SpaceX's Starship-15 after the successful test flight of the latest vehicle. The ship launched to 30,000 feet using just three Raptor engines, hovered & then shutdown two engines, transitioned to horizontal, returned back to launch site, and landed vertically using just one Raptor engine. Quite an accomplishment. Launch and pre-launch images displayed on the right. But why the advert for the black, double-slit dress? Unclear on that. :D

This same hacked iPad-1 above (very first Generation), also was able to download and display a video of the NASA Ingenuity helicopter flight on Mars.

Notes of Note - 2021

MacBook Pro running GNU-APL workspace to create a real-time, live, data-driven Graphic Slideshow with ⎕PLOT, XQuartz, libxcb, glib2, wmctrl.

[German graphic glyph-sticker by GSG - German Sport Guns, makers of the new 9mm MP-40. Apple Macbook, GSG & GEMESYS Ltd. => bringing Power to the People! :) ]

[ May 12, 2021 ] - Mayday, Mayday... - Is a sea-change taking place?  Perhaps, but we doubt it.  Too much money is floating around, chasing too little stuff.  There are shortages of things - and one can notice this from the grocery shelves to the industrial-products distributors.

The plan to keep interest-rates low, and let the economy run hot, is probably wise and necessary, as there is real risk of serious economic disruption if the new Covid-19 variants run rampant, and prove to be more lethal and more contagious - as the preliminary data suggests is the case.   If you get Covid, you don't breathe - and if you don't breathe, you die.

Same thing for the economy - without enough money in circulation, business activity is certain to suffer the same fate.    Inflation is to be preferred over suffocation.

[ May 11, 2021 ] - Vix Trix - World funnier each day.   I have this model that said, when the spot VIX was around 17 and change, suggested it was almost a dead certainty that the VIX would trade up to 21 to 22 level - just based on recent dispersion - a bone-simple model which I don't put much faith in.  What is comical lately, is how good the simple, back-of-the-envelope stuff works..  It is hilarious, really.

Except there is a reason for this.  Models which have fewer factors and parameters have greater stability and typically tend to capture basic phenomenon more/better than complex models.  It's really just that simple.  World is funny.  The stone-circles the Plains Indians built in North America, used to determine annual sun-positions (and hence predict seasons with a high-degree of accuracy) are similar to the elaborate rock piles of Stonehenge.  Both of these simple rock-piles were perfectly effective at measuring daily positions of the sun, and hence could make accurate determinations of both seasonal durations and points of seasonal transition.   This meant the Plains Indians could predict when the buffalo herds would migrate into their territory, and the Britainnic Druids could forecast when Spring-plantings and Autumn harvests should take place.

Simple models work - and the VIX looks like it wants to run hot, and will likely do so for the next little while, since the algos have captured market process.  This is actually a big deal.  There are times, when the market is used by clever folks to spew money out into the pockets of fatboys and government toads - it almost stops being a device for price-discovery - and becomes an almost perfect machine for cash-extraction.  With all the modern tech that is deployable now, this process might be reaching a limiting case - as so many processes on the planet seem to now be reaching.  We see this in demographics.

For example: Even China is concerned about a near-future population implosion - which seems curiously unbelievable - until one inspects Japanese and European demographic characteristics.  Folks in cities cannot afford to create babies.  Last year, I was at a birthday event, where I met a bunch of guys I had not seen since high-school.  Except for one guy - who got married, and had 1 child - the entire group had had no children with their various women - and of course, several had had ugly marriage scenarios.    As Bill Gates' situation demonstrates (yet again, as if we need any more social-proof of this phenomenon) - for a guy, getting married is almost certainly a major, serious error from an economic perspective.   Creating a family for a guy, is often the economic-equivalent of a very bad trade.   You just experience increasing losses, until you have to bail.

So, demographically, we are in trouble.  And if you are a white-guy, wow, you are double-in-trouble because if you even talk about the crashing birth-rate for white-people in North America, you risk being tarred with the Big Brush of Racism - which is astonishingly stupid.   It does not matter if you are "woke" (another awful expression created by popular insanity) - if you are on the path to becoming "broke".   Only the very rich folks can afford to have kids in the world now.  (And maybe the very poor, also?)

So, it is curious.   Simple models often contain very powerful truths, which it is not really possible to politically obfuscate - although the liars try, of course.  To see the "End of the Race", one need only look at the fecundity rate of Canadians - last I looked it was around 1.7 and falling, meaning that folks here - all races - are not having enough babies to maintain the population.  So, we need roughly 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants imported *each year*, otherwise our pension schemes implode and our tax-rates spike - or our money becomes worthless.    There is no easy solution to this problem - and we cannot even talk about the social assault on our traditional values and characteristics that is taking place, lest one be accused of being a bad guy.  Oh my.

But it is yet another example where a simple model makes it clear what will happen - and yet the bogus nonsense of "climate change" is held up as the great social economic problem that threatens us.  This morning - May 11th - I had to scrape ice off of one of our vehicles that was left outside.  We are running virtually *exactly* the same climate variations we experienced 150 years ago - you don't open your summer place up north, until good Queen Victoria's birthday (May 24th) because it might snow and be freezing - and the northern cottages are typically not insulated.  The whole "global warming" thing is such an obvious fraud  - that it had to be re-framed as "climate change", and it requires extremely subtle (ie. fake?) models to make it possible to believe some non-cyclic change is actually taking place.

But if you are any sort of scientist - you have to be seriously skeptical about "global warming", because the phenomenon is just not supported in the data.  It is bogus - but the process is already working for governments, in that it is allowing tax-increases to be made effective.

"Climate Change" is all about raising taxes, as the poorly run Governments of the Western World are broke, bankrupt and unlikely *ever* to paydown their debts with real, actual money.  There is just no way a funded-payoff it can ever happen.   Within the next 30 years - governments need many *trillions* of dollars of *surplus* wealth to pay off existing debt.  It will just not be generated - unless we can build cheap fusion-reactors, working trans-planetary space vehicles, and farm the arctic regions effectively.   All this *might* be possible - but a rational skeptic (and my foul-mouthed "inner trader") both say that a series of defaults is much more likely - or, a massive (essentially engineered) hyper-inflation might also play out as a solution.

So, the simple models say that a grim future is always on the table.   It's gonna take some real work to avoid the path to the grim scenarios.  But the VIX will dance up some big numbers, probably, regardless of how things play out.  Looks like an easy trade - if one could just buy the spot - which of course, one cannot.   What does that tell you?    :)

There are some obvious choices - Financials (banks, and maybe insurance companies), should offer some hedge against the coming inflation, as they can adjust both their spreads and the rates on their existing loans.  Canada is nice, since there are no "30 year" mortgages here.  If you can get one of those crazy low 30-year mortgages in the USA, you might want to think about it.  In Canada, the term (for which the interest rate is locked-in) only extends to 5 years maximum.  This removes much of the "pre-payment" risk, and is a major benefit to Canadian banks.  If rates spike up to deal with inflation, the banks can re-prices their loan portfolios either immediately (as many loans are quoted "prime-plus...") and in the case of mortgages, they will get uplift in the collateral value underlying the existing loans, and the ability to reprice the loans with roughly 2 to 3 years on average.  Pre-payment risk is a non-event in Canada.  The banks can also expand their spreads, if rate volatility expands - as it probably will have to do.

The transformative power of technology is real, and can offer uplift to equity values if stocks are actively bought by issuing companies.  This has been a good game for many years now - but one can see that maybe this game is hitting a limit also.

It might be better to run airplanes with well-trained pilots, (rather than fly-into-the-ground computer programs written by idiots), and it might be better to run economy-critical pipelines with humans at the control consoles - rather than fully automatic control systems that can be taken offline by Russian gangsters - hackers or FSB Agents - it really matters little which group actually pulled off the "Great Colonial Pipelines Data Heist".  The point is that the current internet-based "Lack-Of-Control Systems" are neither reliable nor trustworthy.

As a hard-core technology guy - I have this sneaking suspicion that maybe all the modern technology is completely compromised, suspect and riddled with the kinds of "back-door" access methods ("Clipper Chips and/or Intel AMT webservers-on-the-chip, etc.) that we begged not be installed back when Bill EFFing Clinton was President.  They installed it all anyway, and the Clintons and the NSA told us EFF-supporter types to just fuck off... which of course, we did.  Never argue with an idiot - he will just beat on you, and drag you down to his level.  You have to just walk away.  And wait for the crash-and-burn scenarios to play out, Everclear-style.) "We can live beside the ocean, leave the fire behind, Swim out past the breakers, watch the World die.")

The Financials - and the Phone Companies that own the old-style reliable wire-line and fibre-optic infrastructure, might well be the Last Men Standing, we suspect, as much of the modern technology is found to compromised - and thus toxic and dangerous - for a variety of reasons which old 2600-era folks have warned about for almost 20 years.    Isoroku.

[ May 10, 2021 ] - Work from Home But Just Use a Telephone - Has anyone finally seen the quiet truth buried beneath the modern "Children's Hour"  technology paradigm?  The idea of using Microsoft Teams or Zoom or other video-link tricksterism, does not really work very well - and it quietly places us at a staggering degree of operational risk.  The Colonial Pipelines ransom-ware attack - which has shutdown - for three days now - the pipeline-based delivery of diesel fuel in eastern USA, shows how idiotic the current "interconnected world" really is. 

It's about as stupid as the "just-in-time" madness of inventory management (the idea there being that businesses keep all their inventory on the back of trucks, waiting in the parking lot to back up to the loading-docks to offload their hardware right on to the assembly line...).  

All this foolishness looks great on paper, as it lowers some costs - until it causes complete breakdown of industrial production, due to supply-chain disruption - just exactly like it has with the cheap-chips which suddenly aren't available, and auto-assembly lines have to shutdown for want of parts that cost less than $2.00 each.

The whole idea with big, complex systems - is to keep the critical sub-systems "insulated" from each other, so a single "short circuit" type of failure, does not bring down the entire East Coast of the USA, as in a power failure - for example.  Or a failure to disengage a flight-management computer-tool that keeps an otherwise over-heavy, under-powered aircraft inside a stable-flight envelope, does not fly into the ground and kill everyone on board.   The Boeing 737-Max-8 was a particularly awful example - but this nonsense just keeps happening. 

And why?  It is simply *bad design* - a problem which has always been with us.  But the more interconnected the system, the greater the risks of cascade failure induced by poor system design becomes.

Too often now, control systems are about **NOT** having control, because unwise makers  have designed hyper-interconnected processes which can be characterized as *lack-of-control systems*.  The system runs on automatic.  The economic argument is that this will "enhance efficiency" - which it often will.  Until it does not - and the unsupervised failure cascades, and destroys everything in a great shower of sparks, meltdowns and explosive events.  

In the markets, this dumb-guy scenario is typically the results of pumping returns by strategies like "selling the small puts", which is what one can do, to goose returns in a portfolio.  You (mostly) never see the extreme events transpire - and the put expires unexercised, and you get to pocket the premium.  The kids think they've found a money-fountain.  (The Malachite Capital Volatility Fund example comes to mind - a disaster created by couple of clever sales-lads originally from Goldman Sachs).  The old traders smile and shake their heads and mutter something rude.

In technical terms - events that are 5 and 6 (and more) standard-deviations offside from normal "mean range" operational characteristics - happen a *LOT* more often than the curious statistical models predict.   You can play with this class of problems until the heat-death of the Universe occurs, and you will not likely "solve" the problem.  

It's maybe why farmers can be good stock traders.  They know seasons *really* matter, and that there is a time to plant, and a time to harvest.  (And it's important not to get these two seasons confused, like children are wont to do!)

Farmers also know about the awesome, *unlimited* power of nature - tornados, hurricanes, early snow, big hail, late springs and wild, runaway weed-growth or insect attacks.   Grasshoppers cover the ground two inches thick - so many and so thick that the cars are sliding around on the streets of small prairie towns.   Nature - regularly - goes completely crazy.

Last year, I discovered these beautiful beetles that look like little golden jewels - of course, they are the vicious Japanese Beetles, and love to devour the wild-grape leaves, leaving only strange, skeletons of the leaves.  Once they've eaten the grape-leaves, they start on the trees - and find the Gypsy Moth larva have gotten their first.  You look at your forest, and one summer day, you see the trees have no leaves!

In a small acreage, it is possible to produce maybe 1 billion dandelion seeds - so that chemical treatments that make Agent Orange look like something soft and gentle, are needed just to keep down the weeds and ensure crops can grow.  (There will be not much food produced, if Roundup is ever banned...)  The power of nature to *continue* to produce ever more hardy and resistant variety-types of weeds is simply amazing.    An associate sums it up well, when she says simply:  " *Wild* is the House. "  (She knows about gambling, also...)

Nassim Taleb, the famous "flan-whore"  (I think that is what he calls himself now - I never was very good with French...) points out we live in "Extremistan", which is certainly a clever way to describe the evident wild-randomness of the Universe.  At least he sees it.   Many folks just don't even see what is there in front of their eyes.    I remember studying probability mathematics - and the wiz-guys teaching  would always want to be talking about "balls in a urn", and I remember thinking that they maybe had their "balls in an earn", but I was a hell of a lot more interested in the *wild* randomness of reality - like the world we live in. 

I was going to pack it all in, but then a wonderful clever woman who taught Microeconomics and also Statistics, taught us about the Central Limit Theorem.   I thought it was nonsense, so I tested it - and it is quite amazing - if your sampling device is really random - if you really are making random (not biased) samples many times against a big population, the sample means will cluster around the true population mean, and look like a bell-curve (the famous "Normal" distribution, from Gauss - aka a "Gaussian distribution") and this will happen, regardless of the way the population data is distributed.  

This seemed a bit counter-intuitive - but it turns out to be true.   This is why sampling works - and is also why sampling does not work.   Example:  Right-wing, freedom-loving, intelligent people simply now do not generally respond to "polesters" trying to inquire about voting plans.  There is nothing to be gained by indicating how you will vote, and much (maybe) to be lost, by letting your private confidential information leak into the public domain.     So, it is mostly the lower forms of human-life (high-school teachers, government workers, journalists, fraudsters, lazy drug abusers, folks on "welfare", etc) who respond to polls now, so the samples are just *not* random anymore.   The "polls" always show the Lefty-Types winning now.  Always.  Hey, maybe the elections are being "engineered"?    :)

So be careful now - the Covid Pandemic is nasty, but the statistics show it is more likely going to be a Government that kills you.   Or maybe one of those baseball sized hail-stones.  And if you are "working from home", remember that Microsoft or Apple have already infliltrated your computer, and might just be monitoring everything you say and do with it.    The more you "plug-in" to a system - the more likely someone will "reach out and touch you" with some weaponized shit-nasty software that will try to fuck you up badly.   Such is the modern world.   If the bio-tech doesn't  get you, the info-tech might just make it thru the filters.    :D

[ May 7, 2021 ] - Testing a Starship - Watched SpaceX Starship-15 test launch and successful return and touch down at the Texas testing site.   Reminds me of those science-fiction picture-books young lads had back in the last century.   Very impressive - Bravo to the folks at SpaceX.  Nicely done.

[ May 6, 2021 ] - Nunc ist Bibendum  - But be careful...   :)        

[ May 3, 2021 ] - Mr. Market ...  (Gimme ... !)- Ok, so we went long this stuff on Friday - Victor N.'s old trick from long, long ago.    Hilarious.    Sample - and hold.   ( "Quick Watson!  Come here, I need you!   -  and bring the Sampler & the Vocoder.... ")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnJa2TqhX6A

[ Apr. 30, 2021 ] - Among the (Un)Dead - I keep wondering how I missed Tim Armstrong back in 2007-2008, and then the penny dropped - it was the fcuking "Financial Crisis" wasn't it.   I seem to recall fighting rather for my financial life, IIRC.   It was another stupid-ugly market/crash time-of-nonsense.  I had been keeping a file-folder labelled "USA Housing Crisis" since 2006 - and the damn crisis just didn't come, so I stayed long-long.  Which was dumb-dumb and wrong-wrong.  (I basically got stopped out after massive losses - and then went all-in on some Canadian bank-stock when some banker-folks did a secondary share issue to pump-up their depleted capital  (BMO).  Long at 35 or 36, I think it was - and by Feb. 2008, I think it was 28 or something ugly like that.  I remember thinking "fuck, I'm dead.  I gonna be fucking dead-arsed busted..."   But I held, as the numbers were not as awful as the market was pricing (the market does this:  - listen carefully: - a really shitty job of accurately pricing stuff.   That is how one can sometimes make money - and OFTEN lose a LOT of money.)  Funny world.  The undead can rise up pretty good, sometimes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HDdFRGkOJU

The start of this above tune reminds me of a young man's early market adventures.   I half blew up once before, so I know that Bill Hwang/Victor Neiderhoffer feeling of "oh shit shit shit shit".   You get killed quick and rejoin the dead at least once, if you are learning.   I met a guy when I worked the back-office at Lehman, in Jersey City, who had blown up big with options.  He was a quiet, careful guy.   But I guess he swung hard for the fence - and missed.    Curious world.   Tim Armstrong is a working poet - he seriously reminds me of Arthur Rimbaud.  "Among the Dead" is really pretty good.  Here is a compilation by someone on tuber...  (I really like #6...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCO2W6bkC_g

Anyway, I missed the whole SKA thing.  Hilarious and sad, as it was genius good.  The Tim Armstrong / Rancid / Hellcat Records thing is so crazy good it is just mind-whacking.  Do a DDG search on "Tim Armstrong Lady Demeter" or "Among the Dead" or "Into Action".  I really like "Translator" - just wonderful stuff.  And his black/white high-contrast videos look like Roy Lichtenstein paintings. 

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

Oh, and did you know that "Dogecoin" has a higher net-worth than Credit Suisse?  Maybe because Dogecoin did not invest in Archegos?   :D 

And speaking of the UnDead:   Canada's GDP has pretty much recovered from the Covid-19 meltdown.   (Check the Bloombergsteingoldberger article..)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-30/canada-posts-11th-straight-monthly-gain-in-economic-output?srnd=markets-vp

Ya read the above factoid, and one has to resist a few Nelson Ha-ha's.  Or maybe a Dr. Evil-style "Bwah Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!"

But truly, it's been fcuking awful.   A time of sickness is just plain bad.   I was talking to a check-out girl at The Liquor Store last week, (In the People's Republic of Ontario, all Liquor Stores are "Taco Bell", remember )    Anyway, she was telling us about a friend of her's who died from Covid.  The SARS-Cov-2 virus can kill you quite effectively - like life does, as Warren Zevon warned us.  Get the fack vaccinated if you possibly can.  Do whatever it takes.    If you are vaccine-shy, then you are just facking stupid.    First rule of life, is: "Don't die."  And really, don't die needlessly, for no reason or benefit, other than stubborn ignorance.

I miss Californistan.  Tonite it is supposed to be minus 4 C.  Tomorrow is May 1st, FFS.  Pulp Fiction indeed.  When Pierre found profit, the little money worked out well...  and the big money works out even better, I am told.   But the White Trash Beautiful in desert trailer parks have a fine and maybe better climate-lifestyle than we northern blue-kintama folks have.   But I do like the ability to motor up to the edge of great open places of no-people.   Canada is just facking magical - and dangerous as hell - but that is the attraction, isn't it?    :)

[ Apr. 29, 2021 ] - A Student's Tail Risk - Ok, so today I am mixing Chaucer with Mandelbrot and the T-distribution...  This AM, complete fog (in the brain, and on the field), and I watched a turkey the size of a small pony walk across the field - from the viewport of the main window, it looked like a scene right out of Jurasic Park.  

Those big male turkeys look exactly like dinosaurs.  If I had time, I would whip up a bio-lab, and try to craft a clone/hybrid of turkey DNA with one of those big Indonesian lizards that spit toxic poison to take down their prey  (they are called: Komodo dragons - run a DDG search on them, and check the pictures - latin name: varanus komodoensis.  They are amazing creatures. )  

The Komodo Dragon saliva contains hyper-toxic bacteria which can rapidly infect and imobilize mammalian prey.  Nice candidate for modern bio-weaponization, doubtless..  Better than Wuhan batsh/t, as it would be targetable.      But more fun, would be to hack together the DNA of a turkey and big Komodo (aka "monitor lizard"), and see if a living, fast-moving, feathered dinosaur could be created.   Yes, I know, it's been done - but only in fiction.   With modern bio-active plasmid technology, one could seriously, actually do this  - maybe - and sysgen a fertile gamate that might grow in to a seriously proper monster.   No need to wait around for that useless doofus, Godot.   We can hardwire evolution for our own amusement.    I would pay serious money to actually see a real Jurasic Park full of real, actual, living dinosaurs.   Who would not?

I've learned that if I've thought of it, someone else somewhere is probably actually doing it.   Don't be a Gecko, if you can be a Komodo.    Key fact here is that as the natural Earth-planet biodiversity is going retrograde - we now actually have the tools to reverse this degradation, and now artificially enhance and extend the range of bio-alternatives.   And of course, research into randomness suggests we should just "mess around" and hack many, many new "monsters", without too much focus on what the target result is supposed to be - since we cannot really predict which path will be the most beneficial.  The gain is from  simple bio-diversity enhancement, and it will become clear later, where the benefits lie.

On another note - I have not managed to hack together Daneel yet.  But it is curious how not very useful NN/AI tech is for tradecraft.  I've gone in a completely (well, somewhat sort-of) different direction, and got a machine now that is *much* more useful than the Xerion Forecaster.  It's quite curious - yet another example of the importance of being flexible - and not being wedded to a particular approach, methodology or technology.   If you want to survive (and live long and prosper!) in this world, you must be intellectually promiscuous.   The set-of-things-that-work-well is always a *much* smaller than the set-of-things-that-don't-work-well.   Even the froggy mathboys "Nicolas Bourbaki" would have to admit the truth of this premise. 

[ Aside: DDG is getting a *lot* better in parsing search queries... I tried:  "synthetic french mathematican bourbeki"  (note the spelling error), and got a really good summary page of the history of the "Bourbaki" group - which was essentially a "Group of Seven"-style collection of math whiz-kids who tried to set things right in the big House of Numbers, back in the 1930's - the time when the modern world began.  Those boys (and Godel, too, doubtless), were, I suspect, the reason why blonde Latvian buxom babes were trying to teach us all set-theory in grade-school.   JHC - I just was crazy-lucky sometimes... (learning set theory from a gorgeous blonde Latvian girl at a very early age in grade-school turned out to be *really* helpful for me.)  Luck is so really important.  Key fact is to *recognize* that you are getting lucky - like when I encountered Czech literature - from Karl Kapec and "Rossums Universal Robots", to "The Engineer of Human Souls" (a good book, the title is a term that Stalin said described the job of the writer.)    I seem to have had this strange, curious ability to encounter a knowledge-dataset just at the point where I really needed to acquire it.  Very curious.  Blind randomness can look - with hindsite-bias - like a careful, well-chosen path.  It truly is absolutely not, but it can look like it. ]

Algorithm for Engineering Lucky Outcomes:

Here it is:   Once you figure out what is really happening - and how important luck is - you can craft strategies that enhance "lucky outcomes".   Yes, really you can.  It's simple:  1) Learn lots of stuff, and do lots of stuff - maximize your chances of finding something that is not sh/t.   Most of everything is sh/t.  (Sturgeon's Law: "90% of Everything is Crap").   2) The more you learn, the more you will recognize the really valuable good stuff and process.   Most datasets exist to mislead and misdirect the unwise.  Hold this thought.   3) Take action, but keep the cost of your action-taking low, so that if the idea/event/project does not work well as intended, you can back out of it without too much loss or grief.   If you are a guy, avoid "marriage", until and unless you find a girl that you want to go home with always.   This pretty much never is possible, so beware this simple truth.  Most marriages fail.  Women are difficult and spiteful - but they are also wonderful and can be a lot of fun, and a great help.    This means hold-on-loosely to stuff and people and things and even ideas.  You might just be wrong.   The process/person/idea might just be wrong.  Plain, ordinary wrong.  It happens mostly.   So, most important:  4)  Be willing to try, but do not be willing to die.  If it fails, move rapidly away from it, and regroup.   Move on.  Back away.  Run like hell, if you have to.    5) But if it succeeds, then push it a bit further, and see how far you can go with it.  You may get a *lot* further than you think was possible.   6) Routinely, test and check, test and check, test and check.   If it was working - but now it looks like it is NOT working, then do an honest assessment of it's failure-level.  Is it working or failing.  Be honest.  If it was working, but has done the S-curve thing, and is topping out, like a mine played out, or a hand that is over, or a new set of data has come that changes things - and it does not work anymore, then engage the Number 4 process, described above.  

Randomness rules the universe - and our goal-seeking and system-scanning little brains will create many, many false pictures of what is really happening.   Always keep checking, and revise the action vector if necessary.   Note:  This is *very* difficult for really smart, clever people - who will risk deluding themselves with confirmation bias.  My research on "traders who blow-up and lose all their money" suggests that this difficulty with Number 6 is maybe their greatest weakness.  This is because a really creative, thinking human brain will "see" good-stuff that is not actually there, to keep a human invested in a failing project with an ever-worsening result outcome looming up in the near distance. 

Number 6 Example:   It's like the captain of the big warship, demanding that the ship ahead, whose light he can just barely see, move and change course.  He grows ever more angry, and his signals operator finally makes contact.  The captain demands the other ship alter course, and the vessel ahead responds: "Cannot change course".   The angry captain indicates he is a supreme warship of the Imperial <blahblah> Navy, and that he will not change course.  The other vessel signals back: "You really should change course.  I am a lighthouse."

[ Apr. 27-28, 2021 ] - I Ask Myself, Is It a Sin - To Be Flexible, When the Ship Comes In? I have been doing this hard-core analysis of "guys who blow-up" - mostly to try to ensure I do not become one of them!   (Cool, Depeche Mode vid from some private citizen, URL below...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4LLfpYbLEY

I have learned something:  It is really important to be *flexible*.  Really.  A *lot* of times, one may be wrong.  There is a simple algorithmic response.  Stop what the fack you are doing, and engage the learning apparatus to: 1) Determine what you did wrong, 2) Design a process to execute an immediate corrective fix, 3) Implement that process *immediately* and then 4) engage long-term learning apparatus and hack some sort of process together to try to avoid similar wrong-action in the future.  

This is so easy to say/write - but our ego/brain-sys makes this tough.  We become invested in an existing path traversal.   Just stop, and go back.  Ask directions, Be skeptical, Retreat if necessary, and live to fight another day.  Dead warriors and bankrupt, busted traders are no longer operational, and become immediately useless trash - this is the Tough Way of Nature. 

The Buddha is clear on this.   Be cruel and ignorant and do the stupid and wrong things, and you will bring about destruction - both of yourself and others.  Your main task in life, is to:  Guard against this outcome, as it is more common than successful outcomes.  The Right Path is very narrow - the Path of Failure is as wide as the horizon in Mongolia on a summer day.

I am surprised at the consistancy with which clever, hard-working people are able to so completely self-destruct -  and often take down everyone and everything around them.  They create un-needed tragedy.

I suspect that it is great success that is the most dangerous thing for these folks.  They have a string of big successful outcomes - which are often due to a bunch of lucky (ie. random) events, and they start believing they are fucking genius-men.   This is why a Roman General had to have a slave or soldier in his chariot during his Triumph parade - whispering repeatedly into his ear: "Remember, you are just a mortal man."   I think the Latin was: "Mememto Mori."

Trading is *not* about being a "big swinging dick", and it is not about "living the lifestyle".   (My lifestyle as a trader is a lot like my lifestyle was when I was being a Consultant/Programmer.  I don't get enough goddamn sleep, I don't eat well (unless a good person runs the kitchen)  and I keep stupid hours, and read and read and read - and the more I learn, the more stupid I feel and the more embarrassed I am that: "Oh shit!  I didn't KNOW this!"  This feeling happens more and more often, the more I learn...)

But I think today, we may have to convene another committee of the Robert Bordens.   Things are ticking along so curiously well.  (Simple algo:  When you buy it cheap, and it goes up and becomes dear... resist the urge to sell and cash in - try to buy more, if you can still sleep at night..  I find this algo really, really hard to implement.  But it is a good algo.  It can make you wealthy.)

More generally:  Move towards what is good and fair and creates good success and makes people happy, and move away from that which is bad, and bent, and nasty and dishonest and ugly and cruel and stupid.   You will make errors - and you may be cheated and hurt - but retain the knowledge of the benefits of tracking the Right Path.  Be super skeptical, but also know that sometimes, it can play out exactly as it should.  The trick is to be onboard that ship - either as the captain or even just a red-shirt.  And remember, it might be better to be a red-shirt on a really good ship, than be the captain of a bad ship that is certain to sink if there is a strorm.

And there are always storms.  Nature will provide all the examples that you need, in order that you may learn how to deal with them effectively, and develop needed survival skills.   Nature and Randomness are cruel teachers - but they are also generous with the many examples of the really awful and the ugly that they provide.   They are generous teachers, which have patience no matter how stupid and thick the student is - always willing to provide another example-set of the wildly extreme.   Once looked at this way, Extremeistan becomes a fine and wonderful Library, full of many interesting and educational volumes that will entertain and enlighten for many lifetimes!     :)     (PS: Thanx for the Libraries, Mr. Carnegie.  I really mean that. )

http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/libraries/carnegie.shtml     My favourite, is the one in Goderich.  It looks like a tiny castle, with a round, cone-topped tower, so that the building looks like its wearing a Wizard's Cap - or maybe a Dunce Cap?   :)

[ Apr. 26, 2021 ] - The 747 Ronin of Myanmar -   Cool air, bright sunshine, strong upward trend with vix-puffing price-break-dancing algorithmic market pulse.    Everyone trying to reverse-engineer everyone else, and at least human-crewed spaceships are being launched again by USA.   That is at least something positive.  

Was reading how the SIG-Sauer factory in Germany was closed by SIG, which is now essentially an American company.   SIG is a good company - and it builds good things.  The German Defense Minister is a stupid old women, who should be asked to leave her job.  Such a tragic and silly outcome, for a nation that is dying, but does not need to be.

Sad watching the hundreds and hundreds of freedom-loving kids get slaughtered and butchered by the milspec gangsters who have siezed power in Myanmar.  This - *again* -  illustrates and teaches us the deep, historical truths:  1) The price of freedom is the blood of true patriots, and 2) a Democracy absolutely and without question, requires armed citizens.    If a nation disarms it's citizens - they become:  First, subjects, and then later - often quite quickly -  slaves.  And then, if they wish to hold on to their Democracy - corpses. 

It is absolutely and without question the primary responsibility of every free citizen in every Democratic nation, to become skilled in the effective use of weapons.  Once everyone is properly armed and sufficiently skilled - Democratic behaviour is the direct outcome.  The best weapon is literacy and the ability to think and reason clearly, followed of course by the great power of the Library and the historical record and Science and its critical, skeptical methods.

But knowledge without the ability to project that knowledge is of little value.   You have the responsibilty to be aware, and mindful - but sometimes you need to project mindfullness into the heads of your enemies - using 3000 feet-per-second projectiles, as this will allow - if not themselves - then at least others - to see the Light of Freedom. 

If there are to be conflicts - then it is important that the Good Guys be sufficiently armed so that the armed gangster Military Murder-Monkeys can be extinguished and removed with the necessary dispatch and effectiveness.   If you have no choice but to fight - then you must fight and win - or die.

We are fortunate to have a well-trained and disciplined and honourable national Police force, which commands the respect of our citizens, and is treasured by us all here.     What has happened in Myanmar is so tragic.  Their police forces have been chased from the nation by the murder-monkeys in their gangster-military.    I saw an interview with a Myanmar police official who had managed to flee the country with his wife and children - before he was killed by the military murder-monkeys.    He was an honourable man - trying to do the right thing and support his democratically elected government - but he had to act to save his family from being slaughtered by the Military Murder-Monkeys.

And the stupid clown politicians get together and mouth-spout about nonsense like "Climate Change" - while the bodies in Rangoon pile up in truckloads.

The USA failed completely in Vietnam, made a complete mess out of the Iraq invasion, and have now promised to cut-and-run from Afghanistan, after wasting billions there and achieving so very little.  In Myanmar, there is a situation where two weeks of targeted air-strikes could change the course of history, and demonstrate to the Thug-Monkey Gangsters of the World, that murdering your own un-armed citizens with automatic weapons in the streets by the hundreds - is not acceptable, and disqualifies you and your evil Junta fake-government from existence on this planet. 

Right now - with so little effort - a useful message of Enlightenment and Education could be sent to the Murder-Monkey Military of Myanmar - and could be done so at so little cost - and with possibly great results.  You would not even need "boots on the ground" - just some good weapons in the sky.   

But with the current clowns replacing the previous clowns - we can be certain that nothing will happen, and so the bodies of those who seek freedom will continue to pile up.

It's really best to correct ugly and horrible problems when they are small and reasonably low cost to correctly fix and repair.    That way, major conflicts can be prevented, and peace and democratic methods can be restored, and economic growth and prosperity can flourish.  But if you allow Murder-Monkeys to roam the city streets killing at will - then the message is sent to the World that this behaviour, if not acceptable,  can at least be tolerated, and no action will be taken.   This is the wrong message to send at this critical time in history.

The failure of the United Nations (the most corrupt and least-effective Agency possibly ever created), to do anything whatsoever about this - will be defined as a "War Crime of Inaction" by future historians, I suspect.   

[ Apr. 23, 2021 ] - Memo from R. Crusoe: Get Work Done by Friday - And Avoid Credit Suisse... - It's getting too weird even for me.  My neighbour (next farm over) had Covid-19.  He said he was tired for a couple of weeks.  (Tough farm boys:  Reason? The weak ones die as infants.  I am serious.  It's an evolutionary filter).  So, although our numbers are awful, and everything is closed again, it looks like we win the same way the Russians win - General Winter saves us, like it does them.  The weak die here.  It's just a moral-free fact.  Also - we have "socialist" medical system, which means few doctors, and limited, low-effort care if one does get sick.  This also contributes to herd-strength.  Unexpected and curiously not unattractive result.

Gave up on the VIX.  It's silly - poorly priced, and a bad hedge.   More research on modern failures:  I re-read "The Zurich Axioms" - by Max Gunther (circa 1985).  Excellent book, I highly recommend it.  Genius stuff, actually - easy to talk about and document - very tough to put into practice.

The whole blow-up show at Credit Suisse is absolutely fascinating.  It's like watching the Fukushima reactors explode (I have a real-time video of this happening - also fascinating).  You know the disasters are going to happen in serial succession - but knowing it, and then watching it play out over the course of real-time, are still two very different things.   Euroland - except for Germany - seems to be in a bit of trouble.  But the Swiss should know better.  They are supposed to understand risk better than others.   Things seem to have become curiously different, here in the 21st century.  Again, I am a rusticated farmer now - far, far from everything, so I only know the tidbits I can pick up on the censored, filtered, fake-news internet - so maybe there are many things I am missing.  Here are three links to Bloomberg summary articles:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-03/credit-suisse-s-greensill-mess-spoils-restart-for-ceo-gottstein

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-06/credit-suisse-takes-4-7-billion-archegos-hit-replaces-warner

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-22/credit-suisse-sees-654-million-second-quarter-hit-from-archegos?srnd=markets-vp

This is almost a comedy show - first Greensill mess, then these guys get Hwanged.  Their Risk Manager was obviously clueless on drugs or something.  I am sure she was a fine and noble Europerson, but this is a tad extreme in its low quality of actionable operation.  It makes for a fascinating technical study.

The trick with banking, is to studiously avoid schemes that damage or destroy your clients - and your own shareholders - wealth.    This is - of course - not a trivial exercise, as some risk must be accepted in the making of every loan and every investment of every kind.  But what makes this episode so curious - is that these are professional folks who all certainly should have known better.   There seems to have been two basic questions not asked: 1) What happens to these great "no-risk" loans, if and when the guys *insuring* the loans, decide they don't want to offer the insurance anymore?  2) If we (the bank) are marketing these loans as great investment vehicles to our clients as nice, high-yield, low risk investments - are we not just off-loading our job of loan-by-loan assessment of quality?   Isn't there an obvious risk of this process stretching out of control so that it starts with good loans, well supported by collateral and documentation, and then quietly migrates into that good-old-funtime world of traditional self-dealing?

This is an old problem:  A bunch of clever guys who are annoyed that they can't get funding for their high-risk business investments decide to set up their own little bank and make loans to themselves, so their own little projects can all get funded - and to make this scheme work, they put together a syndicate of some sort, and if they package it nicely, and wrap pretty ribbons of bumpf around it, and write lovely prospectus documents and other fine marketing literature - they can get some "Big" bank, to fund their "Little" bank, and make a bunch of nifty loans to their own little sub-companies, and for a while *everything* looks just fcuking wonderful, and everything looks like it is seriously profitable.  

This is the age-old problem in both private banks and governments and king's kingdoms that it is just comical.   A "Bank", by it's very design - is a wonderful device for turning a small pot of gold, into a great, flowing golden river.   But this financial alchemy only works if Mr. and Mrs. Banker are not criminals or a dumb-arses.    When you advance credit to Mr. Joe Blow-Hard business guy, you have to:  1) have some assurance that he is not a criminal, 2) have some understanding of this business, and a viable assessment of the probability of a successfully outcome to his venture, which he assumes will be wonderfully successful, and 3), some decent collateral to backstop the loan if things go south, and 4) a viable plan on how you will *take ownership* of the collateral, and dispose of it, if things really do go south, and the loan goes sour.   This is job of the banker.

Now, the problem with modern banking, is that all the banker-folk seem to want to get all the loan-making and loan-watching and loan-servicing action *OFF* their books, so they don't have to do this work that I just described.   And the problem then - is that by shirking their important jobs as bankers - they leave themselves exposed to risk that they need not be exposed to.

These modern bankers are supposed to be the *pilots* of the big aircraft of "Air Credit" - but instead, they all seem to want to sit in First Class and just drink and chat and nap. 

Someone needed to ask - in the Greensill mess - since we are selling these loans to our clients - is the banker-job work being done good-enough, so that the whole enterprise is running right? Are there factors here that could collapse this process, and the whole thing flops back into our lap, and we end up owning a cratering shit-show?   And a bunch of seriously pissed-off clients?  You know, sorta like *always* happens when a credit-bubble BURSTS IN YOUR FACE?  Now, this is really supposed to be the job of the Risk Manager - but they all seem to be farting around with a bunch of hoo-haw VAR models and other silly nonsense like that, rather than checking collateral quality, loan quality, internal business process actionable effectiveness, and making rational assessments of the external business models that their loan activity is funding.

Banking is just a magical and delightful process - if and only if it is done wisely and correctly.   If it gets corrupted (think "self-dealing" - like what happened with the Savings and Loans during the time of Ron Reagan), or if it gets plain stupid and silly (like what happened with the bogus house-price valuations & bogus-models that programmed the 2006-2009 housing market meltdown in USA), or stupid over-geared  -  think: Lehman Brothers  (Lehman was either 25 or more than 30 times leveraged, depending on whose numbers you accepted), or, if it gets undone by internal theives and criminals at the very centre of the process (Enron comes to mind here) - in all these cases, the beautiful banking process can break down in a spectacular manner.   (For a really interesting case-study about banking-breakdown, research the demise of the "Knickerbocker Trust Company" in New York City, in October, 1907. )

Of course, Credit Suisse is in fine, no-problem financial condition.  But they still have blown up over 8 billion USD's  (reactor 1 = Greensill, reactor 2 = Archegos and Bill Hwang...).  Fukushima had four reactors.  (Does the half-a-billion blow-up at York Capital Management factor-in somewhere here?)   At least now, the Swiss regulator (FINMA iirc) is having a little look-see also, so doubtless all will be just fine.   Perhaps some more heads will be tossed into the dumpster? 

But it all surprises the heck out of me, since I figured if any group of folks understood about banking - it would be these fellows and ladies at the BigCo Swiss Bank.   My problem of course, is that I am responsible for a couple of tiny portfolios, and I wake up at 4:00 am, and worry about the solvency of the global financial system.  It's just an old bad dream - but I have these (really quite silly) concerns about some sort of curious cascade loss-of-confidence.  We are already in the middle of what is effectively a cyber-war, which most folks don't even see or really know about.  It's possible that Bitcoin and Etherium and even Dogecoin are really, actually the future of money - specifically because their fabrication is *NOT* something under the control and influence of State Authorities, who cannot be trusted not to puff-up the local, national money-supply to fund free-money schemes for parasite-citizens who will otherwise burn down the cities.

See, my rude "inner trader" is whispering to me that Tim Armstrong (or Tim Timebomb as I think he is known now - the man is a musical and marketing genius) and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones might have a better handle on what the future holds, than do the Risk Managers and the nutjob Leftists who have taken power in the good, old, USA. 

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

Damn, but I love the dear USA -  and even Russia and China, too.   I wish we could all just get along, and dial-back from this ramp-up to thermonuclear war that so many analysts see coming, but won't talk about publically.   Maybe if we all agreed to hang the military gangsters who are mass-murdering in Myanmar - it might create the illusion of Global Justice that the world needs to see. 

We are so beset with fraud now - the great fraud of "Climate Change" is just not what matters.   In the Murder/Gulag-states of Asia and the Far East, human life is considered cheap and essentially worthless, while Russia is backsliding into more sad tyranny and political gulagism.  That sh/t is just not compatible with our picture-of-the-world - and people here with IQ's over 3 digits know this - and know what will have to happen.  (GloTherNuWa?)

A degree or two warmer summer won't kill you.  But many other things will... You should really be more concerned about Russian "Novichok" murder schemes being engineered by Putin-spies, Chinese Wuhan-lab weaponization of the "SARS-Cov-2" virus, and/or being shot by an out-of-control, violence-loving American cop or some other juiced-up military-killboy.   Putin is turning into Stalin - except he uses radioactive isotopes and lethal bioagents instead of murder-monkeymen with ice-picks.  (That man has to go now.  I hope Mother-Russia can self-correct and protect herself.   There is no such thing as the "West" anymore.  That is ancient, cold-war history.   The "West" no longer even exists.  Putin is living in the past - like so many out-of-touch old men do.)   China is engaged in an accidental effort to kill the whole world, and America is shooting itself in it's feet - and it's head - as the nutjobs have taken over in Washington,   And all this, while the MSM invents new "stories" about "climate change".  

But what really worries me most - is that the clever Swiss - who used to be among the smartest folks in the world - seem to have forgotten how to be bankers!  This just seems to push the weirdness meter up into the red-zone, for us farmboys here in Canuckistan.    :)

[ Apr. 22, 2021 ] - Sam Scam, the Flim-Flam Man - Everything seems to be turning into a scam.  It is really interesting, from a technical viewpoint. 

All data is suspect, most news is "tailored", "spun", "targeted"  or just outright fake.  Market data pricing from NYSE and CBOE is absolutely cryptic - not only can you *not* get accurate data from the major marketplaces in the USA - you cannot even determine what the true price of the data is!    A little research project into the "VIX" - CBOE's "Volatility Index" has created in us the curious suspicion that the entire VIX-trade in futures and options - is maybe just a bit of a scam.  

The VIX is supposed to be an index derived from the prices of stock-option-contacts that prevail on 300 different S&P 500 stocks.  ("stonks?")   The famous (or infamous?) "Black-Scholes" model is used to reverse-calculate the implied volatility evident in each of the prices for these stock-option contracts on each of the 300 stocks - and an average is then calculated, which is termed the "Volatility Index" - the VIX.  Then, futures and options contracts can be written and traded against this index - which itself is a purely artificial construct that falls out of a particular economic model, which may or may not accurately reflect reality.

The "futures" on the VIX are always in "contango" - which means they trade at a (significant) premium to the so-called "spot" price of the VIX (which is not in fact actually a price at all - you cannot buy or sell at the "spot", because it does not exist.)   It is just an artifact of the calculation methodology applied to the options contracts on the 300 stocks in question.  Do you really need 300 sets of options contracts to calculate the true B-S implied volatility?  No, says current research.  With neural net/machine learning - around 20 or 30 stock-option contract prices is enough.  You don't even need AI - the Central Limit Theorem is probably enough.   Here is a link to an interesting research exercise that demostrates this result (published Feb. 2021):

https://arxiv.org/pdf/2102.02119.pdf

It is impossible to "go long volitility" - without using VIX "futures" and "options" contracts.  But the VIX futures are super-premium priced (since the VIX is - not surprisingly - very volatile), and the options are even worse (you have time decay and skid, and the other "greeks").  The whole thing has the smell of the bogus.   Volatility itself is not an "enemy" - only one side is bad, depending if you are long or short a particular security.   So, even "going long volatility" is a LOT less useful, than just *MANAGING YOUR FUCKING POSITION* as your inner-trader, and Risk Manager might say!    Trading the VIX is great if you want to have some Vegas-style fun - but to hedge against a market meltdown - YOU ARE A HELL OF A LOT BETTER OFF BY JUST MONITORING AND TRADING YOUR ACTUAL POSITION.

The recent puke-fest in the Archegos / Bill Hwang episode demostrated a hard-core example of this.  What happened IS NOT COMPLEX AT ALL.   Hwang was allowed to run a margin account that was roughly 5 to 6 times leveraged - AND DO THIS ACROSS MULTIPLE BROKERS.  Duh!  Do you think that was maybe a tad too risky, given modern market conditions?  ("Fuck, yeah" is I think the right answer here....)

Goldman got out fine - by closing their super-over-leveraged bonehead position quickly.  Hwang failed to cough up the margin - and so out go the "stonks", no further discussions are necessary, nor should be undertaken.  Credit Suisse and Nomura dithered and butt-farted and did the hum and haw thing - and got fucked for billions of USD's.    Oh my.

Clearly:  Ditch the VIX - or use it only as a "meter" to watch to get a sense of market conditions.  It looks like a rather poor hedging mechanism, compaired to the simple requirement of WATCHING YOUR MARGIN and MONITORING AND DUMPING IF NECESSARY YOUR RISKY POSITION.  

I'm rusticated - out on farm, in the middle of the Grand Dutchy of Erehwon -  so I don't have all the data - but it looks like Goldman Sachs and even Morgan Stanley, got out OK, while those who dithered got whacked.

Between 70 and 80 percent of options contracts expire without being exercised.  But the large payoffs possible from "spike events" make YOLO-style trading attractive, and also encourage games to be played by manipulating the price of the underlying security.   And you can only "manipulate" a price, by corrupting the information stream of accurate, truthful data - not by buying or selling.  Buying or selling is what it is.  There is no *manipulation* possible.  You can only "manipulate" prices by assaulting truth and accuracy.

So, as the markets advance, and the complexity and range of derivative instruments increases, we can expect the quality of the information flows to basically turn to shit.

And that seems to be happening everywhere now.   :)

[ Apr. 20, 2021] - Decoupling.- Disconnect from the foolishness.  Go do a little hunting or fishing.   The world is insane - and curiously lethal and astonishingly unwise.   :)

[ Apr. 17, 2021] - Making Money - Usually, when we hear the English expression "making money"  - it means "earning money".   

The right to actually fabricate money, is typically reserved for the King (or Queen) and/or the State.  But of course, this is not always the case.  In prisons and "Concentration" camps, things like eggs and cigarettes can become money.  Money becomes whatever easy, commonly agreed-upon medium folks are willing to accept.

The greatest monetary invention was "paper money".  The first major experiment was carried out in 1720's France, by Scotsman John Law, and the French Royalty - in which they converted a limited amount of gold - into an *unlimited* amount of paper currency.   It was at this time that the word "millionaire" was first coined.  It described a person who achieved a net worth of a million "livre" - the French unit of currency at the time.  

People who do not understand Economics, describe this first French experiment with paper money as a terrible failure which wiped out the savings of many people - both rich and poor alike.  But this is - of course - not correct.  The scheme was spectacularly successful - in that it successfully erased almost all of the crushing French national debt, run up by the previous King Louis in his economy-destroying wars.   (War often defeats two nations - the losing nation that is occupied and subjegated, and the victorious nation, that spends it's wealth engineering a great destruction instead of a great construction.)   It did this by engineering a significant inflation.  It was not just that the debt could be paid-off  with paper banknotes - the inflation ensured that the real value of the payoff was small, compared to it's original value.

John Law's scheme was a great success for the French Royals and other indebted aristocrats.   They paid off their loans with vastly depreciated currency - and kept their land holdings.

Fast forward to now:    Now, it is "digital" money - and it's value is inflating nicely, creating an ever larger group of "billionaires" now.   Some folks have done very well  - and some others may also still benefit in a mighty manner.   But I fear that the coming inflation could create waves of dislocation and destruction.

But perhaps a great deflation - 1930's style - is a greater risk and a much worse evil to have to endure.  So, we have the "Coinbase" IPO.  I think it will go down in history - for better or for worse.

For the fellows who can operate this way - it is a fine and wonderful thing - if you can actually "make money" by direct fabrication - rather than the old-fashioned approach of having to work, or trade something of value to obtain the funds.   This is truly the magic of Economics.  If you can print your own 20-dollar bills, and folks in the wider-world will accept them as payment - well, that is a fine and lovely situation for the printer, yes?

It's like being the USA, and issuing the world's reserve currency.   People accept your notes (or digital book-entries) as payment, and happily squirrel the notes (or datasets) away, believing now that they are wealthy!    And, for a while - history shows - they truly are.    For a while.

[ Apr. 16, 2021] - Ganh the Politicians - A Modest Proposal:  We need to get rid of the Politicians.   Seriously - Biden and Putin need to go - Biden because he is an idiot (sanctions are *really* stupid), and Putin, because he assaults and tries to murder his critics.  Myanmar is in serious need of some immediate airstrikes, and here in Canada, we desperately need a change of Government. 

China needs Democracy - and absolutely everyone there who is a not a made-man gangster-killer knows it.   Instead, the good people are being jailed by the bad people.  This is tragic.

The World is in need of some very *serious* political cleaning.  But sadly, the internet is becoming toxic, dishonest and censored by the astonishing lies of the mainstream media, and the astonishingly abusive actions of the big technology companies.   We are truly all getting screwed by such an impressive constellation of powerful, dishonest and brutal, nasty forces.  As private idividuals, there is so little we can do to oppose this creeping nightmare.

Revolutionary raw may actually really become necessary, it looks like.   This is a curious outcome - quite unexpected.   

Trump obviously appears to have won the election - the massive statistical difference between the "bags of Biden ballots" and the actual, physical true polling that took place on election night at the actual voting stations provide powerful evidence of this. 

But given that folks did not have to provide identification to vote -  the ballots cannot be verified one way or another.  Nothing accurate can really be said about the USA presidential election results.   It's smoke and mirrors - again.    And current attempts to correct the opportunity for election fraud - proper ID-verifications - are being characterized in the mainstream media as racist conspiracy action!   The USA mainstream media is now just ugly, toxic garbage. One can only just give up on it all.  No other alternative is rational.  In Canada, it is even worse - the mainstream media here is like TASS News was in Russia during Soviet times - just a propaganda arm of deep-state dishonesty.  It's a joke.

But business does and can work.  We can live in a good world - IF and ONLY IF - we can have mechanisms to remove the stupid, hostile, ignorant cancerous political operatives that take control of our modern economies - and then start hunting down their enemies and trying to destroy them.   Business is just so different - and it can do a good job.   Commerce requires honesty.  But modern politics is a process of pure deception - a grotesque stench of fraud and lies that pretends to be exactly the opposite of what it actually is.  

Absolutely nothing whatsoever that a "politician" says can be trusted.  It is ALL theatre.   And it is almost always dishonest.   It's just the nature of the process.    All we can do, is create checks, balances and regular, systemic replacement of the filthy political creatures.   Otherwise, they grow absolutely dangerous and toxic - like gasoline put into babyfood.   Nothing really honest or good ever comes from a politician.  A politician creates and enriches himself or herself - using politics.  Government politics is just "office politics" on a bigger scale.  Nothing good results from this.   We all need to recognize this reality.

We have to design new mechanisms where this dance of political foolishness cannot easily happen.   No politician should *EVER* have more than two terms at the top.  And those that try to alter and fiddle and break the rules to become "Presidents for Life" should be subjected to intense and consistent and effective efforts to ensure their removal - by any and all means possible.   Each person has a moral responsibility to understand this and to become part of the process to make this needed change happen everywhere on the planet.

[ Apr. 15, 2021]  - Fun With DIck and Jane - The 1977 original, of course.  Those were such different times.  1977 was just a fu-ooh-ing wonderful year.  I went to Europe in the Summer, to study film-making in England and France ("I see London, I see France - I see Judy's ... (whatever))".   They really were such gentle and generous times - despite the global economy being deep in the dung-dumpster.  If you weren't there in the late "-seventies", you just cannot imagine what a strange time it was - inflation was extreme and quite out of control.  (*seriously* - I did school and work assignments on this, and the summer before, I had *worked* as a CR3 - lowest level clerk possible in Fed-Gov hierarchy - for Trudeau-(ver. 1.0)'s Anti-Inflation Board.  It was hilarious, but helpful.  1976 was a summer of lots of work - but no action at all.  Truly - Hell will be a lot like Ottawa, I suspect.  But I discovered a profession (computational & statistical economics) - and also learned the curious phenomenon where I could be right about something - and yes, everyone else could be rat-arsed, hard-core, wrong.   For a dangerously young kid, that was curious (and rather astonishing) knowledge.    In 1977 - the next year - I resolved to go to Europe - rather than risk another chance of an Ottawa summer.    And in that wonderful year, I learned even much more. 

By 1978, I had to make some money in the Summer - so it was back to Ottawa - and a job in a computer consulting/programming shop which had big contracts with Government Agencies and Ministries.  I found I could program almost effortlessly - since I had an almost idiot-savant's ability to hold multi-dimensional data and procedure constructs in my head almost like the Rain-Man.  (I can't do math worth sh/t - unless I can turn it into visual constructs...). 

It was another Summer of work, and developing a useful profession .  Turned out to be useful skill-set.  I recall meeting some of the early Trudeau-Mafia types that had become cabinet Ministers.  Jean-Luc Pepin was the most interesting - he was really a fine fellow, with the advanced people-skills of a bartender in a biker-bar.  I was honestly impressed.  Those guys knew nothing about economics - but they understood politics the way Smith, Wesson and Colt understood making pistols.

Technology work let me pay the bills.  But it was speculation, that let me get the Farm.  It is *very* difficult to make money - really any surplus wealth - in Canada,  given the abusive and outrageous tax rates that are applied to individuals here.  Most people who plan to take risks to achieve gain, move south to the USA, or leave Canada long enough to earn some real wealth in a tax-free jurisdiction - and then return and buy a house - the only tax-efficient investment option that exists in this country.  Curious.  One wonders what might happen, if we reprogrammed the tax-system, so the top marginal rates were not almost 60%.   Everything is taxed heavily in Canada, and the Canada Revenue Agency has the luxury of doing whatever it wants - until an election and change in Government maybe causes a reset to occur.  Or not.   :)

And I really did use the Grade 1 Reader - "Fun with Dick and Jane."   So the original film that came out in 1977 really was a treat.   It was a time of very bad economics - and very good times.   It's called "Youth", of course.   This is also the title of a Joseph Conrad story - which I highly recommend.    The first time you see Paris - the first girl you have in Paris - it rather stays with you, all mixed together in romantic, nostalgic illusion - even though now, it is just the rattling and switching of old neurons, nothing more than that, really.   Unless you write it down in the ether like this, as you try to trade the wind.    :)  

We all end up at the same Country Club - it's called: "The Graveyard".   I think people who have lived, feel they should leave behind some part of their hard-won knowledge base - and for that, we have the written word.  The modern version is this digital dataset.   I hope in enriches and entertains you.   I would suggest you take risks - but make them intelligent risks.   Ensure you can survive and continue in the game, even if you suffer losses & reversals.  (Because you will!)

That means you must have rules-to-live-by, and one of the best to have is some level where you get "stopped out" - you determine the level.  But it must be at least 50%.   Don't lose your stake.  Don't blow up.  Don't take trades with huge leverage multiples that can kill you overnight.

Be good to those around you.  Respect the law (or try to, at least), and play fair.  But most important of all:  Don't blow yourself up.   Live to fight another day.  Study and work hard, sweat more in training, so you bleed less in battle, and don't be foolish.  But - more than anything:  Do Not Self-Destruct.   That means risk-management and self-discipline.  Took me a while to learn that - but it has paid off, and let us avoid destruction.  The world is a nasty, dangerous place.

We have been lucky - but understand also, the harder you work - the luckier you will get.   :)

[ Apr. 14, 2021]  We Suspect Volatility Will Stay Volatile- But it's a bogus game - suited to risk-junkies.  The Coinbase IPO is curious - and seems to reflect the times.  Nothing wrong with betting at the Horse Races.  Or playing Roulette at Monte Carlo.  If you have big bucks, and want some fun - it's good, clean fun.  It's not that rich people like to gamble - it is that there is little likelyhood of becoming rich in your own lifetime WITHOUT taking big gambles.  It is a data-set phenomenon.  Folks who have become rich - without just inheriting wealth - have taken big gambles typically, and won.  So, they retain a predilection for the process that made them *rich*.  Gambling is deeply addictive - and therein lies danger.

There is a lot of money to be made, selling the small (and also the not so small) puts.  Most options expire worthless.  Also, as option trading becomes more popular ("YOLO" betting), there will almost certainly be a corresponding "dull/spike/fall/dull" cycle to market prices - because that will be the mechanism by which the new, skinny folks (with "skinny" levels of capital), will be successfully "skinned" by the market professionals.   Not everybody runs a "Hedged Fund" (as they were originally called).   Options are leveraged, speculative vehicles, which mostly are crafted to hoover up cash from folks with extra amounts of it.  Anyone crafting "Options Strategies" should read the entire history of "Malachite Capital" in careful detail.  It is very interesting and instructive - basically it was financial "Russian Roulette" - a not-very-good game to play, no matter how much money you make until the final play.

Rarely - and even occassionally -  there are crazy times - when everyone can get goosed and get phat.  This might be one of those times.   But take care how you play.  COIN is trading at $333.81 per share, up $83.81 on the day from it's IPO price, and GME is up $23.75 per share, at $164.74 as I write this.   The VIX - which was 16.71 yesterday, is 17.30 right now (15:35 EDT).  There is a *lot* of money to be made here.  But how much will be kept? 

It is worth studying the mid to late 1300's, after the waves of "Black Death".  People went crazy, and all sorts of wild ideas and behaviours circulated.  And poor folks got rich - if they didn't die.  We are not at that point yet - we are still in the middle of this pandemic thing - so we are not at the real crazy zone yet.  But the data and the historical record - both suggest that it is on it's way.   It might get really weird.   It's already basic-standard weird.

[Apr. 12, 2021]  Volatility is Volatile- Which of course, everybody knows.  But in the last year - it's been *really* volatile.  You can see a chart of it, in the Trading Notes tab.  Using Windows-10 (on the "Gaming Box") to enter this. It has a keyboard that glows with different colours, like Beetlejuice's Whorehouse signboard.  It's really hard to go long volatility, without getting toasted (one way or the other...)  :)

[Apr. 11, 2021]  Nice Day To Vax - We got our Covid-19 vaccines today - able to register yesterday, and found a nearby country clininc today - with some slots available. Thanx to the Starlink high-speed internet link - I navigated the pre-registration website, & the subsequent registration site - and we got registered appointments for today - Sunday! - to get the shot.  A bit of a sore arm, but no other bad effects - it's all good.   We had lovely, sunny warm weather - a nice drive to the little town where the clinic was, and a low-stress process to get hit up with the vaccine serum.

But the crazy-vivid dreams!  The Moderna vaccine seems to maybe be a psycho-active pharmaceutical.  It's not bad - the dreams are not scary or disturbing.  They are simply VIVID.  They are vivid to the point of being medically and neurologically interesting.  Many other folks are reporting this phenomenon also.  It is not a problem - but it is curious.  We know RNA is directly involved with memory formation - so perhaps the mRNA carrier is jumpstarting or boosting something in the brain's neural processing, which is made evident in dream-activity.   Really.  Vivid.  Dreams.    (Note:  The dreams aren't bad - just intense & very detailed.  I literally woke up and google-searched to see if others had reported this curious side-effect.  Many have.)

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/03/22/crazy-dreams-covid-19-vaccine/

It reminds me a bit of the viagra development story.   Heart drug has curious side-effect - of lifting the male member to new heights of operation.   Turns into a good product.   If neural function is degraded because of lack of quality, dream-grade needed REM sleep, then maybe an mRNA booster for "high-grade dream sleep" might be a product here.  Vivid dreams are mentally refreshing, not to be feared.    Curious.

[ Apr. 9, 2021 ] Market.  Mark-it!  Mark, It's Over...  - I've made detailed studies of how and why guys (it's always guys)  blow up as traders.   From Jessie Livermore, to the Meriwether's LTCM, to Soro's Victor Niederhoffer, Barings Bank's Nick Leeson, and Société Générale trader, Jérôme Kerviel.  And so many others.   I created a new section - "Trading Notes".   And I have to fix this mess of a blog-hack.  The page is too big, and needs to be re-factored.  :)   (ps.  We are doing well, but researching Hwang's story gives me shivers.  See the Trading Notes sections for comments and notes on the topic of "blowing up".)

We are researching "volatility trading".  Here is a note, from a well-known mag on the subject:

https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1m6kkzscgqrl0/How-to-Lose-a-Billion-Dollars-Without-Really-Trying

[ Apr. 8, 2021 ] Starlink Access Working Better- The Starlink link to the internet is working better tonite.  It is noticable - and makes a difference in the quality of the user experience,  Streaming radio is staying up and continuous, and it really improves the experience.  

Also, got the Zenmap stuff working nicely on an old 32-bit Linux box - Nmap version 7,40 -  running under Linux and Python, compiled from source  The graphic interface is nice - quite magical, actually.  The Python is an old version 2.5, and the Linux version is a homebuilt Linux with many upgrades to compiler, build-tools and OpenSSL,  I had to fiddle some of the .py files in zenmapGUI and zenmapCore - but  eventually got it to build and run.  There is one default flag for 32-bit code (which prevents long-long defns from kacking the build.  Details later...  Nmap is a good tool, with powerful features.  And the snake is not dead - it's just resting.   :)

[ Apr. 7, 2021 ] Power/Fail at Nite & Star/Crash During Day- Should get some more/better UPS stuff - massive 1-second powerfail last nite, at 4:10am - all off - spike (flash) - all on - except not.  Everything taken down violently and then re-power to the circuits.  We look ok, but we need better isolation/backup for the mains.  Pretty funny.. we just get the internet access working not too bad, and the wired-circuit to the local nuclear-fission plant gets flakey.  Such is life in the country.  Starlink last nite was much better (less dropouts & reconnect).  They sent out an email to subscribers explaining they had a bug, and have installed a fix.  We notice the difference (ie. I ran a streaming radio-playing link via our latest hacked mplayer on an old Linux box - and it ran ok until I switched it off around 2:am)

Dealing with *Fake* data:  I;ve been reading about neural-net "adversarial training" experiments. The idea is you include deliberatly "faked" images which can be mis-classified by image-recognizers - into your training data, to deal with this problem, and make the image-recognizers better - so they don't get *image-hacked* as easily.  Turns out you can make minor pertubations in images, to "fool" the image classifiers - and these tweaks are much smaller changes than random noise. There is nice solid science on this.  Here is an ArXiv copy of a conference paper from 2016:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1611.01236

Fake-data - both crafted and accidental - is an ongoing, never-ending problem in almost every endevour now.  It's not just that people are stupid and cruel - it's they can lie with astonishing creativity, so that misdirection becomes a profound and sometimes lethal problem, as the internet extends their reach, scope and scale.

I'm so enamored with Zenmap, I decided to put an earlier copy on an older Linux box, that runs an earlier Linux kernel (2.26.27).   I used nmap/Zenmap 6.47.  The Linux box has Python 2.5 and Gtk-2.0 as its default O/S Gnome X-windows stuff.  I run a Python 2.7.14, built from source, on the thing - and this home-built version did not have Gtk-2.0 stuff - so no display.  But the "nmap" stuff compiled and installed nicely.

So, since I had Tcl/Tk on the box,  (and I have all the graphics stuff working for other apps)  I changed the box to default-run the older Python 2.5  (just fiddled the softlinks in /usr/local/bin and /usr/bin to reference the original "python" startup script).   But "Zenmap" still would not load.  I could start python (and get the system default version 2.5.x) and could run "import gtk" and it worked - but running "zenmap" would fail with a bug in the *.py script file: zenmapCore/NmapOptions.py. 

The compile/install process for NMAP 6.47 installs the two zenmap directories,  zenmapCore and zenmapGUI, ( the zenmap Python scripts) into /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/.   The fix was just a change to how "functools" was imported.  Line 84 in file /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/zenmapCore/NmapOptions.py which was:

       from functools import reduce

was changed to:

       import functools

and then zenmap would load ok,  paint the screen with the "Zenmap" GUI image via Python/Gtk-2.0, and everything would run.  (See the image at top, which has annotated network schematic produced by Zenmap and my adding text on the .jpg screen-capture ).

Also - Starlink network access went down from 14:11 Eastern Dailylight Time to exactly 15:00 (3 pm) today.  The Starlink router and satellite internet access came back up by itself, and the Linux gateway box re-connected without problem.  But we were star-crashed (instead of linked!) for over 45 minutes today - right in the critical middle of the day.

[ Apr. 5, 2021 ] More Starlinking...  I wanted to install "nmap" and "Zenmap" on the Linux boxes.  Windows was easy - just get the self-extracting install thing from nmap.org (windows version), and run it an Administrator.  Worked fine.  

But Linux was a trick, since I have a custom Python 2.7 in /usr/local/lib/Python2.7.  When I tried to run "zenmap", Python 2.7 could not find "Gtk-2.0"  ("import gtk"  would just fail.) in Python 2.7 with "could not find gtk".   Here is a solution, if you are running a custom built Python 2.7, not in /usr/lib/Python2.7.

On Linux 64-bit machines, you will have pycairo, gobject and glib already installed in /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages.  The version of Python2.7 will be 2.7.5 probably (run it with /usr/bin/python and it will show version number).   I run a Python 2.7.14, built and installed in /usr/local/lib/python2.7.  If you type "python" at command line, you get that one.  But it won't have gtk-2 installed, and all the dependencies. 

In order to leave the system version unchanged, I copied over (and used "pip install") to put the Gtk-2.0 stuff into my custom Python 2.7.   (Note: You CANNOT install gtk-2.0 for Python 2.7 using pip or by building it from source, because of dependency loops and conflicts.  It is pretty silly - but it flat out will not work.  But modern Linux distros come with Python 2.7 and Gtk-2.0 pre-installed, so best solution is just to replicate that stuff over into your custom Python 2.7, if you are running one.)    I had to do this:

    1) install pycairo, using pip.  (all this from CentOS-7 CLI)

         pip install pycairo   (this should install to the default Python 2.7.14 in /usr/local/lib/python2.7)

    2) cd  /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages    (create the directories, and copy from lib64)

            mkdir glib 

            cd glib    (pwd should show: /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/glib )

            scp -r /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/glib/* .    (note the "dot"! )

            cd ..    (your back at python2.7/site-packages )

            mkdir gobject

            cd gobject

            scp -r /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/gobject/* .    (note the "dot"! )

            cd ..    (your back at python2.7/site-packages )

            mkdir gtk-2.0

            scp -r /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages/gtk-2.0/* .     (note the "dot"!)

            cd ..   (back to /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages )

     3) copy over these four gtk-2 files from /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages over to /usr/loca/python2.7/site-packages directory. 

             pygtk.pth

             pygtk.py

             pygtk.pyc

             pygtk.pyo

      4) You should be able to now run "zenmap" from cmd-line, assuming you have compiled and installed it.   You might want to run it as root, in  order to have it be able to aggressively scan your machines, but it will work from a non-root account.  I think I had to install "pycairo", using "pip install pycairo" at this point, but installing pycairo first should still work, I believe.  (You can read the manuals and websites for PyGtk to see what all the bits and pieces of Python+Gtk are.  It basically is all the Tcl/Tk stuff wired-up to Python 2.7, so you can have sophisticated, conformable graphics - which work cross-platform - ie. on  Windows-10, MacOSX and every flavour of Linux.   It's bloody wonderful stuff, despite the painful hot-mess of dynamic complexity.

             zenmap  

      5) I built "nmap" and "zenmap" from source, using tarball:  nmap-7.40.tar.bz2, from nmap.org.  here are the install instructions, from that site:

            https://nmap.org/book/inst-source.html

The build works well, but you must have a Python with a properly configured Gtk-2.0 software suite, to run "Zenmap".  For modern 64-bit Linux boxes, the glib and gobject and gtk-2.0  packages are in /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages, which is bloody confusing, since there are also Python2.7 packages in /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages directory - just NOT THE glib, gobject and gtk-2.0 stuff!  Hope this helps!

Everyone who operates a LAN needs "nmap" and "Zenmap".   It is a basic requirement.  We should be able to view and inspect and check each of our machines on a local network, as easily as we can list files on a desktop box, and check whether they have read-only, or read-write status.     (Now, I have to get it to work on the Macbook with OSX and it's pee-lists...)  :)

[ Apr. 1, 2021 ] Data Days of Spring - Syntax highlighting is distracting - not helpful.  This actually is true, but is not immediately obvious.  Less information is sometimes more actionable and helpful - if it is the right information.  Our brains are what they are - devices for seeking & solution sifting, easily misled and interrupted.

Beta-test report:  Starlink wins the "Great GEMESYS Network Fly-Off".   This is not an April Fool.  (I am the April Fool, since I paid the Xplornet invoice last week!)   Xplornet has just GONE DOWN again, and Starlink - even with it's annoying occasional 20-to-30 second satellite re-connect latency - wins and wins with a solid score of *usable for making money*.  We bought a truckload of stock yesterday, and today, ye old Stonk Market is flying high.   We have been able to do this stuff, because Starlink reaches the "good-enough" level.   Not great, but "good enough for the Boys in the Bush".   :)  (See the report by our Robert Borden Committee, in the top image on this site.)

[ Mar. 31, 2021 ]  Going Dark & Staying Light - It's all going dark, it seems.   Information sources, data-feeds, academic documents & articles, even Google Search - it's all just *going away*, and being replaced by curious crap. 

