instead, right?)

See, you left out my fav. language, which is APL. A sensible language like APL, which allows one to operate at a higher level of abstraction, avoids most of the issues you describe that can create problems by allowing NULL. A string in APL is a string, and can have any characters (including NULLs). An operator, called “rho” allows one to determine if the string is zero-length. APL data variables can be numeric or characters, and can be extended to any level of dimensionality that one wishes to use.

Really, you should no more be using “pointers” and mucking around with machine memory addresses, than you should be concerned about the voltage levels your cpu’s are using. The great mistake in computing was “C”, a weird, low-level retrograde step that is still causing grief.

APL examples require a special character set. I put up a simple example, of using a data-table that contains NULL characters, on my little website. It’s on the first page, and shows how the NULL character, since it does not create any output when displayed, can be useful in the construction of simple English sentances which have correct syntax. http://www.gemesyscanada.com

The APL used is Windows APL from APL-2000 (formerly Manugistics APL, and before that, it was STSC APL.)

Really, used safely, NULL can be kinda of cool. It’s there – but it’s not there. It’s an abstraction, yet it is real. Sorta like love and justice and freedom.  ;)  --- 30 ---

And here is a codicil to the comment.  The Second Worse Mistake in Computer Science was letting the spies define the industry, and monitor & corrupt the primary communication channels, so that the integrity of the information was rendered suspect.  No amount of hashing can save you, if the channel is bogus.  I explain this sometimes.  You don't even need to know Shannon's Theorem.  Just know about the NSA, the UK's GCHQ, and the Canadian CSE & the "Blarney" system (and it's variants), and be able to read.

Our data is not just *monitored*.  It is sometimes hacked, and this is being done by pretty much all State actors.  Even South Africa, for crying out loud.  There is a real fine group of people, eh? But the UK (and of course, the USA) is doing the same thing - ie. hacking the undersea telecom cables.  People should realize just how much this damages us all, and the risks for the future that it represents.

https://yro.slashdot.org/story/19/09/06/2334211/south-africa-uk-acknowledge-mass-surveillance-by-tapping-undersea-internet-cables?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed

 

[Sept. 7, 2019] - Scam, Scam - Everywhere a Scam.   Gracious, but the 'net is a turning into a weirdly awful giant platform for everything it was not supposed to be.   The incredible magic of the internet's early days has morphed slowly into an Orwellian nightmare-machine that enables fraud and government spybots.  If you put anything, anywhere in a digital format on the 'net, it will be taken & *consumed* by powerful agents who are acting with provable malevolence.

Most folks don't see this, of course.  I write these comments because a formal record of thoughts is useful, and the opportunity to counter deception and dis-information is liberating.  But it puts me a risk, of course.  I am actually pleased that it appears only "robots" (we used to call them "spiders", because they "crawled the web") are reading this.  Probably that is best.

What is interesting, is that pretty much no-one makes any money from the internet now.  Unless you are an advertising entity like Google or Facebook, you will earn nothing.  Youtube has become a carnival side-show of idiocy, and copyright rules, the DMCA and the "scam of the scientific journals" prevents useful information from being made available to the public.   The new reality is that access to the "library" of human knowledge is now locked up even tighter than it was in the time of Liebnitz, which is really quite surprising.

The only way I can really make any money on the 'net, is to operate pretty much like Jessie Livermore did over 120 years ago, when he traded in the "bucketshops of Boston", and this is a curious and surprising reality.  

True fact:  Almost no-one actually makes any money on the internet.

The 'net is used by governments for mass-surveillance and social control & it is very effective at reducing administration and data-management costs, and this does offer major agencies real economic benefit.   But a citizen's life is not improved by this.   Costs are simply transferred from agency actions, as they are made to become private actions.  ("You want a printed copy?  Print it yourself and fuck off, please" - what a "government entity" says now.)

As code becomes more crappy and error-laden each year, and product quality that we thought was stable continues to degrade, it becomes clear that something is wrong.  Not wildly wrong, just a little bit wrong - except this *wrongness* drift is, ever-so-quietly, accelerating.

The internet, is quietly turning to shit.  We always new it could be a dangerous and nasty place.  But I see it quietly becoming a net-negative thing.

And I know of so many examples, where basically, no one made money, despite great ideas and clever plans.  So many clever startups are just "money-bad" exercises.  There are only two paths to profit - you puff the business up by buying customers, and then sell it to: Google, IBM or Microsoft.  Or, you actually get real subscribers & customers, and they pay you.  Almost *no-one* gets to option #2, unless they are: 1) selling pornography,  2) weapons, 3) mind-bending drugs, or 4), they are running nasty scams that involve "conning" or cheating people out of their money.    These unsavory business efforts are, of course, the traditional cash-generators for organized crime.

And even more nasty, the internet is now accelerating the ugly "race to the bottom", thru mass gaming with things like "Fortnite", which simply teaches kids to become mass-murdering school- shooters.  

I get junk phone-calls, scam-calls, scam-emails, fraud & fakery hits, APT-stuff,  every day now - not just once a week or a few times a month like it used to be.  It is a daily problem, perhaps because I write these notes.  

These are real problems.  The internet is turning to shit, and no-one except a few major "Big Co's", is making any real money.   And this really sucks.  My email accounts are being spam-bombed by some socktucker American pricks running out of California, but with their servers in Ukraine and Singapore, and shielded by some annonimizer tech based in Sweden.  I tracked these fuckers down to where I think they are, but it is probably easier to just delete the email account.  The whole exercise is sad and bad, since anti-spam laws were supposed to stop these time-thief guys.  I personally would vote for a death-sentance for internet spammers and scammers.   We should hang them from lamp-posts along roads, like the Romans did with their criminals.   Or hang them in cages at airports, the way the British Navy hung pirates at harbour entrances (again, Boston  provides a good example.)

But as I run my "scenario analysis" projections against these weird new trends, I see a "bad moon rising", as the song says.   I've learned to listen to my cruel "inner trader" persona, that whispers truth - perhaps from the sub-conscious bio-NN we all have.  The poor Chinese Communist government has no internal "mistake-correction" process - no open honest inquiry in open court or real debate in an open Parliament.   This simple fact means they cannot but fall into error, as they have done by taking two Canadian's hostage in their sad, bad land.  When a state has no mechanism to correct error, and step wisely from a bad path, they are doomed to fail eventually, and perhaps spectacularly.   This will cause problems.

If this is combined with a simple, contagious viral outbreak - perhaps no worse in lethality than the 1918 "Spanish Flu" (which actually originated in Hong Kong), we could have a global collapse in GDP of somewhere around 15 to 20%.  The 1918 influenza epidemic was spread rapidly by returning WW1 soldiers, and is estimated to have killed between 20 and 100 million people world wide.  Accurate numbers are difficult to know, due to lack of public health records. 

In the same way that the 1929 stock market crash motivated the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1934, the 1918 Flu epidemic provoked the creation of public heath record-keeping agencies.   In Canada, there is direct evidence of entire village populations catching the flu and the majority of residents dying, so much so that outsiders had to come and assist in burials.  But we really don't know how many actually died.  My father's parents, as a young, recently married couple, caught the 1918 flu, and apparently almost died (they didn't die, because first one got sick, and then, by the time the second one got sick, the first had recovered sufficiently to be able to walk, and nurse the other back to health).

A similar viral outbreak, spread by mass air-travel, with similar contagious characteristics, would probably motivate temporary closure of airports, and this would hammer-down GDP.  This is an unlikely scenario, but if it was co-incident with social breakdown in China and other non-democratic Asian economies, then we could see an economic dislocation of significant proportions.   And given that the internet is quietly turning into this nasty thing that cannot be trusted anymore, our global capacity to address the social dislocations that would accompany this nightmare scenario, could be more difficult to address than many now expect.

If you know that the "State" is going to lie, and that public data channels will be corrupted or false, then this motivates the "every-man-for-himself" behaviour that can encourage a breakdown in social order.

It is during these economic dislocations, that real "revolutions" can occur - but "revolutions" in the old, historical sense - the great Wheel of Fortune making a 180-degree rotation.  This is why truth and democracy are so critically important.  A. K. Sen showed with fine economic rigour, that democratic nations simply do not suffer "famines".   A "famine" is always an engineered exercise in population-reduction, it turns out.

Many thought we had left "history" behind us - at least the violent and disturbing history we read of in books.  But of course, this view is nonsense.   People hold assets like gold and silver, not to make money, but to preserve family wealth.   Now, virtually all wealth is held in financial assets.  But buried coins did not save the ancient Roman empire, and the thick walls of Babylon did not save it either. 

And if no one is really making any money from the internet, and it is slowly being taken over by spies and criminals, then I suspect our wonderful trans-national experiment in hooking-up all computers and cellphones will not save us either.  

See, the central-banks can uplift global markets thru their aggressive interest-rate reductions and monetary expansions - as they have done and will continue to do, given that there is no serious inflation.   Any collapse will probably be *real* - not financial.     Is this likely?  I actually don't think it has much chance of happening. 

But I find myself saying "I hope this is avoided."   And when one "hopes", one usually is wiser to act, than "hope".   This is one reason we are heavily invested in Canada.  We will be OK here, whatever happens.  It is also why we avoid debt, even though rates are so crazy-low.  But my "inner trader" keeps whispering to me about buying some "puts"...  ;)

[Sept. 6, 2019] - A Good Trade.  Funny how things work.  I've been reading a *lot* lately.  There is very little that is truly new.  Everything is often done (or discovered), 2 or 3 or more times, before it finally "takes" in the world.  Scientists, political people, designers, etc. often just recycle the stuff they know, because learning the new, is hard work.

And trading is hilarious.  It is both easy and crazy-difficult, at the same time.  Easy to do, but tough to do profitably.  At the pointy-edge of a trade (when you are doing it), it often seems kind of stupid or silly.  But you never really learn (or even know), until you bet with real money.   We rolled out our gold stocks a few days ago, because they were fat and fine, but paid bugger-all dividends.  So, what to buy?  I couldn't find anything that didn't suck rocks in hell.  Except Cdn banks.   We already had too much of that position, really.   So, we bought some stock of one we didn't have.  If my old high-school buddy screws up, then we are toast. 

But if the banks in Canada crash, we are all toast.  Global trade will have collapsed, a war will probably be on, and the issue will be what the dosimeter is reading, and how the crops are growing, and do we have enough ammo in the community, when the starving mobs from the cities attack the farms  (like happened in Austria in the 1920's.  Look it up.  Good info is in a book called "When Money Dies", written by Adam Fergusson, pubished 1975, reprinted 2010.)     But really, I rate the "prepper" scenario really low - less than 1/2 of 1% probability.  But we also are ready, I guess.  Our modern systems are fragile, and the culture-values that hold us wise, have been systematically destroyed.  No big deal, but since we have already lost the *Culture War*, I suspect it means the probability of social-collapse and civil-breakdown is not zero (esp. since we can see places here on Dirt, where it has happened repeatedly...)

Much more likely is just a silly time - more of what we have now.  The bank stock we bought pays over 5% dividend, and all the banks are big making money each quarter, and are held to *monthly* reporting of various capital measures, including all the BIS/Swiss stuff. (Read the Qtly or Annual reports for detailed explainations.)    At the time, this seemed a kind of stupid trade - but we flipped out of the golds, into a little bit of this different bank whose shares we didn't have.

Seems we have shares in just about all of them now.  Really terrible from a diversification view, but diversification is maybe bullshit, in practice. It's great in theory, (you can get higher return associated with higher-risk, but if your positions are diverse, you can get *lower* risk.  You check this by running corelation matrix calcs on the price-delta's on the share price time series.  If the average of your corelation matrix is near zero (ie some stuff goes up, when other stuff goes down), then you get the "free lunch" of diversification.  It's really cool.) 

But in practice, diversification is like picking up some rocks along with the gold pebbles you find in the forest.  See, if you are walking thru a dark and dangerous forest, and there are sometimes gold pebbles on the ground - adding a pocket full of plain stones does not offer any protection, really.   Your job is to *only* pick up the really fine gold pebbles, and leave the rest of the plain stones, and pieces of animal-poop, behind.  You want to try to be an active, knowledge-driven filter, and only pick up the good stuff.  But that means, the contents of your pocket will *not* often be *diversified*.  Most of "Finance Theory" actually turns out to be academic sophistry, when some poor stupid shmoe (like me) tries to put it into practice.

I can do these really academically interesting things.  OR I can ask my nasty "inner trader" to help me make some more cash, since we have to replace some big-ticket equipment, and build some more stuff.   My nasty "inner trader" laughs at Markowitz-models, and says "Don't be fucking stupid.  Buy the good stuff, and avoid the shit.  And remember, it's just about *all* shit.".  I protest - or at least I try to.  Now gold stocks are *not* shit.  And gold is gold.  But the gold miners don't pay any dividends - at least not to shareholders (in almost every mining & resource-extraction business, *every* fucking toad gets a fat pocket-full - except the shareholders.  The governments are the worst fucking criminals, as they rake-off most of the top cream, and since the mines and oil-wells have crazy accounting tricks (like "depletion" - oh, my!), one finds that the insiders can rig the process so that taxes can be minimized, and wages and "compensation" (what a fucking stupid word for vigourish, eh?), can be maximized.

The only thing that keeps the banks honest in Canada, is the OSFI regs and reporting rules, and the fact that no single big-swinging-richard can own more than 10% of them.  They truly are (and by law, *must be*), widely held.  This makes them 'anti-fragile".   So the shareholders (most of whom are big pension schemes, insurance co.s, and other majors who need funded flow over the long term) have a chance and it is hard to fuck them over. 

Not really the case in USA-land.   In the "Excited States", self-dealing seems to crop up everywhere, and everyone seems to be "window-dressing" (ie. "telling lies with") their financial statements. 

Those sock-tuckers at Lehman had this accounting trick, that they used to sale-with-contractual-repurchase massive amounts of illiquid dreck just before they calc'ed their Qtly reports - so they could show many $-billions cash on their balance-sheet.  It was all lies - but the rule said if the sale and re-purchase price were more than 5% different, they could account for this scam as if real, actual asset-sales took place.   All the head fuckers from Lehman should have been jailed for fraud - but in USA-land, things can get really funny, really quickly.   In USA-land, only the lawyers win the lawsuits - everyone else, everywhere else, is a loser if a court or a government gets involved.  

The place is really, quite astonishingly corrupt - but they make really fine weapons, and they have a lot of big nukes, so the fatboys (and fatgirls!) there can pretty much do whatever they want.  And the worst offenders, of course, are the SJW's and the so-called "Democrats".    That is the curious fact that makes USA politics so damned interesting.   I quite love the place, and I hope that it does not self-destruct in an orgy of wild violence.  Or get destroyed by an "accidental" Russian launch...).  It is really the most interesting social experiment.  You have to go back to the time the Romans kicked out their "Kings", and created the Republic, or the time of Babylon, to find something similar.

Just remember all the time - most trades are bad, and most of history is lies.   All of religion is lies, and most "cultural norms" are just lazy cruel fraudstars making money from other complicated lies.   If you find it difficult to achieve your objectives, don't worry, you will die soon, and then, nothing you did will even matter!   Isn't that just liberating?   (See: Marcus Auralius, "Meditations".)   We know that work will *not* set you free.  But actually, the truth really, actually will!   :)

And the truth will actually help you make money, and do good trades, even if the trades seem completely silly and you feel like a doofus when you are doing them.  Our gold stock we sold is down two dollars per share, and the bank we bought is up two dollars per share.   Hilarious!  We do *exactly* the wrong things (sell a winner), and then *reduce* badly our diversified portfolio.  And we make money, and jump to a higher curve.  And that trade does not seem quite so stupid now.  :D

(Dan, If people become "Econs", they become *much* happier.   Note to D. Kahneman:  Loved your book.  Esp. chapters 19 thru 24.  Genius good stuff.  But 'Prospect Theory" and the psy-op stuff is really just the "stupidity-of-humans."  I think Erasmus covered it all with his: "In Defence of Folly" back in the 13 or 14-hundreds...)   ;)

[Sept. 3, 2019] - The Sad and the Bad .   I am surprised at how difficult and awful most software is lately.  (Except Python, of course).  What went wrong?  Why is most code unusable now?  It used to be possible to get some open-source code as a .tar.gz file, run a 'tar -xvf' against it, and it would probably (eventually) be useable.   But the transition to 64-bit, multi-core machines, seems to have set us back 30 years. Nothing works right now.  Everything is in pre-beta-test, it seems.

The engineer's of today couldn't build a moon-rocket if they wanted to.  The software people can't even build Boeing aircraft with on-board computers that can be trusted not to fly everyone into the ground.  I've spent all day, trying to get some open-source  software for Tcl/Tk to simply *compile* on a CentOS-7 Linux box, and no way, no how.  The codebase is a bizarre collection of complex stuff - automake / autoconf-ed, undocumented "configure" files with unknown options, kinky, unclear .tcl scripts that auto-create .C programs, adherance to some secret build-process, that when the html links are followed & tracked down to learn about it, they point to *draft* documents that don't contain any real information. 

Attempts to compile something that is documented as tested, just crashes and fails the build, with undeclared  identifiers on the very first programs, etc.  Now, I had assumed little or no testing had been done.

[*** Later update: ***]  Ho ho. Mea Culpa.  Turns out it was my error, it looks like.  I had *two* copies of Tcl/Tk installed - old and new, and my failure to understand the curious configure methodology for "Extenstions" was the issue.   The build for the open-source stuff was using the some old code from the old Tcl/Tk I need for Xerion.  Once I set "prefix" values on the "configure" script, and renamed old code to names that would not be "seen", the code compiled Ok, and I eventually got the stuff running.  I finally found a .pdf file from 1999 that explains how the Tcl/Tk "extensions" design & creation process actually works.  This really helped, and I was enlightened!   (And it is funny how keeping notes here,  helps.   Hope this blather I write is helpful to someone, someday... )  I can't publish my trading notes, but I can bitch and complain (and document stuff) in this blog. :)

Sure, I guess you get what you pay for - and I maybe we are now seeing the twilight of the  "open-source" software movement.  It was fun and good while it lasted, I guess.  But some code now, seems to be rigged to be "bad-by-design", with operationally-critical install/configure information obfuscated or simply removed.

I mean, if the commercially-developed code is so bad, that it is regularly killing people, what can we really expect from "open-source" codebases?   Oh well.   But it means we don't get to stand on each other's shoulders anymore, and have to revert to building it all ourselves.  And this will put a lot of sand in the gears of progress.  It will have to. 

The Flip Side of Bad Tech: But, there is a good aspect here also. It means people really *do* roll-their-own now, in so many areas.  With the global info-base that the internet+search-engines provides, it is possible to undertake projects and build things that previously would have required domain-specific expertise, and experience.  I just changed the alternator in the Ford F-150, and installed a new battery.  Also replaced a noisy idler wheel that sounded like a bad power-steering motor.  The big 4.6-litre V8 in the thing now runs perfectly, and should be good for at least another 100,000 km.  (Got new tires and brakes also.)  The brakes were not installed right (the drag-reduction springs were not even installed), so I bought a kit and installed the springs (and special caliper-grease on the moving caliper parts) myself. 

The old truck runs smooth and fine now.   Low-quality work by local shops, means folks have to become self-supporting experts in whatever they do now.  But this is ok.  We become stronger, our society becomes more self-sufficient, and any invader or military adventurer nation, seeking to hurt or assault us, would face a determined, self-sustaining group of independent "farmer-mechanic-warrior" types, who would be expensive and difficult to defeat.

And low-quality, "crippled-by-design" modern software platforms, induce people to become skilled system architects and coders, so they can exploit the low-cost of powerful modern computer systems, without being pulled into the economic model of "contrived dependency" that Amartya K. Sen wrote so elequently about.  (A. K. Sen deserved his Nobel / Economics prize.)

A. K. Sen discovered/invented behavioural economics back in the1970's, long before the Americans like Thaler, et al.  Sen's "Theory of Contrived Dependence" is a brilliant piece of hard-core economic analysis, which explains a lot of what the modern "gig economy" is all about.  

Basically, marginal-cost price models + Sen's Theory of Contrived Dependence, pretty much explains the economics of "open-source" software, something that at first, seems non-economic. 

But it's not.  Software falls to near-zero price, because the marginal cost of "fabricating" the next unit, is basically zero.  And a private professional software specialist, has a huge motivation to avoid being "captured" by an "employer", who would deny him opportunity, limit his focus and restrict his efforts to gain trans-domain or between-field expertise, beyond a specific software+system environment. 

The "employer" wants his software people to focus exclusively on company projects - whereas the software professional knows that whatever the company is doing, it is certain to become obsolete or economically useless over time, so his need to remain professionally viable often exists in direct opposition to the desires of the enterprise he works for.

The solution to this motivational mis-match and zero-cost-of-next-unit fabrication, is the open-source development model (for specific applications), and the "gig economy" model of private contractors retained to provide a specific service, within an agreed-upon time window.

And it's worked well - until now, when everyone has become so very clever, and competitive pressures have become so very high on both sides.  The internet has allowed everyone to know everything (there are no secrets now - and the kids don't even want secrecy.)  So we find that software is more and more being built with deliberate flaws, corruption and security-holes.  Bad software has created an entire industry of "Security researchers" doing "zero-day" flaw research.  The private "open-source" developers now have strong incentives to create what is basically "half-baked" and "broken-by-design" software, that requires the services of a high-paid specialist, to be made to work correctly.  

So this is where we are now.  Apple products are "nasty-by-design" and riddled with "flaws" which allow all Apple products to be accessed by outside agencies.  (They can't not know about this.  VAX machines were "mil-spec" intrusion-proof back in the 1980's.)   The Snowden material showed exactly how Cisco routers, Google searches, and anything on Facebook or Microsoft, was vectored to the NSA for monitoring & meta-data analysis.  Most Canadian software researchers or developers knew the details of the Comm-Sec Establishment's "Blarney" system (which monitors *all* US international telephone calls) from back in the 1970's.  Anyone and everyone in the industry in Ottawa knew all about it.  Jeff Bezos should not be surprised that his little-richard pubic pics became public.   Difference nowadays, is no-one cares.

But the crappy, nasty modern code-bases are sure to bite us more and more as time drives along this curious highway-to-heck.  A lot of modern open-source code is really nasty now - designed *not* to work, unless a myriad of un-attractive pre-condtions are met.   Why is this happening?  Well, look who benefits.  The sale of Red-Hat to IBM for the high price paid (34 billion US dollars), shows the *value* created by Red-Hat's "tarpit of complexity", as one writer termed the "Red-Hat" Linux distro, with it's strange, cryptic utilities named after small towns (so you can't even infer what they are meant to do, by the product name), it's unclear operational characteristics,and it's byzantine control methodologies based on system-d.   The thing is ugly, complex, and difficult to use effectively now.  But it means big support-revenue for Red-Hat, and IBM was able to understand (and really grasp!) that idea.    Was a very good time to sell the business, just as the majority of the world is starting to question the whole business model.

See, I fear we might have reached "peak Linux".   Linux is difficult, nasty, complex and badly documented now.  It has become difficult for ordinary domain-specific specialists (eg. economists, scientists, financial industry folks, government researchers, etc.) to use and maintain now.  It has become so complex, and rather fragile, that Microsoft and Apple are happy to embrace it, as they realize it is now no threat anymore.

My CentOS-7 boxes are fast, but the code never quite seems to run 100 perfect.  Attempts to convert running code from my Fedora 32-bit machines, to run on the MacBook are crazy-difficult, and are fraught with many grief-points, and problematic issues.  I have resolved *many*.  I've built a complete, modifiied-and-built-from-source version of Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6, so I can be independent of the outrageous complexity of modern Tcl/Tk.  I have full-screen x-windows based version of VisDat, a Tcl/Tk-based editor, and a calculator, running on both the Macbook and on CentSO-7 boxes, so I know a tiny bit about  the grief involved in code conversion.  The speed-ups are there, yes,  And I even have Xerion running in CLI mode (but not with it's GUI display screens).   It all runs so nice on the 32-bit architecture.  (Fedora and CentOS-6.6).  I even built a version of VisDat to run under Cygwin on Windows, and built WINE (to run Windows apps) for Linux, so I can run a Time Series database on the Linux boxes.

Had I found clear, sane software that was actually easuy to use, I would not have built all this custom stuff.  And in building the custom stuff, I have found some wildly useful insights, and built code I hope to patent, it is so useful and unique.

So, yes, the world is changing (again).   Bad & sad software is the norm now.  But the good thing from this, is that it will drive another new age of "guys starting in garages" to build products and tools and service-offerings  that are not toxic and nasty.   And that will be disruptive and maybe even quite good.  But it won't come from Google or Apple or Facebook or Microsoft.  (Maybe Microsoft?  Of all the really ugly "big girls", maybe Microsoft is the least-bad - the winner of the "beauty" contest -  kinda like the USA itself, viz-a-viz the rest-of-the-World.   :D

Oh, and if you think I am being too critical, and everything is just fine, read this true description of just how bad the quality of *new* airplanes and their exploding, problematic engines really is - from the president of an airline:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/emirates-president-slams-airbus-boeing-150015708.html

[Sept. 2, 2019] - Argentina - Land of Failure.  Argentina has again imposed "capital controls", as it lurches towards *DEFAULT NUMBER NINE* on it's debt.  Don't cry for Argentina, cry for the poor fools who invested there.

[Sept. 1, 2019] - Apple iPhones/iPads: Fully Hackable - Here's an uplifting little note from Forbes, which summarizes how completely hackable iPhones and iPads have been.  iOS is a *terrible* operating system, because it is part *black-box*, and that box is insecure-by-design.  If you use an iPhone, and you think it is "secure", then you are stupid.  Don't take my word for it.  The security vulnerabilities have been known for *years*, and Apple really must have known.  There is strong evidence that much of our modern technology is all a big fraud, really.  There are *no* secrets on the internet.  None.  The whole thing seems to have quietly morphed into an Orwellian tool for mass-monitoring of civilian actions.  New technology is needed, which is neither Google nor Apple, nor Facebook, as none of the USA companies can be trusted, it appears.  Curious world.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2019/08/31/apple-iphone-ipad-security-ios-upgrade-iphone-xs-max-xr-update/#53a1d67c2034

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/08/30/google-shocks-1-billion-iphone-users-with-malicious-hack-warning/#67c7a24e2524

[Aug. 29, 2019] - Things are Getting Strange - The Trump Tariffs on China stuff go to 15% on Sept. 1st, and bond markets around the world are in full on *rally* mode, being bid up in Japan and Germany to larger (lower?) negative yields.  30-year US Treasury's yield hit 1.905%, while German 10-year bonds (bunds) were trading at negative 0.716% on Wednesday.  Japan's 10 year gov't bond fell to negative 0.285%, and the yield on 10-year government bonds from Italy fell to below 1.00% for a time.   This seems extreme.  But the low yields mean a *rise* in bond prices, so it is curious to see Reuter's report that this "paints a gloomy picture".   Huh?  WTF?  A massive market rally is a "gloomy picture?"  FFS, people do not buy long-dated gov't bonds that yield f*ck-all if they are gloomy.  (Unless perhaps they are insane, or are simply making big currency-valuation bets?).  

The one concern that keeps me up at night, is that I sense a lot of action is running on "automatic" now, and that we run the risk of experiencing a "737-Max-8" moment which could occur rapidly, and result in edge-condition situations.

Anyone reading these notes - I urge you to get Kahneman's book "Thinking Fast and Slow", and read chapter's 20 and 21.  Algo's work better than "experts", and I have always secretly known this from my own observations.  But Kahneman explains why, and offers explicit actionable information on the breadth and extent of this phenonmenon.  I had never heard of Paul Meehl.  But I have seen "back of the envelope" financial models, which yield simple, clear (and *robust*) analytic observations and forecasts, beat the crap out of more complex, sophisticated, models, just about every time.  Capturing one or two or three big factors that determine what will happen, and just getting the sign right on those (and even just equal-weighting them - never mind with the non-linear multi-regression stuff, etc..), gives - almost always  - a much more robust and market-useful predictive tool, than a complex, multi-factor model with senstive weights and a multitude of inputs does.  

And "experts" - despite their domain-specific knowledge - are often unable to even be consistant.  Given the same data inputs - they will typically reach *different* conclusions roughly 20% of the time. This is why neural-network image analysis of medical X-rays is so successful, and can typically out-perform (if the network has been properly trained), medical experts whose job it is to evaluate X-ray data (eg. looking for signs of cancer, etc.)

I knew simple, few-factor models were often better than complex many-factor models were at predicting outcomes - but Kahneman shows (from Paul Meehl's work), that these few-factor models - if constructed correctly and used objectively - are generally (and consistantly) better than the intuitive judgements of "experts" - and this is surprising.  Simple algorithm's can be better than clever, skilled people at predicting outcomes in "low validitiy" environments.  And this observation seems to hold across a whole bunch of different areas.

Why are aglos better than experts?  Because the world is basically unpredictiable, seems to be the answer, but the "Illusion of Understanding" or what I called the "Fraud of the Control Room" - always seems to be evident. The experts *think* they are better, and always are able to frame numerous excuses for their poor predictive performance.  They lie to themselves as much as they mislead their clients and the public.

The "Fraud of the Control Room" - relates to power plants and electricity distribution systems, which are now highly automated.  The "Control Room" is now just a "Monitoring Room" - all control is done by algos and machines.  This is especially true in big nuclear reactors, which operate on the knife-edge of stability.  "Control" is an illusion.  If stability-providing systems fail, the human operators have no *control* options. They cannot really change anything quick enough to have any real control - they can really only watch and monitor as the system spirals out of it's locus of stability, and into a regime of chaotic change.  These chaotic phase-jumps to new orbits are typically rapid, uncontrolable events.  Earlier, simpler machine systems had "SHUTDOWN" buttons that could be pressed (the original SCRAM circuits in reactors, for example), but modern systems never have such circuits, as their invokation would be typically catastrophic. 

Here is another curious observation: Kahneman suggests that a test, which is only 30 or more precent accurate, can still provide a useful tool to assist in predicting an outcome.  My NN can predict price outcomes with roughly 47% accuracy, and I figured this was not useful.  But I was wrong, because the NN result can be paired with (perhaps) a couple of other indicators, and a simple score constructed (equal-weightings of factors is fine, too), and that this could actually be quite useful (and predictively effective).  This was a big discovery.  I had naively assumed I needed to be *above* 50% predictive accuracy for the price-predicitve NN to be useful, but this is wrong.  The NN result can be paired with one or two other equal-weighted factors (I have two in mind), and a simple go/no-go score developed, and I might have my edge.

And what the research suggests (and what virtually all research I have done on the results of actual traders who make money seems to confirm) is that a *consistant* algo, with proper betting rules that control position-size and adjust it for risk (volatility) such as the Turtle "N" number,  can take positive returns from market-based price activity.  So why does not everyone do this?  (Well, lots do now),  But private traders, like clinical psychologists, lawyers, doctors, and others, have a hatred of being reduced to "robots".   They want to use their wisdom and intuition to make decisions in the world of uncertainy.   But the research shows that the algorithms are almost always better, and are always at least as good, over multiple cases.  (This is a shocking result, really.  And it has been observed in *many* different studies.)

And a private trader has one big luxury.  He does not need to bet.  He can - if some base-line revenue is available (ie. a dividend and/or and interest-rate-driven income stream), sit and do nothing for long periods.  This is a *huge* advantage, that is not available to a professional, who must show *action* to justify his/her position in a business environment.  A private trader who has enough income to eat, can wait for *really* attractive trades to come along, and only cherry-pick those.  But again, this is very hard for humans to do.  If you sit in front of a screen with changing prices, it just begs you to trade it.  But you can tune your NN-based algo to do the cherry-picking task.  And the research shows that this can (and will) work to let you earn consistant, positive returns.  The hard part, is to keep your human emotion out of the circuit, and just let the algo do it's job.   This turns out to be extremely difficult to do in practice.

[Aug. 28, 2019] - Everything's Alright... (The tune from "Jesus Christ Superstar"...)  Sure, all is fine again.  Was monitoring some nonsense on the BBC, and they also ridiculed Trump's idea of buying Greenland.  And folks ask me "Why you say Trump is insane?"  Well, here is why:  His idea to buy Greenland is brilliant and obvious, once you think about it.  On the surface, it sounds absurd - but like all great visionary clever ideas, it is obvious and wise, once you think about it. 

But Trump is nuts - too sensitive to follow thru with a brilliant idea.  He needs to grow a *much* thicker skin (or as the Asians say, he needs: "Thick Face / Black Heart").  We already suspect he has the black heart - but the thick face is also a critical component for a true leader.  He should have gone to Denmark, and looked the Danes in the eye - and asked: "Would Greenland citizens be better off as Danish welfare-state clients, or citizens of a full US State, complete with its own US State Legislature, Governor, State laws, and 2 Senator's in Washington to press it's case?"  

Now that trade is a "no-brainer".  Greenland citizens would be *vastly* better off as new free citizens of a new US State, than as a bunch of poor dependents of Denmark.  They would be rich and free and able to chart their own destiny - and also able to influence and *VOTE* in US political contests!  That is just plain a *very good trade* for the citizens of Greenland.  Bad trade for Denmark of course, so of course they will trash the idea.  What does Denmark offer?  Cheap cheese, smelly fish, strong alcohol and hard bread - all wrapped up in a do-little/be-happy welfare-state model - and nothing else (oh, right - forgot the dyke-socialists.  Who wouldn't want to be ruled by a bunch of Borgon's and some emasculated men?)  Good God, Greenland-folk - Trump's offer is a bloody crazy-good deal - jump at it now, before he changes his mind...!  Tell the Danes to fuck off, and offer to join the USA.  Best . Trade . Every . Offered . In . All . History.

My problem with poor Mr. Trump, is that as a visionary, he seems to shoot himself in his own feet too many times, and I wonder if his circuits are just shorting-out or failing every so often.  Standing up to China was wise and sensible.  But blowing up US-China trade, and trashing his own farmer-friends who voted for him - that is just nuts.   So, maybe he is just crazy and flailing, and not actually as clever as he initially looks.  Jury is still out, really.   But the market is more than just a bit nervous, given the psycho-twitchy DJIA and the twisted-sister yield curve.

But on the other hand, this twitchy-prices stuff is good for statistical arbitrage, which is how the bills get paid.

Also, doing more work on the NN stuff.  Really, it sort-of works, but not as good as the market-place psy-ops stuff (from Kahneman's excellent "Thinking Fast and Slow" - a bit of a turgid read, but really brilliant and actionable psy-observations).   Humans *really* suck at doing intuitive probability calcs (unlike our genius-ability to do rapid visual vector-calculus  - ie.  like knowning our own car's acceleration-ability, and whether we can pass the slow truck in front of us, before getting smashed by the oncoming bus).   Folks were building NN-based trading toolsets in the mid-1990's - nothing new in what I am doing.  Bloomberg machines even had Hurst exponents for price-data time-series.  All this stuff is known and used by the market-makers and pro-traders.  To make money in the markets, you have to find your edge in the new fields of cognative-science, it seems.   Understanding "Fear and Loathing" is probably at least as useful as grasping the mechanics of Z-scores and DCF models.

I find lately, I always get "penny-ticked".  Goddamn, but it is funny - and consistant.  Put in a bid at X, and some cun/ jumps in front with a bid of X+0.01 = every. single. time.  Likewise with offer.  Offer to sell at Y, and an offer of Y-0.01 immediately appears.  The richard-heads who run the markets should really put a stop to this automatic robot-fuckery, as  I suspect it will poison the well we are all trying to drink from.  Robots should serve drinks and help with the lawn and laundry, not being trying to fuck you over for nickels all the time.

[Aug. 27, 2019] - World in Crisis? - Oh my.  I go away for a few days up north, (missing Friday and Monday), and all the worlds wheel's fall off, it seems.   The markets seem very twitchy, and the smell of fear is beginning to become stronger, I am sensing.  Perhaps I am wrong and out to lunch here, but the Trump vs China thing is looking to be developing a special momentum.   I think Trump is maybe out of his depth here.   The "yield curve inversion" seems to be a scare-factor that is changing behaviour - whether it is cause or effect no one can really be sure at this point. 

Two things:  Financials are under pressure, and gold (and gold-mining stocks) are getting stronger.  Some folks suggest monetary conditions are loose, but others disagree.  I have to look at some of the St. Louis Fed data before I can venture an opinion

This "trade war" seems really unwise to me.  China wants to build your stuff, and do it cheap.  And this is bad?  Trump seems to be just falling apart here.  China is not a democracy.  They can just sit still for a year or two, and wait this whole thing out.  Can the USA do the same?  I don't think so.   Wall Street is starting to factor this simple reality into it's implied discounts, I suspect.   Of course, the world is not in crisis - no more than usual.  But the news services need to drive subscriber growth.  And people who actually take money *out* of the markets, generally recognize that the value of *news* is somewhere between zero and some negative number.  

And the US yield curve is not really inverted, it is just sort of "J-shaped", mostly because it seems the longer-term paper is being bid up in price, but the price (and yields) of the short term stuff has not changed that much.  And this seems to be because the USA is still winning the "least ugly girl Beauty Contest" on planet Dirt.  

Where to invest?  Europe wants to tax "digital goods" (along with every other freaking thing their Lefty-Pols can think of), Switzerland is way too expensive, the UK looks like a lone gunman holding himself hostage (will he pull the trigger or not?)  It's become a bit comical, really - "To Brexit - or not to Brexit... That is the question... " (make up your own Hamlet riff).

And China is under a cloud, (they just arrested some Australian professor for "spying", FFS.)  Why would anyone go into a country that has arbitrary arrest rules - oh, kind of like Russia does?   What the is wrong with these people?  Even the Ancient Romans understood the critical importance of clear, fair laws which protected citizen and slave alike.  Funny that we can be so far down the historical line, and that many big nation-states still have not figured this out.

South America is interesting - and Bank Nova Scotia just surprised the heck out of folks by making almost a billion $ profit in their South-Am/Lat-Am division in Q2. It was a 90% improvement over last year, according to what I read.  But they restricted most of their growth -efforts to Mexico, Chile, Columbia and Peru. So some part of South America might offer promise.  Brazil apparently is on fire (oh my), and Africa is still *developing*.  (Developing Ebola in some areas, apparently...)  Not a great place to invest, when most nations don't even have private property rules, fair foreign investment rules, or even rule of law.

Japan is interesting - except they are stuck in a demographic "death spiral" of shrinking population, restricted immigration, and aging hyper-saving consumers.  Makes the currency and interesting bet, but the economy cannot grow if the consumers and producers are slowly all dying off.

So, basically, the USA is it.  And given that the US stock market has stretched valuations, and the US President might actually be clinically insane, that means market volatility is likely to continue, and most likely increase.  So, your last, best (or least-awful) choice is US T-bonds.  Or gold.   Real estate is ok, but the taxes can be fierce, just to hold the stuff.  And it is not liquid, like Treasury paper is.

So, it is probably just the fact that we have unwise people in charge, doing unwise things, that has induced investors to bid up long-dated Treasury paper.  And it is at least not *negative* yielding paper, eh? (like something close to 18 trillion $'s worth of gov't paper apparently is from other nations. Hard to believe that number, but it is being widely reported.  I wonder if it is true?)

We hold a portfolio of stocks, because we must generate some meaningful income, and 2 percent yield will just not do it.  But we are not yield hogs, and we are not greedy.  And things are much, much more *fluid* than most people realize.  Google and Facebook could be simply legislated out of existence overnight.   I don't think folks would man the barricades to protect a few fat American billionaires.   And the French "Digital Tax" might accomplish the same objective.  Personally, I think it would be hilarious if we in North America could put a huge tarrif on all French products - even their fine wine.  Australia, Chile and even California are making better wines that the French make, and our Canadian Brie, Chedder and other cheeses are better also.  The world could live fine without *any* French products, and it would be amusing to see Macron's response when his exports fell to almost nothing.  The man is just a tax-generator, and he should resign before he does any more damage to France.  The French should try an experiment in *much smaller government*, at least once in their history, perhaps before they blow up yet another "republic".  

In all honesty, I just don't see the "Euro" lasting too much longer.  It has been a great experiment, and it should continue.  But given the nature of European politics and the data from European history, I don't see it being possible.  Please disagree, if you wish.  I hope I am wrong.  The "Euro" is a good idea, and a pan-European free-trade zone is an obvious good idea.  But something really stupid - like the French proposed "Digital Tax" - could induce breakdown of the pan-European free-trade model.  The whole European economic model strikes me as curiously fragile.  

So really, if you have big international sums, there is really no other place to invest than US T-bonds.  That may be why the US yield-curve has "inverted".  If Trump could be replaced by  Pence, and the US stock-market could stop getting blind-sided by idiotic, ill-thought-out knee-jerk policy moves, then market stability might return.  And if this could happen, the US market could move a *lot* higher, I suspect - the old Dow 35,000 forecast from many years back, might be within striking distance.   But stable politics will have to prevail in Washington, and that may or may not happen.   Time will tell, as it always does!

[Aug. 22, 2019] - Fix Gnome Screen on CentOS-7   Modern software can be funny.  The Gnome desktop (default with CentOS-7 install) is really good, but it includes a two fat bars at screen top and bottom.  Every developer that writes a display thing, puts redundant title crap at the top of his display, so by the time you have started a GUI interface, are in a browser, and are looking at a page or running an app, sometimes 1/3rd of your screen real-estate has been consumed by titles and footers, menu-bars, and other redundant summary gunk.

Gnome is really a nice windowing GUI, but the new version has fat-bars at screen top and bottom, which just adds to the screen-space scarcity.  But the Gnome bars can both be removed.  A simple "rpm -qa | grep gnome" tells me I am running Gnome-classic-session version 3.28.1-5. 

What I did was to create 4 shell script files, that can be run at command-line terminal mode:

To Remove or Restore the Top Gnome Menu-bar:

------------------------------------------

#!/bin/bash
dbus-send --print-reply --session --type=method_call --dest=org.gnome.Shell /org/gnome/Shell org.gnome.Shell.Eval string:'Main.panel.actor.hide();'

#!/bin/bash
dbus-send --print-reply --session --type=method_call --dest=org.gnome.Shell /org/gnome/Shell org.gnome.Shell.Eval string:'Main.panel.actor.show();'
------------------------------------------

For the bottom bar (which shows active windows and workspaces), it is a bit more tricky. You have to disable the default Gnome shell extension that shows this stuff (by changing it's name), and then log out and log back into X-windows/Gnome.  Note: you can still use the Alt-Tab key combo to view windows, same key-sequence as Windows-from-Microsoft uses. - Hold the Alt key down, press Tab to flip thru your open windows)

What we do here, is disable the windows-list shell extension.  You have to log out and log in to your Gnome session to see the bar gone (or restored).

Remove or Restore the Bottom Window-list Gnome Bar

-------------------------------------------

#!/bin/bash
sudo mv /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/window-list@gnome-shell-extensions.gcampax.github.com /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/window-list@gnome-shell-extensions.gcampax.github.com.bak

#!/bin/bash
sudo mv /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/window-list@gnome-shell-extensions.gcampax.github.com.bak /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/window-list@gnome-shell-extensions.gcampax.github.com

-------------------------------------------

If you want the bottom Gnome menu bar gone forever, you can just "yum remove" the gnome shell extension:

yum remove gnome-shell-extension-window-list

Haven't tried that, as I like to be able to toggle this stuff off and back on later, if I need it.

 

[Aug. 18, 2019] - Banking on Banks. Prof. Ng of Stanford suggests AI's cannot likely be used effectively to gain a market edge, given the inherent randomness of market price movements.  You can check out the defn's re. "random walk" theory here:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/randomwalktheory.asp

There is also a note about using genetic algorithms to forecast market price movements:

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/financial-theory/11/using-genetic-algorithms-forecast-financial-markets.asp

I have not reviewed this "investopedia" site in detail.  These links are for the curious, and I do not endorse anything specific.  In fact, it is critical to be very skeptical about everything on the internet now, as there is so much fraud and disinformation circulating.  Some Spanish couple tried to scam me in the parking-lot at a shopping mall today (the guy wanted to sell me his "gold" ring).  A good reply to use is "I only carry credit cards - don't even have any cash on me..."  (which was true, actually..)

What I find, is that the daily market price-movements are *mostly* random - or sufficiently non-deterministic so as to appear random - but not always.  Sometimes, a true bull market appears, and everything in a sector is bid up.  Sometimes, fear and loathing grip investors in a particular area or sector, and all stocks are offered-down rapidly.  The quick-footed trader can exploit this non-random action.

