Caribbean Blue Spring in Canada. Here's hoping SARS-CoV-2 will leave with the snow. :)

If we grow smart people, and let them have economic freedom, create transformative technology, we can grow the Food curve geometrically, too. This is our most important task as humans => grow the Food (Economic Output) curve geometrically. You can save the world, and prevent starvation, by getting rich. Seriously. Just ask China.

[ Apr. 3, 2020 ] - The Good Ship Venus -  "By Christ, ya shoulda seen us.  The figurehead, was a whore in bed, and the mast was a dead-man's penis!"   The Navy guys of all nations, given the curiously challenging nature of their tasks, typically have a rather strong tradition of plain-speaking - to say the least.   They navigate dangerous seas, and are also expected to be ready to fight with vigour, to safeguard our freedoms.  A strong tradition of very clear, explicit and direct communication exists in the ranks of all Naval people.  Sailors are not shy.  They expect to be heard when they speak.

We are great fan's of the US Navy - have been ever since I bought a copy of Nathaniel Bowditch's "American Practical Navigator", years ago.     

https://www.nga.mil/About/History/NGAinHistory/Pages/NathanielBowditch.aspx

The Naval commanders of the world - in all nations - also have a long tradition of not screwing around.   Immediate, decisive action is expected to follow after careful analysis of the situation.  This is a habit a commander is required to cultivate.  You size up the situation, and then you take action - right in the time of the "now".  This is the way it works. 

If you wait too long, and dither, events may overwhelm you, and the moments where your action can lead to successful outcome, may be lost forever.

We are sad to see an American Naval commander, fired for sending a letter demanding action, to his military masters at the Pentagon.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52145230

Our (limited, of course) understanding, is that former Captain Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Rossevelt, was sending his letter to his superiors through channels in an appropriate manner.  There is no evidence he "leaked" the letter to embarrass the US Navy.  His actions seem entirely consistant with what one would call, "good judgement", by an active commander in a time of peace.  He has to safeguard readiness, and act in the best interests of his ship and crew.  That is his job.

His removal seems unwise.    And from a political perspective, it looks even more wrong, as it now offers all the enemies of the current Administration, the opportunity to say: "Look at that!  They just shot the messenger! "

We all now have some knowledge of how efficiently the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus infection can race through a ship.   Without *immediate* action, we know that almost everyone will eventually get the virus, and that it's rate of lethality is roughly 5%.  With a crew of 5000, that means 250 dead sailors - in a port, in a time of peace.   This would be very bad.

Crozier was right to demand a rapid-response from his Naval top brass.  What else could he do?   The Navy is really good with numbers,   The US Navy funded, designed, built and deployed the very first computers.   The US Navy does some very clever things, that many people know nothing about.   The Navy knows science and math.   If you know what the numbers are saying, then you have a duty to act on that information.

Does the man really have to fall on his sword, just to get his message across?  We actually also understand the viewpoint of the top Naval officials - a Commander would be expected to keep this kind of communication confidential.  But the world is not at war with a human enemy - we are at war with a nasty, infectious virus.   Anyone who studied science knew that this day would come.  If the virus infection degrades the ship's operational readiness, then perhaps Crozier had an even a higher duty as an American citizen, acting in the interests of his country.

It's been said before, and it still remains true.  Sunlight is a good disinfectant.

[ Apr. 2, 2020 PM] - Dead Man's Curve - Total confirmed Covid-19 Cases: 1,002,519, Total Deaths from Covid-19: 51,485.   Total Coronavirus Case Curve still geometric growth, trajectory straight up.   The race is on. 

Social distancing hard core everywhere now in our little corner of Planet Oran.   Supermarkets and Banks (still open, of course), have lines and tape on the floor, indicating line positions where those waiting to enter, have to stand.  We went to CostCo today - too busy - line stretched out into the parking lot, which was almost full.  We left, found a "Food Basics" with no line up, and loaded up on Food-Curve product.

Mkt bounced up a bit, but cat may be dead,  Now that Johnny Thornton has unloaded a big slug of his ABX, the stock can be bid up without quite so much overhang fear, virus or no virus.  Gold market is red-hot.   With the trill-printers running in USA-land, and even the staid old Bank of Canada running QE, metal should move.  We are seeing the creation of "Fortress North-America" perhaps?     Weather is crazy lovely.    "Ali-Express" emails, and says our ePROM programmer has shipped via DHL.  We paid a silly premium to have the little device shipped by courier.   Let's see if DHL can come thru for us.

[ Apr. 2,  2020 ] - Madmen Watching Curves - What can we do?  A million infected, and tens of millions out of  work. Doubtless there are *many* who are just economically bitched now - no income, and not able to file for "Unemployment Insurance", since they are either free-lancers, gig-economy workers, private consultants, specialists, authors, traders, speculators, investors, small-time crooks, big-time crooks, enforcers, gangsters, drug-dealers, drug-users, private teachers, tutors, good-old-boys, good-old-girls, etc, all of whom probably cannot "claim" the dole, but all of whom suddenly are without any income at all.

The economic shutdown risks doing greater harm than the virus.  Nobody is really asking the big question - is this the start of a real "Malthusian Event"?  We took the new Honda 4x4 to the store, bought some fresh chicken breasts, cooked a lovely dinner after marinating the chicken, bits of sliced garlic, some mushrooms and fresh brocolli, with some rice and barley mixed, a little ponzu and fresh ground pepper, and some furakaki sprinkled on the rice.  Imported food from Japan, USA, India, China, plus fine local ingredients, and a lovely Pinot Noir wine from Chile.  It was a nice little global-supply-chain dinner.   Even perhaps a little French brandy afterwards.

Is this all to slowly fail now?   Will this be the "Corona Apocolypse"?  No more imported wine?  The Honda is actually made in Ontario, so that is good.   But I suspect many parts are sourced from all over the world. 

And USA is now "Ground Zero" for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  As goes USA, so goes the world.  So far, there is absolutely no evidence of growth rate of cases slowing.  The Confirmed-Cases Curve is still launching geometrically upwards.   This is cause for some concern.    In our city, social distance procedures are pretty rigourous now, just by mutual consensus.   No enforcement is needed, but there is also no hard-core lockdown.   There is zero chance such an order would be obeyed, given the weather change.  We have already been locked-down by winter.    And in spring, there is much critical work that must be done - virus or no virus. 

But we also have the luxury of sparse population in most areas. 

Also, new threats:  Apparently now, the USA aircraft carrier personnel are infected.  I had no idea there were 4000 sailors on a single nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.  That is a lot, in a very tight space.   They will *all* have to be removed, and the ship aggressively cleaned, or most of them will get sick, and upwards of 200 could die, if the roughly 5% figure that we see globally, applies to the sailors on board.  That is a high casualty rate for a peace-time deployment.  A quick solution will be needed.

[ Apr. 1,  2020 - AM] - I hear they have cured the Coronavirus!...  The cure involves a massive injestion of Corona beer, combined with several gin-and-tonics.    April Fool - of course.  

Weather has turned amazing lovely, after a long spell of damp, cold rain and storms.  Typical early Spring in the GWN (Great White North).   Going to the Bank was hilarious today - everyone was lined up out into the parking lot - the "social distance" rules requiring everyone stand at least 2 meters away from everyone else.  Inside the bank, the cow-line of folks waiting for tellers, had green spots painted on the floor, indicating where each person had to stand.  

We were moving some liquid funds into one of the investment accounts.   And so , with the market meltdown again today, we are chipping away at positions - small purchases at deeply discounted prices.   Probably, market will continue to fall - but we are using Canadian dollars, which are being thrown under the bus, or in the dumpster -whatever metaphor you like - by the Bank of Canada.  Either we all crash into a 1930's scenario of complete economic collapse,  and the currency becomes close to worthless (I doubt this happening - based on research done on the Austrian and German experience from the mid and late 1920's), or we get a wave of real inflation.  Either way, quality stocks are likely to at least survive this disruption.  Maybe they get bid up hard, once the inflation hits (maybe 6 months out, or maybe 12...)

It's the one thing that governments can actually do.  They can print (or instantiate) money, using monetary methods - as is being done in the USA, with the "Trill-printers".  Need another Trillion?  <Pooff!> there it is!   A few more?  Hey, MMT (Modern Monetary Theory, says "No problem, man!")  <Pooff!>  And another Trill-$ appears.    Just repeat as necessary.   It's easy-peasy to whip up the funds  - the actual hard part, is getting it into the hands of the people.  

But I can't believe the Americans - they are going to use the tax-collectors of the tax-collection agency to send cheques to people?  Are they all INSANE?   I used to work with "Ministry of Revenue" people here.  Tax-collectors take.   The awful swear words we have don't even begin to do justice to some in that human dataset.   

All I can do is laugh.   They should create a new Agency - call it the "Economic Stabilization Department" - or since it is USA, the "Department of Economic Stabilization".   It will be the:  "DES", and instead of being armed with guns, they would be armed (like the Navy and Airforce is), with chequebooks.  They could divide up the USA, and send squadrons of "Fund-Men" out into the towns and cities, where cheques and cash, would be distributed quickly, and with real vigour.     

Using tax-collectors to send out money, is like using bartenders to reduce alcohol consumption.  It is just crazy, silly.  But such is the upside-down world of today.

My, but there is a lot of literature on Plagues and Sickness at the mass-level.   Reading true accounts of wars - one finds that in history, most soldiers, mostly died of sickness.  One English general estimated a 10 to 1 ratio - they lost 10 soldiers to sickness, for every one felled by a weapon or a bullet.   The experience of most English naval people and ship-captains also confirms this.   English sailors often willingly joined pirates who attacked their ships, as the pirates promised a *profoundly* better treatment and wildly reduced rate of shipboard illness and infection.   The priates practiced evidence-based decision-action algorithms.   They created a rum-punch - a mixture of fruit and rum - which every pirate drank every day.  This completely prevented scurvy (vitamin-C deficiency), and also allowed the water to be consumed safely, even if it was laced with bacteria.    The English Navy often lost hafl their crews to disease on a long voyage.   This is an astonishing rate of death, but it was accepted as normal.

In battlefield situations, soldiers who were wounded, usually died of various sepsis-related infections.  Even as late as the US Civil War (where a photographic record exists), soldiers suffered terrible rates of infection and death from disease.  There were 620,000 recorded deaths on both side, and modern estimates suggest roughtly two-thirds died from disease - typically diarrhea and dysentery, malaria, and "camp fever".  Interestingly, the average Union soldier, was roughly 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and had a weight 143 pounds.   This was a recent conflict by historical standards, and there is a lot of detailed technical information available.

A TV-Series by PBS:  http://www.pbs.org/mercy-street/uncover-history/behind-lens/disease/

This site reports the following data:   https://ehistory.osu.edu/exhibitions/cwsurgeon/cwsurgeon/statistics

110,100 Union soldiers died in battle: 67,088 KIA, 43,012 MW.
224,580 died of disease.

This data suggests disease was only twice as likely to kill as was a bullet.

But the earlier experience of the British Army in wars of the 18th and 19th centuries, suggests the mortality rate was greater than 10 to 1 - for every soldier killed in battle, 10 or more were lost to disease.   This number seems shockingly high, and almost beyond belief.

But it gets even weirder, since actual research suggests the 10 to 1 ratio is actually far TOO LOW!

A PhD Student at Queen's University in Kingston Ontario, went looking for hard numbers.  His initial research suggests that greater than 30 to 1 might be a better estimate.   He documents battles in the Napoleonic Wars, were disease killed almost ALL the soldiers.  

Robert Engen has compiled some compelling statistics and anecdotes in his one-man display, called War and Public Health.

The exhibit stems from a project he did during a research fellowship at the museum.

He had decided to explore how public health and preventive medicine have impacted the world’s militaries over the centuries and compared a disastrous British expedition into the Walcheren region of the Netherlands in 1809 with a Canadian army attack in the same place 130 years later.

“In 1809, the military expedition was completely wiped out by disease,” he explained. “They hardly had any battle casualties whatsoever.”

The expedition, during the Napoleonic wars, saw the British lose 38 soldiers to disease compared to every one who died in combat. It was a combination of malaria, typhus, typhoid fever and dysentery. Five thousand died and almost 40,000 were sickened in a scandal that brought down the government.

https://www.thewhig.com/2014/02/20/a-close-look-at-disease-and-the-battlefield/wcm/447adcae-25ec-5cef-aff0-48ec2fb99d71

The last paragraph documents his findings.   It is worth repeating:  "during the Napoleonic wars, saw the British lose 38 soldiers to disease compared to every one who died in combat."

This is really interesting.  It shows that virus-plagues have been *weaponized* for a very long time.  There is nothing new about using disease as a battlefield weapon.    Nature has already created and implemented this explicit population-control model.   

The great English Economist, Thomas Malthus, was one of the first to make an explicit link to this war-and-disease process, and economic process.   Malthus famously asserted that food production typically grew arithmetically, and that population grow grew as a percentage of existing population.  From this, he suggested when the growths curves would cross, Nature herself provided war, famine and disease as the remedy.  This accurate picture of what "can* happen, (but only if the technical co-efficients in the Leontif transformation matricies are held constant) , but might not just yet, earned the science of Economics, the label "The Dismal Science".   But it is not dismal, if you can make the technical transform co-efficients an endogenous variable in the growth model.  (Ie. The more your grow, the smarter and more diverse your economy can become, the more you can learn, do science, and trade, and the more people you can support alive - ie. the curves can grow together, if we let the economy grow fast and hard and well.)

This is the real meat of our problem now.

If we butcher the world economy, we might just be ADDING to the killed-by-virus probability, you understand?  We might be helping Nature, that vicious bitch, in her cruel attempt to force a massive Malthusian die-back.   We might be helping Her kill-a-billion so as to effect the curve-crossing reset.

Try to grasp the nature of this risk, please?   Now is not the time to be damaging the world economy.  We need to hit the gas hard, to make sure we don't aid this Nature-virus and help its  attempt to engineer a Malthusian collapse in global population. 

[ Mar. 31, 2020] - The damn curve is still growing geometrically.   Now, everyone everywhere here is being careful, maintaining social distance, and taking real precautions.  I carry alcohol-soaked towelettes in a plastic bag, wiping things before I touch them (like gas-pump handles).   This behaviour is serious now, no one looks surprise.  My relatives have left Toronto, and are staying at their cottages, using internet for work.  Schools are closed.   Most stores are closed.   The pistol ranges have even closed.  The Johns-Hopkins website dashboard map, which for some curious reason - the map does not work on my Linux machines with Firefox - works fine on my old Windows laptop or the Macbook.   Why do designers not make simpler, standard plain-vanilla html-only versions of their clever/fancy sh/t?  JHC, most software is such dreck, and most designers have their heads stuffed up their backsides.  <big, long, sigh...>

This viral shutdown is making all sorts of fragile, crappy stuff fail, and is also showing the extreme value of simple, robust methods and designs.   We use the CentOS-7x boxes for real, hard-core, mission-critical stuff now, like updating government documents, financial applications, funds transfer, trade-execution, and of course, data-management and analytic software.    The reliabilty of Linux compared to our historical experience with Windows and Apple products is really strikingly better.   We run WINE on the Linux boxes, and under that, we can run critically-important applications - and they JUST WORK.   This is so damn important.  Really, designers and developers:  Learn this: "An OUNCE of IT JUST WORKS is worth several POUNDS of clever features."   Now that our lives depend upon this software and telecom stuff, the operational effectiveness of it has become the difference between stable, comfortable survival, and rude, life-wrecking improverishment.   This bifurcation is just goddamn stark.  If you don't have the tech, and the access to the communications grid, you are just fucked.  But if you can get online, you are ok.  

Spoke today with good friends.  They are both lawyers with several children.  They are outside the city, at their country place, and doing fine.   Kids are safe, business is just hopping - she works for a major bank, he is a senior partner, does restructuring and deal-making work.  Both are seriously busy - working from home, works for them, as it does here for us. (And has for many years, so we are well set up for this...)   What is so curious, is that suddenly, everyone is now having to do this.    The telecom/internet grid, and the effective, working technology, is actually letting all this get done.

Mr. Trump now looks likely to win the November election now.   He has pulled it together, and it looks pretty clear he is now finally listening to his experts, and not just "shooting from the lip" as much anymore.  He really appears to have matured as a leader, and he is working with NY Gov. Cuomo to keep NYC from going into a virus-induced death-spiral.    This is good, and it is really important work.   The risk is that if NYC gets seriously infected, the death-rate in USA could go up in a very ugly spike.  No one at all will benefit if the USA gets damaged.

And it already is badly hurt economically.  The folks at JP Morgan (who actually are finally calling it more realistically - good for them) are saying, according to Reuters report, that the USA downturn in real GDP is maybe 10% in Q1, and 25% in Q2.  This is just bloody shocking, and is probably pretty close to what we will see.  JPM is planning a "capital raise", which it says is to target new, virus-specific investment opportunities.   Sure.  Of course it is.  I don't doubt that.  But it is also a bloody good time to raise up a little bit of extra capital - cause yer gonna maybe just plain need it, since between SIX and SEVEN TRILLION USA DOLLARS in global wealth has been vapourized in the last month.  This is just a 1929-to-1933 level of wealth destruction - except it happened in ONE MONTH!  

I've seen TV talking-heads, and Wall-Street-Experts comparing this meltdown to Sept. 11, 2001.  But that is the wrong thing to look at. The 9/11 terrorist attacks were actually not that big a deal, a couple of big buildings full of people killed, and some minor damage at the Pentagon. As a "war-thing", it really was not that much damage.  The US Air Force or the RAF could do massively more damage than that in one night, and the German or Japanese economy could just hammer along, no problem.  But this bio-plague thing - which has the potential to attack EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE is much more serious.  The right comparison is with the 1929 market event, and the resulting 1930's economic Depression.   Except - instead of taking a couple of YEARS to dial-back production, this virus has done the same damage, in THREE MONTHS.   Here is URL link to a very small story, with some very big numbers:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jpmorgan-plans-raise-10-billion-185247880.html

US real GDP down 25% in one quarter?  Damn, in a real war, you could nuclear-bomb a couple of USA cities, and still not get that level of drop in economic output.    Hell, if the Americans got really angry, and shifted into war-production mode - you might even see GDP go UP, as consumer production lines were converted rapidly into military-product production lines.   But this virus attack is just so different. 

What we need here, is an almost "Manhattan Project" style committment to research and development of effective anti-viral drugs and vaccines.   Pooled resources, shared-data, and a common goal - a safe vaccine and an effective treatment that disrupts and degrades the operation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.   And China and the USA and Russia should all work together on this.

See:  The destructive effectiveness of this virus has shown how wars might be fought in the future.  Like it or not, the damage that the Coronavirus has already done to the American and global economy, proves beyond any doubt, that this is the most effective weapon a determined enemy could deploy.   The problem with a virus, is that it will infect and kill your own people also.   But what if they are immunized?  What if your own people have immunity?  Then, you just spray your virus everywhere, sit back and wait, and in 6 months, you capture the world.

You have the ultimate "Winner take All" military model here.  It's better and more economically effective than a neutron-bomb.  You leave the attractive real-estate undamaged, and simply kill all the pesky people.  If all your people are vaccinated, then you just win it all.

This perfect nightmare scenario is already being demostrated daily, now, by events. 

But we have a reach chance and opportunity here.  This is one of the first major plagues in all of human history - where we know *EXACTLY* what we are fighting.  We know exactly what the enemy looks like, and we know it's genome sequence, and we know what it's glycoprotein invader-system looks like, and how the hinged glycoprotein binds to ACE in a host cell.   So a solid, well-funded, focused, military-managed aggressive deployment of science-effort, might actually be successful.

And it wouldn't take TWO TRILLION DOLLARS.  But even if it did - it might be worth it.

We need not to just defeat the Coronavirus - we need to have drugs to deal with, and maybe defeat *ALL* virus assaults.

We need this, because these damn virus agents make almost PERFECT weapons.

We need to have effective defense against this powerful, effective, and astonishingly destructive, tiny piece of evolutionary bio-technology.  

But the problem - of course - is that once we have a drug, which can target the RNA/DNA of the virus, and then disrupt and damage it - kill it - then of course, that same technology will probably be able to be adapted to attack any DNA/RNA data-sequence, in any animal - or person.   And we have - essentially - the same thing we now have with the virus.

To kill a virus - effectively - may well require developing a "virus killing virus" - which targets the DNA or glycoproteins of the coronavirus.   But once you have that - you now have a really, really nasty thing - a killer virus you can target to a sequence - maybe even you could make custom killer virus agents, that would only kill a single person, by targeting unique RFLP sequences in their DNA or some such awful sci-fi type of thing.  We really could end up with a "Frankenstein" virus-killing-virus - we release the thing into the wild, it kills and/or degrades/disables all the coronaviruses - and then happily mutates and evolves to start killing other cells with other type of structural formats, or binding sites.  And suddenly, we have something that is even worse, than the coronavirus - perhaps much, much more lethal.

This isn't science fiction.  This is the reason why all nations - back in the 1960's agreed to stop research on CBW - Chemical/Biological Weapons - because they figured out pretty quickly, that they could - really quite easily and accidentally - unleash a viral plague that could damage all mammalian life on earth.   Seriously.  You take the smallpox virus, graft it into the influenza virus for respiratory transmission, graft in the rabies virus that makes dogs and cats and bats sick, and then add a tweak that produces out-of-control runaway cell growth (we call this "cancer"), and Bob's your Uncle - you have the "Satan" virus - an agent that, when released into the wild, kills all the mammals - or messes them up so bad, they are happy to die.   And it stays contagious, and spreads easily, and cannot be touched by antibiotic agents.

See, nature is already doing this everyday, as we sit here.   Just thru random mutation, she is trying - all the time - every key, in every lock, always, day in, day out, never-ending.  This is evolution.  It is always happening.  It's a biological "arms-race", and nature is running it all the time, in every species, with every birth, with every DNA/RNA mutation.  It's the life-machine, running always.  It produces sparrows and swans and wasps and cancer cells.  It produces your children.  And then it kills them.  Or not.    It's a roll of the dice. 

So, dangerous or not - we probably need to get a good hold of this process, and take control.  Are we "Playing God?"   No, we just are "god", because this lack-of-god is the obvious problem here.  The wild maelstrom of constant randomness produces sh/t like the coronavirus - and cancer, and warts and stupid, annoying diseases like ALS that kills pretty young girls after first hurting them.   Nature is crap and god is a moron.  We need to fix this sh/t so it works right.  "Toad's wet sprocket" is just not engaging properly.   We must take control of the machine - for better or worse- as we have no other feasible alternative.

We can no more rely on nature, than we can on fictional gods.  Nature is happy to make you and your loved ones, suffer terribly and then just die.  Nature is mindless and random, and our role and purpose as living beings - is to take control of the process of nature, and make it run more smoothly.   We can address "climate change" by putting a Dyson Sphere around the Sun, or by at least building a Ringworld.  Crazy, but it points us in the right direction.

[Freeman Dyson, the famous physicist, first proposed the idea of building a sphere around a star, to capture all it's energy.  Here is a Forbes article about this idea, from a couple of years back:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2018/05/03/dyson-spheres-the-ultimate-alien-megastructures-are-missing-from-the-galaxy/#3435b6ef3138    The image at right - our experimental IEC fusion reactor in operation - provides a model of what the initial superstructure of a Dyson Sphere might look like. ]

JPM has a good idea.  We should be able to fully sequence the RNA/DNA in the coronavirus, hack it's glycoprotein, and then design a virus-killing-virus that can seek out, and and butcher the coronavirus.  This is a product that should be buildable now - with our current technology.  It makes for a nice investment idea. 

And yes, this technology is goddamn dangerous.  it's dangerous as hell.  A virus-killing-virus could result in a perfect "Frankenstein" monster - tiny, and way more lethal than the thing we set out to kill.   But we still have to try.  

Because nature herself will take us all out someday, with something similar, eventually.  The coronavirus gives us an opportunity to get our technology together, and get it working, so we can deal with killer virus agents of all kind.  

We have no choice.  We have to work on this, develop it, and make it work.  We just have to try to ensure it is not weaponized.  We have to do this, because Nature herself, has already weaponize the technology of life, and we need to deal with this threat.   If the phylogenic model is correct  (all life came/comes from a few simple original mutations), we could someday lose all the bilaterians on this planet to a viral plague - everything from ants to zebras.  

We have no choice but to take explicit control of the machinery of evolution.   And this nasty Coronavirus has made it painfully clear that we must begin this work immediately.

[ Mar. 30, 2020] - Different models point in different directions, choppy day.  Studying phylogeny, bats, the hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin research, vitamine D3 as a prophylaxis against cytokine storms and other bio-technical stuff.  I'm coughing and sneezing, one of the dogs tried to eat a dead mouse today, and yesterday, when I went to buy petrol, the traffic was light, and I drove behind a slate-grey, matte-coloured Lamborgini.  The engine made a sound - even puttering along at legal speeds - like an excitable girl having a really good time.  These are the strangest of strange times.   Mkt was down (futures down, then up, then pulse-like choppy), and now (11:45 am) Mkts are up almost (but not quite) hard.  Everyone seems to have forgotten how strong a typical "bear-market rally" can be - it has to be intense enough to get everyone's attention, and tweak behaviour using the (deep neural drive of) "Happy Days are Here Again!" desire - what Constantinius wrote on his coins as: "Fel Temp Reparatio"  -  almost certainly meaning: "Restoration of Happy Times!"   Almost certainly, this cannot and will not happen.  But the desire can be leveraged effectively, and it is being so done as I key this.

Look - full disclosure: We remain long.  But we also have no choice, but to try and bar-bell this nonsense.   And I have this worst-case scenario of a terrible 6 month collapse in economic activity, complete with a few small (or not so small) wars happening (like they always do), and then, a post-war time, where runaway inflation is not just allowed to occur, but is in fact *designed* to be made to happen, due to central-bank fear of the crash-and-burn problems that a deep deflation could bring on.   An Associate of mine, makes great reference to those few short scenes at the beginning of the first "Mad Max" movie.    Is it really SHTF time?   Or is are we seeing that "whimper" that T.S. Elliot referred to?

We are looking at a "Depression" on par with the 1930's.  There is just no way around this.  We have had too many complete stops, in too many sectors, in too many nations and regions and industries - to expect a "Great Leap" back to even where we were.   I don't know *anyone* who has not pulled the plug on their "future plans" and expected investments.   The key requirement here now, is economic (and maybe even actual!) survival.

I read a note once, by a respected historian, who suggested that the Roman city of Londinium (modern London, in the UK), did not recover back to a similar level of prosperity and economic plenty that it had during the 2nd and 3rd century AD, until Victorian times, roughly 1600 years later.

Our marvelous and magical world, with it's long, global supply-chains, it's almost free (or very low tarrif) trade structure, it's falling prices for basic commodities and foods, it's wonderful "green revolution" (the huge increases in corn/rice/wheat crop-yields and disease-resistance), it's relative peace and reasonable security for most (since end of World War II) - all this - this long trend, could be ending.   Really, despite a few ugly setbacks (there always are a few), the world has enjoyed an amazing run of improving prosperity, freedom and opportunity just about everywhere on the planet, for the last 75 years.   It has been an amazing and spectacular run of economic, scientific and political improvement.

What if now, we just see the whole long movie - the movie which almost everyone alive today only knows - start to run in reverse?   Governments - from UK to Hungary, from USA to China, are using the Coronavirus, to introduce draconian control measures - all in the name of "public safety" - as if safety is the only goal that a society or a person should strive to achieve.

I think safety is over-rated.   We need to think in terms of *managing* risk, and not be induced to run like terrified pups into safety-holes, and then letting a bunch of political lightweights hardwire the fascism of the "Safety Nazi" into our culture and our economic process.

We cannot wish-back the "Happy Times", but we can at least make sure that political opportunists and agency operatives cannot *lockdown* economic prosperity and human freedom for ever.   I warn you:  They will try to do it.   One can know this for certain, just by inspecting the historical record.  They try to do it when-ever and where-ever they can.

"Is Hecker Still Alive / Is He Hanging from a Tree?  No, He Lives Forever in Your Hearts, if You Love Democracy!"

And there is another Hecker - not just the South German revolutionary of legend.  He was a Doctor, and wrote this fascinating book about the European "Black Death":

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1739/1739-h/1739-h.htm

[ Mar. 27 - 28, 2020] - This is all just insane.  The idea that we have to quarantine the whole world,  and shut down all economic activity,  to deal with a few thousand deaths from a bad flu, is just so absurd, that it proves beyond any doubt, that our governments are run by people who only have one card to play - absolute social control

They don't have anything else they can do.  The governments of the world are in panic mode, and have collapsed into the stupid policy-options of terrified fascists.  They can't build hospitals with words, they can't materialize doctors out of thin air, and the absurd and malevolent ignorance of our stupid experiments with cost-controlled, socialist medical-delivery strategies is now shown to be a bankrupt failure.  And anyone who had any experience with it already knew this was the case.

We are seeing not just the limits of government power, but also a perfect manifestation of the great fraud of government action.   When I was young, you could call a Doctor, and he would come to your house.   In Canada - certainly in Ontario  - you have not been able to do that, since they created the socialist "Medicare for All" model for Health-services delivery - at least 40 years.  It is illegal for a Doctor to offer fee-for-service medical services in Ontario.

Our medical services delivery system and facilities in Canada is built on a "denial of service" business model.  We have the illusion of medical services.  You simply cannot purchase any medical services in this country - and it has been illegal, for over 40 years, for Doctors or medical personnel such as Nurse Practitioners, to invoice private citizens for medical services.

So, the only option is to physically get yourself to a clinic, or an overcrowded, badly run hospital waiting room - where you will sit with a bunch of sick people, coughing and talking.  You are certain to get sick or sicker.

And of course, this loss of the old "Doctor making house-calls" model - which has been the mainstay of medical service delivery since Roman times - means that eventually, everyone gets sick.   In the event of something like this Coronavirus epidemic - we cannot get any medical services, unless we cluster up, in a virus-infested hospital or in a clinical communal setting.   So, we are completely screwed.   We cannot "Doctor" our way out of this crisis, even if we had the resources to do so.   But we don't - since the arrogant, ignorant louts who run the Provincial Health Ministry - have been using the "Target Income Hypothesis" model to explicitly limit the number of Doctors and the number of OHIP billing numbers, for the last 40 years in this Province, in an effort to limit Socialist medical-costs or at least reduce their rate of  growth.

This stupid, toxic, ugly, failed, and cruel Socialist medical services delivery model - which prevents Doctors from actually running a practice like any sensible, quality-focused professional should be able to do - is now going to kill a lot of us.

It's about f*cking time, we rounded up the Socialists, and hung them from lampposts, and/or threw them from high places to low places far below - metaphorically speaking, of course.  We must purge socialism, as it has now proven to be dangerous and foolish - and lethal.

We elected a different government recently in Ontario, but at the Federal level, we have a terrible problem that can only be fixed by having another election.

We MUST ABOLISH the Socialist Medical Services Health Care Model that restricts and limits the number of Doctors and Medical-services persons working in Ontario.   Doctoring needs to be returned to being a fee-for-service business, and anyone who wants to pay the fee, and can pass the courses in a Medical school, should be allowed to become a Doctor.

Our "Everything-is-Free", Socialist "medicare-for-all" political model, and its aggressive limits on the number of Doctors allowed to practice in Ontario, is a PROFOUND, PERFECT FAILURE from the economic viewpoint - and now, the Coronavirus plague has PROVEN THAT THIS STUPID, PHONY "EVERYTHING-IS-FREE" Model, is also LETHAL and really could actually kill us all.

It is time we just abolished the Socialist medical model.   Give poor people free care if necessary, but let normal folks hire and call in a Doctor, that they can pay for, if they require his or her services.

It Is Time for a major Economic Course Change Here.

We have to return to the old model, where Doctors are respected Professionals, who are responsible for their own revenues & profits, and are able to offer services directly to the public, at whatever price people wish to pay.   We have this model for Dentists - and this means there are lots of very good Dentists, and lots of quality dental professionals accepting new patients.

We have this model for veterinarians - and there are 12 (TWELVE!) vet clinics within easy driving distance of our farm.  Our animals can get high quality medical care.   BUT THERE ARE NO DOCTORS - OR AT LEAST NONE THAT ACCEPT NEW PATIENTS!  And there is not one single Doctor in Ontario that does "house calls".  Not one.  If you do manage to see an overworked and unhelpful GP, all he will do is refer you to a Specialist, and you will then be told the wait time - just to see the Specialist - will be YEARS!!  I am very serious.   We have a perfect "denial of service" Health-Care model here.  It offers the illusion of medical service, but almost nothing ever actually gets done, until you are really, really sick, and then you will ALMOST CERTAINLY DIE once hospitalized.

This means, the coronavirus is absolutely certain to infect many people in this Province, and that if you get sick, you are at great risk if you go to a hospital.  Go to the hospital in Ontario, next stop, is the morgue, and then the graveyard.

This is just crazy, and it needs to change, and change soon.

[ Mar. 26, 2020]: -  Model which is suppose to forecast & project turning points is not showing any turn at all.  This is ugly.  I have this awful fear that the US $2 trillion "stimulus" is actually a really bad idea, and will cause great harm - much more harm than people yet realize. 

The Titanic was supposed to be "unsinkable", because of it's seperate water-tight compartments.  But when the iceberg sliced along the entire side of the ship, due to the dangerous and foolish speed the captain was running her at, every compartment was breeched and flooded.   That big ship is metaphor for our diversified global economy today.   The coronavirus is a great scythe, slicing thru every sector, in every land.

Once we have an in-period delta of > 30%, the chaotic process that is buried in the linkage relationships throughout the world economy, can destabilize us to the point of "Noah's Ark" style collapse  (ie. a large population reduced to a just a few breeding pairs).  

And you probably want to avoid any debt at all, if we get Japan-style systemic deflation - like we are already seeing in the oil market.

[ Mar. 25, 2020] : - The European CDC (Centre for Disease Control) has some useful links to GISAID and Nextstrain.  The Nextstrain site provides a good visualization tool, to track the mutation and phylogeny (mutation evolution) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as it spreads thru the world.  The top picture shows a phylogenetic timeline of the evolutionary mutation of the SARS-2 coronavirus.

Top chart is created by the Nextstrain.Org group, an open-source effort to provide tools to assist in the data-tracking of virus outbreaks.  The site link for coronavirus (Covid-19) tracking::

https://nextstrain.org/ncov

Right side chart is montage of Johns-Hopkins case data summary screen, with visual from Nextstrain, showing phylogeny of SARS-Cov-2 virus thru time, as of Mar. 25, 2020 PM.

Doing Harm

Market action in USA and Canada is runaway positive, on expectation of emergency relief efforts from US Gov't, and expectation of some sort of QE in Canada.   This action probably fails the basic Hippocratic requirement of "First, Do No Harm".   We are in the middle of a lethal viral epidemic, embedded within a commodity price-war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and now subject to a legislative-storm of further administrative and restrictive requirements from Governments which are in full-panic mode over a situation which has caused only 20,000 deaths on a planet which contains 7.2 billion people.

It seems that there is no chance anywhere, of anyone taking a calm, measured approach to this problem.  Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wanted to mandate that companies had to hire "Diversity Officers" if they were to obtain Federal financial assistance.   Not sure if this idiotic and foolish requirement made it into the final bill - but the entire process is already tainted with pure, political toxic nonsense.

The assistance to small-business will be in the form of loans, apparently, which makes it unlikely that any sane or sensible business owner will opt for that.  When your business implodes and your customers - and revenues - are vapourized - only a fool from a Government Agency could possibly think that you would want to take on more debt to solve the problem.

We are predicting that most businesses and consumers will survive this crisis - but we strongly advise that business people think very carefully about acccepting any "government assistance" from the likes of the Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelsoi Democrats.    The "Virus Bailout" appears to have been successfully rigged to benefit Democrat-voters.  Businesses will almost certainly face restrictions, regulations, inspections and many attached strings to obtain loans which will encumber the business with debt going forward.   You are probably better to shutter the business, and dismiss your employees, rather than taking on debt to run a business which is not allowed to service customers, and which has little chance of making a profit.

If we are tracking into a period of *deflation* - then even a 0% loan, is a very dangerous thing to take on, as the cost of paying it back, will ***GROW*** as the price level falls.  If everything is 25% lower priced one year from now, then that 0% loan, will have ***GROWN*** in real value, by 25%, and will be a burdensome and difficult thing to repay.

This is exactly what happened in the 1930's, and it looks like it could happen again.

Be very, very careful about accepting any "government assistance".   We always advise our clients to avoid any and all government "programs" that appear to offer "help", as they almost always have "strings" that make them either unworkable or time-wasting efforts in back-door regulation and restriction.

The massive $2-trillion "free-money for the unemployed bailout" is probably the worst thing the US government could do right now, but it is already a done deal.   It will destroy any and all integrity in the United States federal finances, but this will not become evident right away.  But it proves that the USA will never be able to run any kind of balanced fiscal and monetary policy, ever, at all.  It just will not ever happen.  

I fear we are seeing the beginning of the destruction of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency.  The result of the loss-of-confidence that must eventually result, will be non-linear and non-predictable at the micro level, but it is certain to have effects at the macro level. 

If you are a business owner, you should pull-back hard on the stick right now.  You will want to reduce any discretionary spending, cut any investment plans you had, and expect a 20% to 30% loss of revenue and customer activity, unless perhaps you are Amazon or Netflix.  It will not likely bounce back in the third quarter.   It never has in the past.

We've had a massive recovery on the stock market - but it looks too much like January 1930, I fear.  And I am certain that people like Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelsoi, and Donald Trump are not looking to actually "help" anyone.  They will say they are, because they are political people.  But the "help" they offer, is nothing more than a mortgage your children will pay.  And pay, and pay, and pay, and pay....    These politicians are just programming future poverty into the USA financial and economic system, and this is very dangerous and profoundly unwise.

[ Mar. 24, 2020] : - Democratic Senators in USA "are being A-holes" - these are not our words, these are the words of USA Senator Kennedy.  But I think he is right on the money.  See URL below, for video interview:

https://www.foxnews.com/media/sen-kennedy-democrats-acting-like-a-holes 

The dynamics of the November election have really changed.   The American people have to do everything they can, to remove abusive individuals like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi from elected office.  America must survive and prosper, and not be brought down to economic ruin by "Socialists", who actually may be a greater threat to the American nation, than even the coronavirus.

The Democrats have a real interest in seeing the American economy damaged, and the gains of the last 4 years trashed.  They think this will propel their candidates to victory in November.  

But this Anti-American strategy must be seen for what it is - an assault on the private sector industrial, financial and economic engines that power American commerce.  Not since the 1860's have the choices for the American people been more clear.  Pelosi has floated a proposal that would see people told they do not have to pay their mortgages and their car-payments.   Think exactly what that means.   You are doing two things with  that idea:  1) you will damage and degrade the financial agencies that offered the loans, and 2), you will be explicitly teaching people that they can sign contracts, make financial promises, and then weasel out of living up to what they promised.   Teaching them that, attacks the legal basis for  commerce in a free society.   It attacks the system a nation needs to operate. 

And the "Democrats" want to "forgive" student-debt - again, another strategy to teach - in the most clear way possible - that young people need not honor their financial promises.

Pelosi and Schumer and the rest of these "Democrats" are actively working to undermine the spirit of honesty, hard-work, and fair-dealing that America was founded upon.  Ben Franklin would weep if he saw these two at work.

This is not a Left Wing versus Right Wing debate.  This is a Right versus Wrong debate.

What the Democrats are doing in Washington now is just so wrong.   They actually appear to be trying to assault American commerical institutions, and degrade ihe traditions of contract law and honorable business ethics that are base-line requirements for the operation of a modern economy.

Please understand how subversive and dishonest this strategy is.   They want failure and hardship to come to the USA, as that is an outcome that they believe will put their people into power.

Resist the bad bastards.

Covid-19 Bio-technical Info - followup ...

Also in our Bio-technical notes, we provided information on the Covid-19 treatment option: the drug: hydroxychloroquine - a modified version of the old malaria-treatment drug, quinine.  Here is an interview with a patient who make it clear, the hydroxychloroquine saved his life, he believes.   After getting access to the drug, his fever subsided, and he was able to breathe.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/coronavirus-patient-says-hydroxychloroquine-saved-his-life

There are solutions to the Covid-19 epidemic, and there are drugs which can be used to combat - successfully - the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  And these solutions need not involve the complete closure of the entire world economy!  The extreme "Shelter-in-Place" shutdown restrictions are foolish and unwise, and will just prevent people from working to solve this problem.