We are seeing a systematic and co-ordinated information degradation and outright data-source removal across most domains now.  The open internet began dying around 2015 it seemed, and the process of "contrived obfuscation" now seems to be reaching a fever-pitch.  Everything contains an element of a trick or a scam or a dishonest "nudge" towards the obviously-fabricated.  It's not just "fake news" - it's a like a "Confederacy of Deception" seems to have been quietly born - perhaps by virtue of the application of modern neural-research results.

Providers of  "content"  (what a curious weasel-word that means nothing) have an obvious motivation to deliver "content" that induces you to behave in a manner that benefits the "content provider".   This is a pretty basic axiom of human behaviour - people act in their own self-interest, and will say (and even believe) what benefits themselves...  But this simple observation has been turned into a solid science of manipulation now, on the internet. 

It's getting weird.  It's like, all the data-sets are full of worms.  It used to be about retail:  eg. "bricks versus clicks" - but now, it's just "truth versus tricks".   Except "truth" got tired, and left the building.  You don't get a "bottomless bowl of soup" anymore - you get a "bottomless bowl of poop".     :)

But the combo net of Starlink and Xplornet - seems to provide a chance to get a real-time picture of things, that is not degraded by network failure.   We did some messing about on the markets today, and it seems to be feasible.   And Radio Caroline can be streamed OK on Xplornet, even if the data-rate is slow.  Once radio-stations can be streamed on Starlink, we will know is it finally working.   :)  

Also, funny thing is - the darkness of the news services is maybe not a bad thing.  I find - in all honesty - news has *never* - not once, not even one single time - ever made me any money.

Radio Caroline is *very* nice, because it has *no news*.  It is a pleasure to listen to.  And the "Mellow Show" (which is aired in the UK at night) comes on here at dinner time.  California wine from old vines, real-time UK "Pirate" radio, and Oka cheese from Quebec.  The other really good things have to stay private..  :)    What we find that is curious, is that as you dial back the noise, you can actually dial up both the quality and the results..

[ Mar. 30, 2021 ]  Hwang Dang Doodle - "Contracts for Difference"?   Jeezuz, guys, are you quite insane?  This is hilarious - (I'm talking to the brokers here...).   Mr. Hwang was just doing an obvious thing - if his broker-counterparty is dumb enough to let him do it.  If your gonna play big - your gonna run the risk of *losing* big.  But this guy was smart enough to keep the *blowup* risk mostly with his brokers. 

Hilarious.   Boom.  Another one bites the dust.   It's not the wonkers at Reddit that will hurt you, it's when the "whales" explode - that's when the stinky rotting mess splatters on everyone.   And this guy was a god-believer, too.  Maybe he should have bought a pair of those "Satan Flying Shoes" those dark-side boys in New York are selling.  (Those "Satan Nikes" are over 1000 US dollars a pair!   Mephisto is getting rich, I guess.    But rich god-boy will find that he has to go thru that Needle's Eye with the camels - isn't that the storyline?    What a planet. )

Meanwhile, I understand some scientists have actually, successfully created operational, cellular replicating - LIFE, using artificial methods.    Move over, God, you abusive low-achiever!  You finally got some real competition!  :)

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.03.008

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2272899-artificial-life-made-in-lab-can-grow-and-divide-like-natural-bacteria/?utm_campaign=RSS%7CNSNS&utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_content=news

https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(21)00293-2?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0092867421002932%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

[Research Note: Starlink vs. Xplornet] - Getting strange results - but Xplornet, even with its slow (2 to 2 mbps download speeds) is more reliable and useful for online-trading, and listening-to (or monitoring) online streaming services.  Starlink is just not usable - every 15-20 minutes (or much for frequently, we are noticing currently) - the network simply "goes away" - for periods of time between 20 seconds and 2 minutes.  This is probably a satellite dropping below the horizon-of-access, without a fast-switch taking place to another bird.   This causes the buffer to bleed dry, if streaming (regardless of buffer-size, which is curious).  It also degrades a real-time quote feed and screen, and introduces problematic behaviour if a drop-out occurs at the time of trade-entry. (With flakey Xplornet, I once ended up with a double-position.  Once I figured out what had happened, I just sold the extra part - and took a tiny loss.  I think I earned points with my online-broker, since I didn't whine about it, just indicated it was my fault, and paid to correct it myself.)

There are also latency problems (browser-initiated screen updates taking 10 to 15 seconds) on our trading application - which is supplied by a major Canadian Bank.  It is now served as a "cloud app" by IBM Canada, apparently, and it has *always* been awful and slow and crappy and problematic, so the latency there may not be network-related.

All in all, our internet access still sucks, truth be told.  Starlink works ok with Youtube, as the algo there does downloading in "big chunks", as it is *not* real time.  But Real-Time streaming videos - even in Youtube - seem to cause Safari to crash (on an iPad-2), as well as causing choppy (interrupted) Youtube video playback.  Starlink has fast download speed, but it is -- so far --  basically not usable with a real-time streaming service.  Running a custom-built, buffer right-sized, modified and tuned  "mplayer"  (which works all day on Xplornet, as long as Xplornet does not go offline), simply cannot be made to work on Starlink - even for streaming radio - for more than 10 or 15 minutes.  It interrupts and then crashes, and even manages to generate a curiously awful scrambled data-feed sometimes (which sounds really strange..).

I will publish graphics of network thru-put, which show the nature of the Starlink drop-outs.   More satellites are needed.   And this must happen *quickly*, if Starlink is to be successfully positioned as a premium service.   

We understand this is a beta test and that it should get better.  We are happy to have Starlink, and we feel Starlink as it is now, is a good start.  (Reminds me of that old joke, about a hundred dead lawyers at the bottom of Lake Ontario...Q:  What do you call that?   A:  A good start.)   One of our neighbours (next concession road over), was a founder of RIM.  The guys who trenched in my Bell land-line wire from the road to the farm-house, indicated he paid seven figures to have a fibre-line run from the nearby city, to his farm.   The cost, apparently, was mostly for the special hardward (the road-ditchside big digger and fibre-spooling device).  

You have to have fast internet now, or you don't exist.  Without 'net access, you are digitally dead.  Curious times.  Nobody told me there'd be days like these.   :)    (Yoko Ono is 88 years old now, and is unwell.  We wish her well.   I saw her "Yes" art exhibit at Ontario Art Gallery, back in the 1990's.  It was really good.   She was a serious and influential artist, in her own right.   She and John changed the world - and good for them.)

[ Mar. 29, 2021 ] Running in Parallel - Anyone remember this concept?  From the days when people actually tested computer programs and technology platforms, before releasing them to the public?   :)

We are running in true parallel with Xplornet Wi-Max link and Starlink satellite link.  We are running two almost-identical LInux boxes, connected to the same real-time data service.  We are noticing curious and serious differences.

[ Mar 26, 2021 ] Digital Islands Rockin' in the Stream - hacking some code on a Linux-box to get a nice, working real-time radio music stream, now that we have a real internet link.  Streaming - in a smooth, not-choppy / not-broken manner - is still difficult.  We are trying to design and fabricate a solution which involves *removing* cruft, gunk and bloat from the software stack, rather than adding to it.   We have a prototype which is working reasonably well - and when it works, it is goddamn nice, with remote control on an iPad.   It was working good for a while, but then a buffer-overran or some sort of gnarly sequencing error, made the radio stream sound like a drunken garage band being mixed down by a guy on serious pharma - pieces of the stream all  out of sequence.. like an old analog turntable when the whole room starts skanking and resonating the house, making the needle jump to random grooves.    :) 

[ Mar 25. 2021 ] Starlink Working Well Today - Blinding speed, and reliable operation.  We've bought another router, reconfigured some stuff, and we can toggle a CentOS Linux box using software, between the two networks now.  Useful, and lets nice apples-to-apples/oranges-to-orange speed tests be run.   Starlink is a *major* improvement, if uptime reliability is obtainable.   We like having it.   A lot.

[ Mar 24-PM, 2021] Windows-10 - Arrrrrgh! -  Windows-10 did an *update* of the EDGE Windows browser last nite!  It shut down and rebooted the P/C and nuked all my Firefox pages, on which I had various critical stuff I was looking at.   

Also, the unrequested install re-configured the machine to use the Nvidia "Advanced" sound-board - except it is HDMI output only! - so I am using the on-board Realtek card for sound, and the EDGE update JUST TURNED IT OFF  - took hours to put the machine back into operation  as we want it - the box is patched thru to a strereo system, via a plug/jack output connection.

It's comical:  Windows updates the machine - I finally get it working again - open some webpages, try to turn on Radio Caroline - and I get..... < ** THE SOUND OF SILENCE ** >.

Not the Paul Simon tune - just no audio!

So, we have a major project to fix this crap - tweaks for Firefox to work right (and not show annoying running videos - adverts and mouth-yapper journalists that no one wants to see.  (Fix: media.autoplay.default - setting is 1 to play videos, but without sound, change it to 5 so it requires user to press button to play, the obvious preferred operation).

I wanted to use gpedit and the secpol.msc programs to prevent automatic "delivery" of MIcrosoft "content", and I eventually got this configured (I think) - but the slimy pronks at Microsoft have DISABLED GPEDIT and SECPOL.MSC on the crippled "Windows-10 - Home Edition" that came with the MSI Intel box!   

The install of new EDGE was nasty - it forced a machine reboot, and upon login, tried to force me into a setup/login process for this piece of digital cancer.   This sort of abusive monopolist nonsense should be illegal.   It's the moral equivalent of using a laser to display a billboard on your car's winshield as you are driving down the highway.  It's just nasty.

You can enable the gpedit and secpol.msc programs you need to prevent "Microsoft.Content" application from AUTOMATICALLY installing software on your machine, with the "gpedit-enabler.bat" program, which you can download, and then run - AS AN ADMINISTRATOR - from "Cmd" line shell.    Once "gpedit" and "secpol.msc" are available, you can configure a local security policy to DENY the Microsoft nasty "content delivery"  program  (which is great for downloading viruses onto your machine!) from auto-installing ANY code at all.

Folks need to understand that this *constant update* nonsense is all about a long-term process whereby these major technology enterprises, are basically taking background control of your machine, so they can automatically engineer the behavioural responses that will given them further wealth and power.   It's just business - and a very good & profitable business it most certainly is.  What is ugly, is how tightly connected this sort of technology now is to the behavioural results that State authorities want to see. 

The telemetry features on a modern WIndows-10 box, show roughly the same level of user-action-data uploading as Apple devices typically demonstrate.   Everything you do, every website you inspect, the data you download, and the communications activity you engage in, all seems to be uploaded to active monitoring services. 

It's just the business model.  And the Governments LOVE this, since they have the spy agencies just hoover up all the traffic, and are thus able to show detailed meta-graphs of who is talking to whom, over any time-slice.   It's pretty astonishing. 

I will describe in detail, the steps I took to *try* to disable Microsoft AUTO Install of toxic software APPs from these curious people.   One creates a "Security Policy" using "secpol.msc" which acts to DENY access to the Microsoft Content Delivery application. We think this might work.  It depends on how many "backdoors" Microsoft has built into it's latest Window-10 build.

We need to have stable machine technology operation here - and if the software on the platform changes each night, then we are not able to make any valid statements about reliability of any related component or system or say anything meaningful about system operational characteristics.

It's astonishing that the world is trying to be run this way.   This is just abusive and perhaps is a result of some kind of strange social madness.  The fools in charge don't see what is happening, and the truly evil political control-folks who want to engineer dishonest social results, look at this mass monitoring sh/t like a dog looks at a raw steak...  they are just salivating.    :(

[ Mar 24, 2021 ] - Starlink Down this AM  - Like the Vampire Weekend song, "Harmony Hall" - a problem ends, and another one begins.  We woke this AM to NO NETWORK - this time Starlink had failed.  It had gone offline, and was not smart enough to re-connect by itself.  This is very disappointing.  This is the way Xplornet was working for the last several months - no information or diagnostics - only option is to shutdown and then re-power everything.  This is - let me be VERY CLEAR here - completely NFG - NO  Fvery  Good.  

If the failure was due to new software being downloaded into the Starlink router, then the download/update process needs to at least indicate the need for a re-boot.   It could auto-trigger the reboot.  But then that would be similar to the ugly little web-server that Intel chips have inside and on-board themselves -  (Intel's AMT nonsense).   This is a very  dangerous security hole, of course.  The correct approach might be to offer DIAGNOSTIC information on the Starlink equipment, so users can actively manage their hardware.

The user, at the pointy end of things should NOT HAVE TO REGULARLY REBOOT HIS EQUIPMENT ALL THE TIME, just to keep some badly-written software working.   If this is needed, then YOUR CODE IS POOR - AND THE CORRECT SOLUTION IS TO FIX THE CODE.  

The network should be able to remain operational, and re-connect by itself, without a complete shutdown and restart of the head-end earth-station equipment.

Starlink Beta Test:  Starlink net went completely offline this AM, as of 8:04 AM EST.  System stayed down for over an hour.  We powered off all Starlink hardware, re-powered, and it reconnected.  Latency very is high today - several seconds for a DNS query & ping.  Looks and feels like serious traffic overload issue, but unclear what the problems is.  We purchased another wireless router yesterday (ASUS RT-N12 Wireless-N300), configured it,  and are now running a Linux box in parallel on Xplornet wi-max, which seems to be working well.  We need active redundancy here, it looks like.

We now have three active Wi-FI networks - a new one on Xplornet via the Asus RTN12, our orginal Wi-Fi via a Linksys router, and the Starlink Wi-Fi router, which supplies DHCP address, to any wireless device.    The Wi-Fi stuff all seems to work well.   We hope that someday, the wi-max and satellite internet services might also work without routine opertional failure.

On-board diagnostics on local hardware, goes a long way to address the frustration that end-users feel.   Those lights on the wireless routers not only indicate system operation - but also the rate and characteristics of network data throughput.   The Starlink router offers the user no information other than a single red-light/white-light, indicating operational status.

And as there are no instructions or information on how to get any traffic statistics or other information from the device, this means we are kept in the dark, which is unfortunate and unhelpful.  This means we are unable to diagnose - or correct -  connectively issues, such as the complete failure of the Starlink network we experience this morning.   

No on likes to have the wool pulled over their eyes.  We reject this trend towards ofuscation and information-hiding.   Openness and full disclosure is better unless we are actively at war.  :)

[ Mar 22, 2021 ] - The Crazy Years - This was Heinlein's term from one of his "Future History" scenarios.   We are in the future now, and it really is crazy.   The big banks in USA land, will soon be forced to *turn away* large deposits, in order to keep on-side with the artificial picture of their *risk* that the Regulators look at.   Banking regulation is basically insane now, characterized by a rat's nest of conflicting rules and fictional "stress tests" that don't even test for the most critical risk we are certain to face - rapid-onset hyper-inflation. 

The next Econ-storm on the horizon will happen the end of this month, when the "supplementary leverage ratio" restrictions (a Fed-rule that counts deposits the big banks have with the USA central-bank, and Treasury bills as "risky capital")  will be re-applied (they were relaxed for Covid-19 liquidity concerns).   Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPM has suggested that this may require JPM to turn away large institutional deposits, to keeps it's leverage-measures onside.

This, of course, is madness.  Scenario: Big-Money-Company-Dude: "Hello, Mr. Banker, I have a billion US D's for ya!   Whoo hoo."    Banker-Guy: "Great... Except the new rules mean that if I take your money - and even buy USA Government Bonds with it - the regulators here will KICK ME TO THE CURB with a bigger "leverage" number.  So, I can't take your money."   Big-Money-Dude: "Man, that is just #%&$ing insane!"    Banker-Guy: "You are so right.   We are not happy.   But we now seem to have curious folks in charge of things."   Big-Money-Dude:  "Wow.  We're all screwed now, aren't we."    Banker-Guy: "Yeah, pretty much..."

As John Lennon said: "Strange days indeed."

[ Starlink update:  Beta Test results:]  Today, it has gotten weird.  The wheels seem to have fallen off the Starlink satellite service - big latency much of the time (we're talking *regularly* 20 to 30 seconds - like every 5 to 10 minutes) - this is not a satellite dropping below the horizon, this is just a *slow network*.   When we run "ping" to local servers (University of Waterloo, for example) or even google.ca, we are getting 10 to 15% DROPPED PACKETS!   This is atypical - but it has been so consistant today for several hours now, that I am running an experiment: 

I took one of the 64-bit HP Linux boxes (running CentOS-7.4), changed it from static IPv4# to a DHCP (automatic IP# 192.168.xxx.yyy), with automatic route for gateway) and confirmed the Xplornet modem/transponder is still operating.   I plugged the Xplornet PoE brick output RJ-45 ethernet cable directly into the Linux box's ethernet port.   Ran a speed test (the Ookla one)   (https://www.speedtest.net) and got download speed of 3.94 mb/s, and upload of 0.89 mb/sec. 

The Xplornet folks throttle the connection brutally, but it's latency today is not bad  (immediate response to ping requests, and 50 to 60 millisec reported) - basically the same as Starlink - when Starlink is actually working.

This is curious - but this is what Beta-Testing is all about.  The Xplornet server is reported as Kingston, Ontario.   The Xplornet link is *slow* - but it's typically operational, since we have done the re-aiming (at our cost).   The CentOS Linux box, directly connected, gives good, low-latency access, without  Given the general flaky-ness of the Starlink connection today it looks like we are going to be "running in parallel" for a while.  We will keep Xplornet as a backup, at least for a while, until Starlink stablizes with better business-hours latency.  This constant 20 or 30 second rolling latency is just not acceptable for real-time, mission critical work.

Here's a simple trick, to monitor network action AND keep the data:  Open two xterm windows, and in one, ping a site every two or three minutes, and pipe results to a file,  Then, in the other window, run "tail -f <filename.txt>" to see the action as it occurs.  Eg:

    In xterm window-1:    ping somesite.com -i 120 >> pingdata.txt   (run a ping to somesite.com every two minutes, put results into a text file)

    in xterm window-2:    tail -f pingdata.txt     (This will show ping results in the window, as responses are appended on the file)

[ Mar. 20, 2021 ] - Music Please - Just love this track... so good:...  "Into Action", 2009, Hellcat Reords...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVYD1D62VDk

Twist the dial, and we get: The Dead South (named after what a northern travelling boy's compass vector displays on the panel).  Fine tunesmithing, nicely executed. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9FzVhw8_bY

[ Mar. 19, 2021 ] - Typical Country Weather- It gets crazy here in the Spring.   I look out the front window, and 6 full grown deer are running in my neighbour's field, across the highway.  These are *wild* deer - moving around like little race-horses.   It's sunny - and with the bright, spring-shine sun, the wildlife gets a bit rutting-nutty (the English expression is actually "Mad as a March Hare"). 

[Here is quick link to "The Interrupters: On a Turntable" (Good performance at  91X Phaser Studios in San Diego)]:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_VunvUmM7Y

The deer are literally "gambolling" like spring lambs (running about and acting frisky, just for the pleasure of the action).  One can Google "gambolling lambs" - and note that the: "Gambolling Lambs, Kells Monastry, County Kilkenny, Ireland", on Overstock, is completely sold out. 

Been trying to buy some equities all week - no frcking chance - just hilarious - put in a bid, and Mr. Brightside comes in an front-runs everybody.  He didn't get the girl - but he seems to have made up for it, by becoming a nano-second trader, and getting crazy rich.   :)

Trying to figure out how I missed the whole Ska/Punk scene, 12 years back.  And then the penny drops, and I remember - the flipping "Financial Crisis" - really the "Great Housing Market Fraud-driven Crappy-Bonds Implosion Enabled by Bogus Models Doofus Crash" might be a better name.  I seem to recall losing most of my money, and sitting shell shocked at a wonderful combination Starbucks/bookstore (which has since closed down) - and then making it all back.   Very educational experience, and almost repeated in March of 2020.    O Tempora/ O mores - oh shit.   All work and no play, makes Jack (and me!) fucking stupid.   Jack wised-up and they all moved to Cali, but I am still here in Zona Stupidica.

My best trades are "long idea" trades - they pretty much work.   But this buy-and-hold and collect dividends - it is the path to losing all your money and being an old poor fucker living in a trailer-park in Florida on a government pension.   (Nothing wrong with that, maybe.   Those folks probably get more action than old Dr. Darkbak up here does... )   :)  

Insane world.  Too long in quarantine, maybe.  Need to do some gambolling - instead of gambling.   I hate quad-witching day.  I keep whiffing, despite easy pitches.   And that simple 1 hour time change thing seems to ramp up what is already a confusing time of year.   (Fall forward, and spring back?  Or Spring Out? )

Covid-19 Trudeau-Driven Death News:  (Can we get a new Federal Government, please?)

Covid-19 is running rampant now in Ontario, where we live.  In all of Ontario, we have less than 15 million people.  We also have a bio-technology industry, which I know a tiny bit about.  We should have vaccinated EVERY ONTARIO CITIZEN by now.   One gets the impression that our Federal Government is DELIBERATLY WITHHOLDING VACCINES which could be administered in Ontario, where Canada's major city is located, and where the economic engine basically is.

Our Premier in Ontario, Doug Ford, has made it clear we could have done 9 million people already - but instead - there is virtually NO VACCINE AVAILABLE (except for doctors!).  Folks in Ontario are starting to get really PISSED OFF at the dishonest & incompetant Federal Liberal sock-tuckers.  (Ya all know "Sock-Tuckers", right?   They get your tax money, and they tuck it into Liberal socks.   They tuck-sock real good, those Liberal boys...)

We got 1745 new Covid-19 cases *today*,and 10 more deaths.   Here is the picture of the "Third Wave", in Ontario, as of today; March 19th, 2021 (See URL for CBC news story below):   

Note how much WORSE the curve is now than it was last year.

The CBC has actually started reporting Ontario details, instead of data-hiding and acting as a Government shill for the sock-tucking Liberals bastards in Ottawa.   Maybe it might be time for classical "revolution".  We need change AND WE NEED IT NOW! - before the new variant of the Covid thing, starts to kill young people with speed, EXACTLY LIKE THE 1918 "Spanish Flu" was able to do - with the cranked-up cytokine-storm that causes your lungs to fill with your own fluid.  You literally drown in your own saliva, and it happens FAST and BEST in people with YOUNG, HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEMS.

Finally, the curious folks in our medical system are starting to catch on to this critical dataset of lethality information.  The 1918 Flu killed the young and the healthy the quickest and most effectively.  The science behind this is now WELL UNDERSTOOD, and the bio-evoluation of the Covid virus was predicted by many researchers.  Here are the charts for today.  Double-plus ungood, guys.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-march-19-2021-pharmacy-vaccines-1.5956094

The Pfizer vaccine is best (mRNA is a better carrier than a damn cold virus), but any vaccine is better than NO VACCINE AT ALL, and an awful, unnecessary death by pneumonic drowning.    Ford and the Ontario Government is doing what it can.  We might get some access to some vaccine next week.  Maybe.  BUT THIS IS NO THANX TO THE ALMOST-CRIMINAL PALACE-DWELLERS IN OTTAWA, who have BOTCHED BADLY Canada's response to the Covid crisis.  We are at last place in the world of advanced nations, in our vaccination rollout.  Many who did not need to die, will die because of this.

Many analysts quietly (and not-so-quietly) suspect that Trudeau *WANTS* a painful crisis here, because those politically shrewd Liberals know they can successfully milk the crisis to advance their corrupt and dishonest legislative agenda - and retain power.       This is just ugly, nasty wrong.  There entire approach has been just bad-wrong.

These are curiously nasty times, my friends.    We need change, and we need it NOW.

[ Mar. 18, 2021 ] - What's Your Plan for Tomorrow? - The discovery continues.  Good music is not dead.   Let's Get Moving, Into Action.  Wise, wise advice.

"The Interrupters"  (without interruption.  Kinda ironic, yes?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bzYctW0zjk

We are enjoying the Starlink bandwidth.   Youtube seems to work surprisingly well - multiple sessions are possible - almost like having "fibre to the home".    Moving the DIsh out further on the roof (more sky area), seems to have improved satellite capture and tracking.

Here is Tim Armstrong (of "Rancid", but on his own, circa 2009).  This might be the best piece of music+visual/pop-cultural art of the 21st century, so far.   It's like Roy Lichtenstein set to a back beat.  It's like it dropped into a temporal rift, and got flung here into the future.  So much now is crap.  This is not.  This is just a perfect little gem of genius-perfection:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVYD1D62VDk

[ Mar. 17, 2021 ] - Starlink is Like a Canadian Woman - Good, Fast, But a Bit Chunky.. :) - Doubtless, this comment would get me in trouble if I was a Company Man, or even a New York Governor!    (Good gracious, why is it going so weirdly gruesome in USA land?   A guy can send in the Drones to murder and kill the innocent, and *nobody* cares, but let some political day-glow guy pinch a ladies bottom or two, and even his *own* Party-people start howling for his head?   Insane...  Quite insane.   O Tempora, O Mores.  ... )

Anyway, it is going from just plain silly-strange to outright insane-crazy, everywhere. 

But the technology is better, no question.   We are Beta "Star-Linked" now, and this is good.  See top photo-comments for details...   and Happy St. Patrick's Day.   Play a little "Drop Kick Murphys" or maybe some "Flogging Molly", and have a Guiness.   But it's tough to drink with a face-mask on...  Ok, Here's Flogging Molly at the Hollywood Palladium, LA, St. Patrick's Day, 2019 - not a face mask in sight!

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

[ Mar. 16, 2021 ] - StarLinking & Digital Plinking
- Lots of tests.  First setup the Starlink Disk on the lawn, confirmed it all worked, and then moved it all to the roof.  I cut holes in walls and roof of house with old hand drill in order to route in the cable from the roof to the office, and it all looks to be working.  Speed tests show everything from 82 mpbs download speed, to more typical 10 to 17 mbps down, and 4 to 7 mbps up.  Not too bad.  Not bad at all.    :D

Some issues with loss of signal pretty regularly, which require reload/re-fresh of browser page, if watching streaming video.   But we can have two streaming video signals running - ie. two different Youtube channels, or NHK and a Youtube real-time streaming video.   And then we can add a third, and it seems to work.   Except when it doesn't - and then, even a single ping won't  work.  But when it does *not* work - it's like tropical weather - just wait a moment or two - and it will work again soon - usually in less than a minute.   More details soon...

Anyone monitoring this:   Can I get the Starlink monitoring app running on an Android phone or an Android tablet?  Ping me an email via the contacts menu s.v.p. and enlighten me & ELI'm5.  Thx.

[ Mar. 15, 2021 ] - Ad Astra, Thanx to Elon - I was literally in the shower - suddenly, dogs barking - and Fed-Ex hath arrived!   OMG - Saints be Praised!  I look out on the front porch, and their is a great, grey *monolith*.   It is the Starlink DISH!   Est Est Est!   

But StarLink looks like a fine and good thing.   Now, I get to be Beta-Boy, and see if the thing works.   My expectations are high, and the purchase of the new fast MSI box, suddenly looks so very wise and prudent.   We shall see if this Brave New World can link-up as it all should. 

"Gentlemen - We can rebuilt him.   We have the Bandwidth!"

[ Mar. 14, 2021 ] - Dragon Breathless - In a fit of madness, I bought a Gaming P/C.   If ya can't beat 'em, ya gotta join 'em.   Wise old country philosophy...    I scored a MSI Infinite Series A level 915, with a respectable Pentium 2.9 ghz, 64-bit core i5 processor-cluster, a 250 gb SSD drive, a 1-terabyte HDD, 8 gb, and an Nvidia GTX 1660 which outputs in HDMI and an HDMI monitor which I also added..   The harsh part is the Windows 10 - version 1909, which has functionality removed, and is frustrating to set up.  But we have the science running on it, and it create nice graphics.

I had to use "scp -r " option to get all the old files over from the a WIn-XP/SP3.  Just did the update to Firefox 78 ESR, and I am using it to key this.   Will config it for dual boot to a Linux also - but not today.

This machine is so much faster than the HP boxes, it is wild.  The keyboard is a "gaming keyboard" with the most wonderful key-click tactile nature - and it lights up, like a big rainbow over a cathouse, which is so hilarious...  The box  is by MSI (MIcro Star International) - outta Taiwan.   It is nicely built, and runs cool and fast.    

Once Windows-10 is up and actually running - with Firefox - the thing does work.  It was a frustrating project - but I am very behind the times re. Windows.   I prefer Linux, but this thing was a simple OTBE config (Out of The Box Experience) for setup, and I was lucky it could not find my network, so I have all local accounts ( the only sane way to set this up).   

I have pages of notes, I will post here.  You get the needed icons on the desktop with right-click of mouse on desktop, select "Personalize", then select "Themes", then select on screen right, there is a tiny option for "Desktop Icon Settings", under "Related Settings".  There, you can click-to-toggle all the missing icons (for "This PC", "<username>", "Network", and "File Explorer" and "Control Panel", which you will want to have.

Also, if you want to change your Workgroup setting from something other than "WORKGROUP", the only thing that will work, is to run PowerShell, in an elevated (ie. Administrator level), and at the PS prompt, enter: Add-Computer -WorkGroupName "<group-name>" .   Nothing else will work. 

Also, if running "Cmd" or Powershell as the Administrator (left click with mouse on icon to get the pop-up menu that allows "Run as Administrator" to be selected), you will likely need to re-define your mapped server drive letters, using this trick:

       C:\mydir\ >  net use X: \\<server-name>\mydir

and this will let the administrator-level program see your mapped drives. 

You use the "Map Network Drive" option in the "This PC" icon program, to map a directory letter (ie. "X:") to your files on whatever box you are using as a file server.  You might need to tweak SMB-1  (Samba version 1.0) on the Win-10 box, on so this can work.

Also:  If you want to activate the actual "Administrator" account (which  is difficult, because  programs like "lusrmgr. msc" and "compmgmt.msc" and even "control userpassword2" will report "This snapin may not be used with this edition of Windows 10".  Oh my.), you will have to use this trick, run from a "Cmd" shell running as Adminitrator:

       net user administrator /active:yes

       net user administrator *       (This will let you set an Administrator password)

And once you have the Administrator account unlocked and setup, then you can run Powershell as an Administrator, and set your Workgroup value to your local LAN's setting.  None of the other approaches documented on the internet, worked for me, except this trick.  Most curious.

Microsoft just wants you to buy a proper copy of "Windows 10 - Professional", so they partially cripple this "Home Edition" version, it appears.  That seems just wrong, to my way of thinking.   But such are the times...     :)

I am happy to have a "fast machine".   It really flies.

Now, if Elon can just send me that damn "Starlink" dish, so I can radio-net-link to his satellites,  then I will just be smiling and playing Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love" all day...  :D

[ Mar. 13, 2021 ] - vST - very Strange Times - A curious mixture of the fine and the awful, mixed with the truly delightful, and the horrifically tragic...  

But we really are fortunate to be out on the farm.   The old "Back to the Land" trade, which almost everyone disagreed with back 20 years ago, when I first suggested it, has turned out to be a pretty damn good decision.  It's nice here, and we are productive, if not exactly profitable.

Spring is coming, and the usual strange transitions are occuring.   This morning, about 1000 Red-wing Blackbirds decended from the sky, and sat for a while among the perimeter forest on the one side of the field.  They made a significant, non-trivial amount of noise - they make a grinding-chirping audio roller, like a machine-sound, and several hundred doing it at once, produces an astonishing cacophony.  But on a summer-like Saturday morning in early Spring, it sounds like a raucous, drunken celebration - like a Venetian Carnival in 1420, after a good year of trading.   :)

The news stories are just so awful as to be curious.   We just disconnect mostly now - modern datasets are provably bad for your health, and quite toxic, it turns out.     I like "Radio Caroline" out of the UK, as it has *no news* whatsoever - except some music news, which I don't mind.  Got to listen to "Radar Love" in support of the fellow who wrote it, who is in a bad way.   (Everyone who is ill, please get well soon!)

Ok, so I just bought day-before yesterday, an "HP-MIS Gaming Box".  It was fat handful of Cdn brown hundred dollar bills.  The machine is beautiful, nicely built, with a cool gaming-grade keyboard, and a wireline but very flash, mouse.  It has "Windows 10 - Home Edition".   This O/S is curiously awful,  I am in awe ot of it's terribleness.   It took hours before I could figure out how to map a network drive from another old Windows P/C.  And then - XCOPY would not work.  I mean, I spent *hours* trying options and tricks as documented on StackExchange, and about 15 other websites.   XCOPY would *NOT* create a directory on the Windows 10 Home Edition box.  Nothing - no "taking ownership" icacls tricks, no NTFS fiddling on source-side, no combination of option switches (which used to work on other boxes) would let bloody XCOPY create a directory on the Windows-10 box.  

XCOPY - running under a CMD shell - either as USER or as ADMINISTRATOR - on the Windows 10 box -  was *rigged* on the WIndows 10 box, so that XCOPY explicitily COULD NOT  copy a high-level directory with its files, from my old Win-XP/SP3 box to this Windows 10, "Home Edition".  The XCOPY version is running on Window 10.  There is NO REASON for this not to work, other than Microsoft clearly does NOT WANT IT TO WORK.  

I had the drive mapped correctly, and I had FULL ACCESS to the files and directories on the Win-XP box.   But XCOPY would NOT CREATE A DIRECTORY.  I could copy files - but I COULD NOT COPY A DIRECTORY STRUCTURE OF FILES from the WIn-XP box, tot the Windows 10 box.   This is clearly, by design.   What a bunch of serious, nasty rathumping *bastards*!  

Let's be clear here:  Windows 10 - Home Edition - is a deliberately crippled thing.   It seems to be designed to *prevent* folks from migrating digital data that is resident on a Windows XP environment, to a Windows 10 environment.   The nasty wanna-be, hard-core monopolists at Microsoft, plain and simply to NOT WANT you to do this.  They want you to BUY NEW SOFTWARE - such as their ugly, SUBSCRIPTION BASED "Office 365" (you just keep paying and paying and paying - it never ends, right?).  Hilarious.

And to install fonts - they want you to CONNECT TO THE MICROSOFT STORE AND BUY - BUY! - your FONTS.   It is curiously difficult to install existing fonts onto machine, so your WIndows software can actually *see* them.     Oh my.  

So the O/S is really just a laugh-out-loud awful thing - an example of deliberately crippled design.  I ran into this with Windows-8 on a laptop. It literally took *weeks* to get the needed software installed on the thing, so it could be used propertly.   

The HP MSI box has a, big fat motherhonker of an Nvidia Graphics card inside it, and I bought a monitor, that connects using HDMI - a nice 24 big inches.   Pretty sharply cool, actually...

But I have been fighting with goddamn Windows 10.  If the Coronavirus does not kill me, the skyrocketing blood-pressure I am getting from this wicked abortion that is Windows -10 - Home Edition - might well succeed in doing so.   Oh my, it is awful.   Where is the "My Computer" or "This PC" desktop icon?  How can I put the icon for this critical program, on my desktop???  

( Later:  I found this - you left-click main Windows Start button, screen bottom left, select "Themes" and in that screen, there is an option to put the "This PC" and "Network" icons on the desktop.  When the big copy ends, I will clean up this comment, and put in the exact steps needed, which I found, thanks to my Linux/Firefox box and Google-search.  Thank-you, dear Microsoft.)

And wicked "Edge" - what a nasty piece of horror-show that thing is.  I run FIrefox on all the platforms - WITH AN AD-BLOCKER.  The internet is non-usable now, without an advert-blocker. 

Try to use that "Edge" thing, and you just get these dancing video-adverts IN YOUR FACE!   What???   It just shows you active video-junk adverts!  - WTF???  DId I say I wanted an ACTIVE DANCING BILLBOARD IN MY FACE WHEN I AM TRYING TO WORK?).    Jesus, I never appreciate how good, and fine and wonderful CentOS-7 (or even my old Fedora boxes) are, until I try to run a modern Windows box. 

Holy crap, what a toxic nightmare.   I need three font files.   Why not just a simple icon-program to "INSTALL FONTS"?   Really, just copying the FONT FILES into the FONTS directory, should be enough.  Anything else, is just classical obfuscation.   This is just wrong.

I run an APL, and I need to install the APL fonts. And installing the FONTS  is still NOT OBVIOUS.  It should be dead-easy, but Microsoft - seriously - tries to VECTOR YOU TO THE MICROSOFT STORE to BUY  ( BUY???)  FONTS!     I already have the font files.  I just need to USE (ie. INSTALL!) the fonts, so they show up.   

If I did not have Google to query to find out how to do this - the most basic stuff - which I have already done earlier, on an Asus laptop, a couple of years ago - I would have been pooched.  No documentation on the Microsoft Windows O/S- and not even a LICENSE KEY - was provided with this (expensive) machine.  Curious.   Really curious.

Basic, critical, standard stuff - like the features of "This PC" are HIDDEN on Microsoft WIndows 10 Home Edition.   It is obviously a strategy.  They want you to PAY  to upgrade to Windows 10 PRO.  This  HOME EDITION is so crippled that you can't CONNECT YOUR OTHER COMPUTERS EASILY - like I can DO WITH EASE, ON ALL THE LINUX BOXES.  (Do I sound frustrated?...  This strategy just makes the customer fume with anger.   Curious.  )

I also run static IP#'s for the other machines.   There was no obvious way in the setup procedures, to enter in the needed information.

At least, I found "Cmd" inside of /windows/system32, so I have been able to run SCP to migrate stuff onto the box, since it has no CD or DVD drive even.  I was lucky to have installed all the "CYGWIN" stuff (ssl, scp, ssh and ssh-driver and putty and other Linux-ish utilities on the old WIndows XP box). 

Fortunately - the WIndows Home Edition DID HAVE "ssh" and "scp" installed.  Whoever made that decision, I want to - sincerely - extend my thanks to you.  Without that, I would have not been able to migrate ANYTHING from the old Win-XP/SP3 box, to the new HP-MSI machine.

Since I had CYGWIN stuff installed (all the OpenSSL and Linux utilities) on the WIN-XP box, I was able to run this from the HP MSI (Windows-10 box).  (I had created at "C:\root" directory on the new WIn-10 box, and had a "c:\root" directory on the Win-XP box, which had a bunch of stuff in subdirs.  SO, this worked (or is *running now*, actually...)

    (from an "Adminstrator Cmd" session on Windows-10 HP MSI box...)

      cd c:\root

      scp -r <myuserid>@HPWINXP:/cygdrive/c/root/*  .     (note the "dot"  means "this directory")

Also note:  The same "hosts" file trick works on the Windows-10 box as on the old WIN-XP box.   You start a Cmd session as Administrator, and edit c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts where you can put in your machine names and static IP numbers.

The new HP MSI box is a nice black tower, with a handle.  It is a nice form factor, and the Intel Core-i5 with the installed, on-board Nvidia card is nice.  Plus you get 250 gig SSD drive (as C:) and a 1 terabyte disk as D:, which is a standard hard-drive.   And there is 8gb of memory, which is really nice.  (Eight gigabytes of memory aught to - finally - be enough for anyone.  If you can't do it in 8 gig of RAM, then you should really re-think your program design.)

The Nvidia card is actually REALLY nice - but they should tell folks how to connect the damn thing up - since there is also a motherboard HMDI port - which does NOT WORK at all.  This is probably the way to have it configured, so that is good.  But why not a message on the monitor that says simple "Hey, you have a Gforce board, idiot.  Disconnect from this on-motherboard port, and plug your big sexy HDMI monitor in the HDMI port on the expansion chassis Gforce board-slot, two inches lower from where you are plugged in now. " :)

I finally figured out how to put the "This PC" icon on the desktop.  It's an option choice under "Themes", and something else,  which is a left-click on the main-screen bottom, left Windows Start icon.   I'll make some better notes later.   And then I found this rant in Reddit, and laughed myself breathless...  (PM: update: It's over 30 hours later, and the "scp -r" copy from the old XP box to the SSD on the Win-10 box is still running... )

https://www.reddit.com/r/rant/comments/hbeemz/god_damn_windows_10_garbage/

[ Mar. 12, 2021 ] - No Soup (or Vaccine) for You! - I can understand why the folks in Ottawa are trying to make it difficult for Canadian citizens to buy modern rifles.   We have a "Soup Nazi" in charge of the country!   Just like old Adolph did, this little guy is trying to prohibit our access to the rifles we actually manufacture here.  Pretty funny.  

It's so awful, it's comical - real "Theatre-of-the-Absurd" stuff.  Just when you thought it could not get much worse - hey, you get Soup-Nazi Boy taking on the role of "Leader" up in Ottawa La-La-Land!   It's like the darkest of dark-comedy...

The only vaccine available in Canada for people who aren't doctors or Indians, is the Astrazeneca version (that uses a cold-virus as the genetic carrier - unlike the mRNA the Pfizer one uses), and so it is limited to folks in the narrow age-range of 60 to 64.  That means we're out. 

The Government of Ontario - acting on it's own to try to save a few folks in our Province - managed to score 200,000 doses of that vaccine.  That little piece of work, Trudeau, up in Ottawa, is delivering the few Pfizer does to his people and some Indians and Innuit up north - virtually nothing for citizens down here where the taxes get paid.   Pretty comical.  But also par for the course, given the outright corruption and financial fraud that characterizes typical "Liberal" gang operation.   

I watch the politics in Canada, and it is just laughable.  It is so bad here, it is just over the top nutty.  We have the great untendered contract / "We Charity" scam - a fraud on the scale of Enron, but excuted with Canadian taxpayer's money - half a billion dollars of "pandemic relief" for Liberal folks and the scam operation these people are running (WE out in the country, have seen *nothing at all*.  Nothing.  Not one single operational program, no benefits - just a cycle of taxation related scams and tricks executed by corrupt, dishonest LIberal fraudsters.   It is just hilarious.   It's like: "Got Covid?  No?  Well, here is some for YOU! (Covid-19, that is.  No money.  Ha ha ha.)" .     FFS.

Of course it could be worse.  We could be in Myanmar or Ghana or Haiti or some awful place like that.   But it is still pretty sad.    We used to be like USA.  Now, we are becoming like Argentina.   Curious and unfortunate - but such is the path that is tracked, when corrupt, dishonest, incompetent light-weight pretty-boys take charge of the State fisc.  

I can understand why our corrupt Federal Government is behaving so badly - because they are completely incapable of getting vaccines for Canadians - and that means a lot of people will die, who don't actually need to. 

I was talking to my neighbour yesterday - and asked how everyone was.  He indicated he had had Covid back in December, less than 3 months ago!   Oh.    So, being out in the country, offers no protection, especially since these silly bugger god-believers are probably all going to some sort of church-thing so they can super-spread the virus.  Or, maybe not. 

This world is populated by the unwise - many of whom seem to capture positions of power and authority that they should *most definately* not have.   Curious.

In hell-hole countries like Myanmar, the corrupt Army-Junta can just empty out the jails, and send murderer-criminal "soldiers" into the streets to kill unarmed, peaceful protesters with machine-guns.  This is typical behaviour by a Government, sadly.   Inspect history.   All the *really big* crimes are carried out by Governments.  Always.  Everywhere.  In and across every single temporal and geographic domain - the big crimes are carried out by the State.  

I personally thing that the "War in Vietnam" was a bloody good idea.  The only failure that occured there, was a curious failure of the Americans to make a decision to cut-and-run before the job was completed.   It was the idiot Democrats who started that whole foolish project.  Nixon tried to finish it - but had niether the money nor the support at home, to get the job done right.  Hanoi should simply have been removed from the map.  It should be like "Carthage" now - a place where there is not much at all.

A UN-backed Democratic Expiditionary Force should be dispatched "RIGHT NOW" to Myanmar, and tasked with restoring the rightful government.  This should be done - especially with China watching - so the Chinese Militarists could have a close look at what the Sword of Freedom looks like, and how easily and effectively it can be deployed against bandit-scum Junta-government criminals who murder their own people.   The criminal THUGS who have siezed power in Myanmar should be rounded up and hung from lampposts at the main harbours, just like the pirates used to be in Boston and Halifax.

No-one learns much from history - except to deeply distrust the dangerous power and abusive ugliness of criminals who have siezed State Power.  These kind of Governments exist to enrich their friends - and crush and kill their enemies.   This is the standard political model, history teaches us.

This generally has been a little bit more difficult a program to execute in Canada.  But it will be a lot easier, if this lethal Trudeau character is not removed from power, soon.   He is a serious and dangerous menace to this country.    I wonder how many people have to die here - who didn't have to die - before the people of this nation wise up, and vote this slimy little fraudster out of power.    His tenure has been the worst time for this country, I have seen in my entire life.

He is one of the worst political figures to ever take the stage in Canada.    And I fear his vicious stupidity and outright incompetence might actually kill many of us now.

Canada should not be facing the failure-to-vaccinate problem that we are facing here now.  It is really a fantastic and extreme failure by the worst federal government this nation has ever had, in it's short lifetime. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/canadas-covid-vaccine-failure-11613772230

 

 [ Mar. 10-11, 2021] - Nothing Succeeds like Excess - "The best advertising is the tape" - old, 1920's expression by Mr. Livingston (aka Livermore).. 

We are in strange times, and some of the extreme stuff is really tracking.   The market leads the current view - and the attraction of mass-death is becoming apparent.   Killing off the old, the weak, and the rich, turns out to be pretty stimulative after all (one really needs to inspect the historical record for 1325 to 1400 - but 1917 to 1922 will also work...)   

I read all of Ray Bradbury once - and he wrote a story I think called "Dandelion Wine" (yes, just googled-it, and there is a ton of info on it...) It was like my childhood, truth be told - the time of fantasy and horror and astonishment that rarely comes again in adulthood.  It was set in the summer of 1928, I seem to recall.  The 1920's were very advanced - much more so than most folks grasp. 

You can also read "Lady Chatterly's Lover" for a picture of that time period, which is actually a pretty good yarn - with very tame stuff by modern standards.  The real story is the destroyed lives of the people that came out of the mindless violence of the First World War.  Lord Chatterly, a young war veteran,  is wheel-chair bound, and wants a son and heir - so he as much as suggests to his young wife that she get pregnant by someone else.  She is young and healthy and full of vigor, but she falls for and fucks the gardener, instead of some upper-class weasel, and this is a problem for the no-penis Lord of the place.  It's a great story - but it also does a fine job of describing and explaining the dramatic social changes that the 1920's brought in.  

The market-runup was driven not just by new magical technology - but also by new, young people full of good red blood and healthy desire who wanted to make a new world and live new lives, free from the old (and very bad) restrictions of social class.   The story ends with the gardener and Lady Chatterly leaving the sanctuary of the Manor, and making plans to go to Canada, and get the hell out of England.    Their children would have grown up with my parents in the same milieu and demographic cohort.  

But the crash-and-burn of the stock markets in 1929 etched a lasting impression on any investors who lived thru it - although the real meltdown was from early 1930 (when there was a pretty good recovery) until 1932, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 43, IIRC.   In late 1932, there was a 1 week bank "holiday", when the (mostly bankrupt) banks were all closed, and "recapitalized" by government fiat.   It was an interesting time.  But the markets survived, despite the assault by the government regulators and the Joe Kennedy SEC.

Are we about to run all this over again?  Maybe.    I have not found any dips to buy - so I don't know where this talk of "dip buying" comes from.   Journalists invent stuff now, and gen up explanations after the fact..   But the forward view is driven by what is seen, and what is in the minds of the folks in the action.   Little else matters - or is used to make decisions.

This is difficult for thinking people to accept (and to act upon).   It is why the damn computer models work so much better than people do  We mentally "anchor" to stuff that is just neither true, nor constant.   We humans are bad decision makers - especially in fast markets.

We might be seeing a major, self-sustaining run here.  Almost all our AI stuff has say "Buy. Buy anything.  Buy anything,  Anything,  APOS or a happy Game-stonk or LESTA or any bloody thing."   The vectors point straight up - it's nuts.  I figured it had to be wrong.  But it looks like it is right.  I am the thing that is wrong  ... :)

I stand in awe of this result.   My economic instincts (and training) suggested all this had to be already discounted in the evident, current market price.  But that is just not the case.  Today, more mad running.   Bids are flying like winged pigs to everything.  GME is almost $300, based on cryptic tweets and blather.  (As I edit this note, GME is now $337.  Mr. Graham and Mr. Dodd have left the building.  Maybe the planet, also.)

Joke is, GME might actually have something.   It's in one of Gibson's books, I think - the local shop for access to the "matter compiler", which can fab (from digital data and a matter-stream) pretty much anything.   The key is just to have a retail network.  The matter-compilers  are installed in a coffee-shop chain, IIRC, and you can go there and "print" anything you want.  The matter-compilers use nano-tech to assemble stuff - tiny little microscopic robots, that assemble material things, molecule by molecule.   Interesting idea. 

Maybe GME will allow game-lovers to create their own game-worlds, and then market the DVD-disks with source (and an animated film for entertainment and explanation) for the game. 

Youtube has become boring and awful.  GME could create a business where individual kids could be Movie-directors and GME the "Producer".  The kids could could create complete "Game-world-movies" - sort of like what Disney does now.  And the GME storefronts could be where the DVD-based Game+Movie is distributed from.  New titles each week.   The GME store becomes what the crowded (and awful) movie theatre used to be - the distribution point.  You do it with DVD's, so that its easy, marketable, and slightly less likely to be hacked.  Plus the DVD could be sold with a piece of hardware or an action-figure.

More I think about his - more I want to buy one.   What about a "Godzilla" game, which has all the Godzilla movies, a few of the better kid-created Godzilla-Games (you get to stomp either New York or Tokyo or Jersusalem or Berlin - whatever metro location you want...), and a bunch of cool sound-track music by a Japanese Anime-band?   (The Anime-Bands are already up and running...)  

Google has become boring and a bit annoying.   Android is nasty, like iOS is now.  You are chained into their payment vectors, and are just a tool for them.  All the money and data flow to them.  Such is the power of the monopoly.

Maybe GameStop could create a "Technical Tiger Team", and create an entire ecosystem - that would run on open-source computers - and that would not require developers to become minions and revenue-streams for powerful California monopolists.  

With just a tiny bit of creativity, and a brutal attention to technical detail (like Musk does, when crafting production algorithms), a retail "Game Store" could become like a Starbucks - a must-go place where the latest releases of "Anime/Music/Movie Games" are made available.   The trick is not just to make high-rez shoot-em-up games, but to also create story-lines, and creative stuff, like Osamu Tetsuka did with his early Manga.

Ya, that's it.  Online, Manga-style animated, clever-story, immerisive entertainment - maybe using VR headsets - which of course, you would retail at low prices - so, you get the latest Game/Movie-release, and also acquire the hardware, tweaks and upgrades, to drop into the virtual world, Gibson/cyberspace-deck style.  And, of course, you also want to have a social/virtual world-thing, like Second Life or something like that - and maybe you have it free at the "first level", but then for the "higher level" interaction experiences (think real-time immersive chat-rooms), you have a "club membership" - ie. a monthly subscription fee - for access.

All this stuff exists now - but a retail operation - an actual outlet where the new tech could be promoted and made available, is so obvious.   The devil is in the details.   Like the Apple Stores - I shudder to think how much money we have spent there - Fu-chan bought a thousand-dollar iPhone, a Macbook Air, and of course now wants a big MacScreen machine so she can watch Japanese videos.   I hate Apple, but I have a Macbook, and it is a very good deck.   It would be even better, if it ran Linux (and of course, you can just put a Linux machine in a Virtual Box, which I have had running for years (and an old XP-Windows on it, built before I discovered and installed WINE everywhere)).

So, GME could actually become something, maybe.   Or maybe not. 

Some guys just 3-D "printed" a house, using a big 3-D grid that "prints" using cement.  We really might get some additional gains from technics.   I am not sure - and I thought it was all pretty much done.   But perhaps not.

But the real magic to drive change is "advertising by tape" - 1920's style.   Is GME the next Google?   My instincts say "no way".   But why could it not be?   DEC with it's awesome "ALta-Vista", could have been Google, if it just had had a tiny bit more market-savvy and creative ability to take action.  Instead, they imploded and sold to Compaq, who sold to HP.   The DEC P/C computers were an absurd dog's breakfast of non-compatible confusion.  HP won by simple consolidation.    But then they blew up, too.

I run a bunch of HP machines, and might buy a big "Gaming Box" that is on sale at a local retail shop that just re-opened.   HP splitting in half was an absolutely astonishingly stupid thing to do - they obviously never heard the African proverb where the father shows his sons several large sticks.  He asks his strongest son to break a big stick, and the fellow does.  Then, he takes a bundle of several sticks, ties them together, and hands this to the same big lad, and asks him to break that - and of course he can't.  Then the father looks each one of his sons in the eye and asks if they understand what he is trying to say to them.  They do.  Stick together.  Work as a team, and don't fight with each other.  This is easy to say, but hard to teach.  Even harder to actually do, since people are selfish and really stupid.

So, we invent the command-and-control hierarchy.  The military uses this.   That sort-of works.  But "The Key" is to understand the need to remain unified and hence, strong.  You need to understand this.

But  HP did not.  It was run by some fool woman who had no clue, sadly.

We live in a very strange world.  Everyone laughed at Google at first - and said: "Search is a solved problem.  How can they make a company just offering 'Search' ?"    Duh.  By being Madmen, lads.  They will sell us "VIP".  Everyone needs VIP.   You don't even need to know what it is - just that you need it.  And you need it bad, right?

My economic instincts tell me a huge crash is coming.   But also, my psy-ops research suggests that maybe all I am seeing is just my own future, which just has *me* doing the crash, falling into my own grave!    The market and the world will continue to tick along, just fine -  Like it always does.  And the future can be successfully built when human creativity is applied to and enabled by effective technology.   If it can be financed, then positive, prosperous projects can be made to happen.   Or maybe not.   :D

(Perhaps this Youtube video describes the best prescription...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo 

[ Mar. 9-10, 2021] - Critical Patch/Fix for Most Excellent "wmctrl" Utility - This is crazy,

because I am not a very good C/c++ programmer - but I just don't like it when my stuff does not work right.  I was supposed to buy a bunch of stock (stonks?) today, but I had to fix this goofy problem - didn't buy, market is up insanely, and I missed making some serious money (I am stupid - truly)..   but "wmctrl" was not finding *some* of the windows on the modern 64-bit CentOS boxes  ("wmctrl -l" would list  some open X-windows, but not all!), and most google-info was all blather and crud about Wayland and such - but it is not a Wayland versus Xorg issue - there is just a bug in the 2003 "wmctrl' source code.  It relates to 32-bit/64-bit issue like so many other silly problems we have all been having - working on this cost me about 30K in foregone gains, so pay attention:

Get the original wmctrl source,and at line 1443, just before "ret_format" is used, stick this code-chunk into "main.c" so that 64-bit window ids are handled correctly:  (Its pre-processor stuff, to set the variable correctly based on machine word size... ):

#ifdef __x86_64 
if (ret_format == 32)
{
ret_format *= 2;
}
#endif

So, my version of wmctrl's "main.c" now looks like this, starting at line 1443:

 /* null terminate the result to make string handling easier */
/* --- hack patch from : https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/wmctrl-is-not-showing-all-windows-4175433231/ */
/* --- this is a 32-bit/64-bit issue, re. ret_format...  - MCL note   */
#ifdef __x86_64
    if (ret_format == 32)
    {
        ret_format *= 2;
    }
#endif
/* --- end of patch ------------------------------------------------- */
    tmp_size = (ret_format / 8) * ret_nitems;
    ret = g_malloc(tmp_size + 1);
    memcpy(ret, ret_prop, tmp_size);
    ret[tmp_size] = '\0';

    if (size) {
        *size = tmp_size;
    }

    XFree(ret_prop);
    return ret;
}/*}}}*/

(the above is just a snippet.  But with this patch installed, and a "./configure | make | make install", my current version of Gnome Shell on the 64-bit CentOS-7.4 box (which reports it using Mutter version 3.28.3)  can be USED SUCCESSFULLY with utility: "wmctrl".

All windows now show up with:  "wmctrl -l" .   And, from within the GNU-APL interpreter, I can run: 

         ⍎')host wmctrl -c "The Name of the Window" '

and the X-window (typically a ⎕PLOT created window) can be closed under program control. 

You can also list all open X-windows from with GNU-APL, using this:

        ⊃ ⍎ ')host wmctrl -l '

and this command string can be put inside a function - so you can have APL fling up windows, maximize them, and then close them and go on the the next one.  This lets APL run a real-time data-driven display of time-series or matrix or tensor  (ie 3-dim. or more) data.

This worked fine on the CentOS and Fedora 32-bit Linux boxes, and on the MacBook Pro (where "wmctrl' was built using Homebrew, after much effort), but half the damn windows were simply not being "seen" by wmctrl under Gnome on the 64-bit Linux boxes.   The little patch resolved the problem, and wmctrl plays nicely (and seems to work well!) with the new Gnome shell.

It is a very good thing to have the SOURCE CODE for stuff, since then that means you can FIX IT YOURSELF if you have to.   :)

[ Mar. 9, 2021 ] - The Falling Profit of Rates- World is engaged in a dramatic economic experiment.  Reviewing how China's "National Team" steps up to buy stocks when any market downburst is considered too much, too quick.  This is another example of national econ-managers gain-riding the equity market.  This phenomenon, combined with standard policy-response of hyper-liquidity injections to fight "the-crisis-of-the-day" also combined with managed low-rates on government debt, means that we are unlikely to get stock market crashes.  A "market crash" is just not going to be allowed to happen.   Market crashes are easy to prevent, if one is armed with essentially infinite & unlimited amounts of fiat money.  You just set up "State Investment Agencies", back-stop them with Argentina-style money-supply production, and all is good.  Maybe.  For a short while.

Before any market crash scenario can play out, an extreme jump to hyper-inflation will be required, and that might not happen in any sort of smooth way, based on the global demographics.  

Hacking the markets has become as difficult as hacking modern "secure" technology - much of which is so secure, it won't work and cannot be used. 

I wonder if and went the American thinkers, writers and media-children will finally recognize the big "protest" in Washington January 6th, as the positive and necessary political event that it was.  There are only two political models - democracy and gangster-run totalitarian states like China and Russia.  That's it.   America is one of the few remaining true democratic entities.  Power really is still held by the American People, despite the actions of scam-artists and the ugly efforts of professional political thugs like Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the so-called "Democratic" Party. 

The politics of freedom are messy and sometimes bloody,  But the current gang that has taken power in USA by virtue of its voter engineering efforts and its media-machinery, is still captive to the requirements of economic events, just like every national goverment is and always will be.  

What this means is that stock market crashes are now not likely to happen, until some entity can halt the unrestrained fabrication of money for and by, the current ruling political groups.

It a helluva game that is underway - an experiment in exponential action which has already reached extremes that threaten to kill - economically - large groups of older folks.  

If people like Andrew Cuomo in New York and Justin Trudeau here in Canada don't kill you in your Retirement Home with Covid-19, then their economic managers will still kill your investment returns with interest-rate related policies that ensure you have no viable investment options.   It is just hilarious.    Economics literally is being made to operate to destroy - rapidly - the value and usefulness of savings.    It is explicit government policy, to make lifetime savings become rapidly worthless.

Once one realizes this is the game, it all makes sense.  Governments are now - deliberately - by carefully-crafted government policy action - trying to engineer inflation, just like the Democrats "engineered" voting-process changes to ensure they could take control of Washington, despite the an almost-majority of folks not wanting them there.    The current economic actions in most nations - even Canada -  is just so reckless and awful that it is just comical. 

The Central Banks *want* inflation.  The Governments *need* inflation - otherwise, there is little chance any modern nation will ever successfully repay current debt.   Where are the "bond vigilantes?"    Long term yields should be around 10%.  But the modern national governments are creating money - by buying their own government bonds - or running "stimulus" programs, which typically flow funds to political "agencies" which are part of a profoundly corrupt and self-serving process.   A few folks are getting *very* wealthy.  Good for them.   But most are not.

This is a profound economic experiment which has already reached an extreme level.  The lack of significant monetary inflation is due to many consumers simply not having cash, and being expelled from the labour force by Covid-19 related restrictions.

Our consulting practice is simply non-operational.  We are fortunate to also operate a small farm and various investment strategies.   We will survive - but not likely prosper in this modern "stay-at-home" world run by political fraudsters.   That matters little - but it is curious and strange, as we are not unique.    We face a curious and disturbing lack of any attractive investment opportunities - and that means no income.   This is a problem.   

This modern economic experiment - by reducing yields on low-risk government securities to effectively below zero, after adjusted for inflation - means we have no choice but to take on high-risk equity investments which are *certain* to either implode or collapse, once the inflation becomes evident.

And this inflation *will* become evident - our models suggest that it will come on *very rapidly* - much more extreme and more quickly than the policy people suspect it will.

What this means, is that we are screwed.   And we are - I suspect - not unique.   We are certain to be wiped out by inflation - if we don't invest - but are also at great risk if we take on any sort of investment now that generates any income.  The Great global experiment in hyper-debt and hyper-liquidity creation that is being run to keep real interest rates flat-lined below zero, is effectively destroying our ability to generate an income stream that can last.

This is a curious and disturbing problem.   I can honestly understand why Biden and his Bogus Brigade need 20,000 armed troops in Washington to protect them.   The average American is offered only low-quality, high-risk investment options - and also watches helplessly as his own government tries everything it can think of to destroy the value of his lifetime savings.  Of course, he wants to march on Washington, and communicate his concern to the wealthy political classes he sees destroying his world.

Our research (and history also, if anyone cares to look) suggests that this current economic experiment is basically pathological & very unwise, and risks the planet in ways that far surpass "global warming" or even viral plagues.

The governments have now even built mechanisms that appear to prevent any sort of stock market correction from taking place.   What do you folks expect?  That this bubble can go on forever and not end?  The nasty, pointy-end of inflation is already here in rapidly rising food and energy costs.   When your income has gone away, this is where the little remaining money gets spent, right?  So it matters, guys.   Removing "volatile" prices from the inflation calculations, is like removing sanity from the political process.   It seems unwise.  Don't you think?  

We are *really* concerned the current debt-runups and money-printing will have significant destructive results.     Very few jobs are created by giving New York Bond Traders another hundred billion dollars profit.   They might well just invest it in India (where government bonds are 6%) or Argentina (which does not ever actually repay any of its obligations at all).

Low rates do not create jobs.   But they do create inflation, and they do destroy the income streams of low-risk oriented investors.   And those vanished income streams mean that economic activity is (perhaps substantially) reduced.

I honestly wonder if there are any economists who work in government jobs, who have any brains or ability at all?  Maybe there actually are lots of really good people, writing the same warnings, and they are just being ignored.  That is probably closer the truth of things.   

These *below-the-rate-of-inflation* interest rates are TOXIC & WRONG, are KILLING THE RATIONAL INVESTMENT PROCESS and are LETHAL TO INVESTORS.

This global economic experiment in being *really stupid* should perhaps move towards an end-game scenario now.   And creating Equity Markets which can only go up, is also a foolish trick that is not likely going to go own forever.  And when it ends (nothing funded this way lasts forever - or even very long, actually), it will likely have a very bad ending that will create extreme and widespread damage.   Mark my words on this.

[ Mar. 7-8, 2021 ] - How to Hack a Mac with Brew and Building Utilities From Source - There is this thing called "Homebrew" for the Apple Macbook, and it's a bloody brilliant thing. It's billed as "The Missing Package Manager" for Macbook.   I was skeptical - but I've had to use it to install all sorts of code on the Mac.  I put many flavours/versions of Xcode and all the Linux build utilities - and this has been good, as the latest magic has been the ability to get the GNU-APL 1.8a to build and run successfully on the Macbook.  This is just bloody wonderful, since I now have a working Linux APL, for which I have working source code for.  I have my slightly-hacked, self-supportable version of GNU-APL running on 4 different platforms now - old 32-bit custom-kernel Fedora, 64-bit CentOS-6.6, some CentOS-7.4 boxes - one now with the 5.4 Linux kernel - and of course, the curious MacBook platform, with all it's "pee-lists" and Mac/Apple cruft.

The magic on the Macbook is partly possible because of "HomeBrew", which basically looks like a big container (a complete virtual environment) built using  some Ruby-code, to make RedHat Yum/RPM (and now DNF) style package-management possible. 

I run Xquartz on the Mac, which is the X11 stuff, needed to enable the operation of an "X-server" on the Macbook.  This lets over 1-million quality applications run on the goofoid Apple BSD-Linux-Next-O/S under-engine that the Mac stuff is built upon.     X11 is the brilliant but kinky thing built at MIT in 1987, which offers a GUI (graphic user interface) like Windows, but without being a Microsoft proprietary product.   The current wikipedia page on X11 actually has a good historical explanation of X - the idea being that a "X-server" runs locally on your box, and "client" applications on the internet/network can interact with your boxes "X-server".  This kinky inversion of the concept of the "client-server" idea (which I only recently grasped - we need a "Gaten!"-style program for self-taught programmers..) has worked very well, and stood the test of time.

Anyway, X11 (via XQuartz) on the Macbook, is a very good and necessary thing, if you are doing any development or science, or design-work, or analysis or programming (or really anything other than typing text and fiddling with spreadshites).   I just updated to latest XQuartz via a ".dmg" file, and it worked OK.  I am still running an older MacOS, since I have built virtually a complete Linux-style dev. environment on the Macbook.   Building the GNU-APL from source successfully on the Mac has vindicated (again) the wisdom of this platform lockdown.  Just about everything I have running on the Linux boxes, I can build and run on the Mac.

THe latest has been a tiny utility called "wmctrl", which is a CLI (command line interface) program which allows X-windows to be altered and/or closed gracefully.   I can execute it via the GNU-APL command ")host", as in ')host wmctrl -c "Plot Window" ' and that string can be inside a running APL program (called a "function"), as a literal, with an "execute" operator in front of it.  In this way, I can create what is essentially a live, "Powerpoint"-style presentation on-screen, of a whole bunch of numerical series datas - with windows generated by ⎕PLOT opening, displaying, being made larger, closing, and so on.   Works nice on the Linux boxes - but if I want to see a client, I need it running on the nice little portable Mac.

What a project this was.  The "wmctrl" utility is tiny, and I thought - hey, get the tar.gz file, make a directory, compile with "./configure, make, make install", and boom, we are done.

Ha ha ha.  Turns out, "wmctrl" needs "glib-2" library-stuff.  And so it was off to "Homebrew" I went, since their doc said just:  "brew install wmctrl" to install wmctrl, and you can start using it.

Not quite that simple...  Attempts to build "wmctrl" from source failed with X not being found, and attempts to compile a trival glib program failing - with good error message explaining that glib is needed by wmctrl.  So it was Homebrew, or code it myself (self-concious smirk...).

Turns out the list of dependencies for "wmctrl" was a long list - including "ninja", "openssl1.1", "glib-2.62.5", and even Python 3.7!   I started out updating Xquartz using the downloaded .dmg file for the latest version.  That went ok.  But the "brew install wmctrl" kacked on a failure to get the specific "glib-2.62.5", with a (useful) error message from "curl" (the get-what-need utility) saying that it could not connect to get the specific version of glib.  So, I did a "brew install curl" to get a more recent version of curl, assuming that new version might use the updated openssl stuff, and that the "certificate error" that might or might not have stopped curl getting what it needed might be resolved.  The "curl" update worked fine, but re-running:

        brew install wmctrl

still kacked at the attempt to download "glib-2.62.5" - but this was now all I needed ("Homebrew" had successfully obtained and installed all the other six or seven dependencies - which was pretty impressive, actually....).

I figured, I'll just get the damn tar.gz file and stick it in the local archive directory that "brew" uses, since Homebrew does indicate when it can find the downloaded thing it needs (Note: whoever did the design of "Homebrew" did a GOOD JOB.  It is actually a very fine package manager and source-code-auto-builder, as it reports useful info to the poor sod (me!) who is trying to use it to build what he needs to save his project & his bacon.)

This was tricky - as the local tar.xz (not .gz?) file, has to have a *special* name, which looks like a hash-code of a SHA-256 or SHA-512 or MD5-ish hexadecimal hash-string prepended to the actually original filename.  Below is link to the StackExchange thing that offered the solution to my local grief:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/59017569/how-to-force-homebrew-to-install-a-local-file

The trick is to run:

     brew --cache glib

and it tells you the kinky filename for the file called:  glib-2.62.5.tar.xz

What I did, was to just get the file directly from the Gnome site, where the file was:

   (I just googled the filename, found right version at Gnome.org.  Details below:)

        URL for source:  https://download.gnome.org/sources/glib/2.62/

        Reported SHA-256 hash: 

        b8d1cdafa46658b63d7512efbe2cd21bd36cd7be83140e44930c47b79f82452e  =>  glib-2.62.5.tar.xz

        To display the SHA-256 of the downloaded file, use "gpg --print-md".   (gpg is gnu-pgp, and the "--print-md" lets one print the hash-code "message digest".  PGP is cryptic, since it is for cryptography, right?  :)  So, just do:

         gpg --print-md sha256  glib-2.62.5.tar.xz.

======> Down a rabbit-hole, trying to install "gpg" on MacBook.  Homebrew didn't work <===

       [crazy rabbit-hole tangent ...]  I ran the "gpg --print-md sha256 <filename>" on a Linux box, after doing an scp of the file from the Macbook to one of the Linux boxes.  I did not have gpg on the Macbook, which is annoying.  So, I did a  "brew install gpg" on the Macbook, and got a just a truckload of dependencies - but figured, lets try it, see if I can build gpg, which is gnu-gpg, something that everyone should have a working copy, and basic understanding, of.  If it runs to completion, then I can finally do CLI (command line) quick and simple (and trustworthy?) checks of SHA256 and SHA512 hash checks for files.   The repeated downloads of tar.gz sourceballs has just knocked MyZen Radio off the air on my main Linux box.  Oh my...]

      Note that "bison" latest version (needed to build gpg) is what brew calls "keg only", and so it will not be found by compilers unless paths are tweaked and LDLIB flags set (I'll note later).  This gpg install is insane - a ton of stuff, bison, cmake, a bunch of libraries, automake, autoconf, libtool, libcrypt, nettle (didn't see hogweed..), and a bunch of other stuff.  I've done all this for the Linux boxes, but I guess gpg needs *all* the advanced crypt-stuff, and to build it, needs all the latest build tools (libtool, cmake, etc...)  