Also, mis-pricings still occur, and these are clearly non-random, and can be exploited.  I saw this happen all the time in small stocks with ticker-symbols similiar to big, fast-moving fashionable stocks.  Also in the bond-market.  I bought some bank-issued monthly-pay bonds thru a broker, and these things were priced at par to yield 5% annual.  I knew we were heading into a long period of declining interest rates, and so I bought all I could.   The broker's who sold these things then tried to mark them down, quoting them at 92 bid, suggesting that I had a big loss on the purchase.  This was an aggressive mis-pricing.  I offered to purchase any and all bonds they had at that price.  Of course, they were not selling, so I knew the price was bogus.  The brokers controlled the market, and the "bonds" were basically bank-paper that didn't even seem to have a prospectus.  They were long-dated (10 or 20 years, or something, but the bank had the option to redeem in just a couple of years, which of course they did.   Because the selling brokers were the only guys to make a market, they just took advantage of that fact.  

Basically, retail folks face wide spreads and frequent mis-pricings in the "market" for bonds.  The problem with bonds, is there really is not "bond market" - no central place where bonds can be bought and sold, and this fact is exploited aggressively by banks and brokers.   You can see it in the *wide* spreads that prevail, when a pseudo-market is published (ie. bid-ask prices for fixed-income paper).

Bonds are really wonderful instruments.  But the crazy low interest rates mean that anything you buy now, is basically a "certificate of capital confiscation".  If rates remain low, your return won't even cover inflation, and your capital will just be eroded.  And if rates move up, and you have bought long-dated paper (ie. 10 or 20 years bonds), your bonds will just be priced down aggressively, and you will have to wait 10 or 20 years to recover your invested cash.

The upshot of all this, is that ordinary saver/investors are forced into more risky investments, such as stocks.  Dividend yields on Canadian bank stocks are very attractive - over 5% in some cases - and the loan portfolios of these banks are pretty good - with typical loan-to-value rates of 75/25% for most mortgages they write.  And the banks are subject to monthly capital reporting requirements by the Federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which is Canada's macroprudential regulator.  This prevents the banks from getting offside re. their capital, and this fact offers real comfort to bank investors here.   Many of the major pension funds, as well as insurance companies and mutual-funds hold bank equity, so there is a large constituancy that seeks to maintain financial market stability and the dividend payouts that are associated with that stability.

We've seen the Canadian banks sell off, in response to the curious policy-making actions of the US Government, and it's President.   We view Mr. Trump's behaviour as unwise and disturbing, but recognize that this may be another one of those non-random "mis-pricing" scenarios.  Markets tend to over-react when politicians behave badly - and badly-behaved politicians are a common threat that all people in every country must deal with. 

Unless folks stop paying their mortgages (which in Canada is unlikely, given the shortage of available-to-purchase properties, continued in-migration, and high real-property prices), the banks should remain well-capitalized, with Basel ratios that typically exceed regulatory requirements.  Bank profitabilty remains high, and dividend payout ratios are around 40 to 50% of earnings, so the attractive dividends are probably safe.   Unless there is an ugly collapse in global trade (which we recognize could happen), the banks (and the phone companies) are probably a wise place for yield-seeking conservative investors to consider.

We are not offering investment advice here, but as market-savvy techno-economics fintech hackers, we felt it was prudent to suggest that there might be a mis-pricing opportunity shaping up here.   A collapse in real-property prices seems unlikely, as it appears to be real demand by folks who want to move-in-and-live-there that is causing high house prices.   And with the Canadian dollar at a massive 25% discount to the US dollar, employment and business opportunities seem to be signifcant and growing.  I was at the local regional airport, and was surprised at the activity.  A secure and modern "international" terminal building has been built, and small twin-jet commerical flights are running.   The general-aviation section, with a busy flight-school, was running flat out, with numerous aircraft doing runups, and circuits.  Some fellow was even doing circuits in a two-seater gyrocopter.

Everyone everywhere seems to be driving new cars and trucks, and all roads are busy.  New subdivisions of detached houses are sprouting in farm-fields like mushrooms, and infrastructure upgrades to the major controlled-access highways seems to be happening everywhere.  And the major highways are literally jammed with trucks and other commercial vehicles.  At the airport, the Flight School was apparently acquiring another Diamond aircraft.   I had never even heard of these - but apparently they are made in Canada, and are nice to fly.

https://www.skiesmag.com/news/diamond-canada-set-soar-2018-3-production-lines/

The suspicion that I have, is that bank profits are probably safe, the capital of the banks is sufficient, and the strength of the economy (which is what really backstops the bank capital), seems good.  If loan values are stable, and the mortgages are being paid, then bank dividends will be paid and most likely increased slightly as time goes by.  And this has been the history of the big Canadian banks, going back to the 1920's, and even before.   The "branch banking" model has been very successful in Canada (it was an import from Scotland, actually), and now, all the banks have effective and usable internet-based online banking systems.

So, if a low-risk long bond yields 2 percent, then maybe a good dividend-payer should probably offer at least twice that, to compensate for the risk of holding more-volitile equity.  But at the currently discounted bank-stock prices, the yields are well above 5%.  If the bank-stock dividend yields are dialed down to 4% range, then a substantial upshift in stock price would have to occur.

Not that this is investment advice.  But I just can't see the case for the "Great White Short" that has Cdn bank stock prices falling.  You really want to short a business that everybody needs and uses, is making billions in profit every three months, and pays out over 40% of that profit to its shareholders, as tax-attractive dividends? 

We remain fully-invested, long, mostly in Cdn banks, since it seems to be the best game in town - especially when those dividends come in.  😀

[Aug. 17, 2019] - Make Your Own Horseshoes. We are located deep in farm country, which is wonderful - but can be difficult at times. Several nearby neighbours are Mennonites, and some only use horses & wagons for transport (but they run big John Deere tractors in the fields). 

One must be self-reliant on a farm.  And we are also embedded within a high-cost/high-tax economy, so any chance to internalize costs pays off twice (you save money, & you avoid having to pay the taxes on the required earnings.)   If one takes a vehicle to a shop for repairs, the bill is often 4 figures, and that 4-figure amount must be acquired from somewhere - either as business income (fees), labour compenstation in a high-cost urban setting (wages), or profits from speculative investments (risk + income-tax + transaction-costs + slippage-costs).   

So, when the alternator on our F-150 pickup truck failed, I decided to replace it myself.  There was one (yes, 1) F-150 re-manufactured alternator available at the local Parts-Source store, so I removed the one from the truck (a 2005 F-150 with 180,000 km on it) and swapped it for the "newish" one (it looked brand-new - nice job of re-manufacturing, actually).  The cost was $254.00 (Cdn$), which is a fierce price, given what is available on US websites, but the attraction here was they actually had the thing in stock. 

I brought it home and installed it in the F-150, which hopefully now will operate without draining the battery.  Our F-150 has the 4.6 litre V8, and the alternator is located right at the top/front of the engine, so accessing it was not too difficult. Probably it was just dead diodes in the old one, but swapping in a new unit is usually the fastest/cheapest route to go.  I found this site with pictures of an F-150 alternator replacement, which was a big help (I had never done this job before).

https://www.f150online.com/forums/articles-how-s/483532-2004-2008-alternator-replacement-w-pics.html

The truck in above link looks to be a 4.2 litre V8, but is very close to what we have.  The tricky part is getting the 1/2 inch socket-wrench pushed into the idler-pulley at engine-front, and pulling up on the tensioning pulley so it loosens the "serpentine belt"  (the flat-belt that drives all the auxilury motors bolted on to the engine front - in the old days, this was called the "fan belt"). 

In addition to the alternator (which can put out 100 amps, apparently, a truly impressive current), the air-conditioner and power-steering motors are driven by the serpentine-belt, which wraps aruond the main engine flywheel. 

Modern vehicles are a lot like modern software - a basically good idea, well-designed, but then with a whole bunch of extra tweezots and doo-dads bolted on to the original baseboard-system, so that a complex, whirling collection of modules is held together by flanges, pipes, wires and tubes.  It is truly amazing that the whole whirling assemblage stays running for even a few minutes, really.   And like modern software, it takes only a tiny failure, deep inside one of these auxilury modules, to bring the entire system crashing-down to a non-functional state. 

In the case of my F-150, it was probably a semi-conductor failure - a diode or two (I think there are three) inside the alternator fails, and the battery cannot be kept charged, and the sparks cannot be produced at the spark-plugs to keep the engine running.  I'm coming back from the airport, and suddenly, all the needles on all the instruments drift down to zero,  "WTF ?!?"...  The engine runs for a few more minutes, on the final few amps in the battery, and I limp into a gas-station, where the truck dies completely.  Fortunately, I have a small 2000 watt inverter-generator in the back of the truck, and a plug-in 120volt battery charger.  I deploy this equipment, charge the battery for 20 minutes, and we get another 10 miles down the road, before the same scenario repeats - gauges fail, battery dies, truck stops.  I think we had to stop and charge the battery at least 7 or 8 times, before we made it home.   Completely silly, but massively cheaper than calling a flat-bed tow-truck to transport the dead pickup. 

As I said, one must be self-reliant in these curious times.   And so now, instead of working on software today, I am off to road-test the F-150 with the new alternator, and see if it now works properly.  Fingers crossed... 

PS: My F-150 looks a bit like the "Buckaroo Banzai" vehicle that could run-up into the "8th dimension", so I am quite fond of it.  I looked at a fancy little Mercedes SUV yesterday, but I am leaning to just keeping the old Ford running.  The F-150 is a 4x4, and it's a bit like having a personal PANZER, really.  I quite like driving the thing.

[Aug. 16-17, 2019] - GE: Flip Side.  Always be willing to consider the flip side.  If human actions and human plans trump the numbers, then the mini-crash of GE back to "hat-size" (7 & 7/8ths) which we saw yesterday, was an opportunity.  Today, GE is trading in the $8.70 - $8.80 range.   If one had picked up a few thousand GE at $7.60 to 7.70 yesterday, one would have a nice position.  You could cash out quickly for a small gain, or plan to hold and see if a combo of forbearance plus old-fashioned turn-around might play out.  The later has a reasonable chance, given the roughly 1 million folks who are getting cashflow from GE in one form or another.

The GM fiasco shows that Gov'ts generally don't let employment-generating BigCo's fail anymore.  And in this bizzarro-world of high-speed fiat-currency creation, combined with low or no inflation and negative-yielding bonds, then Central Banks can fund national debt, military adventures, and bankrupt-company bailouts without appearing to hurt their national economies.  So the solution to the GE fraud might end up being a bunch of hand-waving and Harry-Potter-style money-creation, and <POOF!>; "Here's a hundred billion to make up what you lost, and please don't do it again."   

There is actually a theory that says: "bad banking made America great" - ie. the westward expansion of the railroads was funded mostly by schemes that were basically money-creation, and as long as the fiat-funny-stuff was accepted as tender, then everybody was employed, and capital-stock+infrastructure got created right where it needed to be built.  Most of the small State and City and Town Banks were little more than legal Ponzi schemes, and most were functionally bankrupt most of the time.  But as long as no-one called the loans, then business activity could tick along nicely at a brisk pace, and towns and roads and mines and ranches got built, and cattle and grain and cotton got produced and sent to the market.  This theory suggests that "bad banking was good business practice", as it kept low-quality cash in rapid circulation, which ensured full employment and robust consumer and household demand.

It's seems pretty counter-intuitive, but the theory and the data seem to match.  Booms and panics - and even wars - are part of the process, and are to be expected.  Some will get rich, and some will go broke, and many will be given the opportunity to quietly prosper.  If this economic picture is really true, then the GE fraud-fest is just par-for-the-course.   This is basically "Dr. Strangelove" Economics - Stop worrying, and learn to love the "crash-burn-phoenix-boom <repeat>" economic model of the USA, just like Dr. S. suggested we do with those new, clear, weapons.

Certainly, a long position from $7.58 yesterday on GE, and the $8.67 to $8.70 which is market now, would have been a profitable trade.  One has to learn not to argue with the market.  And what the market is saying, is that GE might survive AND might not even have to wipe out it's shareholders, General Motors-style.  And this is interesting.  Perhaps a combo of zero-interest gov't money, aggressive forbearance by KID and others, and a lot of good luck, might just turn the big bloated ship around.   Certainly, the market is voting with some clarity and visibility, no?

PS: As I was writing this, a snake crawled thru the screen door, into the bedroom-office.  I caught it and tossed it outside.   Dogs were excited - much fun...  But the girls are not happy... 😀

[Aug. 16, 2019] - Cheaters Prosper.  We've had our Wi-max link re-aligned to a different cell-tower, and the internet connection might actually work consistantly now.  Time and traffic stats will tell.  What is curious, is how awful everything on the 'net has become. 

Broadcasting has become narrow-casting, and fraud and deception and social-engineering & NLP trickery seems to be everywhere.  Actionable hard facts are hidden behind paywalls, so the art of social manipulation becomes easier each month.  And we are seeing the rise of reactionary, abusive regimes (think: Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.) that suppress free-speech, monitor everyone, imprison and/or murder critics, and so on.   The amazing internet, which first appeared to be an opportunity for social freedom and open dialogue, has been successfully morphed into a tool for mass-surviellance and social/economic assault. 

Curious, no?  But it is what we humans are.  We can weaponize anything, yes?  It's the "bomb-in-the-baby-carriage" problem...  I am surprised it took the Hong Kong folks this long to protest the abusive actions of the mainland Chinese.   If China wants to really surpass the United States, it needs to implement a real democratic government.  The Taiwanese have shown the way.  Having a *real* parlimentary process is difficult and sometimes very annoying - but it lets conflicts be resolved in the legislature, and not out on the street with violence. 

How many more painful, destructive episodes in China's long, sad, history of pain & cruelty will be necessary before they can figure out this "Round-Eye" thing, and make it work for themselves?

The Japanese finally figured it out (but it took the complete destruction of their country and the nuking of two of their cities before they grasped the truth of things).  But they got it finally, and Japan is a very nice place now - despite the deep flaws in their legal system.  (Whatever happened to Carlos Ghosn?  Did they just kill him or something? )

America itself is risking delusional self-assault in it's stupid and pointless conflict with Iran.  A wise US leader would attempt to work with the Iranians to try to stabilize the mess in Afghanistan, but Mr. Trump and his henchmen are bent on more conflict, which is very stupid, if you want to withdraw your troops (which is probably a good idea).

The GE thing is so bad, all one can do is laugh.  That company has a debt-load of over 100 billion US dollars.  And the financial evidence suggests that in the last 25 years, GE has destroyed roughly 100 billion US dollars of value.  Curious coincidence?  GE would buy and sell companies, and play the "conglomerate" game - but they did not really add value anywhere.  They appear to be just a big machine that *extracted* value.  They didn't *build* the American economy - they just mined it.   And the curious accounting rules in USA-land allowed them to borrow and borrow to fund this amazing, long-run extraction.  Their "CEO" types all left with suitcases stuffed with million-dollar bills, but they left behind a progressively hollowing shell, like the boys at Lehman Brothers did.  (Didn't Dick Fuld extract something like $500 million from Lehman?)

See, this is what happens to most BigCo's.   We watched it happen here, with the Nortel fiasco.  Nortel was nurtured and built carefully over a long time, by some clever, hard-working people.  But the *executive* staff (many of whom went on trial for their crimes, but the case was "not proven" sadly), simply ran the place as an extractive entity to fill their own pockets, as many senior executive-types do.   Nortel should have sold out to Cisco, but instead it *bought* Bay Networks, which was beyond stupid - an example really of "hyper-stupid".  But probably not for the top scammers, who "bonused" themselves for their foolishness.

Sadly, although it is the bent-boys and girls at the top that commit the financial crimes, it is always the shareholders who are the ones who get hurt the most when these BigCo's get hollowed-out by the CEO's "value-extraction-squads".

This is really why guys like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk and so on, can be so successful - because, despite their errors and human weaknesses - they are honest and truly want to build something that works and makes a difference.  They are rare guys.   Compare those guys to the arrogant fraudsters that ran Enron, Lehman, Nortel and the other massive fraud-failures who obfuscated, misled, and cheated as they filled their pockets and then buggered-off with the cash they had looted from the shareholders.

They call it "financial analysis" but really, there is actually "human analysis" that must be done also.

[Aug. 15, 2019 - PM] - The Massive GE Fraud - If you look back thru this blog, you can find where I forecast GE stock price to "hat size".  [Update:: It was Oct. 30, 2018]  I did that forecast just on price-movement observations.  Today, we are reading Harry Markopolos's GE report, and it is shocking. It is also damn good writing and looks to be damn fine analysis.  The history of GE is interesting. It was actually a combination, in which A. Edison was involved with creating, and put together to attack Tesla and Westinghouse, and stop their A/C electricity system from being used.     It then evolved into a bloated conglomerate, run by typical "CEO" types who fill their pockets at the expense of shareholders, and talk fluff & smooth-trash while they smile.  Nothing new there. 

But the scope and scale of the current fraud is shocking, if Markopolo's information is accurate.   And this 175-page report is full of hard facts, not CEO-speak, fluff-talk, or trumped-up lies, as we so often find in modern public documents.  Read this report - even if you don't care about GE.  It is well written.  It is guys like Henry Markopolos, and other "truth talkers" who make America great, not the political a$$holes who blowfart smoke & lies from the podium.   Here is URL to the Markopolos GE report:

http://fm.cnbc.com/applications/cnbc.com/resources/editorialfiles/2019/8/15/2019_08_15_GE_Whistleblower_Report.pdf?mod=article_inline

[Aug. 14-15, 2019] - Down 801 on the DJIA

The problem with a market-tracking AI, is that it has to be a "ceteris paribus" machine, and yet most interesting market events, result from exogenous economic burpfarts that are hard to see coming. This is why even genius speculators like Jesse Livermore and so many others, eventually get smashed like a bowl of eggs.  (More detailed tests show that my Xerion-based AI device is slightly better than random.  Not good enough to forecast - but better than random, so the technique could still be useful.  More data is needed.)

But really, the only way to deal with the real market-moving action, is to do scenario construction and analysis - and then take aggressive action with aggressive risk control.  The path to success is so narrow, and the alternate strategies that lead to destruction are so many and manifest in so many different ways, that it is almost beyond belief.  Combine the market with selfish, arrogant political folk and other self-interested gangster-types, and it is a wonder that we all aren't fighting in the streets every few months. (I guess in many countries, this is the case, no?)...  Our evolved systems have evolved as they have, for true reasons. 

I wonder, can we even truly assign probabilities to future events, based on past observations?  A roulette wheel or a deck-of-cards is defined and "ludic".  But any future event is wide-open, and many lifetimes of previous action, may not have anything useful to say about what might occur.  This seems so axiomatic and obvious - and yet - all the analysis and model-building and VAR stuff is built using assumptions that past action does let us see the range or distribution of the possible.  So really, we are still flailing about in darkness. 

I fear for the future of America.  Once one is on the top, all paths lead down, no?  One of my completely crazy scenarios involves a series of US cities destroyed or damaged by nuclear attack - except there is zero evidence of who, or what launched the attack, or where it even came from.  This could make America go crazy, like a bunch of caged monkeys. 

We saw this happen in 2001.  NYC and Washington were attacked by a group of Saudi Arabs, and the USA bombed and invaded Iraq - an act of pure, extreme, insanity.  If I were a Russian operative, and wanted to damage China (a rich and powerful nuclear-armed neighbour), an effective way to do this, might be a "false-flag" (with the fake "flag" well-hidden), attack on USA, but faked to look like a China-funded rogue attack.  Of course, this is another crazy, and extremely unlikely scenario...  But these are strange times, no?

Does 200 years of growth and building strength, mean more growth and building strength?  Or does each passing year move you closer to the edge of the event horizon, where death, destruction & oblivion awaits?   No wonder the poor bastards on this wet planet invent all these stupid religions.  What else can they do?   Really, our range of possible wise action is so very small.  Wisdom is rare now.  Abusive emotion-triggering rhetoric works to sway public opinion so easily now.

And political leaders are the worst offenders, as they spout and foam, but it is almost always just arrogant puffery.  And the news - it is little more than lies, gossip and/or personal opinion, so it is worse than useless.  And even the hard numbers get faked and tweaked ("Seasonal adjustment" and "removal of outliers") - bloody statistical folks are as bad as the the crooked pols, since they massage all the data, so it fits their little pet theories of the world, and hides the useful and interesting.  <big sigh...>

We remain embedded in a maelstrom of deception and fraud, and are tasked with navigating to a safe-harbour of prosperity, and truly, this is not easy, as there be so many dragons and pirates and storms along the way.  {-.)__(.-}

Found a nice NASA site with some cool Martian images.  And at Costco, we got to try a bunch of synthetic "meat".  Not bad, actually.  (Hint: It's the future, folks.)  But I couldn't find any Soylent Green.  Next time, maybe.

As we made our way back thru farm country (from the main airport - the big 6-lane main highway totally jammed and un-drivable), we saw fine farms, with much good produce.  But the financial markets are being Trump-Trashed, and I fear that silly Mr. Real-Estate-Boy might have triggered a market meltdown.  Time will tell, but we here are in full-on defensive mode now.  (No margin / no debt of any kind - not counting my cell-phone bill...) 

Let's turn our view outwards:  Here are Martian clouds, from the Insight Mission, April 2019.  Drifting Shadows on the Red Planet...

https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/multimedia/images/?page=0&per_page=25&order=pub_date+desc&search=&category=51%3A183&fancybox=true&url_suffix=%3Fsite%3Dinsight

Mars is a pretty grim place, but it is lifeless and available, and not too far away.   As a species, we must look outward, and move outward, or face social collapse and self-destruction.

[Aug. 14, 2019] - Gaming the Close - In case anyone hasn't noticed, most daily stock trading takes place algorithmically & electronically, and with much of it happening in the very last 7 or 8 seconds of the trading day.  Some companies I follow do *most* of their trading during this violent little window, for many reasons.  One effect of this trickery, is to lock-out any participation of small, stat-arb retail types from the market.  Your little fingers simply cannot type quick enough!  Such is life.

But nothing new is happening here.  The pros and the market-makers have always had advantages, and they always will.  And with an increasingly dysfunctional USA driving global market activity, we can expect to see more clever tricky, more often.

The fear that crafty old economists have, is that the rising instabilities created by this violent, end-of-day nanosecond trading game-playing, will bite us all on the backside in more yet-unpredictable ways. It might even damage the game itself.

And just as I started looking into this in a bit of detail, we get a perfect example of EOD (End-of-Day) scamming - again by fiddling the price-feed data.   See, this trick - is similar to an old "Bucket-Shop Drive" - a 120-year old scam that relies on the nature of electronic data-distribution to active market participants.  You might think this sort of thing is a new phenomenon, but it is not new.  "Painting the tape" with temporarily shifted prices - is a very effective "market manipulation."

But please realize - you cannot really "manipulate" the market.  You can transmit false news, or you can buy and sell in the market.  Any and all action will "manipulate" the price.  The concept of "market manipulation" is actually complete nonsense.  Prices move when bid and offer prices are changed, and trades occur at different price points.  Buying is buying and selling is selling.

You cannot "manipulate" the market - but what you can do is fiddle, delay, alter or rig the market data feeds, or publish lies or fake news.  Or take some market action to temporarily jump or dump the price point, to trigger some price-watching program or process.   If you buy and sell, you buy and sell.  The bad/bent stuff happens if you can hack the data-feeds, or transmit and/or publish false information.    (Yes, you can rig "wash trades", but that is still hard to do, especially in a fast, electronic markets.  And what is the difference between a "wash" and a "hedge"? One man's "wash" might be another's legitimate "hedge"...).  But a temporary price spike or drop, will require stock be actually bought or sold - and the price action might turn out to be not so temporary, if the market is actually weak or strong.

But the history of markets is the history of professional "tricks".  And tweaking prices - even for only a few moments - is an old and very profitable way of shifting money from the "customers" to the "pros".  It is a way for the "House" to exploit it's edge over the gamblers who place wagers.  Consider today (Aug. 13, 2019), where the price of Google and Apple were fiddled right at the close.  This was a "fat-finger" accident?  I rather doubt it.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/traders-see-price-errors-close-210242576.html

Apple jumps from 208 to 200 - right during the little nano-trading-window at the close, and then - oopsy - back to 208?  Alphabet (Google's parent) does something similar.   Oh sorry, just a "data error".   Except how may stat-arb programs got triggered?  How many stops got hit?   This was an "accident"?  

I have no direct knowledge of what happened.  But let me refer you to pages 17 to 19 (first chapter) of "Reminiscenses of a Stock Operator", by Edwin Lefevre, published in 1923.  His protagonist "Larry Livingstone", is short 3500 shares of "Sugar" at 105 1/4, and it has fallen to 103.  Mr. Livingstone has a nice profit (almost $7000 (and in 1901 US dollars!)), but he see's the trading start to "not act right", and manages to close his position, before the single quote of "Suger" at 108/share comes down the wire.  That single quote would have wiped him out (the bucket-shop "house" would have won), but Livingstone smelled a trick, saying "I had a feeling there was a trap in the neighbourhood.", and he closed his short-postion trade at 103 before the single 108/share price came down the wire on the telegraph-ticker (after which, the price returned to 103/share).

So let me just say: I smell a trap here also.  The problem with the US markets now, is that "I-had-a-feeling-that-there-was-a-trap-in-the-neighbourhood" sensation, is becoming all too common.  And let us also remember that the real fellow "Larry Livingstone" is based on - the famous speculator "Jesse Livermore" - blew his brains out with a revolver in a New York restaurant on November 28, 1940, after losing all his money in the market, which he had done several times before.  (Read Richard Smitten's book: "Jesse Livermore - World's Greatest Stock Trader" after you read "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" to get the complete, true story.)

Just for the record, we remain long and fully invested, but we have no US stocks, and no US dollars.  We looked at the USA from across the Niagara River yesterday, with some trepidation.  Things looks OK for now.  One of our holdings reports in US dollars - Barrick Gold.  We acquired that a while back, and what the merger with Randgold, it seems to be doing ok.  We are encouraged to see gold back above $1500 US/oz, but also a bit scared, as this offers evidence to our growing fear of fiat currency valuations.  The peso collapse in Argentina reminds us of their collapse in 2001, and makes us sad, as does the delay on Brexit (We believe the Brits are wise to re-establish a clear sovereign structure), and are encouraged to see Mr. Trump stand down from engineering more US economic dislocation.  And we note with relief the surprising wisdom being shown by US Federal Reserve analysts.

Also, should the US stock market suffer a significant price collapse, we would view this as an opportunity to establish some positions in US stocks.  Despite its problems and curious dysfunction, we continue to feel that the USA remains a beacon of freedom and sanity in a crowded and angry world.  Freedom is always a bit dangerous. 

[Aug. 13, 2019] - Donald Trump's "Bucket-Shop Drive"  -  If you follow economic history, you will recognize what we are talking about here.  In the early days of the US stock market history, there were "Bucket Shops", which would let customers trade shares on the New York Stock Exchange - but would not actually execute trades - they would just keep the orders in a "bucket".  The customers would trade on very thin margins, and if the share price reacted against their position, beyond a certain price, they would be wiped out, and get nothing.  If they "bought" stock, the price had to advance before they could make any money.  If the price faded too quickly, they would exhaust their margin (often only a dollar or two/share), and lose all. 

Share amounts traded were small, and it was basically a simple "casino", where the house had a massive advantage.

But sometimes, if a share price movement was clear and obvious (either a bear market with constantly falling prices, or a bull market with constantly rising prices), the majority of customers could be making money, and this would damage the business of the "Bucket Shop".  So, the Bucket-Shop operators would trade a short term large position on the real NYSE, and move the price temporarily enough to wipe out the majority of their customers. These manipulative trades - which were actually done on the exchange - would see a share price fall or rise several points very quickly, only to settle back later to where it was.  But the movement was sufficient to wipe out most of the Bucket-Shop customer's margins, thereby ensuring a fat gain for all the Bucket-Shops.  In the late 1800's and early 1900's, short-term "flash-crash" shifts in stock price values, were typically termed "Bucket-Shop drives", as folks caught-on to what was happening.

And, of course, there were real traders who could also engineer situations where rapid price movements - temporarily - could be very profitable - just as there are today, eg. with the various options and index-futures markets.   If traders trade with "stop-loss" orders, then these orders can be hit, if the share prices are shifted enough, so that professional traders can acquire inventory - or close positions - in quite profitable ways, if they can engineer a quick - but temporary - movement in price.  Basically, "Flash Crashes" - rapid, violent share-price movements - are nothing new.

So what about Mr. Trump and the big "China-Trade Bucket Shop Game"?  Does it not seem possible that perhaps some folks in Saudi Arabia might have had advanced knowledge of Mr. Trumps hostile "Tweets"?

If Elon Musk can get in trouble for news-faking the price of Tesla shares, what of Mr. Trump's actions?   The violence done to the American stock markets by Mr. Trump's curious China tariff-threats certainly looks like an old-fashioned "market manipulation".

It might be an interesting and educational exercise to see just who has benefited from the aggressive market disruption that the US President has engineered.

We here have no direct knowledge of any of Mr. Trump's agents or others who might have had advanced information about the "China Bucket-Shop Drive", but certainly the entire "Policy by Tweet" strategy Mr. Trump is using, certainly looks like "fake news/market manipulation" - and for anyone with advanced knowledge of what was to occur, it certainly could have been extremely profitable. 

What a curious world we have now.

And on the subject of "currency manipulation" (more "fake news"?), here is an excellent technical article on why intervention in the currency markets is *very bad idea*.  Floating-exchange rates, with the rates set by market activity, are difficult sometimes, but intervention is *much worse*.   We have learned this.  Here is link to the article, via the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, an excellent site for US public finance data, as well as market prices and analysis:

https://www.moneyandbanking.com/commentary/2019/8/4/just-say-no-to-exchange-rate-intervention?utm_source=econ-academics-widget&utm_medium=widget&utm_campaign=econ-academics-widget

Please take care, and stay safe, whatever your game.

[Aug. 8, 2019] -  The trading platform we use is down.  Hilarious.  The bank switched from running the systems themselves (which worked pretty good), to sub-contracting their trading platform operation out to IBM.  It has been a disaster, and we are thinking of changing platforms, which will be a pain.   One really needs to keep a sense of humor here.  We have remained long thru the meltdown, as the V-shaped recovery was expected - but the intermediate term - the next 6 months to 2 years, is looking different.   Trump wins because there does not seem to be any serious competition at the top.  The Dems are proposing old men and fools, and the strident socialist rhetoric from them disturbs wise folks.   But we are in a very strange landscape now.  There is so much anger and ignorance now everywhere.  And guys like Trump seem to be surfing on this ugly wave.   Curious.

Some good news is that the bodies of the two little scumbags who murdered the young couple on the Alaskan highway, and the botany professor, and drove to northern Manitoba, have been found.  The professor's burned out Rav4 Toyota was found, which the little criminals stole, and it looks like the two either shot themselves, or drowned in a large, fast-flowing river.  What a sad, awful world.   The parents of the two scumbags, should be sent invoices for the cost of the search, and all their assets should be siezed and given to the families of the murder victims. 

Nice to see the RCMP uphold it's long tradition of always catching the dirtbags they are seeking to apprehend.   The RCMP are a solid, professional police force, and they have the gratitude and respect of the citizens of Canada.  If you do a bad crime in Canada, and don't run away, you will almost certainly be caught and prosecuted.  So at least the families of the victims can feel some closure on the horror they have endured.

Stayed up late, running tests and evaluations on our main neural-net model, and the conclusion is that the evaluation dataset shows prediction accuracy not much better than random.  This despite the training dataset running from Feb 1995 to May 2017, and Xerion being able to train down on it quite well.  I had hoped that forecast accuracy rates might at least exceed 50% (ie. be better than a coin-flip), but this is not to be, it seems.

I wasn't trying to predict values - just get the sign right.  The training dataset included a cross-sectional slice of several price series, with a vector of time-series data for each series.  A transformation algorithm converted this data into trainable information, and Xerion was able to train down to roughly 91% accuracy, and do so consistantly.  But the various networks built and evaluated on a dataset from June 2017 to Aug. 2019, shows forecast accuracy of between 44 and 47%, depending on the network weight-data used.  (I took the 3 best networks, and ran those weights against the evaluation dataset).  This evaluation dataset is big enough that it provides a meaningful evaluation.

But the evaluation results  are no better than a coin-flip - and in fact, are slightly worse.  If one uses a randomized network (where the weights are randomized between -1.0 and 1.0, and the same hyperbolic-tangent transfer functions are used for node-activation), the network reports typically a 37% to 42% accuracy rate.  So the trained network, running on the evaluation dataset, is only very marginally better than a pure, random-weight defined network.

And, really, this is shocking.  But not unexpected.  It is *very* difficult to get any sense of which direction a market will move in a few days from now, based on looking at recent price-series data points.   We know this, of course.   But I had hoped there might be a tiny edge visible in the data, which - given the cleverness of my transformation algorithm - the network might be able to uncover.  Early results suggested an accuracy rate of 53% to 56% might be possible (and that would have been enough), but the detailed evaluation run, against a respectable amount of evaluation data, suggests this is not to be.

- MCL, Aug. 8, 2019

[Aug. 7, 2019] - 7th day of the 8th month, and we are all now in a bit of trouble.  Mr. Trump has behaved in a foolish and unwise manner, and his actions have damaged the USA.  This damage has been un-needed.  I fear no one other than flash-traders will benefit from this absurd "Trade War" with China.  Do we always need "high crimes" and such to remove a out-of-control top-boss?  What about delusional behaviour and mental-breakdown? 

Should someone perhaps quietly explain to Mr. Trump where the keys to the strawberry-locker are located, and gently move him off-stage?  This man seems determined to create a financial "911", and perhaps something should be done to try to restore market and social stability.  We are now down 532 (or > 2.00%), (before 10:00 am) and we are reaching the point where this downturn could become self-sustaining.   Curiouser and curiouser - to see directly, and feel in one's own portfolio, with what little wisdom the world is governed.

Mr. Trump and his team seem determined to undo all the benefits generated by last year's tax cut.  It is quite an astonishing experiment - except the American people are the "lab rats", and I suspect they will fare badly in the outcome.  

But we are seeing some "history" here, eh?  It's like watching Nero burn Rome.   Something to tell your children about. 

Really, how much longer will the good people of America let this arrogant clown stay in charge?  Back in one of my previous lives, as a financial analyst in a brokerage firm, I was always impressed by the vetting that was done when a new team showed up and wanted to take their little enterprise public - typically on the junior market.  The folks running the firm would make each of the company officers submit to detailed background checks, and if a *bankrupt* was found among any of the company officers, that could disqualify them from being considered.

The idea was that guys who engineer "bankruptcy" are usually shit-artists, who don't pay their bills and are basically not honest, and you don't want to do business with those types. 

Well, America has a liar and a bankrupt in power as the top-boss now, and I fear that it is just plain gonna cost them.   Washington is starting to look like a Third-World shit-show now, (or worse - like Ottawa under the Liberals!).  And I just wonder how much longer this dogs-breakfast will be allowed to spill out everywhere, before some process is deployed to address the mess being made.

What good is "artificial intelligence" when the people in charge show little evidence of having any of the natural variety? 

So: Something actionable for the fans:  The economist in me says, like Lord Larry Kudlow, that the tariffs are probably survivalable, without too much damage being done.  USA needed a tax-uplift from somewhere, and this could have worked.  But the devil has been in the deployment.  Mr. Trump has triggered a meltdown, which given stretched valuations, was possibly lurking in the future also.  My inner economist says we will survive.  But my inner *trader* says something quite different, and suggests: "Dude, we are so fucked..."  (Trader's have foul mouths.)  "We are now looking at re-testing the Christmas Eve low of 21792 on the DJIA.  What reason now is there to buy?  The previous future picture  has been smashed to bits by Mr. Trump's sledgehammer, so until we see some *serious* bargains in equity-land, we just tick lower a bit each day, regardless of what the monkey-boys at the Fed do."  

And here's the rub:  It is my foul-mouthed inner-trader who makes the money, when I need to scrounge around for some currency-units to fund our existence on this wet mud-ball.  Mr. Economist helps me write valuation reports - but it is bad-tempered, foul-mouthed Mr. Trader - a cynical prick I don't like too much - who brings in the bucks.    What is interesting, is that this bifurcation is documented in the literature.  Famous Prof.  J. M. Keynes spoke of it quite eloquently (go read his stuff), and so did Jesse Livermore (who could make buckets in the stock market - but would give most of it back, with his commodity trades - esp. cotton).

The economists read the past ( bird entrails, tea-leaves, price-series, DCF valuation models, etc.), but the traders attempt to discount accurately the future picture - and that future picture is a wild chimera that lives in the collective mind.   Mr. Trump has taken a sledgehammer to that collective future-picture now, and all the King's Horses and all the King's Men, are not likely going to be able to re-assemble the broken bits.   The man is actually not really very clever.  (I had thought maybe he was.  But he looks now to be just another blowfart out of his depth.)  Mr. Trader says we stand good chance of re-testing DJIA Christmas Eve low of 21,792 (it was only 7 months ago) - and that is what, 4000 DJIA points south of where we are now?   Oh my.

[Aug. 6, 2019] - Soft rains this morning. But the dogs are ok, and radiation levels are low. 🙂 Go find a copy of the "Martian Chronicles" in your favourite "Used-Books" bookstore.   Or, thanx to Google, I found this link, which seems to have the complete text:  https://knigger.org/bradbury/the_martian_chronicles/lang/en/   [Note: This is a Russian site, and the English-language text here of Bradbury's work is the original 1950 version (and it is *not* the "bowdlerized" version).  Also, understand that "kniga" or кни́га is the word for "book" in Russian.  So "knigger" is a riff on "booker".  Clear on that?  Good.  This site also has Daniel Defoe's "Journel of the Plague Year" (published in 1722), but it is in Russian.  All English speakers should try to learn at least a little of the Russian language.   This would reduce misunderstandings and build needed trust between the English-speaking world, and the only remaining space-faring nation on this planet.  The NASA folks can send robots to Mars, but the Russians are the only one's able to put people up into space on a regular basis.   We are cheering for Elon Musk's team, but it is Soyuz that gets the job done - and without exploding into fiery bits!

And I am still waiting for "Rocket Summer".  😎 For me - climate change - at least from cold to warm - is always a good thing. 😉

[Aug. 5, 2019] - Now Trump is tweeting that the fall in the Yuan is because China is a "currency manipulator".  Now, I am prepared to grant the man some slack and even a bit of credit for trying to fix the bankrupt situation of US Federal finances - but the drop in Chinese currency is - ah - how can I put this? - exactly what one should expect, given the planned US policy moves.  

What I really don't understand is why these American "mass shooter" types go to shopping malls and downtown night-spots to commit their mayhem and mass-murder?  There have been 255 [as per GVA folks def'n of 4 or more shot, not counting the shooter]  mass-shootings in USA this year alone.  The numbers for previous years are also astounding: 2018: 340, 2017: 346, 2016: 382).  These numbers suggest a possible fucked-country phenomenon - similar to the old-fashioned fucked-company model that became a topic of discussion, back in the days of the dot-com bubble.  Some companies would just become complete shit-shows of disaster and be clearly tracking a path of obvious self-destruction.  Their employees would post details to "fuckedcompany.com" or some similar public website, and investors could at least have some actionable information of what was really happening.  Usually (almost always), the failure of a "fucked company" could be traced to gross management mis-steps.   Is Mr. Trump to blame for mass-shootings? No, of course not.  But something is wrong in the USA.

Let's be honest - many - maybe not most - but many, CEO's and executive-types are arrogant, incompetant blowfarts, much like top political people are.  They achieve temporary success thru a combination of bluster, deception, and outright fraud.  This is a sad truth, and this phenomenon is very well documented. 

Here, do a "thought experiment":  Let's assume that China's currency was *completely* free-floating, and that the yuan-dollar exchange rate was *completely* set by market forces.  Ok?  Got that?  Now, slap a big, cost-changing tax on the nations exports. What the would you expect to happen?  If you hammer trade with that big Trumpian sledgehammer, and trade falls, then of course the exchange-rate of the damaged-nation's currency will be expected to fall - and perhaps fall dramatically.  And this is what is happening. 

Mr. Trump is looking like a brain-crippled fool here, and is demonstrating a dangerous lack of understanding.  Really, the man seems to be showing signs of mental exhaustion and cognition-failure.  But I am not a medical doctor, so don't trust me on this. 

But if an angry country can show 255 mass-shootings by Aug. 5th, - why is it that not one of these terrible-awful events is ever directed at the special people who are making things happen?  All the victims are always unarmed innocents who are just trying to do some shopping or enjoy a night out, or go to a rock concert or something like that.  Or they are school kids.  As a social phenomenon, this is really strange.    I honestly wonder why, given the American prediliction for violence, that recently, *none* of these awful events ever target the people in power?   Where are the Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth types?   America has this long history of addressing political problems with ballistic measures.   Why so different now?

I truly hope Mr. Trump stays safe and secure.  I hope the Secret Service is on the job - and on the bounce.  Because history suggests that something ugly will occur, as the motivation for removing this curiously dangerous man, has now been dialed up several notches.  Mr. Trump is no Caesar, and he is certainly no Lincoln.  And the Dem's would doubtless agree that he is also no Kennedy.   But when the "change-agent-in-chief" is bringing change that appears to be targeting national prosperity and social-stability, then this pretty much always system-generates some sort of social process that is unleashed to offer a corrective solution.   And in good-old USA (no matter how broken it is - it still is our brothers and our cousins - family - and we love them even if they are bad), in USA, the solution to a delusional, out-of-control big-boss, is evident in the historical record.   One way or another, I suspect some sort of stability-seeking response will have to occur.  

Perhaps it will just be an accident - and then the god-believers can call it "the Judgement of Heaven", or that old Insurance-company term: "an Act of God."  

The solution to the "fucked-company" problem is often to change the CEO - before the situation becomes terminal for investors and employees alike.   What should the American people do?  What can they do?

[Aug. 4, 2019] - Hot, high summer now. Fine weather.  But strange, sad news from Texas & Ohio. If we won't talk honestly about what is broken, then it will be difficult to make the necessary repairs to our damaged social matrix.  The Left has made honest discussion about the wisdom of  mass-immigration of anti-Western-culture folks, quite impossible.   And the idiotic politics of "multi-culturalism", has rendered moot any chance to speak about or collectively reflect on the wisdom and beauty of the machinery of traditional Western Culture.   There were sensible reasons why sexual weirdness was restricted to private places - and not made a feature of modern "human rights" laws, for example.  But even a purely technical discussion on social-process and/or legal systems of adjudication, quickly becomes an ugly shouting match, or the target of political extremists.   The Left and its supporters shout: "Racist!  Sexist! Hate-Speech!... ", and demographic analysts and economists quietly leave the room, and the floor is held by screaming fools who will lead us to further, angry conflict, and away from any chance of crafting social solutions that make common sense.

We really are standing on Zanzibar now.

[Aug. 3, 2019] - What is also curious, is that the news-flow here is deeply distorted.  Dig a bit, and look for some hard, real numbers, and actually, the USA economy is looking bloody wonderful, in actual fact.  If you monitor the "usual suspects", then one gets a constant drumbeat of negative, terrible news.  But the reality in USA is a rising labour participation rate (now over 63% by official figures - but actually much higher in some regions - more like 75 % if one runs local surveys), and this is coupled with rising real wages - the average hourly wage in the USA is now just under $28.00 per hour ($27.98), and this is a number quoted in real dollars (not Cdn "dollarettes", or Pesos, Hong Kong dollars, etc.). 

Work a 7.5 hour day, and bring home over 200 US bucks.  Work for a week, and bring home over $1000 USD, if you can figure out a way to do it without getting deductions-at-source. 

The US numbers also show rising job numbers, rising consumer confidence, and rising sales of big-ticket items (like cars and SUV's).  So these folks can eat a small tax increase on imports without feeling it too much.  See:  The USA has no HST or Federal Sales Tax.  If they want to run a big military, and have massive subsidies (like the extra $12 billion for farmers, already on top of price-support schemes that are running between 25 to 45 billion, depending on how you add it up), then the fisc needs to be fattened.

In Cda, we run a full-on 13% HST - (known locally as the "Holy Sh/t! Tax", because that is what folks would say when they see the final costing for something they want to buy.   (I am trying to  purchase a tiny parcel of real-estate, and 13% HST will be added to the land cost, and to the lawyer's fees.  It is a killer big tax, but it at least does not crush savings rates, the way income-tax does.  Income-tax is the most toxic, awful economic concept ever invented.  It truly is an economic cancer that can slowly eat away the organs of prosperity in a complex, dynamic economy.)  If the State must tax, consumption taxes are a *much* better way to raise the funds.