We need to get the various "Safety Nazi" politicians out of the halls of power.  They do more harm than good.  Really.

***  Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate Information:  ***       ----> please see below <----

If you are treating COVID-19/Coronavirus patients - please review this article, which was published in Oxford Academic "Clinical Infectious Diseases".  The manuscript is dated: March 9, 2020.  The URL is below:

https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa237/5801998

Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models (PBPK) results suggest a loading dose of 400 mg twice daily of hydroxychloroquine sulfate given orally, followed by a maintenance dose of 200 mg given twice daily for 4 days is recommended for the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 coronavirus) infection.   

Specifically, hydroxychoroquine was found to be more potent than chloroquine to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in vitro.    See the article for details.  It can be downloaded as a .PDF file on any tablet, or computer.

Note: On Page 14, the article indicates:

"In addition, an unpublished clinincal trial has demonstrated the therapeutic effect of chloroquine in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients.  On the basis of hydroxychloroquine's superior antiviral and prophylactic activity, as well as its more tolerable safety profile in comparison to chloroquine, we believe that hydroxychloroquine may be a promising drug for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection."

And try to catch turning points, not the damn virus.   Best of luck to all.

[ Mar. 23, 2020] PM: - Now I hear that the US Gov't folks are talking about offering small businesses "forgivable loans".  What is this absurd nonsense?   How can anyone suggest that more debt is the solution to this health-driven liquidity implosion?   Today, when something could have been done, the Democrats blocked it.

The Democrats are obviously interested in seeing real damage being done to the US economy.   They want to have most people unemployed and broke or bankrupt by November, so the poor sorry folks with no money, will vote for that brain-degraded old man they have chosen as their leader.  This should be understood by all people.

The USA political people should just give up, go home, and self-isolate to avoid spreading the lethal virus.  If there is going to be any "government stimulus" - it should be targeted at the self-financing sector of the economy - businesses and financial institutions - and not be wasted on giving consumers a few dollars of extra spending money.  In three months, most small business entities in the USA will simply be finished. 

No customers, means no revenue.  This means no funds for retaining employees.  Workers will be turned rapidly into non-workers, and a bankrupt "Welfare State" will be all that remains.   This outcome should be avoided.   If any "stimulus" is possible, it should be directed at providing immediate, no-strings-attached, funds to self-financing business entities, as this might allow the economy to recover and maintain employment for many who will otherwise be made unemployed, due to the closure of their workplaces.

We will get through this - but it won't likely be because of any action by any government.  Humans have actually evolved to deal with this type of viral infection.  You will get sick, and most will recover.  I fear the political people are just making a bad situation worse by trying to shut everything down.  Grim as it seems, all we can do now, is track the spike in the curve, build a lot of hospitals, distribute drugs and supplies, and deal with the results.  It's probably now too late for "shelter in place" strategies.

Those of us left alive in November should remember what the "Democrats" did here on this day.

[ Mar. 23, 2020] - This is becoming quite extreme - we are seeing an economic collapse that is almost certain to cause greater grief and harm than even the Coronavirus itself.  Here is a time-line summary of some of the articles in one of our databases (from Feb. 24th to today, March 23, early AM):

Dow Futures Plunge as Coronavirus Spreads to Western Europe - Feb. 24, 2020 - TheStreet     
Global Stocks Hammered As Coronavirus Spreads Outside of China - Feb. 24, 2020 - Barrons     
Futures sink as coronavirus cases outside China surge - Feb. 24, 2020 - Reuters     
US STOCKS-Dow set for 800-point fall at open as pandemic fears grip Wall St - Feb. 24, 2020 - Reuters     
Scotiabank quarterly profit tops estimates on strong markets unit - Feb. 25, 2020 - Reuters     
US STOCKS-Pandemic fears send investors running as Wall St confirms correction - Feb. 27, 2020 - Reuters     
Korea Cases Top 2,000; Nigeria Confirms Infection: Virus Update - Feb. 28, 2020 - Bloomberg     
Stocks fall again in worst week since 2008 crisis - Feb. 28, 2020 - Financial Times     
US STOCKS-Wall St to open sharply lower as virus fears shut down California - Mar. 5, 2020 - Reuters     
COVID-19 Coronavirus Spreading Globally, Mexico Reports Sixth Case - Mar. 6, 2020 - Reuters     
Coronavirus concerns drag down Wall Street, but indexes eke out weekly gains - Mar. 6, 2020 - Reuters     
Stocks Plunge, U.S. Yields Crater Amid Oil Shock: Markets Wrap - Mar. 9, 2020 - Bloomberg     
Traders Are Flying Blind in S&P Futures After CME Limits Are Hit - Mar. 9, 2020 - Bloomberg     
Stocks Enter Bear Market as Coronavirus declared Pandemic by WHO - Mar. 11, 2020 - CBS     
Dow Futures Plunge, Global Markets Reel After Trump Issues Sweeping European Travel Ban to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak - Mar. 12, 2020 - TheStreet.com     
Recession Calls Mount in Canada on Double Hit from Virus and Oil - Mar. 12, 2020 - Bloomberg     
Markets suffer record meltdown as global coronavirus alarm grows - Mar. 12, 2020 - Reuters     
How The Longest Bull Market In History Ended in a Pandemic Panic - Mar. 13, 2020 - Reuters     
Trump declares U.S. emergency as coronavirus chaos spreads - Mar. 13, 2020 - Reuters     
Delta cuts flight capacity by 40% as coronavirus cripples global travel - Mar, 13, 2020 - CBS     
World closes borders, restricts travel to contain coronavirus spread - Mar. 14, 2020 - Reuters     
Shutdowns Spread Across Europe as Spain and France Order Broad Restrictions - Mar. 14, 2020 - NYTimes     
Fed slashes rates, global central banks coordinate to cushion coronavirus blow - Mar. 15, 2020 - Reuters     
Dow Jones Futures 'Limit Down' Even As Fed Cuts Rates To 0%, Plans $700 Billion In QE; Covid-19 Cases Soar - Mar. 16, 2020 - Investors Business Daily     
European stocks open nearly 5% lower after Fed's emergency actions - Mar. 16, 2020 - MarketWatch     
Wall Street set to crash again after Fed slashes rates - Mar. 16, 2020 - Reuters     
U.S. Stock Futures Drop to Limit Down With S&P 500 ETF Plunging - Mar. 16, 2020 - Bloomberg     
New York Fed will conduct $500 billion repo on Tuesday afternoon - Mar. 17, 2020 - MarketWatch     
Fallout From Turmoil in Global Credit Markets Is Spreading - Mar. 18, 2020 - Bloomberg     
Dow Futures 'Limit Down', Global Stocks Slump, As Countries Plan Trillions in Stimulus - Mar. 18, 2020 - TheStreet     
Fujifilm Shares Skyrocket As China Says Its Flu Medicine Works For Coronavirus - March 18, 2020 - Benzinga     
Mylan to restart production of hydroxychloroquine - Mar. 19, 2020 - MarketWatch     
European shares bounce for second day on stimulus hopes - Mar. 20, 2020 - Reuters     
Coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China as economic damage mounts - Mar. 20, 2020 - Reuters     
Disease Doubling Faster Now; Deaths Top 10,000: Virus Update - Mar. 20, 2020 - Bloomberg     
Joint Statement By Canadian Banks and Life Insurance Companies Regarding Annual Meeting Planning - Mar. 20, 2020 - CanadianNewsWire     
CIBC Announces a Change of Location of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders - Mar. 20, 2020 - CanadianNewsWire     
Stocks Revisit 2008 Lows as Economy Looks Even Grimmer - Mar. 20, 2020 - Barrons     
Canada’s Labor Market Sent Into Freefall with 500,000 Jobless Claims - Mar. 20, 2020 - Bloomberg     
Boeing Suspends Dividend Amid Covid-19 Crisis - Mar. 21, 2020 - Barrons     
Asian markets fall, led by plunge from Australian stocks - Mar. 23, 2020 - AP     
Fifth Week of Market Mayhem Starts With Limit-Down U.S. Futures - Mar. 23, 2020 - Bloomberg     
'Unrecognizable': Experts warn of historic collapse in economic activity - Mar. 23, 2020 - YahooFinance     

The scale and speed of this global collapse is disturbing and extreme.  It highlights the danger of a highly complex, interconnected system-structure, with dependency linkages that cannot be fully modelled.    The rapid shutdown of a planetary economy, is not necessarily going to be followed by a rapid restart.   The restart may be slow, painful, and problematic.

This Coronavirus may be a permanent part of our economic landscape now, and for quite some time to come.   The Chinese demonstrated how to deal with the outbreak, but their approach is not being emulated by other nations.  France is an interesting and extreme case.  The Macron government is acting in such a profoundly unwise manner, that I fear the outcome may be a social revolt against their idiotic attempts to jail everyone in their own home.  The Coronavirus is now in the wild.  The solution is hospitals and treatment facilities, medical research and real-time, evidence-based, pharmacological experimentation.   And this cannot occur, if all sectors of the economy are simply disabled, and non-operational.

People - millions of people - are going to die from this disease.   Just like happens with cancer and heart attack, for example, every year.   We are seeing the limits to the Leftist "Safety Squad" political phenomeonon, that began in the early 1970's, when government agencies began their efforts to restrict and limit any economic activity that was considered dangerous - all in an effort to reach a "maximum safety/no-risk world", where government protects and coddles everyone from birth to the grave.  

We have now reached the limiting case - a complete shutdown of the global economy, by the "Safety Squads", in order to restrict the progression of an infection with a lethality rate of between 2 and 4%.   Think about this for a minute.  Yes, we should take sensible precautions.  But no, we should not try to simply shut-down everything, for some unclear period of time.   That is simply so unwise as to be very dangerously stupid,

These "Shelter in Place" legal mandates are probably unwise, and might even be self-destructive now.  We cannot simply shut everything down for 18 months.   We have to develop methods to allow society and economics to operate, within a world where infectious virus agents exist, and can cause serious harm.   This is the way of nature, and we cannot stand against it, without we destroy our prosperity and our world.

We may well have to make a choice - we maintain a functioning world economy, where the virus exists, and some people get sick and die - but we all work hard on developing solutions and procedures that allow us to mitigate the risk - or a world where we simply shut down everything and hide at home, hoping the Government can save us.   

Obviously, we cannot accept the foolishness of the second option.   It reminds me too strongly of those tragic Korean kids, on that sinking ferry, who were told by their stupid ship's Captain, to "Stay in your rooms!", as the ship sank, thus causing them all to drown.  

We developed and manufactured this Z-80 computer, completely from parts. Main board was fabricated in China. and the VT-100 emulator board is based on Geoff Graham's open-source design. [Schematic at URL: http://geoffg.net/Images/Terminal/SchematicLarge.png ].

Last year, we became deeply concerned that world-trade could collapse, and that the "Cloud" model of internet-dependent computing, was technologically and politically unsustainable and unstable. We did not know how or why the world would *crash*, but too many of our naive (and complex) models, were all pointing towards the same results - a complete, chaotic "meltdown" in the global structure of things.

So we decided we should have the ability to manufacture and maintain *all* our own technology, hardware as well as software. This little Z-80 computer - which does not run CP/M, just an in-chip BASIC interpreter - was our first product. We used the Dan Collen's board design, and from the KiCAD files, sourced a number of the circuit boards from JLCPCB (a high-quality Chinese board-fabricator), and the electronic components from Mouser and Digikey. This image above shows the Z-80 "NorthStar" board we built, displaying the results of a simulation run, written in BASIC, that took just over an hour to run.

With the world economy effectively shut down, and world-trade at a near standstill - our curious decision to develop and fabricate our own simple computers, does not seem so silly now, does it?

When your Android tablet or your iPhone stops working, can you take a soldering iron, and fix it? Almost certainly not. But we can not only repair our machines - both hardware and software - but we can fabricate them from scratch. The BASIC interpreter - with full 32-bit accurate floating-point ability, is compiled using ZASM assembler, and both a simple operating system, "Z80MON" and the BASIC interpreter, are contained in an 8K memory space. This image is stored into an SST onboard ROM chip, using a Chinese manufactured XG ECU chip Programmer, (like an old EPROM burner), a little device called a: TL866CS, which runs the MINIPRO open-source software. This software+hardware combo, which runs on LINUX, MACOS or Windows, lets a program be loaded into a ROM chip, so the program is retained in a non-volatile manner.

One can just switch on the Z-80, and like an old, original IBM P/C, and simply entering a "B" on the VT-100 "Terminal", allows the BASIC to be loaded, and you may key in a program and run it, from the terminal. This results in a very simple computer - but a computer which is not trivial. It is a full machine, able to do pretty much everything the original IBM P/C did. Except we don't need the IBM Corporation to create the thing - we can build it and maintain it ourselves.

In a world where trade has collapsed, and business is shutdown or at a stand-still - this is suddenly a rather useful ability to have preserved for our small consultancy and investment business. And; - As we operate from farm, we expect to be able to weather the Coronavirus storm - even it if lasts for years. We have to consider an 18 month timeframe is real possibility, as this was roughly the duration of the "1918 Spanish Flu" epidemic. But we also suspect the world has changed now, and it will not soon be changing back.

See, here is the key fact: Our financial and neural-network (Artificial Intelligence) models have proved to be better and more useful than all the information in all the financial press. Our simple computers and our simple computer programs, are better and more useful, than all the Analysts on Wall Street and Bay Street. And vastly better than all the writing in all the financial press, everywhere. This is a surprising scientific result.

Being independent - both in technology (hardware & software), and also in our analysis and in our very thought-process, has protected us, sustained us, and - truth be told - not enriched us, but allowed us to remain self-financing - to a curious and surprising degree. It is a very strange feeling - to realize, with resulting cash-in-hand, that you yourself have been correct, and the world itself has been wrong. A lot wrong. And that it has gone wrong. And gone wrong rather badly, in a foolish and destructive manner. Know this truth. It can set you free.

The world is run by fools, idiots, cruel thugs, stupid criminals, and venal, ego-bloated political fraudsters. (Sure, I know that is too harsh - there are lots of fine political people - clever, talented, and honest. But it is best to always expect and plan for the worst... :D ) There is also no god or god-angel-spirit nonsense. Religion is a cruel joke, and death is the future for all of us. Go read Camus, don't take our word for it. Once you can grasp this simple truth, you can understand why freedom and honesty is so difficult for some folks.

But you can still prosper, and still be a good person. You can even help the stupid and foolish to sometimes see the error of their ways. Sometimes, but not always. Mostly not, really. But if you can trade and work, you can surf on the waves of human madness, and land gently on the shore, with a smile on your face. The good and fine outcome is possible. Just make sure to think for yourself. Be a "Free Thinker". There is a long and fine tradition of this in North America. We were - and still are - the New World.

Good luck & stay safe. And stay independent. Your life and the life of your business and the survival of your prosperity may depend upon that independence.

And oh my, but be careful with "Portfolio Theory" and all the nonsense and dis-information that "financial planners" will try to sell you. Their objective is to harvest your funds, and then siphon off a revenue-stream from your wealth, for themselves. That is the only thing they are really doing. Know this simple truth. Our non-trading portfolios have just been hammered - pretty much like our chaos-models, which focus on non-linear process and try to model it - suggested was so very possible.

It's only thru the hard-core high-risk trading, that we have been able to ameliorate some (not all) of the ugly, awful results that traditional finance theory generates. If you listen to the dis-info from "experts", you will just end up as roadkill. I see sad little road-killed animals almost daily, as we cruise along the blacktop in the country around our home. One minute the little furry guys are walking along, smelling the happy smells of Spring, and a moment later, they are a greasy smear of blood and excrement along the highway. You really want to try to pay attention to the stuff that other people aren't looking at. That is where both the good stuff - and the really awful stuff - will come from.

Most everything that most people say and focus upon, is just distraction and noise, or outright lies. Stay focused, work and learn new stuff - do it like you are being chased!

And do all you can to remain independent. That is where both freedom and prosperity are to be found. You will discover that the harder you work - the luckier you will become. We are all going to be in for some very difficult times ahead. An economic depression is virtually certain, for many. No "government action" will be able to fix what is on the horizon for most of us. It's in the math, folks. And maybe also in the phylogeny of our very cells. It will not be avoided. We sincerely wish best of luck, to all our friends, clients, curious strangers, and even the robots who scrape this site! :D

This is our "Dark Theme" version of the NextStrain Phylogeny chart, showing a visualization of the SARS-Cov-2 virus time-line dispersion and evolutionary mutation. Colorcode: Blue is China, Green is Europe, and Orange is North America. Pink is South America. Ontario, Canada has only two data-points on this chart, due to either our inadequate Covid-19 testing efforts, or a problem that may be the result of failure to share information. The only two Ontario, Canada datapoints are from January. The USA is doing a better job of testing, and also of sharing their data. It is realistic to expect that different mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will respond slightly differently to different anti-viral drugs. Note; It may be important for those running clinical trials of Covid-19 treatment options, to control for the different strains of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

A Little Magic Box. This little magic box lets us write the Z80MON "NorthStar" monitor program, and the Z80-BASIC interpreter (with 32-bit floating math), into a little SST chip on the NorthStar SBC. I am having an absolute DEVIL of a time, getting this little GEM from China. For some curious reason, Canada Customs REJECTED our first shipment of this device, from a Chinese trading company. So we have paid a fat premium to order a confirmed, authentic current model from the manufacturer's primary distributor. (Chinese companies themselves, have problems protecting their IP from other local firms...) And we also paid a premium for shipment via DHL. Hopefully, we won't have to wait until half the world is dead from the Coronavirus, to get this device delivered!

Coronavirus Treatment Options - Bio-Technical Note;

Daily Data back to 1995, and previous two days win the prize for the delta dance. Dangerous days of dramatic deltas...

NOTE: Technical Treatment Data:    COVID-19 Coronovirus / SARS-CoV-2 Virus

March 22 "We'll see you when the Virus ends, for now, ciao ciao, Bambinas! "

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3TqXc0wjZI

March 21 - Canada's Unemployment Claims Exceed 500,000,  labour market collapsed.

<More info in Web-log section.   Economic costs in Canada will likely create greater harm than the virus>

In USA, we are witnessing the attempted systematic, self-destruction of America.  The Americans - like our own selves here - have been unwilling to operate in any sort of sane or sensible fiscal manner.  A wise course of action, at this point in the crisis  - might be to avoid any further economic dislocation, disruption, and tax-assisted government assault against private wealth. 

Of course, this is not happening.  Chuck Schumer has termed any assistance offered to US companies as a "bailout" and has insisted that any such financial aid explicitly not benefit executive or shareholders of industries.  In other words, the owners are to be punished for risk-taking, while the "workers" will obtain taxpayer-funded "bailout benefits".

This man clearly wants to destroy America - or at least destroy it's culture of risk-taking and of individual achievement - and reduce it's people to poverty and  dependence.  He is such a grotesque, dishonest political fraudster, that he makes Mr. Trump look like a paragon of honesty.  That is an impressive accomplishment.

The USA will blow up over $2-trillion dollars *more* of wealth - at a time when it has just vapourized close to $7 trillion in the last two weeks, and since the Democrats are in control of this process - the money will be spent on "beer and pizzas", and little else.     It is not enough that their economy has stopped - Americans will now undertake to inflict greater damage upon it through extremely unwise, knee-jerk financial idiocy.

As in the absurd and foolish GM "bailout", shareholders and risk-takers will be punished and sent the invoice for the coronavirus tragedy, while the dishonest political fraudsters and their parasite client-constituents will get another great whack of free money.

The US Government action, as currently proposed, will just further damage and degrade an already badly broken USA.   Trump has behaved badly, but the Democrats have managed to behave even worse.  

Any money spent now, to  "bailout" workers, but also punish shareholders and business-owners, will just be another, painful, destructive cost applied to the American economy.

Chuck Schumer and the other "Democrats" are going to make sure that the productive, self-financing sectors of the American economy are punished further.  The Democrats look like they want to damage the US economy, so that there will be mass-poverty by November, so that their aged, 77-year old brain-fogged candidate can win the Presidential election, and their group can effect regime-change..   This is really ugly politics.

But they should be careful.  The old rule is: "Never kick a man when he is down.  He might get up and kill you."   The Chuck Schumer Democrats look like they want to kick US business now, when it is down.   Their strategy is very clear.

But the USA has shown it has the ability to survive really bad scenarios.  If the USA self-financing sector survives this ugly assault from nature herself - it might just rise up and reduce Chuck Schumer and the Democratic fraudsters into an electoral defeat at the polls that will resemble roadkill, come this November.  Trump will win, and win big.

Many US people hate Trump.   But Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi make Trump look like a winged-angel by comparison.    Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse - Chuck Schumer Nancy Pelsoi are promising to throw another  TWO TRILLION DOLLAR COST into the lap of the American self-financing sector.  This is just economic insanity.  (Oh wait!  Now, it's TWO point TWO TRILLION DOLLARS!)

These so-called "Democrat" political gangsters truly look like they want to whack the USA.  Or at least cripple it badly, so it's chances for any economic recovery, post-virus, are check-mated.  It makes one sad.  No one will benefit if America is damaged to the point of not being economcally operational.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-congress/u-s-senate-will-seek-deal-on-1-trillion-coronavirus-economic-aid-package-idUSKBN2161FX

This Two Thousand Billion US Dollar cost will be born by businesses, and other productive people operating in the self-financing sector.   It will just be more economic pain for those in America who create prosperity by taking risk, and working for themselves.   The abusive, dishonest, corrupt Democrats want to kick the business owners and risk-takers, when they are down, sick and hurting.  Remember this when the election comes.  

<Page down past 5 pictures to see Web-log notes>

March 20 - 872 SARS-Cov-2 cases in Canada, Total world Cases: 245,484;

Total deaths: 10,031.   Recovered: 86,035.   These numbers from Johns Hopkins University website.    Once proven death total > 10,000, we are now starting to see the Governments panic.  (Johns Hopkins information-page URL below..)

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

Russia has almost no cases, because they have no test-kits and no labs that can do the testing.  Japan has a very low case-growth curve, because their gov't policy is to deny access to the test (Source: National Broadcaster NHK - interview with a Tokyo doctor who was told he could *not* test a 28 year old patient with severe flu-like symptoms. )  If Japan ramps up testing, they will see more cases.   This is why - I suspect - Canada had so few cases reported initially.

Anyone who has familiarlity with the math behind the spread of infectious, lethal diseases, knows that the current experience of Italy - right now - will most likely be our picture of things in two weeks, unless we can disrupt the spread of this virus by simple prophylaxis (blocking)  methods - quarantines, stay-at-home, lots of hand-washing, general disinfectant usage, and so on.

The virus is much like internet advertisements versus your browsers "ad-blocker".  If the virus or adverts have a consistant format or shape, the body's immune system can learn to block the virus, like your browsers adblock filter list can do with annoying adverts.  But if the virus can constantly keep changing the configuration of it's binding proteins - like the Dianomi adverts on Reuters.com are now doing (each advert is served using a different unique string, and no URL at all), then the cell's immune system filters can be bypassed. 

The virus invades the body by binding to lung tissue cells, with slightly different configurations of its binding glycoproteins (the stuff at the end of the corona filaments).   This makes the virus much more contagious than an ordinary flu, and even much more contagious than SARS-1.  Research suggests the increase in this contagious ability is 10 to 20 times the ability of the original SARS virus.  This is evolution in action.  Know this truth.  Through randomness, nature can simply try all the combinations on all the locks everywhere.  This process never stops.  And it occurs in all mammals, from mice to elephants.  Most recent evidence suggests the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus evolved in bats in China.

We are fortunate, as we have an explicit example of what this process looks like - the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic.   

This new virus also has a very long inccubation period, so that people can walk around feeling just fine, and yet can be carrying - and spreading - the infection.  Most folks will recover.  But if you get the "cytokine storm", you can suddenly be struck down with aggressive pneumonia - your lungs fill up with fluid, and you cannot get enough oxygen into your blood and you die.  This is where the anti-virals and hydroxychloroquine might help.

Do your best *not* to catch this nasty virus.  Stay home.  Just relax, and stay home.  We want to "flatten the curve", and avoid the rapid, geometric spike in cases that is in the math, if folks keep spreading it to others.   If 30 or 40% of the population all get the virus at once, then the sick will not be able to get treatment, and we could have a high-death scenario, that need not happen.

Trudeau:      " Bring out your Dead!"

Citizen:         "' 'Ere ya go.."

Economy:     " I'm Not Dead!"

Trudeau:       "Hang on there... <whoosh> < *THUMP* >  Oy.  There ya go! "

March 19 - Canada Closing Banks & Restaurants & Stores;

The viral storm has arrived here.  Testing has indicated the coronavirus is well-entrenched in Canada apparently.  Deaths are starting to be recorded.  Checked with my Bank branch, and they said they would be closed today.  So, I took yesterday's trading gains, and withdrew as cash.  Used 99% alcohol to wipe down each bill, both sides.   Then took the funds later to another bank, may need to transfer to a margin account.   Yes, one feels silly.  But the virus can live for *days* on a surface, some have suggested.   Trading opportunities are many, but risk is high.  The portfolios are down by serious amounts.   These are dangerous times.   Take care, stay safe.  And maybe you want to ensure you maintain some liquidity.

US drug-maker Mylan to ramp-up production of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 treatment:

 https://finance.yahoo.com/m/7881c459-34cc-343d-9778-d0c077c8d243/mylan-to-restart-production.html 

March 18 - PM: Details re. "Avigan" (Favipiravir) ;

The drug Avigan (generic name: Favipiravir) is made by Japanese firm: Fujifilm.   Details in link below:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/fujifilm-shares-skyrocket-china-says-090303639.html

This drug is one of several anti-virals that has shown both safety & good efficacy in treating Covid-19 (SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus).

March 18 - AM:  Bad, Bad, Not Good (that's the name of a Toronto jazz band) (See note in Web-log section, for some notes about liquidity.  If you survive the Coronavirus, you will want to still have some money left.  It's the economics that is going to harm us most, not the virus.  The virus we can deal with - but the economics is going way wrong, I fear)

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

March 17: Coronavirus update: 189,386 cases, 7,504 deaths, COVID-19 clinical trials begin in the U.S.  (Summary information from American news websites.  )

Markets gyrate, unclear if downtrend is broken.   Dow Jones Industrial Average closes up 1048 points to 21,237.  The represents a recovery of roughly 1/3rd of the 2999 point loss on Monday, March 16. Virus continues to spread.  US cases roughly 5,000 with some estimates suggesting the total true case-level could be 10 to 100 times higher.  Exact numbers unknown.

Link to European Centre for Infectious Disease Control, and has clear, hard numbers, and some clear graphics. 

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases

March 16: As of 8:43 am, Eastern Dailylight Time:  Total Covid-19 Cases - all World: 167,414, Total Deaths attributed to Covid-19 infection: 6,507.  This gives an estimated death-rate for this virus of 3.89%.

Simple Estimates:  Total global population (roughly): 7.2 billion.   If we assume that 1/4 of the world's population eventually gets this virus, this implies a total-death level of:  70,020,000.    This number of 70 million, is not too dissimilar from the 10 to 50 million deaths estimated for the 1918 "Spanish Flu" epidemic.

Modern treatment methods, public health response, and better technical communication has the potential to drop this number to 10% of the above estimate.  A much more likely estimate of total mortality is around 7 million deaths.    People's behaviour has already changed, and sensible precautions are already being taken.   China has proven that an early, aggressive response can limit the spread of the virus rather effectively.  It is unlikely that similar methods can be effective now globally, for obvious reasons.  The virus is now in the wild, and it will not likely be contained.  

[Update - Mar. 17th]  Total deaths probably will be much lower, given that vaccines are under development, and that a number of drug-combinations are showing efficacy in treating Covid-19.  Total deaths could be  < 500,000 if widespread distribution of effective treatment technology is available.  This is still an ugly outcome, but it is wildly better than the 1918 Spanish Flu estimated mortality level, which has death estimates of 10 to 50 million.

Much more serious, could be the damage done to global economic activity, and world trade.   These costs may ultimately prove to be more destructive, particularly if global conflict occurs and is ramped up in expectation of easy victory.  Human nature has not really changed since Roman times.

Technical Notes:

[Mar. 17, 2020 PM]

[Update:  Gilead Sciences worked in partnership with Chinese health agents - conducted randomized Phase III clinical trials using antiviral drug: remdesivir.   Germany is testing remdesivir (maybe), and reports indicated (unconfirmed) that U.S. Department of Defense is making remdesivir available to military and some civilian employees.  No details on reports of efficacy or side-effects yet.]

[ Followup on Thailand results:  Flu drugs oseltamivir, combined with HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir improved conditions of Covid-19 patients at Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok - but within 48 hours, patient conditions reversed.  No dosage or protocol information, sorry.]

[Chinese news reports a doctor cured/recovered from Covid-19, by anti-HIV drug: Kaletra.   Kaletra is produced by AbbVie.  Also called: Aluvia.  UK has banned export of Kaletra and hydroxychoroquine (the anti-malaria drug which seems to work - and demonstrates effectiveness in physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models (PBPK) (inspection of the drug action in vitro)]

[Korean Society of Infectious DIseases, Korean Society for Antimicrobial Therapy, Korean of Pediatric Infectious Diseases & a Korean Tuberculosis Association all recommend the use of anti-HIV drug Kaletra.    Koreans are also recommending hydroxychloroquine (the old anti-malaria drug)  be used in combination with Kaletra.]

[Mar. 17, 2020 12:54 pm] Chinese recommending Covid-19 also may be treated with Favipiravir, an anti-influenza drug approved for clinical using in 2014 in Japan.    The trade name of the drug is "Avigan".   Zhang Xinmin, who is Director of the China National Centre for BioTechnology Development has said that this drug has shown no evident adverse reactions in a clinical trail, adn that the drug has shown good clinical efficacy aganst the Covid-19 virus.   The clinical trial involved more than 80 patients and the trial was conducted at The Third People's Hospital of Shenzen, south China's Guangdong province.   The trial involved 35 patients taking Favipiravir and 45 patients in a control group.  Results indicated patients receiving Favipiravir treatment turned negative for the virus in a shorter time compared with patients in the control group.   This result was also seen in a randomized clinical run at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, reported Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency.   Zhang suggested Favipiravir be included in the treatment plan for Covid-19 as soon as possible.]

[Kaiser Permanente Research Facility in Seattle, USA State of Washington, reported to have begun clinical trial of investigational vaccine for Covid-19.  Also, a vaccine is reported to have been developed by Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, and is expected to enter clinical trails by mid-April.]

More detail on Hydroxychloroquine:

The technical information below may be important.  Only a few agents are monitoring this page, but this is data that might be useful.  What happens when you get SARS-1 or SARS-CoV-2, (Covid-19) is that you seem to get a "cytokine storm", which is similar to what killed young, healthy adults during the 1918 Spanish Influenza Epidemic.

[Please page down past 5 pictures for regular Web-Log...]

A cytokine storm is a very rapid, extreme bio-response, in which one's body reacts quickly to a very toxic viral agent, with a massive immune response.  The problem, is that one of the characteristics is that a substantial fluid build-up in the lungs can occur.  This is pneumonia, and this reaction can prevent a person from breathing.  This inability to get sufficient oxygen, if it continues long enough, can obviously result in the death of the patient.   Doctors and medical specialists should work to avoid this outcome.

This is a very important academic article, which makes a useful suggestion - the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat a SARS-CoV-2 infection ( COVID-19 disease) viral infection.  Note: SARS-CoV-2 is the name given to the Novel Coronavirus.   COVID-19 is the name given to the actual syndrome/disease associated with the virus. (This information from the European CDC website).

I had earlier indicated SARS-CoV-2 was a name the Chinese medical community had decided on.  My apologies for this error.  SARS-CoV-2 It is a sensible name, as there is great similarity between the SARS version-1 virus, and the current Coronavirus that is spreading globally.  The SARS-CoV-2 is slightly different from SARS-1, in that the trimeric spike glycoprotein at the end of the filament has a hinge-like feature, which enhances its ability to bind to ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2).   This appears to be the reason that SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is more contagious than SARS-1 - estimates suggest up to 10 to 20 times more contagious.  It's a very nasty thing, and we all need to co-operate to defeat it.

If you are treating COVID-19/Coronavirus patients - please review this article, which was published in Oxford Academic "Clinical Infectious Diseases".  The manuscript is dated: March 9, 2020.  The URL is below:

https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa237/5801998

Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models (PBPK) results suggest a loading dose of 400 mg twice daily of hydroxychloroquine sulfate given orally, followed by a maintenance dose of 200 mg given twice daily for 4 days is recommended for the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 coronavirus) infection.   

Specifically, hydroxychoroquine was found to be more potent than chloroquine to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in vitro.    See the article for details.  It can be downloaded as a .PDF file on any tablet, or computer.

Note: On Page 14, the article indicates:

"In addition, an unpublished clinincal trial has demonstrated the therapeutic effect of chloroquine in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients.  On the basis of hydroxychloroquine's superior antiviral and prophylactic activity, as well as its more tolerable safety profile in comparison to chloroquine, we believe that hydroxychloroquine may be a promising drug for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection."

Other References:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6483/1260

https://www.drugtargetreview.com/news/56895/scientists-demonstrate-how-covid-19-infects-human-cells/

https://chemrxiv.org/articles/COVID-19_Disease_ORF8_and_Surface_Glycoprotein_Inhibit_Heme_Metabolism_by_Binding_to_Porphyrin/11938173

https://www.cell.com/2019-nCOV

----------------------------  

Note: We are *not* physicians.   These notes are a volunteer effort.  These are bio-technical notes only, and should not be considered medical advice.  Consult your doctor if you have a fever and think you might have the Coronavirus.  If you do not have a doctor, present yourself at a hospital or a clinic, and request treatment.  

There are effective treatments for Covid-19.  For some people, the "cytokine storm" (a rapid and extreme immune-system response by your own body) can leave you on the floor, gasping for breath, your lungs filled with fluid.  You really want to avoid this outcome by seeking medical assistance.  Just having access to oxygen, can save your life.  Almost everyone can recover.  With recovery, will likely come immunity, though we don't know yet for sure.  Best of luck.

 

SARS-1 and the COVID-19 Virus, showing the "hinged" spike-glycoprotein [RDB (receptor-binding domain) in "Up" and "Down" conformation], which enhances the binding to ACE2, and which appears to be the reason the new COVID-19 coronavirus (what the Chinese are calling: SARS-CoV-2) is more contagious than SARS-1.

To our Chinese Friends: Grim times now, but the sun will return, and blue skies and calm waters will return. This is the Way of Nature.

[Feb. 12, 2020 Update] - We just ordered a bunch of electronics from China. We like doing business with the Chinese. They are honest, the stuff works, and they ship quick.
[Mar. 14th update] China has rather shown the way here. They are reporting only a few new cases now. Most have recovered. But the virus has spread to Europe, and from there, to North America. Local infections are the result of travellers returning from Italy. Our foolish political people, in an act of sad irresponsibility, have also brought the contagion to our country's capital city.

[Coronavirus Treatment Options]: Note to medical personal & doctors dealing with coronavirus victims: We are *not* Physicians, but suggest you try to treat coronavirus victims in severe breathing distress, with a cocktail of 3 anti-viral drugs: Anti-flu drug oseltamivir, and the HIV-treatment drugs lopinavir and ritonavir. This experimental three-drug combo has shown efficacy in treating coronavirus patients in Thailand.

Guide to this Site

The Covid-19 coronavirus is ugly, and the market meltdown is painful, but in this world, there are many more worse disasters that can fall on us. And most of these are created and authorized by Government committees. Know this truth.

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.

[... moved Web-log notes to top of page.  Will archive these notes soon ... ]

[Mar. 21, 2020] - Trudeau is "governing from home", Labour market has collapsed, National economy has stopped, & oil prices below $20/bbl makes Alberta non-economic.  Canada is in crisis.

Seriously looks like Canada is in trouble here.  We needed firm and stable leadership at the top, not some leftist Liberal making the case for more funding for drug-selling, abusive savages and railway-blocking economic terrorists.   Trudeau is perhaps a great Prime Minister for terrorists and criminals, but a sorry excuse for those of us who work and try to ensure we have sufficient funds left to actually cover our taxes, and pay our own way.

If you operate in the self-financing sector - if you are not a government worker or a teacher - you have to feel a quiet rage at the sad failure and profound collapse that this arrogant buffoon has delivered to us.  

We might have been able to skate thru this very rough patch, if we had build up some resources and set aside some funding to deal with a disaster like this falling on us.   But we don't have that "rainy day fund" - just a massive debt that will be added to, as our currency collapses.  With $15 oil, a completely shut-down labour market, and an economy already being held hostage by rail and highway-blocking economic terrorists and other forms of political parasites - we face an almost perfect storm of economic failure now on all fronts.

Here is text of news story:

Speaking outside his residence in Ottawa, Trudeau said Service Canada has received more than 500,000 "applications" this week, 20 times the number recorded in the same week a year ago. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development’s office confirmed Trudeau was referring to applications for unemployment insurance.

The speed of the meltdown in the labor market has no precedent. The largest number of jobless claims for a whole month was 499,200 in 1957, according to Statistics Canada data.

“This is of course an unprecedented situation and it is putting a lot of pressure on our system but we’re on it,” Trudeau told reporters Friday at Rideau Cottage, where he is "governing from home" after his wife tested positive for coronavirus.

The number highlights just how quickly economic activity has come to a halt as Canadians stay home and governments tell businesses to close to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. It also indicates the depth of the contraction may be worse than even the most pessimistic analysts had feared."

It is profoundly important that we make political changes as soon as possible.  A profound "parasite sector" has not just been allowed - but actively encouraged - to develop and thrive. 

Doubtless hundreds of billions will be allocated to economic terrorists, fraudsters, political cronys, and other Liberal hangers-on.  The bill for this madness, will be sent to the few folks who actually operate independently and try to survive by self-financing their efforts.  Trudeau says he is "on it".  This clown is both the architect and part-author of this disaster.   All he is doing is standing on it.

This is all just so wrong, it makes me spitting mad.   The whole idea of running an economy and a nation is to set aside wealth and resources during the good times, for use when we have disasters and hard-times.   But the Liberal crap-for-brains fraudsters and government cheats who swan around on the taxpayers fisc in Ottawa, never do this.  

Trudeau is "Governing from home"?  Or is he is just another fraudster and a lying cheat hiding out from the people who should be shouting and demanding that he step down and remove himself from politics completely.?

Regardless of the death-rate we face from the coronavirus, maybe some small good might come from it.  The events here now, may let people see that we  absolutely *must* change how we do things in this country.  The continous fire-storm of bad policy and profound, ongoing serial failure that is generated the by the Liberals who are holding power in Ottawa SHOULD BE ENDED. 

We absolutely must make a change, and attempt to restore some sort of economic sanity to the Federal finances, otherwise this nation will almost certainly break apart.   It won't just be Quebec that removes itself - Alberta will act to leave two days after Quebec does.   Federalism - under the Liberals - is showing itself to be a model of perfect economic and political failure.  Liberalism just does not work.   It's just a scam, run for the benefit of the economic parasites who want a funded-life, and don't want to pay their own bills.

This painful virus disaster is just bringing it all into focus.

We don't have to always be foolish, and remain embedded in this Liberal failure-model where these leftist-cheats and fraudsters always take over and destroy the working economics, and then damage and degrade our future chances for prosperity.

We must restore economic sanity to our Federal finances, and elect a government that represents those Canadians who work and want to work - not just the failures, the terrorists, and the economic parasites.  Those people will always vote Liberal.  But the rest of us need not do so. 

[Mar. 20, 2020] - Bring on those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.. - Days of poverty, biscuits and beer?  Spring starts today.  Maybe we could just climb into the stasis-chamber, and wake up in June or something?   Normally, we *love* spring, but things are looking a little strange this year.   I can tell it's getting strange, just by the number of scam calls the land-line is generating.   Any godd*mn vector in a storm, I guess.  It's already like the 1930's, in that scam-scum fraudery seems to be the only growth industry.   That, and government taxation.   All else is secondary.  

 [Mar, 18, 2020] - No Soup for You! - It is just getting so weird, that humour is our only remaining defense, I fear.     Not feeling well.  Didn't actually have any Irish Whisky yesterday, perhaps that is why? 

The pools of liquidity are drying up.   I watched the field at our farm, successfully drain away all the snow melt-water that had accumulated in a big pond.   Three geese had been swimming in the pond for the last few days, and also feeding there.  Today, they looked at the almost dry pond-bottom, and just stood there staring at it.  I could see their thoughts:  "Where the f**k is our goddamn WATER!??"   