     [Further down the hole:  Discovered & configured all the streaming-radio stuff, since Sirius has kept bugging me about the new truck (a "Blue-Jean" Blue Ford F-150) which has Sirius-XM radio.  It was working for a few months when I bought the thing, so I have enjoyed radio without adverts (really a lot), did a tiny project on how to get internet radio for free.   You go to "fmstream.org", and click on Radio Caroline (it has adverts), OR you can go to "Shoutcast.com", click "listen" button at top, and find "ABC Piano" a classical piano site by "Daniel PinkWater" who is a writer.  Anyone can setup an internet "Radio" or even Youtube "Video" station now. ]

     Complete fail with "brew install gpg" - the new clever dns resolver called: "unbound", fails with the error:

=============================================

    curl: (35) SSL peer handshake failed, the server most likely requires a client certificate to connect.

  but the error message of course does not tell you how to find and install the certificate that you need.  This message seems wrong, since I can download directly, ok.

=============================================

Ok, so I DID NOT get a "gpg" running on the Macbook using Homebrew. 

(I tried the trick of manually downloading the correct "unbound" version from here: https://nlnetlabs.nl/projects/unbound/download/  and used "brew --cache unbound" to get the exact filename and put the file into the downloads cache directory, but the "Homebrew" attempt still failed, with a "cannot use the fast-TCP/IP stuff" on the Homebrew ./configure for "unbound" build.  It is unclear where the ./configure files are kept, so this stopped the "Homebrew" attempt to get "gpg" working, and the "Homebrew" error messages tell folks to go do "git pulls" and not bother the developers.  Hilarious!)

The solution, of course, is what I did - just copy the goddamn file to be checked, over to a proper computer (a Linux machine), and run any version of  GPG with "--print-md SHA256" option to get the glib-2.62.5 hash string.    But I really wanted a working GPG on the Mac.

[ *** Rabbit-hole report:  I finally got the GPG on the Macbook, built the old gpg-1.4.23 directly from source.  Worked. ]

[ I will try this guy's manual build in detail later:  https://carreno.me/articles/how-to-build-gnupg-2-from-source-on-os-x

[*** GPG rabbit-hole:  What I did to get a minimal gpg working on the Macbook:  Downloaded and built from source, the older 2015 gpg, which is version:  gpg (gnuPG) 1.4.23.  This trick worked, and at least I have a real gpg on the Macbook, which I can use to check file hashes now.  To build this good, working gpg on the Mac, you can do this:

      - create /home_made/gpg  (I used a directory called: /home_made on my Macbook)

      - get the gpg-1.4.23 tarball here: https://gnupg.org/ftp/gcrypt/gnupg/gnupg-1.4.23.tar.bz2

      - If you have "curl" working, you can get the file with:

             curl "https://gnupg.org/ftp/gcrypt/gnupg/gnupg-1.4.23.tar.bz2" >> gnupg-1.4.23.tar.bz2

        If you have another gpg, you can run the SHA256 hash on this tarball, and it should be:

             gpg --print-md SHA256 gnupg-1.4.23.tar.bz2

gnupg-1.4.23.tar.bz2: C9462F17 E651B650 7848C08C 430C7912 87CD7549 1F8B5A8B
                      50C6ED46 B12678BA

 Once you have this tarball file, you can build this version of gpg as follows:

                  cd /home_made/gpg      (cd to a build directory)

                 cp  /Users/<youruserid_name>/Downloads/gnupg-1.4.23.tar.bz2 .  ( <-- note the DOT)

                 tar -xvf gnupg-1.4.23.tar.bz2   (This creates a source directory structure.  Just "cd" to it.)

                (you can also get the .sig file, and use that to check that the tarball is real, if you want.)

                (I'll put the SHA256 hash here (I am typing this on a Linux box)...). I'll check that the MacBook gpg message-digest matches the "gpg --print-md sha256" I get on this box... )

                 ./configure

                 make

                 make install   (note that the gpg executable binary is inside subdir "g10" )

     So, once this is finished, on the Macbook, you can run this:

                 gpg --print-md SHA256  /Users/<me>/Downloads/glib-2.62.5.tar.xz    (you should get: )

                 glib-2.62.5.tar.xz: B8D1CDAF A46658B6 3D7512EF BE2CD21B D36CD7BE 83140E44 930C47B7 9F82452E 

-----

    Once you satisfiy yourself that the glib file is ok, using "gpg", you can proceed.

   (Download the file into your Downloads directory. )

Then, you have to put the glib-2.62.5.tar.xz file into the following directory:

   /Users/<my-user-name>/Library/Caches/Homebrew/downloads/ xxxxxx.tar.xz

Where xxxxxx.tar.xz is the very long hex-hash-code-plus-filename that brew uses for the local copy of the needed source-ball, that brew reported from running "brew --cache glib".

It's kinky, but it worked.  Running "brew install wmctrl" again, did not try to use "curl" to get the glib source treeball, but instead reported "Already downloaded...." and proceeded to download two specifc "hunks' (patch-pieces) and install these, from which it was then able to generate the correct "glib" dynamic library which I am assuing that wmctrl needs to do it's voodoo correctly.

The whole trick worked. When "brew" finished, the "wmctrl" utility worked fine.  Joy was had.

The Macbook can now run the exact same APL workspace that I run on the vintage 2008 32-bit Fedora box, on the 64-bit boxes - the CentOS-6.6 box, and the systemd CentOS-7.x boxes with modern kernels.     The APL workspaces are cool and nicely intercompatable in GNU-APL, as they can be made with ")SAVE" or ")DUMP" (for .xml or .apl format).  Either format can be loaded for data-bashing and/or vector/matrix hacking.

Oh, one more tweak:  To get brew to find the file in .../downloads, one should have a link in the upper directory, which points to the long-filename-with-hash-string actual filename.  Do this as follows:

     cd /Users/<your-user-name>/Library/Caches/Homebrew

     ln -s downloads/<big-long-hash-hex-string>--glib-2.62.5.tar.xz   glib-2.62.5.tar.xz

This of course, just creates a "soft-link" file called "glib-2.62.5.tar.xz" which points to the actual file in the downloads directory just below.  (This step is maybe not necessary, but it keeps the source archive consistant.)

[ Mar. 6, 2021] - Mars Perseverance Rover Video- 360 Degree View- Cheesy video of Mars Perseverance Rover spin-thru - real quick and dirty.  But is is a simple 360-degree video of another planet.  So it's pretty cool, regardless.    I thought we would be dune-buggying around the place now, with plutonium-power runabouts.  Sending robots instead of people seems just a little lame, to my way of thinking.  But it's at least a nice proof-of concept.

[ Mar. 5, 2021 ] - Ar-Chi-V or ArXiv - There is this ArXiv thing - curious how when one articulates carefully the problem, a solution is sometimes evident.    There is an initiative to allow open publication and access of useful and important science publications.  This is good. 

We have an interest in exoplanet research, and discovered this useful article by a collection of scientists using NASA resources to study Vega, the brightest star in the sky.   Vega is so bright, it is typically used as the calibration reference for the brightness of other stars.   (The "ArXiv" repository is named as a play on words - the "X" being the Greek letter "chi", so you get "Archive" phonetically, but the website URL is "arxiv.com").  Here is the URL for the exoplanet observations  of Vega.

https://arxiv.org/pdf/2101.08801.pdf

Vega is only 25 light-years away (that makes it close.)  We observe it rather "pole on", so transits of the disk are not visible, I am assuming.  Instead, the observations involve variation in the rotation of the star - which is less than one day, it looks like.  

The whole idea, is that you have a very weak signal you are trying to detect, amid a bunch of noise and at a very great distance.   Much scientific research is driven by this requirement.   You need to see what the hell is really happening - except the observed event action is taking place in a maelstrom of chaotic noise and at a very weak level.   But these very weak signals can actually drive the process - they are actually the useful and truthful essense of the process.

Astronomy turns this upside-down - and looks for the very minor perturbations in stellar observations - either the rotational variations of a star, or minor variations in its brightness - as signiture conditions of the existence of planets orbiting the star.   The various sensitive observational technologies  have allowed real science to take place - we now know that most stars actually do seem to have planets orbiting them.  Our solar system is not unique - and this is useful knowledge.

And these techniques for extracting very weak signals from distant, noisy data, can be useful in other areas of research.  For example - if you generate a first-difference plot of a simulated price series, driven by a randomness-factor, and a real data-series of market prices - you will see that they look different.   There is a "human signal" overlayed on the market randomness in the real price series.   This is where the gold is buried.   If you can read that signal - and forecast its action and operation - then some of that gold can be yours.   :)

[ Mar. 4, 2021 ] - Tomorrow Belongs to Fee?  (Maybe better: Tomorrow Belongs to Free.) - Theodore Sturgeon was clearly on to something.  His famous observation (now termed: "Sturgeon's Law" ) was that "90% of everything is crap."  I researched the source of this brilliant observation - and it turns out it was from a 1953 Science Fiction convention, where writers were discussing fiction genres - Sturgeon was speaking in defense of quality SF writing, and suggested that SF - which was dismissed as lurid drivel for children by "serious writers" - was in fact writing of similar characteristics of quality-distribution as writing in any other genre was.  

Real truth there.  And now, with the internet unleashing every sort of vanity-driven self-published dreck into the world, we see the "%-crap" number climbing far up past 90.   This approach means that anything of any sort of quality-level, will have to be purchased - either with a toxic advert stream, or a monthly subscription fee.     

Another nail, in the coffin of the Library, it would seem.   Andrew Carnegie, we need you again, it seems.   I used to do some work at the Goderich Library.  It was built in 1902, (opened in 1905) as the result of a $10,000 *grant* from Andrew Carnegie - one of the over 2500 libraries he gave money for the construction of.    Many of the 125 libraries he funded the construction of in Canada, are still operating as libraries.   And of course now, they typically have free internet access, which makes them especially valuable.   

Carnegie came from a poor but proud Scottish family, and he started his working life as a telegraph boy in the 1830's in the small town of Pittsburg (but which was growing fast).  An old chap he knew let him borrow books to read - and Andrew read everything he could literally get his hands on.  This gave him a good education, un-damaged by "teachers".  As a young lad, he bought some shares in the railroad company he was working for.   These did well - and so did he.   He made a great fortune - and spent a chuck of it on public works.  He used his money to build *thousands* of libraries across North America.

He is truly one of the greatest fellows that ever lived.

When you are a young fellow - getting both the time and the opportunity to just wander around in a library and read and study whatever you find interesting - it's like getting the girl when you are a teenager - except you don't quite realize it at the time. 

I just re-read a bunch of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays - which are in a book I literally found lying on the side of the road, in front of a HIgh School in Toronto, many years back.   Some kid had dumped his books on the sidewalk, which was hilarious. The teachers had made him study this stuff, and he was obviously so happy to be free of it.  Earlier, I had found a book on auto mechanics, and had read it all, so I could repair cars and a cheap truck I bought.  Finding Emerson's "Essay's on Self-Reliance" let me repair my thoughts, in much the same way as I fixed the broken technics on my Ford van.

Finding and keeping and reading books I often acquired at almost no (or zero) cost, not only provided crazy large benefits - it might have saved my life -  many times over.     Random books - but of sufficient quality that some publisher thought he might make money printing them - these are good to own and read.

Fees are bad.  Free is better, but quality is critical.  This is an economic problem.  You need a system where publishers can make money by going thru "slush piles" and academic research can be filtered to some extent - so we don't get dis-info and dreck all the time.   But Einstein's 1906 paper on the photo-electric effect would not have been published, except for Planck insisting it was important and good.   But history shows most "peer review" is a poor filter, and science only advances by virtue of the graveyard.

The solution to this problem is the library, and Carnegie understood this.  So did Liebniz.

We are in difficult times now - and the difficulty is growing and become greater.

There is one thing we might do.  

There is an evil thing, we should maybe just end -  perhaps even utterly and completely remove and destroy.  This is the idea of copyright.   We have allowed the creation of the Great Scientific Paywall - where Journal subscriptions cost many thousands of US dollars per year.  Science is being locked-down now, and is being restricted and only made available to the very rich.

This ugly "Anti-Library"  is enabled by the use of evil laws which lockdown information, such as the DMCA.  This is such a bad and awful thing - built to protect the funds of the "Big Jews of Hollywood", some wags assert, as in "Bullworth".    (Oh, those "Big Jews.."  They get blamed for so much that they had really so very little to do with...   Such silliness.)  

The ugly and awful DMCA was more likely passed to simply make it easier for the venal and self-serving political folks to obtain funds.   Copyright should be like patents - it should expire in 20 years, at the very most.   It should not ever, under any circumstances, last more than 30 or 40 years.  This is just so wrong.

The internet (and Google now also, with it's curiously degraded search algorithm which yields so few, and highly filtered results), is leading us back to the "locked library" phenomenon.

We all know the truth of "Sturgeon's Law".   How about we unlock the LIbraries?  Maybe we could call it the "Carnegie Correction."   Good, quality material should become free and accessable to all.  Right now, the opposite is happening.   The crap is rising, like foul cream, to the surface of all things, and this is just sad.  It is also unnecessary.  We have the technology.  We just need to repair the broken laws.

[ Mar. 3, 2021 ] - The Model Fell Off the Shelf (and I broke Gnome, but fixed it, and upgraded LInux - But the model did not break.  The model has done very well, curiously.   I buggered up my Linux box, but then fixed it.  Hope I can do the same with the portfolio... :)

The markets are running on automatic now, and we are not sure when it will happen, but we are pretty sure it will happen.  SHTF seems to be in the process, maybe?   I am having these truly disturbing dreams, like I am getting temporal reflections from a near-future catastrophic event.  

One should discount that sort of thing, as it is almost certainly from lack of proper sleep.  I've been building software stuff, and upgrading platforms.   We ordered (and paid for) Starlink - but I have not seen anything yet.   Bringing some boxes up to current versions, to ensure that we are fast-net ready.  We are waiting on so many things now - strange times.

I've upgraded to Linux kernel to 5.4.101 from 4.18, via the famous "Elrepo"  (which sounds like a Spanish yakuza site selling black-ice software, but is in fact, the "Enterprise Linux Repository") - took the LT kernel instead of the ML version, and it seems to run well.  (LT is the "longer term" kernel, which is "supported" for a while.  Not sure exactly what the "support" actually is... :)  )

  Do this with:  yum --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel install kernel-lt

   (Doing it this way updates GRUB  and GRUB2 stuff so that one can boot into the kernel of your choice.  This can be helpful, if there is a problem with the new kernel, or you mess something up by tweaking the kernel parms from Grub (Grub is the boot loader.)

  Hint: (You can see what kernels and related -devel stuff, headers and tools are available on the "Elrepo" site with this: )

       yum list available --enablerepo=elrepo-kernel | grep kernel

Also, had to reconstruct Gnome - even built a manual Xorg.conf file in /etc/X11/Xorg.conf.d/ with X command.

I also used info from this stackexchange note below to fix broken Gnome (which broke because I tried to update Gnome to 3.28.2 on one box, to match the Gnome version on this box I am using here to type this...).

https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/121090/unable-to-get-gnome-desktop-after-installing-from-centos-6-5-minimal

I ended up doing this:

   yum groupinstall "Gnome Desktop"

in order to execute the Gnome upgrade, and restore my dead desktop.   What would happen is that "startx" would just fail partway thru, blank the screen, and then lock up the keyboard.  I could "ssh" into the box from another machine, and see that Xwindows startup locked at trying to load DRI2 module - probably because the display was wrong.  I ran some voodoo to rebuild the "xorg.conf" file (which did not exist), and stuck it into /etc/X11/Xorg.conf.d directory, as 10-xorg.conf.  This let a partial desktop come up, but it had no Gnome stuff around it - just icons only.   I figured I was pooched, but the above thing reinstalled/rebuilt the desktop, and all seems to work ok.

What I am doing, is going back thru the CLI commands via the up-arrow key, and documenting what I did.   Once I got the desktop working, that stupid bottom menu bar (the Window-list) was back, and the Gnome Tweaks feature to disable it was not enabled (screen would appear, but the slider-bar to disable bottom-panel "window list" would not respond. )

Solution is to go to the directory where these stupid features are configured like Android apps, and just rename the directory-name for the goofus feature you DONT WANT.  Like this:

      (as root) 

       cd /usr/share    (and then do a "ls" to see the massive bloat that is here!)

       cd gnome-shell

       cd extensions

       mv  window-list<at>gnome-shell-extensions.gcampax.github<dot>com TURNED_OFF_window-list<at>gnome-shell-extensions.gcampax.github<dot>com

      (Note: The goofy editor I use here will see the @ sign and the .com thing, and turn the above into an active email link - so replace the <at> with an @ and the <dot> with a . obviously.)

    Ah, found it..  What you can do, if you break Gnome, and it won't start, and you are running it from run-level 3 (the CLI run level) and not the (very bad idea) of running from run-level 5 (full GUI), is to run "X -config <filename>" to manually create an "xorg.conf" file, that you can then copy into /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d as 10-xorg.conf, and you should at least get a working Xwindows session.

   (from Linux command line)  X -config /root/xorg.conf.new

   (then, take a copy of this file, and put it into /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d and call it: 10-xorg.conf )

   (once you get Gnome fully working, you can try to delete this file, and let the original default process that sysgens Gnome start again.  It is unclear how this actually works, I fear.)

<Rant:> Modern Linux machines are pretty fcuked up now, especially with "systemd" - the idea being that RedHat (and now, god help us, IBM!) wants to *very much* get Linux users into cash-generating support contracts, so there is this sad trend of creating hyper-complexity and obfuscation now at every level - everything is a cryptic wrapper-script on a shell-program over and on top of a bunch of unclear executable cruft that creates this appalling mud-ball of gunk - and then the whole trud-pile is dropped on a virtual machine and flung somewhere out into an underwater server-farm to further create a slush-bucket of cost and complexity.  It is just hilariously awful and comical - the kids are just re-inventing the "IBM DataCentre" of the 1970's - and they think they are making progress.  <a big sigh...>  </Rant>

The "/var/log/Xorg.0.log" was of no help at all in figuring out why Xwindows was failing so completely.  "Messages" file was also a worthless bitpile (millions of "DAC-read-search" failures because of systemd awful/terrible design structure...)

What happened was,  I was trying to resolve a problem where the APL worked fine on one machine, but was giving awful, broken graphics on the other machine.   This turned out to be fixed by simply re-building the GNU-APL  ***WITHOUT*** gtx2 graphics.   This was done simply with: (in the GNU-APL 1.8a build directory (my custom version of GnuAPL 1.8.a now)):

      ./configure --with-gtk3=no   (gtk3 is package name for either gtk2 or gtk3, it turn out)

      (and then "make" and "make install")

this lets Gnu-APL us the "xcb" stuff for graphics (like my Python stuff does), and it builds ok and WORKS FINE.  (I get proper charts using "xcb", which the ⎕PLOT routine can successfully configure.)

But I did this very bad thing, initially.  (Do not do this!).  I confirmed (by going back thru my CLI session using BASH feature up-arrow to retrieve previous command), that I tried to update Gnome with this:

        yum update gnome-session-xsession    (do NOT do this!)

and this update was done - but it destroyed my Gnome desktop.  Running "startx" would just completely hang the keyboard and give me a blank display.   (The idea was to upgrade Gnome Xsession from 1.19.x to 1.20,x.  Bad idea, it turns out)  The /var/log/Xorg.0.log simply showed that the Xwindows startup just stopped and hung at the DRI2 module install.  It was the above manual creation of the xorg.conf file (and moving it into /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d as 10-xorg.conf) and the 'yum groupinstall "Gnome Desktop" ' that eventually let me recover the destroyed desktop.  

And now the Gnome desktop, and the custom-built GNU-APL works fine.   From CLI (command line interface) you can confirm the kernel version you are runnnig with "uname -a" and then list the system process running with: "systemctl status"  (this puts results into a "vi' editor session like using "cat yattayatta | less" does, for inspecting a long text file,  Just  use <space-bar> to page thru the results, and then ":q" to exit.)

The "systemctl status" report is more explicit and clear than the data-vomit from the traditional "ps -aux" query. 

[ Mar. 2, 2021 ] - Rosetta's Stoned - And she's pretty drunk, too.   Maybe someone should take her car key's away from her.  😉  (We worry she will get into her new Electric Car, and and try to use Autodrive to take her home, and go to sleep at the wheel...)

AI technology is effective at processing image data -  such as finding the battle-tank in the image - provided you run a lot of training cases.  And it works for face-recognition - because we can recognize faces, can't we.  The information really is there.  But sometimes, there is no there, there.  I tried lots of things with Xerion, and had it train down nicely on various hacks of market price source data, only to pretty much always have it fall to around 50% accuracy on the evaluation data - often less, around 45%, when it tries to forecast the next observation in the series.   It was pretty clear I was mostly training on noise.   And my randomness experiments provide solid evidence that much of the movement of market prices is mostly, almost noise.  Except when it isn't - and that is only now and then - when a big exogenous event occurs.

Sure, we all knew this - but you still need to run the experiments yourself.  

AI and neural-nets are interesting - and the math is lovely pretty.  But there are two *much* better methodologies for forecasting time-series data, and making intelligent bets.  I have an APL-based "simulator" (which is actually not really a simulator, it is a trading algorithm implemented on a time-series of price data...), and another forecaster tool - and they *both* outperform the neural-net AI to a significant degree, and consistantly.  The weakest part of the process is me - since I have trouble pulling the trigger on the counter-intuitive trades these two programs want me to put on.

Plus I seem to be a little bit unwell - nosebleeds, dizzy, a little trouble breathing...  Not a great sign.   Also, caution took us out of the trades, and I have been feeling quite sick watching the market advance to the crazy high price-points that our old non-neural-net models indicated as targets.   "Hold your nose and just buy" was advice I got from an old guy, many years back, when I suggested prices were too high to enter on the long side.   That turns out to be the indicated prescription, more often than not.    I actually have three models that just nailed what is currently taking place, but it just seemed silly and too much,  too soon.  But that's how it works.   We mentally "anchor" to the current (wrong) price, and are surprised to see the markets price-in a new reality.    My computers are better at the business than I am, which is a little annoying.     :)   

[ Mar. 1, 2021 ] - The Joy of Chaos - The world is built and run by randomness, much more than we realize.   Trading and making money is of course, not a random exercise - but markets are much less predictable than even the specialists believe.  We've been playing  with simulations.  The process is quite educational.  :)

[ Feb. 26, 2021 ] - Turning Japanese? - Tokyo market fell 3.99% (can I call it 4?) last nite, with the Nikkei falling 1202.26 points.  It may be a while before a similar reflexive response happens in North American markets.  But I suspect we are on the cusp of a serious set of not-so-positive changes.  In Canada, the complete failure of our current national government to offer any access to Covid-19 vaccines to Canadian citizens - other than Indians and Doctors - threatens to be lethal for us here, so we may be "off the air" soon.   We are not pleased about this.  ðŸ˜

One thing is certain:  The folks in United States - on average - get *MUCH BETTER* health care than is available in Canada.   All the drivel and disinformation that appears in the mainstream-media suggesting the Socialist medical model in Canada is somewhat better - should be seen for the false and misleading nonsense that it is.   Socialist medical service delivery is useful for *controlling costs* but this is accomplished by means of a simple *denial of service* business model.  

The socialist medical deliver model is just plain nasty and often lethal..  It produces results similar to what Governor of Cuomo New York State discovered in the Nursing Homes of his State - lots and lots of dead people - who probably didn't need to die.  We had the same thing happen here, sadly.

Modern evidence suggests Governments should not even be involved in the delivery of medical-services, they consistantly do such a very low-quality, high-cost job of it.  Our current "health-care" model threatens to kill us, and we now want this low-quality, lethal approach to change.

And today's market-history tidbit:  Markets which show evidence of violent reversal action off of short, sharp & steep declines, are not healthy.  This sort of "gambler's action" , which is fun if you are on the right side of it, but not so fun if you are blindsided and whipsawed, often shows evidence of degraded prices for all assets a few time-periods down the road.  Go look, if you don't believe this.  The "V-Bottom" may be in fashion, but it also offers real warning of problems ahead.

[ Feb. 25, 2021 ] - Do a Line? - Just drawing lines on charts is instructional.  What the current "technical analysis" suggests, is that the DJIA could fall about 2,170 points , and still be on the same current uptrend path.   Prices and valuations seem just a bit stretched.    And the long-bonds are telling a story here, if you can listen to what they are saying.  

[ Feb. 24, 2021 ] - Shivering Before Cracking & Breaking - Markets are shaky now.  Finally figured out what the price action reminds me of.  If you test a piece of steel or concrete or wood - any firm material - in a testing press, which applies controlled force to break or crush the material - just before it breaks, the material will shiver or shake, as the atoms and molecules begin a shift to new alignments.   It's kind of like the thermal change-over in a lake in spring when the ice goes out - nothing happens, and nothing happens, until it reaches the transition point, and then, all hell breaks loose.  You don't want to be out on punky ice in the spring just before the thermal changeover - where the ice sinks and the cold, deep +4 degree water rapidly moves up to the surface.   It all happens in one day, usually.

The process is analogous to when the material testing press applies enough force to cause the material to break or be crushed.  

This looks like the market now.  We got a tiny preview yesterday - but then the "dip-buyers" were pulled in (via their algorithms).   At some point, the algo-traders will have to get crushed - like soybeans, perhaps.

[ Feb. 22, 2021 ] - We are Inflating - See the top Canadian Core CPI chart, "50 Years of Canadian Inflation".  It's already here folks.  We are running real, serious inflation now.   

[ Feb. 19, 2021 ] - President Bye-Done - Maybe it's all over now for the Western world?  All the experiments are coming to completion, and the results are looking not so good.   What choices remain viable alternatives?  Virtually nothing, it seems.  There are times when the inventory of attractive options begins to run low.   

It just rather hit me today, that perhaps there is nothing remaining.  It's all done.   All reaching an end-zone of "bye-bye-its-all-done" phenomenon.  Nothing remains in the future, except the final credits and the "Fin" screen to be shown.    This is a very grim picture-of-things.   But one must be honest.

We watch the details of another robotic device being landed on Mars.   "So what..." was my sense of it.   We spend $2.5 billion, and another $300 million to monitor the rover - and what gain is there at all?   Nothing.  It's a time and money waste which will yield nothing of any value.  The exercise is pointless and tragic and just a bit silly.   It's all been done before, and nothing new can or will be learned.  Exploration is over.  It's done.   Nothing of value was found.

One gets the strange feeling, simply: The future seems to be shut down, and just playing re-runs now.   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkFCJyqd0As

And when one Door closes, so perhaps does another...  We are not the only ones worried about this bubbly-frothy foam-and-funny-money bogus-asset-class stock market...

The most useful info in this Reuters News story below, is the CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange)  put-call ratio chart.  

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-stocks-bubbles/toppy-stock-markets-spark-more-bubble-chatter-idUSKBN2AJ1IL

[ Feb. 18, 2021 ] - UXB - Everywhere we look - at every data series - the numbers are just insane.  The historical record  has examples of this sort of money-running - and they all end really badly.   What has been programmed here *absolutely requires* some hard-core, big-bottomed, all-out massive inflation - just to keep this current big-ticket system running.

We *must* have serious inflation, or else the tax-costs required to fund the debt that has already been taken on, will simply crush and ruin us all.  What typically happens when this kind of mass impoverishment is programmed into the economic process, is old-fashioned mass warfare.   A huge, destructive war will simply allow all the monetary counters to be reset, and a new generation of "lab rats" to be created and placed on their little running wheels.

Maybe Orwell really got it right.  War perhaps really actually is, peace.   Curious, indeed.

We are already seeing the inflation now.  Fuel prices are up between 15 to 17 % (gasoline was $1.00 per litre last year - now its $1.17 as of yesterday.     A cabbage is almost $5.00 for one head.  A box of cherries from Chile was $12.00 recently.  (Was $8 two years back).  Four small sirloin streaks - $38.00.  (Used to be roughly $25.00 pre-Covid).   A bag of blue corn-chips - was $2.99, now  $3.99.   A couple of years ago, a 1.85 litre container of orange or grapefruit juice was $2.99.  Now, the container is 1.54 litres, and the price is $3.99.  Grocery prices are just going straight up, as restaurants go out of business at an increasing rate.   People have to eat.

What is curious, is the economic bi-furcation.  The governments are desperate for funds, at the same time as the average business person is seeing their opportunities vapourize, and their cashflows evaporate.   Property taxes are up only 2.5% this year, and the local townships is applauding their fiscal prudence. But the property-tax numbers represent serious capital confiscation, for businesses that have seen their income streams vanish.

So we can accurately and easily forecast the coming serious, 10% or greater annual inflation, because it is already here.  It's like forecasting nightime will happen, as you watch the setting sun.

But what action is possible for private-sector agents?  Stocks are *very* richly valued already, and fixed-income options are simply stupid.  Any reactive response by central bankers can only be to degrade the value of bonds, by raising interest rates.   And long duration stuff will just crater if and when rates move off the near-zero base-line.  Gold is falling in price (it was crazy high, really), and property is priced to perfection just about everywhere.

What is curious, is the complete lack of any sort of attractive investment alternatives at this curious point in time.   The crash last March was really it - if you didn't get on board back then, then you are probably out of luck now.   Buying into high-volatility equity postions at this point in time, looks like a very dangerous game.

But the painful reality is that there is great danger in simply sitting in cash, also.  The value of your cash is certain to be destroyed over time - and the real problem is likely the positive 2nd derivative.  The rate of this capital-destruction is likely to increase in the very near future - the numbers are really that awful.

This is why the stock market is being bid up.  We are back to TINA in spades.  There really is no alternative.   If you don't at least try to invest, you are certain to be destroyed - your government is working each and every day to engineer that outcome.    Sadly, they also have no real choice, and are backed into a series of ugly corners from which they have no alternative except to borrow more and more to attempt to prevent national economic collapse.

So it becomes a "stock-picker's" market, in a time of extreme transition.  It is a bit like the 1920's, except that was a time of transition of real, significant, positive economic and technical improvement - radio, aircraft, improved automobiles, improved medical and telecommunications technology, mass-electrification with A/C power, etc.   Nowadays, many of our "improvements" are illusions - battery-powered cars are *much* more costly, difficult to refuel, and require complex and error-prone software to keep them running - much like modern aircraft.   Moore's Law is running into physical limits, computers are expensive again, and the benefits from software improvments flow entirely to a very small group of extremely richly-valued, monopolistic corporations which may well be broken up by anti-trust regulators (and probably should be, of course).

So there are few obvious or attractive investment options anywhere now.  And this makes for a very grim world for the investor now.  The current market shows every indicator of being substantially over-valued and over-stimulated, and subject to a possible significant correction.  

But the cost of staying in cash, grows with each uptick in inflation.  As an investor, you face the "burning platform" problem, as with each passing day, the situation becomes even more dire.

Not really a very good situation.  Jessie Livermore was at least able to go have a nice meal, and a few "Old Fashioned's" at his favourite restaurant.   My favourite restaurants are closed, and even the coffee-shop that I enjoyed is "drive-thru" only.   There are no newspapers available anywhere, the information on the 'net is mostly dis-info, and our internet service is spotty and unreliable.  (Internet information now is like prison food..  it is really bad and awful - and there is never enough!).   

And it's cold here - really goddamn cold - all the time now.  It gives me nosebleeds it's so stupid cold.   It the old days, one could fly to the Carribean for a few days, just to feel some warmth, and recover one's sanity.   But even that is off the table now.  General Winter usually wins the war.

"I shouldn't complain.  But sometimes, I still do... "   :)

[ Feb. 17, 2021 ] - The Olivaw Project: Building Daneel - What the worlds needs now - (is Love?) - not likely.  What the world needs now is better weapons systems, don't you think?  

Imagine one day - you come into the lab, and the lab animals are all armed with laser-sited AR-15's, and they have grown little hands, and are able to use them.  You turn and call to your associate, and comment quietly:  "Ah, Dr. Frobon, you might want to come here and take a little look at this..."   

Just as you say this, a .223 metal-jacketed projectile tracks past your skull and shatters a ceramic tile on the wall behind you.   You look over in the direction of the thundering sonic shock-wave, and see your Covid-19-infected chimp, "Bigboy", wearing an oxygen mask, and holding a Colt rifle.  

The noise has brought fat Dr. Frobon into the lab and he sees you and Bigboy.  But as he is about to speak, the sight of the rats, sitting on top of their cages, and wearing little steel-coloured helmets on their tiny heads, stops him.   Each helmet looks to be equiped with tiny goggles.   He just stands there with his mouth open in mid-disbelief, unsure what to say...

---  bit of a silly story opening, but it has some resonance, maybe?

We are embedded within curious times.   The need to engineer change, and make the needed course-corrections grows with each passing day.

One of our current efforts is the "Olivaw Project".   We want to construct "Daneel", who will do the trading for us.   Daneel will be a robotic agent, and will act to assist us as we engage necessary ventures and perhaps even adventures.   We anticpate more use of fuzzy logic and statistical methods - rather than just neural-network methods.  Those will still be applied - but our experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of the old-fashioned Central Limit Theorem.  It has been almost an accidental discovery - like the thorium-doping of tungsten filaments in vacuum tubes, or the transmissive capability of high-voltage spark discharges.  Or the bread-mold contamination of the bacterial petri-dishes,  

A signal is good and interesting - but the tuning of that signal, using a resonant oscillator is what really lets the whole magic happen, yes?   Soros discovered the magic that is possible when one successfully locates self-re-enforcing processes (what he called "reflexivity" in his book on financial alchemey and New York geomancy), and his minions had fun (and made millions) with simple tricks like the Friday-Monday phenomenon.  But tuning into a signal, which then can be shown to demostrate resonant properties - this "radio-trading" stuff should not really work (too much like a fast-fourier comb-filter trick - they did this back in the 1960's using IBM 360 Model 44's).  

Crazy stuff - it should not work.  But it does.  :)

[ Feb. 15, 2021 ] - The Age of Rage - Welcome to the New Age..  Not quite Aquarius, is it?   The BLS Labour Force statistics don't even being to tell the whole story.  The unemployment estimates are not even based on hard numbers - just survey questions.  Who actually provides data to survey questions anymore?  We used to - but not now.  Most datasets understate what is actually happening, or are "massaged" to obtain the results the Government masters want the minions to produce.  Should this surprise anyone?   The more we study the numbers, the more worried we feel.   The "improvements" look like they are statistical artifacts, generated by a sliding re-base of the numbers, driven by decaying rates of engagement across a whole bunch of different data domains.   

[ Feb. 14, 2021 ] - The Forester's Daugher- I read a McKinsey note, called "The Great Acceleration" which was interesting - the upshot being that we are getting a massive shift to digital methods at a rapidly increasing rate - changes that were expected to take place over a time-frame of 12 to 18 months - ie. the next two years - are taking place in the next two months instead.   Many organizations are in a "change-or-die" mode, almost (quite much, actually) like a war-time emergency.

Kinda reminds me of "The Great Replacement" - the document by the New Zealand shooter, Brenton Tarrent, who made a race-based argument suggesting that the survival of the "white race" was under threat (we don't think so).   The fools who run New Zealand tried to ban the reading of "The Great Replacement", and of course that made it all the more popular, and ensured it's widespread distribution.   Curious world, and curious times.   It's like no one anywhere now, learns anything whatsoever from the historical record.  There is a curious, willful blindness that seems to infect folks - even the ones (especially the ones!) that should know better.

It's interesting how the artists seem to warn us.    The modern uses of AI technology really are awful, and getting worse.  If you doubt that assertion, consider the awfulness of the whole Boeing 737-Max-8 tragedy.  Boeing paid a $2.5 billion fine, the CEO had to step down, many hundreds of innocent people were scattered - unnecessarily so - as smashed pieces of corpses across the landscape - and all because a stupid computer program was allowed to be installed that flew a fine, working aircraft into the deck.  

I see - curiously - not by way of complaint - almost nothing new anywhere that is really of any benefit to people.   Everything seems encapsulate a scam.    The benefit-vectors are all pointing backwards now - all the gain flows to a few, at the expense and exhaustion of the many.   The cause of all this is not "capitalism" or "imperialism" or any of that silly leftist "anti-fa" nonsense.  Near as we can tell, the cause appears to be primarily the result of simple ignorance, combined with a pathological arrogance and self-centred mindset that combines to make a really toxic human agent.

And these curiously toxic people embrace and execute toxic algorthms and processes.  In my consulting career, I saw this every single day, pretty much everywhere.  I had thought it was a selective sample-set issue - as a consultant, I typically only saw the problems and the problem-places - it was an occupational hazard one just accepts.

But now - McKinsey folks might be right - now, it is everywhere, and getting worse.  People - and/or their algorithmic methods - are just getting worse - and this process is occuring now at an increasing rate.  

Simple example:  I now am suppose to "login" to a bunch of different service providers stupid little "apps" and/or putz around on their poor, awful-designed bad-bad-not-good websites, until I can figure out how to download my invoice.  The cheap stupid toxic toads don't want to mail an invoice to us - because that is too expensive.   So, we get an accelerating decline in service quality AND a whole bunch of explicit new work and effort that now WE must undertake - just to send money into some bastardino org that can't even answer it's phones now.

And it is *every agency* that is doing this - government, telecoms, internet-providers, banks, financial houses, etc.   It is just comically awful.  All they are doing is shifting their work to their customers, and lowering their service and product quality.  It's just sad.

But we might have one thing that works.  Elon Musk's SpaceX-based "Starlink" thing is now on.  We applied - a few times - for the Starlink "Beta-test" program - and got the email.  We were without internet service for over two weeks in January, thanks to Xplornet removing an access-antenna panel on the tower our wi-max modem-transponder was pointed to.  So, when we got a chance to plug into the Starlink satellite network - we immediately ordered the hardware.

I couldn't get the "Check for Obstructions" app to run on my Android phone - but we also had an iPhone, recent model, and it installed and worked fine there.   Our site looks fine - and the app shows that pointing the dish straight up looks like it will work.

Wow - fast internet from a satellite constellation.   Cool.  I only had to wait 30 years for it!

I remember - as a very tiny child - watching the funeral of Winston Churchill - and the screen said "Live Via Satellite" - Canada was the third nation to design and orbit a satellite.  Ours were telecommunications transponders, so we could fling a T1 video signal from London to Toronto - and do it in 1965.   We were solid partners with the USA, and our North American Defense monitoring computers (in North Bay) were tied into the NORAD headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, and we had full "Big Board" style air-defense and radar-monitoring of our North-Am homeland.   A few years later, the USA boyd were driving cars around on the Moon, and we were seeing double-decker "Jumbo" jets (the awesome Boeing 747) track across our skies.  And all that space and weapons research encouraged the semiconductor guys to put whole CPU's on a single piece of silicon - which made for some real economic magic.

The future was looking really good!

Then, Nixon took the USA off the gold standard completely (otherwise he couldn't pay for the Vietnam War), we had killer inflation, and the future blew up and failed.  It was pretty hard-core and clear what happened.   The 1970's were an economic meltdown, on par in many ways, with the 1930's.  In 1969, at University graduations, there was all these "recruiting tables" set up by agencies looking to hire the "school-leavers",  By 1978,  there were no jobs at all. In 1976, the first Trudeau had been re-elected, and had introduced wage and price controls, a terrible energy-policy, a state-owned oil company, and other leftist foolishness which just devestated the Canadian economy.   The hollowing-out began.  The only two laws that could be trusted - Moore's and Murphy's...

And now - here in the *future*, we get to see his child do the same sort of damage to the nation that the dad did.  (There are no vaccines in Canada.  Nothing.  No where any to be found in the cities.  It's pretty tragic and awful. )     Looks like the future has been cancelled by the Liberal Government.  Again.  Oh my.

At least with "Starlink", we will be able to live beside the Digital Ocean, and watch the World die.  Swim out past the breakers...!  And stay, forever clear.    :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW6E_TNgCsY

[ Feb. 12, 2021 ] - Where are We Now?- Maybe Berlin in the 1970's... like David Bowie was, when he released "Low"...?  

We are concerned.    If you look at a long-wave Fed-Funds interest -rate chart, it looks like a guy dying from heart-failure.    I am curious...  Does setting interest rates at near-zero, really stimulate the labour market?  Or does it just show an economy flat-lined in a 1930's-style Keynesian "liquidity trap"?

[ Feb. 11, 2021 ] - S&P-500 is Rich - Maybe You Won't Be - The S&P-500 P/E ratio is pretty rich.  It is actually in the "too rich to buy" territory, closing in on 40 times earnings.   This is a really expensive market now.   We know stupid can become even more stupid, yes.  But if you look at the long-wave picture, (first chart now) you can come back to reality.  And with President Biden blowing up oil pipelines and throwing thousands out of work, the future looks a bit grim.  Buy at these prices, and you may be programming the destruction of your own capital, we fear.

[ Feb. 10, 2021 ] - The State is Hacking *You* For years, I've quietly pointed out that everything on your silly iPhone or Android phone is completely compromised, and visible.  If you use your "smart" phone (or Blackberry) or any damn-fool hand-held computer that is tied to the cell-phone or telephone system - everything you do is being tracked, monitored and recorded.  But still this fiction circulates that there are "secure" applications which allow "privacy".   This is, of course, complete bullsh/t.   If it is on a computer - and you can do something so it can be read by you - then someone else will be able to do something so that they can read your stuff, too.  Your "keys" have to be stored and decrypted somewhere, somehow, and they have to be deployed so you can read your "secret" stuff.  The badguy just has to find where the program that did this, left it's traces, and then use them to do the same thing it just did.   This is an old concept, with simply "new solutions".    Any cellphone - in "AFU" state - can be read.  ("AFU" just means: "After First Unlock").

If you doubt this - (and believe what Moxy Floppilimp asserts) - just read a recent Forbes article (Note: Forbes will attempt to assault your browser if you are running an Adblocker - but just reload about 5 times, hitting "X" to stop before completion, and then invoke "Reader View" - and you can bypass the Forbes Adblocker-blocker - so you don't have to turn off *your* Adblocker, which will risk your device or browser with toxic ad-spew. )   We can Cellebrite the Grayshift, I guess...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2021/02/08/can-the-fbi-can-hack-into-private-signal-messages-on-a-locked-iphone-evidence-indicates-yes/?sh=25e0f23462

Also, the State agents now do not need any warrant, or even a "reasonable cause" to rape your devices for data to hack you completely - taking copies of everything on your device.    This is now thanks to ruling by Judge Sandra Lynch, who struck down a bunch of previous law that had ruled on this issue.  (Do these American "Judges" have any fcuking legal training at all ???)

If crossing the US border - you want to probably take a virgin machine, a wiped phone, and re-load any information you need from a web-based encrypted site once inside the USA.   Remember - the USA is now an absolute "Zona-Mala" - a gangster-style zone of danger and organized malevolence and malfeasance on the part of their curious "Governments".   They make up their "laws" as they go along now, just like the Russians do.

Half the people in the country did not vote for the clowns that now have taken power - and the crowning of "King Biden" requried over 20,000 armed troops to be stationed in Washington to protect the "new regime".  How 'bout that.

Reminds me of a tune: "Meet the new Boss... Same as the old Boss...".

The trick, of course, is not to be fooled again.  But we will be.  That much is certain.  Those dark shadows of deception and disinformation are always being drifted over us.    :)

https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/10/22276183/us-appeals-court-first-circuit-border-phone-search-decision-fourth-amendment

[ Feb. 9, 2021 ] - Lab-Rats. We are in the middle of an economic "experiment" of significant scale and extent.  USA "prints" the World's "reserve currency" - which is a great thing for Americans - it's like being able to print cheques and give them to people for payment for purchase of stuff, and then the person never cashes the cheque - he holds it because it's "valuable".   The whole scheme works very nicely - right up until the day it doesn't.

History suggests when this type of scheme fails, it fails fast, and in a very non-linear, not-smooth way.   We suspect there will be no gentle transition to a new scheme-of-things.  We expect a rapid "phase-jump" to a different orbital space for the economic variables.  Again, history has many examples of these kinds of economic transitions.

Most Western nations have pretty much zero chance of ever "re-paying" the debt they have taken on.  In Canada alone in the last 12 months, our Federal Government has run up roughly $350 billion in debt which is now just another big addition to the Federal & Provincial debt that has already reached levels where envisioning it's repayment with dollars that still have some value, seems difficult.

We strongly suspect our debt-load - our great "Trudeau" (a mountain-sized  "Water-hole", since debt is always an "in-the-hole" & "under-the-water" kind of thing), will require a massive inflation in order for it ever to be re-paid.  But with a massive inflation - the repayment is a financial illusion.  The capital has already disappeared, like a bag-of-rice eaten by an army of mice.

America and Europe are doing the same thing - and will require the same thing Louis 14th of France required - a massive inflationary scheme to be engineered so that the debt can be made to "go-away" - rather like it has recently for Chesapeake Energy, and did several years back for General Motors.   

This astonishing money-spike is an attempt to kick-start that inflation.   The danger of course, is that it kick-starts a traditional "spike-and-crash" meltdown on the American stock and bond markets - since investors are not completely stupid all the time - just often enough to allow the clever folks to profit early, at the expense of the fools who stay too long in the game ( or should I say, the "lab"?).

If you are a lab-rat, and things start to go really wrong in the lab, the trick is to get out of the lab by any means possible.  But given what happens to lab-rats, that's always good advice.

[ Feb. 8, 2021 ] - Zig-zag Jag & Sag We have this model - a simple chaotic thing, which projects forward a "critically damped process" - basically a series of fluctuations of increasing magnitude - which seems to be conforming to what we are seeing in the markets.  We are deeply concerned by this.

Also, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine - the one based not on mRNA, (like Pfizer and Moderna's), but on an adenovirus (common-cold type coronavirus) carrier - is only 22% effective against the South African variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus (20I/501Y.V2 or B.1.351) -  which means it is pretty much not effective at all.  

This confirms our concern about a "possible diminished effectiveness of vaccine" scenario.   This is proving to be the case (despite the dishonest drivel and dis-info that is being provided by people like the French Health Minister, for example.)   We are seeing high levels of deception from public authorities in many areas now.  This is unfortunate, but is also expected.  (Old political expression: "He lied so very well - like a Finance Minister on the eve of a devaluation!   He was a skilled politician!")

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-britain/south-africa-halts-astrazeneca-vaccine-after-shots-fail-against-new-variant-idUSKBN2A80ME

FD: We also have a Dow-Jones Industrial Average model that is forecasting a growth curve value of 29,380 level for the DJIA, versus the current market value of 31,148 as of Friday, Feb. 5th.  This just suggests we could drop roughly 2000 points on the Dow-Jones Average and still be comfortably on the long-term upward curve.   We could even drop into the 25,000 region, and still be tracking the long-run upward curve, as such swings are in the existing dataset.  

But the Zig-Zag chaotic model (where each swing is amplified - not damped down), suggests a much more sinister possible track - back towards the region of 12,000 to 15,000 - a market decline of 30 to 50% or even more.  This is also in the dataset.  Markets "re-base" like this quite regularly, if one examines the historical record.  It's rather like a video-game "reset".

An overall market decline now of 50% or more seems absurd and unlikely and completely out of the question.   But consider history:  In 1929, US Steel, was trading at $260 per share, and paid and $8.00 annual dividend, for a yield of just over 3.00%.   It was considered a safe, very high quality investment-grade security - something to be owned by "widows and orphans" who needed to be careful, and needed the dividend income to pay their bills.   Within less than two years, the share price was at $22.00, and the dividend would be suspended for 4 years.   And US Steel was a good company.   It survived, and was eventually able to resume dividends.  

Many companies in the 1930's - including "high quality" rail-road stocks and bonds - simply fell to zero, or very close to it, and remained there.  Many just disappeared into the graveyard.

So far, we have seen roughly 2.3 million deaths - globally - from the Covid-19 coronavirus.   Current expectations are for this plague to be behind us all, by the Fall of this year.  But the history of mass plagues suggests this might not be the case.   Most last for several years.

We have a worst-case scenario in which the SARS-Cov-2 virus either naturally or by laboratory assistance, is configured to mutate in response to the vaccine efforts.  Such mutation enhances and extends both the ability of the virus to engage in air-borne vectoring, and it's lethality.     No effective 'herd-immunity" occurs, infection rates continue to rise, and death-rates climb.   Interest rates are already at or near zero, and this is forcing those who must invest to seek ever more risky and unsustainable investment strategies.

We envision a rising overall corona-cost-curve, tracking thru time, intersecting with a money-supply expansion curve, such that a limiting condition is reached where further attempts to expand monetary levels are not sufficient to address the rising real costs of failing businesses, locked-down consumers, and dying victims.   A curiously rapid onset of inflation could result.

The rapid run-up in money-supply, the zero-level interest rate policy, the rising tax and food costs, and the still-expanding unemployment and related labour-market dislocations are already playing hell with low-risk (ie. fixed-income) investment returns and this is squeezing the average household hard.   This, combined with increasing rates of "bread-winner" deaths, and inflation-spikes in food and fuel costs - suggests a demand-collapse scenario that is not too different from what happened in the 1930's.     In fact, it looks disturbingly possible.

And if folks are using profits from extreme market price-shifts as part of their income-generation strategies to survive the lockdowns and mass un-employment, then any market downturn will accelerate household impoverishment. just like it did in 1929-1932 period.

The modern wealthy, plugged into "information-movement" jobs (government-people, lawyers, accountants, computer software developers, etc.) who can "work from home" are doing just fine - and are accumulating savings.   But an entire underclass of dependent ex-service-economy people is being created that will at some point "hit the wall" economically.   They may choose to take action, rather than just die at home, or in an over-crowded hospital.   Costs will have to be born to address this issue - one way or another.

Our worst-case scenario, as it is driven forward by events - suggests that a market-valuation shift of 20 to 30 or even 50 percent is not completely impossible.   We may have to see coronavirus deaths ramp up into the 5 to 10 million people levels in North America and Europe to see the really ugly parts of this scenario begin - but the market may discount much of this set of possibilities at any time - including right about now.

To say that this concerns us, would be an understatement.

[ Feb. 6, 2021 ] - Forecasting & Prediction Some Thoughts:  Drawing lines on charts actually works.  It's doesn't work very well - but maybe good enough to survive and even prosper.   Just don't get too complicated.  My all-time best forecasts were the detailed-data-driven - but simplistic back-of-the-envelope ones that used accurate data, but few factors.  Honestly.  Once you introduce too many factors into your model - you run real risk of being "exactly wrong" as my old Economics professor would have said.  His name was Dr. Kerton, IIRC.  He taught a course in Economic Analysis which I made a nut-pile with.   When he taught us Cost-Benefit Analysis with ideas like "payback-periods" and so on - he stressed that one should not over-quantify future (unknown) benefits and costs, and he also indicated not to introduce precision into a forecast.

"Don't be stupid and use 4 decimal points of accuracy on a future-forecast, so that you are certain to be *exactly* wrong.  Always use an *interval* as your future forecast, and work your analysis from that range of possible, expected results."  This was a wise and sensible piece of advice, and I recall putting into practice in a work-term, right away.  It was really good advice.

More useful advice on forecasts... see the new section: "How to Forecast" by clicking the menu option above.  It contains my notes on forecasting, as well as Paul Saffo's 2007 article "Six Rules for Effective Forecasting", and my (critically important) Rule Number 7, for those using forecasts in their trading activity.   Enjoy.   And Good Luck!  I mean that sincerely.

[ Feb. 5, 2021 ] - Everything is Being Weaponized. This is not a new observation - folks have been discussing this and its ramifications for many years.  But this curious process - seen in so many domains and fields of effort and action - seems to be accelerating.   It seems to be co-incident with a generalized failure of the older trust-models that evolved out of the characteristics of human community.  The first written words were bills-of-lading and related shipping documents - typically on clay balls or tablets or the pots used to transport the goods.

I find it curious the degree to which it is not possible to trust anything anywhere anymore.   And it is surprising the extent to which almost all communiction on the internet and telephone system is fraught with risk and overt weaponization - emails carry toxic attachments that infect and destroy the integrity of one's computer.  This process alone has advanced to quite an impressive level.

Even social emergency activity - the Covid-19 response - has been effectively weaponized.  Several articles have appeared, detailing how this is being done.  There is even some evidence the virus iteslf was the direct result of an accidental release of an agent developed in a lab, the purpose of which was research and development related to the weaponization of viral agents.

  (A virus is a wonderfully effective weapon - better even than a high-radiation neutron-bomb.  The people are destroyed, but the infrastructure remains intact for occupation and beneficial operation.)

So we are all now on doubly-dangerous ground.  It is not just AI technology that is being turned into weapons.   Everything is subject to this rather disturbing trend - even efforts at communication and analysis.

This trend will continue, until it ends badly, we suspect.

[Update: For amusement - check out our forecast of a major economic crash this year, in 2021, based on the "Benner-Fibonacci" cycle-analysis model, detailed in Robert Prechter's 1978 book "Elliot Wave Principle".   It is the "Economics 2021" tab above - just click on it to see our back-of-the-envelope projection, we made in 2016  (five years ago - knowing nothing about Covid-19!)  :)

[ Feb. 4, 2021 ] - Hacking the Future I have three model/algorithms which attempt to forecast - one is low-frequency, one is high frequency, and the last and what seems to be best, is the low-high frequency one (MCLprop), which used a high-frequency technique, but focuses the high-frequency view to the most recent data-points of a price series.   This hybrid version seems to work best, for getting a sense of what is likely to unfold.   It's a hack, but it seems to work.

This entire process is fraught with a myriad of conceptual and philosophical (and even mathematical) problems and flaws.   Then why do it?   For the money, of course.   We have to admit that we know not the future, but in any market process - one cannot make any money unless one places a bet, and rolls the dice.   We often use the mental imagery and metaphors of  games when speaking of marketplace activity - but the marketplace is not a game.  It is a critical and necessary component of human life and activity that builds our cities, feeds our children, and enriches our awareness and knowledge.

Humans have to rise up out of poverty, and leave the cave-dwellings and supersitious foolishness of religion and violent tribal conflict behind in the past.  This is only possible with economic specialization, economic co-ordination, and honest trade.   An honest marketplace and sound money are the algorithmic methods by which human communities are able to socialize without violence and conflict.   It's either warfare or business.   There really are only these two comprehensive modalities of social interaction.   You either make it yourself, or you organize a "government" with strong warriors (a military) and go bash the neighbouring tribe into blood and bones and take their stuff, or you agree to trade the results of your individual economic efforts, in some sort of honourable, trust-laden manner.

We stay in deep and natural poverty with option 1.  Option number 2 requires regular, violent conflict, blood-soaked earth, fathers burying their dead sons (instead of what should be the other way around), and an organized culture of routine mass-murder.  Warrior cults can be effective for a while, but are ultimately self-defeating.  A recent example was the ISIS.  They require abuse and violence to operate, and seen up close, it quickly becomes apparent that this option is horrific in its awfulness.   So that leaves Option 3 - trade, commerce & business.  Communism is just an attempt to apply the abusive militarism of Option 2 to economic production.  It is a perfect failure - for the same reason the Massachusetts Bay Colony almost failed - until the Governor deeded out private land-holdings to every citizen-colonist.   Once the Colony had a proper land-tenure system - and fathers could leave their improved property to their son's, the Colony thrived.  Before that, all land was held in *common* - an absurd and profoundly unwise economic model, in which no-one had any rational incentive to work or take hard effort to improve anything, and produced economic failure and starvation.  The deeding-out of the land, was a last-ditch attempt to save the colony, and it succeeded.  It became the City of Boston.

Option 3 - trade and business in a private-property-owning, law-following economic organization - is the *only* method of social organization that works to allow humans to rise up out of poverty and violent warfare.  It is the only method that will allow an operational future to be created.  If you study history honestly (not like it is promoted and obfuscated in modern, academic "History Departments"), then this conclusion is inescapable.

So, we have to learn to be good at business and marketplace action.   The most astonishing example of the Triumph of the Market Model is of course, Japan.  In an astonishingly short time, a small island nation, smashed flat and burnt to zero by a powerful invading force (that it picked the fight with!), was able to do more than just recover.   It was able in just a few years, to rebuild itself and challenge the world with the scale and quality of its products.    We are now seeing China make a similar astonishing transition.

But the forces of darkness are always present.   Violent conflict is deeply attractive to many young men, and political opportunists know this truth - and bend it into manipulative lies to achieve private objectives.  Being powerful is very attractive for some.   Very bad people, can become very powerful, and can do terrible damage to honourable, economic activity.

We seem to be moving now, everywhere, in this direction.   In every area, powerful forces are now working to engineer non-economic, military directed actions.  The objectives are social-control for the purposes of holding on to political power.   Military methods and military agents are re-taking the field - and using the force-of-arms to maintain power and social domination.

In Asia, the militarists are taking control - not just in Myanmar, but in China and Vietnam and Thailand.  Russia - which had the beginning of real success, is now showing the world that it is dominated by a murderous and out-of-control spy-thug who has corrupt courts and a fraudulent, fake legal system at his control.   Russia's arrest of the poisoning-victim Navalny, (ordered by the criminal leader of Russia, that sad ex-spy character, Vladimir Putin) shows that poor nation to be completely corrupt and off-limits nation - again.  This is very tragic and unfortunate.  Russia is a beautiful and wonderful land.   It is sad to see it again captured by a criminal agency.  Putin has to go, and go soon, if Russia is to prosper.

In Western nations, the Covid-19 virus is being used as an excuse to introduce abusive and aggressive economic "lockdowns", and in Canada, enforce a new, and dangerous racist ideology.  The Indians and Innuit up north are getting access to publically funded vaccines - but the white folks in the southern cities and country-side, are being told none is available for them until maybe next year.   This absolute and profoundly racist strategy would have appeared unthinkable a few years back.

We are seeing the Covid-19 crisis being used to implement both curious and profoundly dangerous new, race-based political organizational models in Canada - which are at extreme variance to everything we thought our nation stood for.

But seen in the light of this clear drift toward militarism, and abusive use of armed authority to achieve - and retain - political power around the world - it suddenly does not appear unique at all.  Government agents in nations as diverse as Saudi Arabia, China and even the USA are explicitly detaining, assaulting and/or murdering those they see as political threats.

This is the *new normal*.    A future based on honourable market-place actions, and trade and commerce, is being replaced by a future based on the use of armed, military agency operations and abusive use of corrupt courts by dishonest politicians, to maintain their holds on political power.  

It's quite an astonishing transition.   There is no overt "conspiracy" here.  There is just a clear, visible movement - everywhere - away from honesty and fairness, to militarism and armed deployment of thugs to gain and hold power by means of force.    Democracy is again being viewed - like it was in the mid-20th century - as something that does not work right.   And this appears to be true, in practice.

It is astonishing that in Canada, the vaccine to fight Covid-19, is being delivered and deployed on a race-based action plan.   And there is no economic alternative.  You cannot *purchase* the life-saving vaccine you may require to continue to live.   You can only go cap-in-hand to some government political figure, and ask for it - and if you are white and live in the country in the south, you will be refused.

This represents - certainly to the white-skinned people who are being refused access to the vaccine - an astonishing betrayal of all that Canada was supposed stand for - a non-race-based "colour-blind" equal-opportunity, free society.     But in only a moment - it all slips away because of a very bad, deeply dishonest and abusively fraudulent government.

It is rather mind-blowing to see it quietly take place around one.  Our governments have morphed quickly into something ugly and grotesque.  And the media simply retails the official lies.  It is surprising to see it play out so clearly.

So we face a difficult and problematic future, if we simply allow events to grind forward and watch passively as the bandwagon of fraud and abuse of authority rumbles thru the streets of the world.  The only way these sorts of frauds are possible, is by means of deception, and ultimately, military force and abuse of legal authority.   This is the new model that is coming down on us - all of us - everywhere, in every land.  It is curious and surprising.

We have to change this algorithm.  We have to change the racist-model that is being reflected back towards ourselves in such a profoundly ugly, dishonest and abusive manner.

We have to hack the future.  We face a critical requirement to make active efforts to restore the freedom of the basic actions that we need to survive.   We here are even unable travel to the USA to acquire Covid-19 vaccine, where it is freely available in most major cities.  Why should I not be allowed deal directly with drug-makers, and purchase a supply for myself and my loved ones?  The government here is completely unable to do this.  Why should laws be erected and borders be closed to prevent private action to occur, where State action has failed?

Our governments here have failed us badly.

In the USA, they are vaccinating over 1 million people per day.  They are not limiting the distribution of the vaccine to any racial group, as we are here.  America - and many other nations - are making real efforts to vaccinate their citizens.   This is not happening in Canada, and this is profoundly and dangerously wrong.

What is happening here is so wrong, that I suspect it could be part of a clever re-election strategy by the Trudeau Liberals.  They have shown themselves to be the most dishonest and corrupt government this nation has had since Confederation, and it is possible they seek to provoke a response in the citizenry, so that they can deploy military authority and further expand the "State of Emergency" authority.  This would give them the opportunity to postpone elections, and further re-write the rules so as to retain power.

One see's other nations engage in this sort of abusive strategy - but it still comes as a surprise when it hits so close to one's home.

We will have to hack this future, or be destroyed by it.

[ Feb. 3, 2021 ] - Ludic Fallacy  This term was coined (by author Nassim Taleb) to describe the simple fact that life is not really a game. ("Ludos" means "Games", in Latin,)   A game requires boundries and rules and allows those who carefully plan, and have perfect memory, to typically win - or at least have an advantage.  It also describes the use of probability mathematics that is very helpful when one knows what the distribution of results is limited to, being incorrectly applied to situations where you have no knowledge of what the distribution of possible outcomes can be.  This is a subtle difference - typically smoothed over by making assumptions that are basically "Well, we don't know *exactly* what the range of outcomes can be, but we can estimate what is by looking at what we have seen recently".  Mostly, this approach sort-of works.

Until it doesn't.

If you roll dice, or play cards - you can determine exactly what the probabilities are - these are given by the nature of play rules, and the range of possible outcomes described by the number and type of cards or faces on the dice.   If you roll a pair of dice, the probability of getting double sixes or double 1's ("snake eyes" in craps), is 1/36, or 0.027777778.

In an open-ended, unbounded social-poliltical situation, the probability of getting a certain result - like an uptick and a bid sufficient to exit a position profitably, simply cannot be known with any real accuracy.  This is a place where randomness enters.  Market activity is of course, not random.  Any idiot can see that - and experience it for himself whenever he wants, if he participates in market action.

You cannot know the probabilities of possible future outcomes with accuracy in human activity, typically.  But you can get a reasonable idea of when probabilities shift in your favour or not.

And this is key.  Just because you cannot know exactly, does not mean you cannot get a pretty good idea of where the expected range of possible probabilities lies.  It's a bit like the two mathematical methods we used above.  1/36, the fractional representation of the chance of rolling a double six, is an absolutely accurate number - because we kept it as a fractional value.  But try to transform that number into a decimal equivalent, and we get a mess, right?    Do your old school-boy division, and divide 36 into 1.00000 and you get 0.027777... repeating,  If you have even half a brain, you have to think "WTF!?"   I just want to calculate and document the accurate probability of rolling a pair of sixes on a pair of cubic dice with numbers 1 to 6 stamped on each face, and suddenly, I am on a fast rocket-sled to infinity!   My mathematics is bloody well *broken!*    And it is.   The ancient Egyptians, who built the pyramids, were not stupid.  If they had to express a fractional result - they simply used *fractions*.  Rather clever, actually.

Indian/Arabic numerals, and base-ten math is a wonderful and brilliant invention.  But it has it's problems.

And so does all the rule-making and formalism that is brought to bear on market-process.  The whole "GameStop" thing shows this.  Going short of an over-valued stock is often a wise and profitable strategy.  Until it isn't.   The risk of a "short squeeze" is very real, and we have just watched a simple one happen.   Your crappy stock - which you have cleverly borrowed and sold, hoping to buy back later - maybe months or weeks or days or hours - is suddenly being accumulated by folks who know you have made this risky trade.   They run around and buy up *all* the stock available, and now, regardless of whether the stock is good, bad, or awful, you have to *buy-in* what you have sold, in order to satisfy the demands of your clearing-agent.

Selling something you don't own, is like using money you don't have to buy something.  You have to make good the contract - either by buying the thing you sold, for delivery to the guy you sold it to, or by borrowing the money from someone who has some, and paying a fee to use that borrowed money.   This is a very, very old and simple and clear and fine economic model.   It was (we think) invented in Babylon, and perfected by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The whole GameStop run was based on a simple recognition that most of the "hedge funds" and other wealthy, well-funded professional speculators, had decided that the company was toast, and would fail like a video-rental shop, because everything is available on the internet.   But Mr. Gill said maybe not - and made this fact known on Reddit - a social media site which is just a update on the old 1980's "Bulletin Board" sites, where people could get together and type chat-notes to each other.   That is all that it takes, to engineer a "short squeeze."  

Jim Fisk - a big trader back in the 1870's ran these kinds of squeezes. (Fisk and his partner, Jay Gould, were legendary.  They rose from poverty to wealth and power & defined an age.)

https://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2012/09/robber-barons-gould-and-fisk/

https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/murder-jim-fisk-vermont-robber-baron/

https://vtdigger.org/2017/02/12/vermont-peddler-wall-street-robber-baron/

You don't do it all yourself, of course.  You need only start buying shares in a heavily shorted stock, and let this fact become known in the market place.  The "tape-worms" (the folks who watch the ticker-tape to see and trade off of price-action), will see the price of a boring, disliked, sleepy stock, suddenly come alive, and they will know *exactly* that the "game is a-foot", as Mr. Holmes liked to say.

There is absolutely nothing new about the GameStop short squeeze.   The only issue for the regulators, is that there are rules against pre-planned, secret, dishonest combinations of market participants getting together and spreading lies, and then moving the stock price, based on lies and false information.

It is only thru lies and false information that any sort of "market manipulation" can occur.  Once you step up to buy and/or sell, then that is that.  Your actions are visible - because of the quotation screens (the "tape", in the old days), and all can see what is happening.

It is only unskilled, foolish, or uneducated folks (and regulators?) who find co-ordinated action disturbing.   It is against market rules to put together a big secret group that then tries to manipulate a share price.  But if you take action out in the open, and talk about what you are doing, and make no secret about your views - then in my opinion, no rules are broken.

But the current crop of Democrats in Washington are a pretty tragic and foolish collection of political opportunists - almost as awful as the Republicans - and in some cases, worse.  And many are also unskilled and uneducated in the realities of honest market action - so doubtless they will milk this event for their political advantage and do some huffing and puffing, as the politically clever - but marketplace ignorant - types always do so that they can give the appearance of dealing with an *issue*.

Politicians are what they are.   They are the exact opposite of market people.   Folks in the world of markets place a very high value on honourable behaviour, and truth-telling.  Political people are exactly the opposite, as they dispute truth with a vengence, and place their value on deception and obfuscation and mis-representation.   Politics is mostly about sham and delusion and the manufacture and marketing of imaginary falsehoods.  This is seen as a valuable political skill - and was actually taught in schools in the ancient world.   It is sometimes called "rhetoric" or "sophistry", and it is to politicians, what money is to honest traders and business-people - the currency that political people use to gain advantages over each other, by the manipulation of public opinion.

When events occur, it is entertaining and instructive to see the way the political lie-machines and the mainstream media (the "handmaids" of the lying pols..) will spin the event in their talk-fests.

"With such little wisdom the world is governed..."

----

[ Feb. 2, 2021 ] - Sea Machine / See Machine - (I feel like I am at sea just a bit...)  The C_machine forecast turned down last nite.  Me, sitting in front of the computer, sweating a bit, at 3:00 am (I went to bed early at 9:30 pm.. up at 3 for the puppy...).  Anyway, today, we closed the position we had put on, as per previous fcst.  Got lucky today, a nice pop in all the markets - took advantage of it.  Even the fractal models are twitchy now (I suppose they are supposed to be...).

Previous fcst slotted into " Economics 2021" section.  This website is a mess, must re-factor it and clean it up.  It has grown like a weed-front.  Will try to make it more organized.  😎

FD: (Full Disclosure:  We closed the position with a comfortable profit, despite being offside for a while.  My New-Year's resolution was to follow the damn models, and try hard to inject less of my own ego into the trading.  I try to trade like I am not even here - seriously.  But it is difficult.)

[ Jan. 31, 2021 - Feb. 1st, 2021 ] - Memory RNA & Copper Thunderbirds When the going gets weird...   The low is to the south of us, the high is probably in Bushmills, and perhaps warmth as well.   It feels surreal.  Fri and Sat spent running errands, paying bills, fixing chainsaw (new chain - real sharp), and sectioning up a tree-trunk the Township left us (they were kind enough to take down another dead Ash on the road-side).  Sectioned into rounds, the tree-trunk was then transported via Kubota to the carport, and each round was sectioned up with an amazing hydraulic wood-splitter we acquired many years back from TSC (the Tractor Supply Company, now under new ownership and re-branded as "Peavy Mart").

Perhaps Detroit could re-brand itself as New Tokyo, (kinda like we did here with the big Toyota factory), and improve it's prospects.  We build the Matrix mini-SUV there, and the Honda CRV's up in Alliston.  We bought one of the Honda's and they are amazing - all the crap around the fenders and the rocker panels are hard, black plastic - that poly-styrene type like they used to make telephones out of.  Good and hard, and will not rust.   Our "new" used (2011) CRV looks like it rolled of the line yesterday.  Curious.

Copper goes green, steel beams turn to rust - but plastic is forever, if it is made right.  Like stainless steel.   If you build it right, you put your future-self out of business, I guess.  So, everything is mostly made crappy.  (Except our Honda, it seems...).  

Maybe "Made Crappy" is the theme for the future.   Like the New Green America?   Will Biden issue "MACA" hats to his followers?  ("Make America Crappy Again" ...?  perhaps the new dance craze - the Green MACArena?).   I don't know whether to laugh, cry or just buy more ammo.  😎

Reading all about Mr. Gill the Gamestop Guy.  Hilarious.  Reddit is hilarious.  The internet is a fucking comedy show of truly bibilical proportions.  But at least the "Race to the Bottom" has been replaced by the "Race to the Crazy".  It is some improvement, I guess.

I've always found taking short positions really difficult - for exactly the reasons the Gamestop thing has demonstrated.  Is Gamestop the new Google?   I don't think so.  But I thought Facebook was just stupid and silly - until I realized it might actually take over the world - like Google sort of has.  I've never made really any money at all in tech stuff, since it all seemed so simple and painfully obvious and silly overpriced - and of course, it just became even more silly overpriced.  One should not be critical of stuff that is silly-overpriced, because often there is a reason for this - but the reason is not immediately evident.