But if you want to reduce income-tax rates to the high single digits, you need to run a consumption tax of some sort.  Mr. Trump has managed to figure out a way to hit the Yanks with a federal consumption tax of between 10% to 25% - and make it appear as if the Chinese are paying it!  This crazy trick might actually work.  The USA can pull its "functionally bankrupt" federal finances back from the brink, maintain a trading relationship with China, (these are tariffs - not explicit restrictions or import-license extensions, etc.), and wave the flag from a patriotic bandwagon - all at the same time, and not do too much damage to the economic expansion that is - without argument - still under way.   If the Federal Reserve is "accomodative", then the whole clever scheme might just work.   The USA can fund it's reduced income-tax rates (that is the primary driver of its current upward-trending economy), and at the same time, slide in a defacto 12% consumption tax, without anyone in the US even really seeing what is happening.

It all might just work.  See, somehow, the USA has to fund that massive, over-the-top military budget that keeps a lid on this crowded, violent world.  A 10% import tax on pretty much everything the USA imports, might just be the mechanism that accomplishes this goal.  If Canada can survive a brutal 13% HST, (that hammers consumers and low-income folks pretty hard here), AND punishing income-tax rates that can reach over 50%, and still get some stuff built, and something done, then the USA can easily eat this 10% - 25% import level on Chinese products.  Larry Kudlow might actually be right - the overall effect might be small enough that it does not really alter behaviour.  

A simple prediction:  These tariffs won't be removed.  The payoff for the Chinese, will be to get the 25% rate reduced to the 10% rate.  The Chinese will make a few concessions, both sides will declare the "Trade War" to be over, and a "status quo antibellum" will be declared - but with the Americans keeping their 10% import duties.  So obvious.  Where else will the cash come from?  This action will maintain the strength of the US currency (or at least won't weaken it), and a respectable source of consumption-tax revenue will be available to help fund the Seal Teams and jet fighters and aircraft carriers the USA - and the world - has come to rely upon.

The Dems can blow all the smoke they want to, and the Chinese will say things, but unless the USA creates a National Sales Tax or VAT or some damn thing like that, then these import taxes are likely to become like "income tax" - a temporary measure that became permanent. 

Why?  For the money, obviously! 😉

[Aug. 2, 2019] - Curiouser & curiouser.  Watched WTI oil-prices fall 7+% yesterday, and the US+Cdn stock market averages look like Niagara Falls, after Mr. Trump's little China-tariff "Tweets".  JHC, what a way to run a country.  Even the ancient Romans had a job position in their Government, called "Pontifex Maximus" - essentially a ceremonial position, but the role was to "build bridges between people and nations".

Technically, the Catholic Pope has that job today - but many forget that Julius Caesar also had the job.  It is interesting watching Mr. Trump achieve pollitical success by tearing apart the various trade and business linkages that took so long to create.  I admire Mr. Trump's plain speaking, except now, I fear he is becoming a bit too reckless. 

But it is aways easier to break stuff, than to build things.  To build, one needs planning, materials, careful attention to detail, and often a lot of hard work with many hands involved.  But to smash and destroy, all you need is something heavy to swing. And tariffs are an economic sledgehammer, let's be honest here.

And these China tariffs are just a tax on US consumers and businesses.  They will raise costs to US buyers, and slow down business activity.   The US Democrats could take Trump down easily in Nov. 2020, if they could field a real candidate - but they have become such a collection of juiced-up lefty-types and serial-deceivers, that Mr. Trump may well skate on thru to a second term. 

What a curious situation.  Yes, there will come soft rains.  Our cities won't be ruined. Life will still go on.  But perhaps drugged-up, violent, sad America - undisciplined and angry, abusive and confused - has seen it's best days, and must now begin the long, slow decline that so many pundits have forecast. 

That an American President would display such astonishing disregard for the interests of the American people, is very curious.  Mr. Trump is not stupid.  But his actions now appear designed to hurt American prosperity, and the markets are reacting to this new reality.  The chances of a Trump-triggered economic downturn now appear to have increased significantly, and the markets are now discounting this unattractive future.  His actions appear curiously unwise. 

Truly, this is an outcome I did not expect.  China is a business partner, not an enemy.  Mr. Trump is "starting to look like a bit of a dick", in the modern lexicon of the trading floor.  I wonder how much longer Americans will support him?  We are now down another 280 points on the DJIA, and significant amounts of real wealth are being destroyed now directly because of Mr. Trump's curious actions.  The market will likely stage some sort of recovery, at some level (it always does), but the danger, is that we enter into that regime where we lose a few eighths and quarters every day, day after day, month after month, as costs grind upwards, and real wealth is slowly eroded by unwise political action.   This, after all, is the story of downturns.  The real downturns happen as long, slow, painful grinds, not fast-crash events.   I worry that this assault on trade, and this hard-core increase in taxes, will have a long-term impact.

But Mr. Trump seems determined to swing his sledgehammer.

I wonder how much longer American's let this curious fellow keep his job?

[Aug. 1, 2019] - I recall reading a story by Ray Bradbury, when I was a very young fellow.  It was called "August 2026 - There Will Come Soft Rains".  We are now only 7 years away from that date.  Curious, no?  The weather here is Eden-like.  We had one of the vehicles repaired at a nearby "Auto Clinic" - they replaced all the suspension components on the front-end, including a left tie-rod.  We supplied the parts - sourced via special sources.  What a curious world.  Returning in the the big T-car, I found a guy who makes real USA Virginia "moonshine".  Oh my, is it good! Honest, real, serious "White Lightening".   I am bowled over by the quality of his product.  His product is called "Murphy's Law", a concept very near and dear, based on my engineering life.  If we colonize Mars, we will have to grow some corn there, I think.  

But if the future tracks the other way, and if world-trade collapses, we here in the "Great White North" will be fine, as we have fission+fusion technology, and access to all the good things we need to have a happy life. We zipped around the Region today, getting stuff fixed/upgraded/etc,, and I could not believe the general level of activity.  This place is buzzing like a little German beehive.  It is astonishing - especially given the negativity of the economic news coming from the land to the south of us.

[July 30, 2019] - Posted the video of Xerion running training a neural-network created using market-data from GEMESYS TSM (Time Series Manager).  Built a custom box just for Xerion/UTS purposes - testing, evaluation, opertional use.  Works surprisingly well.  The custom-built Tcl 7.3/3.6 is surprisingly quick, and can spin complex 3-d objects in VISDAT as fast as on the Macbook.  Network training - using line-searches with conjugate gradiant direction vectoring - is surprisingly quick also.  (See video to see it run in real-time on small, 5600 record dataset.)

[July 29, 2019] - HP-6300, a fine design (4 core Intel i5), quick little box, but NFG sadly.  It would random-reboot after running for a day or two, despite the disk and memory passing all diagnostics.  Back to the computers store for a refund - but now I have no Windows boxes at all.  I had just installed a massive "cygwin" setup, and confirmed it worked nice. Returned box with the virgin WD 500gb it came with, so I may yet reconstruct a working Winbox. Before return, and during periods when the HP ran, I backed up all the data to a nice little two 1-tb RAID box that hangs on the LAN.  But what really saved me, are my CentOS-7 Linux boxes, which can do data-updates, and run the TSM database (a Windows product we built), but on CentOS-7, it runs under WINE, and it works remarkably smooth.   If you have a bunch of legacy Windows apps that are mission-critical, and you want to jump to Linux/Unix, then WINE on CentOS-7 seems to be the path to take.  IBM made a wise buy grabbing RedHat.  I just hope they don't butcher it with "Red-book" foolishness.   My Redhat boxes run pretty much 24/7, and they "just work".

Oh, I also put together an "AI Appliance" box - running Xerion/Uts, Xerq1 Query tool, the VISDAT app (for real-time spin and shift) data-space visualization, etc.  It runs on an older Fedora 32-bit box, but it just flys, which is amusing.  Box is a Pentium-4, 2.4ghz, and 2gb memory only.  Ran some training sessions in Xerion, and it all works smooth too.  Leaning towards just building a container on the Macbook (I already have two virtual Windows P/C's running in Virtual-Box on the Mac), so one more for a 32-bit Fedora/Xerion/VISDAT AI-thing would be doable.   Did a quick vid of Xerion training-down on a market-dataset - will post it here later.

[July 24, 2019] - New little HP-6300 causing grief.  Random re-boots, since I am using Windows on this one.  Downloaded all the drivers from the HP site (where one now has to key in a serial-# from the chassis to get access to the driver suite).  Comical.  Had to choose IDE emulation (even though its running a 500gm WD SATA drive), and disabled the multi-processor feature (using only one core).  Still, it's quick.  Our terribly overloaded Wi-max link is the choke-point.   Did a cheesy video of the VISDAT prgm which runs nice now it's rebuilt in 64-bit mode on the Macbook.  Data-visualization - fast enough so it can resemble animation - offers a useful way to interpret AI results - especially if real-time considerations are evident (we are not driving cars here - we just want to know what truth is buried in the datasets - but time is now always of the essence... )   😉

[July 23, 2019] - Curious newsflow.  China threatens war with Taiwan, USA throws money at farmers, Boris Johnson is Brit. PM, Nissan is imploding (since all vehicles look the same, do we really need all these car companies making really expensive SUV's?), and Singapore semiconductor industry (a good indicator, since it is almost entirely export-oriented), is looking at between 15 to 30% reduction in demand (depending on which numbers one looks at), based on falling cell-phone/computer demand and the China/US trade-conflict.  And finally, the US Justice Dept Anti-Trust folks have figured out that Apple, Google and Facebook are acting like abusive monopolists, which is actually pretty close to an accurate description of their go-to-market strategies. 

Facebook is the least like a classical monopoly - but their ability (and willingness) to hack people's private lives, makes them both dangerous and offers them substantial market power to influence behaviour in a range of market-negative ways.

The golden age of disruptive innovation is ending, I suspect.  "Self-driving" cars is a piece of fake news (it will never happen), and the riding-down of the cost-curves looks to be done.  I was the only customer in a big local computer store yesterday, and noticed how crazy-expensive everything was.  A decent keyboard now costs $150 to $200, and a decent computer case (just the metal box) is now a couple of hundred dollars.  It had to come.  Nothing stays still.   Even "change" changes.

[July 21, 2019] - Decided I had better confirm that the custom Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6 environment was stable, and math-accurate, plus, I want to be able to write in C, and then call "Wish" to do the display & GUI stuff.  Most Wish/Tcl/Tk stuff does this backwards, starting Tcl/Tk, and then calling C-written modules.  But that means if the GUI stuff (Tcl/Tk, Python, Gnome, Wayland, whatever) segfaults, then you just die with nothing, and that is bad - especially if you are asking your AI to tell you if you should pull the trigger on a trade, during a busy day, in real-time.   

I have Xerion now working on the Mac, in CLI-mode, but the GUI startup is all wound up in this ball of goo using incr-Tcl to inherit objects from classes, and this will not work (yet).  It stops the best minimizer from running.  But if I just re-write the minimizer code to avoid the flawed incr-Tcl stuff, then I will have it all running.

So, I did a small conversion, 32bit to 64-bit, of a Visualization program wrote many years back.  This went smooth, and the 64-bit code runs on CentOS-7 and MacOSX, using the custom Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6 Wish (Windowed-Shell).  The top image shows the Data Visualization program running on the Macbook.  Originally was 32-bit Linux - first Slackware, then Fedora-9.  Just converted it to CentOS 7.4 and MacOSX.  The image shows a wire-frame sketch of a deep-space transport model, which is built by a C program that reads a simple {x/y/z + colour code} datafile, and then starts Wish (Tck/Tk) to create the GUI panel to let one spin and shift the image. 

This little program provides a nice test/verify platform for the custom Tcl/Tk build for Mac and CentOS-7.  The C program reads the data into a list constructed as a malloc'ed C data-structure, and then calls Wish (Tcl/Tk) to display and manipulate the data.  I used Clang on the Mac (LLVM version 7.0.2 / clang-700.1.81) and gcc 4.8.5-28 on the CentOS-7 box). 

The old Tcl/Tk (7.3/3.6) code spins the image much faster, than modern Tcl/Tk 8.5 (which also runs on both platforms).  This little effort provides a proof-of-concept for the Xerion conversion, and this iittle codebase will likely become an interactive front-end for navigating multi-dimensional Xerion output.  Key result is that the Wish-Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6 works, and is math-accurate and stable.

[July 20, 2019, part le trois] - This simple conversion project is annoying me, and now, I am sensing something else.  The whole 32-bit to 64-bit transition, and the uniprocessor to multi-core thing - this is wildly more disaster-creating and ugly than that silly "Y2K" nonsense I rememeber from history.  Just moving C-code from a 32-bit to a 64-bit platform is a profoundly dangerous activity, if the code does anything important.  Sure, a massive 64-bit address space is wonderful, but in fact, the transition to 64-bit looks a lot like an amazing scam, actually.  Any code-base moved from 32-bit to 64-bit is almost certainly going to use more memory, run slower, and be riddled with various small and not-so-small "landmines", which can explode *years* later.  The more I read about it all, the worse it looks.

This article at Intel is excellent work.  Mr. Karpov is an articulate self-interested scholar. His "Example #19" seems to explain a weird test-suite result I am getting on the Macbook.

https://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/a-collection-of-examples-of-64-bit-errors-in-real-programs

And another detailed note here: ("A 64-bit Horse that Can Count.")  https://www.viva64.com/en/a/0043/    His stuff is quite educational.  I have Xerion running in CLI mode on the Mac, but I am in a world-o-hurt on the gcc/Linux-land box.  In gcc on Linux, Xerion now compiles, and appears to work, and I can source the network and load the weights, & randomize the net to set the activation function, but when I load in the data examples, I get a bizzaro segment fault, deep in the Tcl interpreter according to the gdb backtrace.  It's a real "WTF??" moment.  But reading Karpov's stuff, I understand how and why it might be doing this.

[July 20, 2019 part deux] - Yes, there is much I must learn.  I detest computer games, and so I have missed a bit of the latest state-of-the-art.  It's an arm's race.  Game designers are aggressively exploiting multi-core architecture, and getting the threading semiphore stuff right, so they can code magic for the kids. Interesting development. Like discovering  your neighbour has a working fusion reactor in his basement, and no longer connects to the local utility grid. Hmmm. (was getting the mail at the highway mailbox earlier, black Tesla whipped by,  rubber-tire noise only... ...)   Here are two interesting articles.  To me, "atomic" is what we call the mid-century modern ranch-house we live in.  To a C++11 guy, it's how he does his mission-critical coding.

Two useful notes, by a dude from the coolest city on the planet (good, old Montreal);

1) https://preshing.com/20130618/atomic-vs-non-atomic-operations/

I am a bit slow sometimes.  This stuff is important.  My circa 1995 C-code runs almost ok on the Macbook (clang seems to default serialize, so my malloc/free stuff works in order), and the code runs, with only a few problems.  And it runs perfectly fine and wonderful on the old uniprocessor Fedora and CentOS 6.6 Linux boxes, and explodes into flying segment-faulting shit-bits on my CentOS-7 64-bit box, under gcc.  Perhaps this "atomic" stuff offers a clue to what is happening...  (I am a bit thick, so excuse me for being a bit retarded..)

2) https://preshing.com/20141024/my-multicore-talk-at-cppcon-2014/

This is note is from  2014, so I am - ah - just a little behind the curve, we might say. I am a bit of a time traveller, like Kurt Vonnegut and Billy Pilgrim were.  

So I see it is the gaming madness, that is driving the crazy multi-core gold-rush, that Intel and MSFT and AAPL are jumping on.  Get a language like C++11 that lets you do this goofball hardware correctly, and you can work magic.   I am not at that point.   But like that old Lou Reed song: "I'm beginning to see the light...". 

[July 20, 2019] - {Warning.  Cranky Rant ahead...}  Might have to just run a virtual-box on the Mac, so I have a virtual 32-bit machine running old Fedora or something.  Porting the Xerion codebase to the twisted world of multi-processor, systemd CentOS-7 with annoying "systemd" foolishness and shifting dynamic libraries (those .so files => I am thinking that maybe the ".so" extension stands for "Sod off ...!"), is proving more difficult than expected.  Dynamic libraries kinda suck.  They seem to be an invitation to fragile code which leads to an assurance of problematic runtime execution - but maybe I am just missing something. 

Is "gcc" borked or something?  Is the code being vectorized and then parallel-execution pipelined in fragments or something weird thing like that? So that the "malloc" and "free" activity gets out of synchronization?  That is sure what it looks like.  This code runs fine and clear on two other normal, sane uniprocessor platforms.   It is really annoying.

Operations that run flawlessly on the Fedora 32-bit boxes (and on a CentOS-6.6 32-bit box) just completely come apart and fly to bork-bits on goddamn CentOS-7.    I have the Macbook Xerion version (using Clang+Xcode) working mostly, in CLI mode (no GUI), but on my CentOS-7 port attempt, I am getting "segment faults" all over the place - with the same code.

Plus, I get this retarded run-time error message:  " *** Error in '/<your-program-name>': corrupted double-linked list: <and-a-fucking-hex-address> *** "     Now, that error message just makes me angry.  It tells me nothing about why, how, who, or for-what-the-fuck-reason-the error happened.  It's a textbook example of a useless, bad message.  I now know roughly what is happening, but it took some searching.  How can the code that is so solid and stable on the 32-platform, turn into such fan-flung flying dreck after being built on the 64-bit box?  Makes me want to swear like Cartman. 

And that error message.  It looks the digital equivalent of a drunk whore puking in your face.  It is just rude & unhelpful.  If the heap is corrupted because of unsynchronized, non-balanced malloc and free activity, then maybe just say so.?  But why does all this work so  damn fine on a 32-bit box?  And can I just serialize the goddamn code so that maybe it just uses only one core?   Something cryptic and unclear is happening at run-time, and I would well like to get to the bottom of it.  This little project should not be this problematic and difficult.

[July 19, 2019] - Bought new box - a little HP6300 Core i5 with 4gb and 500gb blue Western-Digital SATA drive.  Swapped other (fairly new) WD drive (also 500 gb) from dead box to new box.  Would not work.  Got the "0x0000007b"... blue "Stop Screen" of death when I tried to boot.  Turns out I had to toggle the SATA drive emulation from AHCI to IDE. (Start box, hold the F10 key to get to HP setup screen)   With that change, the machine booted from my old WD drive I had swapped in from dead HP-5100.  The device drivers were *way* wrong, & I had to a download Intel 82579V gigabit Ethernet driver, and had to use a USB stick to get the 18mb file from a CentOS-7 box, to the new Windows box. Once the box was on the internet, I could download directly from driver-update sites.   [Update: got sound working - RealTek High-Definition Sound driver suite - 241 mb! - but the install worked.  We've gone from stupid blue "Stop" screen (a "0x0000007b" error) to fast, flawless operation. Comical, really.  This new (refurb'ed) box is wildly faster than my older box, and I am not sure why.. 🤩

Here are HP-6300 device-driver locations:  And below that is some "USB DISK" trivia for CentOS-7:  

Critical Device Drivers for HP-6300 SFF (Small Form Factor) Intel core-i5 box (and a URL link to a complete, 233-page original Reference Manual, courtesy of Gov. of Nebraska, USA. (Gotta LUV America!):

Sound - RealTek High-Definition Audio:
https://www.driverscape.com/manufacturers/hp/laptops-desktops/hp-compaq-pro-6300-sff/807

Ethernet Network Connection:
https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000005658/network-and-i-o/ethernet-products.html

Full (233-page) HP-6300 Reference Manual - From Gov. of Nebraska, USA (Thanx guys!):

https://nlc.nebraska.gov/Grants/LBBNC/libs/HPCompaq6300ProSmFormFactorHardwareReferenceGuide.pdf

Once these drivers were installed, the box could be made to work.  Note: Had to update the display (A Samsung monitor, which defaulted to a squirrely incorrect aspect ratio format.  Need to set display dimesions to: 1680 x 1050.  Other aspect ratios give squat images that are seriously distorted. (Note: this web-blog updated using the new box.)

USB Memory-Stick/Disk on CentOS-7
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In "Systemd", the fstab is not really used at all now, it looks like.  Everything seems to be in /dev/<thing> and in this area called "/run".

When a USB "Thumb-drive" is inserted into a CentOS-7 Linux box USB slot,
the location is automounted as follows:  

   /run/media/<your_userid>/"USB DISK"

This is critical to know, so you can copy files back and forth from the memory
stick.  There is no need to explicitly mount the USB stick at a /mnt/<mount_point>
anymore.

[July 17-18, 2019] - Lost a critical machine.  A recently upgraded HP box was running hot, and was full of dust.  Carefully opened it up and removed the blankets of dust on the fan inputs and heat-sinks, and reassembled.  Powered up, got a funny hum.  Pressed the "on" button, and got an ugly "phhhhht!" sound.  It died. Disassembled - replaced a fried capacitor on the main board, and the main 200uf/400v one in the power supply. Still dead.  Shopping now... parts or a new box...

Project massively more work than expected.  Learning about gcc vs clang.  Oh my. Thought I might get up on a 64-bit Linux box faster.  Got Tcl/Tk working, and passing it's tests, and a first part of Xerion/Uts.  Most stupid error messge in world - from gcc, about a bad pointer in a double-linked list.  Turns out to be gcc's heap thing, (what malloc and free actually allocate and free from).  If you free without first malloc'ing, you can get this error, it seems.  But the code runs ok on the Macbook, which is curious.  Does clang on Mac do a better job of managing it's heap?  Perhaps.  And the "sigaction incomplete" bug, which is fixed by putting "-D_XOPEN_SOURCE" on the gcc compiler options line.  Curious.  Before there was Linux, there was POSIX, I guess. 

Programming in C is like programming in assembler - a lot like it, actually.  When the IBM P/C came out, I built a complete system using MASM assembler only.  It was a "Business Index" for capturing info from business-cards - an electronic "rollodesk" - complete with indexed ISAM-style files (a tiny "data-base").  Silly project, but educational.  I still have it, and it runs on gDOSbox on Android.  Assembler is great fun, but a bit silly.  Always used APL for hacking, and  I was so crazy-productive with the APL's I used.  I could have a prototype on a client's desk, while the C-programmers were still trying to figure out why their code would not link correctly.

Reading last nite about Wayland.  JHC, are people completely insane now?  You need 10 years to build something crappy and unstable, just so you can replicate the functionality of stuff that has been working flawlessly for 30 years?  There are so *many* things that need to be done, and yet each generation insists on completely re-inventing everything from scratch, so we risk reaching a point where progress is no longer possible.  This is just way past insane.  I see evidence of this in many fields now.

Elon Musk's Dragon space capsule exploded and burned back in April.  This was sad.  But in the early 1960's, the NASA boys put a two-man capsule on top of a Titan booster (the Titan was mil-spec. & was designed to throw nukes at the Russians), and launched many Gemini missions, without losing any.  That tech was designed on drafting tables, using paper and pencil, and calcs were done using slide-rules and IBM 360's.  And all those rockets worked great - 50 years ago!   We are unable now to even replicate - let alone surpass - what was done back then.  This trend is disturbing - and I see it everywhere.  Designers seem to be getting silly.  The Russians have been really smart not to throw away Korolev's Soyuz designs.  

Modern technolgy seems to be getting a bit worse now - more unreliable, cheaper, more flawed and poorly thought out, with each new product revision.  Do an upgrade, and you get handed a plate of poop, with a bunch of chatterbots telling you it's filet mignon. 😋

Life is not a video game.  There is no "do over".  You cannot press reset, and have another chance.  And if you ask for pointers, count yourself lucky if they come as hexadecimal... 😀 

[July 16, 2019] - Took the build-work done for the Macbook (so far), and ported it to the Linux 64-bit boxes. Two different, but very similar CentOS-7 machines gave different results. Code worked on one, not the other. (Turned out to be a slightly different tcl.h header in /usr/local/include). But I upgraded the older 3.10 kernel box, to the LT (Long-term support) 4.4.185 kernel, from ElRepo site. Other box runs 4.x earlier kernel.  If you want to upgrade a CentOS-7 kernel, and grab the latest LT kernel from ElRepo, and "yum install" it, here is what I did. (It worked...)

What I actually did to update CentOS7 box from 3.10 kernel, to 4.4.185 LT kernel
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
<as root, or sudo>
yum repolist   (shows I have elrepo as repository)
               (I have elrepo and its gpg key, so skip that step)
               (Also, I want not the latest ML (mainline) kernel, but the most recent 4.x )
               (CentOS-7 kernel, so L2-HPDC in main office will match L2-CENTOS74 box
                in the bedroom office...)
               (went to Elrepo site: http://elrepo.org/tiki/tiki-index.php    for info..)
               (They suggest, to install latest CentOS-7 kernel mainline...)

yum install yum-plugin-fastestmirror
               (A big 37k file... :)  )

yum install https://www.elrepo.org/elrepo-release-7.04.el7.elrepo.noarch.rpm
               (I think this is the gpg key install, which yum skipped because I have
                the key already.)

               (check URL: https://elrepo.org/linux/kernel/el7/x86_64/RPMS )

                      ==> this has kernel, headers, devel stuff, doc and tools
                          I got them all. (You only need headers for kernel, if you
                          are going to compile it from source. )

               (Two kernel tracks: ML = mainline, and LT = Long Term Support)
               (Lastest kernel is 5.xx now, but I want last 4.xx so office and bedroom-office
                machines more-or-less match.  Bedroom box (the dev. box) has 4.14. Latest
                LT for 4 is "kernel-lt-4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64.rpm".  Will try to get
                this one. )

                This website has best instructions:
                    https://qiita.com/tkprof/items/2ec4ed58790efba3778d

                Entered this, the elrepo release package:

rpm -Uvh http://elrepo.org/linux/kernel/el7/x86_64/RPMS/elrepo-release-7.0-3.el7.elrepo.noarch.rpm

yum --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel install kernel-lt-4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64

                (Note. Do not put extension ".rpm" on the above.  You need package name.)
                (This package is 39 megabytes. Will take a while, if your connection is slow).

yum --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel -y install kernel-lt-devel-4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64

                 (you can put the kernel devel stuff on box, without the swap)

yum --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel -y install kernel-lt-doc-4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.noarch
yum --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel -y swap kernel-headers kernel-lt-headers-4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64

yum --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel -y swap kernel-tools-libs kernel-lt-tools-libs-4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64

yum --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel -y install kernel-lt-tools-4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64

                 (gotta swap the tools-libs before the above will work...)

                 (Once this is done, you need to make sure Grub (the boot loader) can
                  find both your new kernel and your old one. Keep your old one, as you can
                  boot from it, if your new one crashes, burns, fails, gets silly, whatever.)

You can do:    (set /etc/grub2.cfg parms to default to new kernel (use cmd below, do
                     not edit the grub2.cfg file. It's autogenerated and if you screw it up, you won't be able to boot your machine...)

<as root, or sudo>

cd /etc
grub2-set-default 0   (If this cmd is not found, use: "/sbin/grub2-set-default 0"
                      (The new kernel will typically be at the top of the boot list, so
                       it will have position "0" (as in zero-origin: 0, 1, 2, 3 ... counting)
                 (You then have to build the new "grub" file, that offers boot options at
                  system startup.  Always have this file, in case your kernel gets corrupted.
                  You can just boot a different kernel, and get to your files.)

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

                 (The new grub.cfg menu should be visible for 5 seconds at startup, and if
                  you don't touch the keyboard, then you will boot into your new kernel by
                  default.  Note, the old 3.10 kernel should still be there.)
                 (logout of Gnome, flip to your root page (I put mine on Alt-F1) and enter
reboot
                 (See whatchya get!  If it all worked, you can login, and at CLI or in an
                  xterm or Gnome command window, just time "uname -a" and you should see
                  confirmation you are running the new kernel.)

Oops!            (On my machine, I had several Linux O/S versions, and when I rebooted, I
                  saw that top option on Grub boot menu, is an older 4.x kernel not the one
                  I just installed.  The newest kernel is postion=1.  So:
                           grub2-set-default 1
                           grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
                  and reboot again....)
                  (And this time, it correctly booted the new kernel automatically)

Hope this is useful! 

[July 15, 2019] - I might meet Alice, I am so far down this rabbit-hole.  Since I am keen on Linux, yesterday (a sunny Sunday), I flung a copy of all the Macbook work over to a Linux-64 bit box (Centos-7.4, stable and quick, working well), and managed (after some head-banging) to get the Tck/Tk 7.3/3.6 stuff to build and run.  Then, got partial-builds of Xerion/Uts, but I am having trouble with Tcl.  The multi-threaded world of fast modern CentOS is causing random grief for Tcl.  I can get thru all the test-suite sometimes, but then not, if I let the ckfree stuff engage in Tcl_DeleteVar (whacks the hash-table of temp-vars). 

I removed some hacks, and can now get consistant fails - with an idiotic error message of "Error in .....: corrupted double-linked list: <hexaddr>'.   This is an artifact of the way glibc does it's heap management (not one's actual progam design structure).  But the error seems to be coming when a malloc or a free is done, and this in code which runs fine, perfect and quick on 32-bit boxes.  I did a crash-course in gdb and valgrind, and found my CentOS copy of valgrind was stupid - 64-bit stuff, but no 32-bit libs.  Various tricks and fixes, but basically, if you have this problem (no memcheck for valgrind for 32-bit stuff, and a bunch of broken symlinks in /usr/lib64), then "yum erase valgrind", and then "yum install valgrind.i686", and then "yum install valgrind", and you can have both versions onboard, and living ok together (without all the borked links, which is the symptom of kacked-valgrind, in /usr/lib64 (the stupid non-existant links flash on the screen!))  So annoying. 

(Oh, and hack "/etc/DIR_COLORS", find the MISSING 01:05... and change it to MISSING 01:00, and those stupid flashing broken symlinks will turn to red-background/orange-letter filenames with no idiotic flashing. [Update Note:  On Fedora/CentOS, to get the Xterm windows to show better/diffrent colors, you need to tweak LS_COLORS env. var.  Do this trick:  "dircolors -p > ~/.dir_colors" at CLI, then edit .dir_colors to change DIR 01;34 to DIR 01;38 to get bright teal-blue for directorys, and MISSING as per above.  The .dir_colors file is in local user directory.) 

Any way, now, with both versions of valgrind working (I wrote two tiny test files to confirm), you can inspect/profile/debug ok, but, the bug still exists.  A "bt" (backtrace) on a gdb session shows either mallocs or free calls causing the grief, but no reason why.  Does clang do it's default heap-management different/better than gcc?  I don't get this error on the Macbook versions. For now, I am building the Linux_64 version of Tcl/Tk and Xerion with "-march=i386".  The configure, after "autoconf" is launched with build string: 

CC="gcc -ggdb -O0 -L/usr/lib -I/usr/local/include -I/usr/include -march=i386 -mtune=generic -m32 -std=c99 -static-libgcc -lm -lgcc -D_XOPEN_SOURCE " ./configure

and I am getting a clean compile (after various hacks).  But I get these silly "corrupted double-linked list" errors at runtime as a result of glibc's heap managment and the multi-threaded voodoo of the modern 64-bit architecture. 

[July 14, 2019] - Fine weather, truly perfect.  Managed to build a replica of the hybrid 64-bit Tcl/Tk/TclX/incrTcl environment on the CentOS74 box.  Didn't expect to get it running, but sufficient options exist in gcc to let many things by done. Will see if Xerion can be compiled... 

[July 12, 2019] - The conversion is moving along.  Almost to the point where I can focus back on data, and less on tool-building.  Numbers match, network weights can be loaded using binary data or text-files, on both platforms, and evaluated results match to 17 digits of precision.  Calcs match exactly between the two platforms (Linux and MacOS).  Clang/Xcode seems to work. The Ghostscript build was smooth.  Just need to determine why incr-Tcl (ie. Tcl++) is not able to create it's objects.  For now, means I can't train neural-nets on the Mac.  The various minimizers are created as objects using iTcl, and they inherit from a base-class.  Either I get iTcl working, or I re-write the minimizers.

[July 11, 2919] - Here is a tidbit, took me an hour to find this day before yesterday, so here it is, for anyone who might need it.  You can fling a postscript-file (outfile) to the screen, using "Ghostscript", and render it in portrait orientation with just "gs outfile" from Linux or MacOSX CLI. Great.  But how about landscape?  And run from within an "exec" deep inside some prgm or shell-script?  Just cobble-up a little script file to config it right as it runs.  Here is a wrapped one-liner, as bit-o-bash, which flips the orientation to landscape, and waits for the viewer to press <enter>, at which point it closes and exits back to your calling thing or command line.  Tested/works on Linux & MacOSX. (I think "gs" can do .pdf's also.  Must check ...)

     #!/bin/sh
     #--- run gs (Ghostscript) on outfile, to show result & flip to landscape orientation...
     gs -c "<</Orientation 3>> setpagedevice" -f "outfile" -c "quit"

[July 10, 2019] - Started out building a tiny test-program to verify operation of Tcl/Tk on the Macbook, and kept adding to it, until it has become a simple top-level Xerion Query Tool. Calling it: "Xerq1 - Xerion Query Tool #1".   Ran Xerion again on the Linux box to run training on a randomized-net for the 1995-2017 data, and found some nice minima's to give a pretty good network. (Network trains down pretty quick.  Rudi and Ray wrote ripping routines.  Say it quick.)

I can then just copy the network weights over to the Macbook and use the new Xerion Query tool to activate the results and view them.  Downloaded the Ghostscript source, built GS on the Mac (Used Clang 7.0.2 with CLI tools, and it all worked), and Xerq (the new Xerion Query Tool) can be used to view the results generated by plotValues program (uses GnuPlot, does image+a .ps file as output), running at Xerion CLI. 

The top two screen-images show the new custom Tcl/Tk-based Xerion Query Tool running on the Macbook. (Gotta love that old Tcl/Tk "vomit-color" display.  Kinda faux-nostalgic, like a  pastel-blue '62 Chevy, but with a modern 600-hp multi-port fuel-injected V8, Brembo brakes, and a Viper's tranmission... ) 😎   Mkt Note:  IBM completed it's acquisition of Red Hat Software - at $190/shr USD for the company. Oh my. Those are some big numbers, folks.  Still, Red Hat built a genius model, and their code works - the Tao of Unix and all.  Linus Torvalds should send IBM a bill for $1 billion for "genius-level/arrogant-ass brilliant design/devel work which has created this intellectual and socio-economic infrastructure platform." And see if they pay it.  They might.  Mr Tovalds famously said: "Software is like sex. It is better if it is free."  There is both humor and profound wisdom in that statement.  Getting Ghostscript up and running successfully on the Mac, is only possible because of a big stack of quality open-source software tools.  First try would compile, but not work, since the X11/Xquartz stuff was not found.  Ran "autogen" to fix the ./configure file, and this was the key.  Those "autoconf" tools - Gnu-licensed open-source products - are what allowed my little project to make a nice jump from status="its still a bit too fucked up to really use" to status="Not perfect, but it runs, & we can see the results, and they are math-correct"

Hey speaking of nostagia, who remembers this bit of voodoo?.  Here it is:

print pack"C*",split/\D+/,`echo "16iII*o\U@{$/=$z;[(pop,pop,unpack "H*",<>)]}\EsMsKsN0[lN*1lK[d2%Sa2/d0<X+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++\
 lMlN/dsM0<J]dsJxp"|dc`

[July 7-8, 2019] - Silly work.  The days run together - night/day cycle blurs... I have dug into an navigated thru a *lot* of code. Fixed more seg-faulting bugs in Tcl/Tk stuff, (the Tcl suite passes all the test file, and all the goofy Widgets works ok on basic Tk, but the demos and test-prgms for "itcl" do not work on the Macbook.  This appears to be what is preventing the main Xerion/Uts panel from loading.  Tcl cmds like "rename" and "winfo", which work in top-level interpreter, do not work in calls into "itcl", the object-oriented extension to Tcl/Tk from Micheal McLennan, the AT&T/Bell Labs guy. (Read McLennan's "Intro.ps" paper on why object-oriented extensions are good for interpreted languages, like Tcl/Tk. (And Ruby and Python now..  This is software archeology...:D.  But the "Toasters" paper is really good - a real piece of excellent canonical work.). 

But his code, which works perfectly on my Linux boxes, will not run right on the MacBook at all.  I can create the class definitions (and see them with "itcl_info classes"), but the resulting object that one can create (and which should be listed using "itcl_info objects") does not show up.  This means I cannot get Xerion to paint the main panel, as it uses inheritance to create a suite of different "minimizers" as it starts.  And then the entire form is built along the lines of the "Listboxes" demo in the itcl codesuite.   Much, much more work than I expected.  I looked thru the changes made to more modern Tcl and Itcl code,  Lots of change.  Probably thread-related.  But the Linux is thread-safe also.  Crazy... but Xerion runs so fine on the Linux platforms - everything from Fedora 9 experimental boxes, to CentOS-6.6 production server.  I get completely why IBM paid (will pay?) so much for Redhat.  Totally wise and sensible decision.  Redhat stuff is complex, yet it just works.   I run two CentOS-7.4 boxes, and they are solid and good.  (Just downloaded 3760 files from NASA this AM, using FTP right from the Gnome desktop.  Easy-peasy.  The Linux stuff just works.  Unlike Apple Macbook, where I fight with the silly thing just to move some files around, or rename them.  Someone should give Linus Torvalds a billion, just for being there and starting the ball rolling and then keeping it on track.  😀 

More: Hilarious.  My Macbook-Pro is old. But it sat for a while unused, and now, I am using it. My "Northern Office" is off-grid, so I have to start a generator if I want to run the Linux laptops. The Macbook has a decent Unix inside it (BSD with NextStep stuff, etc.). It should run Tcl/Tk and Xerion, and it almost does (I have to fix McLennan's "itcl" stuff so it works, or do radical surgery on Xerion.  (Ran Linux Xerion for a couple of hours last nite, to train down some market data, same vintage - 1995 to 2017.  Worked well - got accuracy rate of > 91%, and everything on the Linux box just worked.  Really sweet, actually.). 

And I can at least run Xerion in CLI mode on the MacBook now, (and run a bunch of image stuff in Tck/Tk 7.3/3.6 and it works too - I've built some silly test-stuff, and my old Editor (with custom encryption) works also), so we are getting closer. Decided I need a big monitor (tired of squint-boy mode, eyes starting to hurt. I am seriously turning Japanese... ).  What a hilarious rabbit hole!  My old Mac uses "Thunderbolt" stupid proprietary Apple interface. Need something to adapt to VGA or HDMI or whatever.  Except the wucfits at Apple replaced "Thunderbolt" port with "Mini Display Port" in 2012 or 2013.  I hate what Apple does.   These "Thunderbolt" adapters are "old tech", and may be tough to find.  (Note: This is wrong. Apparently, both adapter-plugs are same, Thunderbolt was an initially faster implementation of the comm rate, according to Apple guy I spoke with.) 

I should have bought Apple stock, since I have always made money buying stock in companies I don't like.  Truly comical... Me: "You have a "Big Moat" and you are a filthy monopolist!"  BigGo guy: "Yup.  True.  We want it that way.  Makes us $-billions in real money (USDs)".  Me: "Damn.  Ok, I'll buy your stock instead of your product!"  (If I had figured this out earlier in life, I would have avoided some nasty losses... 😋)

Running Xerion in CLI is not bad - I can lift current data via WINE/Lynx/TSM, drop the transformed vector data to an autogenerated file, and source direct to exampleSet to get the AI forecast.  Gotta make quicker decisions now!  (Also just learned today that I can run standard FTP right from my Gnome Desktop against public FTP repositories.  Found a planet-load of fantastic stuff at a NASA site - downloaded - with a few clicks - a couple of directories of real science-code - it was 3760 files! but only 36 megabytes or something like that.  Quality stuff - and did not even need to use a filthy-annoying web-browser.  Oh bliss!  Almost as good as having that personal DecSystem 20...  🤩 (Worked good, but oh the power usage was awful.  Ran hot and heavy with those ECL circuits, like that Dire Straits tune, "Heavy Fuel")  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GdavnDzZ80    (Watch this video!  Some of the best r/r guitar work ever done ...  )

[July 6, 2019] - This project is taking on scary proportions.  Looks like it will eventually be possible to make Xerion/Uts work on the MacBook.  Lots of issues with Clang 7.0.2, but it is usable, and is brutal in it's discipline.  Finally back to clean-compiles on Xerion. Still failing to load and link some graphics modules, and the objected-oriented stuff (working) is not working smoothly with the TclX stuff, that allows on-demand loading of Tcl/Tk procedures. For now, I am hack/cheating, and just loading (sourcing) components on the fly, as they are needed, explicitly.  Still cannot get the main window to load, but I can now get a stack-trace (from Tk - in GUI window form), which is a big step.   I can load and run Xerion in command-line mode, and can activate a trained net, with an example-set of data.  That is the magic one needs to have one's AI offer help.  ("Is he gonna buy?  Is he gonna pay??  OR is he gonna fall in love, the all-American way??" - cf. "One Night in Paris", Ten-CC..)  😎

[July 4, 2019] - Ok, so the MacBook Tcl/Tk stuff - including TclX and Incr-Tcl (the object-oriented extensions) -   is pretty solid and stable, and I have Xerion/Uts running in CLI (Tcl command line interface) mode, and can load everything, (consistantly each time... need not rely on luck!) and produce the same calculation results as on the Linux boxes.  Getting Xerion/Uts so it loads all its .tcl, .itcl, .ad and other various files, so the procedures and commands match what I have on the Linux platform, has been a silly amount of work... (literally three nites in a row, where I am working 'til it gets light out, and the wee birds start singing..).  

I have clean compiles of all the Xerion modules, and I can now control whether *.tcl or *.c versions of back-propagator, network-activator, or "present_this_example_and_execute_net" are used.  The MacBooks is so quick, that I cannot even tell the difference between the .tcl versions of activateNet and the C-code version (but the comments in the code tell me that the C-code version is *much* faster on large datasets, as one would expect).

The real ugly-part, is trying to get the Xerion main-window to load, as about 200 steps have to be executed correctly, or it just kacks.   I've built test-windows on the Mac OSX using the object-oriented Tcl extensions, and confirmed they work, but I can't get Xerion to paint the display, nor can I even get the "itcl" demo stuff (file-chooser listboxs and colour-selector window examples, yatta yatta) to work.  The poor MacBook has this awful overburden of gunk-ware on it. (Arrgh. You've got p-lists for your frameworks?  Be careful! Try not to get too much on yourself...)

A bright-spot is the quality of XQuartz.  Hats-tipped and big congrats to the team that put that X11 stuff together for the Mac OSX.  Without proper X11 interface, the MacBook would just be a child's toy for watching videos, listening to music, and viewing Facebook auto-re-enforcement neural-porn with Safari. (Note: FB doing crypto-currency is a really, really good idea.  Just observe the Demo-rats in Oohsah howl to know this truth.)

With computers, the real magic comes from being able to *program* the filthy things, and make them do something special, that no-one else is able to do.  This is double-true in the world of AI.  Text and image recognition is all the rage - but, in the words of "Vampire Weekend" - "Who gives as F*ck about an Oxford Comma?"... 😀.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWQ_f-49sgk   The liftoff for an AI-app comes when you have a tool that lets you sniff out truth from the barf-bucket of lies and deception thrown at everyone now. 

[June 29, 2019] - Big result.  Many days effort to get the Xerion/Uts Neural-network code to run on a Macbook using Clang/Xcode.  But it works, although still without the Tcl/Tk GUI which is nice to have. The image above shows the "Actual versus Predicted" output for last 300 days, of a training-case set of market observations from February 1995 to May 2017 (total of 5614 observations).   The results match exactly the results obtained on the Linux boxes, where Xerion/Uts works perfectly.    But the attraction here, is that the Macbook is a modern 64-bit platform, of course.  The Linux boxes which run Xerion (as shown down below) are all 32-bit platforms.

[June 27, 2019] - Away for a bit - north.  Finally got the Tk part of Tcl/Tk working on the Macbook - without segment faults!.  Much more work than expected.  Now working on the Xerion part - quite complex, and also more work than expected.  Clean compiles, but don't have the kludgy object-oriented Tcl extensions working right.  Xerion/Uts complains it can't find unknown class to inherit from, despite all the code and files being present.  The Macbook is an awful thing to program for - truly horrifying in it's overburden of layered complexity.  But I am amazed I got the Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6 stuff running, given the blizzard of segment faults I began with.  My old visual editor (which runs on Windows, Linux, SunOS and HPUX) and now the Macbook, has been a good testbed.  (see top picture).