You just have to realize - that a time can come, when not just some - but *ALL* your liquidity drains away, and all your emotion and anger will not bring it back.  The field will completely dry, and it shall be plowed and planted.  That pond is *GONE* guys, and you had better realize this, and not build a nest near it, lest you - and your little Geese family nest, with it's little nest-eggs, will be obliterated.

This is a hard lesson for any of us to learn, is it not?   No amount of politician talking is going to restore the world to what it was, only a short while ago.  The violence with which so much wealth has been just vapourized, will remain for a long time.   Once, I wrote a note, suggesting that we really need dividends to yield around 8%, to compensate us all for the risk we take on when we buy stocks.  This is true - and it remains true, regardless of where the central bankers set their administered interest rates.

The world is a very risky place, and you can be handed your head at just about any time, if you do just about anything.  And after a while, you will just die.  This is the truth of things.   THere is no escape from these absolute facts.    You will die, and probably, so will your portolio, at some future point.   This reality cannot be escaped - except by making it happen.

Such is the way of the world.  No godistic nonsense, or phony talk from fraudsters will alter this truth.   Live well, invest wisely, and be good to everyone you meet, and all whom you care about.  We are all just prisoners in a car being driven to the point of our execution.  Lets at least try to enjoy the ride!   :)

And don't be a silly goose.  The liquidity is drying up, and it won't likely be back for a while.

[Mar. 17, 2020] - Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Is Irish Whisky Really a Prophylaxis for Covid-19? - No, of course not.  But I might raise a wee glass anyway.   Keep your spirits up.  :)

[Mar. 16, 2020] - Welcome to Planet Oran.  - Reading a copy of "La Peste" (in English), the most excellent novel by Camus.   It is a strange and unique sensation reading this story that was written in the 1940's - and yet the first part of it feels like reading last month's newspapers.

I am so reminded of the Chinese doctor - his name was Dr. Li WenLiang.   This was the honest and honorable medical man who first warned the Chinese authorities about the Coronavirus - on Dec. 30, 2019.   He was told by Chinese Police to "stop making false comments".  

There were actually several doctors who sent warnings like this  - some were just told to be quiet, and others were made to write stupid letters of apology to their hospital administrations.  

But it is Dr. Li WenLaing, who was one of the first.   And the authorities shut him down hard.   He continued treating patients, but contracted the virus, and then died.  Here is the BBC story confirming his death, Feb. 7th, 2020.  

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51403795

He was a true, authentic hero.   And his death is a tragic outcome, on so many levels.   But what sets him apart, is that he knew, and he tried.  And despite knowing what was likely to be the response - he tried anyway.    He didn't just die to help his patients - that happens to many good doctors - he also tried to do what truth required him to do, despite the stupid response he got from the authorities - who were in obviously no position to know anything about the accuracy of his medical comments.  

Just like when Dr. Rieux tried to warn the city authorities in Oran, and they were skeptical.   And just like Oran, the climbing death-rates - the hard numbers - finally convinced authorities to take action. 

The Chinese did the right thing, once the numbers made it clear  - but their "Dr. Rieux" died, while treating patients.  He became infected, and died.   This makes me sad - because it confirms that the world cannot really change or be improved - as much as it does because a young and good man, died.

Even the fictional Dr. Rieux was skeptical at first.  A magnificant and clever quote from Camus'  "The Plague": 

"...Rieux was caught off his guard, and we should understand his hesitations in the light of this fact; and similarly understand how he was torn between conflicting fears and confidence.  When a war breaks out, people say: "It's too stupid; it can't last long."  but though a war may be "too stupid", that doesn't prevent it lasting.  Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves."

I am reading Stuart Gilbert's translation of "The Plague".  It's well done, and worth reading.   And does it just not put it's finger on the 21st century?   "Stupidity has a knack of getting its way".  Could any other single sentance describe our modern world with more accuracy?  :/

"Quick, Watson!  The needle..."  (It's a great line - except it's not in any of Doyle's storys.)

DJIA down 3000 points.   The robot-market is slewing out of control.  We remain long, and have added to positions - even taken a tiny bit of leverage - but it has been a bad decision, it seems.     The stock-markets are pricing in a 1930's style collapse in demand.   Certainly, this is starting to look possible.   The infection numbers will tell the story this week.  But in Canada, I am not seeing any evidence of testing.  What is measured - is managed.   But we seem to manage by not measuring.  Such an old strategy...  <big sigh...>  

Take care.  We may be off-line soon.

[Mar. 15, 2020] - CoronaViral Press Conference: Vice President Mike Pence Gives Up date on response.  Seriously - this was the tag/hook line for a CBS News Story in the Google News aggregator thing.   Hilarious.   We got the bait, and we get the click, eh?  I laughed like Mozart.

When I was younger, I studied the calculus-math-models of plague progression, once many years ago, the result of auditing some university calculus classes.  The young female professor allowed me to attend the classes, to improve my poor understanding of the mathematics I needed to pass/understand my economics courses.   This was Math Department at University of Waterloo.   The Pink Tie.  The 24hr bridge games.  The giant Model 75, with it's water-cooled memory, which we were using to save and create the new world.  I was just a hanger-on...  a rather slow fellow from the other side of the campus who had to struggle to understand that stuff the smart guys could soak up like sponges.  But as a dumb-kid, I learned to pay attention.   I had a curious natural talent for programming.   Suddenly, this was useful...   

It was such a good school, as they really focused on teaching &  learning, not just having/doing good research work.   I was crappy at math, but I could hold these complex moving pictures of tables and boolean logic in my head, and move them around like pictures.  The math-folks would use calculus, and I would go hack a numeric result out using Fortran or APL whatever computer terminal I could find, and use when no one was looking.

Two ways a plague can progress:  Driven by whether you remove infected patients, or leave them in-situ socially, to transmit infection.  Results are very different.  Option B -the option where the plague-victims remain non-quarantined and able to infect others - obviously has a *much* higher death rate, and much higher absolute numbers.

I tend to use discrete math and explicit, simpler equations with time-index values.   Executing the models algorithmically, instead of just solving them analytically, appeals to me more.   But both approaches work.   The calculus-model approach is really some elegant mathematics.  And the progression of plagues has been studied by "natural historians" and scientists since the time of Lucretius  (see the final section in "De Rerum Natura" => "The Nature of the Universe").

Italy has over 21,000 confirmed Covid-19 Coronavirus infections, and over 1400 confirmed deaths, as of last nite.   They are in danger of saturating the ability of their hospitals and medical services agencies to handle the sick people.   Folks get real sick with this infection, and have trouble breathing.  Access to a hospital, with lung-clearing drugs and oxygen respirators can help a person recover.  Without this, you can get real sick, and might not make it.  I fear the math suggests that Italy is close to a "tipping point", as Mr. Gladwell terms it.

The response in Ireland has been sensible.  There, the authorities have already made plans to seconde (borrow temporarily) beds in hotels, and used the hotels as temporary hospitals.  This is a good idea, as the seperate hotel rooms allow patient isolation, which is what you want to do.

Really glad we are not travelling, do not live in the USA and do not live in a city.

The Ides of March.   How ironic and amusing, since I've always been a fan of Julius Caesar.  This coming week will give us some hard information, as to how successful each nation is being in combating this pandemic.  The numbers for this next week, will tell us if we are being successful, or if it is already too late to avoid a super-surge (which is what the math actually projects in the "no-quarantine-of-infected-folks" scenario).

Spain and France are going into lockdown.  Poland and Denmark and Czech Repubic have closed their borders, and UK and Ireland are added to US list of "no-entry for Europeans" restrictions list, which takes effect tonite.

What happened to the all the cool stuff we were supposed to have in the future?   Flying cars, space travel, Martian colonies?  We just seem to be only getting the awful stuff.  :(   "May you live during interesting times."   Good luck.   Go read Albert Camus's "La Peste" for a literary take on this scenario.   Heck, read whatever you can.  Just stay home, and lets try for Option A, eh?  :)

Hey, I found Camus's "The Plague" -  full text - in English - online, here:

https://antilogicalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/the-plague.pdf

I'm going to put it on the iPad and read it again this week.  It's a great story.   Camus's grandson or grand-nephew or something like that - whose name is Thain - lives in Japan, and does a TV-show there, where he and a cute girl review and promote beautiful and interesting Japanese tourist locations.

Just please, if you are taking your speedster - or Facel Vega - out for a spin on those lovely California highways, please drive slowly - or if you can't drive slow, at least wear your seatbelt, and drive carefully.   Q: What exactly *is* a Facel Vega?   The Shepilov Murders of course, are the 1956 Soviet invasion and mass-murder that crushed the Hungarian Freedom Rebellion.   The Hungarians revolted against against the rotting filth of communism.  The coronavirus is not the worse virus.  There was that strange, hideously awful social virus called "communisim" that infected the world in the 20th century.  And of course, it killed millions upon millions.

https://bookhaven.stanford.edu/2011/08/albert-camus-the-words-that-may-have-cost-his-life/

There is a far-fetched theory that it was the KGB which sabotaged Camus' friends car, and caused the tire to blow out, to cause the crash that killed him.   Unlikely, but it makes his absurd death less absurd.  

[Mar. 14, 2020] - Beware the Middle of March,  Mr. Caesar. - This is always a time for risk mitigation, I suppose. Maybe Caesar should have listened more carefully to his oracle?

We stocked up, and bought some petrol and extra food.   It is possible Canada may go into lock-down of some sort, next week.  Given that our foolish Prime Minister and his wife are quarantined at home (we know for certain she has tested positive for the Covid-19 Coronavirus, and Mr. Trudeau is obviously almost certainly infected - but in a further act of irresponsibility, he has either not been tested, or has withheld the information of his test results.)    Either way, the virus is here and is in the wild now.  We shall have to deal with this.

Stay home, and watch a movie.

We screened an old Japanese DVD, English title:  "Only Yesterday" - and it is a lovely and really a quite charming film, about a young woman's memories of growing up in the 1960's in Japan.  It is an animated film for adults - from Studio Ghibli.  The quality of the animation is very good, and it is a delightful film with a clever, low-key story line and it really was an amusing pleasure to watch.  I had not seen it before.   Even in Japanese, with English subtitles, it was just wonderful.

It was made in 1991.   It is a quiet masterpiece.  See it in Japanese, with the English subtitles, if you can.    Here are some links:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/only_yesterday_1991

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Only_Yesterday_(1991_film)

The Japanese title is "Omoide Poro Poro", literal translation - "memories come tumbling down".  On one level, it is a clever, retrospective story about a 27 year old career woman in Japan, going on a holiday, and finding that all her memories from being in Grade 5 as a 10-year old girl, have come with her. 

But it manages to be much more.  As someone who gave up city life, to live on a farm, the film suddenly become amusingly personal.    Taeko Okajima - the female protagonist - meets a young lad at the station when she arrives in farm country, who remembers her from a previous visit a year earlier.  He is an organic farmer, near Taeko's family's farm, and has given up his office job, to work with a friend on his friend's organic farm. 

Much of the film involves flashbacks to Taeko's childhood - and her difficulty with fractions mirrored my own memories to a surprising degree.   (I always needed to *understand* the math, I can't and never could, just memorize it.)

It's really a charming and clever film - in some ways like one of my other Japanese favourites, "The Twilight Samurai", which is a period Samurai drama from the time of the Boshin War.   Both films make use of a gentle narrative voice-over of an older woman, remembering the events of her childhood - and realizing how those events shaped her and all those around her.

Both films are actually love stories - and both have an authenticity that is quite compelling.   Truth is always interesting - people do manage to overcome the grief and foolishness they encounter, and sometimes the guy and the girl do manage to get together - dispite all pain that must be endured, and the wild events that try to prevent this.

If you are "working from home" or somehow otherwise in an off-line, can't-go-anywhere situation because of the viral plague, take a moment to reflect,  pause, and use the down-time for some thinking about what you really want from life.  

We don't all have to be Caesar.   And we need not worry about the silly senators and their fights with each other.  Maybe just tune it out.

Watch a good movie, and stay safe, relax, and all might well be just fine.   ๐Ÿ˜Ž

[Mar. 13, 2020] - Red Rover Over to Port Dover? No, Too Cold. - If I were young and completely crazy, I might have fired up the Virago, and made the Friday the 13th run to Lake Erie.  (We have strange customs in Canada...).   But I decided I had best watch the wild show that is playing out on the global equity markets. 

Disappointed I am, as I did not make money from this madness.  We have the historical knowledge-base, but this has been psycho-crazy panic trading.   I have no experience with this.  Even Warren Buffet said he had to wait 89 year to see a hellstorm like this.   It's pretty wild.   We've done lots of research on the Covid-19 thing, and now expect it will be serious, but not lethal for most. 

But the coronavirus will likely race thru everywhere now.  The attempts to contain and limit it's spread, have been absolutely non-existent here, and our sad little Prime Minister, thru his own foolish ignorance, has managed to get his wife infected.

When you are so arrogant-unwise, that you put your wife or family in harm's way, and let them get hit with this kind of thing - and then bring it back to Canada, and risk infecting Canadians in Ottawa, then it's really time to resign, Mr. Trudeau.  Just please go.  I hope your wife is ok and recovers.  But you need to get out of politics, and let someone else take over.  Your time is over.

That is my rant for today.  It's a bit of a sad rant, and I truly hope the woman does not die.  But if she does, then we will all have to work very hard in the next election, so that this sort of tragic stupidity can be avoided in the future, and we can get a national government that is not so painfully foolish.

Markets went into full panic mode yesterday.  I've read about events like this - but never really seen one, except the 1987 economic storm.   And 1987 sell-off was just a one-day burp that was the result of a silly product (really silly) called "Portfolio Insurance" - which was of course, not insurance at all, just a stupid idea.   Such is the world.

And I would love to ask the dipsters and hipsters in Ottawa, what the hell they think farting around with administered interest rates is going to do, when the rates are already flatlined at so close to zero.  Eh?   Just exactly what do you think this will do?

The obvious and intense stupidity of most pubilc figures is now so astonishingly manifest, that I can only just put my head in my hands, and rub my face in tired disgust.

What shall we do?  Tell Boeing to build a bunch more aircraft that fly into the ground automatically, and see if we can book all these guys on free vacations using this fleet?   We could call the aircraft fleet "The Great  B-Ark Project!"   The trick would be to get all the politicians to sign up for the free travel.   And they like to travel - especially on someone else's tab!

We could send them to a wonderful new place:  viz. ->   "Free Trip To The Next World!   Travel Now!  Hurry, Spaces are Filling Up Quickly!!"   (This movie would have a script that would be a combination of "The Island", "BeetleJuice" and "Blade Runner". )   ๐Ÿ˜€  

----

Ever teach or study English?   Isn't it a great language?  So positional, no?  Like, consider the difference between:  "Virus Free!"    and   "Free Virus!"

Stay home, stay safe, & have a drink.   Relax.   ๐Ÿ™‚

[Mar. 12, 2020] - You Will Probably Become Infected. - It's getting serious now.   A metaphor? Investors around the world are the Aizu clan, and the Imperial Army (the Coronavirus) is closing in.   We will not escape this.   Trump plans to ban entry from Europe into the USA for 30 days, starting Friday the 13th, to limit the spread of the Covid-19 (Wuhan) Coronavirus.    Will this be possible?   I doubt it.   Markets in Asia are down sharply.

European cases spike (see first graphic).  The low rates that are printed for Canada, probably reflect the characteristics of the Canadian "Health Care" system, which explicitly prevents doctors from billing patients for any medical services, and so turns medical services delivery in Canada into a "denial-of-service" business model.  

Canada has one of the least effective health care systems in the world, and the very low Canadian infection numbers (something like 103 cases as of last night) probably reflects the lack of any sort of systematic testing program.   Many average Canadians do not even have access to a "family doctor", so their health condition is unknown, until they present at a typically over-crowded emergency room, which of course, many are reluctant to do, because of the high probability of thus catching a contagious disease.

In truth, the Canadian numbers for Coronavirus-positive cases are probably substantially higher than are indicated at the moment.  

The market response is significant, but it's just a panic, and mirrors the worthless chatter from political officials - it all seems to be fear-driven, and reactive, but without real substance. 

The infection - which is highly contagious - is actually not that lethal.  Self-isolation is probably the best defense for those who are hoping to avoid infection, and even for those who are infected.   There apparently is almost nothing medical specialists can do except to provide oxygen to those with breathing difficulty.   Expensive anti-viral drugs are not yet "proven" to be effective, and so by the rules that hospitals and doctors are required to follow - to control costs - will not likely be available to ordinary patients.

So just stay at home, wear a mask if that makes you feel better, and wash your hands frequently. Keep a good distance from others, and use alcohol santizer when in a store or at a check-out counter.

You will probably catch the virus.  Our research suggests (and informal discussions seem to confirm this), that the very high degree of contagiousness means that it is likely the virus will run all through the global population, much like the 1918 Spanish Influenza did.  There is now no way to avoid this.  Try to rest, eat well, get enough sleep, and look after each other.  If one person in your house gets the virus, you will all get it.  But it will have different rates of progression.  The heathier ones need to look after the really sick ones.  Chicken-soups, cold washcloth on forehead for fever, that sort of thing.

The data suggests that almost all people will recover.  You will feel like shit, and you may have fluid in your lungs and a high fever.   Take aspirin or ibuprofen or whatever you can get access to, to try to keep the fever down.  If you have trouble breathing, try to get access to medical equipment, such as oxygen and a mask.  Be very careful if you are using oxygen at home, as it is extremely flamable.  If using an oxygen mask, or helping someone use one, make sure the little mask fits right on the patient's face, and makes a good seal, so the O2 does not leak out.

Keep surfaces clean, wipe them with alcohol.  Use the 100% or 99% rubbing alcohol, not  the water-diluted 70% stuff, as it is ineffective in some cases.  Wash your hands a lot.  If you go out to buy supplies or food, use sanitizer if it is available in the store, and wash you hands first thing you do returning home.

Almost everyone will recover from this, and come out the other side, with enhanced immunity.  For most people, it will be no worse than a nasty flu.  But if you are looking after someone who is having real breathing difficulty, try to get them medical attention, if you can.  If you can't, try to get them oxygen.   The pneumonia-response - the lungs filling with fluid - is what your body does to kill the virus - but it also makes if very difficult to breathe.   If this happens, you may need to have oxygen, just to breathe, so get help, if you can.

Good luck to everyone.  You probably will catch it, but you also will probably be ok and recover.  Once you recover, you can have a nice party with your virus-recovered friends.

[Mar. 11, 2020 - PM] - We are Officially Being Eaten by the Bear. - Well, it's official now.  Dow-Jones closed down over 20% from it's Feb. 12th high.  We are officially in a full-tilt "bear-market".   We are toast, it looks like.  There is no where to hide - not even in gold or oil or silver or bitcoin.

But there are some bright spots.  Consider the articulate auto-worker, Jerry Wayne, who actually understands how politics is supposed to work.  Hats off to Mr. Wayne.  He is the man I would vote for, for US President, if I could vote in a US election.   Biden is the one who is full of sh*t.  Damn, I wish we had more people like Jerry Wayne here in the Great White North.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/worker-confronted-biden-auto-plant-guns-fox-friends

Dear America:  We love you.  We really do.   But please consider things carefully.  Do you really want Joe Biden to replace Mr. Trump?  If you change horses in mid-stream, do you not risk making a bad situation, even worse?  The Democrats want to confiscate things and restrict what you can do.   They want to confiscate your money, and they want to confiscate your guns.   You really want to give these guys & gals more power?   They already control your legislature.   Maybe that is enough?

And do you really want every poor-person, south of the Rio Grande, to come zooming up into the good, old USA, with mouths open like baby-birds?  Do you want your taxes to zoom up, along with your unemployment rate?

Between Biden and Trump - you might just have to hold your nose, and vote for Trump.  The devil you know, might be less of a risk than this re-cycled, pale-faced, Obama guy, who is an old, old, old professional politician.      As we move into this crazy, chaotic future, it's gonna be all about risk management.   How do we survive the COVID-19  viral plague, and the economic meltdown it is already causing?   

We are now, already, all officially in the storm.  We now have the SHTF scenario.  The "preppers" don't look so silly now, do they?  

We are still long, and have still almost no leverage (just a very little bit.)  The action is so bad, and the market prognosis is so *very* bad, that we are re-thinking things.  I had one model that explicitly predicted this - but I thought it was just not working right, since the forecast was so extreme  (it was forecasting around a  12% further fall, after stocks has already come off close to 10%.  At the time (last week), this forecast seemed just stupid and wrong.  But in fact, I was the one who was stupid and wrong .. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

[Mar. 11, 2020] - The Smell of Hospitals in Winter -  We've had a not just a Long December, but a long, cold Winter.    One more down day in the canyon...   Didn't sell... guess I should.

Even the Samurai could not help us.    They are remembering what happened 9 years ago on this day.  There are worse things than viral plagues.  The 3/11 event in Japan 9 years ago, was much worse than the 9/11 thing in USA back in 2001.   They don't really show the actual videos of how awful the big Tohoku Tsunami really was.  When you see some of the actual, true videos (not the sanitized disinfo on MSM), you see an astonishing thing - a large city, being smashed by a 14 meter high wall of water, and the buildings and houses are all **burning** - which seems unbelievable and impossible.   But there it is, fires burning *everywhere* in all the floating wreckage!

But what actually happened is that the tsunami smashed the houses and buildings off their foundations, and as this mass of floating wreckage moved, the large propane-tanks that each house used for fuel storage for heat and cooking, burst, and exploded,  Over 30,000 people were killed in a few minutes.  Lots of guys who were working, and were not at home, lost their entire families - wife, children, and parents.  

And then, if this horrorshow from hell was not enough - the goddamn nuclear reactors at Fukushima exploded, and spewed highly radioactive fallout over a large area.   The reactors perfectly withstood the great wave.  The seawall, designed to stop a big tsunami, held, and blocked the wave.  But the poor stupid bastards who had designed all the backup power-systems and emergency generators, had put the backup generators and power cables *underground*, in an act of design stupidity that rocks the mind.  They *all* shorted out and failed, because they were flooded with seawater!  So the reactor operators - in a dark control room, with NO ELECTRIC POWER watched events spiral to a second, greater - and avoidable - disaster.  With no way to move the water that is flowed by the cooling and circulation pumps, all four large reactors failed dramatically.

Without cooling water - or any method of control whatsover, because of the power loss - the reactors boiled away the water, grew super hot, and the nuclear fuel melted (a "meltdown") and the resulting hydrogen + oxygen gas forced out, cause the buildings to explode in great radioactive mushroom clouds - since these poor sorry TEPCO boneheads had been storing the spent nuclear fuel up above the reactor itself!   That was what got blown up and scattered over the Japanese landscape - spent fuel.  The melted liquid "meltdown" glop from the inside of the reactor is still there - to this very day - contained, inside the containment vessel.  This was the final and most tragic act of design failure, since if they had simply transported the spent nuclear fuel to a proper off-site storage location, the massive dispersal of highly radioactive compounds, could have been avoided. 

The massive reactor "containment vessel" - like the seawall -  actually did it's job, and contained the awful toxic hot mess that resulted from the complete meltdown of the nuclear fuel rods, and the metal boxes and tubes that they were contained in.   It is still sitting there - hot and nasty and radioactive as hell.   (Is Hell radioactive?  Unclear.   Maybe...)

We seem to be marking this century by the disasters and horrific awful things that just keep occuring, rolling in wave after wave.

And wait - my story gets even better today:

I was at a local retail store, buying some electronics - and spoke to the young female clerk about viruses and possible school closures.  She was cute, and had eyes like a big puppy.   We talked of viruses, and I asked about the status of the schools.   In Waterloo, the schools are still open - although the teachers have been striking regularly - overpaid arrogant louts that they are. 

The little girl mentioned that the local Health Department has been keeping her informed (I was putting sanitizer on my hands, rubbing it in), and she mentioned that Waterloo now has it's first confirmed Wuhan Covid-19 coronavirus case.  And get this - we have this *large* Chinese student population here, because of the Universities.  But our local Patient-Zero, is a woman who returned from Milan, Italy, and brought the COVID-19 virus with her!.  Apparently everyone who was on the aircraft has been quarantined, and I would assume that plague protocols are being followed.   

But how ironic!  We have *thousands* of Chinese kids travelling back and forth between here and China, and a substantial Chinese population in town - but the nasty Covid-19 virus got to our little city from goddamn Europe - the source of all the bad, nasty, stupid, awful stuff in all the short national history of our cold country.   Canada imported all the stupid war-feelings and religious foolishness and old hatreds from England & Europe.  We fought wars here over langauge, over godism and jesus-junk and land-taxes that supported corrupt churches and dishonest government frauds that dominated the early history of our nation. 

Really, religion is just a pile of rotting ignorance mixed with foolishness.   Our history is actually crazy-violent - we just don't make movies about it, since we are a bit embarrassed about how foolish and awful it was, truth be told.  

And really,  if all of Europe just fell into a big hole and disappeared - along with the entire Middle East - jews and arabs all - I am not sure I would shed too many tears.  I might just feel more relief than grief.

But this is just comic in the extreme, really.   The source of the Wuhan COVID-19 coronavirus  - the new, and improved SARS, Version 2.0 - for Our Town is....  Milan, Italy!   Not China - but Europe - again!.  What a truly hilarious, ironic, kick-arse piece of divine comedy!   ๐Ÿ˜€

Like bringing a face-mask, to a gun-fight, eh? 

[Mar. 10, 2020] - The Weird Turning Pro - What can one do?  When it gets this weird, we have to turn pro,  I guess.   I hear they closed Italy.   Hope it helps.   Markets up mildly - looking like the proverbial "dead cat bounce".  Yesterday, we stocked-up on coffee.   We all love coffee here, and we don't - and can't - grow it ourselves in this climate.   Got some more electronics from China.   We can replace spinning disk-drives with solid-state memory.    Some serious hacking in Linux to make it work smoothly, but got the first prototype working nicely.

More and more, we are crafting independence from the internet, and the web.   I truly think the drift to "cloud computing" is in some ways more dangerous than lethal virus plagues.   You can survive a bad viral attack.  But "cloud computing" will put an entire economic sector - maybe even a national army - at risk.   If you can fail the internet communications grid, you can blind and cripple an entire economic segment, and army and perhaps even an economy.    Our concern is that "cloud computing" models are little more than the re-invention of the old "service bureau", from back in the days of "time-sharing".    It was cool and sort-of worked (cf. IP Sharp and IBM), but it was both expensive and it created a dangerous dependency and external point of failure which one had no control over.    Localization of technical capability created a universe of new products, opportunity and most importantly - economic demand and economic growth.

The "cloud computing" model, and the centralization of control, command and authority that it both represents and enables, may turn out to be a terrible, retrograde step that reduces the internet to being little more than a big, wiretapped, government-run telephone-network, rife with scams, fraud, and deliberate falsified disinformation, the purpose of which is to mislead.

I am surprised and find it curious that more folks don't see this.   If I am chatting with some "net-heads" - I am literally the only  person in the room, who expresses this concern with the "cloud" model and the "always-connected" future that most of these folks envision.  But they spend much of their time looking at their iPhones - to a degree that reminds me folks who are dealing with a neural or chemical addiction and such.    Curious times.

Had some discussions with a friend on the front lines - medical guy working in an ER.   His sense is that basically, with the Wuhan coronavirus, it is not if, but when.  It is loose, in the world, and everyone will eventually catch it.  If you are in a room with someone who has it - you will likely catch it.  Trick is to survive.  Previous flu - and even if you had MERS or SARS - does not apparently confer immunity.  But the virus is not the same as the 1918 "Spanish" Flu.  (Spain was neutral in the First World War, and it was the only country that did not have  a censored Press.  So, the Asian-originated infuenza epidemic of 1918 was first reported to have appeared in Spain - again, only because they had uncensored newpapers.  All other papers in war-nations, were censored, and information on the flu epidemic was supressed by Government authorities.)

The 1918 Flu hit young, healthy people much harder than it hit old people, due to the severity of the rapid-onset of pneumonia.  A "cytokine reaction" occurred quickly in young, healthy people, that was not as intense as it was in older, less healthy patients.   This is the exact opposite of  the coronavirus, which kills the old and the sick more easily, than it kills the young and healthy.

So, I overuled the models, and stayed long - even added to positions a bit.   So far, this is hurting just a bit.  But this is why the automatic, "robot" trading strategies are so successful in the trading of risky assets.   The robot-decision makers have no emotion, and only the memory that you think that they should have.   This is why they work so damn well.   We had a strong start to the day, but then swung negative, as the centre did not hold.    ๐Ÿ˜ฒ   But as we marched towards the close, up across the field came the Light Brigade, loaded heavy with bid-money, and started throwing it around.  We, the wounded, looked up, raised ourselves up with one elbow on the stretchers, and cheered as loud as our broken and battered portfolios would allow.

"Holy Crap!  Look!"  a voice of one of the wounded exclaimed.  "They're Samurai's!"  ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ˜€

[Mar. 09, 2020 - PM] - One for the History Books  - Complete panic.  Quite amazing, really.  We were down 7 or 8% at the second open.  Things have stabilized, but may well trend lower for a while.  Quite extreme, really.   Had to grit my teeth and add to some positions.  I even have a little cough - more likely the result of staying up all night fixing this Linux box, and drinking coffee laced with Bushmills. ๐Ÿ™‚  

The dogs went crazy around 11:00am, and it was the big brown UPS truck.  Absolutely amazing - we ordered a bunch of electronics from Mouser, on Friday, and this was the delivery!  I am quite impressed.  Mouser is better than Amazon - it really is.   Now, truth be told, they have opened a distribution office in Waterloo, but the package was FOB Mansfield, Texas, USA.  Damn fine shipping, guys.   Really, really top rate.   There's a guy down the road who wholesales Porsche parts from his farmhouse, and he swears by (not at!) UPS.  I see the truck in his driveway all the time.   So here is my plug for these guys - if you want to get some electronics, the Mouser+UPS combo seems to work very well in Canada.  Just amazing - ordered Friday afternoon, delivery of a BOM (Bill Of Materials) of parts, on Monday morning!   You just can't get better than that.

Now, if the markets would stop this silly free-fall panic nonsense, it would be a perfect Spring day.  We will probably be selectively buying a bit more, if another down-leg happens.  Normally, I *never* do the "average down" thing.  It is generally unwise and foolish.   But this viral panic just seems overdone - and if it is not overdone, and we are *all* dead in a year, then our little nibbles of bargain-buying won't matter much at all.   Stocks are volatile, but also viable.  Or would you rather buy some government bonds, that yield less than nothing after inflation?  And will drop like stones in water, if rates are upshifted to address an inflationary bubble-run?   We've been running this model since 2004, and we tracked on thru the 2008 meltdown no problem (well it hurt a bit, truth be told, at the time), but we launched nicely after it was addressed by liquidity stabilization.

As a policy prescription, we - as a nation -  actually can do the same thing here - but we might not be able to re-start business activity until the late summer or fall, or maybe even next year.  We will probably have a 3 or 4% negative GDP print, both globally and locally.  We are overdue for a downturn, and it will happen, once the US does it's election, regardless of who wins.  But we are actually prepped for this, truth again be told.   

Right now - we are seeing real, actual deflation.  It is curious and interesting - like living inside a lab-experiment.  The oil-price collapse is just hilarious.  Alberta will be econ-whacked.  This is what they called the "Keynesian Liquidity Trap", and we actually talked about this - using examples from the 1930's - back in Economics school.    Interest rates track down to near-zero, but the lack of liquidity available, and the demand for it - causes economic demand to flatline - the market does not clear - and you remain trapped in an environment of no liquidity.  In the 1930's, you could buy a factory, sometimes, for the cash that the business had in it's till.  There was no demand, and hence no supply brought forth.  

Say's "Law" is just a bit silly - supply does not necessarily create it's own demand, anymore than the value of a coat or a pair of shoes is represented by the labour-effort that went into making them.  If I have size 12 feet, a pair of size 8 shoes offers no value at all to me.   It is truly astonishing the absolute nonsense than can be (and was!) retailed as real analysis and thoughtful observation.   A lot of economic writing is just silly - a kind of intellectual masterbation that resembles modern jazz music.   It creates a lot of noise which affects others, and probably feels good to the creator, but both are really just more examples of human beings being silly.

Keynes (and many, many others) begged governments to "prime the pump" and buy or build something - even it meant building "pyramids on the Salsbury Plains".   This is how the Empire State Building got built.   That sort of stimulus can sort-of work.  And if you build a highway system, or a rail-network, or a communications grid, and use it later, then the expenditures might even offer real benefits.

And with $30/bbl oil, we are back in a lab-experiment.   We won't all be driving Tesla's by next week, so this presents a real opportunity.   

We can expect some more infrastructure projects, no doubt.   But this is different from 2008, since the financial institutions are actually very well capitalized.  And with these non-inflationary super-low rates, we can do some real national builds that might make real economic sense.   But this may not happen.  And it might not even need to happen.

And of course, the next "Black Swan" will likely be the big inflationary jump, that will surprise all the traditionalists.    It is almost certain to happen, and happen hard, once the viral plague has run its course.   We may have 5 or 10 million dead, but that will by tiny, compared to 1918 (and 1350) events.    The post-plague run-up could be dramatic and wild.  Trust me on this one.  Get ready for it.  And stocks - equity paper - will offer some real protection, that bonds will not offer.   I fear the bond-holders will just get nuked, actually. 

If you want to see a picture of what it might look like, take a long look at Austria (not just Germany), in the 1920's.    Stocks worked pretty good, at first, as a hedge against the runaway inflation that hit them hard.  If you want to understand extremeistan economics, and the rise of German Fascism (and its's runaway economic success), never mind the jews and Hitler and all the political/moral hype - study the insane economics of the 1920's, and the economic madness of the Treaty that ended the First World War.  

Crazy followup:  Went to the bank, and borrowed a bag of money.  I never use leverage - but I wanted to have some extra ammo, just in case.   This is getting very silly.   We are seeing prices that are stupid-cheap, and getting cheaper.   The market is running on robot-control, like those 737 Max8's that fly into the ground automatically.  This is nuts, but it may offer some real opportunity.

Maybe we still fall massively from here - but maybe not.  I think we are *way* overdone here, and the risks are actually on the inflation side of things, since that is the only trick the gov'ts of the world have left.  And a world of $20/bbl oil will alter the dynamics of the US shale-oil disruption.  The Russians, truth be told (again), are actually damn good traders.  They *really* understand markets - like the way Catholic girls understand sex.   We could see some really serious prices swings in the next 3 to 8 months - far beyond what is typical or sane.    The probability of 5 and 6 standard deviation events has just shot way the hell up.

No one knows anything for sure.  So we shall see.  Meantime, make sure to stock up on propane, diesel fuel, rice and canned goods, eh?  (I am kidding - really.   I think...)    :)

[Mar. 09, 2020 - AM] - There are Worse Things than Coronavirus. - No, I don't mean nuclear war - I mean the destructive, nasty madness that seems to be affecting systems-design people.

I did an update on a Redhat/CentOS-7 box today - wanted to fix the "Gnome-Tweak-Tool" thing that was not working right.  This update destroyed my desktop environment, and rendered my computer non-operational - and lot of critical software I need for tomorrow, with it.

I spent *hours* tracking down what had happened.  I run a CentOS-7 box, and the update of the stupid "Gnome-Tweak-Tool" - done to simply disable the hyper-annoying "Hot Top-Left Corner" nonsense, caused a whole bunch of new Gnome stuff to be loaded.  I did a:

        "yum install gnome-shell-extension-no-hot-corner"

since I did not have the option listed in the Gnome "Extensions".  This did not work, so I also did a:

        "yum install gnome-tweak-tool"

And this actually works, as was suggested  on Stackoverflow, here:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/29993531/how-do-i-remove-the-centos-7-desktop-hot-corner-top-right-effect

Now, what happened next was insane.   I lost all of Gnome (my GUI/Window-Desktop environment!), since when I updated the Gnome Tweak-tool (for changing GUI parms), this caused the bottom window bar to show up again,and disabling it in the Tweak-Tool did not work.  SO, I tried the idea, mentioned here: 

https://forums.centos.org/viewtopic.php?t=50815

What I did was: "yum erase gnome-shell-extension-window-list", and this was a bad idea.  I restarted Gnome with Alt-F2, and then "restart", and it blew up.   When I managed to shutdown the Linux session, and log in again, and ran "startx", I got a BLANK KDE desktop - completely virgin, no apps or icons, just a stupid KDE screen!  WTF?  Where IS MY STUFF? Where the hell is my DESKTOP??  (ie. Gnome Desktop, and a WHOLE BUNCH OF APPLICATION ICONS FOR CUSTOM SOFTWARE THAT I WROTE AND USE EVERYDAY..)

Took a long while, but I determined I could get the Gnome Desktop back, with this: 

1) create a file called ".xinitrc" in my home directory, and put "exec gnome-session" in it.  Probably there is some annoying systemctl option that will do this, but I couldn't find it.  (PS.  Yes, I truly madly deeply hate systemd. )

2) then, when I log in - to a standard multi-user session (where Alt-<Functionkey> lets you jump to different sessions), I can start the Window environment on one session with: "startx")

3) this got my Gnome environment back - except it was WHACKED!  THERE WERE NO DESKTOP ICONS ON IT!!   "Ahaghh!" I screamed.  My dog came running in, and so on...

4) After a ridiculous amount of screwing around and searching - I discovered that some design-fockwit had decided to make THE DEFAULT OPTION ON THE  GNOME-TWEAK-TOOL BE SET NOT TO SHOW ANY DESKTOP ICONS!!   (Yes, really.  The default option, for an install of the Gnome "Tweak-Tool", which you need in order to change anything about your Windowed-Desktop GUI (Graphic User Interface) is set to "DO NOT DISPLAY THE USER'S ICONS" that might be defined in his "~/Desktop" directory.  

So, I;m writing all this blather here - to save some other poor dumb bastard like me from this sort of abusive timewaste..  I am so goddamn mad I could spit nails at ballistic velocity. 

Anyway, if you are running Linux version: Redhat/CentOS-7 (or maybe 8 also, not sure) and your icons all disappear, you have to do this:

1) In your BLANK NO-ICON SESSION of Gnome 3, you have to drag the mouse pointer to the left side, and get a vertical icon-bar, and click on the TERMINAL to get an xterm session window.  In that window, you enter: 

                               gnome-tweaks

2) This will bring up the  "Gnome-Tweaks" panel, which will have a second option on the left side panel called of "Desktop". Click on it, and you will see a panel brought up that has a slider-bar switch for "Show Icons" AND THE DEFAULT WILL SET TO BE **OFF** if you can believe this.  Slide this stupid little switch to "ON" and ALL YOUR ICONS WILL MAGICALLY POP INTO LIFE and appear on your Gnome-3 Desktop.

This is truly one of the nastiest, most user-hostile design tricks I have ever seen - with the exception of the "Auto-stick-push-forward" feature on the Boeing 737 Max-8.   That was really bad software design, as it killed people.  This "Make your Icons Disappear" trick just harms folks mildly, and wrecks their systems and burns their time away.  Here is an actual piece of data that confirms some little person designed this on PURPOSE!

https://access.redhat.com/discussions/4725951

What kind of a evil-collective would design a Window-based system, and then include a tool to set the parms - that TURNS ALL THE VISIBLE DESKTOP ICONS OFF??    Has Gnome turned into ransomware or something?   This is just insane.

If you are using your computer to do real work, I hope this angry rant will make you smile, and also save you the many hours of  extreme timewaste and frustration I went thru this evening, restoring my CentOS-7 box to useable operation.  This nasty design-assault cost me my dinner.   ;)

Oh crap, I thought I was done - but no!   The problem now, is that if you put "exec gnome-shell" in your ~/.xinitrc file, then you will be running the modern "Gnome Shell" which  has no drop-down top bar menus!  It is awful, and stupid, and looks like a retarded Android cellphone!  It's just silly.

You want the "Gnome Classic" version, which is NOT running the Gnome shell.  Just delete the .xinitrc file - after the system has defaulted back to running Gnome (not KDE).   But then you will have the stupid bottom bar (called a "panel"), blocking a half inch of screen real-estate. 

My other boxes have this fix applied.   See, the Gnome Tweak-Tool extensions option which lets you supposedly DISABLE the stupid bottom panel (bar) does not work, since Gnome Shell decides that the stupid bottom panel of window lists is a required thing.  But you can just kill it where it lives - but DONT USE YUM to do this, or you will kill Gnome.  The bottom-bar code is in: /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/window-list@gnome-shell-extensions-gcampax.gitlab.com and you can just "rm -r" the whole directory. But it is better to just rename the directory to <same-name>.bak and that will turn off the panel, after you log out and log in again of your session.  (You can restore the window-list bottom panel thing if you want, by renaming it back to what it was)

Almost all the information on the internet about this is wrong or outdated.  You cannot turn off the bottom bar with an Alt-Ctrl-Winkey <right-click> and turning it off using the Gnome-Tweak-Tool does not work.  You have to find the above named directory and delete or rename it.