If the World really is as painfully messed up, and is run by idiots and criminals to the degree that it actually appears, then a lot of really stupid stuff - stuff that looks insane on the surface - can actually make sense, if one digs down into the truth of things, just a bit - like Henry David Thoreau recommended in "Walden", if I remember correctly.

[I found my copy of "Walden" on the office bookshelf]  Thoreau had a beautiful passage where he said:  "Shams and delusions are esteemed for the soundest truths, while reality is fabulous.  If men would steadily observe realities only,  and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights' Entertainments."

We do not use our technology as wisely as we could.  Much more is possible, I suspect.

I re-read "Walden".  It is a well-crafted essay, and an interesting snapshot of an interesting time.  America still had Negro Slaves, and yet also every sane Yankee farmer knew that such a thing was a stench in the nostrals of their fictious god, and an obvious repudiation of everything their new constitution claimed to stand for.  The poor American slave-owning folk had to make the argument that Negros were not actually men and women, but were in fact animals that could be owned for profit.   Anyone with honesty in themselves, could see such an argument was insane, and so the US was marching towards a civil war when Thoreau was writing, and I am pretty sure he knew this.

I visited Thoreau's grave in Concord, and the Walden Pond park also.   America is a good thing, and it should be encouraged to survive and prosper.   And hold on to and keep at the ready, it's best weapons - nuclear and intellectual, and those fine AR-15's. (We make them here also, just like Honda's.   Canadians are the world's best engineers - but don't promote this curious fact.)

Thoreau wrote passionately about the need to see reality clearly, and not thru the lens of false thinking and delusion.  He wrote of the possibility of other worlds with people perhaps upon them, circling stars like our sun.  He was seriously educated, and appears to have read and understood Latin and Greek, and was clearly conversant with the Science of the day, such as it was.

I have been reading about the military coup in Myanmar (Burma), and the arrest and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, the rightful leader of that nation.   It would be a fine thing if the enlisted men in the Myanmar Army simply shot their dishonorable "generals" and placed their high-command under arrest for illegal military abuse af authority.   I wonder if Thoreau is read in translation?   Once one is exposed to American thinking, then life under a bunch of military thugs and criminals simply becomes impossible.  The license-plate motto of the State of New Hampshire says it best:  "LIve Free or Die."   Good, clear, direct, honest - and accurate - simple and yet very profound, Yankee philosophy.   

It is just not worth living in a nation run by Army thugs, "Communists", or other lying, murdering, brutal, worthless criminal scum.   The Chinese wisely gave up the idiocy of "communism" and retained only the silly name.   A wonderful and sensible way for China to be re-unified, would be to simply invite the Government of Taiwan to come over to Beijing, and be the Government of All of China.  

If China could hold free elections, and determine which folks would be sent to the capital to be parliamentarians, then a Unified Republic of China - with multiple political parties - could be created, and it would become the richest and most prosperous, powerful nation on the planet.   I wonder if such a thing could actually happen.    It happened in Japan, but it took the nuclear bombing of two of their cities, and full American military occupation, for this to become possible.

What history teaches us, is that war - old fashioned "bellum" - can actually be a positive thing, if it leads to a positive outcome that brings stability, peace and prosperity to everyone.  Curious.

The tragic and ugly outcome in Myanmar shows what it looks like when it all goes wrong.  The correct thing for the citizens of Myanmar to do is simply - *nothing*.  Everyone should just sit down and stop all economic activity until the rightful, elected government is restored, and the military thugs who defied the people are taken down and removed from any position of authority.

A complete, and absolute general strike should be undertaken.  After a few days, and people are hungry, then food riots could begin, and when the military sends out the troops to murder the citizens, the citizens should ask the enlisted soldiers to turn around, and shoot the thug-leaders.  

Full, open revolt against all forms of illegal, thug-boss military authority should be authorized by the elected, detained leaders of Myanmar, so the soldiers could shoot the criminals who have siezed power, and do so knowing that they - the soldiers - are acting with full government authority.   And perhaps if the USA or other nations wished to assist, they could offer some nice, targeted air-strikes against all the locations where "military generals" might be hiding or running to.    Air-strikes are a really fine and wonderful thing - like a big, fat hand of an angry god, reaching down and plucking out the thugs from their palaces and hideouts.   

Direct action needs to be taken when basic laws are broken so badly.   And one need never make war directly on soldiers.  That just makes them want to fight a force that is not their true enemy.  The key is to find the head of the snake, and destroy it completely - like was done with that filthy toad Gadaffi that ran Libya into destruction and failure, or Hussein of Iraq, or the god-hating vermin of ISIS.   You just locate these murderous criminal-leaders, and you dispatch them like the viruses and cancer-cells that they are.   This is really just "hand-washing" on a larger scale.

As Thoreau so eloquently noted:  To make a fine omlette, you need to break some eggs.

We need these fine Copper Thunderbirds - not just as artists - but as flying, operational forces as well.   They are not just visions of transformation - they are the actual machinery by which transformation is made to occur.   They fly in and bring destruction to the thug-leaders and worthless killers of the World.    Our history teaches us clearly the regular necessity of this sort of action.   We must access our memory, our history, and our knowledge of all things, and see that the need to make these corrective actions is always present, and does not decay with time.

[ Jan. 29, 2021 ] - Tune Into the Right Frequency (Everything You Know is Wrong) - Getting the tuning right can be difficult, no question.   You look for "this", but you get "that".  Oh my.  Didn't Niel Young write a song about this problem?   Trying  to *lockdown* a national economy so that sick people don't "crowd the hospitals" is stupid.  Trying to give something valuable and scarce away to *everyone* for free, (like doctor's services) is really stupid.   And combining this socialist economic medical model of "doctor rationing" with a lethal viral pandemic - well, the manifest stupidity of the choices that have been made becomes painfully evident.

I honestly was once at a social function, where this fellow from the "Ministry of Health" (which is of course, an agency that is all about *sickness*), explained to me how they were going to control medical costs, by limiting the number of doctors that our province would allow to graduate from the medical schools.   (I said nothing, but thought: "WTF?!")

He reasoned fewer OHIP billing numbers, fewer doctor-driven invoices flowing into the Ministry to be paid.   As a juniour-G-man-economist, I suggested that this might not work, since you were limiting a scarce and economy-critical resource, and that reducing the supply of a critical good, typically drives up the price.

And as well, it will be creating a bunch of nasty distortions, and other supply-side problems that pretty much have to add to costs of just about everything that interacts with the critical good being supply-restricted.

(Viz: SIck people with minor sickness that is treatable - but who are denied easy access to medical care - will almost always get much sicker, and will require bigger, more expensive medical care explicitly because they could not see a doctor early on, and get the problem fixed when it was just a small thing.  And the number of sick people risks growing rapidly, if illness cannot be quickly treated and resolved.  This will reduce the supply of healthy taxpayers, and business-generators, and will also leave sick folks with contagious illnesses, in situ, to create more sick folks, during flu outbreaks...  All bad and expensive outcomes...)

But this poor fellow just did not believe that economics mattered in doctoring or medical care service delivery.  For him, it was just about total hospitals, number of beds, number of doctors, and total costs to deliver the government-mandated *programs*.   I realized I was talking to an idiot, and smiled and said I had to get another drink.   I also resolved to give up on "economics", and be a computer programmer, since I (incorrectly) thought I would not have to deal with quite so many idiots.  (Fuck, was I wrong on that call...)

But at least I was able to get gigs and contracts enough to pay the bills.  But of course, I had to be careful not to get sick, or hurt, since there were suddenly no doctors anywhere taking in patients anymore.   Strange times.

And so now, here we are.  No doctors, crowded hospitals, everything supposedly "free" - except just like basic economics would predict - it is not actually available, since good health and good medicine is always a valuable thing.   And if agency operatives mandate that it must be offered to everyone at no cost - then it does not take much to forecast that there will not be any fucking supply to be had.  This is always the case when any sort of price-control or supply restriction is applied.

A Fucked World - run by lying, ignorant dishonest asshole fuckwits.   Is it really surprising that folks are just a tad unhappy with this situation?    And now they are telling us we will have to use electric cars and trucks that cost six-figures to buy, and maybe even more to keep running?  This is turning into quite the comedy show, is it not?  

Market Action:  We are long and wrong, it looks like.   We have several models, and we chose to try a combo of high-frequency and long-wave decision selection.   But political events are rolling over us hard, it seems, and we are offside.  Oh my.

We have a worst-case scenario, in which Biden dies of a heart-attack, and the Women take over in Washington.  Kamala Harris and her crew of lefty witches will begin the demonic assault on all that is America, and the free citizens of the USA will be left with no choice but to begin a Second American Revolution.

This is a crazy, very low probability, very worst case scenario - but I am curiously surprised at how often our extreme, worst-case expectations seem to be made manifest in reality, lately.   It is also such a golden, perfect time for China to move on Taiwan.  If I were the Republic of China Government, I would be running the secret centrifuges at full-speed, and would be spinning my yellow-cake into boom-grade material as fast as I could.  And ff they are smart and want to stay free, they also might have some breeder-machines making some purex - you know, that laundry detergent - so that they could keep their fine island nice and clean and free from that nasty red stain that seems to leak out when great fraud occurs.

Once Biden dies or drops, will the Women care about the ROC?  Not likely.   They will be too busy welcoming terrorists into Washington, aborting fetuses, and giving "poor" people free money.   Historians might call it "The Great Rape of the US Treasury".    This scenario is so awful, that it is comical - it seems to remind me of "Springtime for Hitler" - something designed to be maximum terrible - but it has the curious smell of the possible.  "Nose before ear" ( the song by the "Cowboy Junkies") seems to come to mind.    It is so awful, that it can't possibly happen - until it suddenly plays out, and we all stand there watching the TV, as the real sh/t-storm begins.   The key is, you have to have the army on your side, and you have to have solid plans in place to exploit the "fog of war" when the real action begins.

But this time, it won't be in Iraq or Libya or Georgia or Tigray or Fukushima.  It might just be down the street from where you live, if the madness keeps progressing at it's current rate.

[ Jan. 28, 2021 ] - Langdon's First Law: "Don't Be Stupid." - Damn, I just can't resist.  Memo to the Reading Robots: "Please try to tell your makers not to be stupid."

This is an important message.  Stupidity is like a force.  It is like a tsunami of stubborn ignorance, self-delusion, and obfuscation, and it threatens to wash over the world.   Actionable key-point: "Do not try to short this market."  There is this "Great Wall of Cash" that has been created, and is not being deployed, for many various reasons.   And the sad inability of the Governments of the World to do anything constructive about this curious viral plague, suggests that even more cash will be created and spread around.  That is obviously the only thing they can do, since they cannot create and distribute vaccine.  It is just tragi-comic how awful and foolish the policy response by the Nation-State governments is turning out to be.

Biden has cancelled the Keystone pipeline project.  And that is just stupid.  The US economy is *shrinking* and this is not the time to play politics, and trash mega-projects which are both economic (they will make money for everyone involved), and also critical to the effective operation of the world's biggest economy (the USA runs on oil, and will do so for many more years).   Biden is being a fool and a failure, and his Administration has only just got started.  It is quite amazingly tragic and comic. Support the Green-Nazi types if you want, but also be smart enough to look into the camera and say "I am the President of Texas and Detroit - not just of California.  We will advance this pipeline project because American workers and the American Economy require it.  End of Discussion."   Why not be a leader, Joe?

The Democrats are now the Government.  The poor stupid folks need to start acting like an actual Government, and not a collection of loony-leftists and green-arsed nazi nutjobs with pie-in-the-sky fantasy dreams.  Government is all about difficult and critical choices.  These people seem to have missed this.

And for the big traders:  The USA markets will trend upwards.  This is not the time to be short anything.  It is important not to be stupid.   Interest rates are basically zero.   Sit on the sidelines if you must, but don't blow your brains out with bullets made out of your own crystalized arrogance.

And for systems-people: Don't use AWS or Google servers.  Pay for and deploy your own hardware.  Otherwise, you risk being fucked by Bezos and the Californicators, and be held hostage to their politics.  Locate your servers in a place where you have complete control of them, and route your packets carefully, with all necessary strong encryption.  But expect to be taken down by Chinese, Russian, Romanian or American black-hat boys.   World is ugly, and nasty, and you must plan for all possible contingencies.  Use satellite distribution if you can.  It will get worse, before it gets better.

Market Hint:  Ok, you might think that AI and machine learning is complete bullshit.  And you might be right, some of the time.  Maybe even most of the time.  So just use a very old trick from 120+ years ago - circa 1901 to 1912 (and still in use by old guys who make more money than they lose..):  Just draw straight lines on linear stock-price charts (not "log" or "semi-log" charts).  It is so simple - and yet actually, not really as simple as it looks, as you still have to interpret what is going on.  I'll post a simple, "straight-line" forecast chart, done with simple mechanical techniques (linear "regression", or least-squares linear "curve" fitting).  On our "testbed" security (a bank equity we have been playing with for 20 years, and whose dividends pay the bills), we have a target price forecast that is roughly 20 to 30 dollars higher than the analyst-consensus forecast (which is 10 dollars per share higher price than where the stock is currently trading!).  It's a funny world.  

It's quite curious how well straight-lines drawn on stock-price charts actually work.  This is especially true in the case of interest-rate sensitive stocks & high dividend payers (ie. banks and phone companies and other utilities).  And it is curious how often crazy mis-pricings of risk and value seem to crop up.  For analytic background, you can read the original 1934 Graham and Dodd "Security Analysis" - a very good fat book, written to be read and used by curious, educated people - so unlike the modern editions of similar tomes.

The prices of interest-rate sensitive securities (bonds and dividend-paying stocks) tend to trend over long periods, typically generations (20 to 30 years and more).   The price changes tend to be serially auto-correlated - which just means that the prices trend.   And of course, major crashes and booms (especially crashes), tend to happen much more often than the volatility of typical prices *changes* tends to suggest.   Mandelbrot did interesting work on this in the 1960's on this phenomenon.

But you don't need fancy math - you just need to realize that "reset" events happen often and regularly - and these are typically wealth-wipeouts, and these *MUST* occur regularly, to counteract the power of financial compound growth, which any simpleton can see quickly causes wealth to rise to astronomical levels if allowed to continue for hundreds of years.   (I was the "Mayor of Simpleton" for a while..  Maybe I still am?)

If we don't have crashes to wipe-out compound growth financial gains, then every family on the planet would be billionaires in a few generations.  And this does not happen.  In Canada, the old market saying about family wealth was: "Overalls to overalls in 3 generations."  (First generation works hard, invents something or makes a big score, and gets rich.  Second generation lives well, and builds on the base, if the old guy taught his children well.  Third generation pisses away all the money on foolish ventures and stupid living.   This pattern just repeats and repeats and repeats...)

Don't be stupid.  And this turns out to be curiously difficult.   Look back over your life, and count up the really stupid things you have done.  Are you up to a big number yet?  Hell, I certainly am.  :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6FObPezIAk

[ Jan. 27, 2021 ] - Stopping the Game in Crazy Times - But, hey, we have our internet back!  It's just a bit insane - our "provider" decided to simply disable and remove the antenna panel on the tower we were line-of-sight connected to with our WiMax tower transponder-modem.  We had to pay for a couple of technical specialists to come out and re-point us to a different tower!  This feels like the late '90's again - the "last mile problem" biting us hard.  Just silly - like the "stonk" trading in the Excited States.

We are long again, as the C-Machine - and the World as well - has made it clear that the market direction is up.  We've literally spent two weeks offline - and it's been weird - I even turned on the old short-wave radio, and the regenerative-receiver I built to investigate feedback circuits.  There is nothing on short-wave anymore - nothing at all.  It's quite curious - literally, there are only a few god-yappers and nutjobs - nothing else.  When I was very young, there still was an entire ecosystem of transmissions on short-wave.  Radio, railways and telephones were the first internet boom - with social transformations that were just as extreme.

For the first time, I used the voice-recognition software at our online-broker, to do a trade.  One cannot get thru to live people at most businesses, and not at all at any Government entity.  No-one has live people answer telephones anymore, it seems.   Curious.

We are extraordinarily lucky - as I saw this kind of world coming, like a tsunami in the rear-view mirror.  Life on the farm is nice - even if it  is a bit like being on Mars sometimes.  The Android cellphone has been a life-saver during this "time of no Internet", as even without data, the use of AI-based voice-recognition technology has advanced enough to be useable and it actually works (it never really used to..).    This is a big deal.

The rate and speed of USA money-supply growth - begun under Trump - will be extended under the Biden folks.  I would say that "It's going to get weird" - except it already has.  So I am pretty sure it's going to get even more weird.  The Dutch riots are a perhaps a picture of what our future is going to look like.  

It is almost certain that national governments are going to ramp up or maintain the extraordinary levels of monetary stimulus we are seeing.  The new cash money will be (and is being) deployed in the markets.   This is a trend that will continue at the very least until everyone on the planet is correctly (two shots) vaccinated - probably at least two more years.

[ Jan. 18, 2021 ] - Locked Down & Messed Up- Well, this is a fine kettle of fish.  At probably the most critical time for us, our internet service provider, Xplornet, has shutdown some panels on their Wimax tower, and has knocked us off the internet.  Repeated calls to them (where you can wait up to an hour to get thru to a live person) have resulted in them saying we need to hire - and pay for - a technician from an unrelated 3rd-party company to come and check the alignment of our tower's equipment.  We know our tower has not moved, and the equipment is working correctly (I've logged into the modem - with one of their technical people on the phone) - and we know our radio modem is functioning correctly.

But we have no internet.  It comes on a few minutes - maybe even 10 or 20 minutes - but then drops off, and we have nothing for hours.  It's hilarious, except it is putting us out of business.  Sadly, Canada has - honestly - the very worst internet service in the whole world, I suspect.  It's actually better in most third-world locations - and way better in Asia, Europe and USA.  Pretty funny, considering the telephone was invented here...

Anyway, I am sitting in a parking lot, in front of a Starbucks typing this.   Sitting in the parking lot, dropping packets - but not many, since the Starbucks internet is good.   Quite hilarious, really.

I've called other companies - and there is no Wimax service available - the towers are full, apparently.  

Double-plus-ungood.   Maybe we are just finished, it looks like.  Take a copy of this site, it's full of all the little gems I came up with during these very strange times.   Guess we will have to go renegade, or something like that.   Bye-bye.   Stay safe, and all the best.

[ Jan. 14, 2021 ] - Xplornet is Trying to Kill Us.- Help.  Well, not actually launching missles at us - but we have been without internet for four days now.  Many phone calls - lots of work with their technicians - turns out they hacked their own tower, and shutdown/changed 10mpbs panels (antenna + transponder/routers) to 5mpbs, and broke our connection - but they won't admit the damage was their work.  The want us to pay hundreds of dollars for a 3rd party technican to come and fiddle with our equipment we know is working perfectly.   Crazy world.  Elon?  You there???  I have a handful of $100 bills for a Starlink base-station for downlink - and even if it runs at dial-up speed, *I WILL TAKE IT!" OK?

Because WE HAVE NO INTERNET ACCESS at all.   I am sitting outside a Starbucks, typing this on my MacBook Pro, which I re-programmed to have DHCP access, so it could connect to the Starbucks LAN.   This is crazy - worst time / worst case - and the markets are moving, and we cannot even get quotes.  Insane and crazy.   World is rather f*cked, sadly.   Without internet access, it is not possible to "work from home".   Goddamnit - this is just nuts.


[ A Time of No Internet => Xplornet Removed Antenna Panels from Their Tower.      ]

[ This nasty action killed our internet service completely.   We had no warning.  ]
[ We were off-line at the Farm, for more than two-weeks in January, 2021.         ]

[ Deployed GNU-APL 1.8a across all machines ]
This is a pretty cool hack. This box is an old 32-bit Fedora/Red-Hat box, with a semi-custom Linux kernel, but based on a Linux kernel: 2.6.27.25-78.2.56.fc9.i686 (as reported by "uname -a"). I've got the GNU-APL 1.8a (the SVN version 1379, with my fixes to the LIBXCB stuff, so ⎕PLOT works correctly. This involved some major work - first, I had to build a working gcc version 4.8.5, which is from 2015 - actually a pretty solid compiler - complete with a good FORTRAN (gFortran), and Java and other stuff. I also had previously built Python 2.7, and the box runs two versions of Tcl/Tk. To build gcc 4.8.5, I used the original gcc 4.3.0 (from April 28, 2008) which was on the machine. (Attempts to build GNU-APL with this older gcc compiler, failed with "long-integer" errors. So, I had to upgrade gcc to 4.8.5 to build GNU-APL 1.8 from source.)

But this is the coolest thing. This GNU-APL is a real, native Linux APL, and one uses "xmodmap" to setup the APL keyboard/APL characters. I had assumed that the APL would not run under a 32-bit processor, but that's wrong. If you have gcc 4.8.5, (or later, probably), the GNU-APL 1.8 will configure and compile & build successfully, if you have installed the newer libxcb stuff and the fftw3 code, for FFTs (if you want to do some signal-processing, or other waveform bashing.)

When you upgrade "libxcb", by building it from source, you run into problems trying to link stuff together, because the xcblib-xlib.so.1 library just got removed in the move from libxcb.so.1.0.0 to libxcb.so.1.1.0, and on this older platform, I kept getting undefined references to "_xcb_lock_io" and "_xcb_unlock_io", during the build. (Here is an old Gentoo note found on Google: https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-7282170.html?#7282170 )

When I first built and installed LIBXCB (I used the LIBxcb.1.12 tarball), it completely destroyed my X-windows/GNOME GUI! Oh my.. The install for libxcb sets up a symlink in /usr/local/lib which points to new /usr/local/lib/libxcb.so.1.1.0 dynamic library. And in /usr/lib, the symlink libxcb.so.1 which points to /usr/lib/libxcb.so.1.0.0 gets ignored. I spent hours tracking this down and figuring out what was happening. You can run "ldd" (the tool to check dependencies in dynamic librarys) on old libxcb-xlib.so.0.0.0, and see where libxcb.so.1 is pointing to. Once I installed the newer libxcb, the libxcb.so.1 reported by "ldd" was pointing to /usr/local/lib/libxcb.so.1. The idea is that new stuff goes into /usr/local/lib, but the old system-critical stuff in /usr/lib is unaffected, so your system will remain functional. But when programs (like X) look for dynamic libs, they look in /usr/local/lib first, then /usr/lib (on RedHat/Fedora/CentOS). To recover function of my Xwindows/Gnome, I just removed the symlink to the newer xcblib.so.1.1.0 in /usr/local/lib, by removing /usr/local/lib/libxcb.so.1, and then X-windows/Gnome was restored.

This way, the new xcblib stuff can be used, but the old remains available for system operation. Run "ldd" against /usr/lib/libxcb-xlib.so.0.0.0, and you see now that libxcb.so.1 now points to /usr/lib/libxcb.so.1 (not the one in /usr/local/lib.

You have to do other stuff also, to build the APL. Typically (like the gcc build also), you set LD_LIBRARY_PATH to /usr/local/lib and PKG_CONFIG_PATH also to /usr/local/lib, so your new code can link against the newer installed versions of libs in /usr/local/lib.

For gcc upgrade, I needed to build: mpc, mpfr and gmp. For the GNU-APL, I had to build fftw3 and xcb (as mentioned).

Also, to get GNU-APL to build to completion, so it could be successfully installed, I had to hack the "Makefiles" in the /tools subdirectory of /home/gnuapl/apl-1.8a (where I put the current APL source).

Specifically, I was also gettting the "_xcb_lock_io" and "_xcb_unlock_io" undefined reference errors during the GNU-APL "make". I did this build of gcc 4.8.5 and GNU-APL on two different 32-bit boxes. On the first box, in the xcb build (of libxcb-1.12), I had to also build pthread-stubs-master, xcb-proto-1.12 and libXau-1.0.7. One the second box, the build of xcb lib used only pthread-stubs-master and xcb-proto-1.12. But on the second box, I had to tweak the "LIBS =" parm in the ../tools/Makefile to include: " /usr/lib/libxcb.so.1 /usr/local/lib/libxcb.so.1.0.0 " at the end of the string. So in apl-1.8a/tools/Makefile:

LIBS = -lc -ldl -lcairo -lfftw3 -lm -lncurses -lcurses -lnsl -lpthread -ltinfo -lxcb -lX11 -lX11-xcb

became:

LIBS = -lc -ldl -lcairo -lfftw3 -lm -lncurses -lcurses -lnsl -lpthread -ltinfo -lxcb -lX11 -lX11-xcb /usr/lib/libxcb.so.1 /usr/local/lib/libxcb.so.1.0.0

In /usr/local/lib, I have both libxcb.so.1.0.0 (the original one) and /libxcb.so.1.1.0 (the newer one) of the xcblib libraries. And I notice a symlink called "/usr/local/lib/libxcb.so" has been created in /usr/lib, which actually points to libxcb.so.1.1.0. So mostly, I am getting the new library during "make" runs. But a link to the older 1.0.0 library is included in the "LIBS=" line in the make file. This let the build work, without needing to build libXau-1.0.7. (It would appear.) The build runs libtool, which create .la files for xcb and other stuff in /usr/local/lib. These .la files are text files which give dynamic load-library location information. You can google "What are .la files?" and spend a while reading what ".la" files are, and how "libtool" creates and manages them.

I didn't really expect to get all this working. But it does now work, and Xwindows/Gnome GUI is working again. And on the second machine I setup, it is quite amazing. The machine is an old Pentium III Compaq-EN, with only 1.3 gig of memory, and the APL and the ⎕PLOT graphics and the ⎕FFT stuff all works. The image above shows the GNU--APL 1.8, with ⎕PLOT working successfully. This machine is a 32-bit Pentium 4, with 2 gig memory, and it runs along snappy quick, no problems. I'll try to write up all this a bit better, as I am just going thru scribbled notes, trying to capture stuff I did on the fly, and just wrote scrawls as I got things to work. This note is mess, but I wanted to get details down while it's all still fresh. I will try to write up something better, later. What this means, is that with a bit of effort, you an take an old 32-bit box, install a Linux on it, and build a very powerful APL machine, that looks like it works, complete with ⎕PLOT graphics and ⎕FFT, and also SQLITE3 functional access. Cool stuff, for major data-bashing and model-hacking. :)

This is interesting. The C_Machine Forecaster says "Down", but Mr. Market is saying "Up". It rarely gets this different. But when it does, I have noticed typically that risk rises quite a bit. I don't have hard numbers on how much - but I have a new APL platform now that runs in native Linux, and we are going to try to get a better handle now just how much risker it gets when these sort of phenomenon occur. Full Disclosure: We took some small profits from a position that worked out OK. It's always good to start a new year with a profitable trade. We are mostly in cash.

I would caution everyone - things are looking just a bit weird. Markets are crazy positive, the SARS-CoV-2 virus cases are ramping up sharply again everywhere, and political turmoil continues to bubble along.

Yes, we know they say the best time to invest is when the blood is running in the streets. Well, I still get nervous and concerned at market tops, and this feels rather like a market top, if I ever saw one. The old guys, who have seen - and survived - several cycles, might suggest that thing are priced to perfection now. Prices may be bid higher - but my tiny little AI model says a turnover is forecast. And yes, the model has been wrong. It is just a mechanical box - it has no emotions. And being human, I worry more about the blood running in my nose, than in the street. :)

Update - Close, Jan. 8, 2021: Impressive. The technical factors are significant - for our favourite and for the TSE in general - we are hitting and breaking thru the 52 week highs. Our cash position again looks unwise, as inflation seems to be breaking out all over - especially with oil prices. ($52.49/bbl as reported, up $1.66 on the day...).

Curiouser and curiouser. We have a deeply divided nation, an angry and frustrated citizenry, a continued and expanding viral plague (between 3000 and 4000 deaths daily now - with deaths in the last 12 months exceeding by a factor of roughly 5, all the American deaths in the Vietnam War), jobs still being lost, instead of created (the forecasters can't even the sign right on the forecast - like us!), and intense political reprisals underway in the Capitol, rather than attempts to address the problems the nation faces. And in the face of this hot mess, the market participants bid up stock prices to new 52-week highs - and this before a weekend! It seems the risk now is considered higher *not* being in the market, than being in it.

I worry that most market investment actions now are being driven by algorithmic, momentum-based robotic methods - and that this process might fail rather spectacularly, rather like "portfolio insurance" did, many years back.

But of course, the flip-side view, is that what is happening is all good and fine - as it looks like it may provide a plain and clear repudiation of the begger-thy-neighbour, abusive, isolationist, xenophobic & cruel foolishness of the Trump years. And market folks and investors view this as a positive picture of the future. And it is the picture-of-the-future, that drives investment and stock-price action in the present moment.

But is the near-future picture, really that attractive?

[Image]
This is screen-shot of GNU-APL running ⎕PLOT tests on CentOS-7 Linux box. I'm using X11 library "xcb" which works well with latest GNU-APL ver. 1.8/SVN:1379M. The "xcb" library is good, it allows the APL to run and generate plots on both Linux boxes and the MacBook. (Click on image to enlarge it.)


[ Jan. 10, 2021 ] - It's My Party, and I'll Buy if I Want To... - so say the Market Mavens of 'Murica.   It's really bizzare watching the OMG! poo-flinging re. the recent Washington protests in the USA MSM, and the upward tracking of the US stock market, commodities prices, and crypto-currencies.   It seem astonishingly dishonest.

The Democrats seem to have forgotten that (almost) half of USA voted against them and their policies.   The Pelosi-sponsored attack on Trump - given he is already defeated and in lame-duck-mode - is just comical and tragic.   It resembles theatre-of-the-absurd.

That curious woman seems to have forgotten that violence - real, hard-core brutal violence - is what America is all about, and it has been the signature method by which almost all major policy actions are taken in USA in it's history.

From the very beginning of the USA Experiment -  the 1776 violent rebellion against British Colonial Rule, to the Indian Wars of the 1850's, to the mass-killing and city-burnings of the US Civil War, to the extreme mass-killings of the First and Second World Wars, and the use of fire-bombing and nuclear-weapons against enemy civilian populations - the USA - throughtout it's *ENTIRE HISTORY* has always been about violence and violent action taken to achive political objectives.  

In modern times - the massive military effort of the Vietnam War, and the more recent military invasion of Iraq (roughly 600,000 killed or disappeared as a result - on the pretext of faked CIA disinformation (weapons of mass-destruction, which simply did not exist)), etc. - all this "American History" has been entirely about hard-core, intense aggressive violence.

Violence is how things get done in America.  It is how the political machinery and the foreign policy projection of American interests always operate - from Teddy Roosevelt's invasions of Cuba and Veracruz in Mexico, to Ron Reagan's invasion of Grenada, to CIA support for assassination squads in El Salvador.

America talks of "regime change needs to occur" and routinely expresses support for violent transitions in the "banana-republics" it seeks to manipulate.   It is one banana-Republic to another, many outsiders feel.

So, you had a violent protest in Washington.  Well, what do you people expect?

Do you think you can run these models against the whole rest of the world, and not at some point expect to see this political algorithm on your own doorstep - in your own corrupt capitol city?  Or maybe in your own living room?

Pelosi and especially that fellow Schumer and the other Leftist fraudsters stayed silent and supportive when Donald Trump decided it was OK to send in a  murder-Drone and kill an entire convoy of cars in civilian traffic, driving in from the International AIrport in Iraq, because they wanted to "take out" an Iranian General.    USA was not at war with Iran, so that action amounts to nothing more than simple murder.   We have no love for the Iranians, but that action was no different than a gangland hit by a crooked Mafia Don.

Pelosi - you fraud -  what did you do then?  What about you, Schumer?    Can you people not expect to be taken down by the same methods you are supporting & using against people all around the world?  Can you honestly be surprised when this strategy comes right home into your own offices and living rooms?  Are you not providing the model for everyone?

Do none of you American political people ever even look at the results of what your are doing?  You people applauded the "Black Lives Matter" violent riots, and supported idiotic madness like "defund the police" and other toxic political nonsense.

If Donald Trump were not such a limited thinker and a political neophyte, he would have - after his people had shut down the BIden certification - had you and your monkey-minons arrested and put into protective custody, and removed from the process.   Trump simply was too unwise to have a plan for properly siezing power, and putting what his people viewed as fraudsters and cheats, out of business.

You know what most people outside of North America *really* think?  They think:

"Poor dishonest and corrupt America.   Your Constitution is a joke, your government is a corrupt Ponzi Scheme, and your military are dangerous out-of-control mass-murderers with high-tech killing machines."   Of course, this is not true - but you need to see what is happening now.

You Lefty folks won the election.  Stop making Donald Trump any more famous or infamous than he already is, and try to begin the process of pulling a shattered and angry, hostile violent hell-hole-of-hate that the USA Nation has become, back into some sort of stable, trustworthy operation.

Stop being so painfully dishonest.  The recent Washington Protest was trivial, compared to what many people in many other countries routinely have to experience.

Move on - because if you don't, the next major protest may not be so tame and bogus. You might find that a much more determined, focused, smarter and more effective group of folks - probably some from your own military - will simply tire of your chatter, and will just declare a "State of Emergency" or whatever, and just put all you foolish monkeys out of business with much more effective and focused, planned efforts.   Seriously.    This is what history teaches us typically happens to dishonest senators who get together to murder Caesar.   Sure, Trump is not Caesar, but people are so angry now, that he doesn't need to be.

[ Jan. 8, 2021 ] - High Ho! - And it's up and up we go.   This is just a bit curious.   The market is probably the most postive I have ever seen it since maybe 2005, or the immediate aftermath of Trump's election.

I suppose Trump is like a yacht.   They say the two happiest days in a man's life, are when he gets his first yacht, and then when he manages to get rid of it.

[ Jan 7, 2021 ] - Trump Goes Out Like a Light.  But Freedom Still Burns Bright.- Americans have nothing to be ashamed about.  Democracy is a messy business, and freedom is sometimes a bit rough and tumble.  But no one threw firebombs.   The People have a right to visit their Parliament - politicians should remember this.   Of course, no one should bring violence of any kind to the Legislature.  But the People should visit occasionally.  It's not a bad thing.

Trump will leave, and Biden will take over.   And there was no need for tanks.  This is not a bad outcome.

Canadians might want to reflect on the time when an angry Tory mob, in 1849, burned the new Canadian Parliament Building in Montreal to the ground.   In a real democracy, which uses democratic methods to resolve real disputes, it can sometimes get a bit messy.

But it is still a very good thing to have and live in a messy democracy, than have to live in an "orderly" Police State, run by criminals and gangster thugs - oh, like Belarus for example.

Sometimes, to get a critical transition accomplished, a bit of action has to take place.  A Tory mob may have burnt down the Parliament in 1849, but by 1867, Canada became an independent sovereign nation, and was no longer just a British Colony.   Two very different cultures - French and English - were able to use democratic methods to build a rather fine Nation.

Democracy is like cooking - the kitchen might get a bit awful messy - but the result can be just what everyone wanted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of_the_Parliament_Buildings_in_Montreal

The original new Canadian Parliament was in Kingston - but that city is on Lake Ontario, and an unsuccessful American invasion attempt had occurred.  Kingston was considered unsafe.  Toronto and Montreal both wanted to be the new Capital, but a clever solution was to ask Queen Victoria to choose where the new national capital should be.  She wisely suggested that maybe you Canadians might put your new capital city up the Ottawa river, at Bytown, which would place it on the border between Upper and Lower Canada.  I still think that Montreal would have been a better choice.   Montreal is just a great city.  It really is.

The old joke in Canada is that we could have had the very best - British Parliamentary Government, French Culture, and American Technology.   But instead, we ended up with French Government, British Technology, and American Culture.   Oh my...   :)

PM Update:  C_Machine forecast is curiously focused to "down", as market moves "up".  Forecast is maybe just wrong.  Maybe things are different now.   Maybe.

[ Jan 6, 2021 ] - The SARS-CoV-2 Virus Really, Honestly Looks Like it Was Laboratory Made.  And the Origin of Covid-19 Really looks like a Lab Accident.- And lets be clear, we are *not* blaming China or saying the Wuhan Virology Lab people were doing viral weaponization.  

We are not engaged in any conspiracy theory nonsense - it just looks like a lab accident with a manufactured, experimental virus, is what really happened.   The virus is too similar to the bat virus (RaTG13) [96% similar nucleotides], not to be bat-related, but the source of the bats was over 900 miles away.   The bat spike protein was tweaked so it targeted human lung tissue, and a further tweak let the virus bind *really well* to the ACE2 receptors - and this made it aerosol transmissable.   The SARS-CoV-2 virus looks to be a made thing, not an evolved thing.

Why do we say this?  Because this is what so many of these virus labs were doing - it's called "Gain-of-function" research, and it looks quite dangerous.  Many labs were taking existing animal coronavirus samples, and were running genetic splicing technology to make them human-targeted.  Many, many labs were doing this.  Just like the CDC labs brought back to life - fully and completely - the 1918 Flu virus - a horribly awful lethal living killer.

The funding for this research has gone from millions per year, to billions per year.   If you read what the virus labs were actually doing - you can understand why public health officials in Denmark wanted to test minks and ferrets for Covid-19.   The New York Times reported in 2011 how a Dutch scientist, Ron Fouchier, took the nasty H5N1 bird-flu virus, and hacked the virus so that a population of ferrets could be infected with this partcularly pathogenic (ie. really lethal and awful) virus.   The Times even wrote an editorial suggesting this was very unwise ("An Engineered Doomsday"), and many scientists agreed.  Fouchier wanted to show that "via aerosols or respiratory droplets" the avian influenza viruses could be 'forced" to infect and sicken mammals, and that this would  "pose a risk to humans and could become a pandemic".  

Lab accidents happen.  They happen quite often.   And big, complex labs have big, awful accidents.  In Canada, back in the 1950's, we had an experimental research nuclear reactor completely meltdown and crash.  It was an awful accident, and it took place in December of 1952.   Many hundreds of military personnel from both Canada and USA worked to clean up the awful radioactive mess.  A young Lieutenant, James (Jimmy) Carter (who became USA President), was part of the team that helped clean up the mess.    Accidents happen. It's a fact of life - and it is rather common, when very complex technology is involved.

And what is even more curious - is that it has become almost impossible to even talk about the whole Wuhan Lab and the American funding it received, as being a source of the current SARS-CoV-2 virus, without being censored or labelled a crazy "conspiracy theorist".   And that is just silly and wrong.

Of course, this virus came from somewhere.  And what is really interesting - is how very specific it is in how it attacks human lung tissue, and binds to human cells.  It looks like an engineered device.  We know how and why this occurs - the spike protein "toggles"  (or some say it "shakes"), and this lets it trick cellular defenses.  Also, the virus has unique and highly specific ability to bind to human ACE2  (“angiotensin-converting enzyme 2”) receptors.  It can attach itself, and it can very effectively trick its way into a human cell, and in doing so, damage lung tissue.  And, it can live for *days* in aerosol form - little droplets in the air.  

Here is a link to a November paper, which explains that a laboratory origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus simply cannot be ruled out.  There is just too much evidence that suggests this is the most likely explanation of why this virus first appeared in the city of  Wuhan.  The nearby seafood market did not sell bats.   The bats - with their coronavirus RaTG13  - came from over 900 miles away.  But there was bat-coronavirus at the Wuhan labs.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/bies.202000240

The most rational, sensible theory is that some "Gain-of-function" experiments were being done at some lab in Wuhan (there are two virus labs in Wuhan - the Virology lab and the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), using the bat-coronavirus RaTG13 as a starting point.  The plan would be to hack the bat-virus so that it could infect humans as easily as a common cold (also a coronavirus), and learn more about the method by which this infection process occurs, and how it might be inhibited.  Somebody built a test-bed virus platform.

And there is evidence for this - the spike protein has particular affinity for the enzyme furin, a chemical in human cells, and especially human lung cells.  And there is a unique sequence - R R A R  (amino acids: arginine, arginine, alanine, and arginine), that codes for the "furin-like cleavage site", which the SARS-CoV-2 virus has.   If the coronavirus was a product of evolution from another species, then we should be able to see evidence of this in some other species.  But it looks like it was just "slotted in" - a perfect, non-random fit to target humans.

And the Chinese did not eat bats.  And there were no bats on sale at the markets in Wuhan,  And a bat would not have flown into a crowded city.

And what is really curious - is that these "gain-of-function" experiments have been going on at many virus labs around the world.  Making horrible-awful human-targeted viruses from animal viruses has actually been a rather common project.  There was a lot of funding available for this this research.  It is so common that the term for this type of viral research - "Gain-of-function" - is typically abbreviated as simply "GoF" in the discussion documents.

A detailed article which looks at the possible lab-origin of Covid-19, has been written by Nicholson Baker, in New York magazine.  It is well written, well researched, and is worth reading.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/coronavirus-lab-escape-theory.html

The idea that this very human-specific nasty new Covid-19 disease suddenly *evolved* out of nothing, is just not supported by any evidence anywhere.   Evolution leaves a clear trail - and so far, despite a lot of research and careful genetic sequencing - no such trail exists.

There is only the one BSL-4 (Bio-security Level-4) virology lab in China.   Is there maybe also another secret lab?   Unlikely.  The pandemic began in Wuhan, right where the virus lab is.

Lab accidents happen - and these "Gain-of-function" experiments were common, and the Wuhan lab was working directly with American researchers who were doing this same kind of research work - building highly pathogenic virus agents so to better understand how they operate.  This is certainly what the American CDC did when it created a living virus version of the 1918 Flu.  ( I still worry that they did this.  It seems madness, to actually make a working, living version of such a really terrible killer disease that was extinct.  If the living 1918 Flu virus leaks out, the Americans may have to watch as maybe a billion people around the world, sicken and die.  It seems a bit crazy to me, to risk this.  Once it has been made, perhaps it should be destroyed, once some tests have been run.   )

And perhaps Brother Occam could bring his Razor, and tell us in a heartbeat where this virus came from.  it seems sort of obvious, when all the information is examined.

It would be good, if a very open and honest inquiry involving both the American and the Chinese labs, could take place.  Maybe the American lab built the bat-human hybrid virus, and sent a culture to the Wuhan lab for analysis and testing/sequencing work, and the damn thing got flushed down a drain by mistake.  Or got put out in the trash, and some city trash disposal worker got infected by a needle-poke or a cut.   Or maybe a wild mouse got in the lab, got infected, and exited.  (I recall a government, high-security computer-room, that had a mouse problem.  Somehow, mice got into the secure room, and had to be trapped and killed, on a regular basis.  We could never figure out how they were getting in,)

At the very least, we should probably run complete and rigourous audits of all the various virology labs where these "Gain-of-function" experiments are taking place.

[ Jan 5, 2021 ] - Sudden Burst of Sanity - The NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) has reversed it's decision to delist three Chinese telecom companies.   That is a surprisingly wise and sensible decision.

If the Trump supporters want to understand why they lost the election, they should focus on the foolish, capricious, xenophobic and just plain idiotic decisions that the Republicans have made, under the Trump regime.   The "Executive Order" by Trump to tell the NYSE to boot three perfectly viable, profitable business entities from the exchange was just stupid, abusive and wrong.

The Trump regime showed itself to be just unwise.  You had this loose-cannon, shoot-from-lip real-estate developer who was just out of his league - but was trying the play the role of a leader.  This sort of Hollywood bullshit is maybe OK for a while - Ron Reagan was very clever in the way he behaved - his power came from wise understatement and careful analysis.

But Trump just kept making stuff up as he went along, and then throwing out dis-information and foolish decisions that hurt his own business clusters and the economic dominance of the USA.  The man was actually acting to damage the power and ability of his own economic agents - and it is those economic agents that have been and still are, very effective at projecting American power around the world.   Trump was almost literally shooting at his own feet - certainly at America's own feet.  

Some of even the most hard-core, right-wing, AR-15-owning USA citizen supporters had to admit that this big monkey had to go.   He was just doing too much serious damage to the soft-power base of the USA.   Trump seemed more interested in trying to generate benefits for Saudi Arabia, than being a good Boss for America.   His diplomatic efforts produced no real results, and his assault on the successful - and global - US economic machine was removing and destroying jobs in the USA, rather than creating them.   It was getting just nuts.

We suspect that a whole bunch of former Trump supporters saw the damage he was doing by his weird-bad policy, and just held their noses, gritted their teeth, and voted for the Biden Democrats, rather than have to endure more xenophobic foolishness and economic damage from Trump.  America is a nation of immigrants, and Mr. Trump seems to have forgotten this basic fact.   And as Canada has shown with remarkable clarity - importing immigrants is one helluva a good way to up-lift and boost - and even turbo-charge - a moribund, lethargic economy.

Historically, the USA President was pretty much the "Boss-of-the-World."   But Trump was explicitly ending this role and was degrading American power.   Under Trump, and his absolutely crazy "America First" policy (a bunch if ill-concieved, abusive, poorly-thought-out and isolationist economic policies), he was seen to be throwing away USA power, prestige and dominance.    It was just so strange to watch.

But the final piece of horseshit - especially for techno-economist types such as ourselves - was this insane decision to boot Chinese companies from the NYSE.    

What possible benefit derives to America from that sort of dim-wit idiocy?

Bravo to the NYSE for reversing this stupid decision.   Doubtless someone on Biden's team told them a change was coming.   The USA and the City of New York and the New York Stock Exchange have spent well over 100 years making themselves into a GLOBAL financial centre.

The NYSE showed the way for the rest of the world.   It is one of America's greatest success stories.   Back in the 1800's, it was London that dominated the financial world.  But the 20th century saw New York rise from being a regional centre for a growing agricultural economy, to being the absolute centre of the financial world.

Why would America throw away this powerful - and profitable - position, at the top of the mountain?  

And this is exactly what they would have been doing, if they start booting out Chinese and other companies, for bogus political reasons.

America retains and expands it's power, it's position in the world, and generates the most benefits for it's people, by being an open, inclusive and engaged global economic machine.  They have proved this fact by their own example and the success that American technology demonstrates daily to the world.

Mr. Trump was breaking the American Machine, and his unwise actions were hurting American business, and restricting American opportunities.   His bad policy decisions were a direct threat to American prosperty.

The USA can own the 21st century, like it owned the 20th century.  But not by turning inward.

Power in the world now comes mostly from economic ability, and human creativity - not so much from military force of arms.  Of course, one needs to have a viable military - but real power comes from the ability to make wealthy citizens, not so much from making bullets, tanks and nuclear missles.  Weapons are good, of course - but so is money.

And it is critical that the money be kept real, and that trade and finance keep working correctly.  It is a very good thing, if Chinese public companies *exist* and can list their shares on the New York Stock Exchange.  This is a very good thing.  It represents an astonishing degree of both human and economic progress.

China abandoned Marxist nonsense, and it was America and the schools it built in China, that offered the social and economic model for the Chinese to see and experience.  Hong Kong showed what was possible, but it was USA that offered the Chinese a chance to participate in a fine global economic model, that has given China the greatest economic success it has ever had in its long history, and at the same time, offered the rest of the World peace, prosperity and real opportunity it would otherwise not have had.

And xenophobic dolts in positions of power, who would degrade, trash, assault and damage this fine progress, have to be sent down - and sent down quickly and firmly.

Mr. Trump and others who complain about the election results should take a moment and just reflect on the genius of the American founders, and wise judgement of the American people.

[ Jan 3, 2021 ] - Let's Fight the Virus, Not Each Other
- More reading on the 1918 "Spanish" Flu...   It is a fascinating subject which I have written about at length here.  Read the original note from the CDC website, at this URL:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/reconstruction-1918-virus.html

This article was written in early 2018, almost two years before the Covid-19 pandemic began.  Keep that in mind.

We defeat this virus with science - not with lockdowns or foolish attempts to quarantine all of society.  Here is an interesting article:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/1/05-0979_article

[ Jan 2, 2021 ] - Leaving Las Vegas- "I'm standing in the middle of a desert, waiting for my ship to come in... "

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkc-en0_LGY

Dealing black-jack 'til one or two.   Such a muddy line between the things you want, and the things you have to do...

[ Jan. 1, 2021 ] - Waving at Mr. Elliot

Sell down to the sleeping-point?    Ok, that takes care of sleep.  Now, what about food and taxes?    :)˜€    

It's amazing what one can do in Linux.  I have these C programs that call Tcl/Tk (the WISH version, for WIndow SHell), which then fires up, and provides an interactive, dynamic interface - so that as you slide the scroll-bars, you can shift and rotate a 3-dimensional image on the Tcl/Tk canvas.  It is really very cool - the Langdon Data Visualizer (LDV).  Been hacking with it for many years.  The math gets done in C, and the Tcl/Tk stuff is used to display info from the C programs, and accept data-input from the buttons and scroll-bars and data-fields.  Got it running with Tck/Tk 7.3/3.6 (the old Xerion-required version), and newer,very solid Tcl/Tk 8.5.   And, I have it running now on both 64-bit and 32-bit boxes - CentOS-7 and old Fedora version for the 32-bit boxes (which actually run very nicely..)

Of course, I want to try GNU-APL with this - link GNU-APL to the Tcl/Tk stuff, so that I can get a canvas and visual palette for the APL.    How hard can it be?   :)

A cool trick would be to map a surface from the AI results, and then use the VIsualizer to navigate thru it, and look for opportunities.  An insane world presents lots of opportunities.   The AI linked to the Visualizer might help to find some interesting and actionable ones.

My New-Year's resolution is to learn to listen to my "inner trader", and also link the model results to action-process in a more formal manner.

Notes - March 22 to December 2020 - Covid Plague Year

2020 - The Year When Everything Changed.

[ Dec. 30-31, 2020 ] - Never Complain, Never Explain

I fear I do far too much of both.   :)

[ Dec. 28, 2020 ] - A Long December - Notes about viral mutation risk:

SARS-CoV-2 Virus Mutation Rate - January 12, 2020 to May 11, 2020.

The new Covid-19 lockdown requirements were expected, as is a market reaction.  We suspect that things will get serious and a bit difficult within a few weeks.

Back in September, some research on the rate of SARS-CoV-2 virus mutation rates was carried out, and the evidence - and a neural-network model of expected future rates of mutation - suggested that this RNA virus could and would mutate at a roughly semi-annual rate of between 2% to 4%.  This was the observed rate of mutation for 4 months, we generalize it to 6, and so we can suggest that an annual mutation rate could be as high as 4% to 8%.

The evidence shows SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the Covid-19 illness to be a vigorous & fast-evolving process.  Such a process - not dissimilar to what we see in modern financial markets - can have fractal characteristics, where the time-series can show evidence of rapid, dynamic and sometimes extreme transition events.

These kind of times-series show evidence of increasing levels of rate-of-change variance as the length of the observed series is increased.  What this means is that the more data you get, the greater chance of seeing an observation where a fractal phase-jump occurs.  This kind of data has rates-of-change that typically either blow-up or crash-to-zero, the process.  We are in the non-linear land of extreme-events.

So we are not surprised at the news of a more contagious virus variant discovered in the UK, or the more lethal variant that appears to have evolved in South Africa.   Regardless of whether this virus was the result of an accidental release of a weapons-research product, or simply an example of active evolution, the fact remains that it is uniquely able to very effectively target and serious infect humans.

An interesting study on the rate of the Covid-19 mutation process, in which Keras with Python was used to develop a neural-network mutation-rate forecasting model, is here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293453/

Given that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is actively evolving - there is the obvious question of vaccine efficacy degradation.   Given that the various vaccines developed are presumed to be invariant medical products, that fact that the Covid-19 disease process is actively evolving suggests that the effectiveness of the vaccine will degrade over time.

It may be necessary to produce *annual* versions of the Covid-19 vaccine, and distribute and administer it much as we already do with annual "flu shots".

Here is an article on how mRNA vaccines work, with some information of efficacy degradation, in a .PDF from MDPI.com (Basel, Switzerland).  It is an interesting article, as it was published in January 2020, pre-Covid-19.

 https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4923/12/2/102/pdf

The MDPI group is interesting.  All their journal articles are free to read.  The authors pay APC's (Article Processing Charges) to publish their material.   Scientist-authors retain copyright, but grant MDPI a license to open-access publish the work.   This is the correct model for scholarly publication.  Folks funded and paid to operate at Universities are on the academic gravy-train, and enjoy - typically - a taxpayer-funded income.  And, the academic folks are judged by the quality and frequency of their publication list.

Historically, folks like ourselves, in the self-financing sector, outside the Ivory-Tower money-flow, had little or no access to the scholarly material of current science.   This is quite wrong and unfair.  And it is also very bad policy, since most major leaps in science knowledge and process come from researchers outside of the mainstream - the mavericks.  The MDPI model lets the self-financing, not-funded folks on the edge of world of science, at least get inside the library.  

This is a good thing.   We need to generate some serious scientific advancements in several fields rather soon now on this tiny planet, or we all risk choking on our own exhalations and drowning in our own poo, very soon.    We cannot sustain hundreds of billions of people on this small Earth, yet that is the course global population growth is tracking towards.

Open-source Big Science is a good idea.  And it may just save the human species from viral plagues, mass die-back & eventual extinction.  We need to keep the mavericks in the loop.

[ Dec. 27, 2020 ] - Cold Work - Serious snow - weather cold, wide-area Covid lockdowns, folks hunkering down.   But all the technology is working (including the water-supply system!), so we are clean, warm, comfortable and happy to be where we are, and doing what we are doing.  And - a special shout-out to the folks in Japan, who make Kubota tractors.  Our big 4-wheel drive diesel Kubota with the bucket-loader and the big turf tires has again been a life-saver.  

We got over one foot of heavy, dense snow on Christmas day.  With the big Kubota we cleared the roadway to the highway and parking areas in less than two hours.  

When we colonize Mars, we better figure out how to get Kubotas up there, and make them run on martian methane + extracted O2, or on fusion generators or something as reliable as the low-sulfur diesel we are using here.

 [ Dec. 25-26, 2020 ] - Skank for Christmas - Works for us here!  Ontario hit with big snow-storm and another hard-core lockdown - Covid-20 (the new more lethal variant) looks like what 2021 might bring.   The UK is shut, and I think they've even closed Yoshiwara's...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDuUE89UgYM

And if Reel Big Fish is not enough, then check out the great Ska band from Germany, "The Skameleons!"  Love this cover version.  Ab/fab est:  (And the lead singer looks like all my neighbours!  It's quite uncanny...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9CF1vXmtrQ

and then when we mine the archives, and find the Mighty*2 Boss Tones - The Impression That We Get is good.  And finally, an over-the-top Ska cover of "Take on Me" by the Fish, long time back in 2009.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIGMUAMevH0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHpU0ZfXZ_g


[ Dec. 24, 2020 ] - Mining With the Horta - Really need this GNU-APL to do graphics - on MacBook and Linux boxes - problems with the Plot_xcb.cc stuff - attaching data-points to the plotted series would wipe out the visual of the series line - like the image was shot with a shotgun along the data-line.  Very strange.  After learning how it worked, I managed to fix it!  Second image from the Top image shows a bunch of test series plotted correctly with data points both solid and hollow.  Now it works!    


[ Dec. 23, 2020 ] - Printer's Devil & Fingers on Strike... - From the "Hellbox" to the bit-bucket, not much has really changed.  The technology is somewhat more helpful, but the lethal stuff has also improved, as has the knowledge base available to those who manage the machinery of control.

I'm hacking the _xcb.cc routines in GNU-APL to fix a glitch which is preventing the plot-points from displaying on either Linux platforms or MacBook.   I want graphics - that works correctly - driven directly by APL functions, without having to write text-files for GNUPlot.  If I can get it to work, I will have achieved what STSC/Manugistics APL provided back in the 1980's, on the MS-DOS P/C's.  This is hilarious.   I have this code which I run in DOSbox - works ok - but it would be so nice if it could run in native mode on a modern platform like Linux.

It is curious how ridiculously awful and absurdly complex most of our technical systems now are.  They really are horrible-awful-terrible.  It is quite amusing, really.  It's not a bad thing - it is really a fine thing for ensuring employment opportunities for clever folks.

The entire Apple ecosystem is an astonishing and awful nightmare of binary vomit-spew - all designed to make people open their wallets and throw cash at Apple.  It is possibly the worst technological development in all of human history - as it completely reduces all *innovation* to games and finger-twiddles on a tiny, crappy little telephone-handset screen.

I don't hate Apple.  The company has done well, as they have done a fine job of making complex stuff simple and available to average not-very-smart people.   This was a genius strategy.

But the restrictive, pure-monopolist strategies they now employ are grotesque, and yet the "anti-trust" actions in the USA are directed at the likes of Google and Microsoft - neither of which have any sort of monopoly-power at all.   Apple *does* have monopoly power, and shows also an extreme willingness to abuse their market dominance as much as they can.

All quite curious and amusing.  Could it be because of the *tracking-and-monitoring* code that Apple has installed in every iPhone?  You don't need a "Stingray" to track an Apple iPhone - as it beams it's location out to everyone!   The Government loves the Apple people-tracking system.

This future here is so amusing.  USA and China have induced all their citizens into wearing "tracking-devices", and even into taking pictures of their own faces and uploading all their personal data into "cloud" databases.   Not only do government entities now have these complete detailed files on everyone, but the silly citizens are even paying the costs of the whole system!

It's all quite astonishing, really.    I use a Huawei Android phone.  It takes nice pictures, and I don't care if China spy on what I am doing.  I publish logs of what we do!

My AI stuff said to stay long, and I cashed out some big-fully-recovered-and-in-profit portfolio positions.   And today, I feel sick as I watch the market continue to rise like a rocket-ship.   Such a neophyte mistake.   A couple of bad trades can really fuck you up.    😀

I asked the AI  "Ok, so should I go long, here at the top?"  and the AI says, (duh): "Yes."  but it seems that I can't get my fingers to key in the buy orders.    I cannot get them to do it...  Each one looks at me and says "Are you fucking insane?  You want to buy at these prices???  You are fucking crazy?  We are not doing it!"  And they refuse to do what I know must be done.

Curious problem, yes?  🤨

[ Dec. 22, 2020 ] - If You Build it, They Will Come - The Spirits of the Season, perhaps?   Or the Daemons of Big Data?... Decided I had to get the GNU-APL working with the latest SVN version.   First got it working right on the Linux boxes, and then on the MacBook.  The Linux boxes were easier, as the trick was to run the ./configure with a "--without-gtk3" option, which disabled the buggy Gtk-3 graphics stuff, and tells GNU-APL to use the "xcb" / X11 library routines for charting purposes.   Linux was easly, Apple Macbook was more difficult  (big surprise - not)...  

But after some extensive hacking around, I finally got the GNU-APL 1.8a to build - WITH THE ⎕PLOT Graphics CAPABILITY - on the MacBook.  This is a big deal, as this allows quality graphics to be generated in real-time, under program control, and with actionable data.

The technical details for the Macbook involve:

  -  having the XQuartz (X11) utilities installed

  -  you need all the command-line build utilities and Xcode 7 or better gcc compatible c++ compiler and tools

  -  you will need to get the "xcb" library routines, which GNU-APL uses to talk to X11, and build these from source  (get xcb 1.12, run tar -xvf,  and then just run ./configure, make, make install to build and install the xcb libraries for X11.

  -  when building the GNU-APL, you need to use:  " ./configure  --without-gtk3"    (since the Gtk routines are not part of MacOSX), and then "make" and "make install" to install the GNU-APL with xcb graphics support for the ⎕PLOT system function.

  -  and for the GNU-APL ./configure, you also need to set the LDFLAGS to where-ever your X11 libraries are, in my case it was:

       export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/X11/lib"

  -   also have to make sure you xcb routines and xcb-proto.pc(the /usr/X11/lib/pkgconfig file) are the  same version as the X11 library routines  and xproto headers).  I had to download xcb_1.12 version as a tar.gz file, and [ ./configure, make, make install ] to build the xcb routines.

The xcb code is old, and works well.  If you have XQuartz installed (for MacOSx X11 support), the whole thing works pretty good.  The xcb stuff is how ⎕PLOT talks to X11 and gets it to fling up graphics windows containing the plots.  Note that the GNU-APL surface plots are configured using a 3-d matrix (a "cube" or "block" of data-values).   It is the rho=3 that tells ⎕PLOT it is a surface plot, and not a table full of lines, to chart.

[ Dec. 17, 2020 ] - Workin' in Coal Mine- How long can this go on?  Vaccines are rolling out for some - but folks in Cali are looking at some difficult times for the "Holidays",   The markets are bubbling along on money-printing, while sensible investments like old-fashioned Government bonds are being trashed with super-low, zero or even negative interest rates.  Curious how the folks in charge of things seem to pretty much have no clue at all.   Much like the rest of us!   😎    Even Federal Reserve chairman Powell in USA has admitted that low or zero interest rates do not appear to stimulate the wider economy.   (In the old days, we called this: "Pushing on a String". )

Data-hacking with the GNU-APL.  Fine product, and so I used SVN to download the current source-tree, and after a bit of fiddling with some related tools-code, got it to build on the Linux box.   (The program: "ncurses_emul.cc" needed to have "#include " included, otherwise the compile could not find "getenv" - specific compiler error was: "error: 'getenv' was not declared in this scope". )

WIth the #include directive pulling in , everything built OK.  I'm running CentOS-7, with an elrepo kernel, where "uname -a" reports:

Linux  4.4.185-1.el7.elrepo.x86_64 #1 SMP Wed Jul 10 08:46:17 EDT 2019 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

and gcc version:

gcc (GCC) 4.8.5 20150623 (Red Hat 4.8.5-28)

and reasonably current bunch of build tools... (Note: using libtool version:  2.4.2)

Had some issues with the APL workspaces from tarball GNU-APL 1.8 version (circa 2019) not loading in this latest GNU-APL (which reports as APL 1.8 / SVN 1379 ), but I confirmed the solution is to take the APL 1.8 workspaces, and SAVE them using ")DUMP".  Then, in APL 1.8/SVN-1379, you use ")COPY" and you will get the Function and Variables - but you may get some splatter from immediate-mode script-stuff that the )COPY tries to run.  But I got the contents of my hacked "gnuplot_LINUX.apl" stuff into SVN-1379 version, and have been doing some tests.

One thing I noticed, is that ⎕PLOT works not quite right on the latest SVN 1379 version.  The very first picture (up top) shows the difference.  You should be able to control the graphic image background, with a parameter "canvas_color:  #nnnnnn" (where #nnnnnn is just RGB hex colour values - ie. "#2c2c2c" for a dark-grey)  as part of the table of arguments passed to ⎕PLOT as the left argument.   But instead of changing the whole graphic colour, it just changes the background color of the tiny box that holds the graphic "Legend".

Since it works right on the 2019 GNU-APL 1.8, I suspect this little bug will be an easy fix.

All in all, the GNU-APL is quite good.  Like Python, it can hook into other utilities (eg. the Fast Fourier Transform library, for example), and it can also just call applications like GNUPLOT directly, using the ")HOST " trick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVmNJzM6LB8

[ Dec. 16, 2020 ] - Model says down, TRASER Simulator has gone short.  I have no idea, market looks crazy, but as time goes by, I am learning to respect (if not quite trust), the models.  They have no emotional committment.  🤔

[Dec. 15, 2020 - PM]  A Picture is Worth a Thousand Lines of Code - Oh my!  I just discovered the ⎕PLOT function in GNU-APL.  It does not work on the MacBook, but it DOES work on the Linux boxes.  (Plus, it looks like I can render APL chars in this webpage editor!)...  Here is a simple graphic, 2000 random numbers, 1 to 1000:

      ∇RAN_PLOT[⎕]∇
    ∇
[0]   RAN_PLOT
[1]  ⍝ --- Plot 2000 Random Numbers.  Note, this fn uses global var: Attr
[2]  ⍝ --- Attr is a nested array of "attrib: value" (eg: "line_width-1: 1 pixel") which passes parms to ⎕PLOT as left argument
[3]  ⍝ --- This function simply displays a PLOT of 2000 random numbers, in the range of 1 to 1000.
[4]   Attr ⎕PLOT ,(1000?1000),,(1000?1000)
    ∇

The left argument to ⎕PLOT is a nested array of "parameter:  value" strings, - basically just an encapsulated table.  You can display it with the "disclose" operator, on the "Attr" variable: (viz.)

      ⊃Attr
legend_name-1:  Random Numbers        
caption: A Plot of Many Random Numbers
line_width-1: 1 pixel                 
pa_border_L: 60 pixel                 
point_size-1: 3 pixel                 
canvas_color: #2C2C2C                 
pa_width: 1100                        
pa_height: 700                        
      
What this does, is pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?   See the top image, for the example Screen-shot of the PLOT.

This JUST WORKS on the Linux box (the CentOS-7 64-bit box), as CentOS-7 (and newer, doubtless), comes with all the GTK stuff.  And it JUST WORKS.  I am really impressed.  This is good.

[ Dec. 15, 2020 ] Secret Histories - I once sat in a bookstore (Indigo in Toronto's Eaton Centre) and read all of Procopius' "Secret History", and then I read another - from Victorian England times, and then I read "My Secret History" by Paul Theroux.  These were interesting because unlike most material, they tried to tell the truth.  The Victorian one was really amusing and a bit scary - it detailed the "romantic" exploits of the protagonist...

Key fact here is that we are immersed and embedding in deception and disinfo, mostly.  Often times, truth is obscured or buried for obvious, and clear reasons.

This is particularly true whenever money is involved.

And the investment process - and the market for paper (or now "digital") securities - is of course, profoundly insecure.  It has to be, if you think for a little bit about what is really happening.

Investments mostly *must* erase wealth - especially since we now understand compound growth - and it's diabolical twin, "compound interest".   

If you want to understand something - try the Edward de Bono trick (the famous author of "Creative Thinking") of inverting meaning and semantical constructions, to seek new insight.  View the markets not as a wealth-making thing, but as a wealth-destroying thing.  View the financial press - with all it's numbers - not as a truth-diseminating device, but as a deception-diseminating device.   And suddenly, things become rather clear, perhaps?

The markets are doing their job, if they carefully operate ***counter*** to the process of basic wealth-generation via compound interest.  If one can capture a yield of say, 5%, then basic math shows that $10,000 invested for 50 years becomes 11.467 x 10000 = $114,674, which is not bad.  But invest for 150 years, and your $10,000 becomes 1.05 to the exponent 150 => 1507.977 x 10000 = $15,079,775.    And if you can run this process for 300 years, then your $10,000 investment can be grown to 2,273,996 x $10,000 = 2.273996 x 10 to the exponent 10, which is: $22,739,960,000.   That number is over 22 billion dollars.  (Here, we take 1 billion to mean 1000 million.)

If investments worked over long-term time spans, then every family could be multi-billionaires.

But investments do *not* work over long-term, trans-generational time-spans, and people know this. And what this means in practice, is that investment markets *must* crash on a ***regular*** basis, if they are to do their job.    But they also - and this is very critical to the process - they must, using all neural/motivational methods - create the ***illusion*** that great gain is actually possible.   This is the absolute and critical component in the investment process - this fabrication of the ***illusion*** of gain, is required to get cautious, careful people to throw away their caution, and "buy the story", and pay real money for the paper "assets".

Many investments of course are quite reasonable and viable.  And significant technological change really, honestly can (and does) produce great gains in real wealth and prosperity - for both individuals and for nations and for the planetary human community at large.  Three examples - the A/C power grid, the germ-theory of disease (and the behavioural changes to induce personal and urban cleaning), and the "green revolution" (the massive crop-yield improvements that have occurred since the 1950's) - each of these has produced a massive and significant payoff.  You can see this payoff in the global growth of human population.

So, in some sense, the growth process is working.  Science+Industry is creating real gains, and the results of these gains are compounding.  Each of us - with access to modern pharamceuticals, high-quality food, refrigeration and nuclear-generated A/C power in our homes - each of us is actually wealthier than any King or Prince was before 1850.  So, in one sense, we actually are all "billionaires".

But not in the financial sense.  Very few are super-rich, and even fewer are super-rich because of multi-generational successful family investment strategies.  The Aga Khan comes to mind, and yes, there is evidence that his family business has been multi-generationally successful.  But successfully investing across generations - even across mere decades - is profoundly difficult, as the risks are myriad.

And this is how it has to be.

One could argue that the primary purpose of the "financial markets" is to ensure that periodic reset-events are generated - sufficient to ensure that trans-generational wealth created using compound-growth, is specifically *not* available to most people.   The old aphorism I recall my father using was: "Overalls to overalls in three generations."   [A poor farmer and a working-man, wears overalls, as his work is manual and typically dirty and difficult.  A rich man - gentleman farmer or businesss owner - wears a suit or other expensive mufti.]

The general familial experience described is as follows:  The first generation is poor but ambitious and has good health (as the weak ones all died in childhood).  The first generation in North America were typically immigrants, risking all to seek a better life here.  They worked hard, studied hard, and took careful risks to make gains.   Many were successful, and those who became wealthy passed the wealth to their children.   The second generation typically would build upon the legacy, and expand and enhance the business, and become - in many cases - quite wealthy.   But the third-generation, born into significant wealth and knowing no other picture-of-the-world, behaves badly.  Typically, they make bad, high-risk investments, and/or are not careful or prudent.   They squander the wealth, and the family is reduced again to poverty.  And their children wear overalls to work.  So this story goes.

But life-risks being what they are, many families do not even make it to the "second generation" wealth-advancing stage.  Their business efforts fail, or their abilities and skills are weak, and they squander any surplus they managed to obtain.   This is common, and explains the world of "salary-men" (and now, "salary women", as the nuclear family seems to have been nuked also..)

But in a larger context, we can see that the entire world - living well and living large off the scientific and technological gains of the last 150 years - is acting like the spoiled rich kids of the "Third Generation", and is perhaps "pissing-away" the legacy they have been handed at no cost to them.

Every old guy probably feels this to be true:  "Goddamn kids are no good now!  They're just being lazy, stupid and spoiled and want to get everything for free!"    (I think some ancient Greek fellow in 3rd century BC Athens is quoted as saying something like this...)

But what is pretty clear - is that the markets have to run these "reset events" at least once per generation - say every 25 years or so - just to ensure that not *everyone* in every family ends up as a billionaire.  The financial markets give the illusion of working well, to a create compounding investment opportunities.  They work well - until then don't.  And then, they reset (ie. crash).