[June 22, 2019] - Got the Tk stuff working.  Also, in an attempt to fix the issues with Tk, managed to alter the Tcl interpreter code so it became unstable, and would crash the test suite. Amazingly silly - altered some pre-processor #ifdef'n's to enable internal debugging/memory monitoring and protection, and started getting compile fails re. missing structure defn's, and such.  Added some include files for <sys/time> and <sys/wait>, fiddles the code a bit, and the whole Tcl thing became riddled with bad pointers.  But it was my bad.  I went back to a backup copy from a few days earlier, and it would not clean-compile!  Weird.  I put the code back the way it was, backed out the internal memory-tracking stuff, and could not compile what had previously worked.   (WTF?)   Turned out I was not running the autoconf stuff right, and #define pre-processor switches were not being set propertly.

Really, it was quite a learning experience, since the Tcl interpreter would fail in bizarre ways - during code testing to check operation of file pipelines, it would go away and create an 8 gb file that would almost crash OSX (xterm window would lockup, and show "<stuck>" in a "top").  Or, an attempt to build and then load/source the NN stuff, would work, until a network was sourced, and it would trigger a bad pointer,  and crash "Wish" (the windowed version of Tcl, which has all the Tk stuff) with a seg-fault. 

The whole issue was solved by backing out added includes, running autoconf right, and the ./configure, to get a better targeted Makefile.   I learned Bazel enough to get TensorFlow 1.4 to build successfully.  I grasp the need for good build engineering tools.  But autoconf and Makefiles actually work pretty well, if you run them right.  Comprehensive test suites that exercise all the code-features you can think of, are probably the most useful thing to have.  I now have Tcl working without issue (again, after breaking it 😋), and also have "Wish" building with TclX extensions, and the itcl object stuff (which looks a heck of a lot like Python, really.  Full-on object-oriented, with modules, methods, yatta yatta.) 

The magic appears when the buttons and file operations work right on the Mac OSX from the Tcl/Tk sourced files that build window-ed apps.   (I have some stuff I built a while back, and this stuff mostly works now).  With NN's, you have to have the real-time "wait" stuff working right, since when training across a big dataspace, you can get down into a local minima, and the training can get all wobbly without improving. You can have real-time stuff that checks and does something like "Ok, been here wobbling around and thrashing for a couple of minutes, lets try a vector'ed jump to some other points on the surface, and see if we can slide down a different gradient and do a bit better...".  (Like going away and having a coffee and do an Edward DeBono creative thing, to approach your problem from a different perspective...).

There are some real-time tests in the "exec.test" prgm in the Tcl test suite, which fiddles with file pipelines, and in my broken Tcl, it would just bugger off and create multi-gigabyte files (bad!).  Or seg-fault with bad pointers.  But with the "wait" stuff fixed, it returns now and passes.  And the code to "reap" dead child processes works right again.  May-Pumphrey's test suite exercises all sorts of arcane, edge-conditions, and they all pass again (and the blizzard of red warning messages about bad-pointer types have gone away during the build!).  I am running Clang 7.0.2 with a Xcode 7.2 version, using all the CLI (command line) stuff.  I havn't upgraded the XQuartz stuff yet (since it works very solid, actually.) Will do that later.

The X-windows/X11 stuff is solid and works.  I don't want to change the GUI API.  I find most "interface improvements" are retrograde idiocy designed to put cash into  someone's pocket - ie. ("Here!, Happy/happy joy-joy! Smiling Faces!  Use my "new improved" system-interface stuff!  Of course, you need to buy all this stuff too, or you won't see the warning lights, and you will fly your plane into the ground... <giggle> Just hand over the cash, and everything will be fine...!")

But one thing Apple has done well, is the "LLDB"  (actually, "lldb") debugger.  It can catch seg-faults, and report a nice backtrace of actual modules names (instead of hex values!), and this helps to track down kacks.

And going thru the old Xerion/Uts code, despite it's complexity, shows some quality work.  One can use the Tcl-precision var to set the precision to a max of 17 digits, and this stuff works.  The Check-Gradient code is nice.  There is a good Minimizer.  Care is taken with precision.  You can dump a network as a bunch of double-precision binary values, but you can also dump it out as an ASCII file with full 17-digits precision.  This allows the full precision of a trained net to be saved, and reloaded, which is actually pretty critical.  If you train down to a "smart" network, and degrade even a tiny bit of precision when you save the thing, it is like your smart AI starts getting Alzheimers, and same training/post-training data prediction accuracy checks, will evaluate differently after you save and then later reload the network.  That is completely NFG.   EG:  (Me:) "Ok, AI, should we buy this stuff?".  [Today: (AI:) "Sure. Make it happen, Muiller!"  (ref. to Alice Cooper's first album. Song was: "Today Muiller").]   [Next day: (Me:) "Ok, lets review. You said GO yesterday.  Right?  (AI:)  "Ah, I think so.  Hmmm.  Not sure, really... let me think.  Damn, I don't know, really.  Can't say...  I seem to be all fuzzy..." (Me:)  ARRRGH!! WTF?? ]  😀

[June 20, 2019 ] - The more I dig into the details of modern/current tech, the more incredulous it appears.  My Tk stuff on Apple OSX will not work right.  The buttons do not respond, because Apple has a proprietary GUI, so only it's code will work - even with the Xquartz X-windows stuff running.  The only event I can pass thru to Tcl/Tk is a carriage-return/enter keystroke.   Tk buttons do not work, so far.    So, I'm doing background research...

I'm researching the history of the original Tk port to Apple OSX.  Also hilarious.  In 2015, a clever fellow named Kevin Walzer did a Powerpoint thing about the history of the whole thing.  Here is URL:  https://www.tcl.tk/community/tcl2015/assets/talk2/Tk-On-Mac.pdf   The whole thing is the story of Carbon and Cocoa, and other "framework" stuff designed to let the Mac OSX thing actually work with the software people want to use.

The problem for me now, is that I lack the resources to replicate the 17 years of hackery/dev that has made Tk actually work on the Apple platform.  I seek to simply have Tcl/Tk work sanely, without the Apple GUI in the way.  I thought Xquartz might let this be possible (it lets Wine/Windows/TSM and WinAPL work - truly magical and wonderful).  But Xerion/Uts is tightly bound to Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6 versions, yet it looks clear that this version will not likely be usable with Apple's software restrictions in the way.  (Note: Xquartz says they have an update/upgrade to the version I am running.  I will install it tonite, and see if this can let the Tk button-press events actually get passed thru to the application.  I have Tcl/Tk 8.5 on the Mac, and it works, but that version will not link with the Xerion environment. 

More research needed.   I may have to live with the Xerion/Uts neural-net running in command-line shell-mode only (which will be ok, actually.)  The objective is to get the AI response to mkt conditions.  The Tk "bp_wish" thing is not absolutely necessary.  But it works so nicely on the Linux machines.  Maybe I should just build some nice hardware that runs open-source Linux, a nice gui, some video, cli-based dev environments, etc. - and supports open standards so folks could do some work, without getting gamed by big Californicorps bent on world domination ...  😋

Oh, I've learned how to debug this stuff.  Apple has the "LLDB"  (Low Level Debugger?).  Here is QuickStart datapage for developers:  https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/IDEs/Conceptual/gdb_to_lldb_transition_guide/document/lldb-terminal-workflow-tutorial.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40012917-CH4-SW1  

Here is how you debug a binary that immediately kacks with a Segment Fault 11:

Start lldb at command line with your binary, eg:  "lldb bp_wish" ("bp_wish" is my bad executable file name).   You see:  "(lldb) " as the prompt.  Enter: "run" to run your program.  It will crash, and tell you the "stop-reason" was "EXC_BAD_ACCESS".  You will be at prompt "(lldb) " again.  Enter "bt" to get the back-trace.  This should show you the call-path to your module that crashed, complete with names of sourced files, module and function names, and the low-level function in libsystem_c.dylib that failed (in my case: "strlen".  This is exactly what you need to track down what happened.  My program kacked in Tcl_DStringAppend.  Looks like a pointer just indexing off the end of a string into memory.  This "lldb" thing looks pretty good - like gdb in Linux-land.

[June 19, 2019] - Fat-finger Boy in Segment-Fault City - good title for a song.  Seems to be where I am now.  The seasons are changing like switched binary toggle-latch events.  Hilarious.  I watched 3 guys with 4 machines completely harvest the fields yesterday.  They did the work an entire village of strong young folks would have taken a week to do, back in ancient times.  But these guys took in a whole harvest of nutrient-rich grass+alfalfa in just one day - big tractors, machines that rolled the cut, dried hay into huge round cylinders (instead of old-style square hay-bales), and loader-tractors (with smooth-steel horizontal rods to impale the round bales for easy loading), to put the bales onto huge hay-wagons, pulled by another massive John Deere, and transported to a large plastic barn for final drying and storage.  Modern technological efficiency has made our world massively wealthier than it has ever been in history.  We need to remember this, when the technology blows up in our face (as it does now, so often...) :)

Here is another AI/neural-network result from an actual practitioner managing real money - not just some academic fellow doing survivorship-biased lookback research (which we all know now is worse-than-useless).  The author guy is a PhD/CFA type who manages actual money, and asserts that AI offers a viable edge - but not a silver bullet - which is what my research also suggests.  URL is here:  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/investors-will-either-use-artificial-intelligence-or-fall-behind-2019-06-19?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

One really has to have one's own code.  Otherwise, one is dancing to the fiddler's tune, and is dependent on that guy's music.  He stops, you stop.   But having your own code, lets you march to your own drum solo.   This is of critical value and importance.  And it is a visible thread that runs thru all history of human activity on this blue orb.  Ben Franklin really deserves his place on the US $100, IMHO.

I now have clean compile of various components of Xerion/Uts on the Apple Macbook.  I can run uts-shell (the Xerion command-line mode, built using Tcl), but any attempt to start the bp-shell (the Tk GUI component, that is so nice), crashes immediately with "Segment Fault 11"  (I hate that stupid message).   I can "nm" the binary and get a module map, but not sure how to provoke a proper core-dump. Stupid CLI Clang/Xcode justs gives a single line of useless text.  Nasty doofus Apple-biter types.

On my CentOS-7.4 box, your program seg-faults, you get a proper dump, which with some voodoo, one can use to figure out which module kacked.  But Apple makes every goddamn thing five times more cryptic, complex and difficult (to drive you into their framework and gui dreck, and bind your work forever to their tech-world exclusively.)  I truly believe Apple should be broken up by anti-trust authorities.  It is an obnoxious, abusive company, that enforces it's technological dominance thru a variety of clever, restrictive technical trickery.  ("Kill 9" crash for any program written and run on the iPad, for example.)   They claim it is a "security feature", which is what all abusive dark-spook gangster-gang types have always asserted. ("Vee are from dee Government, und Vee are heer to *help* you!  Now, pleeze to get in zee car!" ).   Imagine in your mind's eye, the cool-looking dark uniform that Tim Cook wears in his bedroom at nite, when the camera's are turned off!  ("Dr. Forbin, I presume?").  What a world ...  🤔 

[June 18, 2019] - Tracked down a bunch of bugs in the MacBook Tcl-7 version (Xerion specific) that I've built from original source for Tcl/Tk 7.3/3.6.  Got a clean compile of 64-bit Tcl, found the XQuartz X11 libraries (as Xcode/Clang compiler option "-L/opt/X11/lib"  (lets the X11 libraries be found so Tk will link), built a first version of Tk for 64-bit from source for 3.6, and actually built a working "Wish" (WIndowed-SHell for Tcl/Tk).  ('Wish" is front-end for graphical Xerion.  It's cool.  Push buttons, train your datasets for your AI...  At end of this written blog are photos of the Xerion stuff running on 32-bit Linux box.)

Loaded a trivial math-expression calculator, and confirmed it matched what I have running in 32-bit Linux-land.  (See the double-frame image up top).  Big result.  The Xquartz X11 stuff is a *must-have* if you are doing anything useful on a Macbook.  The OSX stuff (Clang/Xcode and such) is a struggle to make work in a sane manner.  Apple has built this bloated layer-bot of cruft, restrictions, limitations and such, on top of a nice BSD/Next Unix-style O/S.  Shame about that.  If you can push the bloatware out of the way, it actually is possible to do real work on a Macbook.  But it is a full-on, constant struggle.  At least all the command-line stuff is available, and it can be made to work.  The little box is quick.  Portfolio moving up well.   The technology provides assistance that makes one confident to hold volatile positions.  

[June 17, 2019] - Real Progress.  I now have the full Tcl Test Suite running (without Segment Fault 11's!) on the Macbook, and also have a hacked version of it running now on 64-bit CentOS Linux.  (minor hacks for timeZone stuff not being found, and varargs changed as it works differently in the gcc variant there...).  Deep into C... reminds me of assembler programming.  Pointers to structures to pointers to tokens that point to self-modifying buffers of pointers that reference into hash-tables of binary tuples of linked-lists.  It's a wonder anything actually works at all, really.  It should be illegal to teach "regular expressions" in university computer science classes.  It leads to things like Perl, Python and Ruby, and weird ideas that everything has to be done using object-oriented programming. 😀

Not sure if she is still around, but I want to thank Mary Ann May-Pumphrey (originally of Sun Microsystems) for developing the Tcl Test Suite I am using to verify this thing. Without it, I would have missed some whoppers that seg-fault the interpreter quite aggressively. As I've said repeatedly, it runs spiffy-good on the Linux 32-bit boxes, but initial attempts to build it on Macbook using Xcode and Clang, generated a blizzard of errors & warnings. (I was skeptical converting it would even be feasible.)   But it now runs *fully* thru the test suite, and my naive checks of the math indicate it is working (eg. finding and trapping divide-by-zero, and other stuff like that)..  If I can get Tk and the various Tcl extensions running, then I will have the UI/driver platform for Xerion/Uts, running on MacBook and Linux 64-bit.

This conversion to 64-bit is brutal, but it appears it *is* possible, given that one posesses all the source code.  As indicated, Xerion is tightly coupled with Tcl7.3/Tk3.6, so I just view this code-suite as the enabling environment for the Xerion NN stuff.  The Xerion/Uts neural-net simulator does a really fine job of zooming down to training minima - too good, really.  A little "early-stopping" (an old trick), helps with post-training dataset predictability. 

Looked at the Kepler stuff, and it's a bit of a BBOM (Big Ball Of Mud) also.  Does no one anywhere actually design, structure & document anything at all anymore?  Modern folks should review stuff like John Ousterhout's "Tcl and the Tk Toolkit" , or even the early APL doc-books (examine the really early "APL - An Interactive Approach" by Gilman and Rose, or the initial Python stuff, before that language was fractured and split into shards and splifs.)  

The modern github hyper-hackery is a gleeful sandbox of kids playing in mud and throwing things at each other - lots of fun, really - but there are very solid reasons why Microsoft and Apple are worth what they are.  I think 2015 maybe was the crest-point for the computer-driven wave of technology change, and now, many are just surfing on the downslope.  IBM's purchase of Red Hat for suitcases of billion$-bills, suggests the game might be up.  At some point, you have to roll up yer sleeves, and get some gosh-darn money-making work done, right?  😋  The old Big Blue boys knew that, as do MSFT, AAPL and GOOG.  It's the reason Trump's "trade-war" game with China is playing so well.   We are moving into a tougher &  very competitive world.  The cool, disruptive stuff is becoming over, and we are looking at mature, dividend-paying BigCo's dominating most things now.  10 or 20 BigCo's will take all the biz, and the rest will live catch-as-catch-can, dreaming of quartz unicorn status.  Nice to be rusticated, truth be told.  [ "I bet on a horse named "Bottle of Smoke", and my horse won!" ]

For the trading, we've found great utility in an approach that uses psychological factors, combined with the traditional technical-charting.  (The rev-flow from that Sorosian experiment is paying for an addition to my lakefront property, so the Xerion/Uts AI stuff is moving into the world of "must-have" critical, so I should have it running on modern 64-bit platform, really.  Curious.  Works better than my fusion reactor (Which works too, actually.  About a nano-watt of net energy output.  😀).   Crazy world.  Channeling Jubal Harshaw I guess, (should have tried for D. D. Harriman, eh?, like E. M. ...).

I'm watching a tiny orange spider the size of a big grain of pepper, make a web between two video monitors on my desk.  His (her?) thread is so thin, one cannot see it, unless one shifts at the right angle so the light reflects directly into one's eye.  His (her?) tiny brain is able to execute such an amazing feat of planning and engineering.  Quite remarkable.  Can we not at least reach the same level of skill and ability?

[June 16, 2019] - Ah, just about there, re. the Tcl interpreter.  It is a bit of a BBOM, but I have about it 90 %  operational in Macpro OSX 64-bit land.   Much further along than I thought would be possible initially.  Looks like the project might be doable... 😉

[June 14, 2019] - Good weather returned finally, rain ended, much work on farm and forest.  Also, trying to build Xerion on 64-bit Macbook Pro, using Xcode+Clang compiler.  What a nightmare.  Xerion/UTS is tied tightly to Tcl/Tk 7.3/3/6, plus several Tcl/Wish extension packages.  Cannot build Xerion with modern Tcl/Tk, and attempts to build the older Tcl/Tk required extensive changes to adapt the compiler to accept proper ANSI C (C89 etc.).  This code runs flawlessly on 32-bit Linux boxes (after previous work which took the code from HPUX/SunOS Unix to Linux), but trying to get it running under 64-bit Xcode/Clang is turning into major exercise.

So far, just have Tcl sort-of working.  Interpreter compiles and runs, but segment fault 11's, when any error condition seen.  Looks like a pointer problem, due to 64 vs 32 bit pointer arithmetic.   I am not a fan of C or C++.  C is basically assembler programming, complete with pointers-to-pointers, primitive "call-by-value" functions, and generally the kind of "efficiency" considerations trumping design sanity, that are appropriate for real-time programming of telephone cross-bar switch replacement technology.  It is just plain primitive and a bit silly. It is really silly to be using it for everything. 

It is primarily because of the teaching process at universities, and the emergence of the open-source movement, that the world has standardized on this foolishness.  It was great in the 1980's and 1990's, but now, we are eating the cost.  The modern replacements, Java and Python, are not much of an improvement.  All we have really done, is pile huge, complex structures on questionable foundations half-baked assembler code.  And the modern multi-million-line GUI environments that support more million-line fractured apps create structures that are too complex for one person to fully know, which opens the door to abuse, trojans, spyware & stegonographic hackery that leaves us vulnerable and open to easy assault from a variety of dangerous vectors.   Will our "Ghost Fleet" save us?  I wonder. 

But it won't be Chinese hackers that whack us.  It will be our own arrogance and hubris.  People fully trust this computer stuff, and they just should not do so.  The Boeing 737 "Max 8" horror-show should make it clear, just what the cost of our complacency really looks like - large impact craters filled with smashed, burnt and broken bodies.  Or the Tesla on "auto-drive" that merrily pranged a guard-rail at 70 mph, wall killing it's driver. 

There is some hope.  I notice that Japanese audio company Teac just released a beautiful "analog" turntable (with digital outputs, of course - ie. a USB port for easy MP3 creation from vinyl), last month.  The table is the TN-4D, and it is a genius direct-drive design, with a many-pole motor, and control logic to reduce "cogging" problems associated with direct-drive motors.  I have an ancient Teac tape-recorder, for which I have full specifications and schematics.  It is a beautiful device, and still works, after 40 years of use.  It is made with transistors, and special low-friction direct-drive induction motors. Teac builds good stuff.  If the new TN-4D is as good as my old tape-deck, it will be a fine device.

Digital has many benefits, and can be made to be wonderful. But analog is really how our world operates at this level we live in (not the quantum), and technology that can truly capture the subtle perfection of an analog data-stream, is a particularly wonderful, in a way that enlightened folks can appreciate.

Strive for that enlightenment.

[June 10, 2019] - Opened the "Summer Office", and did the work to sheppard along a plan that will see the property expanded.  Lawyers are amusing creatures.  They must be carefully managed and supervised like little puppies and young children need to be, lest they fall into error. 😎   

The insects rule the domain up north, and one must always be aware of their combined power.  On warm days, over 30 celsius, one can see men working in the bush, fully clothed, wearing gloves and scarves around their necks, with hats pressed low on the head, and glasses over their eyes.  I chose to wear shorts and t-shirt as I cleared some land, as I thought I was mostly immune to the bug-bites now.  But I had underestimated the hunger of the hoards of small black flies and mosquitos, which were thicker and more numerous than encountered last year.   Calamine lotion is your friend, in this case.  Even more so, the day after.  But the land looks good, unwanted brush and small trees were felled and cleared and the dogs had a fun time, as their fur does a good job of protecting them from insects, sunshine and injury. 

[June 4, 2019] -  This is the 30th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.  It is sad that the Chinese Gov't is so afraid of this.  They should build a monument to those killed, as the death of those kids enabled the creation the China that exists today.  The kids who resisted and died, were old fashioned heros.  Here is a quanta of pure truth:  The Indian Reserves of Canada, the experience of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now the City of Boston), and China in the post-war period - we learn that the land tenure model is not just important, it is almost *everything* in a social-civilization national entity.  If you own your land, you have something to live and fight for, but if your property is held "in common", then your people and your nation will starve, rebel, or die slowly.  This is the "tragedy of the common". 

The "common ownship" model is a pure, perfect failure.  It creates a society of slaves, and such societies are very unstable.   China has done the right thing, they have chosen the right path, and they will be ok, if they take the same reforms to politics.  They could probably win elections, and would be stronger for having them.

The first choice that always has to be made, is first, stop doing harm. Stop being cruel and stupid.  Before greatness can come, one must first cast off foolish belief that is wrong.  This is difficult - for both nation's and people.  We cling hard to our ignorance, and our comfortable falsehoods.  The path to enlightenment is the longest and hardest of Long Marches.

I was in a restaurant yesterday, and a noticed a dish of food at the buffet called "Buddha's Delight".  (I had to try that!)  It was tofu and vegetables, and I took a big platefull, and it was very good.  The right path that must be followed, is not always unpleasant.  I still love meat and eat it most often, but it is possible to always try different things.  Sometimes, you can learn so much. And it can be a fine experience, also.

Like the current work on the Macbook.  I managed to get Wine built from source and installed and working now on the Macbook, and this has allowed the Time Series Manager to be ported, along with the data-getting software and the Windows APL. I even was able to port graphics tools and W-GNUplot.  It all works quite well, and I am surprised.   I now have clean(ish) compiles now of Tcl/Tk 7.3, but Tcl is still segment-faulting out if I enter a bogus command (some failure in the error processing routines or the parser).  MacOSX has Tck/Tk 8.5, which runs with Python ok, but Xerion needs 7.3 Tcl/Tk, given a bunch of Tcl/Tk-to-C low-level stuff it does to do the matrix math.  I have Xerion running on a big black Asus 32-bit CentOS box, and other 32-bit platforms, but the conversion of Xerion to 64-bit is proving very difficult.  Getting the vintage Tcl/Tk 7.3 running was the way to go on the 32-bit boxes, but it is looking problematic on the Macbook.  Clang or gcc is supposed to be able to emit 32-bit binaries, but I still have no joy with the Tcl/Tk, which is a pre-condition for the UTS (Xerion) NN simulator.  Annoying, since Xerion runs great on the 32-bit Linux platforms.  (The build for Tck/Tk in CentOS Linux-land is basically just a: "./configure; make; make install", and you are ready to rock-and-roll.  But on the Macbook, it is a nightmare so far..)

Market's are recovering from the latest "perfect storm" of stupidity.  China and USA doing this "Trade War" is very unwise.  Both sides will be hurt.  The US will have dollar-greater losses, but the contraction China could face could damage their development efforts. China needs to modernize it's political structure, and USA needs to stop being abusive and arrogant.  Curious how the mechanical characteristics of politics never really change.  People have not changed at all since ancient times.  Stupidity and cruelty walk hand-in-hand thru the world, like two smiling demons, and leave such astonishing destruction in their wake. (We oppose foolishness here.  We have remained fully long, all-in thru the downturn. DJIA is up 450 pts as I key this.)

These kind of conflicts are not necessary, and are the result of powerful men being foolish.   The USA has no idea how abusive it's actions are vis-a-vis Huawei (China needs a big, national winner), and China underestimates the degree to which we in the Western world operate under "rule of law", not "rule by law".   The law is bigger than our biggest kings.  We built this model with blood, just like the Chinese built their modern economy because of the blood that flowed down those drains in Tiananmen.

People have to learn these lessons from history.  There are a few narrow paths that lead to success.  Most others - the wrong paths - lead to destruction and ruin.  There are many, many more of those.  And regardless of what Sun Tzu said, war is just about always one of those wrong paths.  Sometimes war is really necessary - like wars against ISIS or the Nazi folks in Europe.  Evil *must* be opposed with whatever means exist.    But it is wrong to just drift into conflict, as looks to be happening now.  That is what the First World War in Europe was: A foolish and horrific exercise in political arrogance and mass-murder.  But it got rid of many bad models (aristocrats and kings - not good things), and democracy was tried.  The place where democracy has held, have done well.  

And even Russia finally learned this difficult lesson.  Democracy has many problems, but it gets the job done, better than most models.  Look at Japan and Germany now.  They lost the Second World War, but by reforming their political models, they won the peace, and have become strong, healthy and prosperous nations.

The Chinese Government people, on this "Tiananmen Day" - should study this truth with open eyes, and honesty in their hearts.  Someone someday, will build that monument in Tiananmen Square.  If you guys don't do it, then it will be some newer Chinese Government.  Nothing stays static, and you know this better than most.

[June 3, 2019] - Finally got a more recent Firefox version running on the Macbook, which I am trying to use for some development work (it is a fast little 64-bit box).  I had an old Firefox 41 on it, and that version would not render several video sites we use.  Of course, once I upgraded to the new Firefox, this borked the ABP software (which I very much rely on).  I tried using Safari for video, but it would crash too often.

What is interesting, is that the procedure documented in the top menu ("FFcert"), which was used for the Linux platforms, also worked for the MacBook.  I just command-C block copied the text for the .pem file (the Mozilla Certificate), into Firefox, set the devtools.chrome.enabled to "true", and then used Command-shift-j to open the browser input window and enter the two commands.  Basically, the same process for the Linux platforms let the AdBlock-Plus software start working again.  Of course, I first tried to download a current plugin for AdBlock-Plus, but every attempt generated an error saying the download failed (probably because the security certificate was not there).

The same two lines of voodoo have to be entered into the browser input window, (see the "FFcert" page) to trigger/engage the new certificate, and Firefox had to be shutdown and restarted to get the ABP working again.  But it worked.   And now I also finally have the FIrefox browser running streaming video, which is a big improvement.

So, the MacBook can now do streaming video in Firefox, Youtube works, and videos served from the GemesysCanada site can be viewed.  The Macbook also runs TensorFlow, a development environment that sort-of works, and a couple of virtual XP platforms.  I am working on getting the Android emulator working with the gDosBox emulator so I can create a version for the advanced Android variant Google requires for app distribution on the Playstore.  Little technical details, but they have to be right, or the big stuff goes wrong.   One key project is a Wine for Macbook. The Linux 64-bit boxes run Wine well, and the Mac is supposed to work the same way.  (Lets a bunch of market-code migrate from Windows to Linux, and run with production quality.)

[June 2, 2019] - Where is Li Zhi ???  I was so impressed that a Chinese artist and singer was able to write a song about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, but he has been rendered a full-on "unperson" in China - his music deleted from all streaming & sharing sites, his 23 city tour cancelled, and he has been "disappeared", like what used to happen to people in Stalinist Russia.  Are you serious, guys?

This is truly awful.  The Chinese Communist Government of the mainland is looking quite insane here.  The more you try sh/t like this, the more weak and unwise you appear.   The Chinese Reds are being as crazy as the Trumpsters in the USA.  I worry we are going to be "Ghost Fleeted" by this foolishness, and this will be just tragic.  None of this bad behaviour needs to escalate.

Here is the story, from Associated Press, one of the wire-services we follow:

https://hosted.ap.org/article/f850f5db726b4b948b7431a6d158a453/singer-goes-missing-chinas-effort-erase-tiananmen

The Chinese would be smart to just let Li Zhi sing his songs.  The more they try to hide the horror of the Tiananmen "June 4, 1989 Incident" - the more powerful a memory it will become.  A better approach would be to throw open all the archives, publish all the material, and make a public statement like the Chinese Defense Minister did in Singapore.  If it had to be done, then just say so. You look like criminals if you try to hide the truth.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asia-security-tiananmen/chinese-defense-minister-says-tiananmen-crackdown-was-justified-idUSKCN1T3034

Speak about it clearly, and make the case for history: "We did this awful thing, because our nation could not afford another time of mass pain and conflict, like we went thru with the "Cultural Revolution".  We just could not let the madness and violence of civil war, rock our nation again.  Stability *had* to be preserved, so that we could develop and become what we are now."   That is a *very* powerful argument, because it is true. 

And it's been 30 years.  Trying to hide all the data makes the Chinese Communist Party look fearful, a bit crazy and rather silly.  It is critical for the future stability of the world, that the Chinese State learns to "live in truth".  The benefits are worth it, even if the costs are sometimes high.  Did not "Master Kong"  ( Confucius) place the concept "Yi" - translated as "honesty & uprightness", as a primary virtue?   The ruler must - first, before all things - be honest with those who are ruled.  In that way, even pain and horror of terrible events can be mitigated.  Of all the nations on this planet, the Chinese should understand the power of truth better than any other people.

The Communist Party Government in China should just face it's fear, and confront the Tiananmen Massacre of June 4, 1989 directly, and stop trying to hide the whole thing and prevent discussion of it. 

The honest truth is that people always care more about the details of their own lives, than historical political events.  Folks who have jobs, opportunity or even just freedom, are almost always sufficiently content to ensure social stability.   China, and even the current government, could withstand a full "Commission of Truth" investigation now.

And if China opened up, and allowed questions about Tiananmen June 4, 1989 to be openly discussed and investigated, it would just make China and it's Government stronger.  I remember another Confucius assertion.  The Master was asked how to serve a ruler. He replied: "You may not deceive him, but you may stand up to him."

Face it clearly.  China needs to move to the next level.  You want convertable currency, economic dominance, and social stabilty?  Look at Japan and Taiwan.  Look at India.  They work.  Look at Germany.  They accept their history, and so now, even does Russia. 

The Chinese Government authorities should just release Li Zhi, and let him sing his songs.  If China did that, it would scare the Americans, and make it easier to get a trade deal done with them.  Why?  Because it would show that the Chinese State is strong, honest, and open.  The Americans would see China as more powerful - because being open and honest is truly what a strong, confident and powerful government does.  It is the strength that comes from operating a a higher level of virtue, not just the strength of having weapons and soldiers.  If you live in truth - you *are* stronger.  It is not just the appearance of strength - living is truth is the *source* of strength.

This is the next development step that China must make.  And it is a virtue that all people should try to acquire.  Is this not the essence of those wise Confucius teachings?

Release Yi Zhi and let him sing his songs.

[June 1, 2019] - Google supposedly in the cross-hairs of US Justice Dept. (what a great name for a Government Agency. Sounds better than the "Department of Political Prosecutions" I guess...).  The "Justice" boys will lose their case if they try to make it just about search-engines.  And it will be tough to criminalize giving away for free, the Android operating system.  But of course, it is not free.  The Japanese have an expression that says basically: "Receiving a gift can be very costly".  Android enables Google to extend it's "reach" into the hearts, minds and wallets of everyone on Earth, I suppose.   Plus, over time, it's open-ness and technical attractiveness have been reduced and skewed respectively so that it now serves the interests of Google, not really open-source developers anymore. 

As a Developer, you put your time and effort and money into developing something that enables a business-model for your own purposes, and Google changes the technical features of Android so it no longer works in an open manner, but has morphed carefully into a "closed-shop" model where your code no longer runs unless it serves the interests of Google planners. That is what is happening, but it is a subtle technical argument, which likely will be overlooked by American lawmakers and Washington legal-warrior types.

Trump should try to build and then consolidate a power-base in the hostile shark-pool of Washington, rather than keep playing "whack-a-mole" with his own nation's commerical supply chains and trading relationships.  He has discovered a small power he actually has (the "emergency tarrifs"), and like a surgeon who believes all illness can be cured with a knife, Trump is now waiving (and using) this big economic hammer.  But he risks doing much more damage than benefit is created. 

I remember the establishment of "Maquiladora" zones in the mid-1990's, under NAFTA auspices, and I recall thinking: "What a bloody good idea!"  Like most of our good, modern technology, the Maquiladora idea was generated and then implemented in the 1960's, the time of America's greatest technological leaps.  It let US companies establish factories in Mexico, and move goods to and from them, tarrif-and-hassle free.  But it took until NAFTA, for the benefits from this industrial and economic flower, to really bloom in a big way.  Which they did.  

Free-trade, lawful-commerce and market-based economics is a delicate and beautiful machine.  Going at this machine with the big "Thor's Hammer" of tarrifs, once it has started running well and is throwing off wealth for all involved, is almost a perfect picture of abusive state-driven economic vandalism.  But this is what we are getting from most politicians now.  We are used to seeing this kind of nonsense eminate from the Leftists.  It is curious and more than a little tragic to see that populist Right-thinkers can smash-and-grab with the same vigour.

I understand why military coup-d'etats occur.  Military folks are professional, and well-organized.  When they see political breakdown and abusive vandalism being authored by the political idiots, they probably feel they have no choice but to act, to save and protect the operational integrity of their homelands. 

If Trump continues to try to "smash-the-machine" with his "hammer-of-tarrifs", he may meet with a sudden demise.   Bashing away at America's global and domestic-continental supply-chains in the way his is, does not put "America First", no matter how hard the pundits and mavens try to frame it as a patriotic fight.  Trump's action are already destroying wealth in the US stock market. 

The cost of the damage will grow in the near-future as profits of US businesses decline, and costs to consumers begin to rise. (The folks who run Costco, a place where we like to shop, have already said that higher prices are coming for sure.)  The fast jump to higher prices means the US Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates sharply to prevent a runaway inflation from getting started.  The rising interest rates will further add to costs for business and consumers, given everyone's heavy debt-load.  You have a perfect Sorosian self-re-enforcing feed-forward loop that could trigger a sharp contraction.  This process is well understood.

At some point, some organized group of authorities in America will have to act to stop this scenario from accelerating forward.   But this won't happen, until the economic damage is directly felt, and given the strong performance of the US economy because of the tax-cuts, it won't happen right away.  By the time the damage is evident (rising unemployment, rising rates, higher-costs, lowered consumer demand, etc.), it will be too late to stop it moving.

North American "Free Trade" was a bloody good idea, and has been bloody successful. In Canada, it created lots of pain as many "branch-plants" shut down, and ended employment for many factory workers.  But it allowed Canadian business to integrate it's supply chains with US business and economic interests.  With a cheap-sh/t dollar (at .74 US these days), this means Canada is buzzing like a little beehive, despite the awful, high-tax, bad-policy choices created recently in Ottawa.  But with *tarrifs*, all this will end, and we will have to return to the traditional "Fortress Canada" model, which will make many poorer.  And it will be worse for Mexico.

How did the Republican Party (which always championed "Free Trade"), become a bunch of populist "Peronists", championing big tarrifs?  Does the USA really want to become Argentina? (I suppose Argentina didn't want to become "Argentina 2000" either...). 

So, I wonder if the US authorities and/or US business leaders might choose to act sooner, rather than waiting until November 2020, since by then, the damage will have been done, and the downturn by then will likely be self-sustaining, like one of those wind-driven wildfires that plague us up north.  Sharp economic downturns are not necessary.  But they certainly can be made to happen, if hammers are brought down onto the economic machinery.  And the US stock market is telling us very clearly that that is now the risk it is pricing in.

 [May 31, 2019] - Becoming Nuts. World is becoming nuts.  Soon to be "nuts and berries", I wonder?  The US Navy really has done some very good stuff.  I talked with an ex-USA guy today about this. He is quite old now, has white hair, and used to seek intel from an aircraft as a spotter in Vietnam when he was a young lad.  Later, he ran a financial enterprise, as the boss, I suspect.  I try not to annoy him with questions.  We both like coffee. 

I spoke of my latest research: "The USA is so incredibly good at some things - science, business, technology.  Their military - especially the US Navy - is so damned professional and focused, their research and analysis is so good." 

"But Washington is this horror-show of chaos and cruel, savage hostility and corruption.  Not to mention overt, dishonest "We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges!" bandit-behaviour by their lawmakers.  What's happened?  It is actually worse than the UK, and even worse than our cesspool of deception up in Ottawa.   We at least follow our law, and keep faith with our external national agreements.  But this does not happen in Washington now.  Every day, tables are turned over, dishes are broken, and knives are thrust.  It's like watching "I, Claudius" or maybe Nero on stage at the theatre.   The whole show should win some sort of prize.  Any idea what is going on?"   My friend suggested Trump was stupid, but I argued the man has a high-IQ, actually, and is navigating the tar-pit pretty well, given all the knives being aimed at his back.

But his reckless behaviour is disturbing the balance of things.  He must know this.  Is there some method to this madness that I am not seeing?  Do these wetbacks coming out of the Rio Grande on the Texas side, really matter enough to blow-up the US auto-industry? 

Trumps cannot be this stupid.  Is he trying to use "Nixon Doctrine" on the Chinese (make them think he is crazy enough to really wreck everything "cultural-revolution-style", so they will make a quick deal?).  Didn't Sun Tzu say: "When your enemy has become crazy, and starts fighting among itself, victory has already been achieved.  One needs only climb up on a tank and speak without fear, to be proclaimed victor."  (Wait, that was Boris Yeltsin, not Sun Tzu...)

I doubt if American politics is really as crazy-nutty as it appears to be. But there looks to be a hunger for hostility now and a desire for self-harm on the part of people in Washington.  This is quite different from the calm professional behaviour one see's in US military actions and documents.  Or am I just seeing a mirage?  Or maybe a Potemkin Village of false-facades? 

They say: "If you don't stir the pot, the stew will burn." But this is not "stirring the pot". Looks more to me like that kitchen scene in the film: "War of the Roses.", where Danny Devito tells the story that began when two rich folks "met well".  (Gotta love the internet sometimes! Found it. Here is a perfect visual metaphor of Mr. Trump's trade policy:)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nmm4QPyd2Y 

Yes, that's it.  That's what I'm seeing in the news.  The USA is having a "domestic", as the cops used to say.  That's what Washington looks like now.  Not "tarrifs", but "family tiffs".  The Trump Administration is "pissing on the fish."  I fear this won't end well.

[May 30, 2019 PM] - JHC, this is looking skanky.  Oil just went off a cliff again (down about 2.5% to $57.35/bbl WTI), and the DJIA which was up nicely has reversed to red numbers again. Whoops, over the line up - some trivial micro amount.  But we are in a zone of transition.  The bull-run looks to have been broken, and the only query now is do we get another down-spike.  I can't see it not happening, yet we remain long (not levered, but still all-in long). We have a real-estate deal tee-ed up, and the cash sequestered for it, and the div-stream is mission-critical component.  But my, are we taking fire.  Offer everywhere, and bids be scarce.  Reminds me of a 19th-century ditty: "She offered her honour, and he honoured her offer.  So all night long, it was on-her and off-her."  

Honestly, I think more guys got more action in more places, more often in the 19th century, than most do now in the 21st century.   This is a strange age, like an old Asimov sci-fi story ("Naked Sun"), where everyone is talking about it, lots are viewing it - but few are actually doing it.  Strange, strange world.  Scott Minerd (Chief Investment Office & Partner at Guggenheim Partners) says we are looking at taking out the December 2018 lows on the S&P500. Well, my positions have already tracked back to that point, so for some we are already there.

But he then says we fall (in the summer) from there, and end up off further, breaking lower and ending the bull-run that has been in place since 2009.  Yes, this is quite possible.

I am actually not in that camp, mostly because of dear TINA (There Is No Alternative).  I am partnered with Cdn banks and phone companies, because the only other item on the table is maybe Hydro equity (currently yielding 4.25%, trading at $22.75).  The bonds are useless, because the yields are a joke - as the yields on most bonds are. 

See, here is the truth: The bond guys know they are going to get slaughtered if and when interest-rates spike.  That must happen someday or we risk a phase-jump to the market-based financial system breaking down.  It needs positive interest rates to function.  And much of the bond-market is not even really operating for traditional true investors.  It only works for fat-arsed big-buck-bunnies on Wall Street and in the City.  For out-in-the-country real people, it is a joke. You buy a 10-year bond yielding 2%, and when interest rates go to 4 or 5%, you lose half your capital.  And then inflation will take the rest.  Your returned capital when the bond matures will be all but worthless.

So, the equity markets are the only option, and man, there there be dragons.  And dragoons.  Like a fat sheep, thou shalt be sheared well, lads.  Unless you LTCM it.

But no PhD's please.  Just old-fashioned Babylon-style investing.  The real deal.  And such deals are few and far between.   If you're young, swing for the fences.  But if you are an old frat, then your portfolio needs be careful.  And once you have done the right thing, you can bet your dividend stream, that the AI algos & other FUDmuckers will do *everything* they can, to shake you out of it, at the wrong data points.

One of those is now.  Once Trump comes to his senses, or gets taken out, or has a heart attack, or is impeached or whatever, then a deal will likely be struck with China.  After the Huawei thing, China will not negotiate anymore, and neither would I.  The Chinese are not pussies.  They are not weak.  Do not underestimate them.  Maybe Trump does not quite get this.  The Chinese know fire and death and rape and murder and pain and fraud and awful ignorant cruelty.  It is their history (as it was in Europe from Roman times, right up to the beginning of the "Age of Reason". (Our moron children don't know their own history anymore. Sad.))   But Chinese kids know their history.  They view what is happening now, thru the lens of understanding, much more than the US babes do.  

A "Trade War" like this is economic self-harm.  It is fun to watch, if you like blood sports, or watching animals fight and kill each other, or other acts of violent pornography. (I don't.)  But it is stupid, lets be clear, if it is allowed to continue.  The US is shooting at it's own feet.  (And so are we, in Canada, with a viciously stupid "Carbon Tax", that will raise the price of everything, and contribute nothing to environmental improvement.  The US is not the only country being fucking stupid these days.  We are doing a fine job here, in that department.)

So, I think Minerd is talking his position here.  He must have a shipload of bonds that will start to stink bad at some point, and he needs the equity markets to tank so that his -10 or -15% real-rate-of-return (once interest rates spike), will look good, with the stock market down 25%.  (And yes, this might happen.  But I don't think so.)   For that to happen, we will need to fly a lot more planes into the ground, and have them blow up bigtime.   At some point, Trump (or his replacement) will decide: "Ok, enough of this shit.  This is getting stupid now, and we have to stop this."  

Or not, eh?  😀 Keep those canned goods in the shelter, make sure the guns are well-oiled, and as for ammo: "Buy it cheap,  stack it deep, boys!"

[May 30, 2019] - Was not expecting to be here - but weather conditions are so awful, plans change.  The point I made yesterday about trading algo's running like "synchronized swimmers", and all going "no-bid" at the same time, is apparently already showing up regularly in the F/X markets.  I remember at Lehman, we had this tiny window from around 2:00am when Tokyo closed, until around 4:00am, when London opened, in which to reconcile all the previous day's activity.  I came in as consultant-boy, to design a fix to the programs, so they would run faster, and get the crazy multi-structure P&L system to run within that 2-hour window.   Well, turns out this window has shrunk, but it still exists, and this is when the fun stuff happens on world F/X trading. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-markets-currencies-insight/bump-in-the-night-fx-flash-crashes-put-regulators-on-alert-idUSKCN1T00J0

I am convinced now, that in many markets, the zeal of regulators is now actually a leading cause of market disruption events.  Markets will *always* stabilize.  Trouble is, the political people don't like the point where the markets clear, and they start messing around with rule-tool-trickery, to achieve political objectives. The central-bank ZIRP, is a good example of this.    When the analysts 100 years from now, look back on this time-period, and try to decide why everything suddenly blew all the hell, they should focus on that.

Zero interest rate policy choices have probably given us too much, too fast, and has now set the stage for a global re-pricing event that may trigger escalating conflicts that prove to be dangerously self-reenforcing as they unfold. Crazy stupid awful actions can program crazy stupid awful responses.  Why are people surprised by this?

There was a horrible knife-attack in Japan, by a lone crazy Japanese male (not a Muslim terrorist, or anything like that), in which this character tried to stab a whole bus-load of elementary school girls.  He killed a 6th-grade girl called Hanako, and a girl's father, and stabbed about 12 or 13 other female children.   Then he cut his own throat, and died later in hospital.  The whole thing was over in 30 seconds. No motive is clear, and the killer died.