But once you've done that, you can run Gnome Tweaks, disable the stupid "Hot Corner" feature, and have the bottom-bar gone, and have the "Applications  Places  <current Window Name>" on left side of top-bar, and the date and network/sound/login glyphs on the right-side of the top bar in a Gnome Classic session window, which works in a sane and usable manner (and like the other machines).

What happened is that my main Windows machine blew up a while back, and the power-supply has not been replaced yet.   We are using the Linux boxes all the time now, in mission-critical, high-demand environment, where they are needed, and they must work. 

Tokyo tanked over 1000 points tonite, and we are sweating a few small bullets.   Not sure if we will be forced to begin liquidation tomorrow.   I just really don't like selling into a panic.  It just goes against my nature in a deep and painful way.  But we saw the Financials lose 50% of their value in 2008.  We are a long way from that scenario - but we are tracking toward it at a rate that is disturbing.   Good that I got this box fixed, as we will need it tomorrow.  :/

Oh my...  I just checked the futures.  The DowJones  futures are down over 1200 points, and one newswire story says trading has been halted.   It looks like the silly "circuit breakers" will engage tomorrow, and further scare the crap out of investors and ordinary folks alike.   When markets close during business hours, and you cannot get a price-quote, then is that really a good idea?   If you cannot sell - at any price, because the market is closed when it should be open - what is your portfolio of financial assets really worth?  Pretty close to not much at all, could one not argue or assume?     I don't think markets should ever be closed, just because some rich guys don't like the prices that are being quoted.

We are tracking along my worst-case scenario now.   But hey - I have the computers working again.    This is interesting, I guess - like that old Chinese curse.  We may actually see a meltdown than cannot be fixed by any sort of monetary stimulus.  If your city or province is under quarantine, then that is just that..  A wall of money cannot stop a spreading infection.

[Mar. 08, 2020] - The Curious Behaviour of the Dog in the Night. -  "But the dog did nothing!", said our host.  To which Holmes replied:  "Don't you find that rather curious?"

There are times that doing nothing offers a strategy that can deliver great benefit.  But equally, there are different times, when doing nothing can be both costly and sometimes even quite lethal.  What will historians say about our present times?   Like "Sweet Jane", will they calmly assert: "Those were different times... All the Poets studied 'Rules of Verse', & All the ladies rolled their eyes."?   Or, will they speak of "Too Little, Too Late."?

Unclear.   We went to several stores, shopping yesterday.  We even went to two different ethnic-Asian oriented stores - one was a small Korean shop, and the other was a *very* large and wonderful supermarket, called "T&T", which is very Chinese.   Both were  busy, and many folks had face-masks on at the Chinese supermarket.  We felt a bit exposed and naked, actually.

Later, I wondered about risk, and remembed a scene from a movie about the development of the US atomic bomb - a group of scientists were running an experiment called "tickling the tail of the dragon",  which involved dropping a small sphere of enriched fissile Uranium thru a small ring, made of the same hyper-reactive Uranium metal.   The lab experiment was behind a lead shield, and the scientists were interested in calculating the degree to which  the radiation signature would jump, as the sphere fell thru the ring.   It's a simple calculation, you know the accelleration of the sphere due to gravity, and you know it's mass, so you can determine the delta-t that the sphere is inside the ring, and if your monitoring equipment runs fast enough, you can get the math that describes rise-time in the reaction rate of the chain-reaction, as the Uranium decay reaction moves into the regime of "critical mass", where the chain-reaction becomes super-critical, due to the increase in the neutron flux. 

(I remember playing with this idea, back in grade-six, when we had a teacher who taught us optional lunch-time courses in the technology of nuclear weapons.   We had had gymnasium "duck and cover" drills only 5 years earlier, and I recall wishing that a nuclear war would happen, so our school could be destroyed...  The idea of critical-mass - to me - seemed so amazing and wonderful.   I truly expected we would have nuclear rockets in only a few years.)

But the experiment that the boys on the Manhattan Project were doing, went badly wrong.  In the movie, the little sphere of uranium had grown quite warm, just by virtue of its own high level of radioactivity, and it has slightly expanded in size.  When it was dropped - instead of transiting thru the uranium ring, it got stuck, and sat there.    The reaction began to go super-critical, and began to run away - the whole apparatus glowed with sharp, bright blue light from air-ionization, and one of the scientists - in an act of insane bravery - grabbed a pencil or some object, and ran over, past the shielding, and poked on the sphere to push it thru the ring, thus averting a lab-destroying accident, and the loss of the very valuable experimental enriched uranium.

Then, the scientist rushed to a black-board and began to do calculations.   He had everyone mark exactly where they had been standing, and ordered everyone out.   He began the calculations to determine who had received how much exposure.  Later, with calculations complete, and a diagram of the room on the blackboard, we see everyone assembled.  He turns, looks over, and says:  "Everyone should make it."   And then he says simply:  "I'm dead."     He says they would maybe be ill, but should all be ok.   ANd then he re-iterated: "But I'm dead.  For sure."    And a few days later - as his body swelled up to twice it's size in a fluid-retention bloat that occurs just before death, as the body tries it's last defensive measures to protect it's homeostatic mechanisms - he  was seen by his fellow scientists, being wheeled into intensive care, where he died shortly thereafter.   This story makes great cinema, and it is re-created in several of the films about the Project.    Here is the version from "Fat Man and Little Boy":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ0P7R9CfCY

Turns out, of course, that what I remembered - the filmic version of events - it is not actually true.   There were, in fact, two criticality accidents - and both of these occurred after the bombs had been dropped on Japan, and both were the results of experiments that used neutron reflectors, on a surplus plutonium core.  A video made by some fellow with an annoying British accent, about the actual accidents, is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE8FnsnWz48

Truth is always hard to grab and  hold.  There used to be videos on Youtube that had de-classified US military footage of the scenes from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  These were very interesting and educational, but American and or Google/Youtube censorship efforts have caused these interesting historical videos to be removed.   This censorship stuff is really sad.    Youtube is sadly becoming rather worthless and stupid - like the much of the internet...  :(

I remembered these various fictional and authentic atomic-death scenes as we drove back from shopping for the Asian food we like so much.   But we are not dead, and in fact, I am pretty sure we are all ok.  And will remain so, for quite some time.    It's a funny world.  My mother's cousin actually worked on uranium enrichment R&D at Elliot Lake during WWII.   It was Canadian uranium that supplied much of the material used for US military enrichment activity.   Cousin Lloyd actually built an electronic machine that did first-stage enrichment, by selecting radioactive ore from non-radioactive rock.   After the war, he used this technology, to build a machine that sorted ripe oranges and lemons and such, from non-ripe fruit - substituting photo-electric detectors for the Geiger–Müller scintillation detectors.   (Pretty good trick, given that one had to use 1930's vaccum-tube technology to lash together one's circuit ideas....)

We need to understand that the lethality of an evolved virus, is almost nothing, compared to the power of the weapons we have manufactured to kill each other.    So don't sweat the thunderstorms, eh?   :)

Oh, and of course - please be very careful if you are machining beryllium.  It's fun to mess around with neutron reflectors, but that darn beryllium is terribly toxic.   Beryllium - which is not radioactive at all - is a wonderful metal to make things with - it is 50% stronger than steel, and has only 1/4 the weight - but it is lethal to breathe the dust. 

https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/alerts/a21.php

https://www.americanmachinist.com/machining-cutting/article/21893950/understanding-beryllium

Really, so much of our world is so seriously lethal.  Much more lethal than Covid-19 coronavirus.  You just have to be a little careful, and exercise some simple safely protocols.  That way, you can "Live Long and Prosper."    :)

[Mar. 07, 2020] - Dismal Science. - This has become ugly.  We have to make sure we are not programming a simple negative-damped collapse into our market price-discovery process. (See first slide above).   (I have to be better at catching typos...)

Since Feb. 19th, when the S&P in the USA made it's high, we are now down roughly 12% in the US, and this has vapourized roughly 3.4 *TRILLION* dollars of American wealth.  The market is doing it's job, it appears.

Sadly, these market crashes have to happen, otherwise simple compound growth - after a few generations - would make every family a wealthy billionaire family.  Financial investments would let everyone become rich.  But this *never* happens, since these massive *re-basing* events, where great segments of an economy get just wiped out, are programmed by the harsh reality of our universe, to occur.  There is an ecology to markets, as they are human institutions, and by definition, must reflect human reality.

During the 2008 US Housing-Fraud and related Financial System Meltdown, we watched many financial stocks fall roughly 50%.   This has not happened now, and probably won't.  But any economic growth for this year is probably off the table.  There will likely be a sharp contraction. 

The response from national governments will have to be market-accomodative, but this will not make cancelled business activity magically re-start.   A real fear has entered the world, as the Covid-19 novel coronavirus is remarkably contagious, despite it not being very lethal.

The Bull Market is probably over, and it remains to be seen, just how bad the coming recession will be.  The 12% drop in the S&P, in such a short time frame, is serious, and will not likely be re-traced.  There is *no mechanism* that exists to inject real monetary stimulus, and replace the wealth that has been destroyed.   Government bond-buying, and reductions in financial market interest-rates will do nothing to change the economic reality, for someone who is "working  from home" for a company or business that is suddenly losing large amounts of money. 

Most people finance their debt requirements using VISA cards and such, which typically carry interest rates of 20%.    The low rates set by administrators in political agencies in national capitols have zero impact on ordinary people.   And home-owners already have very low mortgage rates.

Economists and political people like to joke about "helicopter money" - but no such mechanism exists.  There are no helicopters dropping money on cities full of sick people - and there will not be any.   Such talk is foolish and silly.   

The problem with "economic stimulus" is that it only works at the very top level, for the major, money-centre banks and financial institutions.   There is no mechanism for it to get down to the street level, down to small businesses or consumers, or working people.   This is a real problem, because it is this layer of economic agents that actually drive production and consumption.  And this layer is going to go to ground, if it has any sense.   

In China, new car sales are down 90% in February, year over year.  Starbucks in China, reports that recent sales at  it's coffee shops that have been open for at least a year, are down 50%.   In some areas in China, factory activity is reported to be at an absolute stand-still.   Production lines are stopped.  People are at home and are not going out.

A good trader/investor has to have some hard and fast rules related to capital-protection and preservation.   Typically, these *must liquidate* tripwires are around 10% of capital.  Once your risk-asset portfolio is off by 10% or more, there comes a point where you *must* start liquidation. 

If you don't have rules like this - then you risk what happened to people who owned General Motors stock in the USA, or Nortel stock in Canada.  You risk complete destruction of all your capital.

If you lose all your capital, then you are dead.   It's economic death, as sure as the graveyard.  And if one looks at the "graveyard of stocks", one sees a very, very big graveyard.  Most stocks go to zero.  This is not an emotion-driven assertion - this is just a simple, statistical observation.  Most investments crater, given sufficient time.   All the rich Banks of Venice from it's time of prosperity beginning in the 1400's, eventually went bankrupt, and failed.

The key fact here, is that we could see equity markets do a 50% drop - from here.  And one can make this assertion, because this is what we saw in 2008, not that long ago.  What concerns me, is that the 2008 crisis & meltdown was fixable.   You basically just whip up some re-capitalization funding - just print it, if you must -  and inject these funds into the financial system  - and WHAM - like a shot of epinephrine slammed straight into the heart - the banks and the economy sit up, eyes wide open, and ready to rock and roll.  We have the technology.

But a real, honest, fear-driven global event like this Covid-19 viral contagion, presents a different problem, which is not the same as a liquidity-exhaustion financial crash.   My real concern is that maybe this is Mother Nature slapping us in the face, and saying: "Too.  Many.   People."   If that is really what is happening, then we have no economic mechanism to address this scenario.

I notice that Saudi Arabia is starting to begin arrests of members of the "Royal Family".   This is probably too little, too late.   No amount of money will save the Saudi's from the tragedy that will befall them, I suspect.    You can't plug folks into the modern internet communications grid, that lets them see how free people live - and then try to keep them as slaves, wrapped in bags.   Muslim culture is insane and grotesque and anti-human - as is all religion and religious fascism.   Religion is a horrific and tragic stupidity that infects many humans, worse than any virus.  And there may be no solution, other than to nuke the whole Middle East from orbit.  That will never happen, so I don't ever see any solution to the tragic, sad stupidity of religion, and the painful fraud of godism.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51778781

It may be that superstitious humans are fated by circumstance to run through these sad cycles of civil prosperity, followed by tragic and destructive collapse.  Years back, I grew interested in Mayan history, and studied their calendar, and their glyph-language.  I went to Mexico and Tulum and Coba.  I went to Belize and then to Tikal in Guatemala.  I stood at the top of the tallest structure in Tikal and studied the landscape for some time, and was able to see the outlines of the city.  It was shockingly large and sophisticated.  I know exactly what happened to them, and why their civilization collapsed so suddenly and so completely.  It's disturbingly easy to figure it out.   And there are detailed cave paintings far inside their assumed entrance to Xilbalba (their "hell", or underworld) which indicate exactly what happened, and what they tried to do about it.

Stocks eventually go to zero, and civilizations will collapse.  We want it to be different, but it never is, because our world is very small and finite, and the tribal nature of humans makes it clear that we cannot really learn.   If you really study economics, you discover that it's either Ricardo or Malthus.  We can use the genius of Ricardo to make money and get rich - but we still cannot escape the harsh reality of Malthus.  All science becomes dismal, once the conclusions of the research become clear.

The Game of Economic Life:  You can't win.  You can't even break-even.  And you can't quit the Game until you die, at which point, you lose.     Happy Trails!   :)

[Mar. 06, 2020] - Failed Technology as a Guardian Angel? - This is getting just a little bit crazy.  I mean real, hard-core, late-night-science-fiction movie crazy.   Yesterday, at around 3:20 pm I was starting to think maybe it was time to wade in and buy a bit.  Then, our internet provider lost the whole Province.     --- circuits busy if you called the Xplornet land-line contact number.   FInally, after a few tries, I get thru, and get the message "Province-wide outage...  Technicians are working on it... blah blah blah "

Must have been my Guardian Angel (or Daemon?)  Not sure which.  With no internet, we did no buying.  I think this panic is overdone.  But, Today, the Great Viral Meltdown continues.  Think maybe we better stock up on diesel.  

I'm concerned that this robot-driven market (the 3:30 pm algos all came on, and started bidding...) will do more damage eventually, than any virus ever could.   We run the risk of a machine that can oscillate - with essentially negative damping -  and swing with ever-increasing ampltude, until liquidity is exhausted.

The real question is: Will this viral scare, alter forward-looking behaviour for a long time to come?  It might.   Will we have a future of fear and face-masks?   What is the sound of no hands shaking?   Silence, perhaps? 

 [Mar. 05, 2020] - California Is a State of Emergency, No Question. - California just declared a "State of Emergency".  Well, heck, we *all* knew that.  The Democrats in that State just voted for Bernie "I'm Gonna Tax You Up!" Sanders, the self-declared "socialist".   I'll say that's a "State of Emergency", no question whatsoever.   That State has a real serious emergency going on, except it sure isn't "Coronavirus" - it's mentally-defective, hipsters, dipsters and Hollywood-pornographers who knee-jerk vote socialist.   This movie is called: "Tragedy in the Making."

Socialism basically involves taking your economy out behind the barn, and shooting it in the head.  Americans historically knew the truth of this assertion.   Then something went wrong in California.   Sunstroke, maybe?

When people start to vote for that sort of bonehead-stupid leftist policy choices - then I would say "Yup, you have a real emergency shaping up."

The Demos are seriously trying to pump up Coronavirus fear, it's starting to look like.  They want to capitalize on the US prediliction-to-panic, and try to translate that fear into anti-Trump hysteria.  It might work - but it also might backfire very badly.  The American "Tribe" might decide to rally round it's current, angry, sort-of-a-bad-guy Leader, and start to see the virus - which came from offshore - as exactly the kind of threat that Mr. Trump has been warning about. 

It's a bit awful, really - but in a world where you really might actually have infected hoards of virus-carrying refugee wetbacks literally storming your borders, then suddenly the idea of a big wall, to protect your own Homeland, does not seem so silly.   It actually looks rather proactive & prescient.  Right?  Like the kind of unpopular policy idea that a good Leader should actually be promoting?  It's another example of the weirdly hilarious world we live in now.  Trump looks to have been hard right on this wall idea, and the painfully unwise "Waterholes" of the world, look to have been very, very wrong.  

The more the Democrat agents hype the Coronavirus, "OH MY GOD!  WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!  (true, actually).  the more likely people are to vote for Trump.   Hilarious.

[PM Update..]  Prep me, 8 to the bar..:  Ok, so CostCo is doing good.  We have not bot the stock.  We just go there and shop like loons.  Today, we took the F-150 and sorta just backed it up, and loaded it up.  Truly comical, really... running around and buying two of everything we liked. Weather was sunny and lovely - like California, but cold.  Parking lot was full.  No one was eating the free samples.  "Hi.  Wow, looks good!  Does that come with Virus?"    I have always really hated shopping - but at Costco, I am like Homer Simpson...  "Wow!  Look at this!  We *need* this!"  and so on.  Ya get to the check out, and it is "Oh sh/t!  Wow... a big number.  Better use the offshore credit card..."  and so on.

Here is the reprint URL from Barrons:   

https://www.barrons.com/articles/costco-february-same-store-sales-earnings-coronavirus-51583445707?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

I have to say, I like CostCo.   Just what we need, to survive a viral plague...    Well, that and Amazon and AliExpress.   Curious world.   I mean - California has one single death from the Coronavirus, and they declare a "State of Emergency"?   Jeezuz - what will they do, if they get two or may be three deaths?  Will their heads all explode?   Oh my.  The USA used to be the top-dog nation of righteous BSD's.    We love you guys, and are cheering for ya.   What the heck is going on?  Please stop flying the aircraft into the deck.  Double-Plus Ungood Est.

 [Mar. 04, 2020] - The Great Disruption? - We just got part of a shipment of Chinese electronics, and the stuff is impressive.  The boards seem to work, and they do their magic.   We also tried to source some similar technology from an American firm, and they informed us they no longer manufacture the type of things we wanted.  Curious - but the world is a funny place now.

What I suspect may occur, is that there may be some disruption for those who have profited by disruption.   So much of what is available now, is just crap - designed from the outset to fail, and need to be replaced within a few years.   This is economic madness, and creates an economy that resembles what the Japanese call a "bicycle-business" - the metaphor being a man who has to pedal his bike harder and faster every mile, just to stay where he is, as business conditions are out-racing him, if he slacks off for just a minute.

This is a rat-race.  We call the same phenomenon a "rat-race" - the customers - and the business people are little more than lab-rats is a maze, running for their cheese.  There was even an amusing book written several years back, called "Who Moved My Cheese?", which describes the commercial and personal tragedies of those who fail to react to changing conditions.

What if the net effect of our latest little viral disruption - is a collapse of fragile supply-chains?   I recall the awful feeling of horror I felt, when I first read about "just-in-time" inventory strategies, long years ago.  It seems to me absolute foolishness... literally penny-wise, pound-foolishness.

But, when the world is spinning down, you make the best of whats still around...  :)

We just got notified by an importer, that the very last shipment of something we want, is now available.  The Chinese factory is shutting down production - forever - apparently.  Hmmm.

Excuse me - but I need to order some more stuff.   :D

[Mar. 03, 2020] - First, Do No Harm. - This is the first rule "Doctors" are supposed to learn.  They still have a difficulty with it - as do many other professionals.  Economists are no exception. 

Nothing cries out for "intervention" more than a system that is working right, and doing it's job correctly..  It's just hilarious, really.  We used to have a term for the phenomenon:  "The Fiddle Factor".    Technically clever, well-trained people are especially likely to be victims of this malady.  You would get these guys, who would get a really fine-operating, tuned system put at their disposal.  And rather than just use it to make money, or do their job, or make their lives easier - they would start to futz and fiddle with it, until they broke it.   Myself and others who were often responsible for making complex things work right, would see this kind of strange behaviour happen over and over again.

"The Fiddle Factor:"  A guy (almost always a guy) will start messing and fritzing with something that is working fine and well and flawlessly, until he breaks or ruins it.   I've found lots of descriptions of this process in other domains.  A good one is in a real-estate book, called "Winning Through Intimidation" - which is actually a book about how real-estate agents are able to protect themselves from people who will try and avoid paying the real-estate commission that they had contracted - in writing - to pay, if the agent finds them a deal.    The author asserts that once you have got to a deal, don't mess around with it - since "if you mess with it long enough, you will just break it."   Curious and amusing.   And true.

I can't help feeling that this is what Powell just did with his 50 basis point rate cut.   Why?  Things were working fine.  Now, they are not working so fine - the logic being everyone is saying now: "OMG!  It must be *MUCH* worse than we thought!  Let's lighten up & go to cash. "    And the pro-cycllic, trend-following aglos get tripwired, and wheee! - off we go.   Just know this: "Langdon's Law of Leverage:  "Leverage is large and lubricational when the landscape is lovely - but long-term, it's lethal - like life!"   Or the short version: "Leverage Leads to Large Losses".

Low rates stimulate by encouraging leverage expansion.  And leverage expansion in a fear-driven evironment is both ineffective and profoundly dangerous - if it takes and it works, it will probably just amplify the "cost of collapse".   

Modern folks seriously refuse to accept the profound beauty and delightful benefits of a simple "Steady as She Goes" strategy.  They have not had sufficient experience with real storms.  This is an old problem.  The young-bloods beat the drums and shout for "War Now!"  The old grey-bearded warriors quietly point out that war means burning cities - first those of the enemy, then our own.  Even the bravest will grow sad to see the collapse of their homeland.

The Basic rule of Sickness:  If you are ill, take a rest, relax, slow-down, and recover your strength.  You don't want to try to "stimulate" an economy dealing with sickness.   Sickness needs nurses and doctors and medicine and hospitals - not knee-jerk reactive attempts to push processes that perhaps *should* be dialed down and reduced in intensity so that recovery can occur.

The system was already recovering from it's shock, and the Federal Reserve & unwise government people just threw a gernade into the machine room, and a stink-bomb onto the trading floor.

"...with such little wisdom, the world is governed."   :/

[Mar. 02, 2020] - The Curious Cocktail of Algorithmic Trading and a Fear-Driven Market. - This could be the real killer - or maybe it becomes your "poison of choice?".   We are seeing curiously rapid price adjustments in global markets.  This is not unusual or unexpected.  In fact, this actually shows the health and vitality of our commerical process.   We actually have global markets - and these markets are able to accurately reflect human responses.  The price-discovery mechanism is working, and working well.

And the Chinese response to the Covid-19 virual outbreak is aggressive and looks like it is effective.   We are seeing a lot of things working right.  This is very encouraging, despite the sickness and death that this outbreak has caused.   We are *not* seeing death-rates in the tens of thousands, and we *are* seeing significant numbers of people catch the virus, show mild symptoms, and recover completely.

One has to ask the question:   Is this *really* as bad as it first appeared?  It still might be.  The virus could mutate, and adapt.   Once it gets into Africa, where aggressive Chinese control approaches are not possible, what will we see?  But we have seen Ebola and even that terrible illness in the difficult, hot African environment, has shown that it can be controlled.

So there is cause for some relief here. It's too soon to declare the outbreak over - but it appears that a global outbreak at the level of the 1918 influenza epidemic, is looking less likely.  It would be interesting to know if the seasonal influenza immunization shots will be shown to reduce the likelyhood of catching, or the severity of, the Covid-19 infection.

A curious concern now, is that maybe the serious delta in economic activity, will prove to be the most dangerous phenomenon we face - especially as it is combined with an already exhausted  Central-bank driven stimulation strategy.   Interest-rates pushed below zero, combined with severely disrupted supply chains, risks downshifting global economic activity to the level where pro-cyclic algorithmic investment mechanisms could cause markets to just go crazy.

Crazy markets scare investors, and this could cause a pull-back that could become a real, old-fashioned panic.    Again, we expect this is *very* unlikely - but one has to consider the possibility.

We are not going to see 50% death rates in any nation, I am pretty sure.  Not even 5% - given that we are seeing less than 4% lethality among people already infected with the virus.

But we could see a 50% fall in the markets, and in some measures of business activity.   And this is happening at a time when Central Banks have already pushed their stimulus strategies to the zero-bound limit.  

Leverage may be lethal.   And it may do more damage than the virus, if it knocks great chunks of people from the beginnings of prosperity,  down into real poverty.

Everyone should just maintain careful, effective and measured approaches to what they are doing, and also quietly prepare for disruption.  This event again shows the virtue and necessity of maintaining buffer-stocks. and inventory, and of the need for contingency planning.  

A global market-panic and business-activity collapse, could cause more harm than that spead of the virus itself.  We probably want to all do what we can to guard against this sort of ugly outcome.   Perhaps the professional algorithmic investors could dial-down the pro-cyclic "gun for stops" algos that hard-sell into market declines, and market regulators might want to ask the basic question: "Is computer-driven automatic trading really something we should be allowing?" 

I suspect but cannot prove, that many of the algorithmic strategies that are trend-following, are also driving trend amplification - such that one ends up with a fast market running on "automatic", and that this "automatic" mechanism that results looks an awful lot like the Boeing 737 Max-8 "auto-wheel-push-forward" system that has flown two perfectly good aircraft full of people into the deck.  

A fear-driven market, combined with automatic, trend-enhancing computer-trading machinery, seems like a combo that might a bad idea.  We should *not* close the markets ("circuit-breakers" that halt trading are a really stupid idea, and just prevent V-bottoms from happening), but we also don't want to encourage technological foolishness that can destroy the system.  We all benefit from orderly, fair market operation.   We are seeing more and more examples of our modern technology delivering pathological results.  We should identify & fix this nonsense.

Also: Go out and buy something.   Seriously.   Now is a good time to buy something made in China.  We've been ordering electronics, and will probably purchase a new computer, made by Lenovo.  It sounds comical, but it might be true:  Go shopping, and save the world.   :)

[Mar. 01, 2020] - We Knew American Technology Could Not be Trusted.  But Swiss Also? - Anyone who has studied the details of the Intel "AMT" technology (embedded in most Intel CPU chips), or researched the exfiltration features of Apple iPhone, knows that modern American computer technology is not secure.  This is by design.

But the details of the Swiss "Rubicon Project" - in which a corrupted "Swiss" firm - Crypto AG - sold deliberately compromised "Encryption machines" to national governments - which had in-built American "back-doors" - has finally become a public news item.  Folks in the so-called "Intelligence community" knew about this scam for years - just like folks in Canada know that "Project Blarney" and the Ottawa-based "Communications Research Establishment"  has been monitoring and recording all USA-originating overseas telephone calls since the 1970's.  We do it here, and give the recordings to the Americans, because it is technically not  illegal for us to wiretap other nations's communication.  A court-order is of course required to wiretap our own domestic communication - but active wiretaps of  non-Canadian communication is not illegal under Canadian Law.  This sophistry was used to allow the wiretapping restrictions to be circumvented by US spy agencies.  They do ours, we do their's.  Datasets move back and forth.  This should be illegal, of course - and maybe it will be soon.  It will be eventually, if the Americans don't stop being dishonst, murdering gangster thugs.

What was not as well know, was the scam of the Swiss "Crypto" company, which was secretly owned by the CIA and German spy-agency sub-company entities.   The result of this black project ("Project Rubicon", it was known as), allowed national governments and others, to acquire what they thought were secure communication technology - for government and national/legal communication - which in fact had explicit in-built "backdoors" that allowed American (and other, unknown entities) to decode and read - completely - all the supposedly encrypted government diplomatic and other messages.  The Swiss, and their customers - got hacked & fucked - badly.

I've quietly warned friends and clients who cared about "security of communication" for many years that *any* communication carried out on any American-made communication technology, is almost certainly compromised - or at least is subject to being compromised - ie. decrypted and read completely.  This is the mandate of the NSA and the CIA, and they are very effective at operationalizing this mandate.   And the Snowden slideshows proved this to be true, beyond any doubt whatsoever.

But  the news has finally come out that the Swiss technology was also hacked-over and worthless.   Ever since the details of Tuttle's work on "Tuney" became public, and the details of the "Colosus" decrypts became public knowledge - most folks figured out that just about anything can be hacked - even the PGP/GPG stuff, if you have access to the private keys.  And you can get that, just by exfiltration efforts on whatever device is going to be used to read the message.  If the "target" can read it - then the "spy-guy" can read it.   

There is no security of electronic communication.  There just isn't .  People should understand this truth, and deal with this reality.   In some ways, this little news item, shows the existence of a threat that exceeds the level of the coronavirus.   Accept the truth of this or not.  Nothing made in America - and probably most of the rest of the world - can really be trusted to be secure.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-spying-crypto/switzerland-files-criminal-complaint-over-crypto-spying-scandal-idUSKBN20O1VD

[Feb. 29, 2020] - What if Our WCS is Too Modest? - A good analyst always considers things.  And a good trader/speculator - even more so -  is always edit-checking his/her own results against both sanity and reality.  This is both difficult and of critical importance.   Based on the 1918 Flu Epidemic, I've assumed a worst-case scenario (WCS) global die-back of 205 million (based on a 2.77% overall epidemic lethality in 1918).   And what with modern methods of diagnosis and treatment, maybe we cut that number by half - so 100 million dead, as a maximum, worst-case estimate is what remains.  And that was my absolute worst-case scenario for a Coronavirus plague.

But what if this is just plain wrong?  What factors could make it wrong?  What if the 6 standard-deviation worst-case event-cost in this case, is actually much higher?    Could it be 500 million?  Could it be a billion?  Could it be more?  Most of the extreme-scenario population-blooms and rapid-diebacks - typical of insect populations, for example - are probably not applicable to mammals or humans, based on radically different fecundity rates (human females do not have 5000 live offspring, like insects are capable of), and insect and other rapid blooming / rapid declining populations (red-tides, plankton or algae blooms) are also usually taken down by having outstripped their food supply.  Again, not likely applicable to human populations - at least not for quite a while yet.  So you just can't take the animal population models and the ecology models, and apply them to human populations.  Humans react and respond.  Humans change things.  They adapt and adjust, and they typically do so pretty quickly.

But that does not mean that global population might not get hit badly.  Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. 

See, I am pretty sure that - grim and scary as it may sound - we, the citizens of Earth here - could quite comfortably handle a 200 million-person epidemic-driven dieback.  It would be a bad time for a while - but it would not really change things too much.  Our economic and political institutions would survive.   It is actually - honestly - a shock we could absorb without too much dislocation or economic trauma.   So, I looked at this as the worst-case possible scenario for the Covid-19 coronavirus.  We might see another 10 or even 20 percent drop in the global equity markets - but again, this would be manageable and not really change things too much - it would be painful - but it would be something we could all track thru, and come out the other side of, without really too much changing.

But if we lost 1 or 2 billion from the global population, say within the next three years -  that would be a quite different scenario.  That scenario could - and probably would - seriously change things.  We would have a very different world, and selling into these falling markets, and using the funds to acquire facilities to mitigate the costs of living in that different world - that is not irrational behaviour, one could argue. 

Now, let me be clear - I do *not* expect this at all.  This is extremely unlikely.  But I began to wonder if maybe the probability of this kind of hyper-extreme scenario might not be zero.  

Should we peg the absolute worse-case scenario for a modern plague at more than 200 million dead?  China could absorb 20 million dead without much change in anything other than their growth rate.  But 200 million dead in just China alone - that would really change things.  If a death rate like that, was matched with maybe another 300 to 500 million virus-caused deaths outside of China, then we might have a different world result.  And if the number of deaths reaches into the billions - what then?   How much changes then?  Quite a lot, no doubt. 

There actually are examples of something like this, we can look at.  The "Black Death" in Europe, which began in the late 1340's, and lasted for almost a decade, was something at this level.  Some estimates suggest 60 percent of the European population was killed.  Entire towns and surrounding farming settlements were completely wiped out.  Urban populations fell in half - or worse.  Death was everywhere, and this fact is reflected in the artwork of the period. 

The historical record exists, and it can be consulted.

Explicit, detailed, eyewitness accounts in many areas describe death rates so high, that it became difficult to bury the bodies.   Mass graves were dug - but the few remaining who were strong enough to work, did not dig very deep, and animals typically dug up the shallow graves and feasted on the rotting corpses - perhaps contributing to the spread of the lethal bacteria.

Again, let me be very clear - I do not at all expect anything of this magnitude from the Coronavirus.  But it is interesting that there is a detailed, confirmable, well-documented example in the historical record, of an epidemic death-rate that exceeded 50% of a very large, trans-national population.  

And what this tells me - as a scientist and an economist - is that perhaps a "worst-case" scenario of 200 million dead from a globe-spanning virual plague, is perhaps too low.   We could absorb a 200-million-deaths scenario without too much changing.  But a global death-rate scenario that even does only *half* the level that the "Black Death" did in Europe in the 1350's -  would take us to greater than 2 billion dead - and this would almost certainly cause profound and signifcant changes in economics and political organization, for those who survive.

But we don't expect this.  We added to our positions on Friday.   No dancing with Mr. D just yet... ๐Ÿ˜Ž

[Feb. 28, 2020] - Fel Temp Reparatio - This means: "Happy Times will Return", I think.  It's the inscription on an ancient Roman coin I acquired.  The image shows a Roman soldier, armed with a long lance, spearing a Persian invader, who is mounted on a horse - and the using a magical new invention - the "stirrup", which gives the horse-rider (calvary soldier), a pretty big advantage, especially if he want to shoot an arrow from a bow, or swing a sword while in motion.

But the Roman emperor was suggesting: "No problem, we will triumph.  Happy times will return."  The coin was made in Cyzicus, I believe, which is now in modern-day Turkey.  And this was the "Eastern" Roman Empire - which was actually a long way from the city of Rome.

Will happy times return for us?  Or are we on the cusp of a meltdown of biblical proportions?  I suspect we won't be blowing up the world just yet.  We've added to two different positions, since stocks are getting pretty cheap. 

[Feb. 27, 2020] - Nexus of the Crisis - And the Origin of Storms?  Not sure about that, but we are all certainly standing with our feet in it.  We remain long, and will be adding to positions, if this continues.  The obvious response here by State Authorities will be to introduce more inflation-making strategies - push out free money and such - but it is not possible to drive interest rates much lower, without really messing up the operation of the financial system. 

Negative rates will just beat the stuffing out of savers and rational investors, and degrade the operational characteristics of money itself.  We are already at the point were there is danger of damage being done to the fundamental economic model, from too-much-for-tool-long "stimulus".

But since governments are pretty much out of economic ammo here, I suspect they will continue to do what they know how to do.  No one ever changes their models in mid-stream, do they?

Like when Admiral Doenitz had that meeting, where he and his top staff knew the U-Boat war was lost, and they had a meeting to decide what they should do.  As good, courageous military fellows, they decided to keep on with campaign, even though their information-channels all made it very clear, that their cause was hopeless, and Germany would lose the war.  People almost never reverse or even much alter course, during a crisis.   And this leads me to remain long, even as our losses mount, since the reactive-response will likely be one of further "stimulus" application.   What else can governments do?  People are born, they live, and then they die.  But capital can move from generation to generation, and with luck and careful management, it can even grow.

It is the economy, and human economic freedom, that brings prosperity and power to a nation and a people.   And stimulus works, and so does economic freedom.  The governments of the world will have no choice but to maintain or enhance monetary and other forms of stimulus.

The Great Flu Epidemic, ("Spanish Flu" and other such names), was serious.  It took out between 20 and 50 million people worldwide - but we don't know for sure, since there were inadequate public health records.  Both my grandparents had it - and each almost died.  My father related how they survived only because first one got sick, and then recovered a bit, before the other fell seriously ill - so sick and weak, they were unable to even move for several days.  Each nursed the other back to health.   What happens, is that your lungs fill with fluid, and you have to keep coughing - violently - to remove the fluid, else you die from lack of air.  If you don't get sufficient nutrients, during a terrible virual lung infection, you weaken so much, than you cannot maintain respiration - you don't have sufficient strength to continue breathing.

The lungs fill with fluid, as this is the immune-system response that the body uses, so it can be effective in killing the invading virus particles in lung airways.  The new Covid-19 coronavirus is particularly nasty, since the glycoproteins on the end of it's "corona" filaments, have a clever trick that involves part of the cell-binding protein swinging like a door on a hinge.  This makes the Covid-19 virus about 10 to 20 times *more* effective at binding to the ACE-2 cell material that it links to (technically: Receptor Binding Domain), than the SARS virus was.  The new Coronavirus is both more contagious and more lethal than SARS or MERS was, as a result.  [Data from article in Science.  I'll post URL link later]

But the 1918 Flu, gave way to the runaway 1920's.   After a big plague, and a high dieback rate, you typically get an economic boom.   But beware - global population could be hit with a dieback of 50 to 100 million from this virus, and percentage-wise, this death rate might still be lower than that of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic. 

So, here is the back-of-the-envelope analysis:  50 million out of a 1918 global population of 1.8 billion, imples a 2.77% rate of dieback, and if we apply the same 2.77 percent kill-rate to our world with an 7.4 billion global population, then we get a total number killed of 205 million.  Let's say new technology, plus modern public health strategies cut that 50%, maybe we only get 100 million, tops.  But that number will be disruptive, I suspect.  

Stay cool, and stay safe.

[Feb. 26, 2020] - Nos Tempestate Detentus Est - ...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5BmEGm-mraE

[Feb. 25, 2020] - Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition - It is good that the Chinese are learning to tell the truth, and openly publish reasonably accurate numbers about things.  Their President Xi has admitted the country is "in crisis", and it is.  This honesty is a good and wise thing, and will probably save them.  Now, if they can just learn the concept of a "Loyal Opposition".   This is a rather curious and quite difficult concept for Asians to accept and understand.  It really is one of the really great, genius inventions of the world, like the "Wheel" and the "Clock" and Arabic numbers and electricity and nuclear energy.  

Most people have real trouble with this concept - that you can be aggressively in opposition to the actions of the current government - yet retain a fierce loyalty to the legalistic, structural characteristics of your government and it's process and praxis.   Like all really world-changing inventions, this one was discovered by accident.  The Brits had had a really ugly civil war, and a bunch of religious fanactics had taken over the government.  Once these god-lie promoters and "pikers" had finally been defeated, the brother of the murdered King, was asked if he wanted to come over to London, and be the "King of the Briton's." 

Imagine the conversation! - "Yo ho, Charles!  How would you like to come over to lovely London, and be our King?"  Charles probably replied something like: "Why don't you fuck off?  You cut off my brother's head, and put it on a 50-foot pole, outside of your corrupt "Parliament".  Just go the fuck away"   To which our good Representative might have said:  "Oh we are terribly sad about tthat.  It was the other guy's that did that - those crazy religious nutjobs who don't believe in drinking or dancing or having any fun.   We're going to send them all to the "New World", where they can freeze and starve and die."

Charles: "Ok, so then you will take my brother's head down from that pole, and give his corpse a proper burial, with State honours, and apologize for the rude actions of your insane fellow countrymen?"    English Representative:  "Oh yes, of course.  And we want you to be our King.  You can do whatever you want.   The only restriction is that the *new* Parliament, will control all the money, and the taxing authority.  We put one of our science-guys in charge of the gold and mint and the coining of money and such.  But you can be King of the People! "

Charles: "Your people are mostly poor, almost all crazy, drink too much, like to fight *way* too much, tell really awful jokes and are quite astonishingly sinful and sexually-excited much of the time...."  English Representative: "Well, yes, that's true...."   Charles: "Well, Ok.  Sure, I'll be your King.  Sound's like fun, actually...!"

And so, the "Restoration" happened.  And from all historical accounts, it was a fine and good thing - except that London burned down - but there is a true story, of the King, right out there in the streets, helping the fire-fighters and the citizens of London, work to contain and put out the fire.   Oh, and there was a plague also, and a lot of people died.

But this curious and unique idea was born - since the English Parliament - which now had to actually argue and debate and decide how the taxes would be levied, and the money spent, and the affairs of the country managed - found itself with a new freedom of action.  But with freedom, comes responsibility to make things happen in some sort of sensible and effective way.   Political groups - real actual representatives from real actual different groups of people in the country, had to figure out how to get stuff done.  They created a real, working democracy, where the different groups would all say how loyal they were to the King - as the representative and personification of the English nation - but they would shout and scream at each other in the House, as they debated about *money* - like most people typically do.