So remember this if and when your time comes to purchase "financial assets".   Chances are that the fellow who is selling these "assets" to you, knows more about their true value, than you do, and that he is happy to have your cash-money instead of the paper (or "digital"!) assets in question.  

If you wish to invest successfully, then you need to understand scarcity, human nature, the power that is made available by technological methods and be expert at rational analytic process.  You need to get good, clean data, and accurate descriptive and contextual information, and know something that the mass of investors do not yet recognize.  And you must embrace and manage risk, and make it your friend.   You must buy when most others want to sell, and sell, when most others want to buy.   This describes something that is very, very difficult to do.

But you need to try to do it.  The alternative is that you cannot pay your bills, and you do not eat!   You will be reduced to again selling your labour-effort to someone else.   Successful investment confers freedom upon the investor, if he can generate a reasonable income stream from the investments.  Just be careful to ensure that your *income stream* is not just a return of your investment capital, but labelled as something else!

On balance, I suspect that over the long-term, stock markets probably destroy more wealth than they create.  It is so very difficult to see the "graveyards" of failed investments, in history.  At any point in time, when we look backwards - all we see are the successful outcomes.  This is called "survivorship bias", and explains the "long-term investment gains" that academic economists identify in equity market investments.  These folks argue that market gains are between 4 to 7 percent, over the "long term".   To that, I can only say: "Nonsense."   Or maybe, in the word of an old Physics professor I knew long ago:  "Bunk."    :)

[ Dec, 14, 2020 ]   Celtic Fringe - Spent the weekend cutting wood, splitting it, and getting the latest GNU-APL (Version 1.8) to build on my MacBook-Pro laptop.  It Finally Just Works - but it took some effort.  Managed to built it with useful libraries (eg. FFTW3), and I also had GNUplot and Xterm already installed.  Got the Keyboard stuff working using the OS-X keyboard files (both Font and Keyboard Layout file), as per the GNUAPL_on_MacOS .PDF file documentation.   (Also, thanx a ton to Dyalog APL in the UK, for your APL keyboard Font.  Much appreciated.)    Note that GNUplot37 was one of my Android Apps that used to be available on Google's Android "PlayStore", so I am pretty familiar with GNUplot, since I built it from source and use it regularly.

My Macbook is an older platform, circa 2015, running 10.10.5 Yosemite, but I've configured it with all the Apple Xcode and GNU build utilities, and I've used it to built TensorFlow, TCL/Tk (several versions), and a command-line version of Xerion, and a bunch of other stuff.  I have XQuartz installed, so the Xterm stuff works.  (The GNUPlot graphics display renders in an X-term window via XQuartz - that stuff is good technology).   I've also built the zasm tools to create the applications for the Z-80 NorthStar board -  Z-80Monitor and the BASIC interpreter - and the tools to burn Eproms for the Z80, and a CP/M emulator, for a future project (a CP/M-based Z80 SBC, which can run an old APL11 Z80 binary I found.)

It is wonderful to get the GNU-APL working on the MacBook, as now I have native-Unix/Linux APL - same codebase - on all the Linux-boxes (32-bit and 64-bit) and the MacBook.   And the GNUplot.apl APL-script example provided a clear illustration on how to read and write text files (GNUPlot command file and numeric datafile), so this provides a complete environment to do real work.  The GNU-APL author, Dr. Jurgen Saurmann, is a scholar and gentleman for making GNU-APL available.  Judging by the quality of this product, he is a helluva good programmer, too.

It is possible, for example, to have gigabyte-size workspaces.  As a test, you can create a 100 million element vector, add it up, or do some calculations upon it, and then statistically summarize it, and plot the results in a GNUplot Xterm window - all programmatically, and with maybe 10 or 15 lines of code, tops.

And you don't have to putz around with Python and Numpy and Tcl/Tk and C-code or even Fortran - not that there's anything wrong with doing any of that.  All those tools and languages are fine and useful and excellent.  Really, they are.  They make the magic possible.

It's just that I write my pseudo-code in APL -  so now, I can jump right to the investigation of an idea, without the hack-whacking and coding whoo-haa that usually stands in the way of results.

So far, my various tests show that the GNU-APL seems to work quite well, and it's results for simple tests like matrix-inversion & multiple linear-equation solving match what other APL's give me on other machines.  (Manugistics, IPSharpAPL, TryAPL, APL-2000, WatcomAPL etc.).

It should be a good tool for AI research and experimentation.    Only really problem:  Ars Longa, Vita Brevis.  :)

[ Dec. 11, 2020 ]  Ya Hey - Finally, the regulatory blockers are unblocking access to the various Covid-19 vaccines.  About time.   Curious how slow governments move - the old concept of "Never be in the same room as a decision" seems to be in play, I suspect.  The FDA actually has a bunch of people *vote* on whether or not to approve a drug.  That way, no one person is actually responsible for anything.  This is an appallingly bad way to do things - but very typical of the constipated process of  modern government.  It illustrates why government agency players can never really accomplish anything other than increasing taxes and hiring more government "workers".  

Just a tiny query in the history of vaccine development yielded this interesting data:  An interesting & detailed account of the non-doctor (a clinical "zoologist") from Odessa, named Waldemar Haffkine, who developed what looks to be one of the first vaccines against the bacterial disease, cholera, and then deployed it in India, which at the time - 1894 - was a British Colony, where cholera routinely killed thousands of people on a regular basis.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-55050012

My own small research into the nature and process of significant scientific and technological process invention and development suggests that it is very often the *outsider* who makes the big breakthru discoveries & developments in Science.  Albert Einstein, the Swiss Patent Office Clerk, is the canonical example everyone knows about.   Michael Faraday - possibly the greatest scientists who ever lived - was another.  Mostly self-taught, he had to quit school early, and work.  He worked in a book-store, and read every book.  To get a job at the Royal Society, he worked as a lab assistant, cleaning equipment.  He carefully discovered and documented most of what we know about electricity, and how it could be applied to make electrical devices.  He built the first working electric motor, documented and explained electromagnatism and chemical electrolysis, and took electrical phenomenon - which had been known about since the time of the ancient Athenian Greeks - from a magicians curiosity to scientifically understood process.

This fellow Haffkine, whom I had never even heard of - is interesting, because he looks to have been part of that great scientific uplift that occurred at the beginning of the 20th century.   Haffkine was working on his cholera vaccine, at the same time Einstein was working on his paper on the photo-electric effect, and De Forest in the USA was inventing the vacuum-tube "valve"  by putting a charged grid between the anode and cathode of an Edison diode.

The late 19th and early 20th century time period - a fifteen year span from 1895 to 1910 - is one of the most interesting in all of human history.  We went from horse-wagons and oil-lamps and digging with hand-shovels - to automobiles, aircraft, telephones, radio, diesel-powered heavy machinery, and the AC power grid.  The jump in prosperity and human life-quality that was enabled by scientific development and technological improvement was like nothing ever seen before.  The human urban world went from mud, dirt and wood, to cement, steel and glass.   Infant mortality probabilities began their march down from the 10 to 15% levels, to the 0.1% levels.

The world made a jump from poverty to prosperity, especially in the Northern, commercial economies, and this jump was almost entirely enabled by scientific advancement and technological development.  Politics was irrelevant - and if anything, it is often the "office politics" of the world, that holds back human advancement.

And what is particularly curious, is the degree to which the *outsider* and the maverick personality - often self-educated, or not educationally-damaged by scholastic orthodoxy - seems to figure so significantly in the critical scientific leaps that make the technology work.

It seems to be no accident that so much advancement takes place in the USA, since really only in the USA, is the maverick personality actually recognized at being someone or something of positive value.  The typical orthodoxy of much of the science establishment is extreme and intense, it seems.   So many people involved in science efforts quietly document this in their private notes and letters.   And the extremely successful, who make great progress, often do so by removing themselves from academia at their earliest opportunity.  School seems to crush the creative spirit, snuff out the creative spark, and dim the power and ability of the true scientist.

And yet the scientist needs the lab - and I suppose even the lab rats.  Without funding - without some sort of ability to remain solvent and able to pay for food, shelter and equipment - it is just not possible to really do anything at all.    The fire of the desire to know, just dies.  And the building is not built, if the builder is absent.   Progress and advancement stops, and decay and retrograde motion begin.  And the world becomes dominated by those who are good at national "office politics".

In the lab, you have the "freedom to fail", but not so in politics.  Politics requires the constant production of the "illusions of success" and perhaps that is why anyone with integrity and real honesty finds the entire political process so profoundly revolting.  Liars and fraudsters seem to be particularly attracted to politics - and also even worse - abusive, murdering thieves and gangsters.

That harsh Victorian world of the late 19th century was not a world unkind to the process and advancement of science and even the human arts.  The Victorians understood progress, and both wanted and expected it to happen.    Perhaps that explains the curious attraction of the "Steam-Punk" fashion.  London of the 1890's was a dangerous and difficult place - but it was like America of the 20th century - New York City of the 1920's - a curious place where the future could be created in a laboratory - and then brought quickly to market.

[ Dec. 10, 2020 ]  Under Pressure - But not quite enough pressure, as it turns out.  The Raptor engines in the SpaceX Starship vehicle uses LOX and methane, and full pre-burn cycle, so you need something like 200 bars of pressure inside the tank+engine to keep the Raptor firing with full thrust.  This is difficult technology, and it is why testing has to be done.  ("< Boom > "...  "Ah, right.  Hmmm.  Ok, bring out another rocket, guys..." ).   Using methane for rocket-fuel is difficult.  

The SpaceX landing attempt was unsuccessful due to insufficient fuel pressure, according to  reports.  (Same thing happened on my old F-150, when the little electronic control module below the fuel tank failed. No fuel pressure. You turn the key, and get - nothing.)

The big Starship rocket did fly it's ascent run OK, and it did the landing flip, under what looks like an aerodynamic flap system - which is pretty amazingly impressive.   That is some fine flying, guys.  The landing was hard, but was also spot on target, with minimal damage, even after the explosion.  Not a bad test at all, really.   It looked like space-alien technology, truth be told.  (Good decision to use stainless-steel for rocketship construction.  Stainless-steel alloys are good materials to make things with.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap-BkkrRg-o&feature=youtu.be&t=6462

I remember a friend of mine bought a turbocharged Porsche 911.  It had a "Bar-meter" for the turbo pressure, and when it moved up, we really moved out.

Running under high pressure is tough for both machines and people.   But you can get places quick, if you can do it successfully.

And here is the key message:  This SpaceX Starship-8 rocket flight is just about a perfect visual description of what is likely to happen to our stock markets.    The S&P earnings multiple is now estimated at 37 times.  Last year, it was 22 times.

[ Dec. 8, 2020 ] APL & SQL - So Happy Together!...- Ok, this is a bit extreme, but I wrote this last nite.  I will put it somewhere more sensible later..

 
Available function numbers for GNU-APL to Access SQL-Lite Database:


type  ⎕SQL[1] file      - open a database file, return reference ID for it
      ⎕SQL[2] ref       - close database
query ⎕SQL[3,db] params - send SQL query
query ⎕SQL[4,db] params - send SQL update
      ⎕SQL[5] ref       - begin a transaction
      ⎕SQL[6] ref       - commit current transaction
      ⎕SQL[7] ref       - rollback current transaction
      ⎕SQL[8] ref       - list tables
ref   ⎕SQL[9] table     - list columns for table


  Example of Using SQL-Lite (Version 3) "sqlite3" with GNU-APL
  ============================================================

The weirdly curious lack of "How-To's" and "Examples" on modern documentation
is rather unfortunate.  Everyone who writes, assumes that everyone is already
a domain-level expert.   This is a profoundly incorrect assumption, guys.

Here is a simple example of creating an SQLITE database and putting some
records in it, and then reading these records from within a GNU-APL workspace.

Hope this is useful for non-experts who are curious and want/need to do some
real work using their Linux-boxes!

- Mark Langdon,
  Owner & Developer,
  GEMESYS Ltd.
  December 8th, 2020


======== Example Of Creating SQLite3 Database and Reading it in GNU-APL =====

             Create a Tiny Example SQLite3 Database
             ======================================

Here, we are at command-level, in an X-Term window in the user directory.
We will create a tiny two-column database table, and put two records in it.

First, we just start "sqlite3" and confirm we can successfully exit it.
This confirms it is installed by default on our CentOS-7 Linux box, which
runs the default GNOME Windowing environment, which is similar to Windows-10.


( ---- Let's start SQLite3 at Linux Command-Line Level... )

[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$ sqlite3

SQLite version 3.7.17 2013-05-20 00:56:22
Enter ".help" for instructions
Enter SQL statements terminated with a ";"
sqlite> .quit


( ---- Now, we will create a tiny database in a file called:  mclnote.db )


[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$ sqlite3 mclnote.db
SQLite version 3.7.17 2013-05-20 00:56:22
Enter ".help" for instructions
Enter SQL statements terminated with a ";"


( ---- The database has been created, and we can now use CREATE and INSERT verbs )
( ---- in SQL to create a datatable, which will be called "notes" and will have  )
( ---- a line of text, and an integer number, which we will call "date".         )


sqlite> create table notes(text,date INTEGER);


( ---- We put two rows in the table, using INSERT verb.  This is just standard SQL. )
( ---- Note that SQL commands are terminated with semi-colons...                    )


sqlite> insert into  notes values('This is the first test note.', 20201205);
sqlite> insert into notes values('This is the second test note.', 20201205);


( ---- Now, lets see if the data is actually in the table.  We use the SELECT    )
( ---- verb to query the table and display it's contents.                        )


sqlite> select * from notes;
This is the first test note.|20201205
This is the second test note.|20201205


( ---- Ok, lets quit SQLite3... )


sqlite> .quit;
Error: unknown command or invalid arguments:  "quit;". Enter ".help" for help

( ---- Didn't work, did it...   )

sqlite> .quit


( ---- Ok, that worked.  We have a file in the user directory called "mclnote.db". )
( ---- We can confirm it exists, using the Linux "ls" command that lists files...  )


[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$ ls *.db -l
-rw-r--r--. 1 mcl mcl 2048 Dec  5 18:04 mclnote.db


( ---- This is our sample tiny database example, which we will read in GNU-APL. )


      Read an SQL database table created with SQLite3 from within GNU-APL
      ===================================================================

( ---- Start GNU-APL...  )

[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$ apl -noColor
unknown option '-noColor'
usage: apl [options]
    options:
    -h, --help           print this help
    -d                   run in the background (i.e. as daemon)
    -f file              read APL input from file
    --id proc            use processor ID proc (default: first unused > 1000)
    --cfg                show ./configure options used and exit
    --noCIN              do not echo input (for scripting)
    --echoCIN            echo (final) input to COUT
    --rawCIN             do not emit escape sequences
    --[no]Color          start with ]XTERM ON [OFF])
    --noCONT             do not )LOAD CONTINUE or SETUP workspace on startup
    --emacs              run in (classical) emacs mode
    --emacs_arg arg      run in emacs mode with argument arg
    --gpl                show license (GPL) and exit
    -L wsname            )LOAD wsname (and not SETUP or CONTINUE) on startup
    --LX expr            execute APL expression expr first
    -p N                 use profile N in preferences files
    --par proc           use processor parent ID proc (default: no parent)
    --PW value           initial value of ⎕PW
    -q, --silent         do not print the welcome banner
    -s, --script         same as --silent --noCIN --noCONT --noColor
    --safe               safe mode (no shared vars, no native functions)
    --show_bin_dir       show binary directory and exit
    --show_doc_dir       show documentation directory and exit
    --show_etc_dir       show system configuration directory and exit
    --show_lib_dir       show library directory and exit
    --show_src_dir       show source directory and exit
    --show_all_dirs      show all directories above and exit
    --[no]SV             [do not] start APnnn (a shared variable server)
    -T testcases ...     run testcases
    --TM mode            test mode (for -T files):
                         0:   (default) exit after last testcase
                         1:   exit after last testcase if no error
                         2:   continue (don't exit) after last testcase
                         3:   stop testcases after first error (don't exit)
                         4:   exit after first error
    --TR                 randomize order of testfiles
    --TS                 append to (rather than override) summary.log
    -v, --version        show version information and exit
    -w milli             wait milli milliseconds at startup
    --                   end of options for apl


( ---- Ok, the attempt to start APL with the "--noColor" option didn't work, because  )
( ---- I entered "-noColor" with a single dash, not the required "--" (double dash).  )
( ---- If you try to start GNU-APL without "--noColor", on my CentOS-7 Linux box, I   )
( ---- get some scrambled video which requires an ")off" and then a "reset" to be     )
( ---- entered, to restore operation of the X-Term window. (This is some problem with )
( ---- the emacs editor front-end for APL, which does not work on my system.)         )
( ---- If I start APL with "--noColor", everything works fine.                        )


[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$ apl --noColor
                                       
                    ______ _   __ __  __    ___     ____   __
                   / ____// | / // / / /   /   |   / __ \ / /
                  / / __ /  |/ // / / /   / /| |  / /_/ // /  
                 / /_/ // /|  // /_/ /   / ___ | / ____// /___
                 \____//_/ |_/ \____/   /_/  |_|/_/    /_____/
                                       
            Welcome to GNU APL version 1.7 / Unversioned directory
                                       
                Copyright (C) 2008-2016  Dr. Jürgen Sauermann
                       Banner by FIGlet: www.figlet.org
                                       
                This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY;
                          for details run: apl --gpl.
                                       
     This program is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
         according to the GNU Public License (GPL) version 3 or later.
                                       
          
      
      )help

( ---- Enter ")help" causes all GNU-APL commands to be shown... )

APL Commands:
      )CHECK
      )CLEAR
      )CONTINUE
      )COPY [lib] wsname [object ...]
      )DROP [[lib] wsname]
      )ERASE symbol ...
      )DUMP-HTML [[lib] wsname]
      )DUMPV [[lib] wsname]
      )DUMP [[lib] wsname]
      )FNS [from-to]
      )HELP
      )HIST [CLEAR]
      )HOST command
      )IN filename [object ...]
      )LIBS [[lib] path]
      )LIB [lib|path]
      )LOAD [lib] wsname
      )MORE
      )NMS [from-to]
      )OFF
      )OPS [from-to]
      )OUT filename [object ...]
      )PCOPY [lib] wsname [object ...]
      )PIN filename [object ...]
      )QLOAD [lib] wsname
      )RESET
      )SAVE [[lib] wsname]
      )SIC
      )SINL
      )SIS
      )SI
      )SYMBOLS [count]
      )VALUES
      )VARS [from-to]
      )WSID [wsname]
      ]BOXING [OFF|2|3|4|7|8|9]
      ]COLOR [ON|OFF]
      ]NEXTFILE
      ]EXPECT error_count
      ]HELP
      ]KEYB
      ]LIB [lib|path]
      ]LOG [facility [ON|OFF]]
      ]OWNERS
      ]PSTAT [CLEAR|SAVE]
      ]SIS
      ]SI
      ]SVARS
      ]SYMBOL symbol
      ]USERCMD [ ]ucmd APL_fun [mode]
               | ]ucmd { ... }
               | REMOVE ]ucmd
               | REMOVE-ALL
               ]
      ]XTERM [ON|OFF]

System variables:
      ⎕AI     Account Information
      ⎕ARG    command line ARGuments of the interpreter
      ⎕AV     Atomic Vector
      ⎕CT     Comparison Tolerance
      ⎕EM     Event Message
      ⎕ET     Event Type
      ⎕FC     Format Control
      ⎕IO     Index Origin
      ⎕L      Left Argument
      ⎕LC     Line Counters
      ⎕LX     Latent Expression
      ⎕PP     Printing Precision
      ⎕PR     Prompt Replacement
      ⎕PS     Print Style
      ⎕PW     Print Width
      ⎕R      Right Argment
      ⎕RL     Random Link
      ⎕SVE    Shared Variable Event
      ⎕SYL    SYstem Limits
      ⎕TC     Terminal Control characters
      ⎕TS     Time Stamp
      ⎕TZ     Time Zone
      ⎕UL     User Load
      ⎕X      aXis Argument
      ⎕WA     Workspace Available
      λ       { ... } result
      ⍺       { ... } left value argument
      ⍵       { ... } right value argument
      χ       { ... } axis argument
      ⍶       { ... } left function argument
      ⍹       { ... } right function argument

System functions:
      ⎕AF     Atomic Function
      ⎕AT     Attributes
      ⎕CR     Character Representation
      ⎕DL     Delay
      ⎕DLX    D. Knuth's - Dancing Links
      ⎕EA     Execute Alternate
      ⎕EB     Execute Both
      ⎕EC     Execute Controlled
      ⎕ENV    ENvironment Variables
      ⎕ES     Event Simulate
      ⎕EX     EXpunge
      ⎕FIO    File I/O
      ⎕FX     FiX
      ⎕INP    INPut from script
      ⎕NA     Name Association
      ⎕NC     Name Class
      ⎕NL     Name List
      ⎕SI     State Indicator
      ⎕SQL    SQL functions
      ⎕SVC    Shared Variable Control
      ⎕SVO    Shared Variable Offer
      ⎕SVQ    Shared Variable Query
      ⎕SVR    Shared Variable Retraction
      ⎕SVS    Shared Variable State
      ⎕STOP   STOP vector
      ⎕TF     Transfer Form
      ⎕TRACE  TRACE vector
      ⎕UCS    Universal Character Set (aka. Unicode)
       

      Bad UTF8 sequence start at LineInput.cc:987
Bad UTF8 sequence start at LineInput.cc:987

( ---- If you enter an incorrect ALT-key sequence, you might get the  )
( ---- above error message.  Don't worry about it, just carry on...   )


      ⎕SQL 'sfsfs'

( --- Above, if you enter a bogus command to Quad-SQL, you get the SQL help...)

Available function numbers:
type  ⎕SQL[1] file      - open a database file, return reference ID for it
      ⎕SQL[2] ref       - close database
query ⎕SQL[3,db] params - send SQL query
query ⎕SQL[4,db] params - send SQL update
      ⎕SQL[5] ref       - begin a transaction
      ⎕SQL[6] ref       - commit current transaction
      ⎕SQL[7] ref       - rollback current transaction
      ⎕SQL[8] ref       - list tables
ref   ⎕SQL[9] table     - list columns for table


( ---- Ok, so now, I try to open the SQLite3 database I just created... )
( ---- All this below is wrong... :)  -------------------------------   )

      ⎕SQL[1] mclnotes.db
VALUE ERROR
      ⎕SQL[1]mclnotes.db
                      ^
      ⎕SQL[1] 'mclnotes.db'
DOMAIN ERROR+
      ⎕SQL[1]'mclnotes.db'
      ^     ^
       1 ⎕SQL[1] 'mclnotes.db'
VALUE ERROR+
      1 ⎕SQL[1]'mclnotes.db'
      ^
        
        ⎕SQL[1] './mclnotes.db'
DOMAIN ERROR+
      ⎕SQL[1]'./mclnotes.db'
      ^     ^
      
      ⎕SQL[1] 'mclnote.db'
DOMAIN ERROR+
      ⎕SQL[1]'mclnote.db'
      ^     ^
      ⎕SQL[1] './mclnote.db'
DOMAIN ERROR+
      ⎕SQL[1]'./mclnote.db'
      ^     ^
      'sqlite3' ⎕SQL[1] './mclnote.db'
VALUE ERROR+
      'sqlite3' ⎕SQL[1]'./mclnote.db'
      ^

( ---- end of my wrong stuff that did not work!  Don't be discouraged...          )
( ---- you have to tell Quad-SQL command the type of database you want to open... )
( ---- once you open the database correctly, it will return a "reference number"  )
( ---- which the documentation carefully indicates as "ref" :) ...                )  


      'sqlite' ⎕SQL[1] './mclnote.db'
0

( ---- Ok, Success!  The database in local user directory has been opened ...)
( ---- Your reference handle to the database is "0" or the number zero ...   )
( ---- This command below Quad-SQL[8] displays the tables in the database ...)
( ---- You use the "reference number" to tell the Quad-SQL command which     )
( ---- database to refer to ...                                              )

      ⎕SQL[8] 0
 notes

( ---- Now, we can select all the contents of the "notes" table ... )


      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0]
SYNTAX ERROR
      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0]
      ^                         ^
      
( ---- What went wrong?  We forgot to include some paramter number.     )
( ---- When we include a parameter number, the SELECT statement works.  )


      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] 0
 This is the first test note.  20201205
 This is the second test note. 20201205
      
( ---- Experimentation, confirms that this parameter number can be anything...)

      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3] 0
RANK ERROR+
      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3]0
      ^                           ^
      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,1] 0
DOMAIN ERROR+
      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,1]0
      ^                             ^

( ---- The database reference number is the second element of the Quad-SQL[3] )
( ---- system command vector, which is very curious, but such is life..       )

      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] 1
 This is the first test note.  20201205
 This is the second test note. 20201205

( ---- The parameter to the Quad-SQL[3,dbrefnum] command can be anything ...  )
( ---- Below, we make it '234', and the command works.                        )

      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] 234
 This is the first test note.  20201205
 This is the second test note. 20201205


( ---- But, if we fail to include this parameter number, then the command fails... )

      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0]    
SYNTAX ERROR
      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0]
      ^                         ^

( ---- Here, we make it '4564435', and the SELECT statement works correctly...  )

      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] 4564435
 This is the first test note.  20201205
 This is the second test note. 20201205

( ---- We can make the parameter here iota-zero, which is NULL.  Still works... )

      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] ⍳0     
 This is the first test note.  20201205
 This is the second test note. 20201205
      

( ---- Ok, so now we close the SQL database, using Quad-SQL[2], dbrefnum=0 ...  )


      ⎕SQL[2] 0


( ---- Since we closed the SQL database, any attempt to SELECT from it fails... )


      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] ⍳0
DOMAIN ERROR+
      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0]⍳0
      ^                              ^

( ---- Ok, so lets re-open the database....    )

      
      'sqlite' ⎕SQL[1] './mclnote.db'
0

( ---- The Quad-SQL[1] command opens the database "mclnote.db" in local directory...)
( ---- And below, we run the SELECT against "notes" again, to get all the data ...  )

      'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] ⍳0
 This is the first test note.  20201205
 This is the second test note. 20201205

( ---- Now, lets put the data from the SQL database, into an APL variable, so we   )
( ---- can chop it up and/or scan out data elements from within the raw data  ...  )


      data ← 'select * from notes' ⎕SQL[3,0] ⍳0

( ---- We created an APL workspace variable called "data", and we can check the    )
( ---- dimensions of that variable, using the APL "rho" operator ...               )

      ⍴data
2 2

( ---- APL says the variable "data" is a 2 by 2 matrix ...   )
( ---- This APL uses nested arrays, which works as follows: The first row and the    )
( ---- element of the "data" variable is the first data-element of the "notes" table.)

      data[1;1]
 This is the first test note.

( ---- So, data[1;1], is just the first text string   ...                        )
( ---- We can use the "rho" operator to query the dimensions of this element ... )


      ⍴data[1;1]

( ---- Oops, no we can't.  This "nested-array" stuff requires that we "disclose" first.)
( ---- checking the rho (dimensions) of first row, first column of "data" returns as a )
( ---- scalar, which has no dimensions.  Checking the dimensions of a single number,   )
( ---- just returns a NULL result.  )

      ⍴data[1;1]

( ---- To actually get at the string of text, you have to "disclose" the stuff that  )
( ---- is "nested" inside row 1, column 1 of APL variable "data" ...                 )
( ---- The disclose operator, "⊃" is a symbol from "set theory", and you can make it )
( ---- on the APL keyboard with ALT(right)-x.                                        )

      ⍴ ⊃data[1;1]
28

( ---- Now, the "rho" operator (which is ALT(right)-r), gives the dimensions of the  )
( ---- text string in the first row of the "notes" table.                            )
( ---  And now we can chop up and/or search this text string.

      ⍴ ⊃data[1;1]
28
       7↑ (⊃data[1;1])
This is

( ---- In the above example, we extracted the first seven characters from the
( ---- first row in the SQL datatable "notes", which is a variable called "data"
( ---- in our APL workspace.  Note the workspace is not named yet.  We can name
( ---- the workspace and save it... )

      )wsid
IS CLEAR WS
      
( ---- We use ")vars" to query workspace variables, and ")fns" to list names of )
( ---- workspace functions (programs), but there are none here (yet...)         )

      )vars
data
      
      )fns
      
      data
 This is the first test note.  20201205
 This is the second test note. 20201205
      
      )wsid SQLEXAMPLE
WAS CLEAR WS
      )wsid
IS SQLEXAMPLE
      )save

( ---- Trying to SAVE the APL workspace failed, probably some default permission )
( ---- on the "workspace" subdirectory is wrong. So, just save it explicitly to  )
( ---- the user-directory on the Linux-box...                                    )

Unable to )SAVE workspace 'SQLEXAMPLE'. Permission denied
      
      )wsid /home/mcl/SQLEXAMPLE
WAS SQLEXAMPLE
      
      )wsid
IS /home/mcl/SQLEXAMPLE
      )save
2020-12-08  05:57:05 (GMT-5) /home/mcl/SQLEXAMPLE

( ---- now, the ")save" command worked.  )
( ---- Let's close the SQL database...   )

( ---- We check status of the SQL database, with ⎕SQL[8] and db-reference number.   )
( ---- This ⎕SQL command will display the data tables in the database ...           )
 

       ⎕SQL[8] 0
 notes

( ---- The Quad-SQL[9] command lists the column names in the "notes" table ... )       

      0 ⎕SQL[9] 'notes'
 text         
 date INTEGER
      
( ---- And the ⎕SQL[2] command, with the database reference number as parameter, )
( ---- will close the SQLite database   ...                                      )

      ⎕SQL[2] 0

( ---- Exit the GNU-APL with ")off" APL command ... )

      )off

Goodbye.

( ---- Return to Linux command-line, and confirm the APL workspace file was created...)

[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$ ls SQL* -v
SQLEXAMPLE  SQLEXAMPLE.bak


( ---- We can also confirm the database file is present and accounted for...  :)     )

[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$ ls mclnote* -l
-rw-r--r--. 1 mcl mcl 2048 Dec  5 18:04 mclnote.db
[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$
[mcl@l2-centos74 ~]$
 

--------- End of Example GNU-APL Session Showing Example Query of SQL database -------

(end of Courier-new monospaced font...)

Song for today:

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

This song is Tom Cochrane's take on the story of poet Arthur Rimbaud, who gave up poetry for gun-running in Africa.  There are many sites on Rimbaud.  Here is one in French.  (Make sure to click the top left corner little music-player, to hear some good poetry music...

http://rimbaudexplique.free.fr/

Seriously, make sure to check out the above site on Arthur Rimbaud, and click the top-left music player - I don't know the composer, but the audio and composition is very good.  One should also read about the Rimbaud poem "Rage des Cesars"...  The above site is the work of a French math professor.

http://rimbaudexplique.free.fr/poemes/ragedescesars.html  

"Danger and misfortune - Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained..."

I knew nothing about Rimbaud - but I always envisioned him as some old, dusty, historical figure.  Nothing could be more wrong.  One must learn to avoid making assumptions.  I found this French site (now no longer updated), but also with an English section, and a summary biography of Rimbaud..  It's very interesting.  Rimbaud reminds be a bit of Tom Thomson, the great Canadian artist, who was (we think), murdered by a jealous rival, while out in his canoe in Algonquin Park.

http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/en/Biography.html

Ars longa, Vita Brevis.   Veritas est.

Ok, I found it:  https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/travel/where-rimbaud-found-peace-in-ethiopia.html  

I knew there was something here.  Last week, on a complete whim - I bought two antique Russian World-War II rifles - Mosin Nagants.  They were silly expensive (they used to be dirt cheap but now they are not).  They spoke quietly to me, as if they were dead poets, whispering:  "We did good work.  We were made strong.  And we made our people strong."

Rimbaud really was an arms-dealer.  He was based in Harar, Ethiopia, and managed to sell Menelik's forces a boatload of old European rifles.  Menelik was a warlord who became King of Ethiopia.  As the above New York Times article correctly points out, the guns that Menelik acquired from Rimbaud in 1887, probably helped Menelik's army defeat the invading Italian Army in 1897.  The Italians tried to march inland and invade Ethiopia, but their army was shot to pieces in Adwa, and the Italians signed a treaty recognizing the Kingdom of Ethiopia in order to protect their enclave in Eritria.  Thus, the new Ethiopian State became the first and really only country in Africa that was never invaded and conquered by a European army.

This history resonates right down to today.  Addis Ababa is where the African Union is headquartered.   A recent nasty war in Tigray province was just put down last week, as the Ethiopians smashed  into Mekele, the Tigray capital, and routed the TPLF communists and military traitors.   Rimbaud was probably directly responsible for Ethiopia becoming a modern State under Menelik.  We think - erroneously - that mid-1800's firearms are ancient - but in a dry climate, not the case.

Rifles -firearms of any kind - are always useful, and ownership of them means the difference between being a slave, and being a free person.

The Mosin-Nagant - designed and first made in 1890 - is a simple bolt-action rifle.  But is is reliable, and it allowed the Russians hold back the Germans in two World Wars.  It is still in active use in the Middle East, as it is solid, simple and sufficiently powerful to be effective.

We note right now - the curious existence of "armed protesters" in USA.   The primary difference between USA and places like Belarus or China, for example, is that it is not possible or practical for armed police to mow down protesters in nations like USA, where the protesters are legally allowed to be armed.

The USA will *have* to deal with it's problems of unemployed, and impoverished people, because it simply does not have the alternative of sending in the troops to mow them down, like the Chinese did in Tiananmen Square, back in 1989, for example.    In China in 1989, the thousands of student protesters were cut down like wheat, and crushed into red mush by tanks, and the mush was washed down the drains in the square.  There actually are images of this.   If they tried this in the USA, there would be open civil war (like there was back in the 1860's).    So, in the USA - and other nations were civilian firearms ownership is common, like Canada, for example  - these kind of nations *must* use democracy and rule-of-law to resolve disputes, and craft legislation.  Firearms are the antidote to the old poison of tyranny.

So Rimbaud and his poetry is only part of the story.  The real story of Rimbaud is his adventures in Africa.  He gave up poetry by age 21, and went on to live the life of a man of the world, and change the historical course of events.  This was a good and fine choice.

Good for him.   And when you hold an antique firearm in your hands, that has been used to defend a nation from enemy forces - recognize that it is also a good, fine and powerful thing - something almost as good and powerful as poetry and the written word.   :)

[ Dec. 7, 2020 ] Go Big or Go Home?  Will Your Fears End in Tears? - Well, most of us are at home these days, aren't we?  Funny times - earlier in the year, a couple of our key portfolios were down by six figures.   It was not very nice.  (And yes, we made back the losses.)  But I fear the reactive response to this current blistering run more than the Shape of the World as of last March.  From sickness, you either recover or you die - so the problem resolves itself.   But from a runaway monetary train inside a financial bubble, one can bring about rather complete social destruction.

Generals always fight the last war - and get so surprised at the changes the World has wrought.  (We fight wars now in very different ways also - but I am speaking in metaphor.)  The 1930's taught all our governments (as did Dr. Keynes) that we need to open the monetary taps and dial up the fiscal & financial firehoses during hard times when everyone has lost their bundles.

But we are maybe overdoing it a bit here.  Canada is being even worse than USA.  Our firehoses of money might turn in to flamethrowers, I fear.

I am pretty sure we won't get a gentle upswing in inflation.   I have these [RR-Chaos-Baby!] curious models that suggest we could actually jump right to a hyperinflation in a rather short timeframe.

The idea is that global supply-chain crash/burn combined with another series of scarcity-triggers causes a phase-jump in prices to socially punishing levels.  This might be goosed by maybe a little war or a secondary epidemic, combined with the further implementation of bent political models in several areas.

I am not sure if I should even mention the disaster-dreams I keep having - like I am seeing backward temporal echos from some major near-future event or something... makes me sound like a crazyman, but when I read about Jessie Livermore's UP trade (he was on short vacation at the beach, and ran into a beachfront brokerage office, and started short-selling Union Pacific railroad stock), I realize these feelings both can exist, and could maybe offer something of value.

It was one of his greatest trades, and he could never explain why he did it.  He just wanted to short that high-flying railroad stock so badly, that he had to take action. At first, the trade lost money, as the stock continued to advance.  But then, a few days later, the Great San Francisco Earthquate and Fire happened.  The stock did not react - until even later, when it became clear how bad the damage was, how much railroad infrastructure had been destroyed, and that the fire insurance everyone thought they had, might not pay off fully (the damage was so great, it ruined many insurance companies).

The 1906 California Earthquake was partly responsible for the Great Panic of 1907, which happened on the New York markets the next year.  Livermore's shorting of Union Pacific made him a small fortune, and cemented his reputation as one of the great speculators of his day.   But he could never explain why he did it.

So the song for today is this one, no question...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81ac7C9wHaY

Tears for Fears indeed.  Or maybe Fears into Tears?  Either way, remember that the outcome of an action-strategy is not always clear.   You might be thinking in terms of a pearl necklace, and yet end up with a Pearl Harbour.

[ Dec. 4, 2020 ] GNU-APL - The Damn Thing Works! - For production-grade data-bashing, we use an old Manugisitcs APL - but an associate mentioned he was using GNU-APL, and it has the advantage of crazy-large workspaces (ie. measured in gigabytes) and also uses SQL-Lite as the back-end database.   This fellow is capturing all daily trading from a particular exchange, and this results in roughly 1 gigabyte of data each day - and so running an SQL query might generate a 100,000 row table, with a fair bit of data for each row.

So, I was intrigued by this, and found and downloaded the GNU-APL last night, and compiled it and got it running on one of the CentOS-7 boxes.  

Damn thing seems to work pretty good.  I had to hack around with the keyboard stuff for a while, as the first configuration I tried - using Linux "xmodmap" to configure the ALT-whatever key to create the APL characters, caused the loss of all the ALT-function features needed to control the XTERM Linux sessions - and even switch contexts between X-Windows in GNOME (and this managed to blow up the Firefox session, and wipe out a bunch of webpage sessions, of course).

To use "Xmodmap", you can just run:

         xmodmap ./support-files/old-Keyboard/apl.xmodmap

But don't use this.  The loss of "Alt-TAB" (to switch between Xterm window sessions in Gnome) is lethal to Firefox, and will also prevent ALT-F1, ALT-F2 ... etc. from switching between sessions outside of GNOME.  So this approach (which works fine for generating APL characters in Xterm) is no good.

But what does work, is this trick:

        xkbcomp ./support-files/old-Keyboard/apl.xkb :0 -w 0

and this works great. (The ":0" is your X-session, "-w 0"  means suppress warnings.)  On my Fedora/CentOS-7 Linux box, it sets up ONLY the right-side ALT key on the keyboard, to be the ALT key for generating APL characters.  The left-side ALT key still works as it is supposed to, so that ALT-TAB can switch between running Windows in GNOME.  

  But using the right-side ALT key, allows APL chars to be generated and displayed correctly.  For example,  ALT(right)-R creates the "rho" character, ALT(right)-i creates the "iota", and ALT(right)-[ will create the left-arrow for APL assignment operator, ALT(right)-] is the right-arrow, for APL branching, etc.  This is the same as the ALT-xx operation of the various GEMESYS APL apps on Android (using the Android "Hacker's Keyboard"), and yet it still allow the ALT(left-side) key to operate as is required by Xterm and GNOME and Linux.  (eg: ALT-CTRL-F7 lets you jump right out of GNOME/X-windows into regular command-line Linux sessions, and ALT-(Fsession#) lets you jump back into Xwindows/GNOME session.  ALT(leftside)-TAB is needed to just switch between Windows - and restore minimized Xwindows/GNOME sessions.)

But the GNU-APL has several other methods of creating the APL keyboard, which I have not tried yet.  But the method described here is quite satisfactory, and lets all the APL characters be displayed correctly..

Also, to start APL, in a normal, standard APL interactive workspace session, you run "apl" with the option "--noColor", which makes the interactive APL session behave in a sane way, like any standard interactive APL.

Eg:  - To start GNU-APL after it has been installed:

                 [Your-System-Prompt-in-Xterm-Window]$ apl --noColor

and you will get a working APL with a big workspace (up to gigabytes, it looks like, if you need this much...).  On my CentOS-7 box, if you start without "--noColor" option, you get an awful video mess, and cannot even see the APL interpreter results.   Just enter ")off" to exit APL, an then enter "reset" and (enter) to fix your borked X-term session (it might be blank, no video chars visible!), and the virtual terminal will reset correctly.  But if you enter "--noColor", it works fine.  Note there are "two" dashes for this critical parameter, not one.

How to Install GNU-APL:

    [ I am running an old gcc (GCC) 4.8.5 20150623 (Red-Hat 4.8.5-28) with all the associated  development utilities need to build anything now on Linux... ]  So, to build GNU-APL:

      - download the APL-1.7 gunzipped tarball from the GNU-APL ftp site.  Note that this can be seriously slow  sometimes:

         Download apl-1.7.tar.gz from site:  https://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/gnu/apl/

         Create directory in /home     (ie.  become root, cd /home, mkdir gnuapl, cd gnuapl)

         cp /home/(youruserid)/Downloads/apl-1.7.tar.gz .     (copy file to build directory)

         gunzip apl-1.7.tar.gz    (create .tar file, ie. removes the .gz compression)

         tar -xvf      (untar the package)

         cd apl-1.7    (connect to build directory where you will compile source)

         ./configure   (if running a modern Linux, this should just work, and setup build defaults)

         make           ( run the Makefile to do the compile of the c++ source)

           (Check the apl executable...    cd src,  ./apl  --noColor   (to run the GNU APL)

                (Try something like 234+3, press return, and confirm you see: 237 as the response)

                (If the executable runs ok, you may as well just install it and experiment with it...)

         make install    ( if the compile ran without errors, you can just install the apl executable)

For now, I am running the APL-1.7.   I will try the 1.8 version tonite on a different machine and see if it works.  My associate who has been working on this says that the 1.7 (circa 2017) is very stable, but he could not get APL 1.8 to run without getting segfaults.

Initial experiments with the GNU APL 1.7 look quite promising.  Very promising, actually.

Coda:  How to check the GNU APL signature file (or any GNU project Signature)

   1) ensure you have gpg on your machine.  If a modern Linux (ie. since 2008!) it should be there.

   2) Assume you put the files APL source and .sig files in /home(yourid)/Downloads

       cd /home/(yourid)/Downloads

       Go to your broweser, and download the keyring signature file for GNU projects.  Just cllck this link:...

             https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-keyring.gpg

      This gets the file gnu-keyring.gpg file into Downloads directory.  Run a gpg with --verify to check that the .sig file matches what was signed on the .tar.gz file:

        gpg --verify --keyring ./gnu-keyring.gpg  apl-1.7.tar.gz.sig  apl-1.7.tar.gz

     This command says "Look in gnu-keyring.gpg to confirm the .sig is a real sig file, and verify that the apl-1.7.tar.gz file was signed with this signature.  You should get a "Good Signature from..." response, in this case: "Jurgen Sauermann (Programmer) (juergen.sauermann@t-online.de)".  Note that you also get a WARNING saying there is no certainty that this key is actually a trusted key (you have to fiddle with GPG stuff more to get a "web-of-trust" thing setup, and that is another thing..)

   Also, you can run the MD5 hash against the apl-1.7.tar.gz file, and I get this value, when I run it against mine:

      gpg --print-md md5 apl-1.7.tar.gz

      (should respond with:)

       A0 64 56 F4 AA 9E 34 97   00 DA 51 C8 EF D1 41 50

   (BLah blah blah - MD5 is not the most secure message digest - blah blah blah blah.)

    and for MD5 hash check (message digest check) for "apl-1.8.tar,gz",

      gpg  --print-md md5 apl-1.8.tar.gz

      B1 8E 71 FF 2D 30 7C F2    26 80 67 DE ED 50 26 EC

   I like MD5 becuase it is simple and fast and is better than no security at all, guys.

And this GNU-APL seems to work good.  

Update: To get the APL Libraries in wslib3, wslib4 and wslib5 to be visible to the interpreter, I had to create a local "preferences" file in ~/.gnu-apl directory, and remove the references that are in the default build-preferences file (see build-directory "gnu-apl.d" for the standard default preferences file, and just copy it to your local .gnu-apl directory).  Replace the @GNU_APL_LIBS@ strings in each of the LIBREF-n statemetns with "." to point to your local directory, and then create local directory copies of each of the subdirs wslib3, wslib4, wslib5 that are in the GNU-AP build directory.

Just cd to build directory (in my case, I used:  /home/gnuapl), and then copy the directories for each of the APL libraries to your local user directory:

      cd  /home/gnuapl      (connect to your build directory...)

      cp ./wslib3  /home/(youruserdirectory)/  -v  -R       (make local copies of each of the APL Library directories, 3, 4 and 5. )

Then, when you start GNU-APL, and enter ")libs" you should see that your three APL Libraries show up a "present" instead of "missing",

[ Dec. 3, 2020 ] Shall We Be Three? - "Everyone said they'd stand behind me when the going got rough - but when I turned around, there was not even anyone there I could bluff.  I'm gonna leave New York City, I do believe I've had enough."  Or something like that...  Words by Robert Zimmerman, arrangement by Dimitri Medvedev.  If you're on the internet, your gonna be lost in Warez, no doubt about it.

Drove to a nearby city, just to buy some 7.62x54 Russian.  It's made in Serbia, as it turns out.

https://youtu.be/bSRaKgo3l1U

Our view is that equity markets are fully priced.  Also: One of the things we've learned is that markets and market action typically *overshoots* rational price points.  This is almost certainly one of those times.

The massive run-up in circulating money is driving this now.  We have to do everything on the internet now - and this is simply a sh/t-poor way to live.  But it is better to live this way, than die from simple human contact.   We can all continue to do business virtually for a while longer, but the world economy will not grow under these circumstances, and local business will mostly starve, eventually.

This violent second viral wave, will almost certainly cause a substantial downshift in commercial activity in every business in early 2021, regardless of political decisions taken.

We seriously could be looking at a 20% or greater drop or more, across the board.  Note that our models do not say this.  The recent uptick has them all pointing up - but this looks way too much like early 1930 for me - a big bounce from the 30% downturn which was too quick.  Given we are in this high-frequency world, with hyper-short links between all process-drivers, I simply cannot shake the sense that we are almost certain to see another reactive spike down

The vaccine is a *long* way out.   All our pharmacies have even run out of the standard flu-shot vaccine that was being advertised on the radio.   Our governments are run by timeservers and paltroons who couldn't find their backsides with both hands even if their lives depended upon it.   And it looks like maybe it does.   The lockdown in LA is probably necessary, but it will probably be unenforceable.   As in most social & economic scenarios, it seems to be happening in California first.  Interesting.

We have dialed back plans for all expenditures in 2021.   We had plans to build on a piece of property we've put together up north - but it looks like that is off, as the costs have seriously spiked across the board.  We just got the MPAC (Assessment valuation report) for the property yesterday in the mail, and the assessed valuation - on what is basically an undeveloped piece of waterfront - has been jacked up by roughly 80% - which means the tax-costs just to hold the property will be jacked by almost double, doubtless.  If we build on it, that will upshift the assessed valuation to a level that is just silly.  So it looks like that whole project is now on the shelf.

I suspect a lot of folks are making the same year-end calculations, and revising downward their personal "5 Year Plans", given the new reality of much higher taxes expected.

There is no way that governments can continue this orgy of "stimulus", without at some point, it is followed by a big upshift in tax-collection action.   And that will smash us hard.

Those *much* higher taxes are coming folks - regardless of whatever you do, and whomever you vote for.

I fear we could be looking at a "lost decade" - not just a "lost year".   We are looking like we are programming a full-on 1930's Depression scenario, except for a few very rich folks - which was actually what it looked like in the 1930's Depression also.   Marconi had a nice yacht, as his radio patents were mostly honoured, in most places.

Facebook-folks, Googlers and Amazonians are doing well - but for most other folks, there is no money at all to be made on the internet, or in the "new economy".   None.   Not a dime.    The internet is like the railroads and the oil companies and the auto industry - lots and lots of players at first - but over time, and with extreme consolidation and government control - everything ends up in the hands of a few players.   And it is only these few big players - and the crazy creative folks who are way outside the process - who get to have anything at all.   Everyone else just runs at the margin with borrowed money, and then eventually fails.  That seems to be where we are going.  The road ahead is lined with the dying & the dead.

I know of so many local and USA-based tech companies.  None of them made any real money.  They puff up with fin-tricks and slippery-accounting, and then sell out to fat-boys, and take the cash.  It's a stupid business model, and leaves the economy hollow and empty - and that looks like the future for most now.

Yes, it's a bit grim.   I don't see any alternative paths at this point.   Nothing in this country makes money except banks, telecom companies, resource-extraction and the Government.  And those folks only make money because of special regulations and tax-policy support.  We are an export-led economy, like Japan.   But the closed border and travel restrictions means that travel to the USA and elsewhere is difficult, impossible or dangerous.

It does not take a giant AI to see that this leaves us pretty much toast, as far as economic growth is concerned.  We won't starve, but it is madness to expect anything to move up much from our current economic platforms.  We will all have to work hard and run fast, just to stay where we are.

The future looks like it has been cancelled - rather like Christmas has also.   :)

Update: Trolling thru junknews on the crapstream, and I found this piece.  Paul Tudor Jones is a smart guy, and he has made some good trades.  He thinks it is boomtime a-coming...

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/paul-tudor-jones-on-the-markets-and-economy-153243971.html

But I think he is wrong.  I see 2021 as a dial-down.  Sure, lots of folks want to run around and do stuff - but nobody except a very few - will have any money to do it with.   Most businesses will just be dead by then - except for Amazon, Facebook and Google.   Everyone else will be offline.  The money is all locked up in the hands of a few.  And the government stim-schemes are bound to create tax-action hell-streams down the road - or else folks will see a series of unfolding disasters of an even more unique kind - hyper-inflation or a loss-of-confidence in money, Zimbabwe-style.

None of these outcomes are good.  See, at first, everyone is homebound because of the virus.  But next year, folks will be homebound (remember "cocooning"?) by either financial pressure, or by personal choice.   Most employment in most industries is just "junk-jobs" which don't even need to happen - folks who are "working from home" are just calling it in, and getting six figures for moving words on paper around.  All this is great for them - but this massive false economy, where nothing is made except money, and nothing is done except busy-work and government regulation (which just stops things from happening) - all this fake-economics will have to find a limit at some point.    And I think that the virus might be taking us all to that limiting-case scenario.

Our economy does not make anything useful of helpful.  There are no real health care services, there are no actual doctors, and the access to pharma is prevented by regulators.  It's a grim view, but it seems to play out this way in practice.  There is no opportunity.

In order for investment to actually occur, you have to believe in the possibility of some sort of future payoff.  But there is no payoff expected now.  

Electric cars are kind of stupid, really, as they are crazy expensive and impractical.  Only government laws and/or free money (green kickbacks) will induce people to buy them.

Almost everything we build is like this now.  It has a worm-of-failure or deception encapsulated within it.   It is all turning, quietly and carefully, to shit - which is after all, what ecology says has to happen.    This is just evolution in action.    Economic growth is basically over.    :)

Tudor-Jones is just talking his position, I suspect.    As a shrewd trader, he can't not see this.

[ Dec. 2, 2020 ] Standing on Zanzibar - Sailing swiftly towards the rocks, it looks like.   Here is some technical info on labour market in USA, which is looking downright bad:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy/u-s-private-payrolls-miss-expectations-in-november-adp-idUSKBN28C1YG

What with Big Boss Grusome Newsom of the People's Republic of Californication shutting down the economy again, and the Wicked Witch of the West "Pillow-Sea" now in charge in the East, the Left-Coast folks are in ascendance.  Mad King Trump is in full-flail mode, as his subjects plot to send him off to exile in Florida, that southern reach, where all the crazy old coots go to die.   China is breaking it's promises and is now rounding up pesky democracy activists in Hong King Kong and putting them in jail.   Joshua may just bring down the Great Wall of Evil.  But for now, Freedom and Prosperity are catching the last plane out.   

We live in very strange times.   I hear that Christmas has been cancelled this year.   Death, on the on the other hand, seems hard at work.  No holiday nonsense for him. 


[ Dec. 1, 2020 ] A Market Run by Robots Will Eventually Become Negatively Damped - Really, does no one have any sense anymore?  Is "common sense" now the most uncommon thing?   If you make the feedback loops too short, your machine will oscillate to destruction.  The engineers in the 1960's knew this...

The over-stimulated "high-frequency" market environment - run by robot (algo) trading - will wipe out the investment process, I fear.  Perhaps I am just old and have seen too much.  This will all end really badly, rather soon  - I can't see it not doing so.  This market has the flight characteristics of a "flying wing" - when it stalls, it will stall quite badly, I suspect.  And it will.

[ Nov. 30, 2020 ] Illusions & Reality - Which is it?  Which has more power, the dream-blueprint, or the actual, physical reality?  Can we even be sure, which is which?   The more one investigates, the less certain that one has to be.

The "Story" becomes more effective and has more power than the truth, at times.  We want to - in our moments of hard rational analysis - believe that the truth has the ultimate power - but in a virtual world - a "digital" world - there is no objective truth at all.    Every "story" has the same possibility of currency and adoption.  Deception becomes just another engineering toolset.

One of the most powerful illusions is the steady, climbing market price for "securities".  As we transit from a low-price, value-oriented pricing regime, into a "growth-priced" regime - we see what appears to be a steady, systemic, orderly march upwards - and this creates a powerful illusion of stable system operational characteristics.   But of course, the reality is that we are actually seeing a march from stability into fragility.  The higher the price moves, the greater is the likelyhood of a fast re-pricing.

The financial press literature from the 1920's and early 1930's is really interesting.  It is difficult to obtain now - back in the 1970's, you could go into University libraries and just take out the magazines from the time-period and read them.  Now, I doubt this would be possible.  The copies of Time and other publications were just low-value old magazines back in 1975 - only 40 to 50 year old paper material, easy to obtain (typically found in the archives and bookshelves of old packrats who liked to squirrel away raw data.

I read thru every Time magazine from 1928 to 1932, to get a flavour for what actually happened in the "current time", not in the "look-back time" that the academics with political axes to grind will review an event  (eg. Galbraith's worthless drivel, so deeply coloured by that arrogant arse's political viewpoint).    Truly, most academic work in economics is written and developed by folks who want to induce you into accepting their particular set of political illusions.  Much of the academic material is quite worthless, if your task is to truly understand the operational unfolding of political-economic events.

But reading the magazines was useful.  What was interesting is that business and government people knew they had to get more money in circulation, and do some serious spending to counteract the "Crash", but the academic Economists argued fiercely to stop them from acting.

The academic Economists were wrong and these Economists caused great damage.  J. M. Keynes had done his degree in Statistics  (He was not really an "Economist").  He knew what was happening, and argued for temporary *big* spending programs - but he was the only one.  

Most people had no idea why so much economic activity was just stopping.  Folks saw economic activity just wind down lower, and lower.  The stock market fell and fell, and then fell more.  The Dow Jones average - in the 300's in the 1920's, fell to 43 in 1932.   Companies were sold for pennies on the dollar.   Jessie Livermore - the famous trader and "Stock Operator"-  who had made over $100 million by shorting stocks before the October 1929 Crash, had lost all of it by 1934, and had to declare bankruptcy (again).

Most of the Economists of the day, had no clue what was happening or why it was happening.

I can say with some certainty, that until the development of what now seems to be called "Behavioural Economics", a lot of traditional economic thinking seemed to be crafted to take one *away* from understanding things, and push the poor student into a rarified world of imagination, where all the critical factors that drive a process, were "assumed" away, so that a fraudulent illusion with elegant mathematics could be offered as some sort of artificial wisdom.

If the so-called "Science of Economics" cannot be used to make someone wealthy and prosperous, then it is beyond being just worthless - it becomes something that is deeply toxic and ugly and dangerous, as it risks "teaching" a squirming bugs-nest of lies and political half-truths that can cause terrible social damage.  The perfect example of this is this hideously stupid nonsense called "Marxism" that an entire generation of human minds were poisoned with.

What Marxism enabled was simple theft and banditry - but on a scale that only co-ordinated, well-funded, military-focused government action could carry out.    And the horror and murder and human abuse that "Marxism" created - all this tragic stupidity was enabled by it's use of false reasoning of the most obvious type.   Only by the strange suspension of disbelief that self-interested academics can engage in, was it possible for the drivel that is Marxism to be taken seriously.

But far too much of even modern "Economics" still remains academic illusion.

If you sit down with some PhD "Economists" and drink some fine alcohol with them, they will often readily admit that their profession is worthless - or perhaps even worse than worthless, as their imaginary pictures-of-the-world can so quickly be pulled into astonishingly destructive government "analysis" that results in "policy prescriptions" for government-driven disasters.  Like every good fraudster, they know their profession is not at all scientific, and they know that it is not really possible to make forecasts that have any sort of viable accuracy - but they quietly explain that this does not matter in the least.  What matters is getting nice, high-paying faculty appointments, and powerful, high-paying government (ie. taxpayer-funded) "evergreen" jobs in the powerful Ministry departments, and/or the Agencies, Boards and Commissions (the "ABC's").

What you don't really find anywhere, is anyone who is curious about how to fix things that are deeply nasty and appear to be broken bad, or are interested in the old scientific idea of the searching for actual, honest truth about what is really happening.  You have go far outside the mainstream of Economics - into perhaps "Development Studies" - where you find some folks for example, who actually get their hands dirty, and try to help fix the self-butchered economic nightmares of the African Klepto-States, or the Marxist-Failure-States of South America.  But these folks have such a "wall of fraud" to scale (from the lie-sets of disinformation that have been built around the Government Agency schemes to protect them), that their task is so Herculean as to be pretty much impossible.   Nothing really changes.   Lies endure.  Fraud remains the objective of the Government monkey-men who continue to quietly fill their pockets with hard-currency.

Most "Economic Science" discussed and used by "Governments" is just collections of wordsets designed to enable taxation increases and State expropriation of private wealth.

The only useful thing "Economics" can offer, is that which might be used to make private individuals wealthy - or at least slightly wealthier than they are.   Beyond that, the so-called "Science of Economics" is really just another false toolset that State fraudsters use to cheat folks and steal their property from them.   Once "Economics" gets used by Government people, it becomes about nothing except taxation strategy.  There honestly is nothing else there.

So where does that leave the private person, who is trying to survive in the maelstrom of fraud and theft and lies that is this modern world of illusion?

The problem of investment remains.  Governments exist to tax people.   They are not able to do much else, other than mount military action, and kill in large numbers.  But as a person living in the world, you have to invest somehow.   Without investment -setting aside and using current wealth to generate future wealth - you will starve and suffer in your old age, and your children will be denied critical opportunity.

You must try to invest - and you have to do that wisely, which is much more difficult than most believe.   And in a world of liars and cheaters and Government tax-monkey daemons, the investment process is fraught with astonishing risks at every turn.

But this is the one area, where "Economics" as a discipline can be of some real use and value.  If you understand the economic characteristics of your investments, you can make better choices, and your better choices will lead to better investment results.   This is really possible.  It is not easy - but it can be done.

The economic realities that underly the investments you make, will drive their outcomes, mostly.  It is "not" a random process at all.  But it can certainly appear to be random - or worse than random, actually.   Most investments degrade over time, and many fail completely.  Professional venture capitalist investors know this.   But they still invest, because when the process works, it can work very well, and change the world - for the better.  And it can make you rich.

Successful investment can do what Governments cannot.  It can change, enhance, and repair a broken, dishonest world.   It really can.

You can make the world a better place by investing well and becoming wealthy, and making your own life better.   This is the process - as each person does it -  by which the world is made better.   It is good if the political fraudsters who enable the government tax-monkeys could grasp this truth, and stand-down from their destructive behaviours.

We study Economics to understand how to make the process of investment work better.   That is the key to it.

[ Nov. 29, 2020 ] Word on a Wing - Needed to check this with a search.  Seemed to remember this - and it fits...

And to my astonishment, I found this track, from a 1976 rehearsal in Vancouver...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiXLi90kB1g

The version on the "Station-to-Station" album is ok, but as Mr. Sussex says (quite correctly) this version has a desperate urgency that makes it quite excellent - a really impressive piece of art.  (This is a *rehearsal* - not even in front of a audience!)

Said so well - in this "Age of Grand Illusion" - which is even more completely full of illusion now than it was back in 1976.    I am quite surprised at how the music from the late 1970's seems so curiously "au courant" now, here, in late 2020.  

We are just ghosts - chatting with other ghosts.   It all fades into history.   Tonite, the weather is curiously perfect, for November.  Two AM, and the insomnia wakes me, and I take Hana out for a walk in the asonishingly bright moonlight.  No traffic, very quiet city on the horizon, and the Great WInter Hexagon of stars high and sharp in the sky above.  

I bought two antique Russian rifles - one from 1943 and the other from 1944 - both made at the Izhevsk Arsenal - and so marked with the little "hammer & sickle" glyph surrounded by laurel leaves.

The Izhevsk Arsenal glyph is truly the most bizzare and astonishing melange of images - the laurel leaf glyph going back to Roman times (a victorious Roman general could wear a headdress of laurel leaves during his "triumph" or victory march thru Rome.  Caesar particularly like to win victories, since he was supposedly very sensitive about his balding head, and wearing the laurel he felt especially suited him as he felt it improved his appearance. )   The current use of the laurel-leaf glyph is in the symbol for the United Nations.

But it was also used to surround the "Hammer and Sickle" and also the "Swastika" - in Russia and Germany in the 1940's, during World War Two.

The Laurel wreath is everywhere as a powerful glyphic symbol of victory.  It is curiously deep in Western Culture.   We all like and respect a good, solid victory, regardless of whose side we are on, it seems.  We still live in the Age of Grand Illusions.

[ Nov. 27, 2020 ] Night Meeting - The best story in Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles" is "Night Meeting", where Tomas Gomez, driving lonely in the mountains of Mars, meets a Martian on his way to a party - except they are each from different times, and their meeting is the unexplained result of a temporal intersection.

Gomez is driving an ancient highway, built by long-dead Martians.  But he meets a Martian named Muhe Ca, who is on his way to a beautiful Martian city, with it's canals sparkling in the city lights.   Tomas Gomez, in his pickup truck, only sees a cold desert below the mountain highway, and the dusty remains of the very old ruined city.  

Neither one can see the world of the other - they are each from thousands of years apart.  It's a clever literary trick - the meeting with the ghosts of the ancestors.

And yet every antique collector knows the feeling.

There is the awsome certainty of time.  Time will kill you.  But life lets you see so much that is quite surprising and elegant and lovely - for a little while.

If these temporal "rifts" existed, it would be interesting.  And doubtless, more than a little disruptive.   But we do have windows on the past.   I stood at the top of the Grand Pyramid in Tikal, and looked over the remains of that large Mayan city, and I could see dimly the outlines of much of it - it took a moment, but I could see the large raised platform where the ruling Priest-class lived.  I could imagine what the city looked like - in it's prime.

I was also reading recently about Nimrud in Iraq, an ancient city, roughly 5000 years old.  The excavations were recently destroyed by ISIS murder-monkey criminals, but the interesting truth of the history of the place remains.   Before the evil and horror of modern religious nonsense, there were fourishing, vibrant ancient civilizations in the MIddle East, along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.   

The history of humanity is cyclic, as is it's economics and it's art and science and literature and culture.  The beautiful rises from the ashes of destruction (cf. modern Japan), and the fine and the beautiful can be brought down to collapse and ruin (cf. the rise of fascism and communisim in the 1930's and 1940's in Europe and Russia).  

But the people existed.  They built things, and made new people.   And the cycle would continue, despite it's fractal violence.

[ Nov. 26, 2020 ]  Ancient Martian City - Did we really discover the remains of an ancient Martian city?  Perhaps an alien outpost, complete with a big communications "dish" antenna for long-distance communication?  (See top image.   All we did was magnify & contrast-enhance an image from one of the Mars orbiters, on file at NASA Image Depository and Univ. of Arizona.)

Did all those right-angles and 90-degree ridge-lines all form by accident and chance?  😮

[ Nov. 25, 2020 ]  Wooly-Bully / Random-Shmandom - Randomness is rising in the background - or not maybe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE_MpQhgtQ8

The bloody markets really *are* fractal.  They're total wooly and very bully.   And they are *not* random.  They are chaotic - and difficult to predict (sort of - if you are human), and difficult to trade (so don't trade them - just harvest the results), but the most interesting thing is that they are truly fractal - and all the really old guys from very long ago had a very good idea about how they worked.  If you ever suggested to any of the 19th century big line swingers that markets were random, they would probably have laughed quite hard - or just assumed you were crazy.

The fucking equity markets have all gone synchronous.  The Nasdaq and the Russel indexes and the FB and GOOG charts look like the Canadian bank stock charts which look like GE and GM.  It is nutty.   This is risk on HARD.  (A Risk Hard-On!), and I am missing it because I know that the very moment that I buy into it - will be the moment that this fucking market turns and turns hard - since it is the pekerheds like me that are the source of funds for this process.  God's Bodkin! (an old Templar curse - it means "God's Penis!" - a "bodkin" was a pointy piece of wood using by weavers to put a hole in fabric..)

So for me, the next step here is to take the human out of the circuit.  Not sure - as a very little guy - how best I should try to do this - but I have this old APL workspace, that is maybe around 30 years old - it's been thru a few different versions of APL - it is called TRASER - and I can run it against different series with different parameters.  And I have this one parm-set for a particular security - and I just ran it again last nite (Nov. 24, 2020), from insep to current day, and it has made over four hundred and fifty thousand dollars - using no leverage, and starting with no capital.   It just goes in and out - risk-on/risk-off and so on.  It is hilarious.  It kicks my ass completely.  It is just silly.  You would think the thing it seems to have found would extinguish over time (like all that economic theory sh/t suggests is should) - but it has not done so.   It is pretty complicated - and it has long runs where it gets drawdowns (might go 5 or 6 trades in a row where it's results really suck) - but then it finds it's footing, and launches ahead and recovers all its losses, and generates profits more than sufficient to offset the losses.  

My trading sort-of mirrors TRASER, but not good enough.  I need to have a bit of capital, and I don't like the long runs of drawdowns.  But I miss stuff (like now), and that really fucks up my performance over the long haul.   I find I can pay the bills, and maintain my capital - but only just.   I need to kind of invert my human behaviour in order to get as good as TRASER - and I am just not there yet.

But damn, to suggest markets are *random* is the hieght of absolute folly.   Markets are like Japanese language - it looks like horrible chicken-scratches and random scribbles by a lunatic, until you can learn a few of the various alphabets and glyphic-constructs that the lauguage uses.

I was looking at some Nihonian charts - and I recognized the kanji for USA (it is two glyphs - one for "rice" and the other for "map of a country" - literally, I think they call USA "Rice Country" ("BaiKoku") - and like learning ancient Mayan - you need to realize that "rice" means "wealth" (in Mayan, the glyph for "cocoa" (chocolate beans), meant "wealth") - like Euro languages often use "gold" to mean "money".  The ancient Mayan king who built Tikal, was called "Lord Cocoa" = which I translate as "Lord Money".  So Japanese for USA in glyphs is "Money (ie. Rich) Country" which makes sense, 'cause it's true...)

If I can ever fix the "human problem" - I am pretty sure I can make a lot of "rice" and "chocolate" in these silly stock and bond markets.  I mean, I am doing ok, but not not "Elon Musk" or "Bill Gates" ok.   (I seriously - as a little child - wanted to build a nuclear rocket when I got older, so I could visit Ganymede and Io and the other moons of Jupiter, since I could see them orbit around in my little telescope - a whole planetary system, and you could watch it change each nite (if there were no clouds).  If figured a few hundred kilograms of enriched uranium, and a little device to make wee, tiny micro-explosions inside a big parabola-shaped thing (right at the focus-point), and woosh, off you go.  Just like the physics boys at General Atomics were actually planning to do, as it turns out, with top secret Project Orion.  They were going to use little coke-bottle sized nukes to push them along.)

But now, even the Shuttles are in museums.   <big, long sigh...>

No bucks, no Buck Rogers, as they say.  If you want nuclear rockets - you have to build them yourself, I guess.      

Or maybe I could buy one of Elon's, and take it for a spin around Luna, at least.   We would have to launch off-shore, so that the USA obstructionist-regulators could not stop the launch with a bunch of fucking American sh/t rules.   Perhaps better to just book a flight on a Soyuz.   Space tourism is a bloody good idea.  You can die in a commuter flight in a crappy Boeing 737 Max-8 with bad software written by Indian programmers who don't know shit about flying, or you can get blown up in a BFR rocket at launch.   But whatever your travel plans - they first need to be funded, don't they?   :)

Just for the hell of it - I'll document the secret of TRASER:  I programmed it with a whole bunch of parameters - but the key one was a simple binary - a 0 or a 1 which means 0 = counter-trend trade (ie. make a mean-reversion bet, if the stock is offside the exponential moving average) or 1 = go-with trade (ie. make a directional bet, based on the stock moving further off the XMA).  Guess which does better?  I had expected the counter-trend ( zero) parm would be better.  But it's not.  It's the goddamn 1 parm ( which => go-with the movement off the XMA) that makes the money.  It surprised me.  But it won't surprise old traders with experience (and it does not surprise me now, of course).   

That's why any idiot can make money in a running market.  But it generally gets swept back from him, in a downturn.  I gave up trading, and would just hold positions and then add to them, during periods of weakness (that actually is a pretty good strategy - it's the old 1960's "buy and hold"), but I could make money consistantly doing a quick in-out thing.  Worst mistakes - have been closing out profitable positions - and then watching the fucking market run away - like now.  Done this several times - and it seems to be a human weakness that I have difficulty fixing.

But when all the world is a world of trend-following robots - then we are programming our own destruction - and this solid, certain truth is keeping me up a nites - and is why I finally pulled the plug two weeks ago.

For the risk you take on, stocks are seriously overpriced - but I can't *prove* this - and what is happening is that the world is going stupid now - Biden will flood the USA with more printed cash, and Janet Yellen will provide the enabling machinery.  Truth be told, this scares me.  Why?