Writers and psychologists identified these kind of events from population studies done back in the 1960's, where rats or mice were given a fixed space to live, a large (but fixed) amount of food, and lots of time.  They ate and bred.   Once space was full of animals, and food-supply rate and physical space began to limit population growth, violent behviour always emerged.  Always.  The animals fought and killed each other, and reduced population.  Nature maintained her demand/supply balance.

Behaviour that appears extreme is actually often not that extreme, but results from visible, obvious factors that can be understood.  Angry, violent males are often seen as a result generated by social conditions which deny the males breeding opportunity.  This behaviour is deeply programmed into both humans and animals.  (Is there any difference, really, between humans and animals?  My dogs are smarter than half the people I meet, so the differentiating factor is certainly not intelligence. I thought it might be honesty. But then I remember my JRT "Taro", who was tricky-clever, and used deception to get results he wanted.)

So: A crowded, over-populated world, in which (mostly) only the rich, attractive, young guys get the money and the women, is probably going to be a *lot* more violent and unstable, than the world we have known up to now.  It's not that morality and empathy are falling (they are), but that nature runs it's own marketplace, and she is a harsh regulator. She regulates the system by very harsh methods.  Wolves are almost as smart as people, and will engage in complex strategies and behavioural choices to ensure competitive wolf-packs cannot breed successfully.  Numerous examples of this are meticulously documented.

And most economists understand that the in the marketplace, the best regulation is often *no regulation*, as it provides the best chance of "gating" or limiting bad behaviour. And the F/X market is one of the last, relatively free and not-locked-down by political-objective rule-tools.  (Remember: Big-world politics is just "office politics" on a grander scale.  In most "politics", there is very little that is good, fair, or even necessary.)

I am concerned now, that we are about to see a range and sweep of human behaviour that is violent and cruel, not because anything much has changed, but in fact, because really, nothing ever changes.  The Chinese have called US trade-policy actions: "Economic terrorism" and that is a very good expression for exactly what is happening.  The comical fact is that the US, as the high-cost economy, will be hurt the most by Mr. Trump's "Trade War".  Perhaps the trade-war is a programmed response that we cannot factor out - part of a historical shift in power and influence that has been on-going for hundreds of years already.  China must either rise or collapse.  Nothing remains "steady state" - especially in the East.  The USA is already tipping over into violence.  China wishes to avoid this outcome, given it's horrific experience with the "Cultural Revolution" - a period of programmed madness by an evil, crazy old man who saw truly that his life's work had been an ugly, profound failure, and he wanted to just smash everything in a final act of angry vandalism.  Mao was an evil man, but science suggests that his kind of evil is not uncommon.

So we may be in for an ugly time.  But it will create opportunity, as these times always do.  That is why nature and the markets give them to us.

And remember that scene in that famous film "The Hunt for Red October", where the pursuit sub's captain orders the arming interlocks be disabled?  And later their own torpedo swings around and targets them?  The First Officer looks at the young Captain and growls his last words: "You arrogant ass! You've killed us!".   There is a lot more of this sort of thing in the world, than people realize.  Saudi Arabia for example.  That nation is now the walking dead.  The bedsheet-boys don't know it yet, but they are beginning their ending.  And it didn't have to happen.  But now, they have programmed their own destruction.  Curious.  I just hope that Mr. Trump has not done the same thing to the USA.

[May 29-pm] - My clock is a bit twisted.. living on Tulsa Time, I guess (great vid of Clapton and Sheryl Crow doing this together at some festival.  Closing in on the 3pm tripwires.  This is looking like the initiator of another WCS (Worst Case Scenario).  There is a possibility that Mr. Trump and the Bolton-Pompeo Axis are about to deliver us into a "world of no-bid".  This is one of my "wake up at 4:00am and stare at ceiling" concerns: The algos line up like synchronized swimmers, and simply go "no-bid".  (This is my theory for what caused the old "flash crash", years back.)  There are times, when you just have to step back, and put hands in pockets.   The algos must be set to do this.  Trump's China-Economic-War talk, and Bolton's Let's-Bomb-Iran thought-balloons look like they might be hitting the right buttons.  I feel a bit worried.  Our risk-management protocol (in this we-must-remain-invested model), is to have no debt.  We have zero debt. None. (OK, about 57 $Cdn on my one Visa card, but that is it.  And I will pay it today.).  We run no leverage, as our LTCM-meltdown model (becoming more likely by the hour), suggests we could see an ongoing collapse in financial assets. 

The trick is to avoid being forced into closing positions, and also to retain the option of using leverage (margin), if some really silly/crazy cheap (1930's) style prices become evident, as Cen-banks will hose down the market with liquidity if everything catches fire, so we are not likely to be offline for *years* the way we were in the 1930's.   

For a commercial, trading nation like the USA, attacking the process and basis for global free-trade, is like using your own toes for live-fire target practice.  Does this only stop when Trump has run out of cartridges, maybe?   ("Ghost Fleet" truly scares me - not because I believe it is possible or likely (it isn't) - but because I believe it and stories like it, will twist American thinking even more, so that crazy-bad ideas and plans are tee-ed up for possible green-lighting.  Like the madness of removing the 2000 troops the US has in Syria.  Why? Is there some deal already been cut?  Was Syria sold to the Russians?

The US Navy (and the Air Force - and probably even their Army and Marines) look to be pretty smart these days.  But what is happening in Washington?   The political people seem to be trying to engineer a financial-market collapse, and ramp-up global instability.  I just can't see this working out well, even if I was short. (We are not. We remain long, but it's turning into a C&W "hurtin' song"...) 

On another note: Apple has launched a website to assert that their "App Store" is not a monoply.  What does the website do?  Drop a payload of malware on your box if you go look at it?  JHC, what a world.  Here's a song title: "How Rare is My Earth - With You by My Side!" done with vocoder samples from Bowie's "China Girl" - but with the China girl singing the line:  "You shouldn't mess with me, boy!  I'll ruin everything you are..." instead of Bowie.

We've pulled back a bit on the yoke, so maybe we won't get 737-MAXed today.  DJIA stages a typical late-day recovery, so we hold above 25K.  I agree with Mr. T, that we should be in he 30K area now - but not today, as Garon would say.  (.)_(.)

[May 29, 2019] - Exhausted, desu. Stayed up all nite reading public doc.s from the US Navy.  Such a professional group, those folks.  The US Naval War College, Centre for Intl. Maritime Security, National Interest publication, and published details of the just-completed "Northern Edge" exercise off-shore of Alaska, etc.   The Navy writes well.  And the US Navy writes better than anyone, it seems.  They really are professional.  I first learned about them reading my first Bowditch, this great compendium of datasets and algos for "practical navigation", which is damned important if you don't want to sink your boat.   America's military was created in the hot crucible of real war, and their scholarship, focus and aggressive/effective use of technology shows because of this, I suspect. (Coming from an RCAF Air Force brat you should recognize this as very high praise.)   Many Americans can be fraud-flinging blowhards.  But not the Navy.  The Navy goes to sea when it goes to see.  The ocean is a damned unforgiving place, that simply kills fools quickly.  It is a big, wet Darwin-system, but running at twice (or maybe 10 or 100 times?) the speed it does on land.  The US Navy built the first computer.  The US Navy funded real fusion-power research (Bussard's work).  And the US Navy sailed thousands of miles in WW2, and whacked Japan, even though their supply-lines length suggests they should have been defeated. They are smart, sharp, focused and lethal.  At least that's their history and tradition.  But given what they are talking about in school, they seem to have a pretty good handle on current reality.  And they seem to be focusing on technology in a clever way - cognizant of both the cost as well as the lethality of their weapons.  (This is particularly smart.)

But "Ghost Fleet" scares me, because it is a good yarn, and good yarns have a tendency to act as neural-algorithmic insertion vectors to engender subtle micro-shifts in human behaviour.   And mass behaviour-shifts, resulting from different pictures-of-the-world, can be very dangerous.  I am getting kicked to the curb as I key this by one right now, playing out in the US equity market.  I think I can smell the fear now.  We have given up the year's gains, and are almost back to December 2018. 

We are down another 340 on the DJIA (1.34 %), and we are dangerously close to an old-fashioned "fail-safe" locus, a possible chaotic phase jump.  (What M. Gladwell would call in more simple language: "a tipping point").

If we trip thru south of this data-locus, we are quite possibly in trouble.   I have already lost the price of a good used F-150 on one trade alone.  If we trip the next trigger, then it will be the price of a *new* F-150.  This hurts. (Hint: It is supposed to.  That's the idea, as it is how the process works.)

But trading is not warfare.  Warfare would be easier, I suspect.  If you are shot on the battlefield, or get holed by a torpedo or kinetic hyper-velocity projectile or ASBM, and sink, well that's it.  You're done.  But in life (and trading), you are never done.  Tomorrow comes, and the same decisions remain standing in front of your face, like a naked whore challenging you to do something unwise.  Every. Single. Day.  <sigh..>   Stupid life, really.  If I didn't need the money, I would not do it.  (Which makes me a bit of an outlier, I believe.  But not a "far enough" outlier, since I can make money to live well - but not enough to stop doing this painful game.  Comical.   Yet everyone who tries to quit, eventually returns, at least my research suggests this.  Even if you love fishing more than any activity - after 3 or 4 days, it gets *really* boring - unless the fish are shooting at you, or something like that. 

I note that oil is down $1.75/bbl (almost 3%) to 57.39 which is an impressive morning price shift.  This suggests we are not looking at the traditional scenario.  Petrol is already so expensive in Canada, that some demand-destruction is evident.  The intense building in major metro areas suggests that folks prefer to live near their work, and not face long travel-times.  Traffic in Ontario is becoming like Thailand (or like Boston), where it is just impossible to move around during rush-hour commute-windows.  So behavioural life-choices are changing.  Cars are really expensive, and so is fuel.  And I keep seeing Tesla's everywhere now.  I want a Model X (the big SUV type.).  They are $100K Cdn.  That used to buy a small house in the country - but not anymore.  Now, you need at least five times that number.  If you want land with the house, then 10 or 20 times that number.  Times, they are a-changin'. 

I am seeing these worst-case scenarios play out today, and it is pretty painful.  The Cdn $ has broken south of $0.74 US. (As goes oil, so goes our dollar, despite oil being a small percent of our exports.)  But a declining Cdn$ always damages Canada's equity markets, as it seriously discourages international "hot" money, which gets the shivers, and heads south, as so many here do in the bitter winter.  <Sigh>  The French have an expression: "The more it changes, the more it stays the same."

[May 29-30, 2019] - Research on China and modern Chinese state institutions and governance mechanisms always leads into military arcana.  Curious.  As we move towards May 35th - the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Mass-Murder Event (TiMME) - a little research on the China situation yields curious data.  There was this book written in 2015, called "Ghost Fleet", which is the first fiction book I've read with extensive technical footnotes.  Several of my own scenarios are in the plot!  I guess I cannot be surprised.  The meltdown of the House of Saud, a quick change-of-government in China, and anti-ship ballistic missiles.     I can honestly say, I did not know about the DF-21 ASBM.  But I had spec'ed it out.  It's so obvious - basically just 1940's V2 rocket-technology with mobile launchers and solid fuel for stability. 

The idea of a ballistic missile against an aircraft carrier is painfully obvious, once one see's an aircraft carrier.  They are virtually a stationary floating target.  Really, they are almost idiotic things in this modern age.  Ballistic missiles are incoming at mach 10 or something like that.  It's like trying to shoot down an artillary round - no chance. And as part of a swarm-assault (ie. chaff-deploying drones, explosive-filled jetliners, radiological dirty-bombs made from Chernobyl coreolite, and even old-fashioned torpedos..), the whole idea of a carrier seems a bit crazy.  But maybe I am stupid (lots of evidence of the truth of that, I am afraid...) 🤭

I got the last copy of "Ghost Fleet" they had at the local big-bookstore.  Earlier this evening, I watched an Asian news-service cover China President Xi's visit to a "rare-earth" processing facility in China, with speculation that China would restrict rare-earth exports - another plot device in the book.   So I guess none of this stuff is new for the mil-spec boys and girls. 

We *really* need to do a manned colony-mission to Mars.  If the imagination of the world's young, smart folks is not turned outward, it will turn inward, and we will really have a World-war Three.  But it won't be any fun.  It won't be "Damnation Alley".  It will just be a lot of people dying quickly & slowly.

The drugs Jorrel sold me seem to be working.  The pain is less intense, and healing seems to be happening.  But my portfolio is bleeding wealth rather badly, and I am concerned.  If Trump delivers a full-on stock market crash this fall (or even this summer), then the Democrats will be able to win even if their candidate is a half-filled-with-urine plastic soda bottle.  

And in Canada now, the new "Carbon Tax" has taken effect, adding over 4 cents to each "litre" of gasoline:  4.5 x 4.1 => 18.45 cents per gallon, in $Cdn.  Petrol is now typically $1.25/litre.  Everything else is up too.  A loaf of bread costs 3 or 4 dollars minimum now - just for a loaf of bread.  These prices seem just a little crazy.  I went to buy a *small* can of black anti-rust paint, and expected it would be 7 or 8 dollars.  It was $14.99, plus 13% HST.  This is pretty close to a double from the last time I bought some, maybe 3 or 4 years back. The problem, is that the gov't asserts there is no inflation, which is an obvious lie, contradicted by the direct evidence of one's daily life.  This is much the same as the "Global Warming" fraud.  Tonite (this morning, actually), it is May 29th, and the temperature is a cold, wet 9 degrees celsius (47 fahrenheit).  We had a traditional cold winter and spring, which provides yet more evidence that the "Global Warming" assertions are provably false.

But it is comical.  If you talk to Leftists, who support the "Carbon Tax" scheme, they are willing to deny the evidence of their own eyes (and skin!), and cling to the deception that supports their worldview.  It is a fascinating example of the kind of madness that psychological researchers such as Kahneman and other Behavioral Economists have discovered.   "Global Warming" is a fraud, and inflation is happening big-time, yet our governments try to assert an alternate reality that supports their taxation and deficit financing actions.  What is amazing, is the astonishing willingness humans demonstrate in the consistant suspension of disbelief.  The inflationary price movements are serious.  And even more serious is the assertion that these price increases are not happening.  So curious.

Hopefully, this price-shift idiocy will have some impact - and at some point in the near future once the election is called - motivate the removal of the dishonest and corrupt Liberal's who hold power now in Ottawa.  *Worst. Government. Ever.* for us here.  A complete failure-show of fraud, sophistry, and tax-hikes.   We must look to the future, and seek positive change to correct the drift and failure that has characterized this sad episode of dynastic foolishness. We can make it a "Game of Throwns!", as in "Throw the Bastards Out!" (A comment I seriously heard when I was a young lad, and went to vote.  A fellow who had just voted left the polling station, and addressed this comment to the folks going in to vote.  And we did!  Wonderful thing, democracy.  So excellent, when it works.)

[May 28, 2019] - Just when I have written Mr. Trump off, he does something quite amazing, like agreeing with Kim Jong Un, that Joe Biden is a "low-IQ individual"!  This generated the usual "storm-of-righteous-indignation" that the poo-throwing monkeys of the left like to engage in.  But what is impressive, is that Mr. Trump - with his bombastic assertions - is not afraid to speak the truth sometimes.  And this makes him special, in the old-fashioned meaning of that word.  I think Joe Biden probably is exactly what has been asserted here.  He is so typical of the kind of person that climbs up the greasy pole of modern political process.

Here's the crazy thing.  The Asians are going to save us.  There are a lot of them.  The Americans who occupied Japan after the WW2 would call the Japanese "yellow monkeys".  I could go on here, and describe more amusing details of overt US racist policies towards everyone in the Eastern sphere - but you get the point.  What makes Mr. Trump so loveable, is his willingness to say things we are all thinking - but no political leader would say.  But Trump says it - and transmits it out on the 'net!  Wonderful.   Biden is not an idiot.  He is a shrewd political operative, intent on climbing to the top of that big, smelly pole.  But that is really all he is.  He is the perfect Democratic candidate.  He perfectly encapsulates what the Democratic Party has become in America now. 

Trump's attacks on China struck me as insane.  But they play very, very well in Japan.  What gives me that strange frisson sometimes - is to see that we are running on a historical vector now that goes all the way back to Perry, and his black ships, forcing their way into Japan back in 1854.  They did this because almost all of China was off-limits to them, because of British and other European control.  This was the opening of Japan, which had been a closed nation since the early 1600's, when the Shogun kicked out the trouble-making "Christians" (Jesuit Catholic fascist storm-troopers of Rome, let's be honest.  If I were the Shogun, I certainly would have done the same thing.)  But Perry's "Black Ships" (黒船, kurofune), were almost a "first-contact" situation.  The Treaty of Shimoda opened Japan to US trade.  Shortly after, the Shogun was toppled in the Boshin War. And the restoration of Imperial "rule" ended the Edo era.  (The Imperial restoration was in fact a crash-course, hyper-speed mass-moderniztion, undertaken by the faction that knew Japan *had* to modernize, or get rolled-over by one of it's neighbours.)

Trump just spent four days in Japan, and was warmly welcomed and received.  If history is any guide, he will be re-elected, and this curious era of "dangerous prosperity" may continue.  Suddenly, it is possible to see Mr. Trump as just another component in a long historical vector, which is still in motion.   There is this historical agency in operation in USA.  It was peopled by Europeans, but as the westward expansion grew, the West met (and then became, the East).  As the locus of power and influence has moved ever westward in USA, the US has become a "Pacific Rim" nation, much more than a European post-colonial entity.  Trump's role in this historical process, now looks a bit clearer.  

Japan wants to buy 100 modern US fighter jets.  This will repair the trade deficit Japan has with America, and continues the process that began with Japanese military modernization in the 1860's.  Trump understands this?   I'm not sure.  But if he plays it right, he will get re-elected, and China may actually gain from the whole process.  China's greatest gains in it's entire, long (very long!) history, have come in this very short time-frame in which it has decided to emulate the American economic model.  They should continue to do this, and introduce democratic reforms - perhaps elect local parlimentarians, who then go to Beijing to debate policy, and make laws.   It's worked very well in Taiwan.  It's worked very well in Japan.  Trump's gift to history might be the motivation to do this.

I love my Huawei phone.  But Communism is pure evil, let's be clear.  One only has to study the Chinese "Cultural Revolution", or the mass-murders at Tiananmen Square, to see why China is only a half-finished project.  China needs to embrace more change, if it wants to grow beyond what it still is.  The new government in China (every nation needs a new government every 10 or 20 years), will have to open the archives about the horrific events of 1989, else the stench of evil will remain in the air in Beijing for a thousand years, and poison their future prospects.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/tiananmen-square-massacre-death-toll-secret-cable-british-ambassador-1989-alan-donald-a8126461.html

Every nation has dark events of politically-sanctioned mass-murder in it's history.  But China is unique, in that it tries to hide this horror (detailed internal Directorate-7 reports put the death-toll at 10,454. [Yes. But this number is in American archives, and also the article above].)  The 27th Army of Shanxi were selected to do the murders, as they were brutal, simple thugs.  This was an old trick in Chinese history.  Your local troops might not kill their own citizens, but a northern army of poor troops would happily kill rich city folks.

So, Trump walks thru Japan as a Caesar now, for standing up to what *everyone* in Japan, sees as Chinese Communist deception.  It's quite an amazing sight.   I honestly thought Trump was being simply destructive, but then I remembered the Tiananmen killings.  The Chinese government puts too much faith in lies, deception, information-hiding, and fraud.  What the Chinese did in 1989 at Tiananmen, was unacceptable.  It violates the basic standards of humanity.

And the problem is the same "government" of Communists remains in place, and the Chinese people still have no democratic voice. This is like Brenton Tarrant being the Prime Minister of New Zealand.   Would that be ok?  Seriously, think about it.  Would we do business with them?  Not likely.  So perhaps the current status quo  is an unacceptable situation.   Perhaps Trump is doing the right thing, maybe for the wrong reasons.  

A Trade War, is probably better than a full-on nuclear war.  China should continue its process of change and development.  Trump may simply be part of the mechanism that is enabling this to occur.

[May 27, 2019] - I bought drugs off a guy named "Jorrel" today.  (It's cool - he is a registered Pharmacist) and I said - "Your name, it's Superman's ... father?.." He replied: "Yeah, that's where my Mom got the name."   So, here is the scene, in the canonical film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy3-mXnkoYA

Thanx, Jorrel.

[May 26, 2019] - Spent two days trying to get the Google Android 27.2.3 emulator running correctly on a Macbook Pro.  So far, no joy.  Android is an astonishing hot-mess inside, and the development environment seems to fully change every few months.  It is turning into a huge exercise in FUDmucking to try to port the 32-Linux environment I have on our ACER laptops (we have 3, and a big no-name 32-bit box also running Linux, all set up to produce .APKs) onto a 64-bit Macbook running the android-sdk-macosx suite of programs.

The new 32-bit produced Gemesys APK's run perfectly on my Samsung Tab-A, running Android 7.1.1, but after trying 4 different ARM emulators on the MacPro, in hundreds of permutations, it is not possible to run the same .APK bundles there.  The failure now results from gDosBox not being able to access the sound-processor in the Android emulator - but this works fine on a real device. (gDosBox can run P/C games - and the P/C games had sound. So it emulates a "SoundBlaster" card.)  The 64-bit Macbook Android emulator just does not work right.  The APKs (gDosBox, GNUplot and the APLs) all run fine on the Huawei phone, and on Samsung Tab-3.  They also work fine in the 32-bit emulator (for Android 4.2.2) running on my Linux laptops.  The problem is with the modern Android emulator, which does not do sound properly.  

This "version-vomit" from Google/Android is why Apple with it's iPhones - crazy expensive though they are - have taken over the world.  Apple gives you one way to do it, or take the highway, lad.  And everything costs at Apple - you have to *pay* those sweet folks just to have a C-compiler that works and can load code onto an iPad.  Amazing, is this not?  Developers have to pay money to Apple to get a "Development Account", or do a bunch of hacks, just so you can put your own code on a device that you own!  (Why I had to become a slightly more serious hacker.) 

This is absurd and insane, but folks now tolerate it because they can sell games in the iStore, and governments don't care about monopolies they don't understand.  Bit of a sad state of affairs, but great for the "Evil Genius" types at Apple.  <big sigh...>.  No wonder there are "terrorists' in this world now.   As technology development creates the illusion of improvement, operational reality is becoming just slightly more ugly and nasty, as each day goes by.   Weaponization of all this stuff is absolutely inevitable. 

Think about it.  In the world now, people willingly carry tracking devices, which have advanced AI-based facial recognition and recording technology - and you willingly point this device at your face.  The Apple technology works, and it is clear why China and Apple have become such great partners.  Probably Apple told the US gov't to please remove the Huawei economic threat, just like the US gunmakers did to get the Norinco imports banned in the USA.  ( I have a couple of Norinco pistols - they are typically 1/4 the price of equivalent US-made items: Viz: A Norinco .45 auto - $350 in Canada when I bought it.  Compares to a Colt .45 from US manufacturer Colt, which can easily cost upwards of $1500 or more.  The Colt has a nicer finish typically, but my Norinco .45 is easily the most reliable automatic I have ever encountered.  Like a good piece of software: it just works.   I bought another Norinco product - an NP-29, a 9mm target pistol, but in the .45 form factor. (seen in the image), and it works well.

So, Norinco was accused in the USA of producing nuclear-weapons parts, and was banned from selling into the US by George Bush's gang.  Everyone knows it was because of Norinco's disruptive pricing.  The Americans are being very dishonest these days.  For a society founded on some deep and wise social-truths, this will cost them, I fear.  They are building a state based on deception and fraud, and this damages national integrity, and reduces a nation's "soft power" - which in the long run, is the power-base that matters, as truth has a way of leaking out into the wider world.  People decide what to do, based - eventually - on what is actually true, despite the temporary gains that can be won by deception and mis-direction.  Becoming a nation of liars will cost the USA.  It is bad policy and poor state-craft.

[May 24, 2019] -You can download the APK's from Github now.  Once the APK file is downloaded, you can install the APK (Application Package File) on modern Android devices now, without going thru the Google Playstore. This is called: "side-loading", and it carries risks, of course.  Download the GEMESYS APLs, gDOSbox and GNUplot37 from Github, here: https://github.com/Gemesys/gemesys_repository/

Economic Notes: Perhaps things can be reframed.  May is out in UK (Whew. Finally. Now just do the Brexit, hard-border North Ireland, don't pay EU any more money, and do a free-trade deal with them, if they want to do one.  Done.)   Modi wins big in India (7% annual growth. Duh.  Maybe he would like come to Canada, and be our PM too?)  Pakistan launches nuclear-capable 1500-mile range ballistic missle.  (Notice how there are no threats of idiot-sanctions or economic war against those folks, eh?   Algo for national security:  Get nukes, get missles, talk peace, but make it clear, you will defend your lands if attacked.  The Romans would have understood and nodded their heads.  

Asia shows more sanity than most places.  And Australia stayed sane.  That was nice outcome. Labour lost, the good guys won.  The North-Am Mkt meltdown yesterday was ugly, but oil prices have traded down into the $58/bbl range again, for WTI crude.  Probably heading to around $52 level, as stockpiles grow.  This is a sane and sensible market response. Fuel is too expensive now.  It hurts to use it. 

And I see Tesla's everywhere now, so real alternatives to petrol vehicles are finally evolving. They are crazy-expensive, but people like them, and we have hydro and nuclear here, big-time.  The SUV Tesla (Model X or something) is big enough to be useful, and yes, it is $100,000 - but a new Ford pickup truck is over $70,000.  Modern economics is becoming ever-more harsh. 

But harsh economics means that opportunities must exist.  The curious failure of so many of our existing institutions and infrastructural-historical systems and methods may lead to numerous new opportunities emerging.  If our governments are run by idiots and criminals, then folks will have to self-organize, and develop alternate methods of interaction.  When South Africa was "arms embargoed" back in the last century, it led to the development of a vibrant, and very successful South African domestic military-products industry.  As a multi-racial democracy, with a domestically-supplied economically viable military, South Africa - which is already the "California" of Africa - might evolve to become the "Switzerland" of Africa.  Change destroys things, but it also creates opportunity. 

Many of my best discoveries, which had the most favourable outcomes, resulted from blind, random chance.   Curious, is that not?   Perhaps a deeper understanding of the algos involved, combined with even simple search/locate heuristics, could yield real positive gain.   Real opportunities must still exist. But different methods must be used to locate them.  The internet is now so crowded with fraud, shills and scam everywhere - but perhaps this sad turn of affairs could offer an opportunity.  An idea is germinating here...

AND,  I will be running an experiment with this website.  Probably next week.

[May 23, 2019] - Downloaded the current Android development environment for the Apple Macbook, and managed to get an emulator working.  Unsure if it is possible to migrate the apps to current Android "Oreo" or whatever it is called.  The continous constant change at Google-Android just means that anything you have now, will be gone/transformed/turned-into-high-cost-commerical-item in the near future. It will be made obsolete, by the efforts of the Google-folk.

And this is an ugly trend, like the idiotic madness of the US-China "Trade War" - possibly the most stupid thing I have seen since the invasion of Iraq to find imaginary "weapons of mass destruction".  Americans can be sold anything, it seems.  We are seeing the rise of operational neural-science being used to prove Lincoln wrong: Viz: Given the right methods and strategies, combined with a widely available, gov't censored internet, it actually is now possible to fool all the people, all the time. 

OR, at least enough so that your objectives can be consistantly achieved - ie. near-perfect truth-obfuscation and social-manipulation of enough folks so that desired outcomes in the modern pseudo-democracy political arena's can be consistantly, successfully engineered.  This is a disturbing conclusion based on dispassionate observation. 

I remember 2015, when Google promoted a "Summer of Code", and they got all these kids to contribute code to improving the Android "Open Source" tablet operating system.  What a joke, really!  The richest company in the world, gets a bunch of kids to work for them for effectively free, and then constructively expropriates *everything* and makes it proprietary by virtue of their  aggressive, constant change to the system platform model, so as to obsolete the APIs (application programmer interfaces - the system-hooks that you need to program for to make any application work.)  

It is really very clever, similar to what Detroit automakers did by messing up the specifications each year, so that old parts could never be fit into newer cars.  They would change, just to change, so that everyone had to constantly keep upgrading their vehicle fleets if they wanted to keep them running.   

But it leaves us in a damaged world, where nothing works well, can be relied upon, or lasts very long; where everything fails, breaks or becomes quickly worthless.  And with software (which does not 'wear out' at all), this same rapid (yet mostly benefitless) change is critically necessary, to induce newer/faster/better code and devices.  The whole idea is to keep the suckers spending on the techo-trash, and keep the gravy-train a-rolling.   The result:  A few BigCo's in California  capture all the gains, and *nothing* remains for the small-holders at the periphery.  It is brilliant - two companies essentially "harvest" all the income that can be generated from any software development activity, and folks accept and support this model because of what the internet historically was - a decentalized "open" thing.  Which of course now it isn't at all any longer.  The illusion is maintained, but the reality is we are getting toasted, aren't we?

Now I understand why the Mayan images keep haunting my background thoughts.  The Mayans resource-exhausted their productive lands, and they used a slave-holding economy.  This meant that periodically, with mathematical certainty, their cities would be burned down by mobs of starving slaves & equally hungry, but also armed and angry, citizens.   

I seriously wonder if this algorithmic outcome lies in our collective futures.  (It is a curious world, when the folks on the Right and the Left find themselves pushed so far out to the periphery, that they find it is circular, and the meet each other in the economic wilderness, and ask: "WTF?  What did we do to end up here?..."  Then, like the starving slaves and betrayed citizens of those Mayan cities - they grab their swords, and climb up the plateau's, where the elites live, and they slaughter them all, and burn their palaces.  "Manufactured Consent", wasn't that the title?  Chomsky's book, from years back.  See, Noam Chomsky was only thinking about television/movies/radio.  But the internet takes it up several levels, right?  As freedom and honest speaking is removed by internet censorship and political restrictions on free speech (the idiocy of "trigger warnings"), this "other thing" takes its place.  And this "Other Thing" is Chomsky's scary model he observed, but now nuclear-powered and on steroids.  This is not just a sub-optimal situation, it is a negative outcome with toxic characteristics. 

A "Trade War" with a valuable business-partner is crazy-stupid, an unstable, near-psychotic Vandal occupies the Oval Office in the USA, and ye old open-source freedom-internet, is morphing into an ugly instrument of economic extraction and social-control, not unlike Winston Smith's "View Screen" from 1984.  It was not supposed to be this way.

Here is how DuckDuckGo makes money.  They let sellers bid on keywords, but don't track you around the net.  They are profitable, so they say.  https://spreadprivacy.com/duckduckgo-revenue-model/   This is interesting.  But the process of research is corrupted, and your efforts to learn are monitized, but the gain is taken by others.

Truth is, there is no money for most folks on the net - just a spectacular, neural-driven timewaste.  Sad.  It really was not like this in the beginning.  At the beginning, it was just so truly wonderful.  You could by-pass all the closed doors, and find folks to do direct business with.  It gave the little-guy a chance to do real business.  Real projects were posted, real opportunities existed.   Real contacts could be made, and small guys had a chance to be in the economic game.   Amost *nothing* like this exists today.  It is all scam-hype and fraud and abusive blackhat thief-tricks now.  "Riding in a Stutz-Bearcat Jim, those were different times. All the poets studied "rules-of-verse", and all the ladies rolled their eyes..."  

I watch this market-meltdown that is being engineered by the warboys and short-mavens in the USA, and I want yell and break stuff.  It is such a really bad, destructive idea, and is so completely wrong, that it is comical.  The Americans really want to blowup part of their economy, and take 10 to 15% off their actual and/or potential GDP?  Really??   They cannot really be this stupid.  

In a trade-fight like this, it is the *high-cost* economy that will eat the most pain & damage.  China will be fine.  Remember that 50 years ago, people in China were eating birdshit, snakes and cats, and thinking it was a feast.  They periodically experience *very hard times* in China, and will weather this crisis successfully, without any political change happening.  But America will just fall, and fall hard.  That silly bugger Trump must be working a short thru his Saudi buddies.  Nobody can seriously be as truly stupid-reckless as he is trying to appear to be.  Jonestown Kool-Aid, maybe?  It looks just pure crazy.  😮

[May 22, 2019] -  Was offline with more internet problems and a killer toothache.  (Note: Advice to all: See your dentist regularly, and brush after eating.)  Two cavities filled today - critical, as the tooth-pain was extreme. Worst possible time for this, my largest holding reported just slightly below analysts earnings expectations (but still a fine number), and the stock is getting seriously killed.  Had I been sharp and on the bounce, I would have jumped off the tracks before being hit by this train.  Feeling rough, face frozen.  Arrgh... 🤒 Watch your health - I know, Soro's old saying holds here: "What good is health, if it can't buy you money." 😎 Need to be more careful/proactive.  (-_-) <-- sleepy face...

[May 20, 2019] - Android Applications gDosBox, GNUplot37, and the various APL interpreters have been uploaded to the Github site for GEMESYS:  https://github.com/Gemesys/gemesys_repository   

(See the AndroidApps tab on the top menu for details of the Apps)

[May 19, 2019] - Ok, I've built all the .APK's for all the GEMESYS apps.  I will put them on my github account.  There are 7 of them: sAPL, APLse, WatAPL, TryAPL2, GNUplot37, gDosBox, gKeyboard.  APL on a pocket platform - ie. and Android tablet or phone -  is really useful.  You can do a quicky DCF (discounted cash-flow calc), present-value, probability, etc.  You can also invert or multiply matricies, and even execute code to process AI results from an AI (neural network) matrix, against a current dataset converted into a matrix.  Whatever your heart desires.  <sigh>.  I've fixed the security issue, and also upgraded the Android API from SDK 8, to SDK API 23 (equivalent to Android 6.0).  Google want's more, not sure if I can provide further work on a pro-bono basis (I have tried multiple ways to contact them, but no response.  Google ist google. <more sighs> 

We move into a strange new world now.  My forest is full of flowers, and Spring is in the valley.  The world is like a brown-eyed girl. <better angels..?>  Anyway, off to the range, 9mm and .223.  We shall make some noise. 😉

[May 18, 2019] - Built updated version of gDosBox for Android, includes security fixes, and updates the target API to 23 (but Google insists on minimum 26 API & a full 64-bit .APK, which is silly for a 32-bit emulator), and this means my apps will probably all die on June 5th.

If anyone wants the APL, GNUplot or the gDosBox (which has math-corrected routines, so floating-point calculations will come out correctly) after June 5th, I will see if some sort of side-loading (without using Playstore) is possible, and I may configure some Samsung tablets for re-sale with DOS, APL and GNUplot on them.  Fortran also, maybe.  I have Borland C and Watcom C and Fortran on my Samsung Android tablets.    Having these types of apps on a tablet is useful. With the gDosBox emulator, and an FTP-Server (to migrate code to "storage/emulated/legacy" directory which gDosBox can see) you can run good-sized Fortran programs (ie.with libs from the IMSL Fortran Numerical library and with the IBM or Microsoft Fortran compiler (or the Watcom Fortran compiler), you can do serious work on an Android tablet.   And it remains tractable, and is not just a "black-box" app.  Having APL is great for quick calculations and small, one-off programs.

If I get time, I might try to built the whole thing in a new 64-bit Gradle environment, but I will first have to configure a 64-bit Linux development environment, or try to use Apple and the MacBook maybe. (I far prefer Linux).  I'll update status here.

The forest exploded in flowers in the last two days.  Image at right shows a rare "Blood Trillium", of which we seem to have quite a lot of this year.   I wonder why.

[May 17, 2019] - Spent all day - May 16th - rebuilding the gDosBox app (which is the foundation for all the GEMESYS apps on Android), and tried repeatedly to upload the new version to the Google PlayStore.  Google has rigged things to make this effectively impossible, sadly.  I have the fix built and have tested the release version of the new gDosBox-release.apk on a Samsung Tab-4, but I cannot get Google to accept the .apk to update the existing version.  Something to do with not having a 64-bit version (obviously, since I am using a 32-bit Linux laptop as my development platform.)   Since gDosBox is an MS-DOS emulator, I cannot see why I should have to have a 64-bit version of something that will only run 32-bit code!  Makes no sense.

Google has become rather heavy-handed.  One obvious solution is to enforce a "separation of powers" in the Google-Android ecosystem, since it is now acting too much like an abusive monopoly (ah, sort of like Apple does all the time!).   I am surprised this economic model is tolerated by US anti-trust authorities.   Google and Apple are powerful monopolies, and have developed business models that *explicitly* inhibit and constructively prevent effective competition.  Their "stores" are traditional "company" stores, which prevent and restrict a substantial amount of possible innovation and opportunity. They claim it is for "security" purposes, but my situation demonstrates - with absolute clarity - the inaccuracy of that argument, as the Google restrictions preventing me from uploading my security-enhanced, library-patched new .APK's (the Application Package files) and deploy these to the existing user-base.  This anti-competitive action explicitly allows a security issue to *remain* in place.

I understand why these concerns are being escalated now into the political arena, because the current approach seems contrary to both fairness and reasonable economic competition.  Google is wrong here.  I don't even charge money for my apps!  They just facilitate teaching, trading and economic/math training efforts.   But Google's policies will end the small opportunity-benefit I have created with these unique apps - *and* they currently prevent me from fixing a security issue that Google itself said I need to fix! 

Google seems to be acting like the ATT ("Phone-Company") monopoly did back in the 1970's.   This is double-curious, since the Android ecosystem evolved from an open-source model.  It's pretty funny, actually.  What a silly world.  The more it changes, the more it stays *exactly* the same!  🤭 

[May 16, 2019] - "My Christian heart cannot withstand the thundering arena - I'll see you when the violence ends. For now, cha-cha Bambina"  Except, I'm an unbeliever, so the thundering arena is where I effing live! 😋  I have to figure out how to short BitCoin.  It trades like Edo-period Dutch tulips (Ours at the Farm have finally bloomed!).  

I have to update all my Android apps, or Google will snuff them in June.  I have built and tested the updated library, now just have to figure out how and where I can slot it in.  Makefiles, C-make, and now Google's bizarre "Gradle" product.  Does anyone outside the software industry grasp what a toxic mess software developement still is, even here now in 2019?  Could somebody please write a development environment that does not smell like a steaming pool of drunk-barf?  Trying to maintain/enhance/extend a big software project is still dark-art complexity in the extreme, a moving target of problems where multiple-references generated by multiple overlapping library calls can still be difficult to track down.  95% of the time, a developer is using some other persons code and build-enviroment, and spends too much time trying to find out how it works.  This is like trying to debug an ancient assembler program full of goto statements. (It's the "come-from-ness" that hurts one, not the "goto-ness"... <sigh>)

The only environment that is not stupid, is Python.  Python actually makes libraries usable.  You just issue one command, and the code is loaded in and can be used.  Python is maybe the future - or something like it.  C/C++ requires so much low-level fiddling - like we are still all doing our work in Assembler.  It's goofy madness.

None of the linkage-edit/load library stuff is ever documented properly, and using any modern C/C++ code in a big project is just so painful. Wicked Snakes inside a place that could be dignified!  I don't want to live like this, but I don't want all my apps to die!! 😀

Seriously, this should be a two-minute thing.  But I will probably spend all day, just getting a clean compile.

Here's a tidbit: Someone leaked an audio of some pilots asking Boeing suit-and-tie-lie-boys about the "Auto Death Dive" feature of the 737 Max-8.  Haven't heard it yet, (like Brenton Tarrant's video (too much violence) I have to actively screen my inputs, to keep sanity & objectivity).  Like I have said, the Boeing software engineers are *way ahead* of Brenton Tarrant in the mass-murder game.  Boeing maybe should be broken up into seperate companies, or restructured somehow, since the 737-Max 8 failures show they cannot build safe, sane aircraft.   The fact that the FAA certified those Boeing platforms with the "Auto Death Dive" feature is just so tragic.  

What kind of a stupid fool puts an automatic control system that forces the stick forward and the plane into the ground, into the most critical control-surface-control-code (the code that controls how the stick-movement affects the ailerons and elevetor/rudder movements)?   Does nobody actually think anymore?  I talk to modern software developers, and they are so blinded by their own worldviews, that they will actively enable things which are profoundly bad and stupid (oh, like "location tracking" for example?  Who would actually want that?  That is what we do to criminals, when we make them wear tracking devices!  Or the "Internet of things"?  Is that not insane?  Do you want your fridge interconnected with your dialysis machine and your fire-alarm-control system and your bank-account?   Idiocy & Madness.  No other words capture it accurately.)

It would be helpful for resolving this sort of foolishness, if people at both Boeing and FAA could be fired from their sweet high-pay do-nothing jobs, and lose their fat pensions.  No chance of that happening, of course.  (-_-).

Market runs up. We remain fully invested and long. Learn to enjoy the ride. 🤭

[May 15, 2019] - Google has informed me they will pull all my GEMESYS Apps off the Playstore next month, if I don't update a library, deep in the code, that poses a memory-bounds-check risk.  I've downloaded the security-fixed new code, and successfully compiled the library on it's own.  And today, have managed to get a newer (old) Samsung Tab-4 test device working with my "android-sdk-linux" software suite, which runs on my old (but good) 32-bit Linux laptop.  I had to edit "/home/<mysuserid>/.android/adb_usb.ini" to include the device vendor-id (one USB vendor-id per line). You find that using Linux command: "lsusb", after you plug your Android tablet into the development laptop.   Then, I had to create another entry in the "/etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules" file (like the one I already had, for a really old device, which has both device-ID and Vendor-ID (ie. for Samsung).  The part I missed was the reboot of the Linux laptop after this was done. (I spent *hours* trying to figure out why the goddamn device could not be seen by the adb server.  Arrrgh.)  There is some nifty cmd on Ubuntu to just invoke the new "rules" file, but I could not find out what it was for Fedora. (and the Ubuntu cmd did not work, of course).  My ancient but perfect ACER laptop runs an old 32-bit Fedora version. [Update to this: Looks like it is a designed-in flaw in "adb", yet another "security" feature designed to prevent Android tablets from being "rooted" perhaps. I think I had to use the API-19 version of "adb" to access the developer options on my various Samsung tablets.]

Once I did the reboot, the "~/android_dev/android_sdk_linux/platform-tools/adb" could be run with "./adb devices", and the new (old) Samsung Tab-4 showed up (it runs Android 4.2.2)  (the old KitKat version, with the Dalvik VM inside).  Here is a trick, if you have one:  Click 7 times on the Android Version info in the "software" section, and watch the animation.  (This is different than the 5 clicks on the Build-ID to invoke Developer Options). 

Once you reboot the Linux box (or laptop), the first connect (given you have invoked the Developer Options on the tablet), gives the dark confirm screen with the RSA key on it, asking you to confirm to allow adb to fiddle your tablet.  Click, "yes" on the tablet, and then "./adb devices" will show the device as authorized.  I was able to uninstall and then re-install "gDosBox" from the Linux Android development environment.  This is the Eclipse-era approach, not Android Studio. (Ie. you use ANT to serialize the APK as a release (instead of a debug) APK).  I don't use Eclipse.  I use "vi" and multiple x-term windows because "It works."  I then re-installed from my SDK built dosbox subdir (the APKs get put in the "bin" directory), and the app got re-installed successfully. 

I will try to rebuild and update all the GEMESYS Apps with the security-fixed library. (Which compiles, builds and installs correctly on its own.)  It may be just a makefile and Android package-building tweak, or I may have to hack down into the code.  Not sure yet.  Stay tuned.  I far prefer just pitching code to the actual device with adb, rather than messing around with emulators - but the old 32-bit Android emulators actually worked quite well.  Trick here is to get the updates out quickly.  😎

[May 14, 2019] -[3:30 pm update:]  Not sure if anyone sees this - but it provides me a very useful record:  In reviewing event-risk stuff, encountered the story re. the drone-attack on Saudi oil facilities. (let's just say: Not Unexpected: Tracking my WC-scenario tick-by-tick...).  The Americans are spouting nonsense that it was Iran-backed - but the Iranians have denied this (and I believe them).  The Reuters service says a "Yemeni-armed movement" that is "aligned to Iran" might be involved.   This was an armed drone attack on two Saudi Aramco pumping stations.  Reuters reports "US national security agencies said they believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have been responsible for the previous tanker attacks" rather than Iran itself. Well, duh.  Might have been space aliens too, right? 