And so, the concept of Political Parties was born, and these "Parties" (a legal term, actually), could honestly insist they were absolutely loyal to the King, but in fierce disagreement with what the "Government" was trying to do.  And in order to prevent fist-fights in Parliament, it was necessary to establish "Rules of Order", so that fighting could be done with words and ideas, instead of fists and swords.  

Now this crazy model for running a Nation actually works pretty good.  It's not great, and in times of war or great crisis - a leader can still assume emergency power - but not forever.  And the use of "elections" to select the various representatives that would go to Parliament, turned out to be a really good idea, since it meant that different ideas from different groups, could be actively discussed and debated, and this allowed the possibility that sometimes, a wise and sensible decsion could be made.  It didn't always happen.  But it raised the probability that  in the fierce debates in Parliament, someone might actually have a good idea, and this good idea could have a chance to become national policy, and be implemented.

The King was left free to have a bit of fun, and, as it turns out, so was the nation and the people.  The English "Restoration" was the event that let the modern world be created, and also allowed a tiny, bankrupt nation like England rise quickly in wealth, status and power, and pretty much dominate the world.  Freedom - especially economic freedom - turns out to be a *really* good idea.  

But you really *need* that idea of a "Loyal Opposition" - like in a Law Court, where each side can be fierce in it's arguments and can pull forth facts that surround disputed events.  The Judge and/or the Jury, get to hear as much information and as many interpretations, as they can.   This improves the chances that the Rashamon-problem can be avoided - where everyone only see's what their own beliefs let them see.  You really need an adversarial process, to have any real chance of learning the truth, when facts are in dispute, and people disagree.  But if you can get to the truth, then you raise up the chance that  a wise decision can be taken.

They have figured this out in Taiwan.   And it sort-of works in Japan.   Now it is China's turn.  It's important for every national government to see that criticism - especially from patriots loyal to the nation - is part of a nation's *strength*.  A "Loyal Opposition", debating government policy in an open Parliament of elected representatives, following fair "Rules of Order", makes for a strong, free, and prosperous people, who can weather any crisis and survive any storm.

[Comic-Relief Editorial:  Just learned what those weird Romanji glyphs "[RoHS]" that I kept seeing on my electronics orders mean: "Restriction of Hazardous Substances"!   (More stupid Euro-Nazi nonsense, of course!)   I laughed so hard.  Guess that means I might start having trouble ordering the purex I need for the reactor, eh?...  :)    Oh, heck.  How will we keep the cyclotron and the time-portal running?   But seriously, are we not going just a little too far here?  I made rocket-fuel, nitrogen tri-iodide, nitro-celluose, and about 10 other interesting compounds - to launch our rockets with - when I was a tiny child.  We used raw mercury, potassium nitrate and a ton of other stuff that probably even adults can't acquire today.  We took precautions, and understood about dangerous stuff.   What a silly world now.   The "Safety Nazis" are killing us, really.  Kids are supposed to be able to experiment with dangerous stuff.  We all are.  Much better, for us to restrict "socialist politicians", than lead solder!   :D  The key is to dispose of it correctly, not just ban the ability to access it.  

https://www.weasyl.com/~tiido/submissions/1031734/cat-month-fuck-rohs-8-31  ]

[Feb. 24, 2020] - Quantitative Sneezing, Coughing, Weezing... - Trump is in India.  Markets are in the toilet.  Optimists are in denial.  World is in trouble.   Or maybe not - but we all might have a rough ride for a spell. 

Corona virus looks like it has now been spread thru Toronto, due to absense of any quarantine efforts here - near as I can tell.  News reports indicate a women arrived from China, at Toronto Airport on Feb. 21st, and went to a hospital, with a bad cough. She tested positive to COVID-19, so Toronto is now infected, it looks like.  I can't get the total virus numbers for Canada, and we have no real medical services in many areas now, since we have a truly awful "socialist" health-care model here.  If you can't get yourself to a clinic (there really are very frew that even have doctors now)  or a hospital emergency room - then you can just f**k-off and die, is pretty much how it works here.    Unless you have had a heart-attack, and are unconcious, or dead on the floor, there is really little in the way of medical options for us here.   This is generally a good thing, as avoiding doctors tends to keep people healthy.   But in times of plague and such, this might not be that wise.   

There used to be "family doctors" - but now, there aren't any - or the few that do exist, don't really see patients - they mostly focus on in-office strategies that allow them to invoice the Provincial Health Insurance scheme, and do very little real hands-on "doctoring".   This is really different than what it used to be, back before "medicare-for-all" was introduced here.   Once we got "free" health care, the doctors *all* stopped making any sort of house-calls.  So what we have now is a "denial-of-service" health-care model.  It creates the "illusion" of medical services, without anyone actually having to deal with or even really, touch - sick people.  It's pretty funny, really.

So, people just get sick and then die at home now.   And thus for us, the coronavirus really won't make much difference, since we are all pretty much used to not having any access to doctors or medical care outside of the crowded, virus-infested hospitals.   In the hospitals in Ontario and Quebec, they have had this nasty, recurring viral infection called "C-difficult" - because, hey, it is a difficult infection to get rid of.    As the doctors (and others) make their rounds from patient-to-patient in the crowded hospitals, they transmit the virus from one person to the next.  This is really true, I am not kidding.  It is so awful here, it's just a comedy-show.   But the folks who actually survive and grow up in Canada, have pretty strong immune systems, as a consequence!  :)

Folks in many parts of the Third World actually get better health care, and have more effective access to medical services, than we now do in many parts of Canada.  It's really strange - but in a black-comedy kind of way.  I could write 50 pages on how useless and ineffective our socialist health-care model is - but it's just wasted effort.  Just try not to catch the coronavirus.  It looks like it's a pretty fierce virus, and the associated pnemonic reaction (lungs fill with fluid, as the body tries to defeat the invader), is very serious, and you will probably need oxygen, just to breathe.  Good luck.

And keep your sense of humor.   Remember, no matter how bad it gets...  it can always get worse!   But at some point, it can't get worse.  And very soon after that point, nothing will matter at all.   So, as Warren Zevon pointed out, make sure you enjoy every sandwich.      :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hl9Tw2GzvA

[Feb. 23, 2020] - Printer's Devil - We can print from the Z80.  Got a couple of little BASIC programs working that can accept input from, and write output to, the 2nd serial port on the Z80 correctly now, by looking at the status of the control-port for the serial port.  This lets serial communication work at *much* faster speeds, without the data being scrambled or overrun. With this fix, I can drive a printer correctly from the Z80.

Posted video of the Z80 "NorthStar" board at top, showing the little computer accepting a "matrix definition runfile" as input, doing a matrix multiply, and writing out a product matrix to an old-school mechanical "Diablo" daisywheel printer.  ( "Diablo" means "Devil" in Spanish..)

Devil printing history:  Printing has always had *sinister* connotations and associations.  The term "Printer's Devil" has various meanings - from describing daemons that haunted print-shops (and created typographic errors), to the workers themselves.  Lead type, when no longer usable, was thrown into the "hellbox", to be melted down, and re-cast.  The first book printed when the first printing presses were invented - was the Bible, since it sold well, and for high prices.  But this action disrupted (broke completely, actually) the monopoly of the Catholic Church, and Bible-printing was at first characterized as a sinful act. 

Printing was the *internet* of the Middle Ages - and was partly responsible for creating the modern world.  In the early 1400's, the best estimates suggest there were at most 30,000 books in Europe.  Scriptoriums were kept locked.  By 1500 (the printing press was invented around 1450), best estimates suggest there were between 8 and 9 *million* books in existence in Europe.   If you had any money, you had a library, as knowledge - combined with wise action - could bring wealth, power, influence and success - just like it does to this day.   The Devil may or may not wear Prada, but he (or she?) will probably have a printer.  And so will the Priest, the Vicar, the General and the Politician.    :)

[Feb. 21, 2020] - Beware the Rate of Change of Change - Don't get killed by a 2nd derivative.  And if you're in school, make sure to go to *all* your math classes - and really *learn* your math and science and philosophy.  Hack with it and play with it, and mess with it, until you make it your own thing, and understand it like Gauss and Newton did.   Oh, and the best advice you will ever get: "Go to the Original Source!"  Avoid stuff written by lightweights, and shun textbooks if you can.  Try to get your hands on original work, written by people who changed things.  Look for the baseline, canonical documents on any topic you have to master.  You will learn and progress much faster, than if you try to read "textbooks".  Know the truth of this.

See, that original stuff will be written by people who really want to be understood.  They want their new idea to be looked at, so they write clearly.  Later "derivative" publications will be written by people who want to impress everyone with how clever they are, so they will bury their trivial ideas under a mountain of dense, incomprehensible data-vomit, so they look wise, and get tenure.   Arrogant lightweights *alway* get tenure, because they are politically astute, and easy to control, so organizations of any kind like them, since they make compliant, obedient servants.

But your task, is to become a master, not a servant.   But realize of course, that the best course of teaching for a master, is to first be a helpful, and effective servant.  It's a paradox.  In the military, they carefully teach young lads, that before you can *give* orders, you first have to learn to *take* orders.   For this modern generation of "little emperors", this is a difficult course of study, no question.    And the "times they are a changin' ... back!"   :)

[Feb. 20, 2020] - Steam Punk Tech - Real Steam-Punk tech here - "Rustic Doings", perhaps as Hamlet would say... Tried to buy some old memory chips on a stick yesterday - the modern ones are DDR3 and such - several gigabytes per small board - but the one I wanted was 128 megabytes - which is actual called "SDR", which is a generation before DDR1.  Truly hilarious.  The lad at the computer store was so impressed - that he took a picture of my "Bad" memory board with his iPhone.  I suppose it's like being a salesguy at a GM dealer, back in the late '80's - and some guy comes in with a 1959 Corvette, and wants to get some parts for the fuel-injection system.

It's interesting how stuff is designed to fail now - nothing is supposed to last beyod five years.  If we do get into on of these apocolypse scenarios, and world trade collapeses, and supply-chains all break - then older technology - the stuff you can fix yourself, or build yourself with a soldering iron - will become very fashionable, no doubt.  

It might not be "Ghost Fleet" at all.  Maybe the future will be more like the "Mary Celeste".   :)

But I think not.  And yet, with a wind-generator, and some solar-panels, I'll be able to spool up the lithium-ion cells on the Cybertruck, and visit the local merchant - who will probably use .223 primers as currency, if he (or she?) is not using gold-backed Bitcoin.  We'll need some materiel to take with us, when we go to visit our friends who live near the edge of the "Chicago Crater".   ff we're lucky, we'll get coverage from the "Elonet" most of the way, so we can monitor sitreps, and avoid any serious roverpack flash-clusters along the way.  

Oh got to mention this - so retro-cool:   I built "C-Kermit" from source, which is still available from Columbia University - bravo guys.  It's really bloody good software - it even has "ssh" which surprised me.  Here is a cool trick.  Hack the "makefile", and if building for Linux (why would you *not* be?), find the block with label "linuxa:", which is standard, generic Linux.  Insert in the string of compiler-flags for "cc" the parameter:  "-DNOUUCP \"  (the backslash just means you put this on it's own line, the "\" is the line=continuation character, of course).

Anyway, the "-DNOUUCP" compiler flag says to build "C-Kermit" without the UUCP and other LOCKFILE stuff, so you can use C-Kermit for simultaneous access to the serial device (typically something like "/dev/ttyS1" or maybe "/dev/ttyS0" and such).  This way, you can use a shell-script or a Fortran program or whatever, to send something to the serial port, and *also" have a C-Kermit session-window running, so you can watch the action using Kermit.  If you are connecting to a Raspberry Pi, or an Arduino or even perhaps a "NorthStar Z80" (**SELF PROMOTE!!!**), then you can avoid the nonsense of "lockfiles", which are used in multi-user environments, to prevent multiple users grabbing the serial port.  (Are there *any* multi-user environments left anywhere?  Everything is virtual Docker boxes of AWS drecksites, right? Meh.)

C-Kermit is actually an amazingly good program - way better and more useful, than "minicom" and "screen" and such.  Go forward, avoid the "cloud", and stay in control of yer own stuff!

Like that line from the "CannonBall Rally" - "What'sa behind me, don't matter!"   :D

[Feb. 17, 2020] - Soft Where? - Gentlemen, we can rebuild him!  Make him *better* than he was!.  (Well, maybe not..)  But we do have the Z80 NorthStar working with BASIC in the ROM now, and so you can just switch the board on, and enter "B" on the "terminal", and you get to the interpreter!  So, we now have an educational tool that really works!  :)

[Feb. 15, 2020] - Murder Games.  There is a video of the immediate aftermath of the American drone strike that killed Iranain General Soleimani, and Iraqi military leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and four other people.  It makes chilling viewing, and looks like any other ugly, violent terrorist attack - burning wreckage, flames, the smashed parts of automobiles and body panels - as well as human body parts - all lying on a highway leading into town from a modern, international airport.

This story dropped from the news-cycle pretty quickly, given the nature of the American media - but I was impressed that the video was recently aired on Japanese TV, by their national broadcaster.  

We make a grave mistake by censoring violent images.  Hollywood profits from the pornography of violence, but the true images and sounds of violence - the Chicago "St. Valentines Day Massacre", or the drone strike that killed Soliemani, or the audio recordings of Khashoggi being carved up by the Saudi Government Agents - show us what "gangsterism" really looks like.   It is ugly and grotesque - and remarkably common.  But it reaches its most impressive extreme, when State actors are the authors of the horror.

Private folks can only kill so many - but State agents can kill millions.  And they can sanitize their crimes with effective media lies and clever, scientifically designed propaganda.

It is important that people see and study propaganda - they need to see why and how it can be so remarkably effective.  The American "Justice" Department charges Chinese technology company Huawei with "racketeering" - under a legal definition and law designed to stop violent gangsters - but ignores the appalling crimes of pre-meditated murder, carried out by it's own State agents - and explicitly authorized by it's corrupt and deeply dishonest President.   This is so astonishing and amazingly awful, it is almost comical.  "The Trump Show!" - and the tag-line: "You're Killed!"

Why would any nation, anywhere, allow an American military base to exist on it's territory?   The answer to that question is pretty simple.  When you have a gun pointed at your head by cruel gangsters, with a proven history of extreme violence - you generally comply with the requests that are made, yes?  

Is America just a "gangster nation" now?   It is becoming difficult to see it as really very much less.  They have these law schools, and there are people who talk and write about "law" and there are lots of court-rooms and many people in jail.  But the truth of America and the history of America - is violence, and violent, murderous armed conflict with just about everyone, everywhere.   War and murder have defined the USA, more than anything.  Americans are a nation of effective and determined killers.   But they still have laws, don't they?

But any good scientist and historian has to ask the question:  What generally happens to nations of this sort?   How long can warfare and violence sustain and maintain you?

See, if America can argue - and it now does - that it has the legal right to commit targeted murder of people in foreign lands, as part of it's "defense",  then this legal right has to extend to the nations whose citizens have been attacked and killed by American military and other American State agents.   They must also have the legal right to defend themselves against American murder machines.  And the nature of their "defense" has to be equally far-reaching.

There actually is such a thing as "International Law", although some might argue that this is nonsense - that there is no law between nations - and that the "world is a dangerous back alley", as one specialist characterized it to me.   But since the First World War, international law has been asserted as being a real thing.

But whether by law - and "rules" of IAC ("International Armed Conflict") - or simply by the more basic philosophical principle of "what works for you, can work for me also", the murder of Soleimani and al-Muhandis sets a profoundly dangerous situation in motion.

By the rules of IAC, by law, and by principles of natural justice (Simply: "If you reach out and put six of mine in the morgue, I will do the same, or greater"), it seems pretty clear, that targeted strikes on American military and Government officials are now legal and appropriate actions for nations engaged in "defense" to undertake.    HIstorically, this sort of targeted killing is characterized as "terrorism".  But as a scientist and social analyst, one has to see it is just not possible to call it "terrorism" any more.  There is no intent to terrorize.  There is no focus on public opinion or even a sense of anger.   This is now seen as simple "defense".    You kill the other guy's top people as a simple, planned, cold-blooded strategic objective, without any desire or intent to create a sense of "terror" anywhere.

Now this is a problem.    This is a very bad idea, for very many reasons, and it is why Kings and Leaders throughout history, have avoided killing each other, and even avoided killing the family members of the "royal"  top people.  The Romans understood this, the Kings and leaders of Europe understood this, and even the Nazis respected the international laws around the treatment of downed airmen during World War Two.

Let me be clear here:  Trump crossed a very big, and very wide "Rubicon", when he ordered the killing of Soleimani.  Two outcomes are possible:  1) He is a murderer, and by all that is lawful, he should face a charge of murder in open court.  Or 2) This was a legal act of "defense" by America, despite it taking place in Iraq.

But if number 2) above is really true, then the same right - and perhaps even the same legal obligation - has to be accorded to Iran.  That nation has to have the same legal right of defense, and perhaps even an obligation, to "defend" itself, by taking equivalent action against senior Americans, of similar rank and status, or against anyone it deems a clear and present threat to it's national security.  

And what is interesting, is that the "rules of armed conflict" and "international law' (if such a thing really exists), make some sort of Iranian "defensive" action, virtually "mandatory", if the second option indicated above, really is true.

I don't believe the second option is true.  And if that is the case, then Mr. Trump is as guilty of murder as Al Capone was.

If Trump travels outside of the USA, then I look forward to his arrest for the crime of murder.

The alternative, is a world where assassination and "targeted killings" become standard operating procedure.  We will have defeated "terrorism", and replaced it with something that is very much worse.

Trump needs to be prosecuted for the crime of murdering Iranian General Soleimani.  He may be acquitted again, but the prosecution should be undertaken.  The alternative is to establish an absolute legal foundation for targeted assassination as a legal and legitimate political tool, under the rules of armed conflict.  If this occurs, then the world tracks forward to an almost certain mass-conflict.

There is even a much more sinister potential outcome here.  We track far forward in time, and a significant assault is successfully undertaken by the World, against what is seen as a violent, corrupt and degraded America.  The future historians write it all up - with the 9/11 attacks seen as a correct beginning to the necessary efforts to take down and destroy the violent "Monster" of America.  The whole beautiful American experiment ends in complete failure, and the North American land-mass is pock-marked with curious, "no-go" zones of rancid lakes, a strange unhealthfulness, and many mutated and deformed creatures.

Mr. Trump's unwise actions, may be programming the perfect future American nightmare.

[Feb. 14, 2020] - Watching the Failure & Fraud of American "Justice".   Wow, the United States "Justice"  Department is a deeply broken organ.  They are basically just making shit up now, and throwing it at the world, to see if anything will stick.   They look like a bunch of desperate, evil clowns.  It's really sad to see.   They are acting like abusive, political gangsters.

Don't take my word for it.  Google the name of the fatboy that now runs the place, and the first hit that had any information that was not puffery and flag-waving, was this:

https://www.justsecurity.org/68422/william-barr-a-failed-attorney-general-unfit-to-serve/

"Unfit to serve".  Sorta says it all, no?  It's not like it's just us folks in Canada saying this.   Barr says he won't be bullied.  Well, listen up, fatboy:  The Whole Rest of the World feels pretty much the same way about the "Justice" Department that you work for.  We are growing very tired of American bullies.  Why the don't you just resign and go golfing or something?

What would Ben Franklin say, if he could see the clown-show of fraud and failure that is Washington now?  Trump is bad, the Democrats are even worse, and the old, noble US Institutions that were meant to safeguard and protect an emerging Nation with grand ideals and great plans, have been subverted by vicious political hacks, bent on assault and revenge, and little else. 

[Feb. 12, 2020] - The Machinery of Freedom is Broken. - Oh my - I watched Bernie Sanders win New Hampshire, and Chuck Schumer have kittens because Trump tweats about the put-up job against Roger Stone.   The US "Justice" Department is rather like the "Ministry of Truth", isn't it?   It seems to be a place where political hacks generate injustice, doesn't it?    The whole US government-legal apparatus seems to look a lot like that Saudi Hit Squad that murdered Khashoggi.  They just go after people, and try to take them down - for political reasons.  Trump was right - the sentance of 9 years for Stone was crazy harsh and abusively outrageous - but so is much of the other nonsense that the American Government-Legal machinery doing.

The idiotic and illegal arrest of the daughter of the founder of Huawei - and the Company's Chief Financial Officer -  at the Vancouver Airport in December 2018, is another example of the  *very bad behaviour* by the US "Justice" Department.   Because we have a deeply unfortunate and rather poorly written Extradition Treaty with the Americans, and because we actually and really are a "Rule of Law" country here, we had to assist in the arrest of Meng Wanzhao.  

A politically-motivated "Airport Arrest" of someone like this is clearly and explicitly contrary to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects private citizens from this sort of abusive Government political practice.   And it is sad, and deeply embarrassing to the World, that our little Mr. Trudeau, does not simply demand that she be released.  He argues he cannot interfere in the actions of the Courts, but there are many actions he could take to correct this nasty and abusive action that the political *Hit Squads* of the US Justice Department have taken.

The American Government - under both Trump and Obama - seems determined to lick the boots of the Saudi murder-men, and give active assistance to the racist and abusive criminal Israeli's in their missions of conquest and violence - and not even the American political leaders can stop this drift towards tragedy and foolishness. 

And this is because the real power in America, exists inside it's corrupt and abusive institutions and the machinery of it's political organs in Washington.    This of course, is a governance problem in every nation.  Faceless, nameless angry and powerful men (and women) inside powerful institutions, take aim at political foes, or are players in a shadow-game of political cat-kill-mouse, and they can reach out with their stiff little fingers, and hurt and degrade anyone they want.  

Every nation has this problem - because all really *evil* decisions are made in Committee, like the "Wannsee Conference" cleverly illustrated.

And the clever political leaders are thus given cover, and can maintain "plausable deniability" - and honestly say they did not really know what was going on.

I think it's time this shit stopped.   It's easy to fix software and hardware that does not work right.  But we all have to work a bit harder at our tasks, when the wetware of the World, is so badly broken.  

And I don't think that Bernie Sanders, or even Mr. Trump himself are going to be much use in getting this job done.     Real, and honest, active reform, is needed.  The powerful, deep, secret and abusively illegal groups and organs operating within the State Agencies and apparatus of Government machinery, need to be removed, and the Machinery of Freedom, repaired. 

[Feb. 11, 2020] - The Fix for Git. - Ah, got it.  As mentioned, the "Git" client was not working on my older, home-built, custom Linux, which runs on various 32-bit boxes and laptops.  I figured out why, and made the fix.  Git client does not use "Wget" to scarf data from websites, it uses "curl", and the curl on the 32-bit boxes was version 7.20, and was using OpenSSL 0.9.8.  I got the very latest Git and "curl", and build the "curl" using GnuTLS, instead of OpenSSL 1.1.0x, since OpenSSL was still trying to link against the old version, it seemed.  The latest OpenSSL libs were in /usr/lib, but "curl" version 7.68 would not build.  So, I used configure parm changes for the ./configure for curl, and built it with "gnuTLS" (with it's "Nettle" and "Hogweed" security and encryption libraries).

And now I can "git pull " against public (and our own!) software repositories!

Here is the detailed note if you are curious:

==========================================================================
'Git' Client - How to Build it from Source on a 32-bit Linux machine     - Feb. 11, 2020

I Kept working on this, got latest source, and FIXED IT myself, once I confirmed that
a new "curl" version was needed, which can support the TLS-1.2 protocol.
==========================================================================

Here is the trick:  The "Git" client stuff does *not* use Wget, it uses CURL or "curl",
which was still using the old "OpenSSL" stuff on my Linux box.   

I removed all my $PATH stuff, and just used a simple PATH environment variable of
the following:

      export PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin:

(I had a bunch of stuff for Kerberios and Android and other crap in the $PATH.  Just
set PATH to be as above.  But this was probably not needed.  Problem was with OpenSSL.)

I got the *latest* "curl" and the *latest* "git" client-side code:

    These are as follows (the tarballs):

                   git-2.25.0.tar.gz

                   curl-7.68.0.tar.gz

and used "tar -xvf" cmds to untar the tarballs, and create the build-and-source directories.

For each one, just cd to the directory, and build the program:  Eg:

For git, 2.25.0:  

                   cd /home/git/git-2.25.0
                   ./configure
                   make
                   make install

But for curl, it was a bit more involved.  The OpenSSL 1.1.0g stuff I was trying
to link to, just would not work.  I confirmed that I had carefully, and explicitly
pointed to the current /usr/include/openssl header file directory, and that the
OpenSSL libraries were in /usr/local/lib/libssl.*.  I checked /usr/lib/pkgconfig,
and noticed that the /usr/lib/pkgconfig/openssl.pc file was now pointing to the
OpenSSL 0.9.8g (the old version) again. It looks like somewhere in the build process
for something, the /usr/lib/pkgconfig/openssl.pc file gets updated and points
back to the older, original version of OpenSSL.

So it looks like (I am not sure) that the OpenSSL stuff is getting toggled back to
using the old 0.9.8g version somehow.   Rather than spending more time to debug
what RedHat is doing, I just decided to build "curl" with GnuTLS, since I *know*
for sure that this works with Wget (since I built it already, and it works.)

To build "curl" with GnuTLS (and with the Nettle and Hogweed encryption libraries),
you put this information as "./configure" parameter arguments for build of "curl":

                   cd /home/curl/curl-7.68.0.tar
                   ./configure -without-ssl -with-gnugtls=/usr/local

(this assumes that your "gnuTLS" header files are in /usr/local/include, and such.)
(In "/usr/local/include/gnutls" directory, you should see the files:

  abstract.h  compat.h crypto.h dtls.h gnutls.h gnulsxx.h ocsp.h openpgp.h openssl.h
  pkcs11.h self-test.h tpm.h x509-ext.h x509.h

 which are put there, as part of the gnuTLS build process. You have already built
 all the GnuTLS, Nettle, Hogweed, etc. stuff, right?)

Once the "curl" configure completes, just:

                    make
                       (and if it all builds ok...)
                    make install

(Go to a non-root user, and confirm that "curl --version:" gives you the
 curl version of "7.68.0", and you should also see a list of protocols supported,
 which should include: "GnuTLS/3.3.28 ..." or something like that on the same
 line as the "curl <version#>" info.)

Once you have a working "curl" that can use the TLS-1.2 protocol, the "Git" client
should work, and not throw the error where says it can only find TLS1.0

Eg: if you try a "git pull" against an already updated and current software suite,
    you have a command-line dialog something like:

           git pull https://github.com//.git

           From  https://github.com//
              * branch           HEAD     -> FETCH_HEAD
           Already up to date.

And your "built from source" git and curl stuff is now working correctly.
Hope this information is helpful.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Feb. 9-10, 2020] - Git Fix? - Not yet, but working on it. Spent many hours working on the "git client" failure on the 32-bit boxes (the really crazy-reliable ones...) that run our custom Linux.  I hadn't realized that the Git client code was broken, because of github's disabling the older encryption protocols. 

The "TLS-1.2" encryption protocol is their (Github's)  minimum now, and it requires a new version of OpenSSL (which breaks some things we are using).  So, I did the hack of using GnuTLS (with it's "Nettle" and "Hogweed" libraries - basically just the various encryption libraries for various codecs), and built a new version of Wget, which uses GnuTLS, instead of the old TLS1.0  OpenSSL-enabled wget.   The new, home-made Wget - with GnuTLS  for SSL/TLS - works nicely.  And the OpenSSL client, works fine by itself - with the TLS1.2 protocol.    

But so far, even though the Git Client code compiles and builds without error - and seems to be using the new  OpenSSL libraries - any sort of "git pull" fails as follows:

                 Eg:  git pull https://github.com//.git
                  causes:
                 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------              
                 error:1407742E:SSL routines: SSL23_GET_SERVER_HELLO:tlsv1
                   alert protocol version
                 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We've tried the obvious "git config" option:

                   ----------------------------------------------------------------
                     git config --global --add http.sslVersion tlsv1.2
                   ----------------------------------------------------------------

and confirmed the libraries are being found, and OpenSSL with TLS1.2 protocols is being loaded (it looks like), but we still get the same error trying to pull a code update from a "git" repository, with "Git" indicating it is trying to use the old "tls1.0" encryption protocol.

Most folks typically solve this by just upgrading their O/S and/or browsers, and such.  But this burys and disguises what is actually happening, which we like to know about, for various reasons.   You only learn how the stuff really works, if you build it from source, and use it to run your own applications.  And it is your own applications that can - maybe - give you a tiny edge, in this curiously hostile, and crowded world.   

So far, we have Wget and the newer OpenSSL running on some of the custom mono-core boxes.  There are reasons we like older, simpler Intel chips, without the backdoors built into them (like AMT, for example).  Big companies and governments love all this "backdoored" stuff - but it carries real risks.   All actions and all designs have risk.  But it is wise not to amplify the potential for abuse and bad behaviour.

When we get it fixed, I will post a note on this site, what we did to get Git up and running again.  :)

[Feb. 08, 2020] - Git is Kacked - So, we have this software, and it is on "git", or "github".  The "Git" client is broken on several machines, because it needs an upgrade to TLS - Transport Layer Security.

https://github.blog/2018-02-01-crypto-removal-notice/

I can't understand why we need very high level encryption on something that lives on Github, as plaintext, and can be read by anyone, anywhere.

This is like building a big, stainless - steel vault - to keep your office stationary in.  It's just crazy silly - but more and more, this seems to be the strategy of the modern world.  We are putting high-security in all these places where it should not be - just so we can avoid putting were it should be, in the way it should be put.  It's all part of the "Grand Illusion" that we are constructing everywhere.   Folks should wake up to what is actually happening.  Fake security on small stuff, means that the big security on the big stuff can be bent.  We are doing it all back-asswards.

Let me be real clear about what happens:  When everyone is attaching all this supposed "high-security" stuff to places where it does not need to be, where it should not be, and where it just makes everyone's job harder to meet the requirements of the new high-security environment - the net result is a substantial *degradation* of overall security.  To get the needed work done, we end up losing all the benefits of a common repository, and improved distribution systems, and folks will find other ways to get their stuff done.

[Feb. 07, 2020] - Ok, so it's President Buttigieger - Of course, that young lad with the dark hair, and the weird name, is obviously the best choice - I just didn't think the Americans were ready for a gay guy in the White House.  Except I forgot about J. Edgar Hoover, who some say was as queer as 3 dollar bill, and it didn't stop him being the "Top Man" at the FBI.   In fact, it may have helped, as he got sex-data on everybody, thru surveillence, and apparently this is why no one would fire him.   Hilarious.

America has always had this amazing ability and capacity to re-invent itself and recover from disasters.  Like the Chinese have also.  Bravo to them both.   Pete Buttigieg "has built his campaign around generational change" says the JYork Times.   Bull.  He has built his campaign around not being a f**king loon, like all of them except Biden.  Buttigieg has said rational stuff, like "we need to attract more people to this Party", with the obvious subtext message that "and your better off voting for an honest queer like me, rather than any of these other chimps, who put all their queerness into the policy plans!"   IF the Demorats pick Pete, they will win.  No one gives a shit about sex-stuff anymore - especially old folks.    A wise tribe always knows when it has to choose a young leader - and a Gay Mayor - if he can win a city - can win a country.

Being a homosexual is probably a rational qualification for a political career.  Politics is so absolutely crazy, and toxic to family life, that a passion for weird sex is probably a relief mechanism that keeps a pol in the game.   Political life just kills and destroys family life.  It is worse than business for being able to do that.   No one gives a shit about Apple's President Tim Cook, being a gay.  And here in Ontario, we had a card-carrying Lesbian - who of course, was a "Liberal" - as our "Governor"  (we call them "Premier's" here - but it's the same job), for two terms.   She was dumped, because of her policy failures.  No on cared about her private life.  It was her very bad economic policy choices that ended her run

So, Pete Buttigeig would be a sensible choice - instead of angry, crazy old Socialists (God help us all if Sanders or Warren take it), or other southern-style do-nothing types, like Biden.  (I like the fact that Biden is a lightweight.  He won't feel compelled to do too much damage.  We need a "steady as she goes" guy for a while....).

So sure, President Butthead.  He could prevent a worse President Beavis from gaining Office, and he looks young and fresh and not as scary as Orange-Hair guy.   And he is not likely to go "Full Kennedy", and try to take us to the brink of Nuclear War.   Or hell, maybe he might.  Trouble is that it worked for Kennedy.  But it might not work the next time.  The Game Theory calcs on the Cuban Missle Crisis  was a standard example in one of our Operations Research/ Combinatorics classes, back in the day.   Wonder what they teach the kids now?  The Creation and Disolution of the European Union?  The Serbian National Anthem?  Or is it all just "Political Correctness 101", up to  "Socialist Welfare 499" ?  I wonder if they even make them learn any math anymore?   Sure doen't look like it, based on what seems to be appealing to the kids. 

"May You Live During Interesting Times"...

We ordered some electronics from China.  But the delivery dates are all in mid-MARCH, not February.   Tough times.  

Good luck, China.   You should let the American medical types come in and help.   America seems to be one of the few Western places where there still are real Doctors.  We don't really have real doctors in Canada anymore - a legacy of our manifestly awful, poorly-run Socialist medical system. 

There is no competition at all in medical services here, and no "doctors" here actually take on or see sick people, unless they can bill the Government for serious cash.  We tried to build a system that was not about money - and we have created a system that is not about anything except money!  It's what economics would predict, actually.   And anyone who really has a sense of calling, and wants to treat and help sick people, goes to work for "Doctors without Borders", or leaves the country.  It's pretty strange.  

But living without doctors is ok, since we are all *much* heathier because of this...    :)  

[Feb. 06, 2020] - If You're Not Long, You're Wrong. - We've been saying this for over two *years* now.  You can run thru the "wayback machine" listings of this blog, if skeptical.  It's been a crazy ride.  Long thru crazy times, murder and tragedy.  Long thru sickness and plagues...  Quite curious, no?  Except it is TINA, right?  She is a harsh mistress.  The dividend streams have paid the bills and kept the labs running, and kept the lights on.  And they've paid for new equipment - latest was a Honda CRV, with 4-wheel drive.

The entire bond portfolio was vectored into a real-estate project, since fixed-income investments in a time of negative interest rates, are an absurdly bad deal - old fashioned "certificates of confiscation" - what they called "bonds" back in the go-go days of the 1960's (before my time - but you can go to old libraries, and read old publications from the 1960's. Or just read "The Money Game" by "Adam Smith" - brilliant book.  "Do you see support here?  How about here?" he says, as he points to the x-axis...ie. zero zero zero. (Just like what my GM common shares - and my Nortel Preferreds became worth!  Ha ha.))

So, today is sort of long overdue, really.  In the words of the best pop song ever written ("The Bewley Brothers", by David Bowie), "It's Stalking-Time, for the Moon-Boys. "

I read the drivel that is output by the Financial MSM, and it is several sigmas beyond sensible now.   (I always hear "smegma" when someone starts into talking about "sigma's" - you know, like General Electric and it's "Six Smegma" Strategy?  How did that work out for you?) 

Anything can happen in the Stock Market, remember that.  But also grasp this:  When interest rates are below "bugger all", and monetery stimulus is run in overdrive for *years* and *years* and silly nonsense like "Modern Monetary Theory" is taken seriously by adults - then you can't not have asset inflation.  It may not happen for 10 years - but it has to happen at some point.  And all the math suggests its onset will be non-linear.

The process of the market is always non-linear.  And the only real protection one has from crazy inflation, or monetary meltdown - is hard assets and equity assets.  Historically, equity assets do pretty good, in times of stupid high-levels of inflation.  Not great - but better than most stuff.

Of course, if a confiscating loon takes political power, and starts *taxing* assets, then sure, you could have a financial market meltdown of Biblical proportions.   But the Democrats in the Good Old USA, have been shooting themselves in the feet, even worse than the orange-haired guy in the white house has.  It's quite amazing and surprising.  But I guess, not unexpected.

Trump said a clever - really damn clever - thing.  "You may hate me - but you're gonna vote for me."   And the fellow is probably right.   His "Israel Policy Suggestion" is a receipe for a big war in the Middle East.  But no one in USA really gives a shit.  The Israeli's will probably be the authors of the Third World War, if and when it happens.   But what the heck.  Global population needs a , and nature always comes up with something.  (cf. Malthus)

Let's just make sure, we don't have that "Mineshaft Gap", eh?    :)   (cf. Dr. Strangelove)

Now, excuse me please.  I have to go and order that Tesla truck.  Once the Middle East is entirely nuked, blasted & wasted, we may still want to tool around town, or spin up North.  My neighbour has installed this massive wind-turbine electric generator  (don't know how the heck he got planning permission to do it - it's like 10 stories tall!), and I  figure I will be able to do barter deals with him, for some kilowatts to pump up the Tesla's lithium ions, if needed.  

Probably three or four years before the CyberTruck is production-ready and available.  Till then, we've got the Honda.   (You realize, we build them here - just about every single part.  And we build Toyota's just down the road.)   Friend of mine bought a Prius.  It actually scoots along pretty quick.  Amazing, really.  And the Toyota guys, have this crazy fuel-cell car, that runs on hydrogen.  (We tried all this in the 1970's -but the tech. was immature.  But it works, now.)  Man, the Future's so bright, we're all gonna have to wear shades...  It's all kinda unexpected, really.

Stay safe, stay warm, stay healthy and be cool.  It's only gonna get more weird, as we lurch towards this crazy future.   

Oh, and take a hard, local look at what stocks did in the 1920's. Don't just look at historical bull-dung from academics.  Go find real numbers in old newspapers, for actual stock prices.  They went crazy.  And they did this, because the technology - and the technical disruption it caused - was real.  Airplanes really flew.  Movies and cinema created a completely new industry.  Medical science stopped killing people, and started curing them.  Radio let everyone listen to everything in *real time*.  It was the internet of the day.  And everyone could afford the technology.  And the A/C power grid was extended to everyone, everywhere.  This was a very, very big deal.   Automobiles went from being very expensive toys for the very, very rich, to being available for almost everyone.  This was also a very, very big deal.  The stock market prices were not bogus - they were the reflection of the real economy, which was changing in a wild and rapid manner.

Based on those percent delta's, we could see a Dow Jones of 50,000 before we even begin to get into the zone of ballistic price+value  weirdness.    If low interest rates continue (they will), then stocks that pay 5.5 percent return, can be re-priced to yield 3% return - or less.    Note what that price delta looks like, do your own back-of-envelope calcs,  don't take my word for it.    :)

[Feb. 04, 2020] - I/O ... Wha???? - Wow.  The Demo-hacks have just proven conclusively, that they are completely unfit to govern.   Holy Mackeral - the failure in IOWA to actually run any sort of real election, pretty much demonstrates that these monkeyboys and girls are not to be let near the levers of power.   Is that why the Stock Market is rocketing upwards today?   Unclear.

Maybe it is the strange outcome that we might be able to use anti-HIV drugs to hack the nasty coronavirus.  How about that?   The whole AIDS/HIV horror-show might actually save the world.  The medical knowledge gained from using anti-HIV drugs, looks like it might offer viable treatment options for Coronavirus sufferers.  

I was actually talking about the astonishing failure of most internet-based "apps" and current technology "solutions" to someone yesterday.   Much of our technology does just not work right.   I get examples of this every single day.

It's not just automatically crashing airliners, and the internet scam-attacks and security-related hacks that happen every day - it is the basic failure of many modern systems to make things better.   Much of our modern technology drops this curious load of real *work* onto average people, so that fatboys (and fatgirls) sitting pretty, can basically do no real work.   I could write for 5 pages, just describing what I have to do, to actually get a real copy of my cell-phone bill, and then pay it in a way that I can confirm is secure.  It is hilarious.  The Phone Company requires I log-in to a website, download a .PDF, scp that PDF to a machine that has an attached printer, and then print the bill, (which is the only place I can find detailed call-by-call summary), and then I can take the bill into the bank - where they now refuse to stamp the date on it any more, and say that a tiny little slip of paper - which fades away after a few months - is sufficient receipt.

Here is what I've discovered: The whole *internet* model is designed to make me "pay to know" and then "pay to pay".  In the old days of "snail mail", I could just get a bill, and then pay it with money.  But now, I have to dance and jump thru hoops, and use klunky, slow, security-compromised, crappy web-apps, to get the same data, and then either pay-per-transaction to send a payment, or have a payments-account that charges for each transaction.  I can't just pay a fucking bill anymore with a handful of twenty-dollar bills, because I won't even be told what the fucking bill is for, unless I fuck around with some wanker's web-app, and figure out how to access the one place where the real information is hidden.