Well, consider how you might destroy a national economy.  Think like an "economic warfare" strategist:   Flood that nation with bogus money.  But the nation can actually tolerate the bogus funds - and might actually jump to a new level of production and output and consumption, and the shitty quality money might not matter, if they get the plan right.  (Which is actually what China has done since 1980 and Tiennamen - they had to modernize, or the leaders knew they faced the lamppost-execution outcome).   And for China it worked.  Compare to Zimbabwe - a nation with worthless currency, run by racist criminals and bandits.

So, maybe the USA (and Canada as well, of course, as the dog's tail), can tolerate garbage currency for a decade or two, if we have the productive capacity to make stuff.  Seems to be the case - maybe.  Looks like it is the current picture of the future, for now.

[ Nov. 24, 2020 ] Bad Moon Rising - I am stupid, and should have known better...  And I need to learn to buy into advances, which I find very difficult to do.   The AI model from the C_Machine has been *real* clear.   But we are *out* - and this has turned out to be a *very* bad decision.   Stocks are running like the 2000 Dot-Com Bubble - we are seeing a market that is absolutely on fire, with the DJIA breaking thru the 30,000 level.  

With Covid-19 ramping up everywhere, and many places (like here, for example) back into almost a full lockdown (we are "Condition Red" which means no non-essential travel or excursions or meet-ups), it seemed to me that we are facing a worse scenario than was evident back in March of this year.  But even the C_Machine model was explicitly clear - up, up and away.  And today, we watched as the exact numbers forecast were hit.  We are way the hell off the blue line (the moving average), and this stock usually gets pulled back hard to that line.  But, the green forecast function has been pointing almost straight up - and the only flaw was that I just didn't believe it.  It seemed a numerical artifact, and not a viable true future picture.

Well, I was WRONG.   And I have to say, I can accept losing money, but I have given up a *lot* of wealth just by exiting a position that was doing well, and had been doing well since April of this year.   This really hurts more, truth be told.

I shall have to trust the model - even more than I have been.   We seem to have a major re-pricing of risk going on here.   This morning I read that even Cote D'Ivoire managed to price a 1 billion Euro bond issue at 5.25%, which is just amazing impressive.  Ivory Coast is borrowing hard currency at a lower interest rate than Toronto Airport did, when it was expanded and re-built a couple of decades ago.  The Ivory Coast bonds are *SIX* levels below investment grade, according to Moodys.   But they met with good demand.  Oh my.

The Canadian Banks (which are good investments), are trading like technology stocks - ramping up several dollars per share in the last two days.

It's a bit crazy.  A lot of businesses here are hurting.   Many in the entertainment world, and restaurants and air-travel are just never going to return to 2019 business conditions for many years.  And many will just close forever.

This does not seem to be a market-positive environment.  But for now, it surely is.  Is this the "Biden Bubble"?   JPM is up to $122.50 per share, a gain - just today - of almost $5.00 per share.  This looks insane - but it maybe makes sense, if rates will be jammed at zero until 2024.  

We are maybe setting up for the Mother of All Meltdowns - but looks like that can has been well kicked.  Maybe it does not happen for 4 or 5 years?   Crazy.    I feel we are in looney-tune territory - but my AI was painfully, explicitly clear, with the green curve pointing almost straight vertical.  And the software was right, and me, Mr. Cautious Guy, is left standing at the side of the road with my f*cking hands in my pockets, while everyone else is zooming along at warp-speed in their new red racers.   :(

But I have to say - my AI thingy right and truly works  - and it works a helluvalot better than I do, if you want the honest truth.

[ Nov. 23, 2020 ] Baby & Rain & 2021  - Some videos today.  Sound and vision and all that, but from The Vibrators - 1978.  Best song from that year... 😎

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fWHgcBIqdJ8

Snow everywhere here and now, deep and wet and cold.  Let's go back to even before 1978.    This is a good tune...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMMTPt4OtG4

and so is this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYGhn--fbiM

We seem to be locked-down by Covid-19, and also snowed in.

Since we were revisiting 1978, how about The Diodes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v625Dj9svQI

And then this fav of course...  we did kinda study nuclear science... and I thought it was 1978, but  actually, it was 1987, so I guess its my dyslexia or something...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqkxd32dbwM

And then this - the EasyBeats - 1967  (and just two years later, we flew a spaceship to the moon and Neil got out and walked around...  really happened.  We couldn't do that now for any amount of money. )

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

and the Bowie cover from Pinups...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7heEHFfjkU

And of course - 1978 - the best song from the Ramones.  I still sing this to myself any time I have to fly on a filthy commercial airliner    (| :. o )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ7MH7oecK0

And of course - the theme song of my school years.  We listened to this on the radio from that great station: WPOD... ( My favourite part of this song, is the very end, with the Japanese voice-over...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs9wuaVV33I

Really, it was how we got thru the '70s, and ready for the 1980s, when we all had to go out and get jobs doing stuff that was silly.  I remember Jer saying at end of a lunch:  "Ok, well, I have to go back to work and write some more lies for my employers..."  (Which of course, was a Government Ministry.)

Maybe I will hibernate until March 2021.

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

One more little visit to 1977, some new guy called Tom Waites came on this faux "Talk Show" that was called "Fernwood Tonite"....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKlmBZsVPK8

And I suppose we have to close this video memory trip with this piece of genius musical work...  for all you folks with Covid-19 "held up in the intensive care ward, lying on the floor..."  May you all get the hell out with your health recovered!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfqrZvKI_1g

"Sleeping don't come very easy..."    Good nite Mr. Fry.

And just to prove that music has not completely turned to sh/t, here is something excellent...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlkTVMMkCP4

See?  It's all still good.   And one last one, can't resist...  It still is a wonderful world.    :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IoO5nkxT_4

[ Nov. 22, 2020 ] Rah Rah Rasputin - So I am reading Benoit Mandelbrot's 'Misbehaviour of Markets", and I am quite embarrassed.  These things that I thought I had discovered - they are *chapters* in his book!  It is hilarious.  I mean, I determined that price series had long memory - and that this can be used in a real and actionable manner - and yes, I had heard of Louis Bachelier and the Brownian-motion model of price changes - and I built all these various simulators to demonstrate the accuracy of his picture-of-the-world.   These simulators are useful, and can let one characterize different stocks and other investment alternatives for which price series can be obtained.

But Mandelbrot really nailed it *all* down, and like most really good science, it was based on early 20th century work, and fully nailed down in the 1960's, the Great Decade of Science Advancement.    So curious.  Anything that you think you have discovered - if you troll thru history, you can just about *alway* find a previous example of someone who has discovered *exactly* the same thing.   [Eg. Physics example:  There is a 1939 (!) American patent for a "neutron generating device" that used high-voltage cathode-ray type electron-beam, directed at a paladium wire grid, all contained in a long glass tube holding deuterium gas at very low pressure.  Some German guy named Schultz or something like that, basically took out a patent in USA, in 1939, on a working *Fusion Reactor* device.   The neutrons get "generated" when the paladium infused with deuterium is blasted with ionized deuterium accelerated in the beam.  The neutron flux is the result of deuterium-deuterium fusion.  It's a fusion device.  In 1939. ]

It's the same thing with Mandelbrot's book.  I had not actually read it yet - just discovered in because of the Google-Doodle which featured Mandelbrot's Birthday Greetings.  I am reading the butchered "Google-Books" version, with pages and chapters missing from the "Preview" - its like software archeology - but I am getting some useful information from the exercise.

It is just so comical that stuff that I thought I had figured out myself, has been known for years, and is part of the lexicon and taxonomy of what I guess is now called "Fractal Finance" or something like that.

I mean, Mandelbrot's stuff is really true.  The Efficient Market's Hypothesis - both strong and even the weak form - is just not the correct picture-of-the-world.  It leads to really great math, and Fama was a clever fellow for building this whole approach - and Markowitz was a genius for building his whole diversification-based portfolio model.  But one only needs a few counter-examples to trash any scientific theory - and I could provide a large boatload of examples of "Super Astonishing Really NON-Efficient Tradeable Actionable Hilarious Empirical Market Observations - SARNETAHEMOs" that provide overwhelming evidence of markets being comically, hilariously NON-Efficient.  And my experience - over a reasonable multi-year time period and across several types of markets in various countries - has shown that these SARNETAHEMOs are really, really *COMMON* and occur a lot of the time, again and again.

I built code that would generate ROR distributions, and the longer the price data-series, the goofier the distributions of daily price changes would get.  They would sort-of look Gaussian for short length series - and then get pointyer and pointyer, with consistant outlier observations way (WAY!) out in the tails.  And they all would do this - not just stock prices, but other data series also.  Market price-change distributions operate according to Mandelbrot's picture-of-the-world.  The more data you get, the bigger the variance seems to get, and the weirdly pointyer the distribution becomes.  I guess these are Cauchy style.  (I am reading the book - which I should have read back in 2004.  Oh well - better late than never.  I am laughing at how this was ever in any doubt.   The truth of everything Mandelbrot said is sitting there in the data as big and as fat as anything ever is in science.  Curious.)

This is standard reality.  Efficient Markets is a weird fiction, with neat math.  Reality of markets is the reality of wild randomness.  Covid-19 just demonstrated this again.  One of our portfolios was down by 1/3rd in March-April.  That a delta of 33%!   And we made it *all* back.   Crazy.   And since 1984, this is - what, the sixth time we have been thru a wild market meltdown?  (Yes, it is six times:  1987 DJIA down 29%, 1998 Russian Default, 2000-dot-com-crash, 2001-9-11 terror attack, 2008 world financial meltdown because of USA housing fraud, 2020 Covid-19 lockdown with GDP+Market crash of > 30% down).  This shit is only supposed to happen every 100 years, even at worst of worst case.  But I have lived thru SIX of these stupid events in just 33 years, and have managed to remain solvent.  Because I didn't believe any of the BS.  It's a bad science that tries to teach people something so curiously wrong and at variance with reality as all can see.

Efficient Markets is an idiot's fiction.   Wild random extreme changes are the "normal".    It is the nature of nature, it seems.  But humans really *WANT TO BELIEVE*, and will consistantly suspend disbelief if such suspension is in their self-interest - or even if they can be induced to believe that such suspension of disbelief is something that they should take on for various emotional reasons.

It's not just stupid people being stupid.  We are all very capable of being very, very stupid when the toxic cocktail of greed and fear is mixed with the modern neuro-science elixir of motivational manipulation.  That is a brand of Kool-Aid that not even the strongest and wisest of the best uber-mensch can prevent himself from drinking.

As humans, we are embedded in a matrix of lies, deceptions and desires. The fact that any of us at all, ever, can make even somewhat rational decisions and achieve good and profitable outcomes, is quite amazing and wonderful.

Most human lives are nasty, brutish and painfully short - and this is not even an original observation or assertion.  We all know this.  

How can anyone assume that human fraility and weakness and foolish greedy nastyness, will somehow be set aside, when these weak and cruel humans come to transact big amounts of their wealth on the investment markets?    Or worse - transact with SOMEONE ELSES wealth on the markets?    The "Efficient Markets Hypothesis" needs to seen for what it is - probably a form of academic madness - a thing created by very clever fellows, much like we create toxic cities and ugly Bauhaus architecture - a desired goal of false perfection and symmetry and structured purity that is completely different from the messy, fractal, jagged, rough-edged natural world.

And it is this very natural world - the world of the forest and the field and the raging sea, that better describes our human efforts to compete and cooperate and fight and copulate with each other.

Life is really messy.  It is supposed to be messy.   And it actually is likely true, that it really *needs* to be messy and rough and fractal-violent if it is to continue to be.

And the markets reflect life.   The old traders would say that the market was like a woman.  You would come to her a hundred times, and each time, she would abuse you and send you away with sad results.   But then one day - to your great surprise and astonishment - she lifts her skirt and drops her pants and literally begs you to take all you want from her.   If you are wise, and understand life - and the markets - you do not hesitate.  And when others examine your results, they think you are either lucky or smart.   You yourself know you are not very smart - and since they did not see the hundred times when you were unsuccessful, only you know that you are not that lucky.    What you were, was careful and consistant and disciplined.  And you also had learned how nature actually works.  

The trick, you see - is to be there when Ms. Market wants to give it all to you.  And to act and to be able to act, when she offers everything.   And being there that 100 times when there was nothing to be had - and to keep your patience and remain wise and restrained - this is difficult, and takes the self-discipline of a monk.   It really does.

And recognize that extreme good results can also be balanced by extreme bad results.  So it also takes real understanding - and the linkage of the understanding process to the take-action process - which is rare in humans.   You have to be a little bit insane to profit as a trader.  Really, you actually do.  It is a silly business.   Much better to be a dentist.  Really.

Or maybe a Mystic Healer?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OBXRJgSd-aU

Ok, just in case any real people are reading this:

     [A Little Coda...]

A coda is a seperate piece of music, distinct from the main piece.  It literally means "tail" in Italian, the international language of music-instructions...  In this case, our little coda is written in the key of "rant".

Here is a link to a .PDF of the whole book "The Misbehaviour of Markets - by Mandelbrot & Hudson".  Since Benoit is dead, I don't feel we need to make a bunch of New York publishers any more rich than they already are.  Copyright should *die* with the holder, when he/she dies, and USA DMCA and Google be damned.  I had to use "Duckduckgo" to find this link, as it is curiously not offered by the Google search engine.  

https://dichgiacamchi.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/the_misbehavior_of_markets_-_benoit_mandelbrot.pdf

This URL looks like it lets you download the entire .PDF for the book.   We believe that copyright should end after 15 years, much like patent protection does.   We feel the DMCA is an assault on science - and literature, art, history and human learning in general.   We want the Library to be unlocked, and not sealed behind paywalls.   We assert that it is wrong for important human knowledge to be held in for-profit archive-fortresses.  

Once you pay your $100 per month for wiMax internet access, that $1200 annual fee should be sufficient to allow a student to take a book from the virtual shelf and read it - without incurring an additional fee per book.  The marginal cost for downloading a .PDF is effectively zero - and all science books - and academic journal articles that result from publically funded research efforts - should be available without fees being levied.    And all books should be available after the expiration of a 15-year copyright window.  The DMCA represents an assault on human learning, and as such, we consider it to be an evil thing that degrades science and impairs scientific inquiry.  It is a wrong and bad thing, and it should be ended.se, as the dog's tail), can tolerate garbage currency for a decade or two, if we have the productive capacity to make stuff.  Seems to be the case - maybe.  Looks like it is the current picture of the future, for now.

 
[ Nov. 21, 2020 ] By the Rivers of Babylon - "You know how to *take* the reservation - but you don't seem to know how to *hold* the reservation!" - so said Dr. Seinfeld, that wise fellow with the PhD in the Comedic Arts.   I remember how many clever people I knew - who seemed to be wise and offer advice and suggestions on how those around them should behave and live their lives.  Just about all these speakers-of-advice are dead now.  I suppose they are giving advice to the worms on how to eat, or perhaps to the Devil on how to stoke the fires of Hell.

I have mostly just tried to avoid being foolish and stupid, and have met with some small success - at certain times and places.  But it is the errors and omissions we recall best, is it not?

If you are French - maybe you want to go to school in Lyon.  There is something strangely interesting about that city.  It keeps coming up in so many of my readings - I know nothing about the place, except that it seems to be viewed by French and Europeans as an obscure, provincial capital - and yet so many interesting confluences seem to intersect there.  Today, in reading about Mandelbrot (everytime I study anything he did or said or worked on - I am overwhelmed by the genius of his work and his curious creativity) I learned that he "hid out" during the war, in 1944, in a school there, in a mathematics course.   He found he could solve complex agebraic problems using geometry - as he could visualize and do transformational constructions in his head, in 3-D.   This shocked me, as I thought this was my own little secret.. It is the way I examine and try to understand (and maybe, solve) complex problems.   I have trouble with the symbology of the math (or I did,until I forced a limited degree of understanding upon my own feeble brain by sheer effort of will), but I can see and transform n-dim tensors in my head as conformable objects.  I can just visualize them.

The visual arts are wonderful - and yet can also be the stuff of nightmares.  Or perhaps all art is just an expression of our desires, our fears and our longings?   Born into a fractal natural world, we seek geometric perfection by constructing cities and systems and taxonomy.

The virtual world of the internet is toxic and deeply unhealthy for us - and yet like drug addicts, we are drawn into this world by our own human nature.  What we should have and must have for happiness and peace-of-mind, we cannot obtain.  So, we seek degraded simulations and false "virtual" experiences in the online world - or at least some of us do, it appears.  I have been reading details of some obscure research by a French sociologist  into  the emotional surrogates that are popular in Japan in online/virtual worlds - synthetic "boyfriends" and virtual "girlfriends" and so on.  Quite bizarre and curious.   I am not sure if perhaps it is all a joke?  And yet there appears to be real research into this expanding social phenomenon.   Japan is - after all - the curious nation where the concept of "hikikomori" was first documented.  [ Hikikomori (Japanese: ひきこもり or 引きこもり, lit. "pulling inward, being confined"), also known as "acute social withdrawal" ]

Why do I/We write this "weblog"?  For the simple reason that it forces me to organize my thinking, and introduce sufficient discipline into that thinking so that it can be useful and actionable.   One must follow the process of: thinking, planning, take-action, evaluate-results, revise-thinking.  This is how "learning" occurs, if such learning is to be at all useful and effective.

The region where we live has jumped to "Condition: Red" level of public-health restrictions as of Monday.  This means no non-essential travel, closure of most entertainment establishments, and is just one level down from full "prison-style" social-lockdown.   The Covid-19 cases are ramping up at a rapid rate, and both deaths and ICU admissions are climbing.   Hospital capacity is limited here, and there are few doctors and an already rather poor medical-services delivery capability in this area.  If we get a "Wuhan" level of case-growth, then we will have real trouble.

We are already required to wear surgical masks or face-coverings inside *every* commercial establishment.   I bought a full N-95, dual air-filter, silicon-rubber face-mask that provides good filtration of toxins.   Since I already had some respiratory issues recently (flu and/or allergies), I suspect that if I contract Covid-19, I might be done for.   Or perhaps we had it last year, and may already have some immunity.   

What is curious is the rising stock market.   There is no question that Canada will face a very difficult winter.   Many Canadians already get a bronchitis or sore-thoat/influenza type of illness in the winter here.  This phenomenon has been documented for hundreds of years here, and I have found numerous references to this in historical research and Canadian biographical and autobiographical accounts.   If we overlay Covid-19 on this already sickness-inducing climate, then I can't see this being a positive scenario for Canadian business expansion and/or economic growth.

Probably we are looking at further economic contraction, and within a few more months, a beginning of loan-non-payment problems, as most Canadian folks are pretty highly leveraged - especially on their houses.

I had expected the bank stocks to pull back *sharply* as the Covid-19 cases ramped up.  But perhaps it will be a couple of more months before this happens.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HTq7vE_5un4

[ Nov. 20, 2020 ]  Bang a Gong - Covid-19 is getting worse, while financial assets are being bid up, and business conditions are starting to deteriorate again.

As we indicated above:   We are particularly concerned about the rapid increase in the value of financial "paper" or "digital" assets, as this is occuring in environments where business-conditions appear to rapidly be deteriorating.

This is almost a perfect textbook description of a runaway "asset value bubble" that will cause serious financial and economic disruption, when it reaches it's climax, and "bursts".   The rapid repricing downwards of financial assets, at the same time as a rapid rise in Covid-19 deaths, could create a scenario of extreme social disruption in modern economies with complex, interconnected, lengthy supply-chains.

It is interesting that the IMF folks seem to be offering pretty much the same kind of warning.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-19/imf-says-global-recovery-may-be-fading-risks-still-very-high?srnd=markets-vp

It is unusual and rare when we find ourselves in agreement with the IMF people.  We typically are not fans or supporters of the IMF or it's actions, as we believe that agency has morphed into an abusive re-distribution scheme to assist and support corrupt and dishonest national governments,   Corrupt and dishonest governments who don't pay, should not be assisted by honest people who do pay their bills.

But the IMF economists seem to see the same looming disaster that we are seeing.

The Covid-19 pandemic looks to be at what might be termed a "liftoff" point, where the death-rates might start to become significant.  If this happens, we will have to see economic activity shutdown again, as it was in March-April-May, earlier this year.

The vaccine looks like it might not have any meaningful effect on outcomes, until the middle or even later, of next year.   We seriously may be looking at three to 6 months of hard-core lockdowns or movement-restrictions, just to ensure social survival.

[ Nov. 19, 2020 ] Titanic - Curious...  I note that not much other than *internet-shopping* is working anymore.  Really - it is all just not working right - by design.  You want it to work right - then you have to become a paid subscriber - otherwise, you get trash & excrement.  The internet seems to be over now.  The experiment is complete, the results are known.  It's done.

The model says market will move up - but too much is just wrong.  The internal signals are flashing red/red/red.   We are out - just about *all* in cash, and we don't like cash.  I am dreaming about burned buildings and shattered storefronts.  It's just weird - really curious.   I am having vivid dreams of buildings with the fronts torn off, so you can see inside each apartment.   I have no experience of this - there is no internal memory I am drawing on.  It feels like echos from forward events, reflected backwards along the timeline.  

After the TItanic was torn open below the waterline, across all her watertight compartments, she steamed along fine for quite some time.   When it's all torn and broken and failing - most people don't even have any sense of it - until it is way, way too late.   On the surface, everything looks great - we had some good results, and I even bought a new pickup truck.  But I did it because I had the strange feeling I needed to do this *now*, since soon, it would not be possible.  Such a curious sense of disaster and foreboding I am sensing - and I do *not* like to act on emotion or personal feelings - but this is just strangely intense.  

Be careful, folks.   This is more than just the broken USA election...   This is something that has been unwinding since 2015, which is when we started to notice that everything was no longer working properly.    The economics just isn't working right.  Investment is not working right.  The near-zero interest rate on your fixed-income/low-risk investments, is not reflected in the 20% interest-rates that people are paying on their VISA cards.    The system works for a few rich government employees and poor folks on welfare - but for those in the self-financing world, or the "gig-economy" and so on - there is just a flat, vacant wasteland that lies ahead.   We have done very well this year, yet I can't shake the feeling that we are looking at a major series of disasters looming ahead.

It is possible that we are just at the very *beginning* of the real Covid-19 pandemic, and that what we have seen so far, is just a minor prelude to the real event.    Or maybe I am just tired..

[ Nov. 18, 2020 ] Sam McGee from Tennessee - The time of the cold is beginning.   But it is interesting just how hot the market action is.    We have serious concern here, and it looks like we are tee-ing up a serious break in the near future.  

Had a nice afternoon chat with some folks who are house-bound.   A fellow I spoke with is down to a reduced schedule of a few days a week, as his work is connected with the airline industry.   The entire industry in Canada is running about 80% below capacity, it appears.  Where there were 5 flights per day by a major carrier running from North America to a European city - there is now one flight.  Where there were 20 commuter flights per day between two major domestic cities - there are now 3 - and they are far from full.   The entire industry is not expecting any improvement until mid next year at the very earliest.   By then, most industry players will be either functionally bankrupt - or effectively offline and mothballed - hanging on in survival mode.

Some businesses are experiencing growth - but many are also just shutting down forever.  Travel and hotels and entertainment will take *years* to recover - and will not likely reach pre-pandemic levels of activity for at least 5 or more years.

The vaccine is welcome news - and shows evidence of wise policy choices, as the *lockdowns* are idiotically foolish and ineffective - the world cannot be turned into a prison - and only prisons can actually be "locked-down".   The virus propagates in many ways.  It cannot and will not be stopped from doing this.  All efforts need to be on treatment and vaccine development.

But people are people and politics is what it is.  This mix creates a process where deception and denial works well, and can get results for a certain class of folks who know the game and can run the programs.  So it goes, as Mr Vonnegut used to say.

The market run at the moment is a dangerous thing - and will end badly, we fear.   It has already created a spike in the data that looks ominous.  We've seen these before.  The modern robot-algos will run down the backside of the spike, as fast as they ran up the front side of it.  And if they don't, then the people who are people will probably do close to the same thing.

Trading a spike is like spiders mating - you feel compelled to do it, but for the boy-spider, it always ends badly.

Sam McGee became, of course, "Telegram Sam" in his next life, and Marc Bolan wrote a song about him:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=du7jfDYe5LI

[ Nov. 17, 2020 ] Runaway - A stock which was trading in the 70's in March-April, is now trading well north of 105.  The Great Rotation that seems to be underway is impressive.    The recognition has dawned that rates will stay low for a long while, as the fragility of the various 21st century northern-hemisphere economies are expected to remain under Covid-pressure for quite some time.

And there is just very little to buy, that is not already too expensive.  Curious problem, and apparently even understood by the Central Bankers of the world.

[ Nov. 16, 2020 ] Eve of Deduction - World looks in rough shape from rising Covid-19 cases, markets looking great.  Curious.

But the Moderna vaccine looks promising  -  and it is only government obstructionists that is preventing is widespread distribution.   USA and Russia focused on fixing the problem - the Leftist world focused on preventing people from going out and making money.  Trump and his "Operation Warp Speed" approach looks to have done it (along with the Sputnik vaccine in Russia).

As is our experience with successful projects, it appears those responsible for the success will be punished, and those who focused on the wrong choices, will be rewarded.

In big IT projects, we used to see this just about every time.   The final phase was always the promotion of the useless and uninvolved people.   Major change projects are always difficult.

The trick now of course, is to get the filthy FDA and the other Washington Obstructionist Agency players out of the way, so we could actually get the vaccine out to hospitals and doctors and clinics.  The mRNA is the variant you probably want, since no live virus is used.   I would be reluctant to use the adenovirus carrier version.

But since no vaccine is even available (as the Covid-19 cases ramp up), the whole discussion is moot.   The private sector is really the only thing that is able to do anything now.   This psychological reliance on "government" that seems to have infected the thinking of so many children and young adults, is curiously pathological - and represents a profound threat to future prosperity of our small world.  

Government is the *cause* of the problems we face.  It is never the solution.  Solutions always come from creative people who are external to the process and machinery of the bureacracy.

[ Friday Nov. 13, 2020 ] Peter Pumpkinhead Goes Down - Looks like those Big Bags of Beneficial Ballots that mysteriously appeared after November 3rd, have allowed the Biden Banditos to bag the Big Chair.   Wow.  (The Democrat-operatives would simply say: "Hey! Nothing "mysterious" here.  Those are just "advanced" ballots we bought fair and square!")  

Either way, all we can say is: Congratulations on a helluva fine piece of engineering!   It sure looked to us that American voters wanted Trump and not Biden, but Mr. Trump simply pissed-off far too many rich, powerful people.  And those rich, powerful Leftists (who regularly rake in the monster sacks-o-cash from USA federal spends) wanted to make sure the process could be maintained.

Trump was changing the program - and the Big Boys don't want the program changed.   Just for amusement and future analysis, we are trying to get a handle on how much the Democrats actually spent to buy this result - as about all we know for sure, is that it was the largest amount of funds ever deployed to bend an election.  Boomburger himself spent over $100 million in Florida alone - that's how much that wealthy old ju hates Trump.   That really has to be some serious hate.  The whole election was pretty comically awful, and can't really be called much of a "democratic exercise".

Imagine being an American - you go to the polls - and you see a list of options, none of  which you want at all.  (An awful lot like Canada, truth be told).   Right there, you know in your heart of hearts (or your heart of darkness?) that there is nothing you can do to change anything at all, and that the whole exercise is a complete fraud.   So, you smile and vote for the least-awful option, knowing that you are wasting time and mindshare on a bogus process that will change nothing.

For those of us in the self-financing sector - who make money by our own actions, and are not plugged into the corrupt gravy-trains of modern politics, Big Corporate, or Academia, watching another never-run-anything political whore (like Obama), take the Top Boss job on this planet, is painful.

We predicted Biden a *long* time ago, but one can always hope.  Trump's strength was his abusive willingness to disrupt the established (corrupt) order.   That was - on balance - a positive outcome.   As the USA now backs away from that, turns inward, and plans to focus on "progressive" (oh, fuck, what a dishonest weasel-word for *theft*) policy plans, we can look forward to More Shit, being Piled Higher and Deeper.

Trump just made too many enemies.  If the Big Jews of Hollywood and New York want to see you go down, then you are in trouble.  And if the Big Tech Boys also join that party, and they can afford to run the Big Con on the poor-folk (it pretty much always can run, if enough funds are available), then you really don't have a chance.    I was amazed that Trump almost looked to have pulled it out of the fire - but of course, the changes to voting process that allowed those big bag of Biden ballots to be engineered, cemented the outcome even before the November 3rd election took place.

Nothing will change for us in Canada (we are already being hammered by our own bad government here), but it is interesting how really sad and worried many of the folks in what might be called the Japanese intelligentsia, seem to be.   The smart folks in Japan really liked President Trump, and his hard line on China - and it's government's crimes, bad behaviour, abusive dishonesty, and military threats -  was welcomed as something new, good and necessary.   All that will end now, and the folks who pay attention to the ill-winds of political change, know that Japan is pretty much screwed.

The moronic idiocy of the "United Nations" - probably the most useless, worthless and dishonest collection of fraudsters and government-toadies ever assembled in one place - has voted to abolish nuclear weapons.  That leaves non-nuclear armed Japan sitting alone beside China and Russia who have real weapons.  Even North Korea claims to have nuclear weapons - and regularly launches missles over Japan to make it's point.

Without a very strong US leader, Japan is just a rich guy walking down a back alley in a really bady part of a dangerous city.  And for Taiwan, it's even worse.   Trump - wisely - made it clear that Taiwan would have access to US weapons (if it bought them) and could also expect US military assistance if it was attacked.   

Without Trump - and a bunch of "progressive" fartwits in charge of USA - these free and democratic and non-nuclear-armed Asian outposts don't have much of a chance.

Hong Kong has already been taken down, as China explicitly reversed it's committments on HK operation, has constructively removed all democratic legislators,  imposed a "security" law, and is arresting anyone who speaks out.  Hong Kong is pretty much finished.  

That leaves South Korea - already threatened by a lunatic regime of nuclear-armed neofascist Stalinists to the north -  and Taiwan and Japan.  China has explicitly stated it intends to use military force to invade and capture Taiwan, and Japan has no real weapons capability without tactical nuclear devices.  China could overrun Japan in a matter of weeks - the only "divine wind" that could save Japan then, would be the use of American-deployed tactical nuclear devices.  And there is now zero chance that a Biden "progressive" (goddamn how I hate that false weasel-word) administration would do such a thing.

So the Japanese - who are not all stupid - know they are now in trouble.  Trump made his views on things very clear, and he was widely respected as a real leader who would not be manipulated by Chinese Communist bluster and theat.    The clever and politically aware Japanese see Biden as a joke, and his VP as a whooping, arrogant idiot.    They might not be wrong in this assessment.

Our analysis suggests we are drifting towards two possible outcomes:  1) An eventual war with China, which may involve limited use of real weapons, at least in a tactical theatre of operations.  Or 2) The eventual loss of all three of the remaining open-civil-society, true-democratic nations of Far East Asia - Taiwan, South Korea and Japan -  to Chinese hegemonic control.

The lesson of history here, is that nothing stays static.  America - with a lame-duck President, to be followed by a weak leader who wants to turn America inwards - is now a nation with a very deep political divide.  This creates the real possibility of an extremely ugly "future-picture" for much of democratic Far East Asia.

[ Nov. 12, 2020 ] Bad Moon Rising - LODAFU is the New FUBAR - The Biden Bandito's want to lock down America for 4 weeks to stop the coronavirus.  Oh, that will help (he said with sarcasm - or is it SARScasm?).   Given that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is aerosol spread, and is creched in *most mammals* - I don't think this "lockdown" even comes close to being a good idea.  And the science seems to prove that.

The objective is to GET THE DAMN VACCINE OUT RIGHT ABOUT NOW  boys and girls, and stop the regulatory foolishness that is obstructing every good thing everywhere now.

Some are saying the Demorats *stole* the US election.  Of course that is not true.  They did what every corrupt group of power-monkeys do - they just bought it.  The Demorat spending was the highest ever in any election by any party ever in USA history.  And crooked Democrats like that particularly clever little young A-American woman with the funny name, managed to vector *millions* of dollars of political donations INTO HER OWN FAMILY POCKET by hiring her husband's political propaganda company, and spending *millions" on videos and political action advice.  It is a level of political corruption and financial scamming that is breathtaking.  It should just disqualify her from being an elected representative.   But it won't.  Not now.

But the Demohacks will vector everyone's attention away from the corruption with the coronavirus, and the threat of a LODAFU.

We are all going to have to live with the virus until the vaccine can be make available.  Pfizer or Sputnik version looks to be OK, and worth the risk.  The Lefty Government types need to get out of the way, and hand the whole public health model over to private industry so things can be made to happen.

This whole virus thing could be at least mitigated in one or two months.  We need to do this, so we can get ready for the next one, because it looks like this kind of rolling viral pandemic threat will remain with us all for quite a while, given the rate and nature of the coronavirus mutation.

[ Nov. 11, 2020 ] White Light, White Heat & Dark Matter - Just felt I had to post this latest.  Our intermediate model forecast has turned over, see the Nov. 11 projection at top, first screen image, green line.  The second image is from Nov. 6th fcst.

Mkt still shows great strength.  But our medium-long wave projector is pointing down.

[ Nov. 10, 2020 ] The Dark Moon of the BrightSide - Suddenly, we are getting curious signals.  FD: (Full Disclosure) We closed out one portfolio yesterday, and the second, bigger one, today.  We are now almost all in cash.  Maybe we miss part of the big rally, but we feel something is - as Mr. Shakespear might have said - Rotten in Denmark.  

The vaccine is not that good, many folks will not take it, and the USA is not going to resolve it's leadership issue anytime soon, no matter what sort of hype and info-sets are promulgated by the Big Media organs.   I cannot shake the feeling that we are on very shaky ground.

The C_Machine forecast - from Nov. 6th -  had a projected run from the 97 level up to 105 on the testbed security that we have been trading.   We had to take the numbers, as the delta in the account was too fine and good.  We note the extreme nature of the markets now, and sense that the 105 level is possibly a "pivotal point" for a significant reversal.  (See the cheesy screen-photo of our traded security price projection, complete with a little generated image of the Mandelbrot set, I have been playing with.)   

A positive run of close to 10% in a few days in the class of stocks that our testbed security falls into, often tends to be a signal for a reversal.  Truly, no one and no machine can know what the future holds.    But we have real concern that this "Biden Bubble" has become quite stretched.

And we note the US Federal Reserve also has similar concerns to ours.   The economic damage from the Covid-19 pandemic is possibly only beginning to be felt.   Many businesses and private individuals have been making use of savings and sales of high-quality assets (ie. their houses and real-estate holdings), in order to maintain economic viability.      These cash-raising options will be ending soon for many - as the money runs out for a large number of folks in North America.

The US Federal Reserve notes in it's recent information releases that it believes there is a significant chance of a meaningful fall in asset prices across the board, once the general public's liquidity starvation becomes more directly actualized in the marketplace.   We are concerned that commerical property values could be impacted soon - perhaps early in the new year.   This will come as a surprise to many, but it should not.  Mortgages could be next, of course.  We've seen this movie before.  Many folks are *seriously* leveraged, and without high-paying jobs, debt-service becomes first difficult, and then later, impossible.  Next year might see the start of the "later" phase.

There are just too many people engaged in economic activity that is not going to remain viable over the next 6 to 12 month time frame.   This will likely show up as credit quality deterioation, and this may well be enough to degrade the asset base of many financial institutions.  

Everyone thinks we are out of the woods now.   But we suspect that this is not the case, and that the real economic pain from the changes that we have seen this year, still lies ahead of us.  The equity asset values from the famous stock market crash of 1929 were mostly recovered by early 1930, and the market did not bottom out until 1932, over two years later, when the bank-runs began.

[ Nov. 9, 2020 ] In a Godda Da Vida  - The Riders on the Storm, or the New Riders of the Purple Wage? ... The 1960's were an astonishing time in history - also the first time computers were used to hack stock market activity, and facilitate trading runs.   The canonical book about this crazy time, was "The Money Game", by the pseudonym-designated author "Adam Smith".  (Go google it...).   Many of the great technological leaps can be traced to either the 1920's or the 1960's.  It seems we need money to make the magic happen.   (Is this a surprise to anyone?)

Maybe the theme really is from the Doors - Jim Morrison, "This is the end, my only friend, the End..."   used so well in the famous Vietnam War film, "Apocolypse Now".

The decade of the 1960's was before my time, and is ancient history now.   And yet it was a decade when we could build working, interplanetary spaceships, and deploy them successfully and effectively.  I was actually a Grumman Aircraft shareholder for a while.  (Grumman built the LMs - the Lunar Modules for NASA Apollo program, a spaceship that landed on a planet, and then launched itself back into orbit - without any maintenance crews working on it.  Amazing technology.   Never made any money from Grumman shares - I just liked their aircraft and spacecraft work.  It was a silly trade, based on emotion.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HQfauGJaTs

One should probably avoid any emotional linkages to positions.   But in the 1960's, the old guys would always say how much the market was an emotional thing - much like a woman.  I always thought this was silly, like sailors thinking of their boat's as female.  But the wisdom of this mental image or psychological metaphor has borne the test of time.   Many have already said it: A mass of men acting together, often behave with raw emotion and pure feeling, much like a woman.  And this is an algorithm for disaster, is it not?

The politics of the 1960's was a complete sh/tshow - a popular president murdered, bad leaders, stupid decisions, idiotic war, etc.  But the technological leap - and the leap upwards in the markets - was extreme.

[ Nov. 8, 2020 ] Long, Strange Trip It's Been - Lately it occurs to me - that the AI's will change things.  Our simple little market AI suggested an improving situation, market-wise, so we repositioned the portfolio that had had the major redemption to a fully invested, all-in status on Friday (and even caught pretty much the low of the day for the shares we picked up) , and the futures numbers here at 4:40 am look to have confirmed the wisdom of this strategy.

It's not that our AI thing is particularly genius - it is more that *any* model-driven formal approach can have benefits.  Markets are difficult things to take money from.  Last night I was reading the little book that the real Jesse Livermore wrote  - not "Confessions...", but "How to Trade in Stocks".   He wrote it in 1940, shortly before he committed suicide.   And understand - Livermore had *millions* of dollars stashed in his apartment when he died.  He did not kill himself over money-related issues.   But he had made some *very bad trades* emotionally.  

Livermore kept a special, secret apartment in NYC, where he had relations with women.  I don't blame him for doing this.  We are all human, and should accept our nature.  But this blew up his marriage, and the second woman he married had had 4 previous husbands who had killed themselves.  Even the most basic, average-level statistical analyst, quant or simpleton, should have understood - from that single fact - that this second female was to be avoided at all costs.

But he married her, and I suspect she used explicit psychological techniques to destroy him.   (When you get an algo that works - you run it again and again, if it keeps paying off. )  She made him call her every 15 minutes during the day - since she was *concerned* for his safety.   My point here, is that he remained a sensitive, successful trader right up to the end.  His suicide was as much about his tragic personal circumstances, as it was about his many reversals.  

There is real danger that is present in speculative investing - but Livermore makes a very strong and correct (I believe) case for the aggressive-speculator approach to *investing*.  He argued that short-term speculation was much safer, and illustrates the failure of the long-haul "investment* approach to stock trading by reference to the price-history of major railroad stocks from 1905 to 1940.  These were the best "blue chip" stocks in 1905 - selling for hundreds of dollars per share - that by 1940, (only 35 years later!) were almost worthless, selling for pennies per share.

Long-term *investors* in these great, successful, companies (which threw off big dividends, and which were considered as the top, best, long-term investments in their day) were essentially wiped-out, as General Motors investors were several years back, in our modern times.

The AI's succeed because they are mindless.  And this mindlessness makes them very sensitive to the local, immediate conditions that they observe.  They are able to operate like enlightened "Zen" Buddhists, as they live perfectly "in the moment".   They truly and honestly do not care.

The computerized formal model has *no* emotional investment in what it is doing, and this gives it great strength and ability, when it comes to making market-driven decisions.

If I watch price-action for several days, maybe a few weeks, with close, careful, focus, then I can pretty much tell what will happen at certain "pivotal points".   And like Livermore, I find that lists of numbers are actually much more revealing than charts.  I don't know why.   I really cannot determine exactly what I see that lets me see this.  But I do know, it is exhausting work, and leaves me tired and drained - so probably there is a lot of neural activity.   

The problem is that even if I know what to do, the random and natural reflexive nature of the markets (these are both different - but operate simultaneously), make it difficult for me to pull the trigger.  I solve this problem by trading big.  SInce it is painful and hard to pull the trigger on a trade, I don't do too many - but I trade in quantity when I do - often the entire 6-figure portfolio.   This seems insane, but it seems to work.

It also helps to follow the AI model.  THis is also difficult, since it makes directional indications that seem idiotic.  But it does not care.  That makes it good, even if it looks bad.  (Like what Hamlet spoke about, when he had his head resting in Ophilia's lap [Shakespear was a genius] and Hamlet references  "country matters" (which my copy with Elizabethian English notes translated as "rustic doings") - there are a class of things that look pretty bad, but actually can feel pretty good...)

But trading can both look bad, and feel worse.  (You pull the trigger on a trade you know you have to do, and then it starts to zoom-off against you, and you feel quite sick in the stomach... but the position had a time-window range that has to be followed, so you try not to vomit, and stand pat (like in "St. James Infirmary Blues", standing pat, I worry...)

Trading is emotionally difficult - especially if you do it because you rather need the money.  At various points in Livermore's life, when he managed to lose many millions of dollars, he would declare bankruptcy - but he would always make good his debts, once he recovered.  He would go thru bankruptcy, because the emotional pain of owing and not being able to pay, would poison his thinking and his trading ability.  And he knew this and was honest about it.  By freeing himself from obligations, he could trade clearly, without the ugly emotional drag of debt.

This is why the AI "robot traders" are so successful.  They have zero emotional connection to their own actions.   "Like a psycho on a shooting spree..." whisper's one of my inner daemons, with a Mephisto smile.

[ Nov. 7, 2020 ] Keep on Truckin' - We bought a new Ford F-150 pickup truck.  It is nice.  And it is faster than was the Corvette I had as a youngster.  :)

[ Nov. 6, 2020 ] Sound and Vision - Fine weather for November - sunny and warm and more like July than November.   Really very nice.  We look at Tropical Storm "Eta" on its way to Florida.  Looks like it could morph back into a hurricane again.   Perhaps it will destroy Miami?   We hope not.  But this has already been a very strange year - and promises to get even stranger as we struggle toward it's conclusion.  Sound and vision - and electric blue.

The Real Buckaroo Banzai...

If you only watch one TED talk, watch this short one.   This is George Dyson, Freeman Dyson's son, now a noted author, providing direct, family info, on the original Project Orion, a nuclear-bomb powered spaceship (the size of a Marriot Hotel building), that would fly to Saturn and Jupiter and return to Earth.   This was a real project, with real timelines, and a real budget.

These physics boys were *really* going to go.

https://www.ted.com/talks/george_dyson_the_story_of_project_orion?c=111677

It would have been a hell of a launch.  They worked out the calculations, and even built some small test model vehicles, which proved the concept was quite workable in practice.   The vehicle woiuld essentially surf upwards on the violent shock-wave produced by each exploding fuel unit.  In the test vehicles that were built, C4 explosive was used.  In the full-scale ship, the fuel units would be coke-bottle sized nuclear bombs, so the launch would have been visible for thousands of miles away - a massive pillar of rising nuclear blasts, each accompanied with a wide-spectrum white flash.

The whole project was classified.  Then it was de-classified, and George Dyson was able to spend years collecting material.   But recently, it was all re-classified - doubtless because of the information on how quite small nuclear bombs can be configured.

So of course the thought occurs to me:  If one can build a small nuclear-bomb that has a detonation profile that allows for a focused blast - you want to focus the detonation on the "pusher-plate" of the spaceship - why not further shrink the uranium fission device (the nuclear bomb) down to a very small size, and use a parabolic-shaped pusher-plate (almost like a  traditional chemical-rocket thrust cone) and power the ship forward more efficently.

The "nuclear bomb" fuel-unit would be size and shape of an LED (light-emitting diode), and it's detonation would occur at the focal-point of a parabolic-shaped reaction thrust transfer plate.   This way, you catch and vector most of the resulting shock-wave from the (relatively small) nuclear explosion, and thus propell the vehicle forward.    This is basically the same way a bright, white-hot tungsten filament radiating in a vacuum, (in a car-headlight light-bulb), creates a beam of directed light.

The idea for a nuclear-powered spaceship is not anymore outlandish or extreme than any other technical device, designed along scientific principles.

What would really make this work, is if the "exploding" (ie. fissioable) uranium devices could be shrunk down to a very small degree,   Even better, of course, is if the entire nuclear-explosion could be initiated continously, using partical beams of reaction components - essentially vectored beams of reaction-grade atomic particles made to interact at velocities sufficient to create matter-to-energy conversion.  This seems a bit obvious - but in practice is difficult.  Instead of building tiny nuclear bombs which explode the uranium, one simply fires a narrow beam of the fissionable particles into a high neutron flux, sufficient to create the cascade "chain-reaction" that allows a nuclear fission device to operate.  Perhaps even a hybrid rocket-device could be created, where some kind of "mass injection" could be applied to ensure a constant rate of micro-level nuclear detonations - similar to how oxidizer interacts with conventional rocket fuel, to create the thrust reaction in a conventional chemical rocket.

A full-on atomic rocket-engine of this sort, could really only be operated in the vacuum of space, as the output would be fithly radioactive, no doubt.   But it could have a lot of power, perhaps.

There is actually a video made from a declassified 1950's film taken of an operational test-device:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Sv5y6iHUM

Then of course, the whole question of fusion-reaction devices comes up.  Surely there must be some way the reactive energy-release that powers that thing we see everyday hanging in our sky (the Sun!) can be harnessed for ship operation.  The US Navy has funded some limited fusion-reactor research, and wasteful big-government/big-science no-energy-generated experiments are being massively funded in USA, England and Europe.   But the political scale and nature of those efforts are almost certain to produce no actionable commercial devices or even net-energy production.  The idiotic ITER reactor in France is even structured as essentially a 40-year lifetime physics-experiment!  That project - costing billions of dollars - has no timeline to any useful, actionable power-generation of any kind!  It is little more than a life-time sinecure for an entire generation of European physicists.

Fusion reaction to product usable energy output is crazy-difficult.  It has to be, or else there would not be any universe.  In order to reach fusion-reactive particle velocities, using electric power (ie. electron density), one needs a very high vacuum - roughly 10 to the minus 5 torr, and that means a mean-free path that a deuterium ion travels is around 1 cm.  You can get deuterium ions to circulate in a reaction chamber at these fusion-reactive velocities - but the net energy output is measured in nano-watts.   If you increase any parameter to get more fusion-reaction, (ie. more voltage, more deuterium, more containment-grid surface, etc), the reaction is poisoned, and no fusion occurs.   Fusion in stars (ie.the Sun), solves this problem by creating extreme gravitational density of the hydrogen material. And if you think about it - fusion *has* to be difficult, else everything would collapse into a big ball of boiling energy and nothing else.   Even conventional fission reactors basically operate on a knife-edge of operational stability.  Raise the neutron flux, and the uranium rods get white hot and everything melts (and burns and explodes chemically - as in Chernobyl and Fukushima), and too low a neutron-flux and the uranium rods do not get hot enough to produce useful energy output.  And the neutron-flux density is non-linearly gated by the physical position of the damping agents.  It's tricky to get even a fission reactor to work in a smoothly controlled manner.

In Ontario, roughly half our electric power comes from our big nuclear power plants.  Niagara Falls is not enough anymore.   The electricity that I am using to run the computers that let me type these words - has been generated by uranium atoms exploding and boiling water to make steam to spin the turbines that dump power to the grid.   (Thank-you again, Mr Tesla.)

But fusion is hard.  We made our IEC (Inertial Electrostatic Confinement) fusion reactor work, but the neutron output (the signature condition that proves nuclear fusion is occuring), was very small - roughly 10 to the 6 or 7 neutrons per second - ie. a million to 10 million neutrons per second - and this rate is so small, as to barely be detectable.  We used sensitive chemical dosimeters, the kind that nuclear workers at the power plants carry in their pockets to see if they have had accidental radiation exposure.    The x-ray output from a 1960's color TV was probably greater radiation output that our fusion reactor produces when it is running at optimal configuration.

So, fusion is difficult.  And it will stay difficult, until we (humans) have a better understanding of what causes gravity and how a gravity field scatters.  We clearly can get a nice, hot fusion reaction.  Just look up at the Sun.  It burns away there, 93 million miles away, but with sufficient energy output to cause me a nasty ultraviolet radiation burn on my skin, if I sit on the dock in the summer for more than an hour, on a sunny day at the cottage.  I have to wear radiation-protection gear (a tee-shirt and a wide-brimmed hat), else I get painful solar radiation burns and risk skin cancer.  We need not fear radiation - we just need to screen for it, and be careful not to get too much exposure.

But we need to build rockets and spacecraft that are more efficient and more powerful than the primitive and expensive vehicles we are using now.   And we need to be able to produce significant energy-output devices for our economic use, (heat houses, light up cities, power automobiles, etc.) without setting fire to stuff here on Earth, and burning up our own air with chemical fires.    Seems a bit obvious, does it not?

[ Nov. 5th, 2020 PM ] Our Hack of Buckaroo Banzai's Ford F-150, circa 2005, is For Sale - I have put my hacked F-150,  up for sale.   Figured I would put a picture on this site, and more details.  It's got 187,000 Km, and a few small holes (sanded and painted) in the side fenders (from winter salt, of course), and the 4.6 litre V8.  Great vehicle, but we are selling it "As Is" (no certification) for the bargain price of $3,000 Cdn.    This beast has *always* got me home.  You will have to fix the rust-holes in the fender's and rocker panels to get it certified, so it can be licensed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jK3RW6rSCM

No silly scams please - no PayPal nonsense or "please ship it too me" or any of that foolishness.  Available to citizen's and residents and dealers in Canada, located near Waterloo, in Southern Ontario.   

Go to the "Contact Us" option in the top Main Menu, and send me an email, if interested.  Thanx.

Really, this truck is an amazing piece of history.  It runs and runs and runs.  😎.   We've got a new one coming, so the old one is up for sale.  The new truck is nice - but it will not make the jump to the 8th dimension.  (At least not for now...)

Ever seen the "home movies" from the original "Project Orion"?  The Orion spacecraft was spec'ed out in the 1950's, and was to be powered by small atomic bombs, ejected from the bottom, and detonated.   The idea for this propulsion method was made evident when one of the physicists on the Manhattan Project went out into the desert where the Trinity test took place,and was able to find pieces of the tower where the device had sat as it exploded.  The explosion of an atomic bomb is actually pretty slow, and tests confirmed you really could use ejected - and then detonated - atomic bombs to power a spacecraft.  The explosion does not vapourize everything right away.  It was determined that you could actually surf on the generated shock wave, and get moving nice and quickly and even in a controlled fashion.

Project Orion was cancelled before a "first-flight" took place, sadly.  But we need to remember what an amazing time, the mid 1950's were.   In 1955, Albert Einstein died.   But births also happened.   Physics has little value, if it does not result in the creation of new and better devices to allow us to explore and exploit the Universe.  We create fiction, so as to have ourselves blueprints of and roadmaps to, the unknown unknowns.

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

[ Nov. 5, 2020 AM] Poor Boys and Pilgrims- Well, how about that?  It looks like Biden and the "Big Bag of Ballots" have managed to engineer what looks like a win for the Democrats.   When faced with these clever tricks - like taking the mail-in ballots, and sending them back to folks for "correction", or calling them in and " helping people correct them" - which we know for certain happened in at least one area in Philadelphia - how the heck can this really be called an honest election?   The Democrats didn't just pull the vote,  it looks like with the "Big Bag of Post-Election Ballots", they rather engineered it.

The wealthy and stealthy Democrats with their big mainstream media support machines in New York and California, and a few other key locations, have succeeded in engineering what looks like an election victory for their dull old man and their whooping woman.  I have to say, it certainly looks to have been an impressive piece of engineering.    Hunter Biden must be laughing and laughing and laughing.  

You don't need to stuff ballot boxes when you can have "mail-in" ballots that can be "corrected" by Democrats at the "send-to" address, do you?  Trump is not stupid - he knew - and explicitly expressed concern - that this pretty much would be what would happen with mass-mail-in voting action.

It looks like Democracy came to the USA - looked around a little, got mugged and kicked to the curb, and then decided to leave.   Too bad, really.   Nothing beautiful lasts.

I'm sure the market will love this outcome - and the planning for the Biden Budget Binge Bloat will begin.  I hope someone stands up with a copy of Biden's "State of the Union" speech (if he manages to actually give one), and rips it in half as he is speaking.

Maybe God will express His disgust, and offer some action that tilts the outcome.   We actually expected Biden in a bit of a landslide, but were not happy about that outcome.    A strong and focused and prosperous USA is what the world needs.   For all his many faults - Mr. Trump was actually delivering on that outcome.   The pocket-fillers and time-servers in the Donkey Party will just create more safety-culture social fisting in the name of "progressive" political public planning programs.   And all it will do is further anger and restrict the honest and self-financing folks who are the source of American prosperity.  

We see nothing positive coming from a Biden victory.  But the numbers suggest that that outcome has been successfully engineered.    Oh my.

[ Nov. 4, 2020 ] Indiana Wants Me (And So Does Pennsylvania!  And Michigan, and North Carolina and Texas and Florida ... ) - Looks like Donald Trump has done it.  There are some questions about how the Demorat ballot-box stuffing operation in Philly will report their late results  (I mean, I love those "cheese-steak" sandwiches, but not everything else in Philly is quite as good...).   Just kidding, about that ballot-box stuffing.  I think they do it all quite differently now.  The trick, of course, is to exclude the scrutineers - what they call "certified poll-watchers" in USA-land.    Clearly, it looks like Pennsylvania voted for Trump, but something curious seems to be delaying some of the results.  Last I looked, it was just over 50% of the polls reporting.    (Box stuffing is hard work?  - just kidding folks!   (I hope...))

The Democrat machine outspent the GOP folks by a very large margin in this election.   But as history shows, you can't always buy an election.   And after Mr. Biden's curious comment about shutting down and ending all oil & gas drilling in USA and so on - you have to wonder how the heck anyone could have voted for the fellow.  But these are strange times.

I've been watching a Canadian news channel - the over-the-air video feed from CTV.  I have to keep the sound muted because the chatter is so annoying - but the reported numbers are pretty clear.  Biden get's confirmed early as the winner in all the very wealthy, leftist States - NY, Calif, Mass, Conn, Colorado, etc. - but it has been interesting to see Trump win just about everywhere else - including what looks to be decisive wins in Texas and Florida, which were must-win States.

It's after 1:00am now, and the TV networks and pundits are still not declaring a winner.  Sure looks like it must be Trump, but what with all the "mail-in" madness, it may be a while before Trump's win is confirmed.   I am surprised - but not too surprised.  Our AI model has been forecasting a rising market, and yesterday we got a solid move up again.  We've gone to mostly cash in one portfolio, and I have remained "all-in" fully invested, in my personal account.  Really, it was a "Knight's Fork" - either man would be market positive, but Trump is probably a medium-to-long term better choice, market-wise.  (Full DIsclosure:  I hate Chess.  I think it's a silly game.  )

What happens to the stock market tomorrow (later today, I mean...) ?   History suggests a strong up-trending market - but there is always the "... sell the News" phenomenon.   We expect to see "Up!", but are actually well-positioned to act if we see a sharp down-move.

[Later:]  It's now almost 3:00 am EST, and I watch the press conference where an angry President Trump expressed disgust at not being declared the election winner, when clearly, that is what has happened.   The Democrats really look like they are scrambling around to "find" some more ballots.   Our count shows Trump with 280 Electoral College votes - sufficient for him to clearly be declared the winner.   But it is playing out exactly as Mr. Trump said it would - the Democrats - who have taken New York and California - and thus think they can control the USA - are now planning an "Al Gore"-style court-fight (as they look for some more ballots they can stuff into the process...).   

Trump is angry and calls this great tub of "mail-in" ballots bogus, and a "fraud on the American people" and he is quite right.   Interesting that he predicted exactly this outcome.   

https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-lawsuit-in-pennsylvania-questions-validity-of-some-mail-in-ballots-11604500061

This looks really curious and a bit fishy & funny - as if the entire election vote-counting was suddenly **stopped**, so the Demorats could figure out how to *count* some additional ballots to put their guy into power.   It must really be making the backroom boys (and "girls") in the Demorat machine angry to loose so much of the South to Mr. Trump.  

[ Nov. 3, 2020 ] Rock the Casbah- Birth and Pain, Profit and Gain.  Let's have some Fun, and as we're Pushed into the Train.  We come to the Camp by the Light of the Lamp, and we Smell and we Feel the Decay and the Damp.    We're Living by Numbers in the Government Spout, and we Watch with Dismay, as the Money Runs Out.  Like Leon, we Ask, "How Long Have I Got?" and the Last Thing we See, is the Red Laser Dot.

[ Nov. 2, 2020 ] - Bottle of Smoke - Things are not only strange and nasty - they are wrong!   We were supposed to get a major redemption of some securities in a couple of our accounts today.  One bank gave us the wrong amount (and they shorted us by *thousands*), and another bank we deal with - they just didn't give us any money at all!  Maybe it's T+3 again?   We can't even get thru on the telephone lines.    Curious.

Tomorrow is election day in the USA.  Lucky them.   Things just don't seem to be working very well here now.  Nothing - except FedEx and UPS - seems to be working correctly.   Comical, really.   At least we are not dying of SARS-Cov-2.  At least, not today!   🤪

And I think it is just simple demographics.  We have reached one of those pivotal points, where the folks who designed and built the world, and knew how to make it all work well - they have all retired.  The current crop of folks taking over - they maybe have almost no clue - they perhaps are just going thru the motions, and must be expecting the computer will do all the heavy lifting and coordination.  Could this explain some of the serial, ongoing, constant failure-weirdness I keep seeing in so many places lately?

Really, we are insanely lucky.  Snow last nite - but it all melted today.  Went car (well, turns out - truck..) shopping today.  Found a pretty piece.  Research tonite shows tech-data is ok - the unit we looked at has "Much Better Than Average" engine and drivetrain reliability record.  Still have to check recalls, and what the forums say.    I like that the ride we looked at has an extra set of tires and rims.   Can't have too many spare parts.  

I have a feeling living thru the next couple of years is going to be a tad challenging.  One might want to have a lot of spare equipment.  There are these stories in Canada, about folks who had these cars stashed in barns, up on blocks in the 1930's.  They had paid cash for them in the 1920's, but by 1932, could not even afford to buy gasoline for them - so the cars went into the barn, any gas was only for the tractor, and a horse and buckboard wagon was the transport into town.  This was the story for many farm people.

But then suddenly, everything changed.  Young guys who didn't have cars, and could also not pay for gas, were, by 1940, charging thru the sky in twin-engine bombers and fast fighters,   using truckloads of petrol each day.   They were mostly 20+ year-old kids learning new skills - like how to execute precision bombing runs over Algonquin Park.   And of course, a lot of those kids who learned how to carefully and accurately bomb European cities, never came home.   

For Nov. 11th, imagine being shot at with fragmenting artillery shells, while flying at night.  Sorta might take a bit of the raw fun out of flying, I would expect.  And you really would not want to be the "Ball Turret Gunner".  Remember? ... the guy who gets washed out of the shattered plexiglass sphere with a steam-hose?  Somehow, I got  a book of poetry, when I was a kid, and that poem was in it.  It's five-line short format stuck with me, it seems...

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57860/the-death-of-the-ball-turret-gunner    

War might be exciting, and everyone can get a good job and a fine income and have an adventure and all, but it is still best avoided - if it can be.   Unless your nation's freedom is threatened, of course.  Then everyone goes.   But it's curious - you sign up to a project where you surrender almost all of your personal freedom - but in the name of a cause where your objective is to fight to protect your nation's freedom.  Strange trade - but so obviously necessary at certain historical pivotal-points.

[ Oct. 31, 2020 - Nov. 1, 2020] This is Halloween - I always liked that crazy "Nightmare Before Christmas" film quite a lot.   The "Donald Duck" knock-off character in the wheel-chair was particularly amusing.  We highly recommend that little cinematic gem.  Here is the intro to the Russian version, which really takes it up a notch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0NFHa0KNiE

(all they need now is the Novichok... Somehow, this version seems a lot more sinister...)  Well done, Mr. Burton.

My Covid-19 test was negative, so that is good... I think.  So, looks like I just have seasonal flu, which historically, pretty much everyone here gets in the Fall.  What is a concern is that the infection rates are ramping up pretty much everywhere now, in North America and Europe.  We are in "hunker-down" mode here now, and it looks like France and Germany are going to return to lockdown-status tomorrow or Monday.   (The unspoken subtext here, is of course: "fat lot of good it will do them..." - but we don't say that, do we?)

We continue to grow uneasy with the degree to which disinformation has become the norm in the electronic world.  As most folks are trying to be prudent and avoid super-spreader events, and hence remain at home and socialize only thru electronic means, it seems to us that this cannot help but become increasingly problematic, if misdirection, obfuscation, data-hiding and outright scamming continue to become an increasing percentage of the data-com traffic.  Do we reach point where trust is just lost?  Or will we witness old-fashioned madness, but linked to social-electronic constructs?   

We run these "thought-experiment" strategic scenarios - such as: "What if there was Television, in the time of the 1300's, when the "Black Death" Plague began raging across Europe?" Even without electronic social linkages, some very curious ideas gained currency and were taken seriously during the time of the Black-Death bubonic plague.

I recently read a book written in the late 1800's, about the "Dancing Sickness" that was traced to the times of the Plague.  An uncontrollable urge to dance violently, was actually documented - and recognized by medical professionals - as a real affliction, and many case examples of this "illness" are documented.  (This "dance-disease" idea survives to this day, as the "Tarantela" - rapid music for a vigourous dance that was thought to be the only cure for having been bitten by a Tarantula spider.)

Tonight is the night the Spirits of the Dead are supposed to have a chance to return to be with the living for a little while - at least in European/Western culture.  For the Mexican Catholics, the "Day of the Dead" is tomorrow, November 1st, I believe.     Of course, as a child - we all associated Halloween with free candy and chocolate bars.

But with Covid-19 cases on the rise again, I doubt there is any "trick-or-treat" action now.  There is a spectacular full-moon tonight.  And it is very cold, with a clear sky to allow it to be seen.  If any Spirits were to visit, they would find lovely conditions, with excellent visibility.  

It would be a beautiful night for some night-flying - the cold air is thick and very still, and would offer excellent engine and aerodynamic flight performance and wonderful views of electrically-lit cityscapes.

We should enjoy such viewscapes, and also these times of peace and prosperity.  Nothing beautiful lasts...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN5ht7NDDgI

It's true.

[ Oct. 29, 2020 ] 1984 to 2020 - The 36 Years of the Dance of Decay?   Unclear.  It is perhaps difficult to make effective use of artificial intelligence in a world where so little of the human kind is being applied to the political world.

We seem to be seeing an increasing drift towards the very awful.   Another horrible Islamo-Fascist attack in France - some Islam-person ran into a Church in Nice, and grabbed a woman and beheaded her - literally cut her head off - screaming the usual "Allah Akbar".  Then he murdered the Church warden and another women by stabbing them.   The woman was in her sixties, and was in Church.   Think how awful if must have been for her - and the others.  Of course, if this happened in Canada, Trudeau and his Liberal collective in Ottawa would doubtless blame the knife the attacker used.  We live in very curious times, which are growing stranger by the day.  

The USA election is obscuring useful information streams.  The idiocy of the modern approach to fighting terrorism - ie. installing tracking software into our cell-phones, and weakening computer security and encryption technology - is being quietly highlighted as unwise by a single Senator in the USA.  Their NSA - the curiously named "National Security Agency" - has been mandating that all data-communications technology (routers and internet gateway equipment), as well as even servers and cell-phones (some believe), are to be compromised with "back-door" access methods, to allow monitoring by these USA spy agencies.  

This is a "fake secret"  among those who work with internet communications software, and really anyone who looks carefully.  We all know this is being done.  The Snowden data-releases explained pretty much exactly what was happening.  It's cost the fellow his life, pretty much.  He lives as a refugee in Russia, and the Americans want his head, of course.

Here are the reported details of the current political debate:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-security-congress-insight/spy-agency-ducks-questions-about-back-doors-in-tech-products-idUSKBN27D1CS

The problem with installing "back door access" to allow the spy agencies to access the network data communications flow, is that it weakens and degrades the entire internet infrastructure.  And using weak or compromised encryption is much worse. It puts the entire economy at risk.

Active tracking software - which can exfiltrate all the data on a private Apple iPhone, is already in active use, and has been used to monitor communication and to track a person's location for many years now.   In some cases - such as the Khashoggi murder in Turkey - it has also been used to kill the person.

And there are now over 1 billion Apple iPhone users in the world.

But this this whole "Collect It All and Exploit It All" spy agency approach, has not made the world safer, or more secure.  In fact, it has done exactly the opposite, and created a dangerously fragile economic infrastructure, than can be degraded and manipulated by Agency operatives and private criminals with much greater ease than many people are aware.

This runs the risk of creating a mass loss-of-confidence in the entire financial infrastructure of the world.

This has not happened yet - but it is almost certain to, at some point in the not-distant future.

The operational process of a social-financial confidence-loss would look like a cascading "run on a bank".  It's unclear exactly how it would play out.   But the combination of bad economic policy, and the spy-state social model that the NSA and it's supporters are actively engineering, risks the operational integrity of the entire global financial infrastructure.

These spy-guys and the political dimwits who champion the "backdoor-access" and weak-encryption, just do not understand that they are actively degrading the *money integrity* of the world.   When this madness is combined with the modern strategy of "economic sanctions" and the expanding scope of "anti-money laundering" laws, a toxic cocktail of systemic risk can be seen to be in active development.

The political people and their spy-folks do not seem to realize that when money is damaged and made untrustworthy as a *thing* - folks don't necessarily switch to different money.  But they do reduce spending, saving and earning.  We see the success and the rise of things like Bitcoin and the other digital currencies.

But the problem is not folks switching to different money - the main problem is that economic activity is actively degraded and prevented.  A lot of business that would have otherwise happened - just does *not* happen.   This was the case in the European Eastern-Bloc nations under Communism.   The only business-development activity was done by the corrupt and inefficient State.   So the Eastern nations were poor, stayed poor, and got poorer as time went by.

Wrecking the value of and trust in - money - is what poor encryption and mass-monitoring implies.  If all your private communication is monitored by State Spy Agency operatives, and your data-communication is required to be transmitted over insecure, "back-door" built corrupt data-communications hardware, then many sane and sensible people who might otherwise engage in profitable business enterprises may simply say: "Why bother?  Why should  I enter into a crooked game, where some secret guys see all the cards everyone is holding?"

This is a subtle and yet very real risk, that comes from the creation of a "spy culture" enabled by the use of weak encryption technology, and mass-monitoring of all citizens.  

Think about it.  If you know that some guy is watching all the cards in the game - and now and then, makes an arbitrary decision about who can play, do you really even want to participate?

The Spy Agency operatives can mostly do nothing to actually stop acts of terrorism.

But they - and the unwise political people who arrange their massive funding - can be *very* effective at degrading the integrity of the entire economic process of a free and open society.

It's not something that most people realize.   The politicians - with the exception of a very few - are unwise, and unaware.

Islam is an ugly religion which has a literal concept of "holy war" at the very centre of it's profoundly grotesque belief system.  It operates in the modern world as a god-sanctioned murder cult.   No amount of communications systems monitoring activity is going to offer any protection from those who adhere to the philosophy of a murder-cult, and are motivated by the abusive nonsense that is promoted by Islamic "scholars".

Rather than corrupting and degrading the operation of our data and financial system communication infrastructure, we should simply declare a base-line set of values that define what a free society is, and then actively *exclude* all those who do not wish to adhere to these values.  Of course, this is not at all possible in the current political climate.

Modern political thinking appears to exclude the possibility of any action that is sensible or rational.

As we have said more than once - these are curious times.

[ Oct. 28, 2020 ] Dancing in the Dark - Managed to get my Covid-19 PCR test today.   Feeling a bit better, also.  Still have no fever.  (Data says many folks do not  - some even asymptomatic...)

Market was not feeling so good today.  DJInd Index down over 900 points.  Financials unwound, and Cdn dollar took a dive, as oil and gold prices tanked.  Gnarly day.

The C_Machine forecast says we can expect a drift upwards from here.  We shall see if it is on the money or not.  My trader's sense is that we get one more down day, so I was surprised to the see the C_Machine tilt the forecast curve upwards.  (See Oct. 28, 2020 top panel..).   FD.  We remain long, all in.

[ Oct. 27, 2020 ] We Are Living in a Strange World Run by The Unwise - There are times one does not know whether to laugh, cry or just curse.  I've spent most of the day trying to set up a Covid-19 test.  Turns out if you have any symptoms at all, you can't get a test easily.  It is difficult now,  and is - in all cases now - BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  

So, the only Covid-19 tests are at high-infection areas at Hospital clinics.

This is unwise.  We should be encouraging testing, but the procedure that is now in place, basically is back to the standard "denial-of-service" model that our government health-care system is famous for using.

As there is strong and clear evidence of a second-wave of virus infections spreading quickly around the world - we should be ramping *UP* quick-testing, not closing it down.   Our Health Minister has dropped the ball here.    We actually had procedures in place - and these have now been removed and cancelled - just at the point where these procedures were most necessary for public health and safety.   This makes me a bit angry, truth be told.  It is unwise.

I suppose I have no choice, but to get involved in the politics here.   Not what I want at all.  

---

Two useful Covid-19 action-items here, both from the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine).

First, cats can carry the SAR-CoV-2 virus, and easily infect other cats.  The cats can be asymptomatic.  The ones in this study were.   Cats were infected. They were shown to be effective carriers of the virus, and airborne transmission of the virus to other cats housed with the infected cats took place, so that all cats became infected.  It is possible that feline to human transmission could occur, thought this is not proven yet.  No virus material was detected in the cat feces.