This init.war stuff has hit oil prices: Brent futures up $1.21, now $71.44 /bbl (US$).   "All Hail the Golden Butthole", I guess.  What can one say?    The Americans seem determined to fly their successful high-flying economy into the ground.  Trump is just out of his depth here, I suspect.  We needed a change-agent at the top in the USA. Trump talked a good line, and he got the tax thing fixed, which was critical. But war now is a very bad idea.  One day, the USA may bomb somebody who can bomb-back, and events could spiral.  How can we in ROTWORLD effectively suggest that the USA pull back a bit on the stick??  🤔 Unclear.

[Earlier, this AM] I am a bit concerned about the near-future, but I also expect to see a DJIA well above 30,000 in a short time, as there is really no alternative (TINA problem - There Is No Alternative).  We are getting a reactive bounce today, and if some sort of sane trading accommodation is reached between China and USA, then we could seriously expect an impressive relief rally. 

Or, Trump might also get removed in a direct manner - and I rather hope that does not happen, but Americans have this direct approach to addressing problems.  It would be the first time in my memory where a Kennedy-manouver might result in a relief rally.  Pence might just put a hold on insane things, and there would be sympathy for the devil, I suppose.  Or at least the devil's family.  (There is a theme - or meme - here?).  I recall when Ronald Regean met with some minor misfortune, that we moved on from there with dispatch in the markets.

The most impressive thing I have seen in the USA recently, is Michigan's new "Golden Butthole" civic sculpture - meant to highlight a "Golden Corridor" in Sterling Heights, which looks to be part of the Greater Detroit area. The Scottish expression asserting dishonesty is: "Ach, Yer talking thru yer ring!"  The Facebook page it has, shows America retains it sense of humor.   They will need this, given the Storm-of-Stupidity the USA Executive Branch is unleashing on the World. 

Trump's aggressive move *away* from the free-trade ideal, traditionally supported by business-focused Republicans, is simply bizarre.  Look at the weirdness now of Washington:  Democrats are the big supporters of open markets and free-trade, while Republicans are championing abusive, punishing tariffs to assault a major trading partner which has brought substantial prosperity to both sides.

Historically, the Democrats were the ones backing policy choices that promised "economic self-harm", and the GOP were the wise old men, who put the brakes on the bad idea of trade-union-supported tariff-walls to protect local industry.  But here, we have a complete inversion of the traditional norms, and this really is "strikingly out of the ordinary" - my Websters's definition of "bizarre".   And Trump must know the strong stock-market is his best chance of re-election.  Yet since his twitter-delivered threats began last month, the stock market has lost 1.1 trillion US$ in wealth.  (Note to Investors: "The Donaldland don't love you either.").  Jeremy Siegel, the famous Wharton School guy has suggested that Trump will cut some kind of deal with China.  The alternative is a declining market, wage-pressure & cost-pressure inflation, and a *really* angry electorate.  China's strategists must know this. 

Our analysis suggests USA will be hurt more by this tariff war, than China, because the USA is the high-cost economy, and the US tariffs on Chinese products will impact critical advanced-material costs at the front-end of the supply chain.  The USA will become net poorer because of this, as economic value-added is gently dialed back.  There are "multipliers" involved - not "trickle-down" dribbles, but "multipliers".  It's in the math. 

And Trump is really saying to American Business: "The Motherland don't love you!"   What is interesting, is that this tees-up a curious knights-fork scenario.  Having moved so far away from economic sanity, any major change is likely to result in a better, more rational approach to things.  If Trump has chosen to become the enemy of US business, then his days have to be numbered, one way or the other.  To paraphrase Lincoln: You can't be mean-stupid all the time, about everything, toward everyone.   When you turn your big guns on your own allies and partners, you create the conditions for a grand consensus to develop pretty fucking quickly, actually.  "Looks like it's time we changed the Change Agent." - this thought-wave is drifting across much of the political spectrum...  😀😮🤭

[May 13, 2019] - Found another great VW-song: Ya, Hey! "The Motherland don't love you, The Fatherland don't love you - so why love anything?"  Brilliant tune.  And more elenchus.  I love freedom, pretty women, fast cars, large profits, (the usual suspects).  Why not?  I also love it when the technology works.  But not today, it seems.

On a day with DJIA off 650  so far (1:55pm), our wi-max internet link to the farm has been pooched, >50% packed drops, the 2 mb/s link down to dial-up speed, etc.  Almost (but not quite) unusable.  Like having "wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified - I don't want to live like this - but I don't want to die."

[Side note: Yes, I have downloaded all of Vampire Weekend's material, and made a new mplayer program of something like 25 songs.  Ezra Koenig is this amazing musical genius who was hiding in the "alternative" darkworld.  He and his band have done a "fiat lux", and this is good.   I actually sent one of my folks to Tokyo via Air Canada, to get the Japanese release of "Father of the Bride" on it's Japanese release date of May 15th. (Japan release has 3 extra tracks). ]

So, we have this crazy risk factor now, given the "March of the Idiots" that seems to characterize poly-broken USA.  This isn't negotiation brinksmanship - this is just "Vandals in the Office" - the USA Executive Branch is "Yellow-Vesting" - just smashing stuff because you have no power, and you are angry.  Trump looks to be "going postal" or something.

This is also triggering one of our more serious scenarios.  The careful, clever attack on 4 empty oil-tankers, which were disabled - but not destroyed near Hormuz, is a smart trick.  Clever, and also expected.  The murder of Khashoggi was our picture for the beginning of this rather extreme game-theory model - and when I read last nite about this bit of maritime vandalism, it made sense.

The Americans seem determined to take us into a  "Condition Red" situation, and I wonder how many folks see this?  We need now, only wait for the "Event" (as in "Event Risk").  I have several ideas what the "Event" might be - but I am pretty sure, it is being teed-up as I key this.  There are now just way too many people and groups and nations that stand to benefit from a profound collapse of USA military power.   And if that floating Persian Gulf "MDK Platform" just exploded, without anyone taking credit, or even knowing who did it, then a military response is muted - by both not having the aircraft carrier, and also by not knowing who sank it.

The USA Administration wants a war in the Gulf.  They might get one, but they will not likely control it this time.  Trump's two fight-boy's are extemely dangerous and are just acting like smallpeckers, and that big aircraft carrier is a "maximum warship".  I truly hope the Navy have their phalanx-guns working properly.  They will almost certainly be swarmed.  But it won't be by silly little commercial drones, or even Iranian fast-boats.   I have a pretty good idea what it will be, but I don't want to give anybody ideas by spelling it out.

One casualty I see coming here, is NATO.  I think it is finished.  Russia has been smart.  All they need to do, is *nothing*.  Just wait.  The idea of a poly-borked USA spending billions to defend Europe from it's biggest, most important business partner, is just stupid.  China's "Belt and Road" idea is a really sensible, fine and wise idea.  The American's are just trying to piss in everyone's soup, because they are not running things anymore, and they don't have a social, economic or diplomatic model for dealing rationally with the ROTWORLD  (Rest Of The World) which does not involve threats, sanctions, warships, bombers and combat troops. 

I truly hope I am wrong about this. But I also won't be too sad.  Maybe a little sad, since USA used to actually be a beacon of freedom, before it became a gang of murder-monkey idiots.  Their whole political system is deeply dysfunctional now.  Weep for that.

Their military boys (and girls) know that death in combat can always come - just like our guys do.  Our first four causualties in the moronic-stupid recent Afghan campaigns were caused by idiot-stupid US pilots firing on and killing members of a squad of Canadians who had just been deployed, and were out on familiarization manouvers in the desert.  The American aviators thought these guys - with green military trucks and uniforms - were Taliban,  I guess.  You have to be a special kind of retarded dumb-assed motherfocking moron to make a murder-mistake like that.   So, when I see American military people get hoisted by their own petards, I just cannot work up a too big weep for them, I am afraid, as far too many are fucking idiots just like their leaders, truth be told.  And this is one of the big problems our world faces now. "An endless conversation, since 1917.  And now the battery is too hot, it's burning up in its tray".  ( -_- )

It is why Venezuela and it's democratic folks will be a complete, tragic write-off.  They will all just die.  The US can't or won't help them, but if they do, all they have are bombers.  They have no thinkers who are action agents anymore.  All we can do for those poor fools in Venezuela democratic oppostion, is give them a nice funeral when it's all over.  <big, sad sigh..>

It's a situation just like John Cleese's new tour:  "Why There is No Hope." (Stage Whisper: "He's right, you know...").  For further amusement, check out the State of Michigan's new "Golden Butthole" sculpture (I am serious.) at Sterling Heights, Michigan.  It is also known as the "Gilded Anus".  Or google for: "The Golden Butthole of Macomb County".  It has it's own Facebook page, it's reported.  A computer simulation video, with nice music, has been made about flying thru it, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7nMnUYJLi4

[May 11, 2019] - Note about Mozilla Firefox security certificate expiry:

A critical security certificate for Mozilla Firefox expired last week, and broke all the add-ons on all the Firefox Browsers around the world.  (*** See page "FF-CERT" on this site for details. *** (Just click on the topline menu)).

Here is a fix:   You can import a new certificate "Authority", that provides a security certificate from Mozilla, which is good until 2025.  This allows the FF browser plugings to work again.  You need to get a copy of the certificate, save it as a .PEM file, and then use "Tools/Options/Advanced/Certificates/View Certificates" on Windows FF, or "Edit/Preferences/Advanced/Certificates/View Certificates" on LInux Firefox, to import the file with "Authorities/Import".  Then, you use "about:config" to change boolean value for "devtools.chrome.enabled" from false to "true", and then press: <Shift-Ctrl-J> to start the browser console, and import the .pem file (I called mine: "hackcert.pem"). Check all three boxes, and accept it.   Once the cert is in place, you can "View" it if you want, and confirm the SHA-265 and SHA1 fingerprints match Mozilla's.

Then, in Firefox, start the Browser Console (with <shift-ctrl-J> ) and enter these lines:

Components.utils.import("resource://gre/modules/addons/XPIProvider.jsm");

XPIProvider.verifySignatures();

and this should let your Firefox add-ons (eg. the ABP) work again.  If you have Firefox 57, you change "XPIProvider" to "XPIDatabase".  This is for Firefox 56.x, but I have deployed in on Firefox 52.2.x ESR, and it looks like it works, except the verify (second step) does not work.  See the note here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19826115

Once this is done, you can use "about:config" to toggle the "xpinstall.signatures.required" back to true, from the "false" setting that was used to let the add-ons work.

I have created a page called FF-CERT that has a copy of the certificate on it, and you can view it and check it's hash-code to confirm it is the actual one from Mozilla, once it is installed.  Use some sort of copy-paste editor to create your "hackcert.pem" file.  (Editorial: Mozilla = Smoky Mountain Software? As in Manilla?)

It is beyond insane that we have to do hacks like this, here in 2019, just to keep our software working in some sort of useable manner.  We are living in *very strange times*.   But credit to the developer of this successful, if hacky, fix. Here is a link to his site:  https://www.velvetbug.com/benb/icfix/  You can just download a copy of his .PEM file, which is called: "icfix.pem", near the bottom of his info page, or you can copy-paste the one on my FF-CERT page.  Confirmed this fixes the issue in my CentOS-6.6 and CentOS-7.4 LInux boxes. (FF 60.x and FF 52.2.x ESR versions.)

So, How do you like the Future it so far?  😋 Has it been good for you?   I suppose if you are one of Louis Farrahkan's "Satanic Jews", then it's probably been pretty good, eh?  😀 (See the end of the "Time Travel" section for further clarification).  

[May 10, 2019] - There is this old Steve Miller song: "Time keeps on sliping, into the future".  I found a bunch of code which purports to do Baysian classification on natural language text, and is GPL licensed.  Baysian classification filters are used successfully as spam-filters, to keep email streams flowing.  Really, despite their success, I need more formalized classifcation methods, other than NN's and momentum models that are driven by price-series and price-changes.  If things are "broken", well, how broken? - what metric can I use to measure the degree of brokenness?, and can the dataset of that metric or group of metrics, be use to classify?  Must be possible, and the instrument would be useful - like a radiological meter during a meltdown at a fission-reactor site. 

Needs to be based on more than just price-series. One should be able to run trading ideas thru a CRM-114, and filter out all those that have a low probability of making money.

[May 9, 2019] - Tried to get some simple, basic economic information on the public internet today, and I was surprised at the curious impossibility of this.  So, for amusement, I entered this string into a Google-search:  "is absolutely every single quanta of information on the public internet completely false now?" and for my response, I got this news story: "Scientists used IBM's Quantum Computer to Reverse Time...".  So, I guess that answers the question.  Time is either running backward, or, everything on the Internet is false.  (Yes, a terrible attempt at elenchus, containing several flaws..).  We shall have no cooperative argumentative dialogue here, as this is but a monologue. 

I can only defer to Vampire Weekend and Ezra Koenig, who have written "Stranger" - not a song not about one of Albert Camus's characters  (I always wanted to hear a song called: "I Shot an Arab", but sung to the tune of "I Shot the Sherrif", reggae-style...), but actually how: "Things have never been stranger.  Things are gonna stay strange."  And yes. Yes they are.  The Americans are installing a 25% consumption tax upon themselves, and many honestly believe their government is fighting for their interests.. (!?)  This is pretty strange.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VH8T-_cRSM

Some NN (neural network) Notes re. Markets:  Another datapoint suggesting PyTorch instead of TF encountered.  Interesting.  And the state-of-the-art is way out there.  As an NN-AI hacker/researcher, I built a bunch of Xerion NN's, and had them fight it out, to see which would work best - not just most accurate - but most useful over time.  There were interesting differences, and of course, this process is now being commercialized in GANs - generative adversarial networks, basically a two-part n-net, where a generator produces synthetic data-samples, and a "discriminator" is trained, that then tries to tell the difference between the real-data samples, and the synthetic ones.  This looks like it has two benefits: 1) it can suggest how a big NN can be optimized down to a smaller structure, for faster computational results (useful if your NN is driving a car, and needs to "see" stuff really quickly, (before it drives into things!), and 2), it lets you assess, in a formal manner (that maybe has pseudo-statistical accuracy?), the quality of each of the networks trained.  It looks like it can automate what I do, sitting on the floor, in front of the a big monitor, as I try different assumptions, and train different networks. 

It's funny. I can get *really* good accuracy - essentially I can train my boolean-nets right down to almost matching the input data - but of course, these highly-trained NN's are just *awful* at forecasting market action. I have overfitted.

The old approach was the "early stopping" trick... you stop your training "early" (well, fuck, how "early" is "early"?, right?).  But it works, of course.  Early stopping does work.  In the old days, one of my Econ. Profs. stressed the importance on not being *exactly* wrong, if doing a benefit-cost analysis, for example. (Never provide point-estimates.  Always offer interval forecasts, ie. a range of values.)  Same thing for N-network training.  You want to train across different data-tranches, so you can get "reasonable" predictability, as this will work better on post-training data.  Still, I found it tough to keep the post-training dataset results above 50% accuracy (I was aiming for 75%).  But even with 55% accuracy, and harsh-trading rules, you should still be able to make money - IfAOif, you can get the execution at the training-point data-levels.  And of course, this is where the whole thing breaks down.  You just can't. You get front-run always now.  Always.

What is so curious, is that I - the fellow writing this - am part of the experiment.  Everything formally looked fine (better than fine, actually), week ending May 3rd.  But on May 2nd, I wrote the piece about "taking in some sail - reefing the main when the thought first occurs" - but I didn't.  But I swear, I *smelled* it.  Going back thru datasets, news items, etc., - I think it was Moore withdrawing.  It was on Thur., May 2nd that Trump announced Stephen Moore had voluntarily removed himself from consideration for a Federal Reserve position.  This - to me - was a real storm cloud on the horizon, suggesting that the US political process was now not simply dysfunctional, but basically broken so badly, that it is just not possible for any sort of dissenting voice to be officially heard at any table in Washington now.  This is a deep and serious problem, without any immediate solution.  Time to just take in some sail, and get hard-rigged & ready for the storm.   We may get thru this all without issue, but this time (unlike the December meltdown), this time, I sense something is really wrong. But one needs to *clearly* accept that quite often, our perception of probabilities is just plain wrong - and as Kahneman points out, using repeatable experiments - often a lot wrong.

I sense, this time, the stink is not just excrement being thrown, this time is smells like something burning.  I honestly fear the folks running the USA do not know what they are doing, and how dangerous this sort of pissing-contest about trade issues really is.  And combined with this, is the locked-down "Groupthink" political-system of ABC's (Agencies, Boards and Commissions), that control and run most of what happens, and there seems to be zero ability for any of the outsider top-political people like Trump, to have any affect on it.  So, you don't even get the benefit of change-of-thinking, that an outsider can bring. 

I am getting way more benefit from reading "Thinking Fast and Slow", by Daniel Kahneman, and his results from his formal, scientific, experimental psychology, than anything any neural-network can offer.  And this is a problem, as it means the market AI's might by "gamed" by really clever people, and offer more risk than benefit.  This would suggest we have reached a curious point in history, where absolutely *no* amount of technical sophistication, or careful surveillance, can prevent or disrupt the movement along this curious path of self-destruction that modern politics seems to have us all marching down.

But this "sixth-sense" thing, it has to be a product of my own "neural-network".   And science suggests that with the right selection of datasets, and the right sort of training, it really should be possible to capture this awareness within a formal AI.  And the guys who get this right, will have a true and useful tool for protecting and enriching their investors.  And it cuts both ways. A good market-reviewing AI will help in calling bottoms as well as tops.  Our recent equity-curve at the close today, looks way too much like Mount Everest for comfort.  Since we do not use leverage, we have good ability to ride out economic storms.  But why not just not have the storm?   We control this stuff - or at least we should be trying to control it!

[May 8, 2019] - Discovered some wonderful music - Vampire Weekend - a band led by Ezra Koenig.   Their new album is called "Father of the Bride".  The song here is "Harmony Hall", which comes from the name of a dorm for Columbia University in New York City where the band was formed in the early 2000's. They make beautiful, refined and creative/clever music.  Click here to play:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfGEq0JWxGM

[May 7, 2019] - Ok, if you're reading this to get rich (you should, because you can, if you can learn a tiny bit from these key-scribbles), go back and read my comment on May 2, where I talk about "the time to take in sail, is when the thought first occurs...".  So, here we are, down another 500 points on the DJIA, and I swear, I could smell it coming.  I cannot say why - it is not in the formal forecasts.  And I did not pull the position (which I was doing back in Feb. and Mar, to harvest some numbers for a land deal..).  So, here we are.  

Anyway, here is a consulting project that a young gunslinger could try: You need an "in" at the current political centre of things ("Weirdington, USA").  Get close enough to Mr. Trump, to offer to help, and explain your fee will be 10 million USD, after tax, paid into your BVI or Belize account (or where-ever you have your offshore stash).  (Make sure to follow all local laws, etc., etc..)  Write a short report, and just provide the advice that Mr. Trump and the US Administration might want to consider the idea of not shooting at their own feet.  I am quite serious about this. 

You will need to explain it to these people in this sort of simple language, because they are clearly simpletons - as sometimes smart people can become - when their brains get fogged with the intoxicating mist of power and lust.  They sometimes lose the ability to see thru the haze of testosterone, or self-delusion that dulls the mind and blurs the vision.   You just need to get them to see that this firing bullets into their own feet, blasting off their little pink toes, is not a good idea, and will hurt the good and dear USA.  This will be a difficult message to get across, and you will need skill, tact, and maybe even a hint of genius, despite the simple nature of the message.   Good consulting is just careful truth-telling - but it is difficult, when folks want badly to hear a different message.

Never in history have I seen such curious behaviour on the part of an American Administration.  I like Mr. Trump, but not the other two persons who want war.   War will be a problem, as it looks like it will be aimed at Iran, and not North Korea (which perhaps should be bombed.)   But for now, it is New York that is taking the brunt of this "Assault of Idiocy", as the NYSE has now been pushed hard enough that this mini-meltdown could become self-sustaining, and that would really throw a wrench in to - oh, the world, maybe?  And it is not necessary.   China will do fine, without the US as a trading partner.  Maybe that might even be good for them, as they might fix their domestic economy to install more freedom-of-action, more rule-of-law, and more local domestic investment and local consumption.

Trump looks to be holding his own feet hostage here.  He just needs to stop shooting at them, and so maintain his ability to walk thru the process of his re-election in 2020.   But without healthy feet, in a wheel-chair, he will appear weak and foolish, and the American voters will choose President "Abtoac" (Anybody but Trump or a Clinton).  Crazy times.  Strange times.  Might wanted to have reefed that mainsheet.  The DJIA is down 533, or 2%, when it did not have to be, as the numbers were all looking pretty good.  This is being engineered by explicit Government action.  This might be remembered as the start of the "Trump Crash" that did not need to happen.  Curious behaviour, as it does not look like "greatness" at all. 

It looks like bone-headed, stubborn, political behaviour from someone who wants to provoke a crisis.  And this might be seriously unwise, as once you start something this stupid, it can take on a life of it's own, and be difficult to stop.  (See, for example, the "defensive mobilization" that effectively started the First World War, one of the most destructive, pointless blood-baths in modern times.)    Wicked world, it seems.  The spirit of Mayan King "Dead Baby" is perhaps walking among us.

[May 6, 2019] - Happy Day-After Cinqco-de-Mayo.  Got a bunch of critical stuff done at the farm, and found the Kepler-stuff on Github for TensorFlow. (Finally).  The new ver. 2.0 TF with Keras is something I have to look into more deeply now, as the Xerion/UTS stuff seems to show real promise.  I want to scale it up by a few orders of magnitude, and the crazy behaviour of the markets suggests there is some serious opportunity now.  We are in a wild time, and the application of NN's to fintech has some attraction, given what is possible using the rescaled range analysis tools that can tell you if the series is non-random.   More info to come... If anyone is curious, the Kepler TensorFlow models, used to locate TCE's (transient crossing-events - ie. dips in light-output from a star, which indicates presence of an orbiting planet) are here: https://github.com/google-research/exoplanet-ml

PM notes: Latest Trump tweet-sturmwind provided a really wonderful opportunity today, to harvest a satchel.  Can we have some sort of pre-conditional dataset that might offer assistance in this world-model?

[May 4, 2019] - My Firefox browsers all started spewing adverts today!  Unbelieveable - I had the "we-kill-you-with-silent-update" options disabled on most machines, but the two Linux 64-bit boxes, running CentOS Linux 7.4 (with Gnome 3.28.2) went "boingggg", and Firefox put out a note saying AdBlockPlus was toxic, was now disabled, and websites began to advert-spew.  And my Firefox 55x Android 7.1.1 version on a Samsung Tab-A, same thing.

Ok, so here is the quick fix.  Disable this piece of nasty using the Firefox "about:config" parameter tweaker trick to toggle "xpinstall.signatures.required" from it's default of "true" to "false".   I did this on the Linux platforms and the Android 7.1.1.  tablet.  That let AdBlockPlus  get working again on the Linux boxes.  In the case of the tablet, I was able to remove & re-install the AdBlockPlus plugin successfully.  WIthout this tweak, if you try and install ABP, you get a max-stupid message saying "The Plugin software is corrupt".  You don't get the correct message, that should say " There is no signature on this plugin!", which of course, you should get.  Arrrgh.. 

Now, I am *not* running most recent FF, except on a 32-bit beast that runs Firefox 60.2.2 or something like that, which is real hack-box, except that is runs video quite well.

Here is what I am running:  On the Samsung Tab-A, it runs Android 7.1.1, with "Samsung Experience ver. 8.5", Kernel 3.10.49, Knox 2.8, and with "SE for Android" set to Enforcing.  This tablet (which Google/Samsung keeps trying to update, as always with nag-screens which I keep clicking "Later" on), runs Firefox 55.0.2.  This combo works pretty good.

 

How to find out what version of software you are running: Android / Linux / Firefox: (for folks who are not technical...)

[Your Android tablet]:  Press the gear-icon at bottom of main-screen page (it has label "Settings" on some versions).  Find "About Tablet" in left-sidebar, and click.  Then click "Software information" on right-side screen.  "Android version" should be at the top of the screen shown:  Mine on the Samsung, is 7.1.1, which is reasonably stable, and I do not want to change it.  Android is notorious for breaking stuff, after upgrades.  The shift of the internal VM (virtual machine) from "Dalvik" to "ART" (Android Run-Time) back at Android 5.0 blew a bunch of my stuff out of the water...  But I got it all working again, and updated all the GEMESYS Android apps.  And Android 7.1.1 is not bad. (I started around Android 3.7 or something like that.  I still have one phone that runs 4.3 or Kitkat something.)   But Android 7.1.1  runs my APL and GNUPlot37 and DOSbox stuff pretty good, and I can access all my fin-tech sites.  All the GEMESYS apps are no-cost, without adverts, no in-app tracking.

[Firefox Android Version ] - on the tablet, you have to now press the three vertical dots that are on the Firefox browser menu-bar at right side of screen, not the Android device buttons, like on older versions.  Press those three vertical dots, and get a big drop-down, click "Settings", and then click "Mozilla" at the bottom of dropdown.  On screen right, click "About Firefox" again under the "Mozilla" heading.  On the top left of a graphic-image screen, there should be a word in large font that says: "Firefox", and in *really" tiny hyper-micro-small font, there will be a tiny string of numbers, that tells you the bloody version number of your Firefox on Android.  Really "helpful" this tiny font is.  Mine says:  55.0.2, and it is the third or fourth FF version I have installed/updated on this tablet.  Each one has been worse that the previous.  Seriously.  But it is the Devil-you-know, being better than the one you don't.

[Your Linux Boxes]: The switch from CentOS 6.x to 7.x was pretty ugly for users like me on the edge.  It sucked hard.  Gnome interface was dumbed down to a really surprising degree.  All sorts of really critical functionality was dropped - eg: the GUI for tweaking SELinux booleans, which you *need to do* in order to get things like DOSemu to work (which I need.)  You have to work to degrade something this badly - but at least Linux with it's weird "Systemd" bizarro-stuff it is still somewhat useable.  Sort-of.   I have SSL-enabled Lynx running, Xerion with Tcl/Tk working, Python and GNUplot working, and WINE working, (all built from source), and I run Firefox:ESR  52.2.0 (64-bit).   I even installed Bazel, and compiled TensorFlow 1.4 from source successfully, on one of these Linux boxes.  TF ran the demo stuff OK, but I could never figure out how to actually configure a neural-net and read in the training data (like I already have working, with Xerion/UTS).

So, to check your Firefox version: This is easy - like most desktop Firefox browser versions:  Start the thing (click on your desktop Firefox icon, or click "Applications", highlight "Internet", and then click "Firefox Web Browser"), click the "Help" option on topline menu-bar at right, then click "About" in the dropdown, and a modal display box will appear which will tell you the verison number. 

I run the Firefox ESR version (for Extended Support Release), but you don't get any support from Firefox, so the "support" term is laughable.  If you run LInux and Firefox, you are bloody well on your own brother, so get used to it and learn to code, or at least fix broken code.  (You can make a nice living doing that.  Buy a bunch of real-estate when you are young, so you can enjoy a prosperous old-age...).   The Firefox 52.2.0 is pretty stable, and runs ok on CentOS 7.4 with the 4.18 Linux kernel.   I use only a small number of websites, and these all seem to operate correctly with that combo.  But I did a lot of tuning. 

[Your current Version of Linux] - This is useful to know, as most Linux hacker-types will have "Grub" (or modern variant - pseudo-Grub? (it is the boot-loader )) set up to load a few different kernels.  I have three on most boxes, since the 3.7x kernel would not play the sound correctly on my HP-Intel SFF boxes that I run.  I had to upgrade to a 4.x kernel, and they work much better, and this upgrade (using the El_repo stuff) resolved a number of issues.  Plus, I fiddled some systemd stuff to disable this bizarro "PackegeKit" thing that had an idiot-loop where some stupid update/password-check/verify process would *continously* poll the encrypted passwd file to see if the root/admin password had changed.  It was insane - used 15 to 25% of CPU cycles, in a full-on infinite loop of idiocy.  We just disabled it, with a published tweak, (See my March 16, 2019 entry below for details),  and the boxes run *much* better, and faster too.  Browsers work snappy now, number-crunch works better, and videos and real-time video telecasts render better. 

So, to check your kerel version:  1) start an xterm session (a terminal window).  To do that on modern Gnome, click "Applications", highlight (mouseover) "System Tools", this should show slide-list of apps, mouse down to "Terminal", and you get a CLI (Command Line Interface).  Hint: This is why Linux is capturing the world.  Real work of value can be done here, using CLI & bash.  CLI with "bash" (the Bourne-again Shell) is your best friend.  Like an ugly, reliable old loaded .45, when the other guy has a really fancy, shiny new knife, if you know CLI and "bash", you will have the advantege.  Know this truth.  Enter: "uname -a".  This will return a string that tells you your O/S name, your machine name, your kernel version number, the date it was built, and some strings like "x86_64" that describe the architecture of the kernel and machine). [Thank-you David MacKenzie.  You are a scholar and a gentleman.]

Here is a one-line bit of "bash" that starts your "Panzerlied" selection - essentially a playlist created on the fly, which is then handed to MPlayer to play, while you do something else.  Just enter this at a CLI, while cd'd to your directory of video files:

  bash -c 'ls Pan* > tempplaylist; mplayer -fs -playlist tempplaylist'

The above one-liner will create a file "tempplaylist", which contains (in my case) three filenames, which start with "Panzer...".  Then, it runs mplayer, in full-screen mode, using the temporary file.    The computer can do the work for you, while you work on something important, like some high-precision mixology.  😎

Why AdBlockPlus is Good and Necessary:  The puke-stream of hype-shyte that comes down the wi-max pipe now is getting quite toxic and annoying.  I realize folks have to make money.  And so I pay over $6.00 for a single copy of the Wall Street Journal now, which I buy from Ahbduhl at the Quick-T-Mart.  (I am serious.  You can't make this up.)  But any page of stuff on any website now, has 20 or 30 ad-spew items.  Seriously, I just updated a page on a familiar news-site, and the tiny counter on the the little ABP "stop-sign" icon registered 23 items.  AdBlockPlus is a necessary pre-condition for using the internet now.  And get this:  AdBlockPlus, version 3.5.2, reports that AdBlockPlus now has over 500 million downloads.  Nice uptake, eh? 😉

[May 3, 2019] - What's so amusing, is how well everything is doing, despite the Assaults-of-the-Awful that I see everywhere.  TSLA is up 10 bucks (mkt is happy they are gonna get some bucksters to keep the lights on, and electrotoys in production) and FB and GOOG, the primary drivers of the modern Empire-of-Enablers, are also up hard and firm, like a Spartan letter-staff. What a happy/joy world.  🙂  No one is concerned about mass murders anymore.  And my awful bio-tech models (Malthusian monkey-asumptions all of them, I must confess) suggest that high-body-count events, in a *very crowded world*, are actually just normal, fine, and completely to be expected.  The boys of Stand on Zanzibar didn't have Shalmaneezer in their pockets (like we all now pretty much do).  Always looked to Greece and Rome, but North Am, with it's ancient Mayan culture, has a lot of useful things to tell us also.  The Mayan's were actually pretty advanced - unique and yet similar to other complex cultural structures.  I now know exactly what they were doing in Naj Tunich.  Every complex civil structure faces a similar set of critical issues, as does every household - which is how our term "economics" came into being. 

Warfare seems to be deep in human DNA.  The WSJ has a good article today about modern weaponized drones being used for targeted killings in Yemen - apparently by both sides.  The bad guys have these small robot aircraft, which can fly at 150 mph for up to 900 miles, and deliver a lethal payload - essentially a cheap cruise missle.

[May 2, 2019] - I regularly look for outlying data on the 'net. Small facts, key datapoints that offer evidence of economic, political or social "sea-changes".  I recall being the "No. 2 man" on a sailboat in the Carribean once (amusing, as there were only two of us! the owner/captain and me.  I was all-in as "crew"..).  We saw, approached, and sailed thru a squall line of weather. I expressed some concern, the boat's owner said simply "This is not much..", and he was right.  About weather-change, a good rule-of-thumb I learned, was that you drop the sail and reef, when you first think you might need to.  You are sailing in really nice weather, with a full sail up.  But that is a risk factor, if the weather gets ugly/stormy.  Then, you must drop the sail,and "reef" it, so only a tiny portion of the sail is up, so that a strong gust cannot "knock down" the boat (which can happen easily, if you have too much sail up during a strong wind/high-waves, or storm situation.)

See, you want to have as much sail up as possible, to catch the wind, and move.  But if things get ugly (ie. a storm or squall), you need to drop and "reef" the sail, so that your boat isn't damaged or sunk by a sudden, violent strong wind gust.  When to reef?  Some guys will wait until the bad weather truly hits - but then, they are trying to do a complex job in difficult conditions.  And if you reef too soon, you miss catching the fine winds that drive your boat forward.  

But the rule some guys followed: Reef your sail when the thought first occurs.  You will be crashing along, a nice fresh breeze, rails-under, fine, fast, and fun - joyful sailing, the way it is supposed to be, and all will be fine.  But an experienced sailor will sometimes start to see funny things - little curious clouds on the horzion that don't look good, or strange shifts in wind that are wrong, or cloud patterns or haze that seems disturbing.  It will be small factors, and a thought will occur:  maybe I should take in some sail.

And this is what we sometimes want to do, in watching the world.  Sometimes, all is great, but the Devil is getting ready to ride out.  Am I paranoid?   Am I just being an old-guy here?  I am seeing the strange stuff getting stronger suddenly.  I have this weird sense that too many items are just stacking up wrong.  The numbers and the analysis and the reports say all is great.  But there is an ugly trend that is advancing, that concerns us, and I am seeing it in so many diverse contexts:  Too much is just becoming too stupid-crazy now.

And anyone who makes any critical comment or voices concern, is labelled an "ultra-conservative" or a "right-wing extremeist" or other buzz-phrases that are designed to just shut down debate or discussion.

The interent is being aggressively censored now.  And idiotic nonsense like "global warming" is being passed-off as real science, when it should be a discussion about statistical methodology and nothing more. (There is a reason why cottagers in Canada wait until Queen Victoria's birthday, to open their cottages.)  Our weather patterns are returning - just like a student of mean-reversion would expect - to the historical norms we have always seen here.  We had snow at the end of April.  And it is still very cold and wet, here at the beginning of May.  Just like it has always been.

But it is *much* stranger in other areas.  Senior, serious, and honest members of the Catholic Church have published a 20-page document labelling the current Pope guilty of heresy.  The document is a formal, legalistic thing, which is well-written, and cannot be denied.  Pope Francis is not "modernizing" Church doctrine.  He is throwing it out & under the bus, and this just cannot be denied.   What he is doing and what he is saying is just not what it says Catholics are supposed to do and say.  There is no way a sane person can conclude otherwise.  My view is that all religion is nonsense and superstition.  But the long and successful 2000 year tradition of Christian Catholic thinking and building, is clearly not without value.  The Catholics have shown their hard-nosed approach to moral teaching and focused action, has both merit and staying power.  As a consulting social scientist, I would therefore also advise them not to mess around and alter their basic doctrine just to ride a bit smoother in these times of obvious social herding.

Always go to original sources, if you can.  Here is the document.  It makes interesting reading, and does not seem to be anything other than a measured, undeniable statement of facts, with a gentle suggestion that the Bishops ask the Pope to please stop being dishonest, and screwing around with basic Church doctrine - since there is no way that a Pope can be removed.  But a subtle point of canon law suggests he can effectively remove himself, if guilty of heresy.   Here is link to the letter: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5983408-Open-Letter-to-the-Bishops-of-the-Catholic.html

And it just keeps getting worse in politics.  A good man, who would have been a very good addition to the Federal Reserve Board, was trashed by the ugly-dishonest "Democratic Party" in the USA.  The Reuters story is here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-moore/moore-under-fire-withdraws-from-bid-for-fed-post-idUSKCN1S8187

More info on the ugly trend towards mass-censorship that is such a direct and awful attack on basic free speech and freedom of thought, by a scholar who argues (as I do) that documents such as Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and Brenton Tarrant's "The Great Replacement" should be read and not censored: https://www.globalresearch.ca/manifestos-restricting-brenton-tarrants-great-replacement/5672065

These are clouds on the horizon of freedom, which we have all come to take for granted now.  But in fact, this current world is the direct outcome of thousands of years of painful, violent struggle, for which so many have fought so hard for.  As we live in this still free and open, prosperous Western World, we are standing on the graves of so many hundreds of thousands, who died fighting for these freedoms we take as a given now.

I just have to caution - to the few who may read these words - that these freedoms are unique and very valuable, and that there exist large and powerful groups of cruel, dishonest and very evil persons, who want to destroy this world, and erase and destroy these basic freedoms.  What I see in the USA is tragic, with deeply disturbing people like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, engaged in a virtual political war with their own President, is just awful.  It is a troubled ship, with a crew that is in open rebellion, and pressing their mutiny to the limit.  Why should Trump's Income Tax return be public?  The IRS has a duty to uphold the law, and ensure this information remains confidential.  That is how income-tax process was designed and sold the American people.  They screw around with this at their peril.

So, it begs the question:  Why is everyone everywhere, trying to wreck stuff with such curious and absurd intensity?  Every organization - even very old and successful ones like the Catholic Church - is under attack.  Ben Franklin warned that there would be problems with the new American democracy, when the people figured out they could vote themselves money, and of course, he was right.

And a new Tesla Model X is over $100,000, and the company, Tesla, has decided it needs another $2.5 billion in financing, and will not likely post any profits this year.  So even Elon Musk cannot save us.   The successful American company, which seems to have captured the world - Facebook - is little more than a dishonest, circus-freak lie-machine, which successfully exploits every base, tragic and awful human emotion, while aggressively censoring, limiting and restricting any political activity or viewpoint that it's private censors disagree with, or find too controversial.  It is an ugly business-model, which successfully plays upon the worst aspects of human behaviour - fear, loneliness and weakness, to extract information which it successfully monetizes to lie-merchants and other "advertisers".  It is a truly horrible-awful thing, like a glass of cheap gin for an alcoholic.  And it works, because when it comes to information, we are all addicts.  

The internet - this amazing tool for successful mass-communication, and our future here with it - it was not supposed to be so curiously awful.  It initially offered freedom, openness and opportunity.  But it has morphed into advertisement-funded disinformation-engines, cat-pictures, teen-telephone-talk, and SJW's using the leverage of race-politics to sow the seeds of real intense-but-quiet anger and deep-but-secret true race-hatred.  Messy people.

[May 1, 2019] -The Federal Reserve in the US fiddled the IOER down to 2.35%, with the EFF (Effective Federal Funds) rate hanging in at 2.44%, according to what I can see on BoooBerg.  The story is here:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-01/battle-for-control-of-the-fed-s-main-target-looks-set-to-rage-on   This looks to be what caused the burpfart in the US stock market, right at the close, with the DJIA zooming off 162, after being up for most of the day.  The IOER change is a Federal Reserve administered interest rate *reduction*, which suggests that they kinda moved their foot from hard on the brake, to back on the gas, ('Es braust unser Panzer, im Sturmwind dahin! - mit Vollgas!" - or at least not quite so hard on the QT).   This is what we were all worried about, these "technical adjustments"..  (I think Ford remains in his T-Model, and all is Right with the World), but then, I am a fellow focused on the classics.  The market is amusingly pathological (or maybe not...), as of course, a minor *cut* in rates (the IOER - Interest On Excess Reserves), being dialed down 5 basis points (from 2.40 to 2.35) should not be a huge concern - but the chattering classes suggest this gives evidence that the Fed has lost control of things.  Nonsense.  (Of course).   But the late-date melt suggests - to a knave such as myself - a typical trader response, where a reaction against the obvious occurs prior to a move - in this case, up.  Not much up, just a wee tiny bit.  But we shall see.  TINA and all.  Exit the mkt now, and you stand a very good chance of loosing the benefit of a multi-year positioning strategy. (This happens more frequently than folks realize).

I think we are ok, and this "technical adjustment" in the IOER, is just what it appears to be - a technical adjustment, to create the appropriate strange attractor, to keep rates from spiking too quick (which would enrich the banks, but scare the crapoo out of the market..).  So, like a sign I saw on a lime-green Jeepster today (with a dreadlock skull spare tire cover) "Get in, Sit Down, Shut up & Hold On!".  Seriously - I laughed my backside off, all the way to the LCBO...!   (I want to paint that phrase on the side of my Learjet... when I buy it...!)

[Apr. 30, 2019] = Read some stuff on Federal Reserve/central bank operational process in the US, where an analyst thinks it is a problem that the EFF (Effective Federal Funds) rate was running 4 basis points above the IOER (Interest On Excess Reserves) rate.  He really thought this was a big problem.  I cannot understand why he is concerned.  The EFF is the rate that banks charge each other for overnight money.  From July of 2006 to July of 2007, it was around 5.25%.  As the financial crisis hit, and liquidity was vapourized by global market losses tied to the incorrectly priced bonds that were collateralized by bogus valuations in the US Housing market returning to earth, this rate was dialed down to virtually zero.  By  December 2008, it was 0.16 percent.   The Fed started lifting the rate in Jan. 2016, and by Aug. 2016 it was 0.40 percent.  Since then, it has been moved up slowly, in stages, to where it now sits at 2.45% (It was 2.41% in March 2019).  The EFF rate is being slowing shifted up, as the US economy continues it's recovery from the 2007-2008 financial crisis.  A chart of this rate is maintained by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, at this URL:  https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FEDFUNDS

And there is this other rate - the IOER (Interest on Excess Reserves) rate, which is a rate that the Fed also sets, and which it will pay the banks for excess reserves they deposit with the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve is basically the Banker's Bank, and an office is maintained in New York City. where the big banks maintain their required reserves. 

So, I read this article from some outfit called "Alhambra Investments", and basically, the article makes no sense. (Not entirely true. It is is obfuscation and clickbait, perhaps...?).  All we are seeing is a return to a normal world.  The money paid on excess reserves on deposit at the Federal Reserve (the IOER rate), *should* be lower than the EFF, the Effective Fed Funds rate, the rate the bankers lend to each other at.  The EFF, which is a market-influenced rate, moved up to 2.45% on April 23-24, while the IOER remained at 2.41%.   I spent a bit of time re-reading Snider's Alhambra note, and I cannot see what his concern is. 

Example math: 200,000,000 overnite at 2.45% => 4900000/365 = 13424.66.  Four basis points lower: 200,000,000 x 2.41% / 365  = 13205.48.  Difference is: 13434.66 - 13205.48 = 229.18.   Make it 2 billion instead of 200 million, and the difference is 2291.80.  Not much of a big deal, really.

EFF rate should be higher, since there is a bit of market risk there.  And given the steady and effective improvement in the US economy, the Alhambra chart to me, (the second one "Fed Funds Trading Range"), just looks fine - like a process slowly moving back to normal, from a nasty, multi-year liquidity melt-down.   The Federal Reserve folks seem to be executing their market re-normalization not too badly, and the US economy seems to be ticking along rather nicely, with inflation tame, and growth running close to 4%.    These Alhambra guys maybe are just banging their spoons on tin-pots, hoping to attract some attention?  Here is Mr. Snider's note:  https://www.alhambrapartners.com/2019/04/24/when-the-problem-lies-in-the-one-place-nobody-looks/

His second chart is the useful one.  It is basically an expanded view of the bit at the end of the St. Louis Fed. Chart.   All looks fine to me, really. We are almost back to a normally functioning financial economy, away from this crazy ZIRP stuff, which was killing normal investors who expect to get at least *something* on their fixed-income investments.  The return to financial market sanity should help the banks, in both USA and Canada.

Full Disclosure:  We remain all-in, long Canadian banks.  This trade has had some ups and downs, but like the Canada+USA economies, it is ticking along fine.  Now, excuse me, I have to go transfer and confirm another dividend payment...  🤩

[Apr. 28, 2019] - Technology is getting a bit funny.  I dragged out one of the Linux laptops, hacked away with it, and got Firefox and the sound-stuff finally working right.  Was really annoying, since the speakers would keep playing even if the ear-bud things were plugged in.  It's an ancient 32-bit ACER Travelmade 6420 or something like that -  I replaced the disk years back, max'ed the RAM on it, (2 gig or something) and it just flys.  I got video (ie. Youtube) working with H.264 by hacking the about:config stuff, and it worked at the local Starbucks  Need to tweak the DHCP stuff.  It's an older laptop, but it's useful now, with the video working again.  I can watch a version of Panzerlied with Japanese, German and English subtitles. (I am trying to learn some German).

The magic of Linux is, with enough focus and effort, you can usually get anything that can work, actually working.  The current modern technology approach, where "containers" and "apps" are all that there is, is really shit.  If the crappy shit stops working, the poor stupid "user" at the pointy end of the new technology revolution, who is trying to make something he needs work, is often just completely pooched if he does not have open/accessable technology like Linux.  Or like a machine shop or a garage full of tools.