What has occurred, is that all the payments and accounting and verification work required to run a payments systems - has been abstracted from both the service provider - and the financial institution also - and has been dropped right into my lap.  Oh, and I also get to be the Information Security and Authorization Department for my bank, and anyone I do business with, and I also need to run an Information Management Department, and a Data Centre - on my own computer network.  Oh, and right...  I also need to run a WiFi and/or  ethernet home/office network, and regularly ensure it is running safely and working correctly.   And I need to do ALL of this, just to pay a fucking bill from a Phone company, or buy *anything* at all now, since all the specialty stores for stuff I want, have disappeared, and/or migrated to the internet, because they were killed by Amazon.

Look, we are pretty fucking technical savvy.   We do AI research and development - and the stuff is working, lets be clear.  This is not some "boomer complaining".    This is a professional, offering a warning.  Modern technology is not being created to help you.

But I so understand what failed in Iowa.   The systems the children are building now are just shit.  That is all it is.  We are all just using shit-quality systems, designed by arrogant blowhards who don't want to spend any time dealing with real, actual user-requirements, or actually even do their bloody jobs properly.   I've seen - and lived - this movie so many times.

The internet is not only becoming horrible and insecure - it is also being used to drop a bucket of unnecessary work, into the laps of everyone and anyone who needs to actually do anything.  

Look, we built a small building - and the goddamn trusses had to be certified for load-factors and such, by an engineering firm in Toronto - so I had to buy engineered trusses from a factory, and the factory carpenters had to internet each one their designs and build jobs to Toronto, for approval by a firm of consulting engineers, and the Building Inspector basically said if I didn't do that, and had the trusses made onsite, the Municipality would not approve the building plans.  A big truck had to deliver the trusses, and it drove over stuff.  We could have made better trusses ourselves - but that would have multiplied the work even further, given the systems involved.

The very existence of the internet, is making everyone's job *bigger* and is multiplying workload just about everywhere.  This is ok, if there is some benefit - but this is not happening now.  The benefits are flowing to a few very large companies, and the workload is flowing right down into my little office, and my little lap  - but with no benefits of any kind attached.  

Now this is curious.   

And the failure of the Iowa Democrat election to actually "launch", shows *exactly* what I am talking about here.  This is a real phenomenon.

Our modern systems are badly built.  And it is getting worse - not better.

The solution is to demand better - and be suspicious of *any* new attempt to further degrade basic social-economic system operation.

Start to use cash for payments again.   Demand signed-receipts for any transaction that you are uncomfortable with.  Make the agent doing the invoicing provide a first and last name.  Be courteous, but be firm.  Distrust electronic payments.  We have to use them - but they offer no benefit to the payer - just the payee.  You are being told you must "pay to pay" and "pay to know". Demand better.

Most of all, one needs to recognize that the "Just pay me now, and then I will send it to you" business model is really a nasty shit-poor way to do business.   Walk away from it, if you can. 

But folks need to see what has happened.   Much of the valueable things that one wants to acquire, are no longer on offer - anywhere.  The good stuff has been replaced by crappy stuff.

Economic scarcity has returned - and it is actually showing up in the crap-poor garbage that is offered on the internet, the nasty and difficult operation & data-harvesting features of most internet "apps", and in the curious difficulty one faces in actually acquiring, using and even paying-for correctly, items of value.

And this includes - maybe not surprisingly - elections.

[Feb. 02-03, 2020] - Coronavirus Treatment Options:  Note to medical personal & doctors dealing with coronavirus victims:  We are *not* Physicians, but suggest you try to treat coronavirus victims in severe breathing distress, with a cocktail of 3 anti-viral drugs:  Anti-flu drug oseltamivir, and the HIV-treatment drugs lopinavir and ritonavir.   This experimental  three-drug combo has shown efficacy in treating coronavirus patients in Thailand. 

Top picture shows a sunset beginning over Northern Lake in Canada in the Summer.  Blue skies, calm waters, and bright sunshine will return - a gentle message of hope to our Chinese friends, dealing with the ugly corona virus outbreak. 

[Feb. 01, 2020] - What of World Trade? - Many of us have always wondered how things would work, if global trade got dialed way back.   This is an extremely unlikely scenario.  But it is an interesting "thought experiment" for economists and "tech-preppers" alike.  Extremely complex systems have a tendency to fail, and do so in ways that are not predictable.

Does this explain our extreme interest in simple computers, like the Z-80?  Not entirely, but it may be a factor.  Several of us really like to *fully* understand the technology we are using.  With modern software and hardware "stacks", this is close to impossible.  And the multi-core architectures, of modern 64-bit Intel & AMD chips could have entire surveiilence subsystems contained within them.   And in fact, with Intel's awful "AMT" subsystem - we have shown this to be the case.   The modern chip architectures are riddled with strange traces and unclear components which could be doing anything - especially if such devices are connected to the internet.    The recent exfiltration of Jeff Bezo's private and personal photos from his supposedly "secure" Apple iPhone should be a wake-up call to us all:  Modern platforms are so complex, we cannot know for sure if they are *secure*,  They really cannot be trusted, because it is not possible to find every hole, or technical "backdoor".   You just cannot be sure your hardware+software is yours.  If your device connects to the internet, then you are in a public space, and all your code and data may well be also.

It is a lie and myth to expect that *anything* on the internet can be trusted to be 100% *secure*.  It simply cannot be the case.  The technology is simply too complex to secure now.  Tiny modern chips come complete with full Bluetooth and Wifi access, built right into the chip itself.   Even if you x-ray the chip, you cannot nail down all the functions of all the circuits you see.  And with FPGA chips - the architecture of the chip can be altered by software. 

So, suddenly, older, simpler chip designs  that *can* be x-rayed, understood, and where pretty much everything happening *can* be nailed down, start to look a *lot* more attractive than they used to be, given their slow speed, and relatively simple designs. 

For us, the Z-80 is represents a good balance between simplicity and complexity.   It can be used to do real work - but I don't have to assume that all the work will immedately leak into the public space - like I *know* it can, if I use modern Intel or AMD chips.  What use is *speed*, if the main thing it is used for, is to shout all your trade-secrets and private data out to your enemies and the wider-world also?   Personally, I think the mass use of the "Cloud" is little more than the tragic re-invention of the big "data-centre" where everything was centralized - including all social and corporate control.   I remember those times, and they were "double-plus ungood."  Freedom to calculate - is very much like freedom to speak.  You don't know how important it is, until some "political correctness" type tries to take it away from you.   Learn and know this truth.  The "Cloud" represents a risky and questionable platform to do one's computing and communication.  And the iPhone is now almost a form of social control, and perhaps even a toxic neural addiction that is already harming us in ways we don't yet fully grasp.

Or, maybe not.   The jury is still out, really.   Every radical new technology has benefits and costs.   But I believe we need to guard against creating a world where only a very few really understand or can re-design and change the technology.   I see these neural-numbed kids walking along - staring at their iPhones, oblivious to the events around them, and I feel a real sense of horror. We might be creating a generation of extremely narrow-minded, uncritical herd-followers, and this will - most certainly, in the financial markets - create a major disaster in the future - like it always has.   But do we need to *amplify* the worst, and most abusively ignorant characteristics of people?  Is this not *exactly* what the social networks are doing?

Might the current "Cloud+iPhone+always-connected-internet" model just be another in a long line of abusive, social-control mechanisms that governments use to entrench themselves and prevent freedom from being possible?  And might this hyper-linked approach magnify and amplify the worst behaviour of people, rather than freeing them from it?

Personal computational freedom is critical.  You need to be able to hack the numbers yourself, to see if you are being lied to.   Google recently took down all my APL and graphics and gDOSBox interpreter software from their "PlayStore", because I did not support the very latest Google fiddles to Android.  But the "PlayStore" is not about offering benefit to *me*, it is about making money.  So of course, they want it filled with product people will pay for.   And kids love neural-addictive games.  Useful programs that offer computational freedom and are offered for free are not economically useful, so they are being purged.  All my apps were free, so it does not harm me..  But I had over 10,000 users of my gDOSbox app, and now, I can't even offer them upgrades - or in any way reach them.  I feel a bit guilty that I let them down.   

But that is the "company store" economic model.  Apple wouldn't  let me publish any sort of  "Interpreter" to operate on the iPad.  They want the device to be be deliberately crippled, for a variety of economic reasons.

My cynical "Inner Trader" says "So what?  That's how it works.  Business exists to make money. They want paying customers.  You should also put your efforts into stuff that makes money.  You worked for *years* building that APL and GNUplot stuff.  What did it gain you?  Not a thing, really.  So?  Avoid projects where no money at all flows to you.  Bad trade.  Walk away.  Do something else that folks will pay for.

My "Inner Trader" is wise. This is good advice - but it also leads me to think the whole internet thing is leaning towards the side of things that are toxic and nasty, and that if it leans too far in that direction, something will just have to break.  Even tech-heads now recognize that Facebook is dangerous, and LinkedIn is maybe not a good idea.   Any data you put there is harvested, and you risk having it used against you, in so many new and different ways and contexts.  It offers little benefit, and proveable risk.  Bad trade?

What if everyone suddenly just steps back from this wild internet machine?   Maybe at the same time as it becomes clear, that a real plague is underway?  People may connect the two, and believe that perhaps the internet itself is helping spreading disease.  The collapse-trend could become self-generating?  But this might also be the machinery of an antidote.  The sheep could look up, and see the Storm inside the Cloud.

So if world trade collapses, and an extreme economic meltdown and nasty financial collapse occurs, we will still be ok, since we can actually get quite a lot done, using 30 year old technology, that we can completely maintain ourselves.   And I found and have been experimenting with an APL that runs in a tiny memory space, on the Z-80, under CP/M.  It is actually quite impressive, but so far, we have not found any source code.  But it is a cool proof--of-concept.   :) 

[Jan. 31, 2020] - Metropolis in Winter - We seem to have experienced a cascade failure of the Banking/Trading computers - at least two of the ones we use.  A third seems to be unaffected.   It is either extreme incompetence on the part of IBM (they run the web platforms for several institutions), or perhaps a co-ordinated attack on various gateway machines and DNS servers.  At the very least, something is pretty badly buggered up.    The error message screens we have been getting are pretty funny and quite diverse.   It is really an impressive kack-up.

I can access my website (it's run out of Denmark, or at least it used to be..), but the trading accounts are all unavailable - and this on a day when the blood is running in the streets.  Oh my.   

[Jan. 30, 2020] - Blood in the Streets? - Good time to invest then...  Hilarious, eh?  But it's true.  If you look a plagues from the "Black Death" of the MIddle Ages, to the "Spanish Flu" of 1918, you can see a common pattern.  Great time to take long positions, it turns out.

The 1918 "Influenza" epidemic - with its associated rapid onset of pneumonic distress and quick death - caused somewhere between 10 million and 100 million deaths world-wide.  There were basically *no* real "public health" records.  Gov'ts started keeping  records (and doing "public health" actions) as a result of this mass-killer of soldiers.   More soldiers died from this "flu" than were killed in the First World War, some analysts suspect.    Truth is, we just don't know for sure.

But what is interesting, is that the mass-deaths of 1918, tee-ed up the runaway Stock Market boom of the 1920's - which itself was really mostly driven by the disruptive economics that resulted from the wild upswing in the economy of the Western World - a result of the new technology (radio, cinema, air-travel, falling costs for automobiles, development of the automobile highway systems, development and extension of the A/C power grid, rapid and significant improvements in medical technology (ie. use of X-rays to diagnose illness, and assess broken bones, etc.).  And of course, the technical improvements in agriculture and food production - which allowed a mass-migration, from the farms to the cities.  Main factor was the replacement of horses with diesel and gasoline powered tractors.   But  lots of other machines came also -  mechanical bailers, which are still amazing to watch.  Two men can cut and bring in a harvest, where before, an entire village was needed to harvest a field.

And basically, the massive death rates from the 1918 Flu Pandemic, did not stop the boom-time market run of the 1920's.   And, I am pretty sure - based on research of the Black Death in the Middle Ages - it maybe even *helped* trigger the boom-times.   Lots of  death, means lots of money moving from old savers, to young spenders.  And boy, do they *spend*.  They spend like it's 1899, and even if "You must be nuts - to drive a Stutz", the auto industry blossomed like those Japanese Cherry Trees in Spring.  And so did almost everything else.  The "Panic of 1906" became a distant memory, not expected to be repeated.  The mass-deaths from the 1918 Flu may well have actually *helped* accelerate the market run, as it got static Victorian wealth moving into the new technology-driven opportunities and products.  

So, "Don't fear the Reaper", is the bottom-line take-away message here!   Learn to embrace and enjoy Chaos.   Stay long, maybe.   We certainly are.      :)

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

"Seasons Don't Fear the Reaper....  40,000 men and women every day...".   Maybe the C-virus will help make Gatsby great again.    Stay safe, wash your hands, and keep your cool.   :)

[Jan. 29, 2020] - Ina Godda Da Vida - So, it's 2020.    And next is Ground Hog Day.  Amazing.

Many years back, there was an APL interpreter written for the Z-80.  It ran in like - 22K or something like that.  I am running an 8K Basic interpreter on the Z-80, and it works well - but the memory is limited, of course.  I havn't programmed in assembler since the early 1980's, when the IBM P/C came out.   It's a re-learning curve - easier than a typical learning-curve, I guess.  But I never really learned matrix algebra properly, so I am back at it.   I was trying to find that APL code for the Z-80, but it does not seem to exist anywhere.   It did nice matrix math, apparently.

Matrix math is just magical.  You work on it, and it seems like real magic - the way a simultaneous system of equations can be represented  - and solved - using matrix math, is just wild.  It's charming and delightful - like the first time you discover the details of a young and lovely girl.    Sure, math is difficult, and takes real effort to master - but so do pretty girls, right?  

It's the whole Faust myth, isn't it?   What does one do with all the knowledge and power and ability that one could possibly ask for?    Suppose you made a deal with the Devil - or his agent - in the guise of big, black Poodle? (Mephistopheles of course...), and you could choose anything you wanted?   What would that be?  Scientific knowledge, and the prettiest star, of course.

Maybe am probably somewhat unusual, in that I have all these books of mythology and fantasy, piled up with all these other books on electronics and probablity theory and economic and financial modelling and such.  The house and the lab is an awful mess - books and circuits and computers and such, with shelves of books on myth and history.    But it was (and is) the Faust story that really resonates.   Who wouldn't want to gain *all* knowledge?   Is that not our objective, as living, thinking, creatures?

Goethe (born: 1749 - died 1832) spent much of his life working on scientific research.  He published treatises on light and colour.   Artists - like the Impressionists - were influenced by his work on colour, and made use of the theory, in their magnificant work.  Goethe started working on Faust in 1790, and the first part was published in 1808.

I have an edition with illustrations by Harry Clarke, who himself was a fascinating character.  He was an Irish artist who studied stained glass window design. He got a scholarship to study in France, and later, returning to England, did the illustrations for the edition of Faust I have, which was published by Harrap in 1925 in London.  Clarke suffered from tuberculosis, and died in 1930, in Switzerland.

Faust wanted Margaret, a young woman he meets after Mephistopheles has helped Faust regain his youthful appearance.   Of course, he gets her, and in the events that follow, she murders her mother, and drowns her child.  Faust tries to save her, but she refuses to flee from jail, with him, and stays instead to be executed for her crimes - and seek forgiveness from "Heaven".   Faust flees with Mephistopheles, and the book ends.

It is such a strange and disturbing story.  But the translation, by John Anster is well done, and combined with the bizarre and curious illustrations by Clarke, made it a book I had to have. 

It is a myth that captures something in us all.

[Jan. 27-28, 2020] - Of Arms and the Man, I Sing - Or, as they say in America, "Fake it, 'till you Break It!"   We are still long, and still fully invested, and all is ticking along fine.  I was hoping a big down-spike was in the cards, but no luck.  We hoped to add to some positions.

This is curiouser and curiouser, but it's what the models and my cynical "Inner-Trader" says is the right course of action.

I suppose I better order a CyberTruck.  I can run a wind-generator, easier than I can run an oil-refinery.  And the reactors over on Lake Huron, and the water flowing down the Niagara River seem to be working ok.  (Thank-you again, Mr. Tesla).   In our town, both Volkswagon and Tesla (the car-maker) have built new dealerships.  The Volkswagon dealer has all these cars for sale.

At the Tesla dealership, they have no inventory, just a few vehicles in for servicing.  All vehicles seem to be pre-sold.   And people actually *short* Tesla stock?  I am afraid to buy the stock, but I am not stupid enough to short it.  

I think most Equity Analysts (Stock Market analysts), are not very wise.  They may have CFA's and such, because they are good at the nose-to-grindstone thing, but they are - almost to a man (or woman) - arrogant, low-grade people who are rude, driven by their own opinions, and expert at missing the obvious.  I know of what I speak, since I did that gig a few times.  They were all rude to me.   But I was pretty good at doing analysis, getting the truth from company owners, and writing and model-building.  Turned out I was actually good at being an "Analyst", so I figured, why just talk and write - put yar buckarooskis down and get rich!  

So I did, and of course, after I had lost half my 6-figure account, I figured - "Ok, lad.  Dat's enough of dis..."  My Inner Cheech-Wizard kept me from stubbornly blowing up *all* my capital.   And like Wiley E. Coyote, I went back to the drawing board.   What works, are the heuristic algorithms and the simple stuff - that you can read in any of the real books written by real, actual investors who made money.   Most folks get nuked in markets, and should just buy index funds.  Really, that is good advice.  But  if you must speculate, here is a great heuristic; (ie. a "rule of thumb"):  "Don't buy stocks in companies you like.  Buy stock in companies that you don't like, or you think are stupid, too-high priced."

Above all, don't buy stock in cheap, low-priced companies, or even "fallen angels".  The fallen angels will often keep falling right down to Hell, and will take your money with them.  And the cheap shit, will usually just get cheaper.   And bastards will probably continue to be bastards.

I mean, I knew this girl, who married a good-looking fellow, with good propects, who had ditched his first wife and daughter.   I wanted to tell her, (as a statistician, and a friend), that the probability was - oh, pretty effing clear, like maybe 80% or better  - that this fine fellow would do the same behaviour again with her, most likely.  But I had grown wisdom, and elected to say nothing.  This is best, since people cannot be changed.   And if you tell a girl, that her choice is going to cause pain and heartache and such, she will just think you are a shit, or are jealous or something.  So just keep quiet.  You cannot change people.   And you cannot change markets.   And you should read, "On the Nature of the Universe", by Lucretius, and the story at the end of it.  It's all about a plague.   Later, I read Albert Camus, who wrote "The Plague".  It's a good book.   The world is a funny place.  I was in Japan, and there is Thain Camus, on Japanese TV.  You think - "WTF?".   It's actually a pretty small world.   I was disappointed I was not invited to Jeff Bezo's party...  :(      But I don't travel anymore - since I hate the whole airport/airplane experience so much now - so I guess I wouldn't have gone.   So really, all is good.         :)

Nothing changes.   It's like "Groundhog Day", really.    But you can use this grim knowledge, to make a little bit of cash, if you need to, in the Stock Market.   Just realize, it won't make much difference.   Everybody gets the same thing.  We get one lifetime, and that is it.    Enjoy every sandwich.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5BmEGm-mraE

Hope you have got your sh/t together...    :)

[Jan. 25, 2020] - President Biden - I suppose we will all have to get used to saying this soon.  The more I look at the horror-show that US politics has become, the more it becomes clear that Biden will win in November.  It would appear this expectation has already leaked into the markets.  The current clown in the Masion Blanche now has not only orange hair - but his hands are bright red from all the blood that is dripping down from them.  

Yesterday, I got an email from the president of my old University, asking for money for an endowment that is being established in the name of some Iranian-Canadian Phd students, graduates,  a post-doctoral fellow - and a family of a guy who had recently got his Phd, and was visiting Tehran with his whole family.  I never pay other people's bills if I can help it - but this time is different.

The people the endowment will be named for,  were among the 179 killed when Iranian air-defenses automatically shot down the Ukranian Boeing passenger aircraft, during the Christmas holidays.  The aircraft was mistaken for an American cruise missle.

This horrible tragedy occured *directly* as a result of idiotic and unecessary murderous hostilities Donald Trump has started with Iran.   Trump's mass murder of 12 people, at the Baghdad Airport in Iraq, including Iranian General Soleimani and an Iraqi military commander,  by means of robotic drone aircraft, is not only a "war-crime', it is also a war-starting action, and the war that this American leader has started has claimed a plane-load of our people, here in Canada.   

Trump is not only a liar and a fraud, but he is also now a guilty mass murderer who is the equivalent of Stephen Paddock, the evil person who killed people from his hotel window in Las Vegas.

Jesus, when I saw the list of local students, and recent Phd graduates that died in that Tehran shoot-down, it made me see that each living person on this planet has a responsibility to assist the Americans in correcting the terrible tragedy that has resulted from putting that orange-haired goof into a position of great power.   This has been a very bad mistake.  It must be corrected.

So no matter how much of a God-fearing, right-thinking, hard-core Republican that you are, you just cannot vote for a kill-clown like Trump, with so much blood on his hands.   If you do, then it would be the equivalent of deficating on the Bible, tearing up the US Constitution, and dismissing everything that the great American project has stood for from it's beginning.   There is simply no way that anyone with an IQ over 80, could possibly hold their nose, grit their teeth, and vote for Trump.  Well, maybe if Elizabeth Warren is the Democratic candidate.   Maybe then, I guess, in an last desperate act to save one's country.

But in all seriousness, it looks like Biden will take it, and if he takes it, then all he has to do is stay quiet, and let Trump destroy himself.    I see that Trump has invited another mass-murderer - from Israel this time - to Washington, and another "MidEast Peace Plan" will be floated.  This of course is just pure politics, and no-one except racists, rabid Zionists, and the American media, will likely take it seriously.

So any rational analyst, with any sense of moral integrity, or any kind of belief in the principle of justice or fairness, could possibly expect Trump to win in November.   And that means, all the Democrats have to do, is not pick a worse clown to represent their party.  That is all they have to do - just don't pick a terrible candidate that will anger and frighten normal, sane, folks who just want to live peace and freedom, and remove the stain of blood that is on the White House now.

And that means Biden.  He is not very bright.  He is a career politician.  But his lack of psychotic obsession and adherence to stupid, toxic destructive policy-choices (ie. such as debt-forgiveness for lazy, over-entitled dead-beat kids who don't want to pay off their student loans, or 2% capital taxes on folks with a few million dollars in assets, etc.), means he will win.

Biden will win.  He will win the Democratic nomination (if the Democrats are not insane), and he will win against Trump, because not all Americans are cruel, stupid, low-IQ "haters" who want to jump up and down and see "red flow".   At least I am pretty sure this is the case.  There are many good Americans.

I used to be a big supporter of Trump.  I thought the guy stood for something, and was trying to do things that needed to be done.   But it is now clear, that there is something else going on.  This guy turned a completely blind eye to the Saudi Government murder of Jamil Khashoggi - an American-resident journalist - even though this event was recorded in detail using US surveillence technology.  And then Trump decided to murder 12 people at the Baghdad Airport, like a filthy terrorist might do.

So this dangerous Mr. Trump has got to go.  If the impeachment fails (it will, since a 2/3rds majority is a bar that is set too high), then we will all have to wait until November to remove this person from his position, and correct the mistake that was made.

All Biden has to do, is just be there, and not back any stupid, hostile, abusive or unwise policy choices - like the other Democrat candidates seem so intent on doing. (What is wrong with them?).   I suspect Biden will win, because he represents the least-awful choice, given the current options that exist now.   The most important thing for him to do, between now and November, is simply not to die.

[Jan. 24, 2020] - The Man Who Sold the World - "We passed upon the stair..."   Yes, we did.  But those were different times...  All the poets studied rules-of-verse, and all the ladies rolled their eyes.   I am stealing lines today - spent too much time doing things with no value, and high-level of irritation.   Oh well... so it goes.   Curious how fiction can tell the truth, no?

[Jan. 23, 2020 - PM] - Bezos, The Most Expensive Hack in History, and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Agents   - I have always told my clients that the "secure" smartphone is myth.   If it's on your phone - it's available for the world.  The Jeff Bezos penis pictures - which he sent to his secret paramour & which got leaked and thus cost him his marriage - and something like $35 billion in US dollars for his divorce - were apparently stripped from his phone by an exfiltration payload dropkicked on to the device by a virus attached to Whatsapp video downloading software, which Bezos used to receive an encrypted video message from Saudi Prince Bin Salman.  

I've just read the technical summary, and this is very close to being proven.

If this is true, it may bring down Donald Trump, due to his tight links with the Saudis.

Suddenly, this madness actually makes sense.  Jamal Khashoggi worked as a reporter for the Washington Post, and many suspect Bin Salman was behind the killing.  Bezos owns the Post, which has been very critical of the Saudis, in many articles - the best ones and most critical, written by Khashoggi.   So Bin Salman might have assumed this blackmail vector could be used to make Bezos to dial down the information stream that is flooding out about the ugly Khashoggi murder. 

There is an article all about this in Barrons and The Guardian.   There is also a UN report on this topic, which identifies some of the software used, and provides an explicit timeline of events, which really nails it down.

Here is the URL: 

https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Expression/SRsSumexFreedexAnnexes.pdf?mod=article_inline

Bin Salman would obviously have an incentive to force Bezos to shut the Post up.    And the reporters at the Post must truly hate Bin Salman, for murdering one of their reporters.  Mark Twain famously suggested: "Never pick fights with people who buy their ink by the barrel."   Probably not a good idea to kill their guys, either.

You could not make this stuff up.

I have often tried to say:  Strong encryption and personal security are very important.    They are necessary preconditions to the survival of the modern democratic state.  If Bin Salman comes to Canada, he seriously risks arrest for the crimes of murder and fraud.  The first may be hard to prove, but the second, now looks like a slam-dunk.

Imagine this curious turn of events:  Jeff Bezos's disclosed penis-pictures, may lead us to the successful conviction of Saudi Prince Bin Salman. This will help us bring down a very high-level criminal who authorized the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist.   The flower that started growing out of the manure is already starting to blossom.   How about that?

[Jan. 23, 2020] - Res Publica Romana - No, I am not going to write about the Roman Republic.  You should already know all about it.  You can read this short, well-written page:

https://historycollection.co/spqr-roman-republics-influential-leaders/

What I want to point out, is that Google really is an AI now.  Seriously, Google is not a search engine anymore - it is a fully-formed Artifical Intelligence device.  Software developers and coders have known this for a while.  If you want to learn some new development environment, or get to the bottom of a complex problem, you google-search the error messages - in some detail, if need be - and view the "Stack-Overflow' query and response results, and often (just about always, if the info is knowable) find the answer.

But today, I tried something different.   A well-run military, can sometimes be nasty thing - but much more often, it is a hive of hard-working, honest and honorable people, working together to get a difficult and dangerous job done, so they can go home and live in peace.  In order to work effectively, an "esprit de corps" (defn: "a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by the members of a particular group") is both created and then fostered, and this is a real thing.  It isn't fake propaganda, it is a real feeling.   Military projects, when run well, are based on accurate, clear thinking and sensible decision-making structures.  Military honour is a real thing.

Military people are taught to tell the truth, take responsibility for their actions, and actively assist their team-mates.  These are the ideals and ideas that make for effective citizens of a viable democratic State - what the Romans called their "Res Publica" - in English, "Republic'.   This is a good idea, which has stood the test of time.

The military virtues described as courage and honour are real ideas, with power and value.  And these often remain true, even if the government the military works for, is corrupt.  This is one of the real paradoxes of many historical situations.

So, to see how the Google AI is doing, on more subtle queries, I tried this:

  "why was starship troopers such a bad movie, when the book was so good?"

Now, there is one simple answer. The Director who made the film, made an explicit decision to ruin - with malace - the story, the back-story, the ideals, the underlying concepts, the primary motivations of the characters, the technology-view, etc.   The little fellow simply decided to make a piece of political material based on his own life, instead of using the really excellent book Robert Heinlein wrote.  Sad.  Really sad and bad.

And guess what?  Google-search was able to interpret the query, and the first suggested response was this excellent, short, 2012-written article that some guy published on Facebook.  It is really a fine piece of writing, explains clearly what happened.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/robert-anson-heinlein/how-did-verhoeven-manage-to-ruin-starship-troopers-so-completely/10150749110329221/

My father flew bomber aircraft in the Second World War.  Because of him, I took on these difficult personal projects, learned more than I needed to just live, and lived in a particular way and made particular decisions, that I might not have made otherwise.  

At University, we created our own mythical "Urban Spaceman".  His name was "Fenstein".  He created axioms and lemmas - the most basic of which was: "Everybody Lies".

But in the military, you are taught to be honest and truthful.  And to take personal responsibility for your actions.  This is a real and good thing, and if our democratic models, and Western Culture and even Science itself are to survive, we must all grasp this idea and use it's power.

And to my surprise, it looks like Google can help us there, also.   :)

[Jan. 22, 2020] - Love Enough for Time. - If your kids want to play video games, best to discourage them doing so.  But if they want to sit around and read SF (Science/Speculative-Fiction), that's probably a fine idea.  Between Kurt Vonnegut, Issac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, I was given a pretty good picture of the *present* time I was embedded within.  Such raging optimism prevailed - and miracles were an everyday occurance. 

So, we've jumped back a year, and again we need to examine the future.  Pretty curious, no?

I find this daily writing exercise curiously helpful.  One writes - every day - and it *forces* some level of *thinking*.  Maybe not much thinking - but thinking clearly is like exercise - it is critical that some be done - even it just a small amount.    The alternative is to be in *reactive* mode, which seems to be what has happened to many folks now.  Most decisions now - even at top level, by folks who should know better - seem to be badly done, and are probably made in pure reactive mode.  Sober, second-thought is unlikely, if all are drunk on the sweet-wine of power.

How can one explain the comically stupid behaviour we see everywhere now?     So much activity resembles the actions of fools and children... quite curious.   The equity markets are a lovely and amusing example of how nutty things can be.  (Hint:  the boomlet is probably not over.)   We remain long... fully invested, but without margin being used.   During down-spikes we try to carefully and selective add to postions.   We don't own Tesla or Google - and this was probably an error.  Small positions in expensive shares can be wise.  We use the products, rather than buy the stock.   I'll probably order a Cybertruck, because I *really* like the fabrication concept.  What I really want is a stainless-steel armored truck, with a Ford 4.6 litre V8, like I have in the F-150.  Or maybe two, independent Honda 2.4 litre engines, driving front-left/back-right and front-right/back-left - so that even if one engine fails, your truck still drives.   The coolest thing about the cybertruck, is its ability to withstand small-arms fire, up to 9mm.  That will be a useful feature in the future, I suspect.   Maybe some run-flat tires, also.   (Am I allowed any weaponization options?  :D )

The current times almost demand the use of margin.  The chatter and nonsense in the fakenews media dumps suggest a concern that "stocks are too high".  This suggests the boomlet will continue for a while longer yet.  

Curious how I can't find anyone writing on the internet, who seems to know anything anywhere anymore.  Proabably because anything of use and/or value is behind paywalls now, and all I am seeing is the garbage generated for the proles and wanksters.  This is a common problem for any analytic effort.  The data you see/are given/is evident is not the real or true data.   You are just seeing the picture folks want you to see.    There is some good stuff available at the St. Louis Fed, and I've found some good virology journals online.   But I can't understand why any government would fund science research, and then let the little wankerboy scientists publish their results in locked Jstor and Elsevier journals that are behind goddamn paywalls.  This is just bad policy, amplified.  Science only works if the observations, insights, errors, experimental results, theories ( and the ideas themselves ) are allowed to be shared. 

And it is actually *crazy important* that the information be available to folks on "fringe" and/or those types who are *not* part of the hard-core, tenure-track-seeking, doing-their-Phd type of science workers.  The mainstream people will not likely make any important discoveries.  They just won't.  They will get their degrees, publish fine papers, and get teaching postions and make money, and have families, and buy stuff and so on - but about 97% of them won't matter at all.  This is just how it is.

The history of just about every significant scientific development is characterized by it being discovered or developed by some outsider who was not part of the "science establishment" who recognized and developed something that the establishment boys (and girls)  with their Phd's were not interested in investigating, or could not see, even if it was bouncing up and down in the lab.  

Almost every major development (with the special exception of nuclear weapons), was the result of someone on the fringe of the academic world (or not in it at all), who noticed something really curious, and made a real *creative* leap, and then just beavered away to understand it and make it real.  This is more than just paradigm-shifting.  This is void-leaping and creative phase-jumping.  It is how the big stuff that matters, actually happens.

Consider: Faraday, who was a bottle-washer and a lab assisitant at the Royal Society.  He was self-educated, and treated as a servant.   He discovered much of what we know about electricity, made the first electric motor, etc.  He was a pure creative genius.  Maxwell, just did some after-the-discovery math to put the numbers on the model.  Volta discovered of how a battery could be made, by looking at the inside of electricity-using fish.  Ben Franklin - famous as a diplomat and political figure, also made the genius insight into the postive/negative nature of electricity.  Marconi and his "radio" invention are a great example.  The Hertzian waves were a great lab experiment - and it would have all stayed in the lab, were it not for Marconi.  His insights and engineering  were amazing.   He created our world for us.   And it just goes on and on.  Telsa and his A/C eletricity-grid system (Telsa actually invented the entire A/C power grid we use today - not just big sparking air-transformers.  He and Westinghouse built the first Niagara Falls generators, and Buffalo, New York, and the small city I live near, were the first places to be electrified using Falls A/C.  Few folks here even know this.)   The PCR reaction (the basis for reading DNA sequences, by unwinding and rewinding - ie. copying - a beaker of  DNA molecules, by adjusting the temperature), was another discovery, made by a science outsider, Kary Mullis, who was basically a junior employee who had an idea.   The story of the discovery of DNA itself interesting.   DNA's double-helix structure was discovered by the Rosalind Franklin and research student Raymond Gosling.  Ms. Franklin was often characterized as an "x-ray photographer" - but in fact she was a skilled researcher and had already prepared a first-draft for publication in the journal "Nature", describing the double-helix DNA structure - because she had used x-ray diffraction to actually image the thing.   She died of cancer in 1958, and otherwise, would probably have shared the Nobel Prize with Watson and Crick.

Rosalind Franklin knew *exactly* what she had discovered.  She and Gosling had written their own paper, and their discovery was *completely* independent of the work of Watson and Crick (who got the Nobel in Medicine in 1962 for their efforts).  The key-fact about DNA, is that the dual-helix shape of the molecule, allows the molecule to copy itself.  The base-pair sequences in the long molecular DNA chain, encode protein-creation information.  This process allows information transfer to be made from one time-period to the next.  This process of information transfer forward in time, is the mechanism by which the evolution of living systems occurs.   This is probably the single most important scientific discovery ever made in all of human history.

Each of these major discovery-jumps, tend to get made by folks outside the *system*, or on the fringes of it.    Einstein - working as a Swiss patent-office researcher, is the canoical example.   Without the assistance of Planck, Einstein's first paper on the photo-electric effect, would never have been published, since Einstein was a nobody, outside the European science establishment.    Everyone knows that example.  But there are also *hundreds* of others.

So, locking down the science-data behind paywalls in this age of the internet, is so crazy-stupid, as to be almost beyond belief.  But it does give us an interesting example of an economic *fail* of commercial economics.   Our current economic restrictions are like that locked library, that Liebniz got the key for when he was a kid.

The libraries should not be locked.    And it is curious that the internet is turning into this big sinkhole of locked-libraries and Sideshow-Bob entertainment crap for children.   Curious.   I suppose this is the Rant-for-Today - like the 1984 Orwellian "Two-Minute Hate", perhaps.  (That's now "Twitter", right?   I mean, what the heck is Twitter, if not just a vector for your daily "Two Minute Hate"?)

Here is another new discovery:   The internet might be toxic.    It actually might really be a *very bad thing*, and this inverts much of what many have come to believe.   But this is not a new thought, is it?

It's like those authors who wrote books, whining that "Literature is Dead!  No one *reads* anymore!"...  So they write a book to tell everyone.   Silly - but actually this was the zeitgeist of the late 1960's - 1970's.    Television was going to destroy literature and art.  Of course, that didn't happen.   We had to wait for the internet to have that happen, right? 

Sometimes, just when you think all is lost, and everything has completely turned into rotting shit, you discover a flower growing in the smelly pile of manure you are standing on  (or even buried in, maybe).  And the flower turns out to be a new horticultural species variant that you can clone easily, creates a high-protein seed, and is resistant to disease.   So you patent it and market it, and it makes you crazy-wealthy.    The financial markets are like that.   Really.   

And this looks like where we are now.    Do we find the "flower in the Poop", or are we all to be buried in the coming 'SHTF' storm?    The current markets seem to have a different take on this view each day now - sometimes, each hour.   Take care.  Volatility lies ahead, I suspect.

And here is link to an interesting site I found, which summarized the ancient hero's of Republican Rome.  Learn where Hollywood filmakers steal their ideas from, and how the US City of Cincinnati got its name:

https://historycollection.co/spqr-roman-republics-influential-leaders/3/

[Jan, 21, 2020] - Another Corona, Please. - I see a world performing like a drunken American, after having had too many Mexican beers,    It's OK as long as he is having fun, but once he gets behind the wheel, or out to the range, or climbs into the pilot's seat, people start dying. This is beyond just being sad.  It is slowing becoming quite tragic.

In the last year for which data was published, before US government "gag orders" shut down the information, Apple is on record for having turned over 14,000 iCloud backups, to US government spy agencies.  The iCloud backups are not encrypted, and the orders to turn over information, are made typically by secret court orders, which are not public information.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-apple-dropped-plan-encrypting-120506800.html

In the Second World War, the USA, the British and the Allies (ie.  Our parents, etc.) fought against fascism and the tragically evil murder-states that Gemany and Japan had turned into.   It is both sad and curious to see what has happened since.  Arguments in favour of the necesscity of the Korean and Vietnam wars are valid, and even the first Gulf War to free an invaded Kuwait are reasonable and sound.  But the second Gulf War, and the US invasion of Iraq, and the murder of its (evil) an corrupt leader, started to stretch things just a bit.  The estimates by the UN suggest over 600.000 people died as the direct results of US invasion actions of Iraq..

Well, such is war, we all say.  But war has given way to routine murder now.  And this is being enabled by deeply dishonest government agents, spies, and liars who are now top-level political figures.   US President Trump has shown himself to be an unstable, dishonest and murderous creature, and who sits - now proveably - at the top of murder-machine of deeply impressive features and abilities.    This is really an interesting and curious development, given the founding charters and legal process and constitution of the USA.

What the Americans - and the free-world - fought against back in the middle of the 20th century, America itself has managed to morph into.   This is really bizarre and surprising.

Apple had plans to provide reasonable encryption - end-to-end, properly done - on it's iCloud backups, but dropped the plan to appease the US spy agencies and the FBI.   

These facts are proven: The USA abuses and tortures it's political prisoners, it requires it's technology companies to turn over both meta-data and actual private data-backups - which are by default non-encrypted - and this information is then used to operate robotic aircraft and carry out murders of military and civilian persons in foreign countries that the USA is not at war with.  These actions violate local and US laws.     This is actually quite an amazing and surprising transition, is it not? 

And when these illegal murder-missions are launched, the deaths can snowball quickly, as the events in Iran have shown.   A plane-load of our people were murdered there.

Can anyone, anywhere really believe that this *complete* reversal of all the basic and honorable ideals that the USA once stood for - really assist or promote the cause of world peace?  Are we all not just programming our own destruction - and the rise of powerful neo-criminal groups like ISIS?  Of course, as no other outcome can be expected by any rational person.   Every illegal and cruel action provokes an equal reaction.  This is the N3 response.

The debate about encryption is really basic.   Really, really basic.

I warn clients, friends and associates about the dangers of the internet "cloud".  It is a profoundly risky idea, and represents something that has an ability to implement essentially what took down Winston and Julia in Orwell's novel: 1984.   It is a kill vector.  It is a virus vector.  It is high risk, with low benefit.

We do *not* use "iCloud", despite our Apple devices trying to vector us into enabling it by lots of little tricks.   We consider iCloud-avoidance just plain, old-fashioned wise behaviour - nothing more.  Keep your private stuff private, or you will be put at risk, and damaged, economically, and maybe even in other ways.  This is just basic, English, common sense.  It used to be understood by all sensible people.