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmc2013400

Second, despite the disinformation promulgated by the World Health Organ, there is clear and solid evidence that Remdesivir offers real benefit - detailed study in NEJM shows it reduces recovery time and also reduces the chances of lung infection.  Total patients in study was over 1048, half got remdesivir, half got placebo.   Outcomes: for the not real sick - recovery time with remdesivir was a median of 10 days, versus median of 15 days for placebo, and for sicker folks, it was 11 days (median) for recovery with remdesivir, 18 days (median) recovery time for the sicker folks (in the severe disease stratum).  Total in the severe-stratum was 957 patients.   Read the article.  It's short and clear:

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2007764?query=recirc_mostViewed_railB_article

I trust the NEJM.  This Remdesivir trial is solid science, and the WHO is being dishonest and unhelpful, when it suggests that the remdesivir is not effective.  As usual, it seems.   God Bless America.  I am serious here.  If we left medical research to the UN bureaucrats and European civil-servants, we would still be using leeches and believing that malaria was caused by bad air.  Trump is right about the WHO.  It is a too-political organ that needs to be repaired or defunded.

The asset-base of a technology enterprise and/or a financial services operation is it's people.  If the people sicken and die, then that is not good.  Not very good at all.  

We are not doing a very good job at delivering health-care services in Canada.   It's pretty sad, actually.

[ Oct. 26, 2020 ]  Dante's Prayer - We seem to be between Fire and Ice.  The ocean is threatening a tsunami, and the volcano is smoking and belching fire and lava.  It reminds me of a cartoon I saw many years ago - a villager runs down from the mountain into the village, shouting "The volcano is erupting! Run to the beach!".   Another runs up from the beach, screaming "A tsunami is coming!  Run to the mountain!".  They stop, all the villagers look at both of them - and finally, someone says "Ah!  To the Bar!" and off they ran for a last drink.

In the end, I suppose all we can ask is to be remembered.    >--..--<

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rNI-1x79Sk

[ Oct. 24, 2020 ]   11:59- Went and bought some off-the-shelf pharmacuticals yesterday - comical, the pricing of such stuff.   Inquired about SARS-CoV-2 testing - and it is just not on, it turns out.  There are only two testing places in a city of 300,000+ where I live, that I have been able to locate by various inquires.  And both require that one make an appointment online using some stupid website.  JFC!

No wonder Ontario is showing so few Covid-19 cases!   Nobody can easily: A) access a doctor, since there are no doctors that take new patients around here, and B) the Covid-19 testing locations require that one have high-speed internet access and be online - and be willing to drop all one's medical information onto some stupid website.   I talked to a Pharmacist who was disgusted by this idiocy - and we both agreed that "this really sucks."    Of course, Covid-19 testing should be *encouraged* and should be available in a real-time, drive-thru rapid-response style service delivery model.   But nothing of the kind exists here.   There was a testing centre at the Catalyst offices, but apparently it is now *web-appointment-only*.  FFS & WTF.   What more can be said?

Medical services availability and quality in Canada does not even come close to what is available in Asia or Europe.  Even the USA is better - in some places.  Apparently, the socialist model works great in Ottawa, and in parts of Toronto, if you know someone.  But outside of the cities, there is pretty much nothing.  There are no longer *any* doctors who make house-calls.  

When I was a tiny child - my parents could call the doctor, and he would come in the middle of the night, if necessary.   Now, no such service exists anywhere.  You drive to an "Emergency" department at some hospital, and they harvest your OHIP number, and tell you to wait.  And you wait and wait and wait, and either die, or leave.   It's pretty comical, really.   And it's a great business model, since you only need one doctor in each hospital.  (Sometimes, you don't even get that.  I once went to a "regional" hospital with a slashed-foot from a dog-bite.  The number-harvester who took down my OHIP information, said "Oh, you're lucky!  *The doctor* is here today!"   Seriously.   They only had one single working doctor in the whole big hospital!)

The local hospital "Emergency" place is just a big office-area for harvesting OHIP numbers so that billings can be made.  The business model of the place is to get one to give the personal data at a little window, and then, once they have your "Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan" number, they tell you wait in a chair, in a room full of sick people coughing, and you stay there until you get so frustrated and disgusted, you leave.  This works well for the hospital, for they can still invoice the Provincial medical insurance scheme for a patient treatment, and the patient has no way to control or even monitor the payment process.  And the medical insurance scheme - OHIP - has no way to verify or confirm that any treatment has been provided.   It's absurd.

Of course, all it would take would be a simple change to the process, whereby the patient has to provide confirmation that treatment was received, before the insurance plan could be invoiced.  But no-one wants to go there.  No one wants a system that offers any authority to the patient.  It is pretty amusing, really.   The hospital "Emergency" units are worse than useless, sadly.  But this does keep people healthy.   If one keeps well clear of modern medicine, it is probably for the best, especially in Canada.   Our "Socialist" medical service delivery model is based on a standard "denial of service" strategy, and it works pretty well - for the medical people.

But they sure as heck are not *heros*.  Let's be clear about that.

But, death comes to us all, eventually, and so it is not worth really getting too upset about this.  For me, it is just amusing that I can remember when it was *not* like this, and when there were some really good and dedicated and professional high-quality folks involved in the practice of Medicine.   But those days are over.   

Anyway, I am still having trouble breathing.  I've got some off-the-shelf stuff that helps a bit, but my own knowledge of Occam's sharp Razor, tells me quietly that I should probably at least try to get a test for the Covid-19 thing.   See, I am up and down - feeling Ok, then feeling bad, then OK, and then bad.  And I am dizzy.  These are not good signs, and are typical of an immune-response in operation.   I am normally and typically very healthy.   But all men are mortal.  And Socrates was a man...  

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

[ Oct. 22, 2020 ] (Should Not Have Got On) This Flight Tonight - I always thought this was the Nazareth song - all the Joni Mitchell / Woodstock thing happened before my time - but Joni Mitchell wrote this song.  Of course, her version is terse and genius...

(If you leave autoplay option on, the Nazareth version come on after Joni's.  That's the version I knew.  The Austrian "Spotlight" performance by Nazareth is pretty good...)

Joni's version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTfB8Q6DpZ0

I think I might have the Covid thing.  Head spinning, difficulty breathing...   thought I was getting better - but even with a high-grade and well-working immune system, I seem to be getting worse, not better.   There aren't really any medical services where I live - except the crowded and toxic hospital "Emergency Rooms".  We don't actually have any "doctors" anymore in Canada, except in Toronto and Ottawa (where the Government offices are).  It's pretty comical - but it also keeps us healthy.

Nazareth version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9uvpr_gm64

Should not have got on this flight tonite...   🤒

I've taken a bunch of anti-histamines, and am feeling like I can actually breath and metabolize air again.   I had no idea Joni Mitchell was so good.  Her later albums were different than her amazing early stuff.  (I had no idea there even was a "Mama Cass Show"!  Where was this stuff when I was a youngster??? )

This is an amazing piece of TV...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NdsnFZm0X4

Look at the quality of this TV production.  It is just plain good.  There is *nothing* on TV at all like this anymore,  TV now is like that New Yorker Cartoon: "Childcrap".   Joni was young, but she wrote music for adults.   So good...

I feel like Leon in Blade Runner.   "What's my insep-date?   How long do I have?"  ðŸ˜

I see my life come shining...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEZFt5ZZj9s

And this performance below is just wildly good.   Before my time - but just genius work.  Like Mozart + Carl Sandberg, mixed, distilled, and the essence poured into a slender young genius girl, who could operate a piano and make it become a poet's pen.  Astonishingly excellent - spare, sparse, clear focused and perfect.  Est Est Est.

"I feel like a cog in something turning...   ... life is for learning... "

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRjQCvfcXn0

We get back to the garden alright.  We *become* the garden.  Just as my two former best  friends now have in their small graves - a pair of Jack Russel terriers.  Still miss them...

--- 30 ---

[ Oct. 21, 2020 ] Comfortably Numb - The interesting insight from recent action: The stock market did not realize that Google was a monopoly.  The Alphabet (symb: GOOG) share price is up another 40 bucks today, to $1595/shr level.  The Wall Street yarbs and yobs thought it was just another big, fat, techo-company, with a fat advert revenue stream flowing into it's moat.   I realize now, they did not recognize it as a monopoly-process, and are now rushing to acquire the shares because of this new knowledge.  THis is what comes of being inside the forest - you really cannot see the forest, if you are inside it - it just looks like natural stuff growing around you.    You cannot see the forest for the trees, as the old expression goes.

But if you are outside the forest - on the "null-arbor" plain (there really is a massive grassland-desert in Australia by this name), then you scan a different picture-of-the-world.  And it is these internal pictures-of-the-world that determine market prices, as folks fight it out in the market scrum.  

If you interact in any way with a major like Google, or Apple or IBM - you realize almost immediately that you are dealing with monopolists or wanna-be monopolists.  They control every aspect of everything they possibly can - and this makes sense, since if they know this is the only way to survive.   You have to extend and ensure complete control of that which is around you, or just random events (never mind toxic and malevolent actions of thieves and criminals) will engineer your destruction.  

Control is critical (and yet utlimately impossible), because it is all that stands between survival and death.    A monopolistic entity is just trying to avoid an early death.  Just the way all ologopoly models (business combinations) fail (because the participants almost certainly have different cost-structures), all monopoly-efforts are likely to fail in the future.  

A great example is the early Brazilian monopoly on natural rubber - and the amazing story of how the wild rubber trees of Brazil, became the root-stock for the massive rubber plantations in Malaysia.

https://geography.name/how-rubber-moved-to-asia/

The development of synthetic rubber - made from crude oil - in the second world war, has been critical to the mass deployment of the automobile.   The breaking of the intial Brazilian monopoly on natural rubber (by virtue of the British explorer Henry Wickham smuggling out seeds to be planted at Kew Gardens in London in 1876) allowed rubber seedlings to be sent first to Ceylon and then to the Botanical research gardens in Singapore.   The first scientific director of the Singapore gardens - Henry Nicholas Ridley - devised a method whereby the rubber trees could be tapped without damaging them.  He worked hard to teach the method to Malaysians and develop a rubber industry on a plantation basis.  Goodyear's invention of "vulcanization" - which made the natural rubber stable over a wide temperature range - allowed rubber products to be developed - shoes, coats, gloves, car-tires, etc. - which helped to create the modern world.

All monopoly efforts typically fail - but sometimes, they are *forced* to fail.  If the economic stakes are high enough, then something will give way, and the monopoly economic model (=> restricted supply or low output, to support high demand at high prices) will give way to a model where high-output, easy availability of supply will support high demand at low prices.

Even so-called "natural" monopoly-providers - such as the American Telephone Company - found that they could not sustain their monopoly.  Cellular (wireless) telephone service - once married to digitial high-bandwidth radio communication, was able to offer a better alternative communication model, just as early radio had overtaken telegraph and electric-cable communication, about 80 years earlier.

Of course, the monopolists fight tooth and nail to keep their "catbird seats".   Once you have engineered an economic machine that vomits money and all forms of wealth at you and your associates, you are not happy to see it threatened with change of any kind.

But the change will *always* come.   The clever folks who built the monopoly will age and die, and spoiled and abusive children will take it over, with the assumption that the free-ride will continue, and the money-river will continue to flow into their pockets, wallets and vaults.  At the same time, those who suffer the high-prices and low-output levels the monopolist has to maintain to keep the monopoly operating - will grit their teeth, suffer frustration, and spend every waking moment thinking  how they can end what they see as the unfair and abusive regime that the monopolist has engineered.

And this becomes the powerful motivation for change and development of alternatives.  Economists have these dry technical expressions and models which chart this process - terms such as "marginal rate of substitution" are used, and describe how much of one product users will use of a different product, when the price-cost of the first product rises outside of their demand-comfort zone of affordability.

But really, it is an emotional reaction typically.  You see prices jacked up, and supply being withheld in order to support higher prices - or some idiot Government regulator tries to artificially set lower prices - and thus removes virtually *all* supply because the market cannot now clear - and frustration and anger spawn the search for alternatives.  First, of course, the Government price-regulators machines must be dragged into the street and beaten and smashed and broken to pieces.  Market prices must prevail.   That is the best way to crush monopoly efforst.   And then, if the Government wants to do something useful, they can simply remove the legal protections that the monopolists enjoy.  That is usually enough.

The key, is that that it is the actions of other *marketplace* participants who will engineer the death of abusive monopoly structures.    All Governments need to do, is just stop the legal nonsense that protects the monopolists from preventing supply from coming forward into the marketplace.  That means removing restrictive tarrifs on outside or external products of a similar nature, and removing the legal protections that allow monopolists to stomp the small folks who offer effective competition - using the courts.

For example:  IBM had legal language that prevented customers from *tampering* with their own computers.  Typically, IBM would sell degraded equipment at lower prices, and then if the customer wanted more *power*, an IBM "engineer" would come in and flip a switch internally, which would increase computer-power and speed substantially.  This was a common industry trick.  Customers needed only to be allowed to *maintain* their own equipment, in order for the early IBM mainframe monopoly to be broken - as simple legal fix.

This same idiocy is happening again, with the Apple and Android *unrepairable" phones.  Apple can create software "upgrades" that in fact, degrade iPhone operation, and cause the battery to wear out quickly.   And Apple also designes the iPhone so the battery cannot be replaced - the device cannot even be easily opened up!   Users are forced to *upgrade* their degraded and software-damaged iPhones every few years.

Huawei, by contrast - sells and Android-phone almost the same size and with virtually the same functionality as the iPhone - but it can be easily opened, and a new battery can be inserted.  I have used my Huawei phone for several *years* now - it can be accessed easily by open-source software running on my CentOS-Linux boxes, and I an migrate files and images and computer-programs  to and from my Huawei Android smartphone.  None of this is possible (easily) on an iPhone.  The iPhone is locked, and it is not even possible to run code on the thing that allows locally-built non-Apple code to be run on it - unless you go through a complicated process of "jailbreaking" the iPhone or iPad tablet.   This is monopolistic action on Apple's part, to prevent competition, and to also prevent people from keeping their iPhones working over long periods of time.  Apple needs to degrade your iPhone with *upgrades*, so you are forced into buying a new one.  And the devices are not cheap.  My partner paid over $800 for her iPhone 8, which is massively beyond what it costs to manufacture the device - perhaps a 10 times markup.

Apple is an abusive and amazing monopoly.  They also explicitly - just like IBM used to do - try to prevent anyone from even *repairing* or trying to maintain an older, degraded iPhone.   The solution to the Apple monopoly is simple legal relief from the abusive practices that Apple mandates.

If the Department of Justice were to go after any of these BigTech monster monopolists - Apple should be the first in their cross-hairs.  Curious that this is not the case.

But we think we know exactly what is happening.  And it is ugly and sad.   Apple is in close cahoots with the USA spy agencies, and the Apple iPhones are used to track and monitor the actions of everyone who uses the things.  This is not a surprise to any analyst who just looks.

And this information is in fact detailed carefully on the Snowden Slides.   I believe that Snowden was a true patriot.   He tried to warn people what was happening.  Julian Assange helped him escape from the USA, and now both men are being destroyed, and even their families attacked.

The world is an ugly place, run by cruel and very bad people.   And Apple has made a pact with the Devil, and quietly (not so quietly, really), helps them.  This includes both China and USA governments.  So, despite the idiotic theatre that we see every so often in the *news*, Apple operates like a "made guy" in the Mafia-world of modern State-craft.     They literally get away with economic-murder, because they build the "tracking devices" that everyone now voluntarily carry around with themselves.   It is actually pretty comical.  Winston Smith and Julia carry the monitor-screen in their pockets and purses.

The above sounds like goofy "conspiracy theory" stuff, but it is not.  There is no "conspiracy".  This is just a fact of modern life.   Apple and Cisco deliver all all metadata to the NSA, and probably the Huawei folks do the same thing for Chinese intelligence services.  The British try to record every single thing, and Canada's CRE (Communications Research Establishment) in Ottawa does a lot of the heavy lifting to make all this work.  This is not a secret at all.  Everyone knows this, and Leonard Cohen even wrote a song about 40-odd years ago.

I hate the iPhone with passion, but everyone who has one loves it.  I like my Huawei, I can change the battery if I need to, and I can migrate files and programs between my Linux boxes and the Android Huawei phone - but I don't dare upgrade it, as I am pretty sure the FTP transfer code (written by a German fellow), will probably stop working.  And my iPad (which is wonderful, once I  did the RedSn0w jailbreak of it, using Russian software), is wonderful.  Because once jailbroken, and with GEMESYS DOSBox installed, I can run a full APL environment with a 5 megabyte workspace, and full graphics on it.  It is a wonderful and magical tool, once root-access and SCP (encrypted FTP) was enabled via Cydia.  But we cannot sell anything we build using this, because of Apple's restrictive, anti-compatitive practices.  The Apple iStore controls it all, and the Cydia community is too small to even be seen.

And this really should change.  Really.  It should just be changed.  All that has to happen, is that the law needs to mandate that computing-device owners should be legally given the right to acquire full *root* access to their own devices, and install whatever software they see fit.  And of course, that means full encryption software.  And software makers should be allowed to develop methods to allow their software to be installed on any computing device.   We already have a terrible security problem with malicious hacking.  This won't make it worse - it may well make it better - as anti-virus and device-control software - firewalls, gateways, packet-level obfuscation programs, etc - can be used to enhance user security and project device uses from malicious and evil actions.

All that is stopping this sensible approach from being taken, is that it is now the "Governments" of the world, which are benefiting the most from the restrictive, anti-competitive procedures that the companies like Apple and Google are using.   And also by the news-manipulation tricks that the likes of Facebook and Twitter are employing.   It's all so ugly and awful that is comical, really.

Right now - the Government of Thailand - really just a group of military criminals, and a deeply corrupt "King" -  are trying to force the internet providers of Thailand to pevent the application "Telegram" from operating, as it allows encrypted communication, and is being used by kids to assemble "flash-mobs" of young people protestings the idiotic and astonishing thefts of Thailand property by it's corrupt King and ruling military Junta.   The King of Thailand has an appointment with a lampost and a rope at some point in the near future, we suspect.

As to the folks who own "Sandvine" now, we can only hope they can see what their *censorship* technology is being used for.  A leading democracy activist from Thailand, living in exile in Cambodia, was recently kidnapped off the street, and is persumed to have been murdered.  He was - we expect - location-tracked by deep-packet inspection technology.  The ugly and abusive crackdown against election-fraud protestors in Belarus, and routine jail-killings by the "police" of Belarus - is a similar tragedy being facilitated by citizen mass-tracking.  This is not about censorship - this is about mass-tracking being used to kill people the corrupt regimes want to silence.  It's getting very nasty now.

Companies like the "Sandvine" owners - Francisco Partners - who actively facilitate kidnapping and political murder - may well find themselves subject to similar "street action".   We do not encourage or support illegal actions of any kind - but we also cannot be too surprised when Newtons's Third Law is applied to politics.  😎

https://www.accessnow.org/francisco-partners-owned-sandvine-profits-from-shutdowns-and-oppression-in-belarus/

https://www.sandvine.com/company/execs

The curious result - which any good analyst should be able to see - is that by allowing abusive monopoly-entities like Apple and Google to restrict and control the technology people buy and use, the world is made less safe, and democracy itself is slowlying being undermined.

Technology which started out as a liberating force - is now being transformed quietly into an ugly tool for social monitoring, control and even assault and murder.  We have to fix this.

Smaller companies like Sandvine - which sell explicit /block-censor-track/ deep-packet inspection technology to corrupt "Third-World" State agencies, and the larger companies that maintain restrictive monopoly-control of the tracking-devices - all this creates a technological constellation that is now being used to kill innocent people fighting for democratic freedom.  Was this really what we wanted to happen?   Rhetorical question, sure - but this is how it is now playing out.
 

[ Oct. 20, 2020 ] Breaking up is (Not) Hard to Do - Well, I guess if we can't kill Twitter, then we can at least break up Google.   The US DOJ (Dept. of Justice) finally filed their anti-trust lawsuit against them today (Oct. 20, 2020).  About time.    I used to be a great fan of Google, but then I watched in complete astonishment and surprise, as they manipulated and process-phacked us so badly, that we had to give up on having any apps in their tricky company "PlayStore".   

It was really ugly.  All our "Apps" were completely free, and had no advertising or tricky in-app required purchases.    First, Google said they said there was a security risk in a module we were using - an SDL (Simple Direct-Media Layer) component that we were using to render the APL's and the math-Graphics package (GNUplot37) and gDOSbox on the Android screen.   We completely fixed this problem, and resolved the issue by link-loading in a newer SDL module - that was proven not to have the security vulnerability.  But when we *repeatedly* tried to upload this patched-and-repaired version of the GNUplot37 and all three of the APL Applications, and gDOSbox (which had over 10,000 users), their upload tool explicitly prevented this from happening.   

We would get a message saying that we had to support the newest Android API (Application Program Interface.)    We were completely blocked, despite having fixed the SDL security issue.  To support the latest Android API, we would have to *COMPLETELY REBUILD* all the applications (re-design, re-build, re-compile) *all* the applications, up to the current level of their latest Android version.   We investigated doing this, and it meant a substantial investment of time and effort.  We would have to download and configure and install on a new platform, a completely different and *substantially* changed development environment - just to basically keep what we had working and available in their nasty little "Company Store".

The whole idea of Android, was that earlier versions of code written for earlier versions, were supposed to stay supported and working in later Android versions.

We realized that Google was now doing exactly what "Blackberry" had done to us earlier - tossed us under the bus, with a process that was basically saying: "F*** Off and Go Away.  We aren't making any money from the likes of you."

This made us sad, and quite annoyed.  But when you are dealing with a group of MONOPOLISTS WHO HAVE COMPLETE AND ABSOLUTE MONOPOLY POWER - there is really little that you can do.  So, you just go away and do something else.   We always have a long to-do list.

It's not like we could go to the "Other Android", since the whole idea was to be able to distribute applications using the Android Google Store, so that users could easily be encouraged to try out the software, and learn about about it.  The idea is to try to create a small ecosystem - even if it was really tiny - where you might be able to gain some traction and a small user-base which is interested in your products.  

One of the key tools we offered - was an open-source product called gDOSbox.   You could run old code that was written for the IBM P/C, on an Android tablet or phone.   It was just a math-fixed version of the Open Source DOSbox - but tailored and extended (with SDL) so it could run on Android tablets and phones.   It was built from the thing we had built to run on the RIM Blackberry device.     It has specific math-issues fixed, so the APL interpreters (which do vector calculations easily) and the GNUplot37 graphics package, would give the right answers and draw graphs of numeric functions correctly.   It was a crazy amount of effort to get it working, but once it worked, we could install three (3!) different APL interpreters, which would allow us later to publish a little book on using APL on Android devices, which was how we hoped to make a tiny bit of money from the whole exercise.

Alas, this was not to be.  First, the Blackberry project blew up as RIM/Blackberry decided to kill their fine product (the "Playbook"), and then Google went a long way out of it's way, to churn and change the Android platform, so developers who wanted to build things that did not necessarily enrich Google-Corporate, would be squeezed out.

The behaviour of Google was PURE MONOPOLIST.   They set out to purge any developers who were not building advert-supported, toy-game applications that Google could take a fat cut from.   This was nasty - because this is exactly what they (Google) promised - with Android - that they would NOT DO.  Android was supposed to be an open-source thing - built partly by kids who worked during the "Summer of Code" and all that.   Early Android was really a very cool thing - quite revolutionary and wonderful.

Apple is ten times worse.  They just simply say: "No interpreters, no programming languages and no system-level (ie. DOSbox) type of interpreters on the iPad or in the iStore.  Anyone who managed to sneak thru a programming langauge or a DOSbox-type interpreter (to play old IBM P/C games even), would quickly find it removed from the iStore.  Apple is really bad.

These strategic models mean that only solid revenue-generating or advertisement-oriented and funded material of a certain kind, gets on the Android or Apple platforms.   You just cannot get anything that allows real programming - and math-learning by a different method of programming - to get onto the iPad or Android devices.  And this despite the devices having sufficient computing power to do real work.    Everything is Googleware or Appleware - because then these monopolists can take 30% of any revenue that your software generates.  And they can dictate or change any terms - any time they want.  It is really ugly and awful.  But mostly - is is designed to prevent and stifle any real competitive pressure from ever being brought to bear.

This is an old-fashioned and bogus, abusive anti-competitive monopolist's trick, and the SOBs who built this nasty business model should full well expect to see it broken up.   Any developer who does not agree to this and be willing to play by these abusive rules, just goes to the wasteland and disappears and has to do something else.  This is wrong.

 
Apple and Google should just be required to open up the iPad, the iPhone and the Android platform to external applications which allow real work - and real, actual computer programming - to be done on the devices.  This will be similar to what was done to fix the monopoly that the big ATT Telephone company had.  One needs to enable competition & break apart the monopoly structure.  This is just like what was done to the price-fixing Airlines and like what was done to the Standard Oil Trust 110 years ago.

Of the two, Apple is the most abusive.  But what is shocking and deeply disappointing, is that Google is now almost as bad, since no doubt, they saw Apple getting away with economic-murder, and thought "Well, heck, if they can do it, I guess we can too!"

I would like to be able to upload my security-repaired Android applications to the Google PlayStore, and have them made available again so that folks could try them.  One is even called "TryAPL", and was built by IBM.    But they are at API-level 24 or something like that, and Google simply blocked everything lower than API (Application Program Interface) level 25 or 26, from being uploadable into the Playstore.

This was just an abusive trick, to force developers support newer Android features that were explicitly not wanted by developers like us.  We DO NOT have embedded adverts and "in-app purchases" and nasty, trickly stuff like that.   We don't have it and we don't want to have it - because it is nasty & tricky and no one learning something new, or trying to invert a matrix or run a quick linear-regression and graph the results - wants to have a bunch of adverts flashing into their face while they are trying to do some quick work.   This is what APL and GNUplot37 and gDOSbox would let one do.

But Google went out of their way to kill and remove - completely - all our work and effort.

So we are unhappy about this.  I've been making gentle suggestions that "something needs to be done"  to various folks, for a while.  I am sure there are *many* others saying things similar.

Android was supposed to be an "open-source" smart-phone platform, built on top of Linux/Unix O/S design.  For a while it was.   And then Google started the same API-churn trickery that Apple has always done - and the wheels basically fell off - for the small developers, who were not keen on handing Google 30% of their expected revenue streams.   

But if you designed a model which offered interesting, useful - and completely free - software, then Google was *really* interested in making sure that you would become excluded from their now-becoming-closed Android ecosystem.

So, breaking up Google is probably the correct and necessary economic action to take.   Google has worked hard to prevent small-scale development shops - who are disgusted by and opposed to the 30% Google-revenue-grab - from gaining any traction in the Android ecosystem.

So, break 'em up.   They brought it on themselves.

And truth be told - we are not too concerned anymore.  We have ourselves as a client now, and this seems to be working out pretty good, actually.   I want to get a Jaguar.  I had one years ago, and I want to get another one.  Yes, I might be insane - but when they work, they are lovely.  I like cats, you see.  Dogs too.  😎

[ Oct. 19, 2020 ]  As They Pulled You From the Oxygen Tent, You Asked for the Latest Party - What remains to be said?  History does not repeat itself, but from history, one can learn all one needs to know.   Scanning the data-dumps from historical events is like so easy, it is a bit like cheating.  

For example, what kind of an idiot would purchase Argentina debt?  Or even voluntarily fund idiot-useless organizations, like the IMF?   The "Greatest Thefts of the World", are not pulled off by daring private criminals or even pirates.  Like the "Greatest Murder Crimes of the World" (eg. the mass murder of Armenians by the Turks, or the mass murder of Jews by Europe's Nazi operatives), it is *Governments* that carry out these really big crimes.

The scale that is possible, when Governments begin to act, is truly impressive.   The money that can be stolen, and/or the number of people that can be killed, is amazing and often quite beyond belief.   Stalin carefully engineered property theft and mass murder of over 1 million Ukrainian citizens in the 1930's.   It was a systematic and carefully planned criminal exercise of almost god-like scale.   And this is not some assertion by us.  This is the result that comes to light when any sort of scholarly research is directed at this dark and evil time in Earth history.   A recent, well documented study was carried out and written up in a book, by a scholar at Standford, in the USA:

https://news.stanford.edu/2010/09/23/naimark-stalin-genocide-092310/

It is horrific and usually beyond typical human belief the scale of crime that can be engineered by Governments.    In the last 120 years - these have almost always been "Socialist" Governments:  Russian "Soviet Socialists", Chinese "Communists",  German "National Socialists" and even Argentine "Socialists" and other "leftist" State entities, who engineered their rise to power by means of deception, promises of easy wealth for everyone, and the simple economics-of-theft.

The scale of the theft-and-murder carried out by these "socialists" - and the horrific atrocities and economic disasters that these State-criminals create, is often difficult for the ordinary person living now to grasp.   The actions taken by the "National Socialists" of Germany in the 1930's was not unique or particularly different from what many other national Governments did around the world.   Those who were considered "threats" to the great Socialist utopias-of-fraud that were marketed to the ignorant and easily misled poor and stupid people, were simply rounded up and killed, or transported to work camps, where they typically died as slave-labourers.

This happened in *many* countries in the 20th century, all around the world.  It was most awful in Russia and the Ukraine.  In those sad nations, millions had their property stolen from them, and were either killed or transported to northern gulags - work-camps - where they almost all died.  

The crimes of Stalin were particularly extreme.  He was a mass-murderer who even turned against his own scientific and medical establishment in his own nation - and engineered the mass-murder of several hundred thousand scientists and doctors - in what is termed in Russian history: "The Doctor's Plot".  (The Russian Communist government faked up "Counter-Revolutionary Plot" by "Doctors", and this absurd and nonsense fiction, was used to justify the mass-murder of Russian scientists and medical personel.   It was a tragedy on of a scale that is hard to believe now - and was only possible because the murdering criminal scum that carried out this astonishing atrocity - were Government operatives.

And even in Canada, and ugly round-up of *all* persons of Japanese racial background, was engineered by the Liberal Government of the day, at the beginning of the Second World War.  Japanese Canadians had their assets stolen from them by the Government, and were rounded up and transported by trains, to "Concentration Camps".   They only difference between the Canadian actions against the Japanese, and the European "National Socialist" actions against European Jews, was that the Japanese Canadians were eventually allowed to leave the camps after the war, or go and work in northern Canada work-arrangements (where they got paid), and were not systematically killed off by poison gas - as they were in Europe.

It was not until the 1980's that Japanese Canadian families - who had their houses and automobiles and other assets siezed by the Canadian Liberal Government of the day, were awarded any compensation for what had happened to them.  It was a Conservative Government of Brian Mulroney that finally offered Japanese Canadians compensation for their illegal, racist wartime internment - amounting to more than one hundred thousand dollars typically, for some families.  This was significant money back in the 1980's - equivalent to the price of a modern house in Toronto, for example.   I know about this, as I had Japanese friends whose parents had been awarded compensation.   The Canadian Liberal Party often allies itself with the "New Democratic Party" - an officially "socialist" political organization, that actually at one point formed the Government in Ontario.    I saw these NDP and Liberal "socialists" operate their political machines - from the inside, as basically a "red-shirt", working well down below-deck, on the financial machinery needed to keep a modern Government funded and functioning.

Of all the various parties - the NDP "Socialists" were the absolute worst.  They were manifestly dishonest, abusive and profoundly ignorant, nasty people.  Nothing whatsoever positive came from any of their actions - only a typical hierarchy of bad-leading-to-worse results.

Leftist political parties are the worse plague that can befall a nation.  "Socialism" is a toxic political cancer, that almost immediately will metasticize into a wider economic cancer, once the socialist-leftist political operatives take power.  They immediately begin the process of jacking up taxes, giving free-funding to the poor, so that they are certain to remain in povertry.  Then, they fund the ignorant and the cruel, and the various pathelogically abusive political operatives that are attracted to the dishonest politics of "socialism".  The funding is derived by accelerating taxation of self-funding economic agents, thereby engineering the collapse of that group, back into poverty.  In this way, the constituent base of economically-degraded poor folk is increased, so that further "socialist" actions can be undertaken.  This strengthens the power of the "Socialist Community Collective" model, and allows the Socialist political operatives to retain and expand their political power.   "Socialists" *need* people to be poor and economically degraded.  That is how they grab and hold power.  

Analysts and political people need to understand exactly how the Great Socialist Lie actually operates over time.  It is a damned effective and impressive fraud.   And only by understanding what a vicious, abusive and toxic fraud it really is, do we have any hope of actually defeating it.  And it must be defeated.  It must be crushed and smashed and destroyed - lest we have another hundred years of mass-murder, horrific globlal poverty, and wildly destructive warfare.

Of course, this note here is just a minor voice, far deep in the wilderness.  No one will see or care what I have written here for now.   But history might see it someday.   As we dig deep into the bowels and minutia of historical documents - useful things can be found.  Perhaps this info here will assist in the education of some young and curious mind, far in the future.

Socialism is toxic filth - and it is being fed to children and foolish, lazy students in the schools again, and it is more than just lies.  It is a corrupting fraud that will damage and degrade the future, and remove human initiative from the economic process, whenever and whereever it is implemented.  It is a perfect recipe for the advancement of evil.

Socialist thinking - like a strong virus - binds to the power and scale of Government machinery, and thus becomes both the justification, and the mechanism by which atrocity-at-scale can be carried out.  History shows this - again and again.   The great Lie of Socialism: ("Everyone Should be Equal!"), is a perfect match for the great Lie of Government: "Hi! We're from the Government.  We're here to help you!"

If you meet the Buddha on the road, speak kindly to him, and offer him some of your own food, if he looks hungry.  If you meet a Socialist - well, you know what you must do, don't you?

 

[ Oct. 17, 2020 ]  Let's Kill Twitter.  Deus Vult.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoF9HUvYPKs

But before we all get together and march into the Children's Crusade For The Future - perhaps we can first at least deal with the likes of Twitter and it's band of censoring Twattors?   Just declare the bastards as *fraudulent election manipulators*, sieze their websites, and shut the filthy buggers down.  Let's just bloody do it.   Don't screw around - just hammer these bastards hard with a Bigger Hammer.   They think they have the Biggest Hammer in the Room.  Let's show these arrogant techboys that this is not the case.   Let's kill Twitter.

The regulators get it so wrong lately.  The Justice Department in USA, several years back under, went after Microsoft as a monopoly!  What utter and complete nonsense that was.  Microsoft was just trying to compete with IBM - and make some money.   But these modern Twitter and Facebook truth-benders are trying to hack the US election so Old Man Biden and his son can make a big score, and put some black woman into power as the USA President.   Everyone knows that Biden is going to win, and then resign and put Ms. Harris in as the USA Boss.  The US election we are facing is the most dangerous in US history since the American Civil War, and it is subject to the most aggressive news filtering and media fabrication this side of Belarus.   But the fraudsters still can't leave it alone.  They are still working to shape, distort and manipulate the news.

The fraudsters and pocket-fillers are running it all now, just about everywhere.    In Africa they are often called the  "15% Boys" - the estimates of the *aid* money that gets lifted by senior government officials and ends up in European private bank accounts.   The DRC ("Democratic" Republic of Congo) ran a completely rigged election last year, complete with USA assistance.  This is just nuts.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/02/01/how-washington-got-on-board-with-congos-rigged-election-drc-tshisekedi-kabila-great-lakes/

You still cannot easily rig an election in a modern State which has a long tradition of democracy.  In Canada, for instance, we have "scrutineers" - this is a real job.  After the polls close, a representative from each party watches all the ballots being counted, and each scrutineer confirms the count.  (I've been a scrutineer.  It's a serious responsibility).   In Canada, a ballot can only be "spoiled" if it is unclear who the voter voted for.  If it is clear that they made a specific choice - then that ballot and choice must be counted.  (No stupid "hanging chad" nonsense here.)

But in weak, corrupt countries, it is possible to *really* rig the elections, so that is what the fat 15% Boys typically do - that way, they keep the gravy flowing into their pockets and their friends pockets.  It is an ugly and sad thing, and it is also a recipe for serious violence.

The DRC would shut down the internet, when opposition candidates tried to speak or spread information.  It was pretty sad.    In Kyrgyzstan, a recent rigged election resulted in a complete shitshow of protest, violence, counter-protest, and the resignation of the President, shortly after he had claimed election "victory".

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/15/world/asia/president-kyrgyzstan-resign.html

It's even worse in Belarus.  Lukashenko just declared himself winner after a bent election.  In Russia,  Putin looks to have given his spies instructions to poison Navalny, a man he has even legally barred from running as a candidate.  China, which does not hold elections, just cracked down hard on Hong Kong, which *does* hold elections - and also threatened democratic Taiwan with military invasion.   Elections and electoral process is under attack and being degraded, just about everywhere now.

Really, it is clear that democracy itself is under attack.  It is important that dirty-tricks, vote-rigging, ballot-box stuffing, and outright fraud (such as blocking opposition news stories on the internet, arresting or poisoning opposition candidates, and worse), not be allowed to occur.  This is difficult to prevent in practice - but if we just shut down Twitter for "election fraud", it would send a clear message to the rest of the BigTech Mafia that they block and censor news stories at their own peril.

Given that the Democrat operatives in the USA control Congress, the position of President is a difficult and tenuous one.  Trump is almost like an opposition candidate - especially given the significant power of the California Republic.

(See the California State flag.  California actually was an independent Republic for roughly one month, in 1846, when it broke away from Mexico in a revolt.  After 1 month, a US Navy ship arrived, and claimed California for the United States, and the citizens of the Republic of California became citizens of the United States of America.)

California - on it's own, if it were a separate nation - would, by several estimates, be the 8th richest nation on Earth.   Whoever controls California, can exert control over Washington - hence the problems with Nancy Pelosi.  She views herself as above the President - and even went so far as to tear up a recent State of The Union Speech at the end of the President's presentation.  And she has blocked any stimulus aid from reaching Americans because she shrewdly has calculated that this will hurt Republican imcumbents in the upcoming election.

The forces directed at the Republicans, at the President, and at the American people by the Democrat operatives - and their California BigTech Fellow Travellers - are significant and very powerful.  And they are almost certain to sway a sufficient number to ensure a comfortable Biden victory.

But this victory will have been achieved by means of censorship, and aggressive news-flow manipulation and political obfuscation.   And this is just wrong.   It damages USA and it damages the World.

Something must be done, to turn the ship around.  We are all heading for rocks and reefs.

Simply shutting down Twitter would be good, and perhaps effective, place to start.

It would send a clear message to everyone that Freedom of Speech is still taken seriously in the USA, and that true democracy is something worth fighting for.  Let's begin the process of repairing the democratic system, where it still manages to operate.  Let's protect democracy.

Let's kill Twitter.

[ Oct. 16, 2020 ]  Anti-Grav Jetpacks & Market Cats - The "Jetpack Guy" at LAX has been spotted again.  This guy is flying very high - 3000 to 6000 feet.  If you fly a typical chemical jetpack at that altitude, you will run out of fuel, and drop like a stone.

This guy maybe has a working anti-grav unit strapped to his back?  These things are supposed to be top-secret, and strictly "Skunkworks"-style seriously "dark" research projects.   But technical development is funny.  Sometimes there are different teams or individuals, working on the same stuff, at the same time - with the first guys to publish and patent getting all the glory (and money) and fame.

https://www.npr.org/2020/10/15/924021344/person-flying-with-jetpack-spotted-near-los-angeles-international-airport-again

Perhaps someone is about to make their research public?

Market Cats

I was wondering how to create/find an image of the "Cat-of-Fear", and then to my astonishment, it was hanging on the wall of the farmhouse, less than 10 feet away from the two "Money Cats".   (The Cats-of-Gain).   Seems that I had seen and found the "Cat-of-Fear" image many years ago, in New York museum visit - so much so, that I bought a small copy of the painting and put it up on the wall of my office to remind me of the basic truth of the world.   Henri Rousseau called his painting "The Repast of the Lion".    Trading and life teaches you that the world is not always a nice place.  If fact, it is a very dangerous place, that will - with sufficent time - certainly kill you.    Another gift from my time at Lehman Brothers, I believe.

[ Oct. 15, 2020 ] Cat in the Hat in the Matrix - Yes, the internet really is made of cats.   Surprising, this is?

Summary of canonical article on unsupervised learning (New York Times):

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/technology/in-a-big-network-of-computers-evidence-of-machine-learning.html

The .PDF of the article (Google Research project on unsupervised learning:

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.6209.pdf

And the image...  which is a cat...  (see at right).  Ken approves.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology - neural networks specifically - work well on image data, because there really is a there, there.  If a person recognizes the contents of an image, then the AI can almost certainly be trained to do so also.  This is a key - there is truly something there in the image - our own brain can see it clearly.

But with financial data - too often what occurs, is that our own cognition apparatus *sees* things that are not necessarily there - and the future plays out differently than that of the *image* we have *seen* in the data.  This, of course, is because there is reactive randomness in the operation of market process.  Markets are highly reactive - such that action will be taken by market participants to disadvantage other market participants (the zero-sum game market model), as well, markets will collectively respond to exogenous information that can move them (major political or technological change is announced, which causes widespread re-pricing activity).   This action, by definition cannot be clearly *seen*, so using AI technology to forecast market direction, requires more information than just historical price-action data.

And it may be that markets are essentially un-forecastable.  Rather than forecasting, what we try to do, is to wait patiently for obvious pictures to present themselves, which have high likelyhoods of presenting positive outcomes.  That seems to be the essence of successful trading.

What you end up with is a machine that - when you ask it "How is the Market?", it responds with something like "Arrrgh... just a lot of mush and bluff-fart fuzz.  No clear picture."  and so you sit still and remain risk-off.   But every so often, you ask this question, and the machine responds with: "Ah! Today, the market looks like a CAT!" - and you have determined that when the market-image resolves itself into something that your machine and you can recognize, then certain market-strategies can be implemented, which have a high likelyhood of success.

This seems to be the only approach that can really work consistantly.  Forecasts are always pretty much not-useful, as when they are wrong, they are really wrong, and when they are right, this still does not give you actionable information.  A collection of trend-following momentum models are probably more useful than forecast-the-future models.    What one really wants to forecast is a "trend change" event, and I recall a significant project I worked on for a Treasury Ministry, where we looked at all possible trend-change identification strategies, to see if any of these techniques could be used to recognize a trend-change in financial market action (in this case, the trend of market-set interest-rates), and *all* the approaches were proveably less accurate than the null-forecast => "It will be tomorrow, (or next period), what it is today."

That was a surprising result - but it was true, and subsequent research continues to pretty much confirm this.  To forecast future weather - look outside, and see what is happening, and make that your forecast.  But we still can track storms and typhoons and such.  We can notice when the barometer starts to fall rapidly.    You can *see* indications of market-storms ahead, given a careful reading of current events.

And there are many significant and effective heuristics ("Rules of Thumb") that can be followed effectively.  These can provide guidence on how one should respond to market-moving changes that are becoming more likely as time drives forward.   Prices typically fall much faster than they rise.  Humans respond to FOL (Fear Of Loss) more rapidly than EOG (Expectation of Gain).  You run away fast when the hungry tiger growls and threatens to chase you, but you only walk slowly forward, when the King promises a bright and wealth-laden future.

Since fear moves people faster than desire, one can craft successful market strategies that reflect this phenomenon.   And an AI-based Recognition Device can aid in the construction of profitable market strategies.  When the Market-Cat is the Cat-of-Fear, you must move fast.  If you can see the Cat-of-Fear first, you have a real advantage.

And if your machines instead, see the Cat-of-Gain in the Market-Image, then he who sees this picture first - and with greatest accuracy - can act with some advantage by trading with those who do not see the same thing yet, and have posted offer-prices that now seem attractive.

We have just not found market forecasts to be very useful.

What turns out to be *much* more useful - is the market-picture that we try to see.  And mostly that picture is a lot like an old  analog TV-set, tuned to a not-broadcasting channel - just a lot of white-noise fuzz.

But every so often, we see one of the Cats.    And then we can try to do something, if we think we are seeing the picture a bit before the other market participants.   But the other guys are also looking hard to see if the Cats-of-Fear and the Cats-of-Gain are emerging from the noise and becoming visible.  And it is Cat Number One, that is the more important one - that guy is "The Cat that Must Be Seen", as it were.  The FOL (Tiger) Cat matters most.

It's not only the internet that is made out of cats.   The markets are also made out of cats.

[ Oct. 14, 2020 ] Speaker for the Dead - I do believe we're on the Eve of Destruction - so why are we long?   TINA of course.   The course of American politics - and the World's - is ugly.   We watch that strangely grotesque political operative - Nancy Pelosi - engage a no-compromise exercise in political abuse and hostage-taking that is simply breath-taking in its awfulness.

The Democrats are pretending to *hold-out* for more money for their Democrat-run State political people - but it fact are working carefully to damage and degrade the lives of as many Americans as they possibly can, prior to the election.   This is an abusive - and shamelessly effective - political strategy which will probably result in Joe Biden being elected American president, and the Democrat operatives taking control of the Senate.   

By refusing to accept the outrageous generous 1.8 trillion US dollar stimulus package that the Republicans have proposed - and demanding an even larger oversized bag of pork-bucks for Democrat State Agency people - the Democrats ensure with certainty that no sane or sensible elected Federal official who was voted in on the basis of being fiscally responsible, could agree to it.  Their plan is sound, and is certain to damage the chances of incumbent Republicans.

So, there will be no second stimulus packge, folks who have watched their businesses and jobs disappear will get no further aid, and real hardship will be felt by an increasing number.  This is *exactly* what the Democrats want to have happen,    Their political calculus is chillingly accurate and will almost certainly be effective.   Those who have been hammered by Covid-19 shutdowns, will tend to blame Trump and the Republicans, as this is what the drumbeat of MSM disinformation is blasting them with day in and day out.  Only one interviewer has even challenged Pelosi on this, and she just threw vitrol in response:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8837465/Nancy-Pelosi-goes-meltdown-calls-CNNs-Wolf-Blitzer-Republican-apologist.html

The Democrat "Speaker" - Nancy Pelosi - is an 80-year old angry woman who is willing to hold Americans hostage to her abusive brand of destructive politics.  She explicitly brags "I don't talk to the President", when asked why she would not discuss the 1.8 trillion dollar stimulus plan the Republicans are trying to get passed.  If there were any honest parliamentarians or decent people with political power in the Democrat Party in the USA, they would remove this person from her position, and replace her with someone who understood what the job of an elected official has to be.   

It is wrong to scorch the American earth with the vitrol from this creature.  But it is interesting to watch.  

We suspect that we might actually be witnessing the beginning of the end of the "American Experiment".    This 80-year old woman - who when asked - "Why not take this deal, and get money in the hands of American people who need it now?" replies "You don't know what you are talking about!" to the interviewer.     This is interesting.     This looks a lot more like the old aristocrat-politics of Europe, that America was explicitly designed to avoid.    

European politics was characterized in much of it's history by abusive, hostile and tragic conflicts over power and control - family-fights by small groups of cruel, selfish human monsters - from Popes to Kings to despotic Emperors who built their success upon the massive piles of bodies of the Eurofolk.  War was common.  Young men rushed to join the military, since the alternative meant to stay in one's local mud-village and starve to death, or die of disease or malnutrition by age of 35 to 40.  Life for most in Europe, thru most of it's history - was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short", as Hobbe's so eloquently and accurately indicated.

America was designed & built to be different.   It was explicitly crafted to avoid all that Euro-hatred and abusive, awful gang-warfare that is the essence of European history.

Military action and collective political efforts were to be directed at making men and women free and prosperous - and the Americans held to this view, even it if meant a brutal civil war to end the stain of race-based slavery.    (Slave-owners had to argue that male Negros were not men - and this sophistry could not survive away from the plantation.)

But we are now in a world were old-style political scams which America was built to avoid, are now being executed by opportunists at the very top of the process, in that strange Washington Federal enclave.  

To watch the Democrats - a party that pretends to champion the rights of the poorer and less well-off - engage in the Pelosi-politics of "maximum pain for the poor" so they can score a political objective in the defeat of President Trump - is as fascinating as it is manifestly awful.

The Democrat Party in the USA is - well, lets be clear: evil.  It is just being evil.   The whole collective seems determined to defeat Trump at all costs - even if it means holding the poorest unemployed folks down and keeping them there, and watching them squirm.

This is awful and tragic, yes.  But it is also interesting.    It shows that the original American experiment is pretty much over.   Watch the "Evil Queen Nancy" hurl abuse and vitrol at all around her, while the poor-folk scramble around for food.   It is so awful, it is comical.   When one sees something this explicitly dishonest and abusive, it is - well, really  -  educational.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-stimulus/desperate-americans-hit-by-pandemic-beg-congress-trump-to-pass-economic-relief-bill-idUSKBN26Y1AI

It does not matter now whether Trump or Biden is elected.   No one will *win* this upcoming American election.  There will only be degrees of loss, to be experienced by various groups.  

The people in the self-financing sectors will find themselves saddled with higher taxes.  The "governmentalists" in the various civil-servant positions will eventually recognize that their postions are untenable.  The Covid-19 virus will eventually peter-out, along with the traditions of American freedom.   Defeated Republicans will retire, Democrats will find they are now in charge of a nation of angry people who will over time see that they have been misled and manipulated by opportinists.    And America will come to resemble the dysfunctional enervation of European politics - a sad place where gamesmanship and taxation-advancement is about the only process that is ascendent.

This is the way it has always been - and looks like it always will be.  

America has become Europe, at roughly the same time as that great European experiment in the European Union - an attempt to craft an American model on top of the ancient hatreds of Europe - is now beginning to unravel under the crushing tax-load it imposes on the Northern nations.

Both the American and European political experiments are ending.

Our models - and even a cursory examination of history - suggest that when this sort of terminal breakdown begins, it typically leads to escalating conflict and then major war.  

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take the election and begin the process of locking-down America and raising taxes on the American economy.  Americans who don't support this socialist model may eventually take to the streets, as the economic prospects for many degrade and disappear.   The "Alphabet People" will move in with force to crush the protests, and claim the rioters are "White Supremicists" or "Child Pornographers" or "Terrorist Militias" or whatever fiction the Washington Federalists choose to invent.   It will likely get ugly - much more than it is even now.

And American poliltics will have transitioned to the European political model, where the real disputes are fought in the streets, instead of legislatures.  

[ Oct. 13, 2020 ] You Can't Melt It Down in the Rain- Don't go home with your position on - I guess that is the new mantra.   World is getting even more crazy than the recent bout of crazy.   I would say that the AI's pretty much dominate all trading now.   This may not end well.  But for now, maybe "Slow to half impulse..." ?

[ Oct, 12, 2020 ]  Pretty Kitty - A little kitten has come to visit - literally just showed up at the door with a very big meow.  So cute, that even our dog accepted the new arrival - I am quite surprised.   Turns out that cats and dogs can co-exist, as long as they respect each other's space, it appears.

Sorta like humans...  🤔

[ Oct. 9, 2020 ] The Astonishing Cost of the Covid Lockdowns - As economists, we see ourselves as social scientists - and that means we research more than just financial figures.  Some in the USA have been critical of the extreme social restrictions other nations have used to attempt to limit the spread of Covid-19.  Maybe the Yanks are right.

The case of Japan is interesting.  Japan has recorded roughly 2000 deaths from Covid-19.  Some view this as a success.  But Japan is one of the few nations that publishes current, accurate data on suicides.  In August alone, there were 1854 suicide deaths in Japan - and this value is up over 15% from August of last year.  The total number of suicides in Japan, since the beginning of the year, is over 13,000.  Suicide has killed more than six times the number of Japanese this year, than has the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Life in Japan can be difficult, expensive and stressful.  Also, the nation is highly regulated, and has a long tradition of top-down planning and social cotrol.  This makes control by the state easy and effective.  But it also makes people lonely and feel filled up to the limit with despair.  And the Covid lockdowns made this worse.

Other countries also report similar mental health issues among their populations.

These and other costs - in terms of lost output and lost opportunity - add to create the long shadow of the pandemic's true costs, going forward from here.

The full costs of the economic lockdown earlier this year, may never be known.  What we now know for sure, is that it was a deeply unwise and ineffective strategy.   And that is the key takeaway truth from the Covid-19 "pandemic".

[Later: ... Mkt open, Websites broken, Internet was down for 1/2 hour at open... ]

It just keeps getting nastier.   We run CentOS-7.x Linux boxes, and recently (mid-Sept.) upgraded to Firefox 68.11.0-ESR - Firefox Quantum.  This was necessary, as a key banking/trading site stopped working properly.  It worked (and still works) on the old Safari on the 2015 Macbook (which has many upgrades - but runs older OSx version).  But the specific failure triggered by IBM service changes (the bank dumped all its trading website services onto IBM a few years back for them to run, and service reliability has degraded badly since then - sadly.)    The Firefox 68 + CentOS-7.x combo seemed to be stable, but this morning, all hell broke loose, and nothing is working right again.

Looks like it is a Firefox + AdBlockPlus issue.  If I disable ABP on the Linux boxes, sites will load, but the financial sites are then advert-vomitting of course, and are toxic/horrible/unusable.

Curiously, Firefox 47 and Firefox 52 - with ABP - works fine on the older WInXP/SP3 boxes, that are kept alive specifically for these reasons - old Windows is insecure, but it and the old Firefox usually works.

SELinux threw an error this morning, on an Adobe Flash/video issue, but it did not seem to be security related.  The Flash video is no longer needed, mostly, but clearly, the internet is becoming an awful sh/thole of nastiness.  Nothing can be trusted, and all work done online must be checked carefully.  

It looks like we have to update/upgrade/fix ABP and/or the toxic hot-mess that is Firefox 68 "Quantum" ESR.  Mozilla's idea of "Extended Support Release (ESR), is maybe two or three months?   Hilarious!

At some point, some seriously new technology is going to be required.  And a whole project will have to be opened up, where we review all the outside entities we deal with, and see if careful evaluation can make evident some better alternatives.   Any time a business deals with outside agencies, these agencies will always scheme to gain benefit at your own expense.  Perhaps that is all that is happening here.   We note that IBM is selling its I/T management division, to concentrate on it's "Cloud" offerings.  Well, since it's "Cloud" offerings here perform badly, and are sh/t and are not reliable - maybe this is a viable strategy.  But maybe not.  Most technology now is crap, is annoying to use, and is getting worse, less reliable, and more risky to use as each day goes by.   

As time goes by, we are actively seeking to be *less* reliant on outside agency actors, and more self-supporting, self-directed & self-contained.  This approach seems to be working quite well.  We seem to be dodging a lot of "bullets" lately... metaphorically speaking.

[Warning:  RANT ahead... 😮  ]

I am certain we are in for a major sh/t-storm in the near future.  The advert garbage and dancing video crap that is down-dumped by many sites now, are just plain awful infection vectors for APT actions and other monitoring/virus programs.  The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can kill you dead, but the man-made computer virus assaults and cyberthreats can put you out of business, and ruin your life also, so that is pretty comical.   Death by virus - bio or techno.

The whole "Cloud computing" model is just a re-invention of the corporate data-centre.   Funny how the kids don't see this.  AWS is cheap - fine for backups, but perhaps not the thing to build your company upon.

We seem to have something interesting happening today:   Gold is being bid up, while stocks are being offered down.  This is a bit of a return to a normal picture-of-the-world.  Gold is not the same asset class as financial paper.  It just isn't.  It is different and should trade differently and price-track differently.  

The Canadian dollar is also moving up.  Things are hammering along here.  Everyone wears masks when out and about, and the virus is boring now. Time to move on, whatever.

Folks die.  Folks always die here.  Life up north is dangerous and difficult - and if you don't make some money, you can't pay for your electricity and your heat and maybe your rent or property taxes, and you will die - or worse - become a social parasite.    That path is ok for some low-quality humans, but it is just not on for most Canadians - especially the new immigrants, who are just amazing.  They work, and they focus fiercely.

We often forget what hard-working immigrants look like.  They look like our grandparents and great-grandparents, and many forget that.  Maybe they wear funny clothes and have weird habits, but so did our folks, years back.   Canada is damn lucky to be attracting quality immigrants - they enrich our society, and make us stronger and smarter - and wealthier.

Folks who complain about immigrants taking jobs, should shut the f/ck up and just go get a job themselves - like the newly-arrived always seem to do - rather than complain.   Any job where you do good work, and get paid in real money - ie. hard currency - is a very good job.   The lazy-arsed Lefties lounging in their "social-arts-don't-wanna-work-too-hard" chit-chat-and-dance classes, where every loser gets a B+ or better just for showing up, should grasp this concept, if they can.

Once enough folks have been corona-infected, we get herd-immunity, and the damn virus is over, and we can all get back to work.     [ End-Rant: ]

The joke about Toronto used to be: "It's the only damn city in North American, were the people say: 'Thank God It's Monday!' ".

And it's true.  The place is  work-camp, but truth-be-told, a lot of us *like* to work!  We find that idleness is actually a perfect picture of Hell.    Around here, we feel bad, if we havn't accomplished some useful things each day and each week.   Curious, but true.

The damn Canadian dollar *should* be higher, even though we have the worst government this side of Belarus, up in Ottawa!   :?

But that won't be the case forever.

[ Oct. 8, 2020 ] Falling Leaves- Markets remain torn between greed and fear, and the weather remains truly lovely.  Really a lovely autumn.  We have two models now for the C_ and A_ machines - one points down, one points up - the smoother curve points up, and matches the long-term (25 year) trend, while the one that points down, is built to capture higher-frequency motion - and it points down.

FD: We remain, all-in, fully-invested.  Also, we have a significant position that will redeem at month end.  If we crash or re-trace into the year-end activity, this will help us, but if there is a Biden Bubble Begins process underway (as many expect), then we will just sit on the cash, most likely.  Unclear.  The market often makes surprises happen - especially now.  Trump's win was a big uptick, and his defeat may in fact mean a big downtick.   Biden and Ms. K Harris will almost certainly mean a bunch of tax increases, a bunch of green-nazi-programs, and a free-ride for the parasites everywhere.  This is not a policy package that leads to positive economic results.

Here is an interesting idea:  Trump has actually managed the whole Covid-19 thing in an economics-positive way.  The whole approach has stressed internal competition among various reactive agents - different states and cities taking different approaches.

Trump's recovery shows that there are *very* effective treatments available that can knock out the virus quickly.   These treatments are being blocked by the various authorities who make their living by blocking things that benefit people.  Why block benefits?  Because the entire process of crafting a "constituent base" to make yourself powerful, relies on people being ill, or poor, or somehow weak and degraded.

Once people are healthy and strong, they do not need "government agents" assisting them.  Those in position of offering "government help", find their power and authority evaporate quickly away, and they must find real jobs in the self-financing sector.

This is a radical model, but it works over and over and over again.   It explains the rise of the "social welfare" state, which has as it's limiting characteristic, the North Korea or Soviet Russia political organization.

The opposite approach - with limited or lesser government direct involvement in the process of "helping people", requires that people become self-reliant, and develop processes and procedures to "help themselves".   This alternate model shows evidence as:  1) a high savings rate,  2) careful and effective life-planning strategies  3) democratic, versus authoritarian government  4)  low and falling overall tax rates  5) intense focus on educational activity for children and young adults - and so on.

Trump reflects this very traditional model of America - a nation founded by a bunch of people who wanted to get the fuck out of Europe, and the repressive, low-opportunity, run-by-kings-and-government-aristocrats world, and brave the dangerous and costly sea-voyage to a land of freedom and high-risk.

America is about risk.

Government is about safety.

By all historical factors, USA *should* have the SARS-CoV-2 response that it has had, one characterized by high rates of death, but rapid response and effective reaction to the problem.

Here is the key:   The American response to Covid-19 has perhaps been the *VERY BEST POSSIBLE* response.  They have both numerous very effective treatments developed in USA, for the illness, and also, the USA will likely be the first nation to offer an effective and working vaccine.

Except for the FDA blocking actions, vaccines could already be in widespread use.  The various agency "Safety Nazi's" have a deep and vested interest in blocking solutions so they can maintain their power and constituent base of the weak and fearful.  This is just basic political economics in action.

Instead of Covid-19 killing 50 million people, like the 1918 "Spanish Flu" did, the overall death rates are really quite low.   America has the highest death rate, at 200,000+ because it took the most risks, and suffered the least economic damage.   This was not unwise.   The economic *shutdowns* in European nations may cast poverty-shadows that stretch forward for decades into the future.

It may turn out, we particularly fear, that the global economic damage will be *vastly* greater than a few million dead old people.

If the Covid-19 event leads to a global war, the wisdom of the American response - ie. don't take the SARS-CoV-2 virus too seriously - may stand as a historical example of exactly what should be done, in the face of a lethal pandemic.

[ Oct. 7, 2020 ] We're Gonna Have to Economics the Sh/t Out of This - Ok, maybe that is too colloquial for even us.  But this message needs to be heard.   I hear they are planning to close New York - again.  Well, that will help (not).   Damn, but we are lucky we don't live in a city.  Cities are now lethal infection zones.

I was watching a real-time feed from Asakusa (浅草) in Tokyo - lovely summer-like weather, but almost no tourists at all - no Western folks of any kind, probably since Japan is closed to foreign tourist travellers still - and many of the small shops have just closed.   So many folks are just out of business now.   Things are hammering along fine here in Ontario - everyone wears a mask, since bylaws have been passed, making this the law.   But one goes into stores, and inventory levels are low.   Ordinary stuff is hard to get.  People are back to "stockpile"-style shopping.    We find it hard to acquire spare-parts for equipment.

Poor Mr. Trump has been having a difficult time.  No one likes being sick, and the Democrats are being obstructionist and abusive, of course - because they can, and because it might work.   The optics are very bad.   The media is at war with Trump and his team, despite the obvious fact that a leader must actually try to lead - he cannot long be weak or sick.  We must get to herd-immunity as soon as possible.   The "vaccine" efforts are already too little, too late.  Most people probably won't even take the vaccine, at this point.  It's just too late.

But I truly fear Trump has absolutely handed the election to Biden.   He should keep *trying* to get stimulus done - but make it clear that it has to be focused and targeted to self-financing people and small-business owners - and not become another big slush-pile for corrupt Democrat operatives who are encouraging violence in the streets of their own cities.  The Demos want to fund their own State-level buddies - and the Republicans want to try to get money to the actual people themselves.  This is the current problem.   And Trump is completely correct in asking for a mandate from the people to get this specific approach implemented.

But of course, his message is being censored and obfuscated by the mainstream media and the left-leaning major technology entities and operatives from California.    They can now determine what sort of messages can be allowed in "social media", and if you can control the message, you can control the process.

So , Trump will almost certainly lose.   He has no chance, and this means big changes will come to USA soon.    Money will be spread around for Democrat "causes" (which means Democrat political agents and operatives), in much the same manner that the "Liberals" in Canada direct billions of taxpayer dollars at their friends and operatives.    We finally got things in Ontario cleaned up at the Provincial level (it was an awful, unholy stinking hell-hole of a rotting mess, truth be told), but the Federal Government in Ottawa fell back under the control of the Liberal Machine - which was a great tragedy.

You have to do whatever you can with whatever the feck you have.   Remember the famous quote from teacher and author Jeff Cooper...

https://quotes.thefamouspeople.com/images/quotes/jeff-cooper-25795.jpg

These are the most curious of times.

At this point, any sane or rational economist, who has studied the 1930's, knows that it is more than just a little critical that the USA get some bucks into the hands of it's people - right *now*.  

Another quick run of cash-printing - funded by the Central Bank, if need be - would let things get over this next hump - the fully-expected secondary run-up of the pandemic infection.  There is no serious inflation, interest-rates are running close to zero, so some hard-core direct funding is possible by a number of methods.  But it needs to be *direct* - like those cheques for emergency cash.  The funds should *NOT* go to government "agents" of any kind - and it needs to be clearly recognized as a health-emergency special funding exercise.  Some grant-level assitance could also be targeted to small-business entities that need some loss-of-business help.  But the key is to do it *NOW* and not later.   A good approach would be just another $1000 cheque for everyone who as ever filed a tax return.   Keep it simple, quick, and fund it by printing money, if necessary.

Normally, any sane economist would not advocate such extreme measures.   But we are just not seeing any serious uptick in inflation levels - if anything, we are looking at the risk of a further cascade-collapse of business-sectors.   And there are all sorts of jobs that are just not going to happen anymore.  Especially in health-care.   Health-care is "high-touch" business - and it is a lethal thing now - you go into a clinic or a doctor's office, and you may as well just go out and lick the sidewalk.  The clinics and hospitals are full of sick people spreading clouds of viral particles.

We will *absolutely* have to return to the *house-call* model of "doctoring", since the current model of clustering everyone up into big rooms to sit and wait is just idiotically stupid, and will cause people to die needlessly.    The health-care delivery system, has to be completely re-designed and probably turned over to private-sector operation.   The current model is just a denial-of-service system, which is also now shown to be a seriously lethal threat.  It must change.

Things are weirdly priced now - the only people who are making big money, are the government employees who have their "iron rice-bowl" wages and those with fat pensions like retired teachers and civil servants.  Folks in the self-financing sectors are under quite an impressive assault - everywhere.  There are whole sectors that are just looking like they might just disappear.

We are going to have to live in a world of airborne virus agents now.  The rapid rate of mutation of the SARS-Cov-2 virus suggests that this lethal bio-vector may become a permanent fixture of the 21st century.  It's just a Malthusian manifestation of our "crowded-planet" problem.   The solution and a return-to-normal, will require a significant reduction in human planetary population.    The irony is, of course, that the angry social justice warriors who want to save the planet, can perhaps do this best if they just go die before they breed.   :D

[ Oct. 6, 2020] The Big Four? - It is getting even more silly now.  We know that Covid-19 can be treated quite effectively, as is shown by Mr. Trump's rapid return to the Maison Blanche.  But most of us do not have any sort of medical team assisting us, do we?   We are left to our own devices - and have to rely on our personal immune systems to do the job.   Such are the times.

Interesting meeting held in Japan - not too much mention of in the media drivel and anti-Trump screeching that is being generated by the MSM.  Really quite curious.   We had - quite literally - a meeting of a "Big Four" group in Japan - only they call it the Quad now, since the "Big Four" was already used.  It's really interesting that folks from South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines were not invited.   They could have then called it the meeting of the "Magnificant Seven", which would have made more sense - or maybe even include Taiwan also, and get China to really blow some wind.   The "Quad" is a really stupid term, and makes this important meeting and significant cultural alliance, sound like a small outdoor park at a school.

The main failure of our times, seems to be the collapse of imagination.   People are dull and stupid pretty much everywhere now, and this is rather quite curious.  Is the internet making everyone a bit thick?  I am not sure why this seems to be happening.

The meeting was actually a huge big deal - as these folks met in person, not online with video-links.   This new alliance will be partners in the "Great Asian War of 2022", perhaps?   Unclear.

We need only examine the 1930's, to see how effective the "peace efforts" of the "Big Four" was at preventing World War Two - ie. not too effective at all.

I am trying to determine how to model this sh/t.    So far, it just looks like a big "Turing Circle" in a "Zona Chaotica" - but perhaps I am wrong.   /:(

FD: (Full-Disclosure): Curiously, the C_Machine (or A_Machine) model is still pointing downwards, and we have over-ruled it to remain long - primarily because of the profound lack of any alternative investment that appears equally or more attractive than what we are already holding.  We also have a significant position that will be profitably redeemed soon, so we are already faced with the problem of asset-selection to replace it.  We will receive a nice premium on the redemption, so we are happy, but in researching alternatives, we are finding very little that even passes the "sniff-test", much less looks attractive.

I remember my father, buying bonds that were yielding better than 8%, and purchasing annuities that promised 11% on his funds until his demise.  Those were fine investments.  He did very well on those annuities.  What in heck was that insurance company thinking?   I actually know, as I did a project for their head office, and did the programs to re-price some of there "universal life" products.  To do the programming, you had to *completely* understand the policies - and I have to say, "life insurance" is comical - it is pure Monte Carlo gambling, driven by p's and q's and mortality tables and astonishing levels of human greed and fear.  And interest-rate assumptions (or more accurately, forward rate-of-return estimates on the investment of premiums).  Their ROR estimates were wildly wrong, of course.  Everyone's were.

Personally, I would advise anyone to invest their funds directly - using no *agents* of any kind, where-ever possible - and just pay your taxes and book your own profits for your own use.   Life-insurance only survives as a business, because of it's tax-attractiveness for estate-planning.

Really, any time you use any sort of "Agency", you will have to pay them - and pay them big, fat, hard and heavy.  All the things that are offered - leasing of automobiles or any expensive equipment, financial arrangements of any kind with any commercial enterprise, safety products - oh, like credit cards and travellers cheques and deposit/withdrawl arrangements or currency conversion or money transfer or transaction assistance or factoring or money-borrowing - literally *ANY* agency or agent-run transaction, will *COST* you serious money and often, seriously restrict and limit your ability to make corrective changes, if you find your circumstances have changed in any way.   And your circumstances will *ALWAYS* change - it's that flowing river problem - you face a completely different river, every time you put your foot in it  (Nixon was the only guy who was smart enough to suggest that you could use a frozen river - which is why Canada and Russia (and maybe Sweden, Norway and Finland?) are the luckiest folks and best investors.   Folks living in northern lands, understand how much things can change, even within a year. )

One uses expensive, freedom-limiting, oppresive and restrictive *agents* when was does, usually because the agents have obtained exclusive, monopoly control of the thing you need to do or access. (eg. currency exchange in Canada is a good example.  All the banks charge a 2% vigorish, as do the storefront retail operations.  They are all clipping the coin of their customers with happy certainty.  If you want any global reserve currency, you have to make you own private arrangements here... it's pretty funny.   You pay the vig at the bank, because it is the only way to get the USA dollars you need to do your little deal - or you can use your VISA card, and pay an even bigger vig, last I recall.

But if there is any way you can, don't use "agents" and "Agencies".  You will have to work harder, but that is also it's own reward.  Hard "work" by itself is annoying, but working at what you want, will expose opportunities that you will otherwise not have seen.  And it is the successful exploitation of those - with out any pesky front-running corrupt agents - that will give you - sometimes - the very big prize.

Here is the truth:  Most investments are sh/t, and most will expire or degrade, or go to low values or even zero, once enough time passes and enough natural change occurs.   This is the truth of the world.  Hence the attractiveness of gold and real-estate holdings in nations that have Roman-style land-tenure & private-property structures.  Rome captured the world because of it's economic models, as much as because of it's disciplined, educated (in fighting) military.   