Neil Stephenson touches on this very issue in his fiction book, "Anathem". He has a character ask: "What is better, something that works great and fine, until it breaks, and then you cannot do any thing with it, except throw it away?  Or something that is really not that good, but is clearly understood, tractable, obvious in it's form and function, and is sufficiently open and cleanly designed, so that when and if it breaks or stops working, it can be fixed by the person who needs it?"  Of course, the later is better.   I have a modern Android tablet, which I have updated several times, and runs software apps which I have built (APL interpreters).

And I have this hacked, ancient iPad (first generation), which is completely open, and for which I have root access.  Now, which one is my go-to device?  Of course, both of them. I need the Android device to access modern websites. But the iPad is so much nicer than any modern plasto-crap overpriced toy-junk.  I can SSH into it, and use it to ssh into any of my boxes.  And I can invert or multiply matricies on it, without installing a terrabyte of Python libraries.  And with a proper open design, where you can get out of "app jail", and access sane stuff - (like a file system!), it can be used as a general-purpose device, and remains really very useful.

I talked to a guy in the beer-store parking lot today, who had a Tesla Model X.  First time I have seen one of those up close and personal.  I asked him about it - "Do you like it?", and he replied "I love it!".  It has this *huge* hatchback, and he said it gets 500km to a charge or something like that - but much less in winter, if you use the heater.  We will need these to motor around Mars, no question.  But we may still want thermo-electric plutonium heat-sources inside the cabin, lest we run out of power because we have had to use the battery to run the heater to keep from freezing to death - just like in Canada...!  The only major drawback, is the thing costs over $100,000 here, so it is just a toy for the very rich.

See, that is the thing.  With technology, the economics is *everything*.  If one looks around, one can get a 5 or 6 year old SUV (Murano-type of vehicle), in the $10,000 to $15,000 range, which is equivalent to the Tesla Model X.

Consider the economic difference.  The Tesla may as well be parked on the backside of the Moon, for all the chance that the average self-financing business-person will be able to acquire one.  In Canada, the folks who can afford to drop $100,000+ on a car, usually work in government jobs, where the taxpayer-funded high-salary 6-figure/yr "executive" jobs are.  (The a$$hole who used to run the local hospital, a useless setup, that mostly tells people to just go home and die - this fatboy was making $700,000+ annual salary. (It was a bit of a local scandal, given how badly the hosptial was run, and how much this jerk was paid..))   Now a guy who has a bogus massive-bucks gov't job like that, he can maybe afford a $100,000+ Tesla.   

But for normal people in the self-financing sector, a car of that price is just not in the realm of sanity.   The economics gate & limit the technology, and determine its rate of uptake.  Always has and always will.  You have to get the economics of new tech down into the range where normal folks can access it - that is when you really can drive change.  But at least the Tesla Model X is big enough to be useful.  IF they could get the price down to be competitive with a $40,000 4-door pickup truck, then Telsa might have something.

But I notice that modern tech does not seem to be working very well anymore.  The $1000+ iPhone?  The $75,000+ pickup truck?   The $100,000+ electric SUV?   New-tech stuff is starting to be only for rich folks now, and this trend looks to be a bit of a problem, as it limits the uptake of enhanced technology.

[Apr. 26,  2019] - I've always been obsessed by glyphs and hermeneutic symbology, even as a tiny child.  I would cover my Grade 3 and 4 workbooks with coloured mandalas and swastikas.  My poor brother was a typical lefty SJW, and seriously thought I liked Hitler or something.  (Not true.)  He had no clue about the wild visions of sun-signs I would see as I drifted off to sleep.  My childhood was a typical mixture of comedy, horror, tragedy and hard-core fun - a lot like what the writer of "The Engineer of Human Souls" describes his as being when growing up as child in German-occupied Czechoslovakia in the early 1940's.  Except I was in Canada, and it was the 1970's.

As I learned about the history of glyphic systems (Egyptian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Nordic, Greek, etc.)  I realized there were so many common threads.  Mayan was particularly interesting. Many years back, I was lucky enough to self-finance a couple of personal "expeditions" to Coba's "Villa Archeologica" in Mexico, and also to Tikal, in Guatemala, to see up close and personal the Mayan glyphs on the pyramids and temple-structures.  I first learned their calendar system, and wrote a program to determine the Long-Count day conversion for our Gregorian one.  (Calendar's are great.  They are always a little bit wrong, and that makes them interesting, like Carbon-14 artifact-dating.)

I remember so vividly sitting in a Canadian-made Dash-7, arcing over Lake Peten-Itza for the landing at the airport.  There were only two other passengers, my travelling companion, and a nurse, working for some NGO.  We were the *only* aircraft to land at the airport in several hours, and were besieged by hawkers.  We had had to obtain visa's in Belize at the Guatemala ambassador's residence, in order to make the flight in, which had to be conducted in block-airspace (over 10,000 feet), otherwise the a/c would have been shot down as a drug-runner. (Guatemala and Belize had been at war, something like only 10 or 12 years earlier. I found great stories about the whole thing, which had never made it into newspapers of the day).  I rented a little blue Suzuki jeep-car, and we set out for Tikal, with a map, and a mit-full of yankee-dollars.

Tikal was everything I had hoped.  It did not even have it's own power - the three small hotels on the site had diesel generators, that shut off at 10:00 pm.   The National Geographic folks were there, and had booked all the damn rooms, but we managed to get a complete cabin (a small house, with a pool!) for one night, and it was wonderful.  Once the generators shut off, all you could hear were the monkeys screams in the forest, and the bugs (it was the tropics).  Coba was more un-excavated, but Tikal was awesome.  We found the "Temple of the Jaguar", and of course, on the way *back*, we were told about the tourists who had been robbed and assaulted, like, last week, or something.

But we were lucky.  We got to see the place, and even got lost a few times.  It was real "Raiders of the Lost Ark" kind of stuff. Real, actual "lost cities in the jungle", complete with the Mayan glyphs, calendrical stella, and quality re-constructions of the palace-complex -  the place that one see's in the tourist brochures.   I climbed two of the pyramids to the top, and took pictures.   I felt like Jean-Luc Picard.  We had good weather, and explored the site.  There was even a small museum, which had a statue of "Lord Chocolate".  And I figured out that this famous King - who actually built much of Tikal - was actually named "Lord Money", since the Mayan's used cocoa-beans as local currency, in the classical period when Tikal was built.  Fiat Finance.  (If you want to build a big city, you cannot do it all with slave labour.  You will have to pay your designers, artisans, planners, and such.)  I also determined *exactly* why the cities like Coba, Tikal, Palenque and so on, collapsed.  It relates to the problem of slave-workers, and economic growth. (Slaves have to eat, and the marginal benefit from employing ever-larger armies of slaves, programs-in an *extremely* unstable economic model.  To have complete social collapse, all you need is one year of failed harvests - maybe only a month or two - once you reach a certain scale, and it is clear that the Mayan cities simply expanded until they reached that scale, and then starved.)

The glyphic writing is really interesting, as all the evidence suggests now that the Mayans successfully made the transition from picture-meaning-glyphs to phonentic-glyphs.  This was a staggering intellectual accomplishment, equivalent to the Japanese creating hirogana, after first adopting the primitive Chinese stick-symbol-glyphs, which still remain as pictures-of-meaning writing to this day.  A phonetic language is a vastly better and more sophisticated transcription technology, and a Russian women was the first person to figure this out, by linking modern Mayan language to the glyphs, and thus translating what was written on the stella.  Like the woman who actually discovered and photographed the x-ray diffractions of the DNA molecule, this amazing Russian genius gets little attention in the history books. 

[Later update:] Wracked the gray-cells, remembered her name: Tatiana Proskouriakoff. In my opinion, she is one of the great scientist-researchers of the 20th-century.  She deciphered the glyphic dating system and names-of-kings that the Mayans used.  Her work was one of those wonderful creative leaps that builds a true bridge from ignorance, to complete understanding.  All the other scholars then run across that bridge, and forget who created it.  If there is an Einstein-of-archeology, I honestly feel that it was her.   Most archeologists are little more than diggers & documenters.  She began her work in 1936, at the Mayan site Piedras Negras.  I lifted this red-text info from her Wikipedia page. [I don't trust Wikipedia, as it often contains bogus material, but I believe this comment to be correct:]  "She soon became involved in Maya hieroglyphs and made significant contributions to the understanding of Mayan written language. For example, her 1942 scholarly analysis of the hieroglyphics at the Takalik Abaj ruins in Guatemala establish that the site was in part Maya, settling a debate at that time.[4] Her greatest contribution was considered the breakthrough for Maya hieroglyphic decipherment in the late 1950s and early 1960s. While researching the chronology of changing styles of Maya sculpture, she discovered that the dates shown on the monumental stelae were actually historical, the birth, accession, and death dates for Maya rulers.[5] Analyzing the pattern of dates and hieroglyphs, she was able to demonstrate a sequence of seven rulers who ruled over a span of two hundred years. Knowing the context of the inscriptions, Maya epigraphers were then able to decipher the hieroglyphs."

Now re-read that Wikipedia drivel again.  Ms. Proskouriakoff broke the code.  She was the one who deciphered Mayan glyphic writing.  When I was in Coba the first time, I had a book that had documented her research results.  I remember being astonished by what she had done. Prior to her work, many people thought the glyphs were just decorative.  What is *most* impressive about Ms. Proskouriakoff, is that she did *not* have a degree in anything to do with Mayan studies.  She had an undergraduate degree in architecture.  She was a newly graduated architect, when she joined a Mayan research project in 1936, but had no degree in archeology.  And that is what I like most about her.  She reminds me of Micheal Faraday and Ben Franklin.  I am not "anti-school".  We need schools, of course.   But I honestly believe that the formal educational system damages - actively & explicitly damages - the human ability to see clearly, and then execute effectively on a useful creative insight. 

As I have studied the history of creative, "Kuhnian" scientific and intellectual *phase-jumps" in the history of science and technology, I keep seeing this pattern of auto-didacts being the ones who jump us to the next level.  It comes up over and over again.  But I seriously *never* expected to encounter anything remotely like this in archeology (which almost is not even a science, right?), but then I ran into Ms. Proskouriakoff's amazing, brilliant, creative & astonishing work, and I was just knocked over by it.  When the other "experts" who had invented nonsense and hoo-haw to "explain" the Mayans, Ms. Proskouriakoff just sat down, used her eyes and brain, and figured out that the glyphs were saying the same sort of things that humans write down in every nation, always.  It seems obvious now, but it wasn't.  Remember her.  People in North America should all know her name.  She took an entire civilization, all it's cities and all it's people, and lifted their history out of the darkness of silly British made-up, bogus foggery, into the bright light of historical accuracy.  Most of what we know about the ancient Mayans, is directly a result of her hard work, scholarship and creative genius.  Of course she did not have a degree.

This is a great article on Mayan glyphics, here is the  link: https://decipherment.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/a-lost-city-in-the-heartland/ 

What is interesting about the above article, is the Mayan "graffiti" that he shows.  Once you learn to write, you end up writing stuff like "Down with the Crooked King!", "Julius Loves Janus", or "Mohamadius fucks Donkeys!" and so on, on walls of buildings.  We found Roman graffito like this in Pompei as it's houses were excavated from under volcanic ash, but I had not realized that the Mayan glyph-writers would scribble glyphic graffiti on their city walls.  And what is interesting here, is that there seems to be evidence of another city, as yet unknown.

[Apr. 25, 2019] - Once upon a time, I had a DECSystem 20/20.  It had a "Quote of the Day" program, which you could see, each morning when you logged in.  My favourite might have been this one:  "Roses are red and ready for plucking. You're sixteen and ready for high school." - Kurt Vonnegut, in Breakfast of Champions.

And another:  "There is no order in the world around us, we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead. It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done." - Breakfast of Champions   🤭

[Apr. 24, 2019] - The market is advancing in USA and Canada because money is coming home, I suspect.  USA and Canada are winning the least-ugly-girl Beauty Contest, such that if you must invest, then investments in our local domestic markets here, makes much more sense than being tied to market environments that might be immolated in the coming new world war. (These things always come in sets of three, right?).   We remain long Canada, in an all-in way, and that trade is not expected to be removed anytime soon.

We see no other better alternatives.   America seems determined to make a war against the wrong people again, make itself a bomb-target, and spend another $-trillion from it's fisc, UK is in political berserker-mode against itself, Europe is looking forward to getting drunk & going on holiday for the whole summer, China is downright scary, Japan is waging a Ninja-war against it's own auto industry people, and a former island-of-sanity, such as New Zealand,  is a complete write-off.  Poor New Zealand seems to be run by a team that believes blowjobs for the Muslim leadership in Turkey is the correct diplomatic response to the Turkish leadership who criticized them after Tarrant's rampage.  It can't get much more insane.  Unless you are off-shore of India, I guess.  Or in Africa, other than Kenya.  (Kenya might actually be a viable investment destination, as it wins that same Beauty Contest in Africa, that we win vis-a-vis the world.  But I won't travel by air anymore, unless I am flying the a/c, or commanding an expeditionary force.)

The unwise, socially self-destructive actions taken by those who run New Zealand gave strong evidence that something like the Sri Lankan attacks would occur.  The idea with terrorism, is not to change *anything* about the way you live, do business, or run your society in response to the actions of terrorists.  Ms. Arden did exactly the opposite of that, and so gave a victory to the act terror.   And by banning Tarrant's manifesto, she gave Tarrant's actions and his views weight it did not deserve.  The whole "Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace" lie, the full-on post-hoc censorship of Tarrant's material, the planned siezure of private firearms being pushed hard by Jacinda's gang - this is just so awful-tragic wrong, it is comical.  Humour helps deal with the pain.  That's why it must exist.  We have no choice, but to laugh our way to the graveyards, as the Irish learned to do, so long ago.

It is possible that Saudi Arabia will be an eventual target, in the coming war that it has helped to initiate by the idiotic murder of Jamal Khashoggi.  The US will attack Iran, ISIS will show itself as the only viable alternative for angry young Muslim men to support, and the eventual war - probably a full-on "Crusade" -  will be engineered by those Israeli neural-programmers who are running the implants in Trump's brain.  Trump will use the Iran war to get re-elected, Bolton will be his VP, and when Trump is taken off-line (no one lives forever, do they?  Just press F5...), then a Bolton (or maybe just an image of him, or just the mustache itself?) will be put in charge.  The USA has already done the "Big-Negro-Boss" thing and rejected the "Big-Woman-Boss" thing, so we may be looking at fighting a war in support of "the great and holy Mustache", as the nukes fall and small-pox-virus DNA-dust drifts across the Persian Gulf from the aerosol-sprayers in those drone-swarms.   Or has someone got a better "Satan Bug" now?  With those swarming-drones, (which the US Navy already has in quantity), we now have the perfect airborn dispersal system, right?  Some for Mecca, some for Tehran.  If we just use virus-plague dust without the nukes, then maybe we can keep the cities?  Nah.  After we dust it, we will have to sterilze it, and that means we must cry havoc, and let slip the projectiles of peace.  This peace-making will also allow much score-settling to occur.  And it will happen at internet-speed, in real-time.  The US may not bomb Saudi sites, but Iran certainly will try to, once it's cities are burning.  Once you have already been bombed, then what the heck?  Why would you not launch?   Those Saudi oil terminals would be a tempting target, as would be the members of that "royal family". 

Israel could take the opportunity to obliterate the "Gaza Strip".  They will just say "Huh?  Gaza what?  No, there is no such thing. The desert there just goes down to the sea.  Nothing there at all..."  We will all be driving electric cars (I see them *everywhere* here now already), so the loss of Saudi oil will be unimportant. and a massive war will address that nasty geometric-rate-of-population-growth problem.  Of course, that "nuclear winter" thing will be an issue, so we will also have to build CO2 pumping stations, and dial way up the atmospheric-carbon levels, to help re-warm the freezing planet.  But it's all good.  Quite doable, and jobs for all that remain, yes?  Except this time, it will be world trade itself that will collapse, not just the "World Trade Centre" in NYC.   But local domestic investments will *still* be better than anything at all, across the waters of those radioactive, dying oceans.  Fiat Bellum.

[Apr. 23, 2019] - The death toll from the Sri Lankan mass-murder attacks has now climbed over 300, and although most of the dead were from Sri Lanka, at least 12 other nations also lost citizens.  And now, the criminal murder cult "ISIS" has claimed that the NTJ members who carried out the attacks had pledged themselves to the ISIS leadership, who have still not been brought to justice. 

What is really beyond belief, is the madness of the Americans.  Instead of dealing with the ISIS murders still on the loose - and who are actively still killing American citizens - the American government has decided to try to engineer a war with Iran.  This seems to be absolute madness.  There is this *very* strange character, John Bolton, who is now Mr. Trump's National Security Advisor.  This fellow appears to me to be clinically insane, but as I am not a medical doctor with a specialist degree in psychology, my opinion of course, carries no weight.  But the entire American Administration appears to be strangely dysfunctional - more interested in creating a pretext for a military action against Iran, than hunting down the still-very-dangerous members - and leadership - of the "Islamic State" murder-cult.  The information re. the ISIS murder-cult comes from here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-blasts/islamic-state-claims-sri-lanka-blasts-as-government-says-probe-making-progress-idUSKCN1RZ06M   

But the oil-market loves this war-footing talk.  The spot price of WTI crude has continued to move up, and now exceeds $65/bbl.  And the US and Cdn equity markets rallied again today, all across the board.  To me, these are strange times.  The markets are saying: "No big deal." 

It was Saudi nationals who attacked the Pentagon in Washington and destroyed the World Trade Centre in New York, but it was Iraq that was attacked, with fake CIA intelligence being used to pretext that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction".  (Which of course, there never were.)   Now, the sworn enemies of ISIS, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is to be targeted by the Americans.  This is crazy.  It is as if the Americans declared war on France and Hong Kong, in December of 1941.   Are there a bunch of clever guys sitting in front of a cyberspace-deck in Israel, programming all this, with neural-linked microprocessors inside the brains of Trump, Bolton and Pompeo?    And what will the programmers gain from this?   Are they long oil futures, and short US equities?   See, the key fact here, is: **That trade might not work**. In fact, I am pretty sure it won't - for a whole bunch of reasons...   ;)

[Apr. 22, 2019] - More tragedy. The Sri Lanka mass-murders - 290 dead so far - show the failure of modern government "security" process.  That is the biggest take-away. I have seen the copies of the detailed warnings indicating attacks were being planned for churches and public buildings, by Muslim terrorists of NTJ, an Islamic terrorist cell operating out of Sri Lanka.  There were reports provided to the Sri Lankans in the Apr 4 to 10th timeframe.  Apparently, multiple warnings were provided, and memos were timestamped with official gov't seals, etc. 

The Sri Lankan government, which is apparently a dysfunctional collection of timeservers and political opportunists, ignored this warning, but a few folks in the police and security services circulated warnings to their friends and family.  Seriously, this is what happened.  It is documented in several areas.  NHK of Japan has aired footage of the official memo's indicating the planning, possible targets (churches), and time-frames (holidays).  Also, NTJ was active in anti-Buddhist attacks in Sri Lanka, back in January of this year.  But nothing was done.

Except after the murders. Then, what was done, *after* the attacks - was to shutdown the internet communications services - Facebook, Instagram, Youtube - and other messaging services, in order to create an information blackout.  Also, disinformation was generated, suggesting the attacks were somehow related to the civil war with the Tamils, that ended 10 years ago.  I saw this disinfo on numerous sites.  Only AFP (Agence France Presse) reported the well-known fact that Islamic terrorists were explicitly behind the attack, with 3 policemen being killed who went to check on a known Islamic terrorist "safe-house" (the terrorists blew up the house, killing themselves and the police officers) when the officers arrived to check it.

Governments are now responding with censorship and information "blackouts", which have the consequence of supporting the actions of the terrorists, in that these acts of censorship ensure that the terrorist's social-assault has met with a successful response.

 The Sri Lankan attack is a "9/11" for all of planet Earth.  We need to see what is happening.  Censorship, information "blackout", and aggressive use of dis-information and "Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace" lies are not the answer, I fear.

[Apr. 20, 2019] - The "Lynx" data-update code died on the old Winbox workhorse, and so Lynx had to be updated. Most work is done on the Linux boxes now, but it was annoying that the Windows Lynx stopped accessing the data site.  Found a nicely updated version, with a much newer SSL lib compiled in, and hacked it up to run - by 2:59 AM (updating bloody software is still a filthy, stay-up-too-damned-late job...).  But I got it working on the old Winbox.  I build from source on the CentOS boxes, and even on the iPad (yes, I compile the code right on the little iPad, link it, and run Lynx there, and it works.) 

But on the Winbox, I scarfed a Windows-Lynx binary installer from "invisible-island.net", and downloaded the Microsoft "msvcr120.dll" (a runtime part from a Visual Studio 2012 version, to match what the dev-guy used), and hacked away at the installers, until I found one that ran to completion (See Eric Klien's most useful comment at bottom of this page: https://superuser.com/questions/1135383/https-support-for-lynx-in-windows ).  Here is the Lynx "Invisible-island' site, run by "Thomas E. Dickey", a true scholar and a gentleman, as the code works!  Url: https://invisible-island.net/lynx/#installers  I used the installer for the "development-version, oldSSL, (current patch)" and it installed to a "c:\lynx" directory (no update of registry, no create-icons or integrate with explorer, etc.  turn all that off).  I had the old OpenSSL 1.0.0d, and just lifted the .dlls into the c:\lynx dir with his installer, and copied the msvcr120.dll from \windows\system32, where the Microsoft installer puts it.  This lets his lynx.exe run, and tweaking the lynx.cfg to include "FORCE_SSL_PROMPT:YES", and the data-getter batch job runs to completion now on the WINbox (an ancient, heavily-modified XP/SP3 thing) just as good as it does on the CentOS 7.4 platform. 

Lynx is a wonderful program. It ran on VAX-VMS machine!  Those big white monsters could be configured full mil-spec.  There is stuff in the .cfg file for VMS hacks!   (It's like a fine old .45... it just works.)   The OpenSSL is compiled-in correctly, and batch https: access to data sites works again. (It stopped last week for the Windows machines).  Oh, the Microsoft runtime thing (on Mr. Dickey's page also) is here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30679   It comes down as a thing called: vcredist_x86.exe (I use the 32-bit version, which will run fine on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows-architecture boxes).  You just run that vcredist_x86.exe thing, and it puts the msvcr120.dll into \windows\system32. 

The Lynx version is showing up as "2.9.0dev.1 (25 Dec. 2018), Compiled Jan 27, 2019 by Microsoft Visual C++ ".  I had the OpenSSL-Win32 stuff already installed for ssh and scp and other cygwin stuff.   The lynx data-scrapper gets the raw datafiles, and the TSM database runs thru the files to update it's tables, fiddles with the raw stuff, and then sticks the new data on the end of the existing data-vectors, checks if duplicates, etc.  In many ways, "small data that is accurate" can be more useful, than "big data" which is riddled with holes, errors, crap-numbers, and outright algo-tripping lies.   Lynx is a great program. It's like a Panzer - it just gets the job done!

[Apr. 19, 2019] - Happy Easter, my Robot friends!   Further reading, including a biography of Hannibal Barca and details of the famous Battle at Cannae, where Hannibal defeated a large Roman army, have advanced my education.  Familiar now with "Fabian Strategy", in which explicit war-of-attrition techniques are used to exhaust an enemy by forcing him to consume resources at an unsustainable rate.  (Think of Napolean vs. Moscow - a massive army worn down to a small few, who returned from their "victory" as a defeated force.)   George Washington, in the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, used this "Fabian" approach to wear down and eventually defeat the British forces, thus securing American independence from England.  A "Fabian Strategy" is effective, but unpopular, as it produces no quick victories, resulting "triumphs", or immediate political advantage.  But history shows it can be surprisingly effective, especially in a defensive situation. 

In terms of trading - it is many forays with small, but manageable losses, in the hopes of being positioned for a big move (like we have just seen in Qualcomm, for example).  If facing a larger, and much more well-equipped adversary, a direct confrontation is avoided.  If running an army, you will be called an "avoider-of-battle" and a coward - but you may also secure the final prize.

A small-player with a limited stake, can also adopt the luxury of waiting.  One waits until everything lines up, and randomness and simple good fortune conspire to produce an attractive situation.  But when that happens, delay must be avoided, and decisive action taken - you "swing a big line" - "go all in", etc., but also retain an explicit plan of retreat if things do not play out as expected.  This takes crazy-patience, and a constant attention to what is happening.  But it is an edge that the small-guy has.  He does not have to play, and he does not have to measure himself against a specific benchmark or some retarded spergation like a "Sharpe Ratio" or any of that sort of statistical sophistry that "portfolio managers" use to delude themselves into thinking they are offering value to their clients, as they hoover up their management-fees from the sucker's accounts.   Oh my, what a world.

[Apr. 18, 2019] - This current course of research began with a simple question: "How can a small-guy with few resources, take on a much bigger force, which is better armed and better funded?" Or more simply, "How can the little guy win?"  This is an ancient concept and the stuff of myth and legend - it is the original "Bible Story" - David vs Goliath.  What folks forget, is that David basically had a ".45 calibre" sling-shot.  But that is the point - you need to aggressively enhance your tactical advantage by exploiting two things:  1) Human creative thinking, and 2) a provable technological advantage.   There are *many* stories in history:  The use of "mirrors" and "Greek Fire" to defeat ship-born attackers in ancient Greek stories, and even simple technical upgrades, like the Persians use of stirrups on their horse's saddles, when attacking Romans who did not have stirrups. (cf. the coins of Constantinius, which show stirrup-using mounted Persian attackers being defeated -Alexander Nevsky-style, by Roman spear-man with very long spears. But the coins lie.  The Persians had the advantage, and used it to defeat Roman garrisons.)  

And Hannibal's eventual capture by the Romans (which closely paralleled the hunt for Osama bin Laden) is an interesting example.  Hannibal lived, in retirement, outside a small city, so as to protect its inhabitants from being punished by Roma, if he was located.  But the local metro King begged for help, when a naval force was planning to attack his town.  Hannibal Barca (the clever general who used elephants like the Germans used their Panzers), is viewed as one of the greatest strategists in history.  The Romans only discovered where he was living, because of his willingness to assist the local city king.  He advised the king to have all the woman of the city go into the desert, and find all the snakes they could, and put them in baskets.  When the invading ships attacked, the king was instructed to let them sail into the harbour, and then have boats come out to the invaders with gifts, and of course, the "gifts" were baskets of poisonous snakes, which were hurled into the attacking warships.  This caused the sailors to "jump and shout and dash about", and in the confusion, boarding parties were able to overwhelm the attackers.  When the Romans heard of this amazing defeat of a well-armed fleet of warships by a small city-state, their planners simply said "Hannibal."  They sent a small army, located Hannibal, who "fell on his sword" to prevent his capture, and spare the inhabitants of the town which had offered him refuge. 

What impressed me about this story, was the creative genius Hannibal deployed, acting as a mere consulting strategist.   But he was too clever, as it alerted the Romans to his location, and proved his final undoing.

But the study of asymmetry-conflicts, and the creative leveraging of technology capability is proving fruitful.  When creative thinking is combined with bold and daring action and a technological edge, surprising results can be achieved - often several standard-deviations away from the expect range of possible outcomes.  But one must be very careful not to rely on this approach.  Market activity is eventually a postive-sum game, but in the short and medium term (where we live!), it is often a zero-sum game, yes?

The study of the U-boats is helpful, as they were so lethal a the outset of the WW2 conflict, but rendered almost useless by 1945, as their weaknesses could be easily exploited by numerous countermeasures.  But with AI-controlled autonomous operation, you don't even need U-boats, just torpedoes that can loiter, possibly even be solar powered.  And tanks - why try to kill them?  Why not just a rapid polymerizing glue, that could be applied to their treads by small autonomous "zippy-cart" robots? The robot has a binary "super polymer", and scoots in quick, squirts the chemicals into the treads, and it reacts to produce a very fast-hardening glue, which prevents the tank from moving.  And you just leave it there, immobilized, until it runs out of fuel. (And your tank, of course, does not even need to have people in it anymore.)  Everyone thinks "self drive" cars will be a benefit, but I don't see it that way. 

At the end of WW2, the Japanese has these "kamikaze" tiny submarines, that looked like big torpedos, but were operated by a suicide-attacker.  They would chase battleships until they could hit one.  That was a tragic waste of a human life, but replace the human with an autonomous "self drive"-AI, and you should be able to score a kill with each torpedo deployed.  And if its a logistics or supply ship, don't explode - just tangle the propulsion system, and render the ship dead-in-the water, and wait.  Offer the crew some life-rafts to escape, wait, board the ship, remove items of value, and then open some valves and sink it that way.  In AI-driven asymmetric conflict, your objective is to just mess-up your enemy and degrade his economics, until he negotiates a peace-treaty, or stops his attacks on your economy.

See, this is *already* a strategy that is now underway in many areas where competing interests are engaged.   The current AI-technology will just amplify and extend the range, breadth, and asymmetric effectiveness of what is already happening.  We've been studying Alexander Nevsky (the historical Vladimir King, the Boreil-class submarine, and the film by Eisenstein...).  Nevsky's "Battle on the Ice" - with pike-men on foot, taking down mounted Teutonic Knights - demonstrated an asymmetric engagement that was successfully executed.  And the modern pump-jet submarine of the same name, reminds me of the fictional "Red October".  Submarines, with multiple MIRV-style-warheaded nuclear missles, seems to me to be a very unwise thing, as it seems possible that a rogue sub-captain could start a nuclear conflict, if he so wished to.   Significant nuclear attack could be carried out on unaware targets, and in such a manner so as to confuse and mislead.  A retaliation against a wrong target could quickly provoke a rapid and tragic response, in which case, an extreme situation could evolve in a very short time. We worry that AI-technology might act to accelerate the damage done, in much the same way the badly-designed autopilot would fly the Boeing 737-Max-8 aircraft into the ground (or ocean, as the case may be).

[Apr. 17, 2019] - Update: I watched a demo of a sophisticated 4-fan super-stable drone today, with GPS and ground-reference radio-link.  Very similar to the one illuminated in the Raytheon field-laser example above.    Slick piece of techno, but not terribly fast. The solution to dealing with these things needs to be more simple - and cheaper and more effective and faster.  What you want to do is take "cluster-bomb" technology, and connect it to a range-finder based optical tracker.  Each launched cluster-explosive produces a big spherical ball of high-tensil fishing-line-connected *wooden* or ceramic balls, so the whole thing explodes to produces a three-dim. sphere of connected pieces.  You want it light enough so it can say aloft for a few seconds, and when it falls to earth, it does not hurt troops moving below.  You can stop these drones with high-strength monofilament fishing line.  Imagine a fire-works display, but where each bright flaming-piece is a connected net-holder,  has a tether to a central piece.  Or some kind of high-speed repeating shotgun, perhaps.  Becomes like goose-shooting, maybe.  These things are light, electric and slow. Used wisely, they are very beneficial and helpful.  And they are ripe for AI-driven autonomous operation, since they can be programmed to just land, if control is lost or disrupted. 

Earlier: I was at a field-trial thing recently, and I saw this crazy-cheap low-cost direct-control drone, with a guy flying it.  Basically, a cheap-as-borscht rc-model-aircraft.  But no reason that some active real-time control tech could not be used on the thing.  Stick a cheap camera on board, a tiny fast processor with some off-the-shelf image recognition control software, and boom, you have a dirt-cheap part of a swarmbot.  Hang a bunch of thin-polymer metalized ribbons of the right lambda for local radar (maybe even have the chaff deployment be keyed to the detected frequency of the received radar signals, so the drone can deploy reflective strips with maximum brightness), and you have a dirtcheap C3 blinder-tool.  Or better yet, fill it's belly full of powdered coreolite (ground up glop from a fresh core-meltdown in a big fission reactor), and you have a nasty radiological weapon that could contaminate an urban area, and render it uninhabitable. 

Planners think of nuclear weapons as big exploders, but I watched bionerd23 do gamma-ray spectroscopy on a tiny little piece of melted core (coreolite?) from the Chernobyl reactor, and this little piece of glop the size of a pepper grain, had a very *big* signature. (Nice big spike at the freq. for Cesium-137).   If you dusted an urban-core of a major economic zone with hot powder from an "elephants foot" type of meltdown, you could have perfect scenario of asymmetric awfulness.   Your cost to do this is very close to not-much-at-all, but the damage done to a modern city, could be measured in the billions.  And even if the Air Defense guys laser the drones - the dust still gets dispersed.

Military guys are always thinking of blowing stuff up, or killing people.  But if your downtown core gets dusted with hot particles, it becomes a no-go Fukushima/Chernobyl exclusion zone.  When I googled this idea, I found the sci-fi game: "Chernobylite", and laughed, as of course, some guys have already thought of this, and made a sci-fi video game out of it!  All you need to do, is make the drones basic-AI enabled, fill them with the hot dust, and send them off to detonate over the downtown.  It's a U-boat scenario, but without U-boats.  You deny your enemy access to his economic PRZ (Production/Residence Zones - ie. big, crowded downtown cities, where commerce and economic gain occur...).  And you don't need 14.2 kg of plutonium, with beryllium neutron-reflectors and so on, just a bunch of hot, gamma-ray spewing particles in the form of dust. You might have to Fed-Ex in a bunch of geiger-counters/gamma-ray detectors to media people, political folks, public health officers, and so on.  This isn't even a "dirty bomb" - this is just a "we mess you up" scenario that takes down your GDP by several percentage points, and uses a low-cost basic AI-enabled drone-swarm to deliver it.  But each drone can do more damage than a U-boat. The economics of this sort of conflict favour the bad guys, sadly.  This is a viable threat-scenario, as autonomous drone-swarms are now state-of-the-shelf technology.  And AI-style feedback control is already used to fly the drones. (Rapid feedback-loops are used to adjust the propeller rpms to keep the multi-fan drones in level (or vectored) flight.)

[Apr. 16, 2019] - Oh my, but these WW2 "motivational/inspirational" songs are impressive! 😀 I just found this one, the German U-Boat (Kriegsmarine) Sailors Song.  "Masters of the Universe" - shades of Tom Wolfe and Wall Street... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dnNSTg_sCM   This one is amazingly good. Listen to it, and you just want to go out and sink a convoy!  But better, is this article:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315590963_Dynamic_Theory_Of_Losses_In_Wars_And_Conflicts  The German U-Boat force during WW2 was the worst place to be.  Most of them died - crushed/drowned as their U-Boats sank and imploded, unable to even fire a shot.  The Americans ran isometric kill-the-convoy submarine attacks against Japanese merchant shipping, so the accusation of "German war crimes" did not hold up even at the post-war Nuremberg trials the Germans were subjected to, in the case of submarine warfare.  Quite interesting, as Sub-warfare is primarily economic, not military.  You damage trading and logistical links, not military sites.  It is what USA "economic sanctions" are trying to do now to several nations now, for example.  It is warfare, pure and simple.  We are a world at war, but few even realize it.

I've been working along similar research lines, initially just seeking to find some sort of exploitable edge in the modern world of hyper-quick trading.  I get front-run all the time, now, so I need to alter my game, and my research in to psy-ops and battle attrition-rates is really yielding fruit - to my surprise, actually.  I thought this was very well-trodden ground, but the current obsession with "big data" and NN's (which are great, yes, but their payoffs are not accessable for the we-make-our-own-horseshoes guys like us.).  I was shocked when I saw the newsreel stuff on the Notre-Dame fire, since I had this chaos model that says France will immolate itself - and I figured it was just the Templar Curse re-establishing itself (my tongue is in my cheek, here really - I don't believe in "curses", unless it is from hubris or Kahneman's models of failure to accurately assess true probability - which I guess makes it real?  Hmm....) 

Currently trying to determine U-Boat attrition rates.  Wikipedia reports it to be approx. 75%, which confirms some other info, re. air-war vs sub-war - WW2 air war losses were approx. 45%, and the U-Boats lost approx 28,000 persons, and 793 U-Boats out of 1154 boats, documented on uboat.net.  So, 793/1154 gives 68.7%, for the boats themselves, but total persons lost out of total persons in combat is still unclear. But the loss rate does suggest the U-Boat was the most dangerous place to be, especially once Allied ASDIC and HuffDuff electronic location technologies became effective.  The Q-Boats are also interesting (decoy boats designed to look like ordinary merchant vessels, but in fact, were heavily-armed sub-sinkers, with technology designed to target and destroy U-Boats.)  "Fake it, lure them,  and then take it!", I guess?  I see every piece of clever shit-fakery now, in the modern markets.  (What really causes a "Flash Crash"? eh?)

What is interesting, is that the US Navy already has a complete "drone swarm" solution (LOCUST and Coyote drones), which are armed, and able to operate autonomously, using interconnected AI technology.  Perhaps a technical "Robot War" test between the US AirForce (with it's anti-drone-swarm lasers and microwave disrupters), and the US-Navy, (with it's tube-launched "swarming drones") would be an interesting exercise.  If I were a planner, I would run this test.  Why wait for an enemy to try it?

[Apr. 15, 2019] - "Piloten - ist nichts verboten, Drum gib Vollgas, Und flieg um die Welt!" => "For Pilots, Nothing is off-limits, so give it full-throttle, and fly around the World!".  Ja!  You really have to get it touch with your inner "Great-White-Wild-Man", guys, and re-program the hyper-pussification algorithms and other NLP trickery that has been used to hack your little gray neural-cells, and degrade your lives.  (I am *very* serious about this, actually.  The Western-culture white-male - and his gentle, smiling children - are sadly and routinely under assault by a curious constellation of astonishingly malevolent forces.  Curious times, guys.  Please take care, and fly safe. And protect your woman and your kids, if you have any.)  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77bnkShO3KU  (The Pilot's Song, 1933, Germany)

Oh, and the cyberspy-guys of Belgium, in the spirit of the famous Hercule Poirot, have concluded that Huawei 5-G router-stuff and devices, carry no hidden, secret, cyber-threat, thus proving another "Boomberg" story to be complete, perfect rotting tommypoop.  So it goes, eh?   I trust the Reuters guys more than I trust Bloomberg, since I have just found too many bullshit/fake-news items on Boomyberg, that seem to be planted to vector security prices in a particular direction...  But maybe we are just a bunch of dumb-fock paranoid goofers here, eh?  Quite possible.    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-tech-security-belgium/belgian-cybersecurity-agency-finds-no-threat-from-huawei-idUSKCN1RR1GP   But the lie-machines are being cranked up to "Vollgas" everywhere, it seems.  It is more than just "caveat emptor" in this not-so-brave new world, now.

[Apr. 14, 2019] - Best version of a great song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgeAGNNRmP8

[Apr. 13, 2019] - Extensive work on psy-ops/ motivational research/mechanics of behavioural finance. Learned about Fogg's "Persuasion Lab" at Stanford.  Brilliant.  Brits used this stuff in WW2, as did the Germans. Death rates in Bomber Command in British RAF and Kreigsmarine (U-Boat force of German Navy) exceeded the death-rates in WW1 trench warfare blood-bath, yet volunteers remained coming right 'till the end. RAF lost almost half it's aircrew, roughly 45% killed.  

An insight: It comes down, like most perfect ideas, to a two word sentance:  Weaponize persuasion. That is the algorithm.  Mephistopheles whispers it in your ear.  Napolean discovered it, and took Europe.  He expressed secret astonishment, when he learned that men would fight and die for little pieces of coloured ribbon.  Mephistopheles, as a big black poodle, smiles.  The violent censorship of the 'net is beginning.  Russia is taking down the VPN's, and newsreel footage of true events will get you multi-year prison sentances in Sweden and New Zealand now.  Marshal-music, flying-flags, vivid-glyphs, and the deep human desire to be in-group, and part of a big-event... it is the brain vectored by hyphen-thoughts, the "Steppenwolf", where the Theatre is: "For Madmen Only". 

The WW1 films are the most strangely difficult to watch - healthy young men, climbing up and out of their trenches and running into sustained machine-gun fire to be cut to pieces by other young men who did not even hate them.  It mirrors closely what Brenton Tarrant did - insane, cruel, idiotic senseless slaughter.  And I now know exactly how it can be done to people.  Kahneman knows too.  His first work was with the Israeli military.   But the solution is *not* censorship, just the opposite:  Open channels, no secrets, sunlight, strength and knowledge as inoculation/immunization/vaccination. 

I actually love and respect the US Air Force.  They honestly fight for freedom, and are good people.  Many are very good people.   But what it did in one night in Tokyo, and also in Dresden, during WW2, was also deeply similar to what Brenton Tarrant did - a systematic, planned exercise in the mass-murder of civilians, explicitly designed to have a political/popular effect.  Vonnegut's description of the "corpse mines" in Dresden, where unarmed civilians burned to death in the basements of their houses, or the detailed descriptions of the 100,000 dead in the Tokyo firebombing raids, are worse than Tarrant's GoPro footage.  And the Hiroshima footage is worse.  I have seen the films of the "acres" of burnt corpses, the large, flat wheeled wagons, piled 4 or 5 deep with bodies, some burnt, some just dead and rotting, being driven to burial and cremation grounds.  The scale of the death of the innocent and unarmed non-combatants is truly beyond belief until you see it. 

And you should see it.  Seeing it is part of the psychological immunization-process that has to occur.  It is the lesson of Akira Kurosawa's older brother, Hiego, the one who committed suicide.  He made the young Akira go see the horror of the 1923 Tokyo earthquake.  The rivers were full of corpses, floating face down, bloated, with their anuses open like fish-mouths.  Akira thought he would have nightmares that night, but he slept soundly and was surprised by this. 

Julian Assange has been arrested, and his cat has disappeared.  A censored-internet, is just the big "view screen" that Winston Smith had in his apartment in 1984.  Wrong path.

In order to defend against weaponized persuasion, we need to look horror directly in the eye, and mentally link the flying flags and clever music, with those bullet-ridden bodies, and those floating corpses.  We need to be mentally immunized.  Don't censor the net.  Ask people to govern their behaviour instead. 

What will happen, when that new Raytheon Laser, is used for crowd control?

[Apr. 12, 2019] - I read Cal Newport's "Digital Minimialism" standing in a bookstore today.  Worth reading.  Recently, I've made this huge pivot towards hardcore study of human psychology and related analytic neural-weakness and such - the basis of behavioural finance.  I've followed and reviewed this branch of knowledge several times, but never actively applied it to actual trading.  Recent real-time dollar-on experiments have validated the science behind this stuff.  It just happens over and over and over again.  After I did the exact same trade 7 times and made money each time, I just could not keep doing it.  But it is *still* working, because humans are humans.  People don't change, and markets often track pathways that are designed to execute on a specific set of parameters that may continue to be in effect for weeks, months or even years - the famous "trend", which if you can make it a "friend", can make you wealthy.  Ask yourself *why* does this happen?

What is interesting, is that the results guys like Tristan Harris have documented, about the hard-core addictiveness of social-media programs (I hate Facebook, but I sometimes use it to post stuff, and correspond with folks), are real.  They - social media sites - do at least ten different things I truly hate, and I know they are doing it.  And it is almost impossible to turn off.  Genius bastards, actually.  This is all by careful design.

Reading this book, and Tristan Harris's website about the "bottomless bowl of soup", and the slot-machine addiction features of social-media, social self-re-enforcing feedback loops, etc., it becomes clear why using Facebook always makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  I am always trying to turn stuff off - like the "Notify" thing, or the "Autoplay" feature in Youtube, for example.  Most of what I do online, involves running adblockers, and actively trying to *disable* the crapware that is disturbing me while I am trying to do something (like trying to make money!).  Now I see this is not an accident, but a design feature set, that is crafted to hook the dupes into falling into the social-media toilet!

(Like that scene in "Trainspotting", where the kid falls into the "worst toilet in Scotland", and dives deep into this imaginary world of awfulness, where the toilets flush to...!)

Social media+iPhone is not so much a "slot machine", as it is a "Pachinko Parlour", as there really is no payoff.  Sometimes, a slot-machine pays off.  But a Pachinko Parlour never does, any "payoff" is tiny and trivial.  The suckers in Nihonland just get addicted to the noise, flashing-lights, and minor re-enforcement of the experience itself - like the social gunk on Facebook.  And people are hard-wired to be this sadly, horribly sucked-in stupid, and I know this for certain, from my "inefficient markets" experiments and research (done years back, when I had datasets at a major brokerage firm).  People (ie. educated, clever market participants), will consistantly make *wrong decisions* over and over and over again.   Only a tiny percentage are capable of breaking out of the incorrect re-enforcement mechanisms.  The market actually *teaches* you to loose your money.  It is a *very*, very good teacher, and most "students" learn the lessons it teaches well.  This is *especially true* in commodity markets, which must be traded differently from stock markets, but few folks really understand this.  (The secret: You have to teach yourself to make "good trades".  And a "Good Trade" might lose money, while a "Bad Trade" might make you a lot of money.  This is really hard to do, even if you know all the parameters, since making money feels good, and losing money hurts like a knife being stuck in.)