Any data you put on the internet is simply public.  It is "in the wild", in the world.  You may as well just print it and publish it on Youtube or Facebook.  Except these are now being actively censored.  What you don't want to be seen, will be seen.  And what you may want to see, may be actively filtered and surpressed.

So, folks - heed the warning:  The good-days of the internet are over.  This is surprising and of course, more than just a little sad.   The technological link-ups of the 'net have created an ugly combination of mass-monitoring of all private action, and enabled abusive fascists to not only gain power and operate illegal kill-projects which cannot even be called "war", but has also allowed them to come to power in the first place.  It is quite an astonishing development.

Imagine if Hitler and Goebels had had the internet, and had prevented anyone from using strong-encryption?   Actually, they did, and they tried.   It was called radio and cinema.  Radios of the day, had push-buttons to select stations, not tuning dials.  The cinema news-reel clips are very impressive.  The story of the "Tunny" high-security code, and it decryption by computer is interesting and well known.  But it is also useful and instructive to study the news reel films.   Examples used to be on Youtube - but the historical propaganda examples have been removed.   Also surprising and unfortunate.  This information set is now blocked.

This is all really quite amazing.   The abusive dishonesty of the US political process is matched now by the abusive dishonesty of the US government process. 

It's almost as if the American political and government machinery - in fighting fascism and terrorism - have quietly and carefully adopted the mechanisms and methods of their adversaries.   Rather like Israel has done.   And I guess this is not that surprising.

But it means we are now living in a *very* different world.  And what it means for countries like Canada and Japan and NATO members and so on, is that  we can no longer assume that the American Government entities represent the same political ideals or respect for freedoms that are accepted as part of the legal structures of our countries.  

We need to review and probably adjust all our treaties and linkages and other arrangements that we have with the Americans.    Basically, it comes down to a simple fact:  The bad guys look like they have taken over down there, and those folks can't be trusted.

We must govern ourselves accordingly, and re-think - and re-structure - our international arrangements.   This has now become a serious, top-priority task, regardless of one's political party membership. 

Nature, time and elections may solve these problems for us, and for them also.   But we here still need to ask ourselves some basic questions.

[Jan. 20, 2020] - The Forester's Daughter.  Lovely, sunny day, with powerful January high-pressure system in place.  Bitter cold, but the possibility of spring is proven.   Busy day.  We bought a car - well, a small 4-wheel drive SUV - a pretty white Honda CRV.  Matches the colour of the landscape.

[Jan. 19, 2020] - Army of the 12 Monkeys. - or  maybe "How I Learned to Stop Worrying, and Love The Virus"?    The  MERS-like Coronavirus outbreak of a severe respiratory infection, in city of Wuhan, China, is serious.   Nature will not be cheated.   Our only defense may be bedrest, and morbid humor.

A virus is really an amazing evolutionary development - essentially a ball of DNA, which is not really "alive" by itself.  It is just a data-set of base pair sequences (the DNA information set), that gets loaded into an operational living cell, where it then is able to replicated itself.   

The "coronavirus" is called what it is, because the glops of binding, defensive proteins that surround it, and make the thing look like the "corona" around the sun (during an eclipse), or the electric dischage around a high-voltage conductor (top of a tesla coil).  ("Corona" means a garland or a crown, in Latin. )

SARS is a coronavirus, as was MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome).   Some info, from the Center for Disease Control, in Atlanta: 

This is an image of the SARS virus, from CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/about/images/history/sars/pgall_img4.jpg

Some summary material from CDC on the coronavirus:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

Detailed technical article link below, on internal details of SARs coronavirus structure and operational features (ie. how it infects and kills the hairly little cells in our lungs called "cilia"  that let us breathe.)  I like to read technical articles.    The jist of this very technical report, suggests that the "human ciliated airway epithelia (HAE)" characteristics - specifically enhance the lethality and infectiousness of SARs - and such characteristics are less present in the monkeys and bats and civit cats that also carry the virus.   These guys created an "in-vitro" model of HAE, and then used a cloned version of the SARs virus - with fluorescent green-glowing protein slotted into the virus - to track its infection action.   Cool science, actually.  Just wish they could write better.

The little glops of protein that make the "corona" are a "spike glycoprotein" - basically a sugar-protein - that make it easy for the virus to interact with a human generated enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (hACE2) - and this lets the virus slip into healthy cilia cells and kill as it replicates.  The rapid destruction of cilia impairs lung function, and provokes a strong cytokine reaction,

(I almost died from something like this, a couple of  years ago.  I got this wild, quick-acting pneumonia, that left me lying on the floor, gasping for air.  My research later, after I recovered, suggested it was a "cytokine storm" - an intense, violent immune-system response, which actually saved me.  The lower part of my lungs filled up with fluid - I could only get air in *very* rapid little breaths, using the upper-lung tissue.  I coughed fluid for days, but the process saved me, and I'm fine now.   My symptoms matched the flu that folks got, back in 1918.)

This article is interesting, and virological research might be the difference between comfortable human survival and a mass-dieback of the species.  (Mass diebacks are common in species that experience very rapid population growth, for obvious reasons.)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1316022/

More info on how folks survive SARs/MERs (coronavirus and IAV) type of severe lung infections:  This article is also extremely technical, but is very well written (medical stuff is particularly interesting to read - it is a *lot* like advanced financial-modelling material - full to bursting with acronyms and references, and reads like it was written by a committee (it mostly is), but also, it has to actually say something to get published. 

Most doctors have no clue how to treat an advanced pneumonia-like infection now, since antibiotics do not work against viruses.  But having had a "cytokine storm" rage thru me, and almost kill me - I have an interest in this stuff.   It is curious I survived - but I did.  I found some tetracycline, and some old pen-G, and took the anti-biotics as I was recovering, to protect against secondary infection.  The amount of dreck and fluid I coughed up was quite significant. 

This year, at the beginning of December, we both had extremely bad flu-like infections again - but not to the point of almost dying - just really bad, two-week flu's that caused massive amount of yellow mucous to be expelled - we coughed for weeks.    This year also, we had both got flu shots, for immunization.  This might have either helped or hurt - we can't know. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024012/

But two things we've learned: 

1)  Immunization is the only effective defense we have against against these new virual outbreakes.   You have to get immunized - regardless of the risks.  It's a risk-mitigation strategy.  A bad influenza virus or a SARS/MERS coronavirus can kill you very quickly.

2) You maybe preserve health, by allowing a sickness to run it's course.  If you get sick, take it easy, and stay home.     IL-22, IL-15, NK cells, and so on  (human immune agents) can help repair damaged cells, but if these come-on too soon, you may just increase the viral load, and the pathogen can ramp-up it's infectiousness, since new cellls => new viruses being generated.   You can get a runaway response, similar to a nuclear meltdown. (cf. the May equation for chaotic growth, which can runaway explosively).

Maybe the old, old doctors who "bled" people were not completely stupid.  The trick looks like it might be to let the body get quite "sick", and thus reduce metabolic function to prevent the virus from experiencing runaway growth.  (ie. Maybe you want to prevent IL-22, (which stimulates cell-growth to repair the damage)  from flooding in too soon.)  Then, as the virus-growth has been contained, you treat with anti-bacteria compounds to preserve homeostatis  (ie. a reasonable degree of balanced "health" - what we used to call "dynamic equalibrium" - how all living systems stay living.)   And you can then let the cytokine-response dial-in the agents to repair the damage.  If you start "damage repair" too soon, you might actually be enhancing the ability for the virus to overwhelm the system, and thus engineer a lethal outcome.

It's good to see doctors and medical research people start thinking this way. 

 

[Jan. 18, 2020] - Simplicity is Elegance.  Been experimenting with the MMX board, which is an old Pentium III MMX which runs original MS-DOS 5.0.

The "retro-computing" trend is for real.   It is not just nostalgia.   It offers useful information.  As you experiment with old, tractable technology, you can consider: "How do we encode real AI-capability onto a low-power, capacity-constrained device.  Is it possible?"  I think it might be.

The Pentium MMX board is very cool.   I've been using it as the controller for the first Z-80 board, but the MMX only had a 3-1/4" hard-shell floppy disk drive to load code.  The MMX has a 500 mb hard disk, and a CD-ROM drive configured. But it had no network access.   I found an old 1994 3Com ethernet card, with an RJ-45 access connector (and even a co-ax connector!).   Using the old "3C509.COM" ethernet packet-driver software, I was able to get mTCP stuff running on the MMX board.

This means now, I can have a real MS-DOS computer, on the internet.  The mTCP program suite allows a program "FTPSRV" to run, which even lets the MMX return "ping" requests. 

The old "crynwr" packet drivers don't seem to be available anymore, but the following sites were useful.  I found the 3c509.com packet driver on an old 80386 I still had. The site below has packet-drivers, which you have to load, so that mTCP programs can see the ethernet card:

http://www.georgpotthast.de/sioux/packet.htm

The mTCP programs are maintained by one fellow, who is a scholar and a gentleman.  His name is Michael Brutman, and he has just updated the mTCP program-suite, as of Jan. 1st, 2020.   The FTPSRV program works well on the old MMX board.  I used "yum" to install an original, no-encryption FTP on one of my CentOS-7 boxes.  Mr. Brutman's site is:

http://www.brutman.com/mTCP/

Getting the packet driver and ethernet card to work took a lot of experimenting.  I tried many other old cards and many different ethernet packet-drivers, before I found the 3Com combination that worked. 

Once I got the driver & mTCP programs working, I then found a DOS-based full-graphical web-browser, called ARACHNE, which I have finally got working.  It is an amazing collection of software.  There is no HTTPS access, but it will render HTTP pages, on an old DOS machine!  I found ARACHNE via this site:

https://www.bttr-software.de/freesoft/comm2.htm

The coolest thing about ARACHNE is the screen-saver program that is a part of it.  ARACHNE is like a talking-dog, with a bad accent.  It's the fact that it works (talks) at all, that makes it so amazing.   And it's worth installing and configuring and learning, just to see the built-in screensaver engage.  I think the programmers spent most of their efforts on writing the screensaver thing.  It is impressive. 

Film notes:  From the Japanese DVD collection:    Screened Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee & Cigarettes", tonite, which was made in 2003.  Has Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Bill Murray, etc.  It's a hilarious collection of black-and-white short vignettes.   I loved Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers", since it introduced me to the music of Holly GoLightly, who is excellent.   

A toast - to Paris in the 1920's, and NYC, in the late 1970's.  Who knew, at the time?  We met the New York Dolls, when they did a concert in Bala, at the "Kee to Bala", up in Muskoka, back in the late 70's.  

Strange times - we are in "Blade Runner" time now - and the Americans don't even have a working space-launch system that can carry humans into orbit, much less to other worlds.   And the music has become just silly and bad.   There are these rare times, where Art and Science seem to advance quickly, and new ideas blossom and bloom.   These times come along, where magic and creativity seem to be amplified and enhanced.  And then the time of magic ends.

You can still make money.  But the magic is gone.

[Jan. 17, 2020] - A Time of No Libraries. - "Libraries will get you thru times of no money, better than money will get you thru times of no libraries."    The fellow who told me this old investor's aphorism is no longer with us.   He died many years back, in a foreign country.  His body was found in his hotel room in the morning.  I suspect he was done in for reasons I can't go into here.  But if travelling in a foreign country, on business, one should probably not  travel alone, and without security.

From Africa, Asia, the Far East, the Middle East and Eastern Europe - I've met so many folks who travelled because their homelands became places of "no libraries".   Their worlds and their societies ended, for various reasons.   The "Cultural Revolution" in China, the German-Russian invasion of Poland at the beginning of the Second World War, a military coup in Pakistan, the explusion of the Asians from Uganda by Idi Amin, the Ethiopian-Eritrean War, the FARQ death-squads of Columbia, and of course, the latest group, Syrians and others from Palestine and the Middle East who managed to escape to here.  If I think about it, I can add more to this list. 

I've personally met and spoke with people who watched civil society collapse &  fail in their homelands, and their nations-states simply be destroyed - sometimes by external forces, but also sometimes by internal government agents and entities who engineered atrocity and mayhem for personal or political gain.  (I am impressed that the Chinese don't just dig up Mao's body, and dump the corpse into a septic tank.  I think they show remarkable restraint, after the needless horror and engineered sadism of the "Cultural Revolution".   I understand why the Chinese Communists are so afraid of social unrest.  They should be afraid.)

Humans can be amazingly cruel, stupid and foolish.  It really is quite astonishing, just how badly and with what little knowledge, powerful political agents can act.  

But sometimes, we build libraries.  Libraries are a very good thing.  Most of what I learned, I learned in libraries, sitting, reading, and working on things I didn't understand at the beginning, but grew to understand as I explored and read.   When I would get bored with my project, I would go read other books not connected with my project.  The most interesting book I ever read, was a Phd thesis written on the whore-houses of London in the Victorian times.   We think of the English as prissy and Victorian culture as reserved and restrained to the point of constipation.   Nothing could be further from the truth, and detailed (and honest) historical research proves this.  The London whorehouses were known as "Introducing Houses", and many were run by the hookers themselves.   Whoring has a long and almost noble history in England. 

And so did coffee-drinking.   The nation known now for tea-drinking, actually invented the "Coffee House".   And the first coffee-houses became meeting places where the technical & financial businesses of shareholder-owned companies were effectively invented.  The Coffee-Houses were places were people could meet and make plans and organize business ventures - much like the Starbuck's of today.

Social organization - without the toxic elements of "Government" being involved - can be a very good thing.   Government - like organized religion - is often the architect and the enabler of the very worst that humans can invent.   The hideous and destructive evil of "communism" provides the best example.  If Russia could have avoided the tragedy of communist mass-theft and mass-murder, it would be the richest nation on the planet now.  The "Bolsheviks" simply siezed power by force, and held the entire nation in slavery for 70 years.  Mao and his group of bandits did much the same thing in China.  The Chinese communists won, because they were more cruel and effective than the Nationalists, and because of the terrible war against the Japanese invaders.

And now the ugly apparatus of cruel, evil Government-controlled kill-machinery is reaching right out to my little nearby villages and is killing my neighbours, who were visiting their families at Christmas in Tehran.   The accidental shoot-down of the Ukranian Boeing passenger aircraft, by Iranian air-defence anti-missle systems, was a direct result of the actions of that grotesque person, Donald Trump.  Iran cannot be blamed for having it's (effective) anti-missle air defences engaged.   Yes, they made a tragic and awful error - but my research indicates that this is exactly what happens (quite a lot), during times of conflict and war.

The American news media, which - look, lets try to be honest here - is controlled by people who are very sympathetic to those who operate the Israeli death-squads - has spun this mass-murder by Trump into just the "taking out of a terrorist".  And this is deeply and aggressively dishonest.

Trump's murder-drones killed 12 people on the highway in from the Baghdad airport, including an Iraqi military commander who had been helping the American forces in Iraq in the war against the ISIS bandits.

Donald Trump did basically the same thing that Stephen Paddock did.  He ordered - and thereby committed - an act of mass-murder.   The US media can spin and spin and spin, like a dervish holding a gyroscope, but the truth of this fact remains.  And the events that this unwise person put in motion, caused the murder of a planeload of Canadians.  This must stop.  This man must go.

If Trump ever comes to Canada, he seriously risks being arrested for murder.  The man has also made it clear that top-level assassination is now a legitimate US-government policy option.   The British were smart enough not to just kill Napolean.   The US war-planners during WW2 were smart enough not to nuke Tokyo.   The murder of Caesar showed the folly of "decapitation" as a political strategy to the ancient world.   

Trump has made a serious error, ordering an assassination.   This seems - to me at least - an astonishingly unwise thing for a pumpkinheaded US President, with his orange-hair, to do.   It seems really unwise.   He has put himself in the world's crosshairs.  My Irish grandmother would say "What's sauce for the goose - is sauce for the gander".  Did the USA really want to start a "Decapitation War"?

Mr. Trump is now on-plan to be remembered as the 'Worst President in USA History".   The Christians and the US Right now have no choice now but to abandon this person, or else re-write the Bible, and throw Jesus under the bus.  Trump's primary constituency now are people who are not very smart, the TV-ignorant and the hateful.  I just can't see this going too much further.  The USA is not completely foolish, and the Republicans are not all hateful fools. 

But perhaps the curious American government and political mechanisms can demostrate successful operation, and remove this toxic clown before he does any more tragic damage.

I remember when Richard Nixon fired the Watergate Special Prosecuter, whose name was Archibald Cox.  Bumper stickers appeared all thru American, saying:  "Impeach the Cox-sacker".

No one in North America will benefit if this current fellow brings us a "Time of No Libraries". 

[Jan. 15, 2020] - Secret Histories - There are these various "Secret Histories" that have been written.  The first was by Procopius, and when I first discovered it, I was delighted, transported, terrified, horrified, and just a little bit enlightened - and so on.    Procopius set out to document the general awfulness of the two people who ran the Eastern Roman Empire, back in the Sixth Century - Justinian and Theodora, Emperor and Empress.     Just Google: "Procopius secret history".  The page that Google throws up when you search this is a fine little work of art in itself - quite impressive, really.

I awoke from another Faustian fantasy-nightmare, to transport boxes of crap to the highway, so Central Services could collect it - and driving the laneway in the dark, suddenly realized, I had seen all this crazy political stuff before somewhere - in a book I read long ago.  

Attorney General Barr - (where do the 'Muricans get these people?) is angry that Apple is not helping the FBI read a "terrorist's" cellphone.  Maybe this fellow should raise the questions of why the American military are in the business of training  jihadist Saudi Arab "Officers" in US military establishments?   I just want to weep, gnash my teeth, and put on a sack-cloth and cover myself with ash in frustration at the stupid crazy-mad stuff I see our American Empire people tracking along doing.   We are joined at the  hip to these dear folks, and I have family and friends embedded in their matrix.    And their murder-monkey kill-nonsense is starting to cause local folks around my furusato to get murdered.  This is a problem people - and it is just growing.

These unwise populists pols start out playing roles  - and then the roles start playing them.  The whole process takes on a life of its own, and a "Time of Misery and Failure and Dissolution" is tee-ed up to begin - all quite unnecessarily.   Barr is being a clown, and should just stand down.  Strong encryption - without stupid "backdoors" for the cops, is necessary to keep the global economy we have built (and is now worth many TRILLIONS), working properly.  And if this dear fellow cannot understand this simple fact, then he needs to be quietly shown the exit door, and sent out to do some golfing, so he does not disturb and damage the correct order of things, and blow everything up.   

And I realize I have seen this movie before, too.    The NSA were unwise, but now have become wise, and have finally seen what their true role should be.  Good for them.  (Finally!)  Their job is to not to damage and rape our technology so that bugs and wiretaps can be planted everywhere - their fine job is to make sure this CANNOT HAPPEN.  And they finally seem to have figured this out.  Bravo guys.  Seriously - this is a good thing.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-microsoft-nsa-security-flaw-182512448.html

This is what our spy-guys need to be doing - helping us keep our encrypto-dependent technology secure, not inventing evil ways to break and hack it.     In this modern world, we are now all ABSOLUTELY dependent now on this technical infrastructure we have built to run commerce and knowledge-distribution on this planet.   If we blow-up and and break all this, then the world will experience an economic collapse that will make the 1930's - with it's 25% unemployment and starving, bankrupt farmers (cf. John Steinbeck and those Wrathful Grapes...) look mild and fine, compared to the post-technology world we will experience.   The blown-up, broken-technology world will look like the collapse of the Roman Empire - a hard-core, no-civilization outcome for many people.   This must be understood.

Strong encryption is now a pre-condition for the operational maintenance and continued development of global civilization itself.

Barr needs to sit down and just think a bit more.   Apple is doing the right thing here, by making their phones "unbreakable", and the people who think they are making society and civilization safer by hacking into cellphones to get names of folks that some Saudi wanker telephoned before he went "full jihad", is just not true.   We all have to start saying this this clearly, because key people have not learned this yet.

If you love America, enjoy peace, and require freedom to live, what does one do?

I mean, do I have to have a front-row seat at the end of America?   I truly like the place, and I would rather not see it get torn down and ripped apart by unwise people and abusive clowns.

Here Mr. President - here is a simple idea:

If you want to stop murder-attacks and terrorist activity - you might stop doing the same thing around the world to people you don't like.    Stop this  "violence is the solution" model that hate-mongering angry folks keep trying to sell you.   And stop importing people from Saudi Arabia - a corrupt nation run by murderers - into your Military!   The US military - especially the US Navy - is a pretty impressive bunch of professional, honourable folks, who have a strong tradition of discipline, bravery and wisdom.   Probably the same goes for the rest of your military guys, also.

The FBI and other security-intelligence agencies should focus on doing better analysis and vetting of Officer Candidates from foreign lands, rather than trying to force technology companies to build security-degraded products that would put the entire American economy at risk.  Understand this: Without a working economy, there will be no "America" in the future.  And this outcome must be avoided.

America's natural allies in the Middle East are actually the Iranians, not the Saudi Arabs.   Is there no one with creative ability who can see this?   Iran is a violent, religiously-crazed nation, that freed itself from a ruthless regime, using a violent revolution.   Pretty much like USA did, back in 1776.    No one in USA-land sees this?  

Your natural allies in the region are not the Royal Saudi Family, and the klepto-state that those persons run, but those angry, revolutionary Iranians.  They are just like you guys.  Iran and America should be natural allies.   Old Ronald Reagan - who had more brains in his boot than most of the current crop of politicals now have in total - was clever enough to know this.  He tried to find peace with everyone, and mostly, he found it.   He prepared for war (the SDI or "Star Wars" program), and thereby ended war (the Cold War).   He knew what he was doing - and was probably the greatest President since George Washington.  

What is wrong with the current crew?

And how do we fix it?   What the Democrats have on offer is just a bucket of bad economics and outright financial fraud and confiscation.   If any of their current crop of candidates take power, they will do great damage, and impair America's prosperity.

The British have a good political model for fixing this sort of problem.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just demostrated the effective workmanship of that model.  And democracy bloody well works - the recent election results in Taiwan show that also.   Fear-mongering and threats do not intimidate folks.   Once they get democracy - folks will fight to keep it - because democracy is a better way to live.  It is just that simple.  It's a better social model.   Iran - for all its bad behaviour and faults - is actually almost a real democacy.  It is a hell of a lot more democracy than exists in Saudi Arabia.

At the very least, the USA should remove it's military base in Saudi, and stop taking sides in the Gulf.    And the murdering  death-by-drone activity has to stop.   Trump's assassination of Iranian General Soleimani was the most abusive, illegal action I have ever seen a politician take.   Trump almost looks to be either under the control of some entity that does not have America's interests as it's objective, or maybe he is or emotionally compromised somehow, and is unable to judge right from wrong.  

The NSA seems to have seen the light of wisdom, and is now acting to protect rather than assault the USA.  This is a fine step in a good direction.  Strong encryption and security-of-personal communication is a pre-condition to a functioning, prosperous economy now.

But the politics is still broken.  And broken politics will cause us to lose it all, someday, if we don't learn the lessons from history. 

Especially the lessons from those "Secret Histories" that actually tell the truth, instead of the made up dreck that we are fed by the social-programmers, the fake-news media, and the other liars and fraudsters that grow rich by their deceptions.

And we need to do more than just put a black man in a white house.

A working democracy requires people who think - it has to be more than just angry children who react to things, and dishonest tub-thumpers who exploit the ignorance of the kids.

This is why it is best if the truth comes out, and there are no secrets.   Then maybe we won't need to read "Secret History" to find the truth of things, and better, wiser choices can be made by everyone, every day.

[Jan. 14, 2020] - Furusato - This is a Japanese song-title that means "Hometown" or homeland.  It was written in 1914, music by Teiichi Okano and lyrics by Tatsuyuki Takano.  The lyrics and tune are charming, and have a delightful universality.    A close English equivalent, is Stephen Foster's 1853 song: "Old Kentucky Home".   Both songs express a yearning for the simple pleasure of a rural childhood home - but one that is now lost to the passage of time.

http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/songs/kyhomef.html

Foster's song is also interesting, in that it speaks of how "hard times" followed, and the hearth and home that knew pleasure, now knows sorrow.  

"The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow, where all was delight:"

Furusato - which is a nostalgic children's song - also describes a deep emotional sensation.  The word could be technically translated as 'old village" - but it's meaning is more like the German "heimatland" or "homeland".

The lyrics of "Furusato"  evoke a similar yearning as Foster's song does, and as many effective and popular folk-songs do.   The Japanese even have a technical term to describe this process - "furusato zukuri" = "home-village/native-place making" = a social process by which a we-feeling and "homeland-desire-comfort"  sensation is evoked.  This is of course part of the cultural socialization process that every nation-state uses to create the "social-glue" that helps society function smoothly.

Furusato is this wonderful children's song - but it is also neural-programming, let's be clear.  All songs work this way, to some degree.  All social information works this way.   Humans are remarkably easy to manipulate, as our neural mechanisms have evolved to keep us alive, and protect us by making it crazy-easy for our net's to load heuristic algos quickly, and get the data called back quickly, and with enough emotional power to make us take immediate action.  See the tiger's face, or the black-yellow stripes on the wasp, and know the face of risk and pain, and take action - real quick.

Successful investing, and knowing-the-future (like dear Cassandra), require deep sensitivity to datasets, and yet an almost pathological ability to become emotionally detached, and make difficult, pain-generating decisions - and then acting on them.

"Furusato" is powerful, because it is not just a song, but also an algorithm - "Furusato-zukuri".

You have to be able to listen to Furusato  (use a "babble-fish algo" and get simultaneous real-time translation, if you want the full experience), and feel the power of the "we/us-together feeling", and the sensucht (desire/yearning) for home-town and childhood pleasures - combined with the lovely minor-key music - (if done right, you surrender your emotions, let the memories flood, etc.), and it can bring tears to your eyes.    

But at the same time - be observant - and see the dangerous social-linking that deep feeling can cause.   Suddenly, the mental image of WInston Smith, in Orwell's novel "1984" comes up, and you remember the "Two-Minute Hate" - a similar hard-core process, where "war-hate-anger-kill" feelings are system-generated effectively, using socialization modelling & neural-programming techniques. 

Japanese kids learn "Furusato" in school, and that is a good thing.  

But the truth is that "nationalism" on planet Earth is a silly and sad concept, really.  That is what the Apollo 11 pictures taught us.  We are living on this tiny lifeboat in the dark void.   Does it make sense for people in a small lifeboat, to start drawing boundries and borders?  And developing different religions and deep-feeling social constructs of We versus Them? 

Albert Einstein called "nationalism" an "infantile disease".  He said it was the "measles of mankind" and hoped humans could grow out of this childhood disease quickly, and not be killed by it.

My "Cassandra" algorithms tell me clearly what future awaits us all, if Trump and Pompeo and the other war-monkeys in USA continue to hold power and use gangland-style "hits" as public policy options.   The "Netanyahu Doctrine" (or perhaps the "Israeli Model"?) that the USA has now adopted, will become SOP ("Standard Operating Procedure") around the world, if we do not change direction.   Murdering people to gain political cover and alter public opinion, is not a legitimate political strategy, and it is very poor State-craft.  It is pretty awful "trade-craft", too.   You want to turn them and ask them questions - not splatter the ground with their blood.

Troy will fall guys, unless you can get the whole planet to feel that "Furusato" sensation.  Earth is our "Heimatland", not some particular part of the lifeboat.  

The situation could be manageable, given the USA's "checks-and-balances" system - except for the powerful, dishonest actors who have brought us this "decapitation" strategy, and take political benefit from the spilling of blood, claiming it is "self-defence".   You know who these people are. 

And that's why those tunes like "Furusato" and "My old Kentucky Home" can bring tears to your eyes.   In our DNA, we know that the cycle-of-destruction is our fate.  And we know we are all on the path to the graveyard.  We know we're most likely to fail if we offer any warning, but we all have to at least try to effect a course-change, when we can see clearly what lies ahead - even if we face Cassandra's outcome.

Because the future always matters.

[Jan. 12, 2020] - Cassandra's Legacy - Suppose for a moment you had Cassandra's Curse, and had accurate fore-knowledge, but also knew with certainty, you would be unable to offer guidence or even be believed.  What rational action is possible?   Put on your "economist" hat, and set-aside neural-misdirection, and know you have no interesting in being "nudged" in any specific direction.   You face the "Hamlet" problem, no?   Suffer the arrows, or try to assault a sea of troubles - niether action attractive or even sensible.   

We face a continued algo of markets which are being monetarily goosed to a degree that is extreme, in all of history - combined with a degraded political model that is just plain unravelling in a manner that is both tragic and dangerous.  Throw in the massive expansion of data-on-everything, (Apache Cassandra?) and the expanding problem of fraud and deception that taints all human interaction thru the technology now, and you have a witches-brew of possible nasty outcomes.

But what really keeps me up at nite, in real worry-mode, is the nagging sense that the bad-guys are winning now.  Sort of everywhere, both quietly, and vocally.  Cassandra keeps her mouth shut, and just goes to her keyboard, and makes bets.  She expects to be disbelieved, and has given up on Troy and Apollo.  Her fingers move quickly, and she uses anonymizing code.   "Let the cities burn..." she thinks to herself as she places her trades..     And most of all, I fear the wisdom of her actions.   We are deep in the future now.   Nothing matters at all now, and I'm sure she knows it.  Cassandra looks at Troy - it's gleaming glass and steel towers -  and she can only see it as shattered wreckage, burning.  She stays silent, but not still.  It's the only rational option possible. 

 [Jan. 10, 2020] - Collateral Damage  - Tonite, our local TV station showed pictures of a young Iranain-Canadian woman who had moved to live in Canada, and was back in Iran, visiting her family.  She was a dentist, and is -- was -- married to her dentist husband.  They ran a local clinic, and had a young daughter.   Her husband now faces a horrific loss - both his wife and his young daughter killed as a result of the crash of the Ukranian Boeing 737 airliner.

This crash looks like it was probably an accidental "shoot-down", due to Iranian air-defences being engaged - of course, accidentally.   But this makes it *directly* the fault of that cruel pair  - Pompeo and Trump.     The amount of blood on the hands of these two monkeys just continues to flow & grow.   Will someone not stop this tragic horror-show?

I wish that Mike Pompeo could see the images of this young woman, and her daughter.   Pompeo and Trump are murdering Canadians now.  This has to end.

I watched Pompeo spout-on about how pleased he was that his henchmen have murdered 12 people - including General Soleimani.   He said "American lives were at stake", and I don't believe him.    He looks like a tool of the forces of darkness. 

No matter what happens to Mr. Trump - no one who examines carefully the unnecessary, murderous destruction this person and his henchment have caused - can possibly have any delusion that he has done anything positive for the USA.   He has missed his chance for greatness.   It's over.

It's now up to a few honest and honorable Republicans in the US Senate, to hold their noses and join with the Democrats, and vote this fellow into retirement and oblivion, and make some positive change happen.   Study your history, guys.   You can change the course of things.  Do what you know in your hearts has to be done - so we can step back from this trek towards the heart of darkness.

[Jan. 9, 2020] - Scaramooch, Scaramooch... (shades of Freddy Mercury) -  "I see a little silloetto of a man..."  ["Thunderbolts and lightning - very very frightening..."]   (and so on, with the Rapsody).    So, Scaramucci has suggested the Republicans "put a relief pitcher in".   Well, how about that?  What a curiously good idea.   Mr. Trump could declare that he has "made America great again", and indicate he will not be running for a second term.  He could leave on a bloody great high-note, and open the field to some younger, stronger lads in the Party, who could then have an open, hard-hitting, real convention and actually, maybe pick a good, strong fellow - a fellow who is young and good-looking, and wise.  Shades of Meatloaf... "Two outta three ain't bad.." ?  :)

We've seen this movie in Canadastan.  Young, fresh new face comes along, and he wipes the floor with everyone else.   Nothing sticks to him - he is ziconian-teflon - he can dress up like a darkie and sing Jolson songs in "blackface", and no one cares.  He can do anything he wants, and the voters still back him - because he has that magic quality - YOUTH!

See:  A tribe will pick a young, strong leader over the old Chiefton, just about every time, since they know that the relentless march of time will crush the old man, and that will leave them all headless and armless and vulnerable to their enemies.   This choice-model is inside human DNA I suspect.   It's why California voted for Arnold.  It explains most transitions in most hierarchies and many companies.  It's why soldiers and sailors and airmen like war - the promotions come quickly, as the dotards get blown to bits, or have to fall on their swords, Roman-style.    The new young gun comes to town, and gains immediate acceptance.  Politics is a blood-sport.  One needs to wear kevlar to prevent from becoming Ceasar, even at the best of times.  To retire with grace, and claim success, is a good outcome for any oldster in the game.

So, Scaramucci's idea is brilliant.  Genius, actually.   Trump could finish his single term on a high-note, step aside and play the role of "Elder Statesman", and save his reputation.   I'm not comfortable with "Mike Pounce" as President, but even that would be ok, if Trump wanted to stand-down now.  The fellow might have had a small stroke, which could perhaps explain (and even mitigate, let's be honest) his very bad behaviour at ordering a mass-murder.   

And gently removing Mr. Trump now would give the Republicans a good shot at winning against Biden or the other whats-his-names (or even worse, the whats-her-names), that the Democrats might field.    The future could be saved.   Maybe.

Perhaps this explains the serious run we are seeing today.  This looks to be more than just a 'relief-rally" because we avoided the Third World Bio-War... It has all the earmarks of a real run beginning.

Bring on the "Roaring Twenties - Part Deux", I guess.  Like that Paul Simon song: "These are the days of wonderment..."

[Jan. 8, 2020] - Winter. - " Spring brings the rain, With Winter, comes pain.  Every season has an end."  - Holly GoLightly, from the soundtrack to "Broken Flowers", a clever and amusing film made several years back.  

The markets are not reacting to political events - at least not too much.  Gold and oil are stronger, but not by much.  So one may assume all is fine?    Not likely.   We remain long, fully invested, but are now concerned that Ursa Major may be in more than just the stars,

Bear markets generally don't begin with violent down-spikes.  Significant market disruptions are usually followed by retracements.  But real Bear markets are more like erosion.  Prices fall by two or three percent a month - nothing dramatic.  It is the long, slow grind that characterizes a real Bear.    Are we looking at this now?   No one can know for sure - but I can speak with honesty here (what I try to do, always), and indicate that we have no debt.   If you use no "gearing", then you can ride the back of the Dragon with some degree of comfort, and maybe even stay above the violent struggle between the Bulls and the Bears.  Maybe.

If you are living in the world and travelling thru it, you will experience weather. You can seek shelter from the storm, but you cannot pretend it will not ever occur.    There will be weather, and there will be seasons.  That's why we all have responsibility to build good structures, and invest wisely.    And yes, if my neighbour's house is burning, one would lend him the use of a fire-hose.  But it is perhaps a different matter, if my neighbour is shooting at people from out his window.  That might call for a different response, would it not?  And if he lives above a shop, do I want to do business there?

I just can't see it being "business as usual" in America, if the nation is dominated by a government led by proven mass-murderers.   BBC News reported last nite that over 30 people died in Iran, as a result of a crowd-crush at a funeral event for General Soleimani.

First as Tragedy, then as Farce...  At present, we appear to be seeing the Tragedy phase.  I suppose we will have to wait until November, to see the beginning of the Farce.

What I suspect we will not see, is any great desire to bid-up prices from current levels.  (5:30 PM  Update: Well, at days end, looks like I'm wrong.  Lots of bid caught today, as both USA MM's and Iranian missle-men dial back the rhetoric in the face of the expanding body-count.   We are still fully-invested, but with no leverage.  That leads to curious situations like today, where we feel quite nervous & uncomfortable - and we make some serious money.)

[Jan. 7, 2020] - SPQR. - The Ancient Roman Empire was not just a State, it was also an Idea.  The Idea was Civilization.  And this idea has stood the test of time.  It is a good and just thing, that is worth trying to protect and maintain.   Civilization represents something beyond just cities and nations and mouth-farting politicians.  It is an Idea, and carries with it responsibility and a requirement for honesty and truthfulness.  When "politicians" degrade and assault this pure Idea, then they must be removed, and replaced.  

America is an interesting and traditionally successful, civil model, and their democracy has historically been effective at correcting error.  

Perhaps it will be this time, also.   One thing is certain:  Trump and Pompeo have to go.  They are not only liars and cheaters - they are now proven, self-confessed mass-murders, and they need to be removed.   I wonder if American democracy can make this happen, before more innocent people are murdered by these people?

[Jan. 6, 2020] - Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire. - US President Trump has been retailing an assertion that Iranian General Soleimani was "planning further attacks" against America.   My information - which could be wrong, of course - suggests that in fact, Soleimani was in the process of making a journey to Baghdad to ask the PMF fighters to stand down, and stop attacking the US embassy compound, as it was seen a pointless thing to do, and had no military objective that was sensible or useful.  The feeling was that it was just making the Iraqi soldiers engaged in the protest look foolish and unprofessional, and that he wanted it to end.

So not only is Mr. Trump a murderer, and a proven liar - but by killing Soleimani he may have also removed a powerful old, grey-haired Iranian who was trying to engineer peace. 

Mr. Trump's murderous action looks to have almost perfectly blown-up any chance for peace with Iran.   It is not unrealistic to think Soleimani was trying to dial-down the protests.

It makes sense.  Soleimani was an old man, with grey hair, and a grey beard.  The pictures floating around the internet are many years out of date.  Recent images of Soleimani show a very old man - and very old men who have daughters recognize that peace has real benefits.

But Trump is a liar and a vicious, spiteful fraudster - a dangerously unstable man who looks now way out of his depth.  His pants may not be on fire just yet - but you can bet his devious brain is boiling with anger and frustration. 

The USA has now fallen deeper - not into some made-up fiction like the "Thucidydes Trap" - but simply into a tragic swamp of deception and criminality.

I used to think Mr. Trump was not a bad person - and that the impeachment thing was just plain wrong, as it looked too much like treason and mutiny.

But now that the man has all this blood on his hands - the hands of a mass-murderer - this changes things.  He appears to be dangerous, dishonest, and unstable.  His removal is a good idea whose time has come.

This is a sad day for America.  But it will be even worse, if this unstable, dangerous liar drags us all into an unnecessary war.  It may even be a small nuclear war.   Or maybe it will be a bio-war - fought with DNA-modified anthrax, re-engineered smallpox virus,  or something like SARS crossed with Ebola.   Iran would be foolish to attack American military outposts.  There are many nice, soft high-value targets inside the USA itself.  Will America close it's borders - just to protect their unstable, violent President and his henchmen?  This is just crazy.  It has to stop.

We are in a world now where seriously advanced technology is available to pretty much everyone.   In such a world, the maintenance of peaceful, law-based relations between nations is something that *everyone* has an interest in preserving.   The world cannot afford to have a US President who is an "active shooter", threatening people with mass-murder if they don't comply with his demands.  This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Mr. Trump, and his dishonest Vice-President Pence, need to be removed from power, and some form of "caretaker" government should be established in the USA, until the November elections can be held.   This is now in everyone's interest.

See; This murderous behaviour makes the world vastly more risky.  Ever read Nevil Shute's book "On the Beach"?  In his scenario, the "Third World War" was started by a rogue Egyptian bomber, disguised as a civilian airliner, which dropped a small, Hiroshima-grade nuclear device on New York.  USA assumed it had been attacked by Russia, and launched against them.  The Russians, detecting the incoming missles, launched all against the US and Europe.  The book was written in 1957, when the USA was testing fusion bombs in the atmosphere.    A few years later, came President Jack Kennedy, and the Cuban Missle Crisis.  Kennedy took us to the brink of atomic war with the USSR.  But Shute's book had the war begin as a result of a revenge attack by angry Egyptian nationalists.

So consider the current situation:  Would this not be a *perfect* time to launch a small, nuclear attack against USA - the device delivered in a shipping container, or via an oil-tanker?  The "clever" folks in the State Department and/or the White House, would assume it was an Iranian relatiation, and begin bombing Iranian sites.  CIA and NSA "intelligence" is a unlikely to be helpful, as we all know.  USA political people "believe' what they are told to "believe" - the Bush Administration proved this, and Obama did nothing to improve the sorry situation.   So, this kind of murderous criminality on the part of the US President simply increases the likelyhood that another rogue (or maybe not-so-rogue) actor could initiate an action against a US site - with almost perfect cover.

Mr. Trump is guilty not only of murder and fraud - but also of putting the USA and all it's overseas holdings, in an elevated level of harm's way.    How long will rational, thinking-Americans (damn, but there must be some, somewhere, right?) stand for this foolishness?