What is so funny, is *even if you absolutely know*, you can still be pulled onto the pathway of a wrong-decision set.  It's like the scene in "Tin Men", where the protagonist is trying to buy a Cadillac, but without the car-salesman bullshit, since he himself is a top-tier bullshit salesman of aluminum-siding.  But he still ends up buying the extra-cost options anyway, even though he is a perfect expert in the sales techniques used.

And I now realize that my strange approach of turning off a lot of stuff when I am online, is rational.  I thought I was just being pathological and anti-social, but actually, it is the correct thing to do, as so much software is designed to hack hard on your brainware neural network.  The online world we are building is not just "not good", but is actually actively toxic.   Tristan Harris documents *nine* specific neural/behavioural "hacks" online product designers use, in his first essay:  http://www.tristanharris.com/essays/

Update: Hilarious world! I take my honey-bunny to a fave restaurant, and turns out the server recognizes us from another place, years earlier.  She is finishing up in school, and doing some Psychology.  I tell her I've been researching "digital minimalism", and ask her if she knows about the Fogg's Stanford Persuasion Lab.  She says, "Oh yes, my boyfriend was talking about it, we discuss it in school, ..." and so on.  I see I am being the "Belgian Dentist" here (a Swiss trader's term for the very last guy in Europe to buy into a stock, usually, just before a reversal begins..).  Truly ROFL-worthy. Everyone knows iPhones are toxic, just like cigarettes, but, ya, old news...  hilarious.

Anybody left alive who remembers "The Tubes?"  We saw them live in the City, back in the '70s when we were wee, tiny tots. The song was "What to You Want From Life? ==>  Well, you can't have that, but...<total enumerated list of every piece of crap sold in America, including a "New Monza" ..., ... and, a baby's arm, holding an Apple!"   Well, here I am the future, and all the baby's arms, are all holding Apples.  How about that?   You can learn everything you need to know, just by listening to Rock and Roll music.  Truly, my life, (and my portfolio!), was saved by Rock and Roll.  Thanx, Lou Reed, Mitch Rider, & the Jean-Jeanie! 

And damn, but it just gets sillier and nuttier...  I read this Boomberg stuff, and if it is true, then Steve Eisman and others in the "Great White Short" (trying to short Cdn Bank Stocks), are going to get their arses kicked up and down Bay Street.  Should be hilarious.  That 20% drop in Cdn Bank stocks they expected happened back in December, last year.  If you didn't cover then, you are completely screwed.   We remained and still remain, all-in, hard-and-heavy, fully-invested in Cdn Banks and Phone Co's, I shit you not.  Why lie?  We pretty much don't plan on selling any of them until maybe the heat-death of the universe arrives, since they firehose out a dividend stream that pays the bills and even funds some Pinot Noir time. 

Plus, the guy who runs OSFI is an very smart dude, who keeps the banker-boys on a tight leash, and makes them report their capital ratios every *month*.   (Greentext: I know him, Horatio! I remember "Lochian Demand Cones" (eh?  WTF is this? I was slow and confused, as usual, drinking beer at the Grad club). Smart explanation:  "Jump into three-space. Take a demand-curve, flip it up orthogonal to it's usual 2-d form, spin it thru 360 to make a cone, with base-plane now your x-y geo map.  Done."  I remember being frustrated, because I am slow and stupid: Don't you need Price and Quanity - plus geo-location?  So 4 dims, right?  No of course not, because your picture of demand is now driven by geo-location, not price. Z axis is the quantity sold, price is held as an exogenous given.  If you must have that 4th dimension of price, think of a continuum of cones changing sizes, each growing bigger and more firm, like a girl's nipples, as price is gently dialed-down.  Suffice to say I would agonize over conceptual maps like this, while my smarter friends drank beer and plotted the evening's strategy.  But I found that I could learn more in an evening drinking beer with my smarter friends than I could learn in lectures. Thus endeth the lesson for today.)

Look, typical loan-to-value for most of the big mortgage portfolios, is 75%, and means-tests are hard-core here in the Great White North.  If you can't show Mr. Banker the income stream, ya gotta go to the "Bank of Dad", if ya wanna get yur house funded.  I paid *cash* for both my farm, and the new lake-front property up north.  (No mortgage at all, for the self-employed, here in White-Snow-Land!)  Like in: Treasure of the Sierra Madre: "We don't need no stinkin' banks! - (except in our income-generating portfolios, of course)..." 

Shorting a high-quality, tightly-regulated, profit-making, cash-pissing, low price-to-book bank stock in a country with sane land-tenure rules, a neo-British fee-simple property model which has operational hypothecation and honest registry offices and so on, is about the most fooking stupid short you could possibly put on.  The Bloomberg-guys must be pulling my leg here.  No-one in their right mind would short RBC or CM or BNS or BMO or TD.  No one is that stupid.   Must be "fake news".  The stuff I read on the wires now has to be Fogg-lab crafted-disinfo, like most of the rest of the dogpoop-internet is now.  My dog wouldn't be dumb enough to short RBC! 

[Apr. 11, 2019] - I read with the usual shock and dismay, that the bento-cops of Tokyo, have re-arrested Carlos Ghosn, again, for the fourth fucking time!  Ghosn's defence team has declared the arrest illegal, and in any law-based, civil-society nation, it certainly would be. 

Here is my General Demarche to the International Community, re. Japan's Actions:

Goddamnit, I used to respect Japan.  But here, with Ghosn's 4-th re-arrest by the Tokyo Police acting for Nissan, the Japanese now look like a pack of screaming white-arsed maggot-monkeys, as bad as the fat-murdermiesters of North Korea.  Their entire system looks bent like a paperclip made from excrement.  Jesus, they are managing to make China look like a paragon of legal fairness, and social/civil virtue.   Well done, you silly, stupid clowns. 

That re-arrest will take 2% off of next year's national GDP, you idiots.  Reputation is a special thing.  It can take many years to build, but can be destroyed completely by one silly, cruel, stupid wrong action.  I would not own a Nissan product now if you gave me one, you crap-for-brains hostage-taking dimwits!  You idiots are shooting at your own feet.

Fucking Reiwa indeed!  How about "Fuckyouwa?"   That is the message you are sending the world now, with this idiotic, illegal, racist assault on Ghosn.   Jesus, what the fuck is wrong with you people? <End>

Yes, I know. Not so very diplomatic, is it?  Well, betrayal makes one cranky.  😠

[Apr. 10, 2019] - The US has Islamic murder-cult members in it's House of Representatives now.  Fun times, yes?  And this Omar person, together with the strange and curious Nancy Pelosi, are asserting white Americans who are nationalists, are "White Nationalists", which in their curious logic, makes all white guys who love their country, racists.  So racisim, and the politics of murder-cult religious identity, has come to this strange point, where openly racist people like Omar (a vocal anti-Semite), is now accusing the rest of America (and guys like Stephen Miller, a speech-writer at the White House) of being evil racist "white nationalists".  How in the name of sanity, did the people of the State of Minnesota, choose this person to be their representative in Washington?  The whole world is turning into a "Heaven's Gate" go-to-god-now-suicide-cult maybe?   Hilarious times.  Laugh until you bleed, I suppose. Or if you are a raghead, laugh until your head explodes from all the stupid, explosive foolishness you have stuffed inside it?  😀  It's like, say it was end of WWII, and after fighting the Nazi's to defeat (and maybe even attacking and bombing your own grandparent's cities), you come back home, and find that the swastika is flying from your government buildings, and that your national anthem is now something like Borat's "Let's Throw the Jew Down the Well!".  It would sure be ROFL-time, but you might also think, "ah.. What?  What did we do all the war-fighting stuff for?  Just so these murder-monkeys could sit in our government, and fling poop on us, and call us all racists?  WTF? ".   We are not "anti-Islam" here, we are just "anti-really-fu-king-stupid", that's all.  😉 IIhan Omar is a female racist of the top tier, and maybe not the best choice as a lawmaker.  Please, everyone, don't do anything to her.  (Some righteous angry Yankee got arrested for calling her office, and making a stupid threat, and then left his contact info..!! 😀)  Let her be, and operate that hate-and-lie-filled mouth of hers, so we can watch the Democrats self-destruct in the next US election.  It will be much more fun than the Japanese Olympics. 😋

[Apr. 9, 2019] - We are all flying too many A/c's into the ground, these days.  I speak metaphorically, of course.  I spent an hour reading a bunch of whohaw on ycombinantor hackernews, about monorepo's, which seg'ed into a discusion on the merits of Bazel.  I had to install Bazel to compile my source-tree of Tensorflow 1.4, which I tried to use, but finally gave up on, and reverted to Xerion/Uts, since Xerion (ancient C and Tcl/Tk) just worked, and was producing results, and I could hack/multiply the matricies on the iPad using APL. 

Modern code-bases are fucking nightmares, they really are.  Monorepo vs polyrepo.  JesusHC.  And the syntax of Bazel is completely incomprehesible.   Unless you are a Google employee, and make it your living to use Bazel every single day, it is a glyph-ridden nightmare.  Everyone is saying the Tensorflow 2.0 with Keras will actually let that fucking code base actually be usable, but all I see tutorial-wise, is money-suck stuff.  Every link is a "Here, some examples: Only $118.95, today only!".  Fuck off.   I am trying really fucking hard not to be a fucking old guy, and keep an open mind, but that Tensorflow stuff - and the silly amount of time I wasted on it - keeps haunting me.  Google and Apple are great, if you live in Californicatia, and have a fucking massive infinite pile of cash resources, and can hire the top kids from Stanford.   But if you are out on the edge of the matrix, then you are either a maker-of-your-own-horseshoes, or you are rotting meat lying in the sun. Not that I am complaining. 

I had to completely rethink everything, and then did a Sorosian "real-time experiment" with real dollarettes, and got some pretty amazing results.  So, a big-pivot can be a very good thing. 

But the key-fact here, is that tech-stuff is getting *worse*, not better.  It should be getting better, but it is actually getting so much worse, and now the gov't are coming in hard and heavy (again), to really fuck it up, and that is just sad - and ensures that anything disruptive and positive will be stillborn (again).  I study history hardcore now, because it is like cheating effectively.  It's all been done before, and the scenarios typically play out the same way.  I just reviewed the whole section on Utilities bigCo's, in the original 1934 Graham and Dodds, and they say *exactly* what the latest analysts have just discovered:  "Book Value is pretty close to meaningless.  But not *completely* meaningless..."  It is just great. 

You can make way more money studying history, than you can fiddling backprop derivatives on "big data".  NN's with big data only works if you actually *have the actual, honest true data*, which probably, you don't (and in the future, you most *certainly* will not - at least it won't be honest.)   I am trying to keep a positive tone here, but some days it is hard.  I seem to get bad-tempered when I am making money.  Strange phenomenon.  I am my own lab rat, I suppose.  We - modern industry and the world of humans here - have to do *much* better.  We have almost perfect magic, and it is just being wasted and degraded. 

[Apr. 8, 2019] - The iPad stopped playing Youtube videos.  It's hacked, and I have full root access.  I cleared all browser-cache, closed all running user-programs, confirmed it was operating correctly, and re-started Safari.  Still same error, the dreaded: "An error occurred. Please Try Again Later." - with a playback ID hex-string.  This error began big in 2014, and typically describes a routing error or issue with Google-farm redundant servers, or a corrupt DNS somewhere in the data-stream-flow. (Here is an "Our engineers are working on it. <giggle>" message, with 422 comments.  https://support.google.com/youtube/forum/AAAAiuErobUaxsb7XPieK0/?hl=en&gpf=d/topic/youtube/axsb7XPieK0   I read a few hundred comments (quickly), and concluded a power-off/restart was in order.  I figured perhaps my dear friends at Xplornet were filter-slamming my IP#, but it was Apple poopware, it looks like. 

A full power-off and reboot of the little aluminum iPad and it resumed correct operation, with m.youtube.com being able to render videos.  It really is an amazing little device, and paired with a self-publishing video-distribution service, it really beats broadcast TV.  We literally do not watch *any* broadcast TV anymore, despite having access to 4 over-the-air HD digital channels.  They are either mindless dreck for children, gov't news/dis-info, or self-similar silly cop-shows where the agents are shown to be angry 23-year old blond American girls.  (When I am at the range, and I meet some of the boys in the local constabulary, I never seem to see cops that look like the ones I used to see on TV... Curious, no? ).  For news, we seek original source material, and monitor a few offshore internet-enabled news feeds, and have a source of 2 day old surplus newspapers.  Even that is too much news, as news is now either almost all entertainment or disinfo/noise.  

But I am deeply worried about the trend towards mass-censorship of the internet, and I believe the new proposed UK law that criminalizes "objectionable" content on social media, is a *very, very* bad idea, and is a textbook example of poor law-making.  Poor Britain.  They cannot seem to find their backside with both hands these days, and their sorry politicians are showing themselves incapable of doing anything at all correctly or rationally.  It is really tragic.  If you live in England, you might just want to leave. 

Here is my problem with censorship of "objectionable material":  If you are one of those ragheads that believe that gay folks should be stoned to death in the marketplace, and thieves should have their hands cut off, and Jews should just be killed, and so on, then you will likely find this song about Scotland, objectionable.  It is a patriotic song about the virtues of freedom.  And I like this song, as it speaks directly to both my head and my heart.  See what you think:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GowMI4wvmU4

[Apr. 6, 2019] - The most important thing you can do as an analyst - in science or investment - is to review your results, and be as honest as you can about what you see.  My AI stuff sort of works, but the execution time-frame is difficult, and I am up against some *very* smart, fast, and well-funded folks, who look like they are running similar algos, and can pretty much beat me to the punch every time.  I can usually only get half the move, and often not even that. 

But what works much better, is a kind of creative psychological scenario analysis, using results discovered by Kahneman and Tversky. (Two books on my desk - "The C Programmnig Langauge", by Kernighan and Ritchie, and Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow".)   It's the psycho-scenario stuff, combined with old-fashioned Elliot-Wave "technical analysis" voodoo that generates the (small amounts) of cash, to pay the bills.  Seriously.  I am getting more from Dr. Faust's forward-looking Mephisto, than from Dr. Hinton's backpropagating daemons. 

And the study of hard-core agit-prop is also paying off, as the modern assault on Western Culture is also showing itself to be a true and evident thing.  All my life, it has been dangerous and curious, to be a "white male".  But there still were the operational algos of Western Culture evident.  But I watched as these came under attack.   I watched these various organizations that I did work for, go into what can almost be described as "self-destruct" mode, as they promoted women and "people of colour"  (hey, I'm actually sort of pinkish, not really white, eh?) ahead of well-educated tolerant white males.   The shrill, dishonest and stupid people - many of whom were female - came to dominate most organizations in my country.  Everywhere it happened, predictable results occurred.  I tried once to explain this to some females in this female-centric org - that hey, I am *not* complaining, and I am actually very supportive of women being in executive roles.  And that this "affirmative action" idiocy, which was basically just bigotry directed at white males, was a great benefit to me, as it kept me fully-booked, and able to bill my clients with gusto for critical work that had to be done.  And some of the most awful, incompetent people I saw, were British-educated white males, with great resumes, who had no clue how to do anything except survive in a hierarchy (but hey, that was enough, actually). Race and gender should not matter - only ability and results.  But I watched the world move away from that model of fairness - and do so in the name of fairness.

What a wild world of liars and fools, really!  But it has gotten *much* worse now, with most University/academic environments not able to teach any sort of real history, civics, social-concepts, western-cultural ideas, etc. - they teach crazy stuff like "lesbian dance forms" and nonsense like that. History departments self-destructed, and economics became courses in race-politics.  I am serious.  There is this concept of "trigger warnings" that I thought was a joke.  I thought they were joking, but this is serious concept, and of course, suggests that people (and students) are being *actively taught* that they do not have to accept responsibility for their actions.  I suddenly realized that the educational system is not broken (a popular piece of dis-info), but that it is doing exactly what it is supposed to do - turn out non-thinking, programmed, self-censoring consumption automatons, whose idea of debate is to shout abuse and buzzwords.   Maybe Mephistopheles has not completely won, but the architects of Metropolis seem to have. 

And this deception is showing up in the investment process, and the markets of the world.  Economists used to argue the most recent price was the best estimate of the true price.  My research suggests the current price is a bogus artifact of the current deception-model that has been installed into the minds of the arrogant folks who run the portfolios of the planet, and that as time grinds by, sometimes (but not always), the truth can leak out, and vector the price either up or down.   I had (some small) sympathy for the "efficient markets hypothesis", but not anymore.  Not at all.  Not even a tiny bit.  The current price is probably wrong, like much of our culture.  And it may get more wrong, until a cataclysmic event, or the leakage of truth into the public domain, causes a re-pricing to occur.

Curiously, given the dominance of USA in North America, I think we are probably OK here.  And (full disclosure) we remain fully invested, fully long.  The bad guys are trying to censor the internet.  They might succeed.  But probably they won't.  The most important thing we can preserve, in these perilous times, is an open, uncensored channel.  Even if it is dripping with gore.  The Americans are right, and the rest of the planet is probably wrong. That's why they are rich and strong, and most other countries on this earth are (truth be told), little better than enablers of an evil, crafted deception.  This is the honest truth.  Lies are just lies.  Truth leaks out, one way or the other, and once enough people know, their behaviour changes, and bad popular madness and foolishness can be corrected.  It appears that it has always been this way.  Bad popular madness is *always* being manufactured, by most organizations.  Religion is an explicit example. 

And "Islam" is a textbook example of a bad popular madness that is growing in our world now, like an algae-bloom.  It's "holy book" says Jews should be killed, and non-believers should have their heads cut off, in a "holy war".  It has a legal code which mandates execution for homosexuals, and radical mutilation (hands cut off) for common crimes like theft.  This is a fact.  These explicit assertions are contained within Islamic religious doctrine.  Islam is a bad popular madness, and it should seen as such, despite the disinformational attempts to mislead.  People say: "Islam is a religion of peace."  This is a lie.  Their own "holy book" makes it clear that actually, Islam is a religion of pieces - pieces of body parts.    As of last week, the former British colony of Brunei has indicated it will now follow this horrific "Shariah Law".  Some have described this bad popular madness as an "invasion", and there is some truth to this assertion, as Islamic teaching is being carried on at Universities in North America, and impressionable young people are being drawn into this vortex of cruelty and madness.  This is tragic.  If you love your planet, your nation, or maybe just your children, you have a duty to resist what is happening and speak out.

[Apr. 4, 2019] - I saw SPQR on a car today, at the bank parking lot, only three days after I put SPQR glyph on this site, frontpage.  Curious feeling.  Roman letters, strung together to make a statement about history and the shared heritage of Western culture.  About time.  I remain an internationalist in many ways - yet we must respect and remember where we came from, who and what we are, what we stand for, and what it means to be of European descent.  Want to see a Roman?  Maybe all you have to do, is look in the mirror.  This video clip is something we all should read/see/hear:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TiAEHjM5ZM

[Apr. 1-2, 2019 -  There are factors that are not captured by the numbers, which drive choice, and determine outcomes.  Modern science labels these factors "psychological", and the science of "behavioural finance" has evolved to address this new knowledge base.  But it is not new, as any General or King from the ancient world, could have told you.  The discipline of "Epistemology" (the study of knowledge) has been around for a long time. It is long on talk, but short on actionable results.  For humans, it is difficult to remain rational, and execute plans effectively, in an environment where much of the most critical process-drivers are provably-random.  Success as an investor/speculator, is determined mostly by how one addresses factors-psychologique, rather than external factors and forecasts.  Knowing this is one thing, but operationalizing that action-set that surrounds this knowledge-envelope is profoundly difficult (we know what must be done, yet it is often painful, and mentally difficult to execute the action.)  So what to do? 

My deep dive into the dark world, has yielded answers.  If you seek to dance with the Devil, you first learn that he (she?) has very good music. Consider "Panzerlied" (German WW2 Tank Commander's Song).  It is genius-good music.  The version from the 1965 film "Battle of the Bulge" is amazing.  But the best version uses video-clips from a Japanese anime-theme game: "Girls und Panzer", which is also genius-clever. (Unlike "Grand-Theft Auto V", "Girls und Panzer" has a military theme and focus, but uses almost glyphic anime-girls (with big-cute happy-triggering eyes), as the avatars).  This version is unique, as it has triple sub-titles:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeKVnUxVCxg

Tech note: The new TensorFlow 2.0 is out, and uses Keras now.  Folks are doing boolean conversions, and coding "Ja" or "Nicht" to long transcoded boolean vectors, and dropping these into neural-nets, to probe big-data.  This will yield results.  I also saw that Dr. Hinton got another award. AP story: Yoshua Bengio, Geoffery Hinton & Yann LeCun got the Turing Award (the "Nobel Prize" of computing - sorta like the "Cadillac of Minivans"...).  Hinton was articulate in explaining how fellow professors openly laughed at, and ridiculed his work.  I recall being just blown away by the results he achieved and could *provably demonstrate*.  That was the key.  He could show that the science of the process was sound, and could yield results.   Details: https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/canadian-godfathers-of-ai-win-2018-turing-award/416363

My attendence at his lectures - which were free to citizen-scientists of the City of Toronto - literally changed my life. He gave away the Xerion/Uts code to us, and his small, helpful team offered free follow-on courses that we attended to learn how to use it.  The Catch-22?  You had to install/configure a full Unix O/S on your P/C to run it (oh...), since it was written in Tcl/Tk and C,  for a Sun Sparcstation.  But Slackware Linux was available at the U of T Bookstore, and so I began.  I got it working, and built neural-nets to forecast commodity, currency and bond prices.   Most stuff did not work.  But bond price changes are serial-autocorrelated.   And same for high-dividend stocks, that act like bonds.   I read all of Bill Gross's stuff.  This was middle 1990's, and Gross said the future returns would not look like the Mississippi, but that returns would look like "Butler Creek", a tiny creek on his boyhood home.  He nailed it.

Keyfact: The learning curve I climbed to do the Xerion/Uts project successfully, has brought rewards substantial.   Thanx, Dr. Hinton.  You da man.  And thanx, Linus Torvals, also. Linux literally set me free.  I bitch and complain about it, but only because I use it every single day.   What I learned about bond-pricing, and low-yield investment returns (the "Steampunk interest-rates" world we live in today), let me get tee-ed up for this current crazy world, and operate successfully here now.   If you are a scientist doing unpopular work, or even a citizen-scientist outside the money-bucket of the monster academic gravey-train, hang in there, and just keep working.  Find alternate channels to publish, even if the MSM/journals (with their questionable peer-review mechanisms), deny you access.  Don't give up.  Plug away, and keep testing, observing and learning.  Observe/study/design/experiment/check-test/and repeat. Remember that most of the folks in big organizations are just NPC's.  They will travel like a herd of beasts, and mostly suspend their critical thinking, once they get tenure or the big job and the big salary.   Innovation comes from the hackers at the periphery, almost *never* from the big org-guys in the system-centre.  That's just how it is.  Enjoy the ride, suffer the slings-and-arrows, and when you have to, take up what you must, against that sea-of-troubles.

[Mar. 29, 2019] - Curious.  All the cool tech I thought we would have by 2020 is just not here.  We're even having to re-discover and re-engineer 1960's rocket technology. The Russians are way ahead of us now (the North-Americans), since they never threw out Korolev's excellent designs.  He is truly one of the great men of history. 

But isn't much of our history  deception?  Have we all been lied-to by a few clever specialists?   Curious.  Here is my new favourite morning wake-up song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nh36Do2fSM   It is wonderful when spring comes to the valley, is it not?  Those of us who have the heritage we have, must try our best to ensure we never again engage in silly in-family fights and feuds, yes?  We must make sure we join hands with our comrades from different lands, who speak different languages, and yet share the same values and heritage that we do, and insist on a common peace. 

This is especially true in Canada, where silly conflicts once occurred between French and English in Quebec.  What nonsense!  French, English, Dutch, Russians, Germans, Poles - we are all brothers and sisters in the same family, and must never again go to war with each other.  And we must remain aware that there are always powerful forces at work that promote fictional narratives and clever frauds, the purposes of which are to damage and degrade our Western culture.   A current example is the ridiculous assertion that "Islam is a religion of peace."   When I see the pile of the severed heads, or the results of the latest "suicide bombings" (Look at the list of terrorist bombings and murders for March 2019 alone, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_March_2019 ), I am more inclined to believe:  "Islam is a religion of pieces.  Bits and pieces of body parts..."   The Islamic-motivated attacks in Mali and Niger are particularly awful. 

No one wants hate.  But we don't want lies, either.  Islamic folks can reside here in peace, if they follow the rules, obey the laws, and pay their taxes.  We are a *very* tolerant people.  That is a key part of what we are, and this is evident in our culture, all the way back to ancient Roman times.  But to use the language of the trading floor (which is crude, yes.)  "Don't stand there pissing on my shoes, and try to tell me it's raining."

[Mar. 28, 2019] - Little note on the VIX and volatility.  What if volatility is not really a valid measure of risk?   What is the right measure of risk?  What should we do?

[Afternoon update: ] Answer:  Duck and cover.

[Mar. 27, 2019] - Looks like Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft not only have *bad software* written by designers-who-don't-get-it, but also engines of questionable quality.  New aircraft engines, here in 2019, should be very reliable now.  But a 737 Max 8 without passengers, being flown to a western storage area by Southwest Airlines, had an engine failure (a "performance issue", it was called), and had to make an emergency return-to-airport-after-takeoff type landing in Orlando, Florida, yesterday, around 2:50 pm.  One of Orlando's three runways had to be closed, and inspected for any broken bits that might have fallen off the engine. Big, high-capacity aircraft used to have 4 engines, which meant that losing one would not drop you from the sky.  The big 737 Max 8 can fly on one engine - but only just.  The asymetric thrust requires a big trim response from the control surfaces, I would expect, and control has to be more difficult.  Nice that the pilots brought the crippled aircraft back safely, and no-one was hurt.  The more we learn - the more it is clear that *grounding these aircraft* was the right decision.  The FAA and the certification teams would appear to have a lot to answer for.  

Daniel Kahneman's book "Thinking Fast and Slow" describes in some detail the results of the famous Kahneman and Tversky research.  Kahneman dedicates the book to Tversky, which is a fine gesture from a good man.  Their research documented - with scientific rigour - how and why priming and anchoring and other psychological effects work, and just how consistantly bad humans are at estimating probabilities.  One section is called "The Illusion of Pundits".  "Experts" mostly are wrong, and the more-famous experts are wrong more often, because they make more outlandish forecasts.  All my research suggests you cannot really know the future.  You can suss-out what is happening right at the *now* point, and improve on your strategic alternative-selection.  But you cannot predict the future very well.  When Kahneman came to Wall Street, the first question he asked was: "When you guys sell some stock, who buys it?"  They didn't know, but in European markets, I recall the story of the "Belgian Dentist" - basically the last guy in a run-up-the-price chain.   I had never really thought of the markets primarily as a psychological phenomenon, but that is because 1) I am a bit stupid, clearly, and 2) we get told so much about economics and math and finance and business in Economics School.   We miss the obvious key truth, because it is so difficult to reduce it to a symbol-manipulation and memory-work exercise, that schoolish stuff requires.

Imagine if you will, "Psyops Warfare" - things like "false flag attacks" and the effective use of terrorism, disinformation - and - most importantly - propaganda.  This stuff is not a recent invention, but when you couple it with the new knowledge from guys like Kahneman and the late Dr. Amos Tversky, you begin to realize just how social-economic systems really, actually work - and evolve thru time.  Chaos and wild-randomness are very real, and drive most things.  But you can get a lot done with 1) great stories  2) good marketing  3) flying flags, marching-bands and great music  4) creating enemies in their minds, and using fear and greed to pull their little strings 5) trash-technical jabberblabber and mumbo-jumbo fakery - since people are so useless-stupid (and this is scientifically proveable, in repeatable, double-blind experiments) at estimating actual true probabilties.   And 6) the really nasty "shock & awe" stuff (the power of terror - used for hundreds of years by the Roman Church, for example) and 7) the NLP stuff (priming, anchoring, patterning, etc.) which is amazing in it's effectiveness.

Another problem is that the smart guys fall away from the public, crazy world, and take refuge in abstraction and formal systems, because it is so comfortable.  Gauss-stuff is used, because it sort-of works.  But you still fly the plane into the ground, if you don't get the psyops stuff right.  And your first questions as a trader, should be along the line of "Who is buying what I am selling?" or "Why am I wanting to buy now?  Who is the guy selling to me??  Am just being garden-pathed here???"   Just listen to "Grün ist Unser Fallschirm"  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8_RSueTCoA   and hear the pure genius in this tune.  It's purpose is to instill a willingness to jump from an aircraft with a parachute, into a war zone, which is basically an insane thing to do.  But with the right motivation, hey:  "Its all about to happen NOW!! Finally! Wow, is this great!  Rumpty-rumpty boom, boom GO!  Weeeeee!"  And then you get shot by a sniper, which is really unpleasent.  This is absolutely brilliant psyop manipulation, as much or more often than it is raw courage.  We need to teach this material in schools, so that folks see what is really happening, and how powerful psyops can be.  And how the "story" can be used to make people do various surprising things that happen in business, religion, and politics - some of which are awful, cruel and stupid.

We are what we are.  No use turning away, and pretending it does not exist.

FD: Trading stuff:  Years ago, I wrote a momentum-portfolio thing that calculated cross-correlations, assessed momentum of a basket of stocks, and then picked the top hot-ones to form a portfolio of high-beta happy-picks.  Thing worked well, until it didn't.  What saved it from being a complete turd-bucket, was I included a matrix of cross-correlation co-efficients in price deltas, to check if the stupid portfolio was all the same goddamn trade.  This worked.  That old-fashioned Markowitz-diversification stuff works.  Here is the secret (it's in Nassim Taleb's "Antifragile" also): You only need about 5 or 6 different investments, and you just want to make sure that they are not all the same trade. (you just average the correlation matrix of price-changes, you want the trades *not* to be correlated - you want the average R-squared to be close to zero)  The idea is to take on a sh/tbag of risky, high-beta investments, so you can create a lower-risk, doesn't-change-too-much portfolio, as long as the investments don't all tank at the same time.  But money is made by *concentration*, not by *diversification*.  So, you want to have most of your investment in your best idea.  (See, these are two horses, each pulling in a different direction, right?). So, diversify, but not too much.  And watch your correlations carefully.  Don't be stupid, and let yourself get killed by a retard - or a big event engineered by a collection of retards.  Keep your language foul, and your thoughts, clean and clear (not the other way around, as is mostly done now..)

The best damn teacher for this kind of careful thinking, Socrates, has been dead for 2400 years (and the good citizens of Athens killed him, because his careful thinking exercises pissed-off too many folks.).   The whole idea, is to make your investments "non-fragile", and able to ride out bad times.  And to make sure you set aside some effort and taxes, to make the walls of your city strong, and your people wise.  This is what worries me about modern cities (and modern people).   We all need to spend a bit more time, learning from the Swiss.  Are they the wisest people on Earth, perhaps?

[Mar. 26, 2019] - The AI's and the psy-stuff nailed it this time.  Apologies, had written a very market-focused thing, and my re-write turned into another passion-rant about 1st Amendment virtue/necessity, and the NZ tragedy. <sigh>.   Plus, our network-transponder wiring caught fire (very tiny fire), but it melted an RJ-45 connector to the tower.  (Picture me outside in the snow with a soldering gun, wire clippers, and black tape... felt like a Martian, but I fixed it).  The whole yield-curve inversion => yikes, we are crashing to recession = fake news.  But it was amazing-fine stop gun-run trick.  I might just withdraw the cash, and photograph it for fun.  Market is fine.  USA is fine.  Body counts remain manageable.  Direction is up, I am pretty sure.  FD:  *We remain fully long*, and are considering leverage for the first time.   Good to have that Trump vs. Mueller nonsense resolved.  More info later.  Busy now we are.

[Mar. 25, 2019] - I had written a lot here - but it got vapourized by network issues. (Never seen a "504 Gateway Timeout" before.  Somebody messed up..).  Markets seem insane now. 

Curious how New York Times, and posters on Kiwifarms.net seem to be saying same thing - censorship is not good, as it amounts to shooting the messenger.  Please: less insanity, esp. from the pols.  And let's stop shooting people, ok?  Shooting people = bad thing. Don't do it.  And jailing people for reading stuff = also bad thing.  Listening, NZ Gestapo? 

Trump gets cleared by Mueller.  The whole "Russians Stole our Election!" thing was complete bullshit right from the get-go.  Will Trump go after Bezos, and the rumrag Washington Post and the Hillary Clinton "psyops attack teams" that she employed?  I wonder.   Notice how that Podesta character and a bunch of other lefty-blades were at a conference of "progressives" in New Zealand, just before the terrible lone-gunman shooting thing?  One murderer commits a terrible bunch of high-visibility killings - and suddenly this huge, fake "white right" conspiracy-thing is marketed by the MSM, so that two lefty-favourite policies can be started:  1) massive, population-wide firearms confiscation and 2) mass, all-internet censorship & corresponding criminalization of private communication. 

Curious.  Criminalizing private communication of gov't *censored* material is explicitly against the US constitution.  Free speech is a very key part of freedom.  If the material is awful, don't look at it.  But Tarrant's "The Great Replacement" is just silly.  It should be taught in schools as a bad example of bogus propaganda. By banning it, the NZ folks just ensure it gets read.  And mass firearms siezure - that was Hitler's favourite trick.  It's likely his people would be right at home in the modern "conference circuit", where lefty-travellers make plans to engineer the various forms of injustice that Plato has Socrates debate with Thrasymachus in The Republic.  The suppression of information and ideas injurious to the State fits nicely here.  The politics-people in NZ go even further, making it an offence to privately read or possess "The Great Replacement".   (A clever fellow at non-censored US website, protected by the First Amendment, has reduced the whole document to a single high-resolution .jpg file. It's like an electronic samizdat. [In Russian: самиздат.  Means to "self publish", like this silly thing I am doing right here!)  Hilarious and tragic at the same time.  It's the Catholic Church vs. Copernicus again.  The New Zealand murders were terrible.  But their government is also terrible, as it's actions represent a disgusting assault, like watching an excited drug addict abuse someone while on his run.  

The actions of the New Zealand state seem to be pure, explicit injustice, as those who did "not" commit any crimes, will now be punished for reading a political document and also by having their property unjustly taken, while the murderer is housed and fed at the people's expense, in a safe, secure environment.  Read Plato's "The Republic".  The NZ response looks like a textbook injustice, the kind that Socrates spoke about with such wit and wisdom. 

There is this website with a bad reputation, as it allows free speech, and the guy who runs the site told the New Zealand police to explicity "Fuck off.  You come from a small, sh/thole country, and your attempt to harvest userdata, from a site where your shooter did not even post to, is wrong and won't happen.  Free speech in the USA is protected by our Constitution, and our server is located in Florida."  A lot of folks around the world really dumped on the site operator for saying this - and in a public email!  Personally, I think it was the right response.  This is why the USA still shines like a beacon in a world of darkness.   Now, I never thought of New Zealand as a "sh/thole country".  Seems too extreme.  But then they started arresting people for reading political documents and putting people in jail for just having what is basically newsreel footage on their phones or computers. This seems very wrong.

Read Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5", or see the after-action pictures of the *acres* of corpses at Hiroshima - and the large wheeled wagons that were used to transport the dead.  It is the scale of it that gets you.  Those terrible images are freely available on the internet, and Japan does not suppress them because they are horrific.  New Zealand surprisingly seems to really be tracking a wrong path - staggering with frustration, emotion and anger along a course that is offensive and unjust.   And the mass-seizure of semi-automatic firearms is profoundly unwise and wrong.  The young, female Prime Minister of New Zealand is using this tragedy to advance herself and her politics, using a perfect textbook example of injustice by a State leader.  I am saddened by this.

She goes after the local folks who had *nothing to do with this crime at all* and will punish them to drive forward a dishonest and fraudulent political agenda.   It would be good if her political party is defeated iin the upcoming election - assuming of course the election is still is held.  Perhaps another terrible event will occur, which will allow her to postpone the election? 

[Mar. 24, 2019] - Sunday Children's Story:  Following a large black poodle named Mephistopheles, we reach the compound and venture forward.  Yes, the heads are pointed inwards. No surprise.  "Impressions?", the earbud queries.   "Bodies, severed heads, and shell-casings, like we saw", I report.     I don't report the smell.   I hear the generator running, and we look inside.  Dim lights are on.  I taste the vomit at the back of my throat, and close my eyes & do a little mental exercise to stabilize myself.  "Softness and light, shining bright.  Calm the breath, stay in the fight."  My weakness and fear make me angry with myself.  The shaking has stopped, but I am still dizzy, like I'm on the deck of a sailboat in a light breeze.  The laptop is on the table, and I move forward and begin to download some of the data.  Looks like his favourite game was "Carnage Kabuto" or some such thing.  Not being a fan, it means nothing to me.  I realize the black material on the floor is dried blood, and we hear flies buzzing.  "Fucking hell.  Seems he fancied himself to be a soldier.  Un-fucking-believable..." I mutter quietly to the big poodle, who stands motionless by the door.  As the download runs to the t-drive, I remember an old vid I saw many years back, where an actual real soldier spoke to some school-kids for their graduation. That guy was the real thing.  He was famous, and I recall he offered real advice, not just empty talk.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70  

I return to the matter at hand.  The little t-drive was still doing is exfitration thing, it's tiny status-lights flicking as it cycles thru it's little book of tricks.  The tiny thing is actually a pretty high-grade AI, with a massive encyclopedia of technics that it could use to harvest all the data on any kind of platform.  It had some kind of near-field communication ability and it worked it's magic without me have to fiddle with it. "This woman-killing monster we're dealing with here, bears no relation to an actual soldier.  He just appropriated the symbols and semiotic signals of one. Fucking Jesus Christ..." I think to myself, and in my hazed-out state, I almost expect to hear "What?  What the fuck do you want now?".  As the download continues, I play out a madman's dialogue in my head: "Nothing.  Just having a bit of unsteadiness here..."   I watched the tiny t-driver flicker, and am careful not to touch the table where the laptop sits.  Of course, it's probably rigged to detonate if so much as even touched.  This truly was the stupidest thing I had ever done in my life, I quietly thought to myself.  But someone had suggested we try to near-field the laptop in the compound that the microcoptors had seen, so here I was. A task for someone completely insane, I think to myself, like a theatre show I went to see years back. "For Madmen Only!" the marquis had said...    The black poodle stands in the doorway, like a steppenwolfe.   From somewhere far away, I am sure I can hear music playing, but very faintly.  Something about "green parachutes".  Can't make it out clearly, but the tune is catchy and familiar.

[Mar. 23, 2019] - I feel for the the young captain, going up the river.  Gotta dig a bit deeper, but as you approach the heart of darkness, and see the heads all looking inward, instead of outward, you begin to see what is really happening.  None of this is new.  What is new, is the degree of sophistication involved. 

[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 Kiwifarms.net 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 South Park 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 Parliament recite a prayer from the Quran, which explicitly denounces Christianity!  Damn, 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 crimes.  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 might be an operative of some clever Islamic strategic planners, with good deep cover, as much as he is anything.

Tarrant apparently recently travelled to Turkey and Pakistan.  His "manifesto" (which I read completely, and it is just silly), 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, their Prime Minister Erdogan 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 sad, 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 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 Tarrant's crazy-lone-gunman attack - has been to ban all private ownership of semi-auto rifles, mass-censor the internet, and criminalize private communication.  It 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 free.  We have free speech and this is really, really important.  Folks from a whole shitload of turdbucket nations and cultures come here, and then open up, and breathe 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 crap what horseshit religious god-nonsense foolery they profess to believe.  That is all between them and their made-up 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 small damp dirtsphere planet, and we need a cultural context and some operational governmental mechanisms so we can do this without always fighting about shit that isn't even real.

And the only culture that really even half-way works, is Western Culture, because - after several long *centuries* of horrible/awful stupid religious war, we finally stopped the Catholic fascists from burning at the stake, honest scientists, dissenters, and adherents to other Christian sects.  We had to dial-down a lot of Catholic evil to make this happen, and we had to dump boatloads of idiotic 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 Catholic royalty in England. Review 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 Canada, 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 destruction 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 operate and thrive.  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 serious 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 screw up, and start jerking things around just for them.  Muslims who come here don't want "Sharia Law".  They want us to stay sane and free - the "Western culture" model way it is now.  They *want* to seriously escape the cruel Imam-insipired fascist nonsense of Saudi Arabia - where women could not even drive their own SUV's - or the butt-shot-off madness of the Syrian War.  And they are fine with us killing the satanic death-cult of 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 ISIS rapists die.

Bottom line.  Censorship of the data-channel is very bad, and must stop, no matter how horrific the message is.  JHC, did the NZ government wanksters not see those images of the Cantor Fitzgerald traders, doing their "Well, this is a bad last trade..." dives off the WTC?  It was awful and horrific, but it showed us truth, and truth needs to speak and be seen.  And evil needs to be put in the spot-light, so it's horror can be seen for what it is, and we can repudiate it, and fight it and stop it.  Same with bad ideas.  Shine a light on it all, so we can see the foolishness clearly for what it truly is. 

[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: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-airplane/boeing-faa-face-more-pressure-from-u-s-lawmakers-over-737-max-accidents-idUSKCN1R20CU  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.  https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/11/indonesia-737-crash-caused-by-safety-feature-change-pilots-werent-told-of/

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 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: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canadians-ethiopian-plane-crash-1.5050784

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:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXqyq8jD1Sw   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...    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fb5apHfjug

[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!")    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD0OkfuyhyY  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>

https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/03/telegrams-billion-dollar-ico-has-become-a-mess/

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...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAS_1873_revolver 

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. 

https://rmsothebys.com/ve17/villa-erba/lots/1937-talbot-lago-t150-c-ss-goutte-deau-coupe-by-figoni-et-falaschi/1701950

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..." 😀 (Best version is by Cab Calloway, in 1933 Betty Boop cartoon, "Snow White", with Koko the Clown doing the moves.  Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFBx3qYGxL8   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:  https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1600161

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):  https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/8e/23/ea/7f8b7f60590ff1/US9959941.pdf

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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-235 ).  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.  🤩

Update: The Google Patents stuff is pretty good.  Well gone, Google-folk.  Here is McGuire's  Skunkworks patent for the Lockheed-Martin Fusion Reactor:  https://patents.google.com/patent/US9959941B2/en  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": https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1209/0295-5075/89/34004/meta  

[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:  "http://ardownload.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/unix/9.x/9.5.5/enu/AdbeRdr9.5.5-1_i486linux_enu.rpm' as an rpm file.

2) Libraries (special for CentOS 7), needed to get it to work: "https://www.nikhef.nl/~janjust/acroread-libs/"  (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.  😎   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.  😎

[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.  😎

[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: 

http://www.gemesyscanada.com/436603020

[Jan. 19, 2019] - Update: TEA Laser works incredibly well now, to my surprise!  🤪 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:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Beaulieu 

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

http://technology.niagarac.on.ca/people/mcsele/lasers/LasersTEA.htm

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.  🤭

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:

http://www.sparkbangbuzz.com/tealaser/tealaser7.htm

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

http://summit.sfu.ca/system/files/iritems1/4356/b13675370.pdf

 

[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.)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1018364715000269

[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? 🤒 ) .  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?  😋

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/10/hedge-fund-manager-vinik-says-bull-market-could-go-another-10-years.html

[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!  😀

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!")...  😉  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...)  :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ls5fFx9GM

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...  😋

[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... !  😎 (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... ) 😀

[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%#~😀!  What a wonderful world, yes?  Happy Holidays! 😋  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.  😎

[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:

君子安而不忘危,存而不忘亡,治而不忘亂。是以身安而國家可保也。

[ 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.

https://www.cityofnorthbay.ca/cityhall/department/planning-services/committees/municipal-heritage-committee/illustrative-guide/sites/bomarc-missile-heritage-site-plaque/

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g189412-d282022-Reviews-Leonidas_Monument-Thermopylae_Phthiotis_Region_Central_Greece.html

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.   Rose