[Jan. 5, 2020] - Leaving California. - We enjoyed a lovely California Pinot Noir last nite with dinner.  I suppose that soon we will have to do without California wine.  This will be a sad thing, but the changes coming will likely make it necessary to do without a lot of American-sourced products of many kinds.   California is overdue for an earthquake, and USA itself is overdue for a market retracement, and the murder-monkeyism that is now US foreign-policy means that anyone who can do anything to degrade or limit American military power-projection, may be viewed as a hero by both thinking-people and angry people who are not American bigots or supporters of racist-rogue nations. 

A major war is almost a certainty now, now that assassination is considered to be legitimate American policy.   I deeply fear that Mr. Trump has declared it to be open-season on his own people,  What if the first revenge-assassination of an American official is carried out by an angry Japanese person?  Or by an angry, Anglo-Saxon citizen of England?  Will Trump bomb Japan?   Will he bomb London?  I fear that hundreds, maybe thousands and maybe even millions may die as a result of this murderous, grotesque decision by an obviously out-of-control, mentally unstable individual.   But Trump has the backing of roughly half of America - a strange, wealthy people who seeth with hatred and rage.   And this unstable person is in direct possession of a major nuclear arsenal, and has expressed an interest in using it.  And his Vice-President has even invented a new lie that connects the Iranians with the 9/11 attacks - attacks which were carried out by Saudi Arabs, whom Trump is protecting.  Mike Pence is a liar and a disgraceful human being for trying to create this completely false narrative. 

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/mike-pence-soleimani-911-false_n_5e1113fbe4b0843d36133ab0?ri18n=true

Are Americans so blind and stupid that they cannot see what is going on here?   This is more that just a little curious.

The Iraqis might consider filling tanker-trucks with liquid sewage, and then spraying it into the American "embassy" compound in Baghdad.   They might also want to cut off all electricity and water to the place, if they can.   At the very least, they should formally ask all US personal to leave the country immediately.  

The world community might even consider simply "sanctioning" America.    Every person could simply ask themselves - "Do I want to buy a product or a service, that is sold or offered by murderers?  Should I really be doing business with these American people?"

[Jan. 4, 2020] - Shouting "Death to America" is stupid.  Don't be stupid. - It is time for people to take back the world from the political fraudsters, the criminals, and the murderous madmen who control it now.  Changes in government are now needed in USA, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.  The old leaders - who have built their power-bases by the use of *murder* need to be swept away, and put into the garbage-bin of history.  

Over 250,000 people - possibly more -  marched in Baghdad in a funeral event for an Iranian General.   This is amazing.  These two nations - Iraq and Iran - historically have hated each other, and have fought wars with each other.  And yet, the Idiots-of-America, have succeeded in forging a strong bond between the people of these two nations who were formerly enemies.   This is interesting.   America is so fucking stupid that it is breath-taking.   Watching American politics is like watching the Roman Empire destroy itself.  It is unique and surprising, that such sensible people can so completely collapse into cruelty and madness.  Trump is now no different than Lee Harvey Oswald.    Except he has a massive military at his disposal.   Amazing, really.

The folks in Iraq and Iran should just walk quietly in their funeral processions, and not say anything at all.  But then - when the funerals are over -  they should forge a careful and rational peace between their nations, and seek to remove the ugly force of evil that is holding them all hostage.   This will take hard work, it will be dangerous, and it will require the clear focus and committment of everyone.   The first problem to be addressed will likely be Saudi Arabia - a dangerous, dishonest nation of vicious, wealthy, murder-monkeys, who currently have the US President in their pocket.   This makes them *very* dangerous, very powerful, but also seriously fragile, in certain ways.   The task will be to determine where that fragility lies, and exploit it, so that the American military bases can be removed that are currently threatening the peace and stability of the entire Middle East.

I would not allow American murder-monkeys to locate military bases in my country, nor would the Russians, nor would Africans, and nor would most of Europe, now.    The Russians are being clever, and so are the Chinese.  You can defeat the USA just by waiting and watching.  American power is waning.  NATO is a tragic, historical joke, and USA has proven that it is both dangerous and unstable.   Big changes are already underway.   Watchful waiting is wise.

The people of Iran and Iraq should recognize where the source of their problems are coming from, keep their mouths shut, put their shoulders back, and grit their teeth with resolve to deal with the ugly and difficult situation they find themselves embedded in.    Shouting stupid slogans does nothing.    Iranians and Iraqis need to be beating plowshares into assembly-lines, enriching their uranium, and arming their people with powerful, effective weapons.

If you stay weak and stupid and silly, then you will all be killed, and your nations overrun by cruel murderers.  When you walk in a funeral procession - keep quiet, grit your teeth, and then volunteer for military service when the funeral is over.  Keep your passion for the enemy.  Keep your anger under firm control, and use your resolve, your focus and your abilities to the fullest extent you can.   And above all - do not fight among yourselves. 

Understand clearly who your enemies are - and where they are located, and how they operate.  Many of us in the West do not wish to be enemies with anyone.  We would fight like demons if our own nations were invaded, and are not surprised when others around the world do the same thing.   We are *deeply* uncomfortable with America, and American murder-monkeyism.  

But now, it is clear a "Rubicon" has been crossed.   The world cannot afford any more America murder-monkeyism.  No sane person could be surprised by, or really even object to a massive military assault on America by an Iranian-Iraqi coalition.    But if that is the path that is to be taken, then recognize that it has great costs, and will require great sacrifice by many.

You will have to disperse your cities, put your factories underground, and prepare your people for great hardships.   And of course, what concerns me, and other thinking-folks like me - is that this is precisely what our parents did when they fought Hitler, back in the 1940's.  England and Russia burned.  Millions died.   But the evil of Hitler's Fascism was stopped.

As an analyst, I have to look at the situation now, and ask: "Could the folks in Iran and Iraq not also show the same resolve, that our parents showed?   Why couldn't they?"   And I have no answer other than: "Of course they could..."

[Jan 3, 2020] - Murder, Inc. - I tried google-searching for any historical situation where an assassination induced a peaceful response, or reduced the threat-level to a group of people, and I could find no examples.    Both historical examples, and basic common-sense suggest that Iran will now work  - quickly - to develop nuclear weapons, and test them immediately to confirm to the world that they possess this technology.  It is the only sane and sensible way that they can ensure their own continued national existence.  USA has done a "Pearl Harbour" to them, by murdering their top hero-man.

I also searched for information related to the mental-health state of Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo - two war-guys who seem interested in bringing on World War III.   Pompeo is just plain nuts - maybe not quite is looney-tune as Bolton - but he is a CIA disinformationalist, and seems to pretty much talk sh/t now, whenever he speaks.  And Trump is clearly over-the-edge.   This is not some crazy conspiracy nonsense - this is the opinion of *many* USA medical people who happen to be doctors and psychiatrists.   Only an insane man could think that and act of mass-murder could somehow induce a people to behave peacefully.   

I have no interest in Iran or General Soleimani - but on Al Jazeera, you can see the films that show the results of the US air-strike on his car, driving in from the Baghdad airport.  You can see the iPhone video of the aftermath - the pieces of body parts on the roadway.   What kind of sick fuck could possibly think - in his wildest imagination - that this kind of murder could somehow create any kind of postive outcome???   Only a truly insane person could believe that mass-murder of a grey-haired, respected, military leader, and a group of diplomatic people travelling with him,  could move any nation toward peace and stability.

Unless the Iranians are some weird kind or a strange version of humans, who are cowards or fools or something like that, one now has to expect that a *significant* response has to be forthcoming.    Did America go all quiet when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour?  DId they get all peaceful, after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington?  No -  of course not.  

Unless Iran is full of humanoid-robots, it is certain that human passion will ignite a new level of anger and hatred that seems curiously unnecessary.  But the USA has signalled that it REALLY, REALLY WANTS A WAR.   So I can only suspect that they will perhaps get one.

The USA has this impressive and powerful military, which is able to kill and destroy anywhere in the world.  But can the World really have this sort of general-purpose "Murder Inc." machine rovering around and killing people whenever and whereever it wants to?   Is this really the future that we are supposed to be creating?    Somehow, I don't expect that this madness will bring peace or any sort of stability.  It seems a perfect algorithm for war-starting.

The USA leadership clearly wants to go to war.  But what if they find someday, that the rest of the world decides that having this nuclear-weapon armed mad-dog-like, kill-thing running around loose, is just too dangerous.   The USA looks way, way too much like ISIS here, and if a device were used to simply remove Washington from the planet - would anyone outside America really be sad? 

Hell, lets be honest here - just for scenario analysis:  How many in the USA itself would even be sad?  If Washington were just removed from our planet...   Would really anyone be sad?   How many in America would be sad?  How many would simply say:  "Those folks just got what was coming to them.  Glad I wasn't near the place.  'Hollywood for the Ugly & Cruel'  is now a large crater."  What would Nelson say?  

Even now, many people outside North America just say quietly:  'These USA folks, with their murder-machines, are dangerous.  Their leader is clinically insane, and their CIA "intelligence" looks like warmed-over Israeli dis-information.  Our world is broken, and under threat.  We need change.'

At some point in the future, if present trends continue to unfold in the same manner, the world may find it cannot support such an unstable, powerful, nuclear-armed murder-state, which appears to be what the USA is sadly becoming.  How did we get to this point?

Ask yourself - what would the Founders of the USA say, if they could see what America is doing in the world now?  Would any of them approve?   I just can't see it.

[Jan. 1, 2020] - Happy 2020. - Hope everyone has a Happy New Year.  Except the evil people of course.  You know who you are.  You can burn in Hell - the sooner the better, eh?   ;)

[Dec. 31, 2019] - El Perfecto! - I bought this really strange-looking rifle as a Christmas present to myself, which actually was "previously-owned" => ie. "used", and I was concerned it might not work well.  So, before we went to the range together, I cleaned the grease that the previous owner has slathered it inside with.  Used CLP to really clean it down, and the subsequent range excursion proved most satisfactory.   Tried 4 different magazines, and two different types of ammunition.   Flawless operation!  It was a real treat, actually.   It is a *loud* little fellow, and the brass gets flung downrange with just about the same aggressive intent as the little bullets - but everything worked fine - really quite perfect, actually.  And since I have another unit in the same calibre, but which was over *twice* the price - and which gives me a mis-feed about every 2 mags, this was a real pleasure.  Really, it worked so nicely...

It is very wonderful when the technology works perfectly.  You know, like when you pull back on the control-wheel, and the nose comes up, and the air-speed starts to fall off, unless you push in the throttle?   When the technology works as expected, and without failing in an ugly and unpleasent manner, then all is right with the world, and everyone can face the future with joy and renewed strength of purpose.  :)

All the best to my robot friends - and even the few real humans as well.  

My, but the internet has become funny.  Funny-strange, not funny-haha.   I tried to post to a reddit site, and simply could not do it, despite having had an account for years, and a few karma-points.  I realize the robots are locking down everything - except I find I keep getting whacked.  I was doing something that required an email confirmation, and of course, no email came.  It was only until much later, that I figured out that Google "Gmail" had routed my email-confirm msg to a new "spam filter" area.  "Oh.  That is why I have suddenly stopped getting emails on my Google "Gmail" account..."   (I know the person who runs "Gmail", and she is a dear, fine person.   I won't even mention it.   Just make sure to check your "Spam" sh/tbox, if you are not seeing a message you know you should have received.   This automatic spam-filter thing on Gmail is probably a good idea.  I have other accounts, and I am thinking of setting up "CR-114" screening, to deal with the spam-garbage I am getting on those....)

All the best, everyone, for 2020.   (Funny number for a year...   I actually have a DecSystem 20/20 around here somewhere...   well, at least a Digital Equipment box, which runs a KL10 emulator...  I mean, right down to the and HALT instructions...   :D   )

[Dec. 30, 2019] - A Year Like A Decade, a Decade Like A Year.  - And so we draw to a close.  The year has been like decade, the decade has been like a year.   It is rather difficult to be positive on the future of the future.  In the last 10 years, so little has been accomplished anywhere.  It all just winds down - neither a bang nor a whimper.  Just the sound of wind and rain, and a promise of snow to come later.    Ta.

[Dec. 29, 2019] - The Penny Drops. - And so the answer comes - early in the morning, when it is still dark.  At this time of year, where I live, at 7:00 AM, it is still pitch-black dark outside.  The hours of daylight are short, but at least now growing longer.   I know now the source of my unease.  It is starvation.

It is some kind of intellectual starvation.   The bookstores - that used to sell newspapers and interesting books - now do not sell newspapers, and the books are appalling drivel and garbage with titles and jackets based on neural-science attractors. There are no interesting books.  My favourite bookstore relocated from a wonderful, stand-alone site, to an unpleasent location in a major shopping mall.  It is now a large store full of crap, like most retail outlets that compete in shopping centres.  And it no longer has *any* newspapers for sale.

This has occurred at the same time as most of the honest and useful information on the internet has clustered behind paywalls, or simply gone dark.   Or has been removed by censorship.   The wholesale removal of  *everything* controversial from Youtube - eg.  German newsreel footage from the 1930's and 1940's - interesting and honest information that offered illustration of why European fascism was so attractive - all this has simply disappeared.  The removal of the "Dr. Ludwig" videos on Youtube is another example.   Youtube has become just garbage for children.  It is now just crap product of the absolutely lowest-level possible - much like television now is.  And television is also dark - quite literally.

And so what I have noticed - clearly now - is that one experiences a form of "starvation".  We eat well, and life is good - but there is no question that as the information channel capacity has been dialed up - the quality and accuracy of the content has crashed.  We have new cellphones - and now are getting several crap/scam calls per day (these ramp-up at Christmas and New Years - everyone should be *very* careful now).   But the response is to disable and further block channel access, right?  The scammers degrade the gains from our technology, no question.

The internet is rapidly morphing into something profoundly ugly and unattractive.  It is now an effective instrument for political control, active monitoring by State police authorities, and the projection of dishonest commercial schemes.  

Honestly, this is the attraction of the little Z-80 Single Board Computer.  It has not been "neural hacked".  There is enough power there to do real work, yet I can run it completely off-line, and not be subject to the corrosive false, misleading or dishonest data that is now most of internet communication.  

And this has been a big realization.   The mass-and-rapid information interconnection that we have become used to - and was intitially a wonderful tool for positive change and social and economic disruption - is very effectively being pivoted into something harmful.

And even more curious - as I have just about given up completely on any and all news or information sources from the 'net, I have seen my trading/investing results improve, no question. 

It is this simple:  Most public "news" is either fake, or created-after-the-fact, or is just "opinion".  This makes it quite literally worse-than-useless.   And if you are sensitive, and you can think, then most news is also painfully disturbing.   Not just terrible events - but the profound ignorance and foolishness of the political process will become - eventually - actually quite painful to watch and monitor.   You end up just closing your eyes, or switching off.  Or both.   Truly, letting modern "news"  leak into your thought-process, will just degrade and obfuscate any few, small, true information-feeds you actually have.

But it is like starvation.  Our brains - as active neural mechanisms - need material to work on or they will invent it, and loop it back on themselves.  This is dangerous - but it explains the success of the modern "entertainment industry", does it not?  We need to dream, or go mad.  But the true-data starvation has costs.   One's dreams at night become complex and exhausting - you wake up literally quite mentally tired.    The only benefit is that as one decouples from the false and manipulative dataflows, ones speculative operations can grow much more successful.

[Dec. 28, 2019] - Why Am I so Uneasy? - Time off, a little R&R.  Coffee and a muffin at Starbucks, with a well-written newspaper.  Except there are no papers now, the Starbuck's are full of line-ups, and the bookstores are full of lies, foolishness, and profound disinfo and nonsense.  This is *so* different from just 5 years ago.  As economic prosperity has been ramped up hard, the quality of product on offer has fallen sharply.

So, this is a real problem.  When I start to pull together a new thesis, and it looks wrong, then I grow uneasy.  We had a failed election in my home country recently, and the good guys did not win.  The bad guys won, and have decided on a course of action that is deeply unwise and will damage our collective futures.   If the USA falls apart or collapses into civil conflict, then Canada would be a *very* soft target.  I run these absurd, extreme scenarios, and try to put probabilities on them, and see if they make economic and strategic sense.   And what is curious, is that the most extreme, and most outrageous ones appear to offer these extreme payoffs, at such curiously low costs.  We are too much like Norway.   A small group of determined folks, armed with tactical fission devices, could overrun this place in a weekend, I suspect. 

On the surface, it seems an absurd scenario.  And yet there are now all these Syrians here, who had exactly this thing happen in their own, very rich, country.  I see them in their head-scarves, driving late model Japanese SUV's.   I have friends and business associates from Hungary and Poland, who saw this happen in their countries. I have Japanese friends whose parents watched their country suffer two major nuclear strikes, which resulted in Japan being utterly defeated and overrun by an enemy force.  I have Chinese friends who saw their nation brought down to economic ruin and social collapse twice in their lifetime - and both these times were *after* the complete destruction of China that occurred in the Second World War.

And I have African friends and associates, who have seen their nations reduced to poverty and mass-starvation and ruin by corrupt, despotic kleptogovernments, such that the only rational alternative was to flee with whatever one could carry.

Are we so special, that the worst-case nightmare scenario could not happen here?  With an incompetent, dishonest, abusive government, anything is possible.  In the 1900 to 1910 period, one could safely travel by train from London to Moscow, and do business.  One could make commerical banking arrangement from Athens to Zagreb, from Helsinki to Istanbul.  Within the next 10 years, everything was blown up.  The First World War smashed national institutions and destroyed Russia, and bankrupted Germany. As the First War ended, technological uplift gave us a newer, faster world.   The technological change gave us a massive economic lift.  But the turning of the market cycle, combined with unwise political choices, brought ruin.  The USA entered a Depression.  England losts its Empire, and the stupid and cruel madness of Russian communism was set against the ugly rise of European fascism - "National Socialism".  It started with private ownership of firearms being banned, and ended up with trainloads of people being send to death camps, and murdered by the thousands, then tens of thousands, and then millions.  Europe was smashed flat, and Russia was destroyed a second time.  England was reduced to a bankrupt, impoverished island-nation of "labourers", barely able to feed itself.

Why should the 21st century be better than the 20th?   The planet is burdened with more people, the same unwise and abusive political ideologies (with slightly different names), and is now subject to more extreme and competitive economic pressures.  Technology change has again bailed us out, and allowed rising living standards.  But what happens if the engines of growth run in reverse?  Will people happily endure multiple decades of *falling* living standards? 

History suggests mass-conflict will be crafted as the solution, as has always been in the past.

And when I look at the nonsense and just plain foolish-idiocy that people are buying and reading now in bookstores, it mirrors the foolishness I see in our political discourse - and in our political choices.   The dishonest light-weights are in power, because people are happy to be lied to, and seek simplistic solutions to complex problems.   And this makes me uneasy.

[Dec. 27, 2019] - Boom! - I bought a rifle at a Boxing Day sale.  What a curious looking device.  It looks like a 40 Mw plasma-rifle from a science-fiction movie - but is in fact a traditional gas-operated design that dates back to the 1960's, like so much of our good technology.  I have yet to try it - but perhaps once I get to the range, and have a chance to try it out, I will write a short note about it afterwards, and post it here.  Click - Boom!  Good, clean fun...  :)

[Dec. 25, 2019] - Happy Christmas! - Put up a little video of the Z-80 SBC running some simulations, (written in MS-Basic, the interpreter based on the old Nascom-Basic interpreter). Works very well, I am quite surprised.  Very small memory image (64K, really).  But you can get a *lot* done in a tiny space, if you are writing in Assembler.  MS-Basic converted into ZASM Z-80 assembler, still has to be loaded from another machine at this point.  Looking to include an SD car somehow, so the Z-80 can start, and IPL itself from the SD card (right now, the Z80MON monitor is in a Flash/ROM chip, and the MS-Basic, and then the Basic source code for the sims, has to be loaded on the RS-232 connection, null-modem cable.  Currently using Linux Kermit, from a very old Slackware box (an 80386, actually.)   But you can use Screen on a MacBook or Kermit or Termite on a Windows box if you want  It all works.  To load the Basic interpreter, you just "cat" the file over to /dev/stty01 or /dev/cua3 via a Linux pipe: Eg: ""cat rambasic.pkt > /dev/cua3" for the old Slackware box.  Then, I have a text-file loader for the Basic programs (which has a pause as it copies each line to /dev/cua3, so the Z80 Basic interpreter is not over-driven).  The  Z-80 runs at 10 mhz.  But it can get a surprising amount of stuff done,  :)

Happy hacking!  (But keep those white-hats on, eh guys?)  :D

[Dec. 24, 2019] - The Eve of Destruction? - No, I don't think so.  Just a gentle Christmas, again, with some tasty treats and some fine food, cooked well.  I prefer salmon to bird, so that is what usually gets slid onto the BBQ at our farmhouse.   And since we've come unstuck in time, and are back exploring the magical 1930's, here is another song for those of you who are trying to learn German.  It's a tough language, if you have no background in it. 

My Grandfather, who actually came from a pure German immigrant family, was discouraged from learning the language at home - his parents wanted him to learn *English* only, and to look foreward, not backward towards the failures of their European past.  He was to focus on his future in his new homeland, so they only spoke English to him, even as a child.   He had to learn German as an adult, as many of his clients were from German backgrounds, and being able to converse a little bit in their language, gave him an advantage in his business dealings.   Irony of our private histories, eh?  

Imagine the mixture I deal with - the soul of a drunken poet (my Irish side), a desire (and ability) to run the world (my English heritage), combined with a deep Germanic comfort with precision and advanced technology, which has plagued (and helped) me since I was a tiny child.  Oh, and just enough Scots for me to feel very happy and content on the Heather-covered northern moor-lands or the "highlands" as the Scots characterize it.    (This explains perhaps why I like Scotch - a beverage that when I first tasted it, seemed curiously awful.  So awful, that I had to try a bit more.  By the third or fourth sip, I think the racial DNA engaged or something - and I started to actually like the stuff...)

So, imagine the Scots highlands - but the small purple flower is called "Erika", not "Heather", in German.   Same flower, same desire, different langauge.   We should all try to see things from different perspectives, no?  Below is link to "Erika" in German, with English sub-titles, so you can learn a wee bit of the very fine language of Goethe, Bach, Planck, Beethoven and Wagner.

Erika  -  German with English Subtitles...

http://www.gemesyscanada.com/442467903

Sadly, the Youtube/Google people took down a whole series of most interesting German videos.  For many of us, it is an ugly assault on our heritage, and for everyone else, it is  a disturbing attempt to "sanitize" history.   History is like politics.  And those who seek to purge the historical record do a great injustice to anyone and everyone seeking to understand how the world and the people within it, actually work.  Falsified history leads to bad analysis, and incorrect estimates of expected values.  To degrade and censor the historical record, is to attack the basis of any kind of social science, and is a form of social manipulation that honourable students and honest scientists must resist.

[Dec. 23, 2019] - Happy Robots. - Funny times.  The robots are having fun, it appears.   And the data-harvesters are reaping one's gigabytes.   I miss the dictates of Fordism, the lovely art-deco designs on the Bauhaus structures, the martial music, and the parades with the flags, and all the young girls with their perfect smiles and bright white teeth and blonde hair.  Strength through Joy, I guess...  Here is my favourite from those days, with a modern take:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-a5NrcigA

Lou Reed did  some great songs.  He had one I liked, with the lyrics: "Oh, there are problems in these times.  But none of them are mine."    We need to hold that thought at this time of year.  :)

[Dec. 22,  2019] - Quiet Times? - One expects busy crowded stores at this time of year.  But this is not what we saw today, and I found that odd - untll the reason struck me: Christmas Day is on a Wednesday - right smack in the middle of the week.  Here and in UK, Boxing Day is a legal holiday, same status as Christmas Day.  So, it means:  book only 3 days vacation, and you get an almost 10-day stretch of time off.  And I bet the airports were full yesterday.  Christmas is a really great time to get the hell away - "Get Outta Dodge!", as they say.  Next week will be quiet, I suspect.  Everyone's gone, maybe.

But quiet means a few can make things happen - call it the "Law of Small Numbers"...

Plus, it's a great time to attack, isn't it?   Whatever your agenda or plan, it's a great time to launch, no?  Everyone either drunk, asleep, fuzzy or most likely, just on vacation.  The Democrats are attacking their own Commander-In-Chief, while the UK seems to have seriously (finally) gotten it's act together, and rejected the idiocy and foolishness of "socialism" - the most toxic economic fraud since the Middle Ages.   Curious to see that.  Usually, it's America showing the way, while Ye Olde Country - the UK - dithers and flails about.  Curious to see the scenario reversed this year.   

And oh, Jesus - does Nancy Pelosi not remind you of the "Wicked Witch of the West"?   I swear, I expect to  someday see her collapse into a pool of black-slime, and hear a high-pitched voice: "I'm melting... I'm melting..! ..."    If only.

It's interesting to see the success of China.  The Mainland Chinese have shown remarkable wisdom re. Hong Kong.  The wisest thing for them to do is - nothing.   Violent protests are self-defeating, and the kids protesting in HK have not advanced their cause wisely.  They're kids, of course.  Wisdom is not a strength of youth - action is.    But by running an open, economically-free, property-based economy, China has made itself rich - and powerful.     This is one of the truly great economic transitions in human history.  And the USA was the model.   And HK was the model.   

 [Dec. 19, 2019] - Harvard - and The Triumph of Deception.  Critical comments that "not everything in Massachusetts is dishonest, angry fraud.  Look at wonderful Harvard!"   And then comes the latest Lie From the Left.   Michael Porters, and several other overpaid flunkies from Harvard, have just released a wonderful, perfect example of fraud and deception:  "A Recovery Squandered".   This bogus piece of "research" (oh, but I use this term so lightly...) cannot of course deny the outrageous success of the Trump-initiated economic recovery (the numbers are just too compelling - the US economy is just hammering along), so they create this deeply dishonest piece of political fiction, suggesting that somehow, we have "wasted" the recovery, by not spending enough on leftists-agenda items.  

Listen: This is the reports summary, from the Harvard Business School website itself:

"This Report details ... a striking lack of shared reality about the trajectory of U.S. competitiveness, a poor understanding of the structural nature of our political problems, and other gaps in understanding."

In other words, if you don't agree that we should be spending more on their agenda, then you suffer from "a gap in understanding" and are the reason for this "lack of shared reality".  This is - right from the outset - a document of deception and illustrates perfectly what I am talking about, in Massachusetts.   That State is ground-zero for American political dishonesty - and it reaches right up into Harvard Business School.

This report address "competitiveness".  But what is that?  To a businessman, it means low labour costs.  Drive down wages, and drive up output, and your business is more "competitive".  But that is not what this report means by the term.  And that is the problem.  The term "competitiveness" is a bogus, waste-basket term, that means whatever the speech-writer wants it to mean today.  Tomorrow, it may mean something quite different.  It is a soft, mushball of a term, with no honest, shared meaning.  And that is why it is the objective of this report.  Because this report is a fraud.  It is not a scientific document - it is a political document, as it makes a purely political arguement.  But the authors are not honest enough to say that.

Read the document.  It makes this long case that business "special interests" doing lobby-related activity in Washington, are somehow acting *against* democracy.   When you could equally argue, that the action of the business-interests in Washington IS HOW DEMOCRACY HAS TO WORK!   Business and private lobby-people have to be there, making their case, or they risk getting whacked by the lazy cheaters looking to score a free-ride from the *democracy* scam.

Think about it!  What is the basic flaw of democracy?  It is that a bunch of yahoos in a different city can vote away your money and your property.  That is the basic problem of democracy.  If a democratic state does not have *aggressive* protections for private property and private, personal, individual human-rights, then any group or gang, can get together and destroy - just by their vote - the very existence of a few private individuals.  Democracy without explicit protection of the property-rights of private individuals - is just mob-rule, and the Founders of the United States were *very* aware of this problem.  The mass exodus of "United Empire Loyalists" - folks who left the USA for British Canada, after the American Revolution - were explictly motivated by this fear, and their actions provide clear proof of the visible danger that pure "democracy" can represent.  It is why the US Constitution has the *explicit* black-letter legal protections within it, that it does.  Those protections were included because everyone agreed they were *necessary* for the new US democratic system to operate correctly, without abuse.

Think about the alternative:  "Hey!  We had a vote!  And we voted that *YOU* are gonna pay all our bills!  And if you don't pay all our bills, then we voted to put you - and your kind - in jail, and take all your stuff!"

This is why people who have property, go to Washington to "lobby" lawmakers.  If you don't, then you risk - literally - your own destruction.  And this is well understood by all.  There is no gap.

Michael Porter is full of shit.  And so is most of Massachusetts.  The American Economic Recovery was not "squandered".   It was simply carried out.  Had "competitiveness" been the goal (a fuzzy, fake goal, which could actually mean "more money for Harvard Professors" as much as it means anything at all), then there probably would not even have been any recovery.  

These Harvard Business School people are just pushing their political agenda - and their document is just a shrill piece of politics.  And that makes it standard-grade dishonest, like so much of the "documents of deception" that are created by the left-leaning establishment types. 

Massachusetts - originally known for witch-burning, religious intolerance, rum-production, the Triangle-Trade, dead Kennedy's and high-taxes, now can add another characteristic to it's nature, thanks to HBS:  The Fountainhead of Economic Fraud.

[Dec. 17, 2019] - Adeste Fideles! - Those of you who put your faith in the Equity Markets, come one, come all.  There will be thrills and chills and probably a few spills - but like the old prospectors would assure - there's gold in them thar hills!  The stock markets are the only place one can find any legitimate financial investments.  Otherwise, it is booze, drugs, or weapons, eh?  (The Holy Trinity for bad-guy investors, I guess)  Although I hear Goldman Sax is leaning to upping its targets for green-slime and soylent-brown.  Oh yum.  Yes, the markets are fine, fun and ever-changing.   Just don't eat too much of  what they are selling.  You need to do your own cooking, and grow your own vitamine C.

And all would be just hunky dory for us, except we keep getting shot at by American Analysts.  Silly action.  Apparently, the Telecommunications Analyst, John Smallberries at Morgellens Stanley (that name might be wrong) has downgraded BCE from Equal-Weight to Underweight - what ever the heck that means.  (Well, it mean's $1.31/share, is what it means today...) and not much else, it would seem.   What a curious world we inhabit now.  

If the price wanders down far enough, we will pick up a bit more.   The idiocy of the professional herd-followers, is where we have a provable edge, truth be told.   We note JPM and C are both up a buck (JPM at 138.  How about that?  Remember Jamie Dimon saying he would be a buyer  of JPM at 56  "all day" or something like that?   Good advice, it was. 

The situation in USA is crazy.  The "impeachment" case against Trump is a joke - pure politics at it's very worst.  The "Democrat" collective are showing that they are unfit to govern.  It is quite astonishing - a display of the most grotesque attempt to subvert democracy and democratic intent I think I have ever seen the Americans  engage in.  The Democrat fraudsters in Washington happily deficate all over their basic traditions and their fundemental rule-of-law procedures, when they go down a bogus path like this.   Trump's people are not allowed to cross-examine the "witness-types", nor introduce any of their own evidence - which would of course show that the treason being committed by the so-called "whistleblowers" is just dirty politics being practiced by dis-loyal, dishonest, bad persons who wanted to destroy the authority of the elected President.

Whether you love or hate Mr. Trump, the actions of the Democrats here are reprehensible.  Just like the corrupt and dishonest authorities of New York Jails, who are happy to carry out a  murder when they can, the Democrats are driving forward a deeply dishonest political calculus. 

America is turning into a dangerous, nasty and deeply dishonest crazy-show of selfish madness.   Maybe it's always been this bad, and it is only now, with this clever computer-linked communications technology, that we are so easily able to see it all up close and clear.  My, but I am glad I don't live there.  Sometimes, I seriously think they are headed for a real civil war.  The really sad thing, is that it is likely to be California that slides into the ocean, when of course, it would be so much better if it could be Massachusetts!  Massachusetts is a nasty place full of bitter, jealous folks who are full of a phoney self-rightiousness.  It's the only place in North America that had "Witch Trials" and executed people by "religious law" for being "Agents of Satan".  

The place is a quiet, angry, seething madhouse.  And it produces political figures like Elizabeth Warren who climb up on the backs of those angry, jealous low-self-esteem people to try to shout-down and degrade anyone who is successful.   People like her turn the bitterness and anger that comes from failure, into political capital and use it to fund their abusive climb up the lamp-post of American politics.   God, but it is an ugly scene to watch unfold.  It's like watching a slow-motion lynching of those American values of honesty, hard-work, and self-reliance.    What would Emerson or Thoreau think, if they could see the swamp and cesspool that is the American political bathhouse of today?

And the really crazy thing, is that the ugly, dishonest actions of the Democrats, will likely ensure that Mr. Trump gets re-elected.  

Socialism is economic cancer.  The great tragedies of the 20th century are due to this foolish nonsense.  The "National Socialists" of Germany, the sad, destructive failure of Communist Russia, the abusive economic fraud of Eastern Europe under Communism, and the vicious, evil horror of Mao Tse Tung's "Cultural Revolution" - all these manufactured global failures are the direct results of "socialist" political policy.  

And since the Democrats are trying to push this same ugly fraud on the USA, it would seem that any sane, right-thinking person will have no choice but to make his "X" next November, beside Mr. Trump's name.   

If the Democrat politicals could field a sane, sensible candidate, they might stand a chance.  But it appears clear, that this cannot happen in the current climate of hatred and anger that seems to characterize USA. 

And Mr. Trump is at least trying to get things done.   He gets a lot of points, just for that.  :)

[Dec. 14, 2019] - White Out.  An old Blues song:  "Woke up this morning, and my world was green.  Sunshine and fog, but the land sharp and clean.   But a short time later, as I'd just turned my back, it came on quick, like a heart-attack.  We got that change-from-the-sky thing  -  a wild whirl of white.  All the fine crystal-flakes, fog-dull yet bright.  Then evening fell,  all dark deepest black.   And I looked thru the window, and my face looked back.   "Oh man, I hope we don't run outta air today."   (That's always the way that  we quietly pray.)     Just another strange day on my small planet Mars, that cruel, cold-world you can see among the stars."

Folks who want to go to Mars, should spend a few months in northern Canada in the winter.  And understand it is an easy, nice place, easier to live in than Mars, since you don't need to bring or make your own air.  Just heat.   I still think we should colonize Mars - but it will be difficult, and many will die.

Got the Z-80 working nicely with a big VGA screen, and tweaked the VT-100 emulator board to display 36 lines instead of just 24, so when the simulation results are charted on a histogram, you can see more of it.  I really stand in awe of the Central Limit Theorum.  It puts food on our table, and keeps the wolves from eating us.  :)

[Dec. 13, 2019] - Happy Friday 13th! - Lucky day for me yesterday, as day before, a bunch of electronics arrived in the mailbox - a VT-100 emulation board, and a cool, black-frame small 7-inch VGA/TTL monitor kit.  Scrambled to put all these together with the Z-80 Northstar, and *voila!" a computer! - with a screen and keyboard, and verflazhin-lightzen und der blinkeren mit das dataflingen-zum der busseconnecteren - or something like that I guess.

I'll write up some notes later on what I had to do to get it to work nicely.

Update: 15:07  - Ok, so I notice BNS is down almost a buck, while all the other Cdn Banks are up. Ha ha  --  ha.  Found out why.  Not sure if this is the right name (Hint: It isn't) but there is rumor of a report from the Analyst Mr. Dick Small, at Credits-Wisse (sic), where he has downgraded BNS from "Outperform" to "Neutral".   Mr. Small also upgraded RBC. Maybe he likes the colour blue?  ( l like the colour blue too, truth be told.)

Gosh but I am having trouble typing this while laughing..  I had a meeting with BNS person yesterday, and talking to her was educational and helpful.  ("I know something you don't know..." < in a silly child's voice..> perhaps?).  RBC if a fine bank.  BNS is a fine bank.  And just for FFFD (Flaunting Full Fair Disclosure), we have just heavied up (a wee little bit) on a BNS postion in one ouf our accounts.  We think the price - in the mid 70's Cdn - is actually pretty attractive.... even a bit of a bargain, maybe.   Time will tell.  But the money and the mouth are in alignment here...

Folks - honestly - I say this without even a hint of FUD - the Analysts at these big institutions, are fine people - but they are *not* business-people.   And BNS looks like it actually might be gettings it's plans together, and is maybe actively engaged in trying to be a little more proactively focused on being a bank for business folks and entrepreneurs - in Canada.  And this is a good and wise thing.  There is money here.  (Hint-Guess: Not sure if this matters, but that whole Carribean/South-American money-laundering thing is maybe just not that profitable anymore.  Too much competition, I suspect..  Of course, BNS is not involved in anything illegal like that.   But the Southern-World seems to run on bad data, bad thinking, borked politics, funny-money and bent process.  I  can't prove anything.   It's just a feeling.  But they still take Karl Marx seriously down south.  They still teach that absurd garbage in their schools.  I have no direct knowledge of what goes on day by day.  And I havn't even been down to BVI since I was very young, and we sold the sailboat to pirates. :)    But Marxism is such an awful fraud and it leads to such corrupt politics, a breakdown in the rule of law and a tragic suspension of basic common sense.   Sort of like religion does.   

[Dec. 10, 2019] - Santa Rally?  Or another Nightmare Before Christmas? - making a list and checking it twice.   Got a fair bit of electronics to order.  Looking at Tindie, and seeing some real "must-haves".   I've got this simulator-suite that runs on the Z-80, transcoded from APL to Basic (yup, you can do it... I mean, vector's and matricies, eh?  How hard can it be?  :)  )  The thing works and after a thousand or two sims, I can chart a histogram of all the simulation means, and yup, they all cluster about the true population mean, and in just the way the Central Limit Theorum says they should. 

It's one thing to read about this blather in Economics school and encounter it in stats courses at University.  And it is quite another thing entirely to use this hack to put a fat envelope of $100 bills in your hand (legally!).    Of course, it is exactly what the old life-insurance companies do with their "p's" and "q's".   But really, we should all get up in the morning, and do a little prayer-ritual to the perfect beauty of the Central Limit Theorum.  And in the evening, raise a glass to Dr. K. F.  Gauss...

I'll do a tiny video (like for the Xerion thing), and post it here, showing the Z-80 generate the final histogram ( a nice proxy for a probability density function), after 1000 sims being run.  It is comical, since the display screen is my 1983, original IBM P/C video monitor.  I found it among my father's stuff, along with a spinning-wheel printer, that will let the Z-80 print APL characters, if I can actually build a super-tiny APL for it.   I dug up my old 80386 "Opti chipset" computer (with it's 80387 math co-processor!), and got it working.  It was quite a hack.  The Trident video board had died, and the 3 1/4 floppy drive was rusted or something - could not read or write.  I managed to find an original CGA monochrome-graphics board.  And I was able to re-load the CMOS so I could boot MS-DOS (which was on the disk), and Slackware Linux 1.2.1. 

The old 80386 machine first boots up MS-DOS 6.1 or something, and you can then start Windows IIRC.  But just default to load and run Linux.  We stay in CLI (command line) mode, since I have no graphics card.

Once I log into Linux I can run Linux-Kermit to talk to CUA3 (COM3 port), and the null-modem cable to the Z-80 lets me see the Z80MON. [Setup commands to kermit:  "set port /dev/cua3" and then "set baud 38400"  (which is the hardwired default for the Z-80 Northstar).  I can then "connect" and I see the ">" prompt, and can enter "R" to confirm all is fine.  The Z-80 returns "Z80-Monitor. Oct. 19, 2019" or something similar... ].   To load the MS-Basic interpreter: Just enter: "<Ctrl-\>c "   to return to "Linux-Kermit>" mode, and enter "push" to get a CLI shell.

From there, just a "cat" of the RAMBASIC.PKT file  ( a binary with a SOH char to start, and then an EOT char to end), and I can load the MS-Basic into the Z-80 "NorthStar" and start to load data & run programs.    The file copy is just:  "cat rambasic.pkt > /dev/cua3 "

Ok, the new super-retro Z-80 setup is shown in the little green-text video above, at the top.  :)

[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!")...   ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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..  :)  => ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

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?)   ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€

[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!  ๐Ÿ˜ฎ..

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...   ๐Ÿ™‚    (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?   ...

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. 

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.    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. 

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   make all    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  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.  ๐Ÿ˜€

[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 " 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... ๐Ÿ˜€

[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. 

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 ะบะฝะธฬะณะฐ 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 '/': corrupted double-linked list: *** "     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/ 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
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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...)



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: '.   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 , 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 "<> 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 "" 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... 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 Revol