Remember the Punic wars.  You want to be Scipio Africanus, and not Hannibal.  And remember - if you need to kill a snake, you do not start chopping and hitting at it's tail, right?  You go directly to it's head, else you will likely be bitten and die.   Life is tough and brutal.  Your best weapon is your own collection of small grey-cells that are linked to define your neck-top neural network.  You already have the best AI.  Use it.

We are in a very weird and curious time.  Good stock in companies that can survive the coming *changes* - and are located in nations that will still be around after the "Great Restructurings" that I think will soon be upon us all - may well represent better paper, than the national currency itself.   Nations and governments are often fragile, mostly foolish, and typically run by deeply dishonest, double-dipping pocket-fillers.   This is certainly Canada's history, truth be told.

So, one must be aware that there are times when risk must be taken, to avoid even more outsized risk that is rushing down the track.  The great Economist, J. M. Keynes understood this quite well, and was a good investor, despite making a few mistakes.  

Political risk can be a killer.  I'm reading Donald Creighton's "John A. MacDonald - The Young Politician", and it's good.  Recently, the current government that has seized power here - and is run by a fellow who actually looks like Castro of Cuba as well as acts like him - has removed J. A. MacDonald's image from the $10 bill, and replaced it with a picture of some Tart-of-colour.  I think this is a terrible mistake, and will further damage the (already weak and fading) knowledge-base of how our Dominion was created, and what it stood for historically.

So even when there were good people who did the right thing to create something good and worthwhile - there will always be self-serving, corrupt opportunists who will seek to degrade and damage the memory of those who behaved well, and did great, difficult and heroic things which lead to fine and noble results.  The mediocre and second-rate people hate these "tall poppies."

This "assault-on-history" will always happen - much like it is happening now in the USA.  What needs to be understood is what a profound crime this is.  It is an act of cultural vandalism, and will also have economic consequences.   People will feel emboldened to cheat, lie and steal, because they see their current political leaders engaged in such actions, and will note how these cheaters can prosper.   So the average folks "break bad" also, and dishonesty and criminality become commonplace.

And once this happens, your investments can easily go down the drain, as capital flees the nation that is run by the corrupt and the dishonest.  It's like being in a hockey game, and you see that the referee's are actually playing for the other side.   You can do nothing, but leave the game.

Most investments go bad - but when the national money goes bad - everything can go bad.   And as we begin that transition (one need only look at Argentina to see what this looks like - a *socialist* economy that simply will not pay it's bills, and cannot be trusted at all), we must take care - and take action.

Stock is maybe a better investment than just holding cash - it might actually be safer and better for several reasons.

But most important - is the requirement to become politically active, and make every effort to defeat the forces of darkness and criminality that seem to always be leaking into the corridors of power.  In the USA, Trump can be a bit offside, but the Democrats are hundreds of times worse - they will literally engineer situations where the bodies can be stacked high.  Look at history - the idiotic tragedy of Vietnam War (created by that toad Kennedy, and then ramped up by Johnson - only to be eventually ended by Nixon, the best man of the three.)  And then the profound military and economic failures of Jimmy Carter - who did nothing about Iran terrorism, and created price-controls (and miles-long line ups for gasoline).  And then the ouvert, in-your-face lies of the corrupt Bill and Hillary Clinton regime.  

Watching the playbook of the USA is tragic - Ron Reagan was the best President the USA had, in the 20th century - and George Bush Sr. was a good man.  His son was a bit of an idiot, and Obama - a fine fellow - but a fellow with no experience whatsever at running anything at all - all this paved the way for the astonishing mess that USA finds itself in now.   Trump will almost certainly lose, and Biden - a man who will probably do a "737-Max8" to the USA's economy, along with his extreme-leftist dark-skinned female VP - will be our future.  This will be a dark future, I fear.  This darkness is not related to skin-colour, but to the expected economic despair.

The market will run for a while, and then some action will almost certainly cause confidence to be lost in the USA.  The place might actually fracture into a full-on civil conflict, where people take sides, and duke it out (or shoot it out) in the streets, as they will have no faith in the democratic process to offer them any sort of fair or sensible choice.  Or future.

The USA Democrats - and the anti-police, race-hatred open warfare that they have sanctioned in the streets of their major cities - have managed to seriously degrade American democracy - and that is a pretty impressive accomplishment.

The Democrats are running procedures that will damage democracy in USA.   They are blocking rational follow-on assistance to those who have lost their jobs - and are insisting on economy and money-destroying levels of unfunded financial flow, that will almost certainly wreck the US dollar as the world's reserve currency.   This is not hard.  England did pretty much the same thing to their own British Pound.  The near-future damage that will be done to global confidence in the USA is perhaps quite extreme.   I can't see this not happening.

Share ownership in viable commercial entities, will probably serve one well, better than just holding zero-coupon government bonds or cash-deposits in a bank account.  Inflation "protected" investments - by the USA government - can have their inflation protection removed by the stroke of a pen.  Do you trust them not to do it?

These are crazy times - and difficult, but not impossible to model.  We have a model that blows up real good, once in-period changes (ie. in-year changes) exceed 30%.  This has now happened, this year.

So, we face a future of wild, run-away inflation, or continued economic stagnation and collapse.  Or both.  Unless we have a great, huge World War.

I spec'ed out my chaotic "grow, crash, boom, explode, collapse" model (GCBEC) in the late 1990's  Interesting now, that here we are in 2020, and *all* the pre-conditions to make it happen, have now been met.

Curious times indeed.   Stand By?  or is it Stand Back?

We are still "all-in", but I don't sleep very well anymore.   :/

[ Oct. 4, 2020 ] Azerbaijan Risks Obliteration, We Suspect- We find the current Azerbiajan invasion and brutal assault into Nagorno-Karabakh a bit curious - but not that curious, as it turns out.  The "fighters" supporting Azerbaijan are reportedly a bunch of ISIS types and other bandit runaways from Libya and Syria - spoiling for another easy target, like the criminal rape-gangs that they truly are.  It appears that these ISIS-runaway types might have made another error here.

NATO is *very* unlikely to assist or even support Turkey's actions - because of it's military support of Azerbaijan, and the folks from that sad Muslim nation will find that the Armenians will not likely back down from the opportunity to feed the Turks a little payback for the murderous genocide that the Turks have insisted never even occured.  

Truth be told, NATO is pretty much finished.   It is a historical organ, a result of an old anti-German war, that has been over for 75 years.  It is really just a deep-history artifact, and Turkey has made it clear they are not onside with any sort of modern reality.  NATO is just noise now, we suspect.   Western nations should *partner* with Russia, and a joint effort to end forever the threat and problems poised by Azerbaijan would make a great deal of sense, to a great many people, for a great many reasons.

The Armenians are probably not foolish enough to try to fight a two-front war, so they will most likely wait until they have obliterated the Azerbaijani cities, until they turn their attentions on their hated enemies - the brutal rump-nation of that historical machine of evil, the "Ottoman Empire" Turks.   History sometimes seems to come back and bite hard, when it is not expected.   Ergodan is being unwise to support a war in this location, and at this time.  He as few friends left anywhere now - even in his own military.

We have a truly unique situation here - even though Armenia is supported by Russia, if it asked for help from the West - to shutdown a bunch of murderous post-ISIS Islamic "terrorists" - I think it might find that such help might be surprisingly forthcoming.

Westerners do not hate Muslims.  But so very many in the civilized Christian world, are *really* tired of violent Islamic terrorists, and their noxious, abusive and dishonest behaviour all over this sad planet.   A nice little campaign to crush Azerbaijan completely, might well be welcomed by Russia, USA, and Europe, despite the windy noise that the political people are making by their lip-flapping.   The politician mouth-noise always has to be there - as it gives cover to the operations on the ground.

A really simple and obvious solution to this annoying problem, would be the complete and absolute destruction of Azerbaijan.  Just remove the place as a political entity, and hand the entire region over to Armenia - which is a civilized, Christian country, not a bunch of wild worshiping psycho-killers screaming their "Allah Akbar" profanity as they murder men, women and children for sexual pleasure.  These Islamic terrorists need to be seen clearly, for exactly what they really are.

Is there really anyone except the devil-worshiping ragbags, who would care at all, if all the Azerbiajan cities were firebombed and shelled into ashes and rubble?  Probably not.  The weak and foolish political people in the do-nothing nations would say soundbites of concern.  But no one would really care enough to take any action, we suspect.

The entire removal of the Azerbaijan political entity would be an interesting exercise in "realpolitik" that might ultimately promote peaceful behaviour in a volatile region, dominated by religious intolerance and ethnic hatred.   The whole place could become "Greater Armenia", and the conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh could be ended, once and for all.  Muslims who did not want to live in the new Greater Armenia could move to Syria or Iraq.  Maybe half old Azerbaijan could be given to Russia, to cover their costs, and for their help in fixing the problem.

Victory is how military problems are solved.  This modern approach - of never-ending pointless  "peace-talks" -  never solves anything or reaches a workable solution.  And it always seems to leave everyone most unhappy.   The solution to conflict is created when victory is achieved.

This is the clear lesson of history.

[ Oct. 2nd, 2020 ] Ok, So the AI Wins Again.  - This is getting quite hilarious.  I suppose I have to decide what I want to do - make money, or beat the machine.  The Machine always wins, it seems.  We elected to hold a major position that the C_Machine said quite clearly, was about to turn over and go pear-shaped.  

Well, I lose.  I did not expected President Trump to be diagnosed with Covid-19.  And my AI had no way at all of knowing that.  But the Ghost Economist in me, whispers something like: "It's all in the market prices, you idiot.  And you know that."

And I suppose, this is true.  We have done quite well, holding cash-flinging positions in the face of market volatility - but every so often, in order to accumlate some funds to pay taxes or acquire more property, I get busy and fiddle and fumble around with a bunch of AI-driven trades - and last year, they all made money.  It was actually a bit disconcerting.   The model is better than me.  It is not just a little bit better - it is a *lot* better, and this is curious.

Anyone remember that TV series called "The Prisoner", from the 1960's?  It was repeated on a local NPR-style public network thing we have here, back in the 1980's.   They only did 12 or 17 episodes or something like that.  Brits are clever with TV, but not clever enough to build a big franchise, and syndicate it out, like the Yanks did with "Star Trek".  I was at EMI Elstree once, during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, and later learned that the studio was offered a piece of the action, or, a fee-for-service deal by Lucas and Kurtz.  EMI elected to just get paid for their work directly - took no part of the action, thought the film was a bad joke, and would be a flop.

EMI Elstree studio complex is now a car park and a supermarket, and no longer exists.  Star Wars went on to be the most successful movie franchise of all time.  (Who are the "wankers" now, eh Brit-guys?  You were idiots all, sadly.)

Anyway, that series: "The Prisoner" was genius.  "Number 6" did not even know who ran the "Village" or fancy prison where he was held - was not sure if it was "our side", or the "other side".  That ambiguity made it a clever series.   And of course, it is a perfect metaphor for the whole problem of decision making under uncertainty.  We are all lied-to, and constructively misled all the time now - by every "agency" we deal with.  The nature of the "Agency Problem" has changed and grown.   I personally think "Agency" action is almost certain to be toxic and not in the best interests of the "client".   They will just stone you when they can, as Mr. Dylan so eloquently observed.

We've been reading the sad history of the NYSE.  I didn't realize they butchered the "one-share/one-vote" rule in 1986, then brought it back, and then killed it dead, when the NYSE merged with the Euronext in 2007, as the "Financial Crisis" unfolded.  The SEC had a rule that supported one-share/one-vote, but that is ancient history also.   There is a good piece of legal scholarship written about the whole issue, by a fellow from Univ. of Pennsylvania.  I'll post the link here later - it's on the iPad at the moment.

So many curious problems, and so little time.

I have read a lot about traders who have built profitable trading platforms and procedures, and then do not follow their own machines or models.  This seems to be a human thing - and that Israeli psychologist - the genius fellow Dr. Daniel Kahneman, who wrote "Thinking Fast and Slow" offers insight.  He identifies and postulates two data processing systems humans use - fast intuition and slow, linear, careful reasoning.   It's like the follow-on to Malcom Gladwell's treatise "Blink".

I know there is a third system - the one that comes into play to fix the problem with the Donkey that cannot decide between hunger and thrist - eat or drink.   The Famous Donkey cannot decide, as each desire balances the other perfectly.   And so it stands there and dies.  (Good old google:  => It's "Buridan's Ass" - a famous problem in philosophy).  But a specific system comes into play, in humans:  It is the FTS ("f*ck this sh/t") system we call it in Canada - you make a random, angry, outside-the-box choice - outside of the problem - you either choose randomly or you break out of the constraint, and do a third option.  We actually have this code for this in our neural-nets - seriously.   I think it accounts for some folk's descents into madness. )

There is actually literature and research on this "System Three".  It is evident when "Number 6" resigns from MI-n (where n= the number for the super secret spy agency), and insists "I am a person - with a name!  I am not a number!" and of course, he becomes *only* a number.

We humans do not like to be constrained by a bad set of options - each of which we know will damage and degrade us.  So, we have a third "thinking" system, which forces a jump outside of the constraints - in the old 19th century days, this was called "kicking over the traces", a folksy term that described a difficult horse, that would leap it's back legs over the "traces" - the harness-poles that were used to connect the horse's harness to the buckboard wagon.   Parents would use it to describe rebellious and/or difficult children, that would not accept necessary discipline, and would do anti-social things, like run away to the circus or the city.

And it seems to come into use in trading activity.  I have simply been rewarded too many times, for ignoring the advice offered by others - and even my own models and machines.   There is a curious freedom in saying: "F*ck it.  I don't care about this.  I shall stubbornly hold to my long-wave picture of the world, as it plays out correctly in the end."   And this is so often true.

But my research shows - as do my actual, Sorosian real-time market experiments also show - that just following the goddamn model actually makes more money.  And my back-testing (and side-ways testing) also confirms this.   It is crazy.   Why do I invoke System Three?  

I am not completely sure, truth be told.   But I know it is  a curious weakness.   "Number 6" escaped from his confinement - but no one would believe him, and he found himself back in the "Village".

I suppose Earth is our "Village" now, and there is little we can do about this, either.  But we strive for understanding, even it costs us.  There is research on this now:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/hide-and-seek/201908/hypersanity

and there is some truth here.   We have to make these deep, journey-to-the-centre-of-things trips every now and then.  It is the price we pay, for real understanding.

I once attended a public lecture given by R. D. Laing.  He was an interesting character, and a major figure in British Psychology research.  There are a lot of very clever English folks who become what is known as "barking mad".  Sadly, it is more common than many realize.  Dr. Laing  had some interesting insights on how to treat these crazy people, and why they undertook the "voyages" into madness that they did.  I recall how packed the lecture was, and how he spoke with focused clarity.

We are to remain in the "Village" here, until our lives end.  But our Village is large, and offers many delightful experiences and opportunities, even as the corpses pile up around us.

I suspect that by sabotaging my own (clearly profitable) trading recommendations, I am gaining something perhaps, that I need - a level of uncertainty and risk-pleasure that keeps me focused and working hard.  I am outside the constraints of the model, and the freedom here, is something that I quite enjoy.  Each day is a treat - and to be out of the process for periods when the markets decline, somehow make me just a spectator at the game.

I suppose that when the model indicates a *turn-over*, I should just buy a few "puts" and leave it at that.  On balance, I would likely make money, and also not suffer FOMO anxiety.  The curious nature of this business, is such that the worse you feel, the better you often do, it seems.

So do we become Kurtz?  And end up making our speeches to that circle of heads - pointed inwards to the homestead - instead of outwards as they were supposed to be?   I think I can hear Joseph Conrad's ghost laughing at me.  :)

And really, I have just one question for now:  Should I just go with the Shadow 2 SP-01, or go "whole-hog" as it were, and choose Hobdel's amazing CZC heavy custom A01-LD masterpiece - at three times the price?

[ Oct. 1st, 2020 ] The More One Learns, The Less One Knows - I watched a clip of Kate Bush doing "Babooshka" in Venice, in 1980.   Venice is an amazing historical place - a city I will almost certainly never see - it being such a hyper-tourist destination now, and what with the collapse in travel because of the Virus.  Was reading the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem - and Venice figured in that chronicle too.   The current problems in Beruit and the French President's attempts to help them form a Government, get some financial aid, and rebuild after the port explosion - it all has such curious historical echos - like watching a bad remake of a classical tragedy, but done as a Made-for-TV downmarket production.   That old French expression comes to mind:  "The more it changes, the more it stays the same."    We all seemed condemned to relive and replay our history, like "GroundHog Day".

I seem to be fighting with the AI, and am holding positions that the best model I have says I should abandon.  It is recommending that I unload.   This is curiously difficult, as I know we are entering a unique time, where stock ownership may be vastly better than holding any cash.  But of course, my economic analysis could be wrong, and the simple AI recommendation, much better strategic advice.   I feel like President Merkin, trying to fix the unfixable.

[Aside: Know what a "merkin" is?  It is actually a vaginal hairpiece.   And when you learn that, you think immediately:  "Why in god's name, would anyone want to wear such a thing?"  Well, it turns out that English prostitutes in the 1600's would wear these items, especially if they had lost their pubic hair to age and/or disease.  In low light-levels, they could appear young and healthy (even if they were not!), and thus command higher fees for their services.  And of course - President Merkin (in the famous "Dr. Stranglove" film), is bald-headed - which just adds to the comedic genius of the whole enterprise.]

I probably need to bring this experiment to a close soon.  It has been helpful, documenting everything.  One of our positions - a significant holding - has just been flagged for complete redemption, at a nice premium.  I am both surprised and concerned - surprised because the company had just committed to another 5 years at a slightly lower yield on the securities in question, and this would have worked well for our needs.  And concerned, because of course, now, we face a major investment decision - and see very few attractive opportunities anywhere at all.  

I understand why people buy bonds with zero or negative interest rates.   The idiotic volatility of the equity markets makes any investment there, an uncomfortable and dangerous ride.  The loss of the professional "Specialist" system means that wild, stop-hitting swings are the standard operating process of the markets now - or also the even worse model of violent price-runups to attract momentum-player and ordinary idiots - followed of course, by the long, slow, depressing distributions that the stock-sellers have to make, as they harvest funds by the sale of their paper.

That distribution-decline process can go on for *years* and is of course, the worst outcome for any rational investor - as you find yourself in a curious auction process, where the bid prices go *down* as time goes on, rather than *up*.   

There is nothing more comically artificial than a *managed* auction.  At the end of any managed *auction*, if it is executed correctly by the promoters, the poor bastard who actually *won* the auction, will of course be filled with "buyer's remorse" - especially once he learns the extent of the "buyer's premium!"     As I wander around the world, learning stuff, I find I can do little but shake my head in wonderment and astonishment at the fantastic levels of idiocy and madness that seems to drive human behaviour.   Perhaps it all results from most people being either unhappy or simply unconnected?    Desperate for love - and of course unable to achieve what they see everyday in the media and the virtual world - they seek alternatives and neural excitements that compensate for the hollow emptiness of their own lives.

There is a curious phenomenon in Japan now (so much seems to be happening now first in Japan - possibly due to the curious demographics of the place - the inverted population pyramid, and so on...).  Young, successful, attractive, popular celebrity figures are committing suicide with a curious frequency.   This is difficult to explain at one level - these are successful people who appear on the surface to have everything - and even have it at a young age, where they can enjoy what they have achieved.  Yet perhaps that is the very problem for them - having reached the top of the mountain that they chose to climb, they look around and all directions now lead down - into middle-age, into mediocre performance, family problems, economic decline, failing health and then death.   They live in a tightly-bounded, controlled society, and suddenly see no available path that leads to anything they want to have. or anywhere they want to go.

That perhaps is it.   Perhaps that is the thing that kills them.   One needs to have goals and objectives and plans - even if they are absurd or unwise.  It seems to be a requirement of the human condition.  

And life in a programmed and restricted, bounded world, where the limited options available have now all been achieved - life in this kind of end-game environment may be seen as pointless and not worth the effort of existence.  

We can all understand "death-by-failure".  But this new Japanese observation, where you can have "death-by-success" is perhaps not something that should surprise us.  It occurs frequently in Western culture - the difference being it is blamed on drugs or alcohol or bad driving, and so on.  But if a rich and successful movie icon dies of a heroin overdose - perhaps it really is not a dosage accident.

And it is curious how much of human activity is oriented to "future planning" - and not to the simple enjoyment of the moment.  Asian kids don't often seem to be playing music for personal pleasure (the way a lot of English, European and North-American folks do).  They are very good technically, but the mechanical perfection of their music makes it sound like machine-made music sometimes.  I listened to Lang Lang play the Goldberg Variations last nite - it was very good, and yet it sounded different & I wondered where the humming was - and then I realized it was *not* Glen Gould!     Gould was a bit crazy - but the madness of desire seemed to be in his music - joyful release seemed to occur for him, as he played.  He really put his true soul into his piano playing, and somehow, listeners can hear and feel that truth.  His music transmits joy.  Lang Lang also loves his music - there is tenderness in his fingering that is fine and true.  You hear him play, and you stop and listen.

Successful artists somehow put it all out there - and this is recognized by their fans.  They tell a truth that we all experience, if we are lucky and take the risks.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J5xk1-KEgds

I remember when the "Eurythmics" first came out.  I bought them on both vinyl and CD.

If you are an artist - or in any endeavor - you want to try to enjoy what you do.  That way, you will stay with it, and become good at it.    And being good at a thing you enjoy doing, is a treasure and a treat, and the pleasure that you feel in your work, becomes visible to others, and so can be shared.

This seems to be the algorithm for a successful and fulfilling life.  I wonder if one could actually communicate this awareness, in such a way that it could be understood by others?  Perhaps that is what the "Tea Ceremony" tries to do, and the Zen teachings, where the students are admonished to empty their minds, and live in such as way as to experience accurately the sharp edge of awareness-in-the-moment, that so many of us are unable to really do.  If that awareness-in-the-moment is linked to an action-response, then effective ability can become acquired, like a skill.  And that can be a very good thing, I suspect.

[ Sept 30, 2020 ] I Think You're a Contra - Reading the details of the PLTR Direct-Listing (not your father's IPO, I guess?).   Wow, if there ever was a bunch of funny-business being run, Mssrs. Thiel and Karp seem to be pushing all the boundries and all the levers full forward.   But maybe I am just missing how wonderful this brave new world run by spies and data-mining robots will really be.   FFS.   I understand now why Buffet's Berkshire bought AAPL at the high-price it did.   You hold an iPhone in your hand.  It is real.  And it can actually be used to make telephone calls, which is really pretty cool.  It's a consumer product, like a toaster or a teapot.  It's not just a picture of toaster or a dancing teapot.  The artists warned us about this, didn't they?  "This is not a pipe."

Looking at PLTR, I am gripped by a strange sense of discomfort.  But maybe I am missing something...  (and hey, I love - just love - AI software.  It is cool, and it really works.)..  But the whole "dark-world" of spooks and covert-killers makes me just a tad uncomfortable - like a hail of bullets thru the back windshield kind of uncomfortable.

But, hey.  It's the Future.   No Space Colonies on the Moon or Mars - just Novichok and Covid-19 and those other interesting bio-active agents we are not supposed to talk about.

What I really don't understand - the big "red flag" - is this is a NYSE listing, right?   What happened to the old "One Share = One Vote" rule for listing on the NYSE?   I am really confused here - did the NYSE just pitch this very good idea out the window?

The "Founders" share structure for PLTR looks like a perfect picture of the sort of nonsense that the NYSE did not allow.  That's why FB and GOOG are Nasdaq stocks - with multiple voting shares for the insider "Equity Lords".    But the info sets on PLTR indicate it is an NYSE direct listing, with something like 460 million shares available - and a potential share count of over 2 billion, once the full dilution calculations are made.  That's a ***k of a lot of paper being exchanged for gold coins.

Look, GPS jamming and finding bad-guys by watching the datastreams of traffic is cool, but should the NYSE also be trashing it's old and wise rules that have helped it to grow into global domination?   Why not just keep the "One Share = One Vote" rule?

It was a good idea in the past, and it is still a good idea.   The multiple-voting share structures that keep founders (and founders *families*) in control of major corporations, is really not a good thing.  The TSE in Canada and the sad and sorry performance of companies in Canada that have these "Founders-keep-control" share structures (different classes of shares for founders and the public, for example),  has certainly offered hard evidence of the wisdom of the old NYSE rules.   The "multiple voting share structures" are really just vehicles that allow founders to suck both the money and life out of companies, that might otherwise have been able to re-invent themselves, as the world around them changes.

The NYSE looks like it is a bit broken.  

[ Sept 29, 2020 ] Strange Times in New York- I can't believe what is happening in the USA sometimes.  Even if you truly hate Donald Trump, you might want to consider voting for him, if for no other reason, than I would say there might be a good chance that Mr. Trump now understands why confidential communication and secure data management is critical for any individual who does any transaction with a government agency.

Government has unlimited power - especially over individuals.  The old expression from England - "No one's life, liberty or property is safe, when the legislature is in session" has never been more true, than it is in these times.  

The judges, lawyers and media-people of Democrat-controlled cities, are obviously more dangerous than Huawei.   Once you have written a cheque with a 6-figure dollar amount to Government tax authorities, your picture of what government really is - and the astonishing threat it can represent - will change forever.   Government - and it's armed agents - can represent a violent, dangerous and economically destructive entity.   

One realizes governments must be kept on a very short leash, and the actions of their agents must be constantly monitored.   A bad person can do terrible things - perhaps even kill scores of people.  But the co-ordinated actions of a government - as Hitler and Stalin (and so many others in history) showed - can kill *millions* of innocent citizens.

Rules have to be put in place - and agencies created to enforce this monitoring - to prevent abusive government action.   The media and the courts are supposed to be part of the agency elements that do this watching and checking.   But they themselves can become part of the problem, when they break the rules of law and fair dealing.

One of the basic foundations of both tax law, and democracy itself, has always been that income-tax returns are confidential communications of economic knowledge between the taxpayer citizen, and the citizen's government taxation agency.

In Canada, this confidentiallity is a big deal.  It is taken very seriously.   Historically, one needed to have advanced "security clearance" just to see income tax data.  Being lax about the security of tax-records or tax data, was the kind of offence that could get a "civil servant" fired immediately.  If you left tax-data out on your desk at night - ie. it was not locked up and secure at the end of the day - that could be enough.  Tax data - really any information on private citizens that was of any sort of senstive nature - was supposed to be treated as confidential, and was to be held secure.  This is basic law.

So something has gone terribly wrong in USA now.  Donald Trump's tax returns should not be a matter of open discussion before an election - any more than anyone else's should be.  Anyone who knows anything about business - and tax-loss carry-forwards, for example - will not be surprised that there can be several years when you do not pay income tax on earnings.  Massive losses that are incurred can be carried forward for as long as they are applicable.

The "New York Times" and the Democrat operatives in New York - show direct evidence of a corrupt and badly broken legal system.

The unholy collection of corrupt judges, bent lawyers and abusive "yellow journalists" operating in New York's Democrat Machine have done two interesting things here.

1) They have proven that a serious flaw now exists in the operation of the US legal system, and the US tax system.  Tax returns have to be confidential.   That they can be used as they are now being used, as a political attack tool against a sitting President - shows *EXACTLY* why this information has to be held confidential.

2) They might just have engineered the successful re-election of Donald Trump.

If I were an American who would normally vote Democrat, I would be so angry and upset that this outrageous and abusive data-driven assault has occurred - where confidential tax data is used as a political weapon - that I would switch my vote, and support the Republicans in the November election.

A vote for the Democratic Party is a vote in favour of judicial abuse and a vote in favour of corrupt "New York Style" government operation.

As we say in Canada:  "F*ck that sh/t."

Income tax returns are supposed to be confidential.

I honestly think the Democrats might find this "yellow journalism" strategy - relying as it does on deeply corrupt  people and a profoundly corrupted legal process - might just backfire badly.

I fully expected Biden to win - but this very bad behaviour by the NY Democrat Machine might just torpedo the old boy's chances.

How could anyone vote to support the ugly, corrupted bucket of offal that is the current New York Democrat Political Machine?

All the Republicans need to do now, is send out this message in every communication:

"Hey Democrats!  Send a message to the corrupt legal establishment of New York!  Switch your vote to Trump, and tell New York lawyers and the New York Times, what you think of them!  If we are re-elected, we will *ensure* 100%, that your tax-return data cannot and will not be leaked to attack you.  We will fix this ugly problem."

Gotta say, that would sure work for me.  Vote for Trump, and get an ugly problem fixed.  Vote for Old Biden, and you will enshrine this nasty tax-attack strategy in every election from now on.

Strange Times.  Strange New York Times.

[ Sept 28, 2020 ] Walk the Dog  - In the last week, it's been my great good fortune to get to try out a Glock and a modern CZ-75 Shadow-2.  Both are very nice - but in different ways.  The Glock is *really* different from what I am used to - with the safety in the trigger itself - which makes for this curiously busy finger-feel just before the fun happens.  

The CZ-75 Shadow-2 is just a delight to hold and use.  It feels like something custom-made for the fat-fingers of north European white kids.  I mean, it would be nice to have those long, slender figures of the genius guitarists like Hendrix, but if you have fat, stubby fingers, the modern CZ-75 still makes you feel like you're Jascha Heifetz holding a Stradivarius.

I could write probably five pages of my impressions of the differences between the two platforms - but the thing that really comes to mind, is how excellent the political craftsmenship of the United States of America really was.  The Founders of that nation, were the smartest nation-designers in all of human history.    The USA is *really* diverse - and the virtue of "diversity" is not at all about hiring low-skilled, dark-skinned people - as the modern lefty types will often spout.  The value of diversity comes from having to craft some methodology whereby really different people can make important collective decisions without fighting and killing each other.  And yet still all remain alive and operational in freedom and security.

Most all collective action results from coercion.  Some fat topman gets control of the police, spys and/or military, and enforces his will on the people.  The democratic model - invented in Greece 2500 years ago - is different - but it is hard to actually operate - like a complex aircraft.   

Democracy requires armed, educated people who can make honest choices that reflect baseline human wisdom (a rare thing indeed.

The Americans - despite their conflicts and troubles - in the USA, designed a method whereby this is actually done - and done without reducing people to leader-following sheep.   The valuable diversity in the USA, is the interesting diversity of opinion, and how that plays out in their politics.

Some of the most helpful people I have ever met, have been at the various ranges I have been able to practice at - in both Canada and the USA.  One encounters the most interesting people - with gentle natures and strong opinions.  It's quite the opposite of the disinformation that circulates in the Media & the Press, dominated as it is, by yellow journalism and "fake" news.  

It's not so much that the news is "fake" - it is that it is fabricated, in the same way a poison is - to target  - with painful results - specific ideas, individuals and  viewpoints.   The older I grow, the more I see all "news" as data that ranges between the worthless and the toxic.

Do your research, put on your positions, and then go walk the dog.   The news is noise, at best.

[ Sept 27, 2020 ] "Just call Omsk Information ..."

Posted the Sept. 27 C_Machine forecast, graphic, above top.   On the leftside iPad, you can see the comic genius of Peter Sellers and Terry Southern (the writer), from way back in 1963...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T2uBeiNXAo

"We'll meet again --- don't know where, don't know when...".   

Too bad we couldn't just nuke the coronavirus.   I find it tragic-hilarious the way the "Safety Nazi'" types are running all these vaccine "trials", while the Covid infection rates are spiking and the pandemic goes exponential.   Maybe we would use the FDA employees and the do-nothing Demorat pols as the test subjects for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine safety trials.  Losing a few of those folks to anaphylactic vaccine-triggered toxic shock would not make anyone too sad.

Just for amusment - take a look at the witches brew of vaccine-agents which are already approved and being routinely injected into kids.  I am not an "anti-vaccine" type - you probably should get the vaccine if it can be shown to be safe and effective.  But you still will almost certainly get some kind of reaction.   I get reactions - ie. a mild flu or fever or nausea for every vaccine injection I have ever had.  Some people typically get mildly to seriously ill, one to two days later.   But that is the price you pay for the immunity.

Covid-19 may be different, so human trials are needed.   But the vaccine will still make some people really sick.  The CDC and Health Canada folks say the numbers are 1 to 10 per 1 million will get reactions - but that is only in the doctor's office, ie. anaphylaxis (a rapid allergic reaction), but the idiots who quote these numbers don't realize they are wrong, because these very low incident numbers ignore all the post-vaccine reactions that occur 24 to 48 hours later.

The Covid-19 vaccine probably won't kill you. WIll it give your kid autism, or brain-damage, or weakness in his/her lungs - maybe 10 or 20 years later?  Maybe.   But SAR-Cov-2 will try real hard to kill you *right-now*, so probably, you roll the big dice, and take the vaccine anyway.

The current "human trials" are probably a bit silly - given the known lethality of this virus.  Just take a look at the long list of vaccines that *are* already approved:

https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines/vaccines-licensed-use-united-states

If all that stuff on that list can be injected into people and not kill them dead immediately, then I suspect, that if the Covid-19 vaccine does not immediately give the patients a massive anaphylactic shock, and the patients all show antibodies to the virus after a few days in the 100 to 200 person trials - then probably you want to just start enrolling folks in large public trials by geographic area.    The key is to do detailed follow-up checks on *every* person for the first couple of months, and see if any edge-conditions exist (like death, for instance...)  

At least Novichok is not on that "FDA Approved Vaccines" list.  Not yet, at least...  :D

[ Sept. 25, 2020 ] Q4, Then Shut the Door? - Weather forecasts indicate the amazing lovely weather we have enjoyed for September, is likely to change.  In two days, the rains look to come, and the summer will truly end.

It has been a strange year.  

fd: Still long, full invested.

SARS-CoV-2 note:  Finally, doctors and medical research folks are recognizing the progression and etiological movement-thru-time in the treatment and managment of Covid-19 infection.   The disease - with it's intense and rapid cytokine storm - is, in some folks who have contracted the infection -  a very serious and *immediate* life threatening danger.   Specific treatments - in this case, the agent interferon, may be helpful.   But the keys are two:  1) Genetic makeup can *radically* alter the way the disease progresses, and 2) different treatment regimes *must* be applied at different stages of the infection.

I know about this personnally, having suffered an extreme cytokine-storm reaction from what was probably the original SARS, a few years ago.  Our research into the original 1918 Influenza Global Pandemic (somewhere between 10 million and 50 million or more dead over a two year period), indicates that this cytokine-storm phenomenon was very common.  One documented case of the 1918 Flu exists were 4 older folks sat down to play cards.  Someone felt a bit ill, but thought it was nothing serious.  By morning, all 4 were dead, their lungs full of fluid from a pneumonic reaction.  Reports (which cannot be confirmed) indicate there were villages in Canada in 1918 and 1919, where almost everyone died.   In the same way that the 1929 Stock Market crash led to the creation of the Securities Exchange Commission, the 1918 "Spanish Flu" Pandemic led to the creation of Public-Health Departments and more detailed health statistics collection.  We honestly do not appear to know exactly how many people died from the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic.

In the case of the 1918 Flu, an interesting phenomenon was observed - strong, healthy young people got rapid pneumonia and died much more quickly than did older, less healthy people.

Some understanding seems to finally be developing around the nature of the human immune-system response to viral attack.  The SARS-CoV-2 virus seems to be able to degrade the immune response for a day or two, which gives the virus an opportunity to massively replicate.

  The human antibody response to address this seems to be a very rapid response to the early-stage infection, that is associated with natural interferon.  A lack of this interferon response, seems to be where the turning-point lies, between a mild infection and a serious life-threatening one from Covid-19.

https://www.cell.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0092-8674%2820%2930489-X

The paper above is only 20 pages.   If you have a modern browser, you can just click the link, and the .PDF file should display.  The research is interesting - dates from early April.

From the paper:

Here we compare the transcriptional response of SARS-CoV-2 with other respiratory viruses to identify transcriptional signatures that may underlie COVID-19 biology. These data demonstrate that the overall transcriptional induction to SARS-CoV-2 is aberrant. Despite virus replication, the host responseto SARS-CoV-2 fails to launch a robust IFN-I and -III (Interferon) response while simultaneously inducing high levels of chemokines needed to recruit effector cells. Because a waning immune response would enable sustained viral replication, these findings may explain why serious cases of COVID-19 are more frequently observed in individuals with comorbidities.

It's an interesting paper, which was published in Science.  It's old research now, but it shows that medical personnel are gaining understanding of improved treatment protocols.  Patients could be tested for interferon response, and perhaps given interferon early on, if their natural response is degraded or non-existent.

I got real sick last weekend - and for two days, I had difficulty breathing, and was drinking 6 or more 1/2 litre bottles of spring water each night.  Today, Friday, I am feeling ok.  The intense, rapid onset of the lung infection was dramatic - yet I had no fever.  I took several hot showers, and could honestly *feel* a defense reaction occuring in my lungs.   Seriously - I was weak, unable to sleep and I could *feel* the antibody or defense response running hard.   I coughed up great chunks of yellow strands of material from my lungs.  After two days - 48 to 50 hours - I was no longer coughing coloured mucous, only clear.  I could taste and smell all the time, and had no fever - but the rapid onset was unusual.  I had travelled around Ontario, and visited stores which had had a lot of traffic.  I had worn a cloth mask - not an N-95.  Cloth masks do not protect the wearer - only others.   I also drove with the sunroof open.  Maybe it was not Covid-19 - but it felt like a scaled-down episode of what I had a few years back.   I am normally healthy, and live an outdoor lifestyle, with lots of activity.  What's unusual about this (and the other) infection, is how rapidly they come on - and how the lungs are affected.  The amount of fluid and material that accumulates - and has to be expelled - is curiously signficant.  I've had all the childhood diseases, and also several serious flu's.  But they were nothing like this rapid-onset/lungs-fill-up/serious-oxygen-hunger thing that happened.   I suspect I picked up the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and - because I had had something similar - generated enough of an antibody response to mount an effective defense.  

I generally don't seek any medical treatment, as modern medical service in Canada is highly socialized and is "stand-in-line" treatment.  It is very bad where I live, because we have no local medical school, and we just do not seem to have many doctors in our region - and none that are "accepting new patients".   It is a rather comical & curious situation, but it seems to be keeping people healthy, truth be told.  (Study the famous 1965 Doctor's Strike in Israel.  The death-rates fell substantially, during the duration of the strike.  It is a fascinating piece of statisitcal-medical data.  Doctors can't help but do harm, it seems - mostly because they are arrogant *experts* - and experts have a nasty habit of being wildly wrong far too often.  This observation is consistantly confirmed by every study of "experts".)

But science does work - even if it sometimes works rather badly.  Read the papers, if you can get hold of them.  Do the best you can, with whatever you have.   :)

[ Sept. 24, 2020 ] Don't Bury Me, I'm Not Dead Yet (Mystery Dance) - Just getting a nice wheezless lungfull of clean fresh air - damn but it feels really very good.  I must write a note to Alexei Navalny and tell him I truly understand the wisdom of his comments.  We all take our lives much too seriously, and also far too much for granted.   I had the wildest dreams last nite - since I had not slept properly for about 48 hours. Met my old dogs (who are now dead), my dog from childhood, and an old girlfriend at a bar, when the lights came on.  Crazy sequences - would have been a great movie script, I if I could remember it all...

Bought a used rifle on the weekend, took it to the range yesterday, and it did not cycle.  It fired, but the action had to be operated manually, to eject each cartridge case.  WTF?  It's supposed to be a semi-auto, except there was no auto-action.  Like a lot of modern technology.  The stuff is bloody marvelous if it works right -but often it just does not.   At least it did not explode in my face. :)

Took it home, disassembled it all, and found the gas tube looked like the Black Hole of Calcutta.

Does anyone now even understand my old Victorian references?  I once knew an Anglo Indian woman, and it was so hilarious - she and I had had almost the same cultural upbringing - all the children's songs we played on the piano were the same, and our lexicon - the cultural memes we make reference phenomenon and to communicate ideas, were virtually isometric.  It was hilarious.  We had both grown up in what were essentially British post-colonial nations, but which still favoured the old (and very expressive) Victorian terms and expressions for things.

And also the Victorian values of hard-work, self-responsibility, and self-reliance.   Modern folks should understand how really *non-racist* the British colonial value-systems actually were.  In Ontario - Upper Canada - slavery was outlawed in the 1700's, I think before the USA colonial rebellion against England.  The Brits were harsh and firm, expected much - and were often cruel to anyone who screwed up - white or black.   And the Middle Classes trained their children carefully, and with explicit focus and attention-to-detail, and high expectations.   That model worked.  USA, Canada, Australia and India - all prosperous democracies in a world that was dominated by pirates, savages, thugs and bandit-kings, is proof of the high-quality and benefits of English colonization and Victorian cultural hegenomy.

What Athens did in ancient times in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the British did to the whole planet.  And our world is a better place, because of  this.

Anyway, I cleaned the gas-tube and tried to clean and polish the gas piston push-rod, which was also filthy and corroded.   Not sure if this will fix it.  Tried to new find parts online, and even though lots of parts are documented on many websites as available - each and every site indicates: "Out of Stock".  Every. Single. One.   

The damage that has been done - and may well further be done - to our global supply chains is significant.   We are all going to need CNC machines, metal lathes, and laser-micrometers in our basements, in this Brave New World we are building, just to keep our stuff working.  And maybe heat-treating bathes and electroplating equipment also, as well as a mining operation and a smelting facility and a blast furnace in the back yard.  Is this really a viable approach?

Damaging our supply chains, and erecting tarrif-barriers - this is stupid and dangerous, and it is going to make the whole planet a poorer and less safe place.  Poor people can be collected easily into an army (they get food and money, if they accept the discipline and the harsh training  - a good trade for a poor man), and the army can then project power and provide gain for it's organizers.  This old model is very effective.  But free-trade and commerce allow greater prosperity for greater numbers.   It's a good model also.

Pax Romana.  Pax Britannia,  Pax Americana.   Whatever.    Global commerce and freedom of action is important, and needs to be preserved.  We need to learn this obvious truth.  It seems to be the Mystery Dance of civilization.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X6J4ofcRDM

Stay alive.  And stay global.     :)

[ Sept. 23, 2020 ] Heard It All Before - Doing our part to facilitate herd-immunity, I suppose.  We feel bad.  Breathing was hard work last nite, drinking water constantly, headache, dizzy - really quite a constellation of nasty symptoms.   Not sure if this is Covid.  Sure seems to match the symptom profile.  Wear your damn masks, folks.

Market is flat to down, but our stuff is up - we approach ex-div dates, and much of our portfolios are dividend-heavy.  Why?  For the money, of course.

Really crazy time - off the meter in some ways.  Having the farm is a good thing.  New winter-crop is beginning to grow.  Looks very beautiful - small green shoots, about 2-inches high yesterday, and today, they are 3 to 4 inches high.  Stuff grows here like bamboo, it's quite interesting - the land is very fertile, and the climate is warm and lovely this year.  Of course, at any time now, we could get cold, rain and/or snow.

Real-estate is absolutely flying.   Places are getting listed and are getting sold in "bids come in on single day" trick, so that folks putting in offers are bidding above asking prices - small houses in nearby towns, small rural properties, and just plain ordinary houses in suburbs - are selling over asking prices.   Eg: A small Victorian brick house, in a nearby town, nice, but not exceptional, is/was listed for $750,000.   Ordinary, not very special type houses along highways, which were always hard to sell, are getting listed and sold in a matter of days.

There is a simple, old-fashioned "we are full" situation happening.   On weekend, I took a run from our small city area, to Toronto, and up the highway 400 to north of Orillia.  It was Sunday morning, and I expected light traffic.  It was crazy busy.   At Toronto, 10 lanes - both directions - solid traffic moving quickly.    Sunday is just another day now - the old Victorian/Edwardian model of Sunday-as-a-day-off is pretty much completely gone.   Partly the boomlet is seasonal - folks have to get their summer-plans in now, and the weather has been unseasonably lovely.

But I watch real-estate action,and it is crazy.   Everything has sold signs on it, and Toronto is just plain full.   If you want to be outside of the viral-creche regions that are the hyper-crowded urban environments - you will have to pay for it.  There are satellite-suburb communities in lakeland areas north of Orrilla - 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours north of the City.   Used to be "cottage country", but now is being developed as satellite communities of suburbs.  Highway 400 is six-lanes, both directions all the way to Barries now- and is full/busy *all* the time.  North of Barrie, two roads - 400 (4 lanes) and Highway 11 (4 lanes) branch north.  Used to be sparse, long-haul travel roads for vacationers and trans-Canada truckers.  Now, full busy, with commuter traffic.

And the prices of everything everywhere - in terms of residential - reflect the population push and growth.

Bottom line here, is that the price-push in homes - where you can live and now work and make money from, if you have high-speed internet - reflects this new reality.   Your cottage on the lake is now a production site from which money can be made.  The digital-action work at a rural or farm property can outstrip the income from the fields.   And regards the fields - two or three men, with modern agricultural equipment - can cut, harvest, and then plow and then sow a crop - in a couple of days.  The productivity levels - because of aggressive deployment of serious capital equipment - in farming now, is amazing.

The price jumps for good real-estate around here is not fluff and foam of a bubble.   It is a simple economic re-pricing of the value of good land and a nice house, from which one can make a viable income.   A house in the country is not just a Roxy Music luxury item for rich people - it is actually a safe-zone *AND* a viable factor-of-production in a digital economy.  That makes it damn valuable.   Toronto - like all cities now - is just full - and if viral infections are to be our new future (and I cannot see any way they are not going to be), then having your own land and house will be a Very Good Thing.    Current house-price valuations are simply reflecting this reality.

And this means the mortgages backed by this real-estate are not likely to be defaulted upon.  Loan-to-value ratios here are typically 75 percent or better.  You can buy with 10% down, but then you need to mortgage-insure that 15% you don't have, using CMHC.   The Ottawa folks are concerned that prices are too high.  But they are government workers, and often do not really see the real economy, which is always discounting the future.

I look at all this - and the nutty low valuations of the Banks in Canada, and I honestly think that the prices for Canadian Bank stocks are way too low.   But *only* Canadian Banks - not USA or European Banks maybe - I am not sure about the asset-quality that backstops their loans.   The value of bank-stock is based on the quality of the bank-held assets.  In Canada, it is mostly mortgages - the Banks hold a lot of mortgages.

We have one portfolio that is built out of mostly bank preferreds - for the income.  And it has done well - fat yields, and a risk-price on it that was just goofy wrong.   The contigent-capital prefs that look ugly risky - ie. they convert into bank common, if the bank gets into financial difficulty - the so-called "bail-in" model - are probably safer than Government bonds, IMHO, since Government bonds are - well, "Government Paper".   A vote in the Legislature could alter or erase it, is a truth that is ignored by many.   One need only examine Argentina - an interesting example of profound, extreme economic failure - created by Very Bad Government.

Governments come and go.  They are like clothing - they start out clean, then get dirty as they are used, and eventually need to be changed.  And that is how it should be.

Banks, if they are run right - should operate for at least hundreds of years, as long as they don't go into stupid trades - like Long Term Capital Management (those PhD boys who lost *all* their client's money) or the Barings Bank, which was taken down because of Nick Leeson and the typical English arrogance+ignorance problem, or pull a "Lehman Brothers"  ( run a hollow shell with > 27 times leveraged risky investments, false financial statements, and management that asset-stripped the profits).   The great Banks of Venice - some of which lasted for hundreds of years - were forced down to bankruptcy because they loaned money to dishonest Kings - and the Kings were just Government people.   Kings and Governments and other bad, unreliable entities have one common characteristic: They routinely do not repay their loans.  The Victorian British used to deal effectively with Bandit Governments who would default or try to confiscate British property.  The Brits would just steam a bunch of gunboats into a harbour of the Deadbeat Bandit Government's nation, and shell the place.  

Everyone wants a revenue-stream.   And the mortgage-payment revenue-stream that a good banking model has, is just about as good as one can get.   As long as the mortgages are backed by quality assets - houses and land that is valuable - then the bank is golden.  And with a digital economy, a good bank is a hell of a lot better investment model, than any sort of car company.  We'd like to buy a Tesla - and maybe even invest in the business - but it is *way* too expensive.  The Electric Cars are toys for rich people, as most high-end cars usually are - and maybe always will be.

I suspect Canadian bank stocks are actually underpriced, assuming that the rest of their loan books have asset quality at least as good as their mortgage portfolios.  Canadian Banks throw off money - car companies burn money.   The respective market valuations are curious.

Another curious observation:  Diversification, if not dead, is rare and very hard to find now.  You cannot diversify, really.  You might *think* you are diversified, but you won't be.  Run the correlation matricies between your different assets values over time - or just look at the way gold, silver, oil, tech-stocks, financials and consumer-product stocks all move together now.  It's the "risk-on/risk-off" model now that drives investment.  And it's a badly broken process, just like government bond investing is.  This is a rather serious problem.  The only solution we have found, is to do a bit of the risk-on/risk-off thing, and put most of one's assets into one's best ideas.  The old "Markowitz" diversification strategy does not work anymore - just like pretty much every process that promises a "free lunch".  It works for a while... until it doesn't.  And then it explodes in your face.  [ I actually had a device explode in my face once.  The metaphor is apt, as the process is unique, in that it plays out so quickly, you cannot take any protective action.  All you get is a single mental image of the event.  But that, combined with the sound and the subsequent ringing in the ears, makes the event quite memorable. :) ]

Full Disclosure:  Yes, we own Canadian bank stocks in the portfolios we both own and manage, and our AI-test bed runs on bank-stock.   We like the idea of a Tesla CyberTruck, but that looks to be science fiction.  A newish Ford F-150 is more likely to be in our future.  The small Honda CRV 4-wheel drives are made here in Ontario, so we got one of those.  I am amazed at how nice it is to drive.  The transverse 2.5 litre 4 cyl engine and steering are like a race-car's, but it has a crazy amount of cargo space.  And it uses about 1/4 of the fuej of the old F-150 (which now has a failed power-steering hydraulic unit, rendering it undrivable).   We are leaning towards a Honda Ridgeline, given the fine quality of the little CRV.   Or, we may be like our neighbours, and buy a horse and a wagon, if the World Economy collapses.    :)

[ Sept. 22, 2020 ] Drive-In Saturday - Mkt seems to be recovering, world is looking a bit crazy - and, I think I have the damn coronavirus.   Since I had SARS (or something very similar) three years ago (and the worst cytokine storm I ever experienced in my life), I am pretty sure I have a reasonable compliment of antibodies.  I am actively fighting this thing - hard-core extreme cytokine reaction, difficulty breathing, coughing up yellow bits and strands of mucous.  (Yes, I know - too much information.  But I am more than anything, a scientist..)   Drank about 6 1/2 litre bottles of mineral water - kidneys are working overtime, clearing the viral load - each bottle caused equivalent discharge of urine about 10 minutes after drinking it.  Interesting.   Was really sick last nite - but recovering today.  

I can actually feel the antibody reaction running - it is curious.   Not 100% sure it is coronavirus, but it came on fast, bad and intense.  Probably the result of a bunch of places I visited to look at and buy some difficult-to-acquire hardware.  I used sanitizer and wore a face-mask (law requires it now in almost all commerical and/or business establishments in our Province), but I took the mask off in one store, and that was probably my error - the virus absolutely is known to exist for *days* in aerosol form inside any enclosed spaces that are not actively ventilated by having open windows.

But feeling better this AM.  WIsh me luck.   I have antibodies to this thing, I am pretty sure, because of previous encounter with a bizarre flu-like virus infection that almost killed me several years ago.  But you *really* do not want to catch Covid-19 - or any coronavirus-style infection or even a bad influenza.  The feeling of not being able to breathe - ie. metabolize oxygen - is really awful.  It's like a hand over your mouth and nose - you pull in air, but the lung membrane cells that let you absorb O2, are covered with a layer of yellow mucous, so they don't work well.  You breathe, but you feel this tremendous desire for oxygen - it is literally called: oxygen hunger.

Do everything that you can to avoid catching any coronavirus or pneumonic influenza.  Wear the damn masks and sanitize your hands on both entering AND leaving any place of business where you might touch something.  

Follow the protocols.  Wear a mask, and use the sanitizer when both entering and leaving.  Don't touch your face, until you can wash your hands, and remember when handwashing, to scrub under the fingernails, as that is where virual bits can accumulate, if you touch anything at all.   Simple protocols like this can make the difference between being fine, and not being fine.  :/

Update: By afternoon, feeling a lot better.  :)

[ Sept. 21, 2020 ] Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades - Let their be light, at least.  But a bit twisted.  Hope it's not "Go towards the Light!"...  

Curve turned over on model last week, figured it was wrong.  I think maybe it is better to just follow the model.  The news this morning is ugly and awful - despite the lovely weather here.  The Bank meltdown is happening on absurd warmed-over old news, and China is being insane - a War against Taiwan is a Fool's Project of the first magnitude - really a bad idea.  But it is looking - a lot - like it might happen.   Will the sun set on Sun Yat-sen again?

As if Covid was not enough?  

And I caught something yesterday - either a cold, or the damn c-virus.   Was all over the province, buying hard-to-source stuff.  Bad decision, maybe.

China should not needlessly get into a conflict with the Americans.   They live for conflict, and are actually defined by it, like the Romans were.   An attack on Taiwan - a democratic independent entity, with honest courts and a working Republican legislature - would be seen by the Americans exactly the same way the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait was seen - as an obscene act of murderous brutality and criminality.    It would also give the USA focus that they currently now lack.  And it will be absolutely hilarious from a historical perspective - to see the Americans fighting alongside *with* the Japanese and the Vietnamese, instead of against them.

At the moment, America appears weak and divided.  But a good war would really let them all get on the same page, and also try out their new hardware - which of course the generals and the tech-heads are probably justing itching to try out.  It won't be like "Ghost Fleet" - at least our research suggests this is the case.   If the Americans are smart, they can use the whole event to clean up a whole bunch of problems.   Viz: They (the Americans) could set off a small nuclear charge near South Korea - or even in South Korea.  This could then be blamed on the North Koreans, and a small, but effective nuclear response could be taken against *all* of the North Korean military sites, and all of its power-stations, water-supplies, and nuclear-weapons facilities.   The whole exercise could be over in 20 minutes - and the entire thing blamed on the North's first use of it's nuclear weapons.  That's one problem solved, AND a demonstration of resolve that will make an incursion into Taiwan a major confrontation that might result in the destruction of much of China's modern infrastructure.

Yes, this is an extreme scenario, but if we are taking armed-conflict, then we have already opened the book of extreme action.   And once that book is opened, it will not likely be closed until there is a clear and complete victory.

These "little wars", without clear winners and losers, are foolish, pointless, and profoundly stupid exercises.  Enough has been learned, to realize that war - one begun - needs to be taken to it's conclusion.

In attacking Taiwan, China may find that it destroys itself.    This is an occurance that happens so often in human history, that it really must be understood.  War is a deeply attractive event for people who are poor, bored, and living unfocused, limited lives.   China - which has enjoyed such wonderful, runaway success in the last 30 years, would risking losing much of their gains, in a war with America.

America, full of internal division and frustration, and beset by intergenerational jealously, would be able to craft a whole series of beneficial solutions for itself, just by blasting the living crap out of everything on the Chinese mainland.  If they were at all smart, they could do a deal *with* Russia, and offer most of Northern China to the Russians, just like they gave them Venus, back in the 1960's.   Putin would love this, because it would give his country - also beset by internal conflict - a clear focus.   India could be given Tibet and maybe a few thousand miles of new land inside China, Taiwan would end up running the "Republic of Greater China".

The war could work out wildly well for America.  They could tighten up control of their cities which are run by idiot-mayors & leftist fools and are making political use out of bomb-throwing protesters and angry, out of control black people.  Most Americans would welcome any form of Federal martial-law, and the arrest of the AntiFa "protest squads".  In wartime, the public accepts military command & control, because it is necessary for victory.  Various "War Emergency" powers could be granted, and as long as the draft is not used, then almost everyone would be pleased.

China would be much more wise to do *nothing* about Taiwan - other than to perhaps study carefully it's democratic structure and institutions, and emulate them on the mainland.

War mostly kills people, damages cities, and burns up money.   It is to be avoided, if possible.

[ Sept. 18, 2020 ] Civitas - Curious, as I had not read Cicero - yet the honest study of economics and finance leads one along a path-of-thinking that is exactly defined by this concept, this idea: Civitas.    Type the term into a Google-search, and one gets this definition:

"In the history of Rome, the Latin term civitas, according to Cicero in the time of the late Roman Republic, was the social body of the cives, or citizens, united by law. It is the law that binds them together, giving them responsibilities on the one hand and rights of citizenship on the other."

It is when the basic concept of justice and fair-law is abused and degraded, that an educated man feels such revulsion and disgust.   He knows the essense of "civilization" has been assaulted.

So many examples now:

    corrupt, and dishonest Leftist governments of Argentina, which refuse - regularly - to pay their bills and even the interest on their loans, and then blame their failures on those who loaned them funds!
    dark-evil Russian state operatives using toxic poisons to murder adversaries and silence political opponents to a corrupt State.  And then State officials spout lies like a fountain in a city square spouts water, when the crimes are proven
    A Chinese communist gangster-government - which holds power by the use of force, brutality, terror & fear - threatens with ugly belligerence, a nearby Island enclave where an elected democratic government operates and a peaceful people, living in freedom, reside

These actions assault the very essense of what civilization is.  We come to this conclusion from the perspective of investors and students of economic science - only to discover that Roman and Greek writers over 2000 years ago identified, documented and expressed deep concern over the exact same kind of problems.

Curious.   Our enemies are not the Chinese or the Russian people.  Our enemies - and the enemies of all civilized people of the planet, regardless of their nationality or their racial origin - are those who engineer and execute these criminal attacks on human freedoms and the basic legal & contractual process that defines the very essence of civitas.

The non-democratic communist mainland Chinese government must leave free & democratic Taiwan alone.  The Russian State-backed gangster-spies must stop attempting murder and vicious assault-actions against Putin political opponents who are operating peacefully.  And the corrupt, serial-bankrupt governments of Argentina must repay what they owe to investors, and not be given any more funds by wealth-waster agencies like the IMF, until all repayments have been made.

The democratic, free nations of the world must demand and enforce the requirements of civitas on all these bad actors, or even the most cursory analysis indicates clearly that attacks on civilization and civil & legal structure that keeps it working, will continue to grow.

Some kind of war will come - with certainty, eventually - unless these offensive and abusive assaults on civilization itself can be properly punished & prevented and thus effectively discouraged from routinely occuring.

It's a very easy prediction to make.  One need only consult 2500 years of historical record to observe the evidence.  What will make it different this time - the war will not likely be between nation-states - just with the small group of bad folks making the wrong decisions, and causing all the pain, problems and suffering.

[ Sept 17, 2020 ] Nuts. - Famous and iconic cartoonist Gahan Wilson died last year.  I used to love his stuff in National Lampoon and other educational publications of the highest calibre ("Playboy", for example ...)  

Where we live, the kids are all going back to school.   I remembered the top cartoon - and found it on the 'net.  Covid-20 maybe?  Or Covid-21?  Or will it be Novichok?     

See, in Russia, the source of the Novichok poisoning of Alexei Navalny has been identified - a bottle of mineral water in his hotel room:

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-09-17/navalny-team-says-he-was-poisoned-by-water-bottle-in-hotel-room-not-at-airport

I wonder if Vladimir Putin will ever travel outside Russia again?   The problem with poisoning your opponents, is that - as my old Irish Grandmother used to say: "What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander."    It is an evil thing, to use poison against political opponents.  I can't believe Putin would have ordered such a disgusting and evil thing to be done.  But perhaps he might like to determine just who did such a thing - if even just for his own safety, and to make it possible for Russia to continue to do business with the rest of the World.

The official Russian "Honesty Default"  is starting to affect global capital markets, according to one of our models.   This is becoming serious.   With the Russians using Novichok on a routine basis, no-one anywhere is safe.   It some ways, Novichok - and it's use by Russian Government agents - is more dangerous than Covid-19, in terms of the utlimate damage it might cause.    Know this truth, people.

The Logic of Occam is obvious.  A national government that is regularly using Novichok or any other bio-weapons like this, in the wild to attack it's opponents, will have to be "shaved away", one way or another.  The risks for everyone are too high to be allowed.   Using Novichok is exactly like using nuclear weapons.  It crosses the line.   Mr. Putin might want to get a handle on this before it gets further out of control.  The idiotic lies from "Kremlin Officials" have to stop now, and the "Russian Honesty Default of 2020" has to be corrected with sunlight and open inquiry.

This whole bio-weapon thing is getting seriously out-of-control.  China needs to allow full and open international inquiry into it's Covid-19 related bat-virus research, and the Russian "government" needs to allow full and open international inquiry into how Novichok is getting into regular usage by dark-agent operatives in Russia, the UK and Germany, who are using it to hurt and kill people.

Otherwise, Occam's Razor will morph into the Sword of Damocles, and will have to start lopping off heads.

PS:  The whole investment-experiment has been working rather well for several years now.  Quite curious - even thru the ugly Covid-19 meltdown & recovery.  The key really seems to be our Roman-style, fee-simple. property tenure.  We tightly own our own property here, with all the rights and heavy responsibilities that that entails.  The ability to hypothecate property is critical to the operation of a viable financial system.

The folks in Indonesia have discovered this - and they are jumping to a First-World status in just a generation.  Indonesia has roughly as many people as USA.  How about that?  Once they develop hard-core advanced technology, things could get interesting.   It's one of this planet's most interesting social-economic-technological experiments.  If the people in Indonesia are given American-style freedoms and opportunities - they might be building spacecraft and advanced energy-conversion devices within the next 10 to 20 years - much like the Chinese are doing now.  

We round-eyed northern folks are going to have to get used to Asia and the Asians being a dominant power.   It may be a tough on America.  Their sun may be setting, as the Eastern sun rises.   Our job will be to just defend our borders and our interests.  This may prove to be both costly and difficult, but we leap technologically ever few years. so we know we can do this.  It seems to be something deep in our DNA.  We eat, sleep, dream and work-for, the improvement in all things we see and create...  Quite curious, really.   The new USA Air-Force prototype fighter, will be able to evade radar, and deliver a lethal payload to anywhere on the planet, and not even be something that can be stopped by missles or enemy aircraft.  And it went from design specs to a flying prototype in something like 11 months.   That is how it is supposed to work, isn't it?

 "Oh Brave New World.... please don't mess with us, or we will have to act accordingly.,,"  seems to be the base-line mantra.  We have no other path that we can do down.  We desire peace and freedom, as no other model is even in the realm of our viable reality.  But if either of these are put at risk by criminals, we have no choice but to act with an automatic nature that is not open to any negotiation at all by anyone.  This is a curious essence that defines and directs all that we are.   Rome never actually "fell".   It just moves around a bit, doesn't it?   Civilization is not just roads and bridges and cities - it is an infrastructure that is built in the mind - the idea of "civitas".  SPQR.

[ Sept 16, 2020 ] Superman Never Made Any Money -

Read the life story of William of Occam.  He lived during interesting - and very dangerous - times.

https://quantum-reality.net/2012/12/10/a-close-shave-for-a-mediaeval-monk/

He stands as one of the great historical figures, who tried to correct the profound and self-destructive errors-of-thinking that dominated conventional thought at the time, and that drove the behaviours of the religious authorities who dominated Europe.

We like him because he never completed his studies at Oxford, and yet was recognized as a Great Teacher and a scholar who focused efforts on observation, analysis and truthfulness.  Of course, these are not at all the traits or characteristics one associates with religion or religious practices.  

If you use it right, Occam's Razor can shave away the dirty, ragged beards of obfuscation, and render visible the naked face of truth.  It can also help one get rich.  :)

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

But getting rich, is not everything.  Many, many things are much more important.  Look at Navalny's picture in his hospital bed.  It's on the BBC, and his Instagram account.  Breathing on your own - that's a super accomplishment.

[ Sept 15, 2020 ] Uguisu Bari (Bari is from verb: Haru) - This is Japanese term for the squeaky floor that was put into castles, so that Ninja's (or any intruder) walking across the floor, would make a distinct noise - a loud squeak.    The hardwood floors were crafted so that as you walked on them, they squeaked like a Japanese Bush Warbler (a small bird).  Uguisu is the name of the warbler, and the verb Haru means to mount (the floor on cross-members).  Haru actually has about 50 meanings - from the word for Springtime, to describing a bloated stomach, or hanging wallpaper.  The literal meaning is "bird-squeak mounted" type of floor.

What's so interesting, is that the need for intruder detection and perimeter defense is as old as humanity.   Our close relationships with dogs is derived from exactly this need.  The dog's nose is more than 10,000 times more sensitive than a human nose, and their ears - hearing ability - vastly exceeds human hearing in both sonic range and sensitivity.  Dogs stayed with humans, because it would be the dogs that would first hear nighttime intruders, and their barking would awaken the tribe members.   Dogs and humans can also hunt much more effectively together.

The requirements of security and careful observation and "keeping a watch" have always been with us, and probably always will be.

The world is full of bad people who will always attempt to advance their positions thru the use of subterfuge, violence and criminality.  The "sneak-attack" is alway a possibilty, and as the use of technology grows ever more sophisticated, the ability to carry out "covert operations" becomes more and more the strategic weapon of choice.

And of course, modern "birds-squeak floors" are able to communicate the awareness of criminal intruders, without the intruder being aware of it.

And also, as the technology grows more and more sophisticated, it becomes almost impossible for any secret criminal action, to be undertaken without it becoming apparent and visible to all, eventually.

One hopes that this would make for a more safe and secure world for all of us.  But humans being what they are, this is not likely to be the case.

Spy-tricks and dark-of-night murder crimes are less likely and more difficult to carry out now in secrecy.   But rather than this damping down the level of bad behaviour, it seems to be simply driving it out - gangster-style - into the open sunlight of daytime.

This presents us all with curiously changed requirements, and the need for new thinking on how threats are addressed and dealt with, does it not?

Are we hearing the squeaky warblers now?  Here is a pretty loud squeak, right here:

https://zenodo.org/record/4028830#.X2EC96ZRemz

A Chinese doctor, an expert virologist, has - with two others - authored a paper, which provides evidence suggesting that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, might have been developed specifically in a lab, to explicitly target humans.  It is a very detailed, technical paper, which requires some understanding of the underlying biochemical mechanisms involved, to really grasp.   But in a nutshell, the coronavirus spike protein, that so perfectly binds with human cells - at the 2ACE site - shows some evidence of being a targeted, manufactured entity, and possibly, not the result of random mutation and viral bio-evolution.

The paper is not conclusive - and this is key.  But what is curious, is the profound, explicit censorship that is occuring now, and is showing up in many areas of science.  The virus either evolved naturally, and made a surprising jump from bats (where it is not typically lethal) to humans (where it is uniquely and impressively contagious and lethal), or a bat-virus was engineered to alter the spike-protein so that the cell-binding features made it *specific" to human cellular makeup.   It is either one or the other.  Many papers assert the former view, while the second viewpoint is censored.  This is curious.

And here is the thing: Occam's Razor suggests that the second option - a genetically engineered effort to explicitly target human cells - probably is the explanation that remains when all the other more unlikely explanations are shaved away.

Science *demands* a skeptical outlook.  Scientists who are *not* skeptical, are not really true scientists. They are more often just political hackers and exam-passers.   They are not really scientists in the traditional sense of the term.  This is a problem, and the problem is growing.   The trend is serious, and we are seeing it everywhere now.

A simple example is the obvious infection-by-aerosol transmission vector of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  The early comments by the WHO (World Health Organization), attempted to discourage and downplay this obvious transmission vector, when researchers and front-line people were seeing massive evidence of this.  The focus on prevention was on "hand-washing" for crying out loud!   Anyone with an IQ over 60 realized pretty quickly that airborne transmission was the primary infection vector, yet strange political action seemed to be applied to deny or downplay this obvious characteristic of the infection.

But of course, it would be aerosol droplets that would make this virus a perfect weaponized agent.

We are hearing at least four loud squeaks coming from our Castle floor here:

1) Technical evidence exists that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was engineered using two bat viruses, and some RFLP tweaking of their DNA.  The effort was to make a virus that had *very* specific binding properties to human cells.  This was done by altering the viral DNA so the spike proteins had slightly different nature, which improved the ability of the coronavirus to bind to the human cell, and use it for replication.  And unlike the SARS virus, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is particularly adept at transmitting infection from very small areosol droplets, which can remain alive and infectious for several days.  This makes it interesting, and further suggests weaponization.

2) The Chinese have resisted having a full and completely open inquiry as to exactly what happened, and have instead responded with attempts to censor any discussion or research on virus engineering and possible weaponization efforts that have been undertaken at military-backed research labs.  

We should stress that we understand that everyone is working on this - the idea being that you have to build and understand the nature of the dangerous weapon, if you want to prepare and engineer a defense against it.   The Israeli's, for example, have been working on chemical and biological weapons aggressively since the 1970's.  Their reasons are obvious - they wish to have some ability to recognize and defend against this sort of attack - which is getting cheaper and easier to do, every day now. It's no good hearing the floor squeak, recognizing the murderous intruder, and not being able to do anything about it.

You build the virus weapon, so you can engineer the vaccine against it, of course.  You study the poison, so you can understand the antidote.   This process is always ongoing.

We suspect that if the virus was manufactured by genetic engineering techniques, it's release was probably an accident.   Lab accidents happen.  It is a fact of life.   But if SARS-CoV-2 was made (partly) in a lab, then the information would help in dealing with the nasty thing - which is now in the wild.   China would be wise to offer all assistance it can.  The fact that they are resisting doing this, makes a very loud squeak.

3) The recent - successful - efforts by the mainland CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and the XI administration, to extend tightened military & political control over Hong Kong are interesting.   Democracy activists from Hong Kong, attempting to flee by boat to Taiwan, were seized at sea, and transported to Shanghai.  Their families are unable to even retain legal council for them.  Squeak.

4) China mainland military recently ran several "burning sky" missions into Taiwan airspace, to probe the location of Taiwan's radar defense locations, and assess the radar-coverage of the Island.   This is not just a squeak.   This is a sword dropped on the floor.

I could go on here.  But perhaps you are awake now.   The final and most interesting noise, is the sound of the ancients.  You have to listen closely to hear it.   Sun Tzu in his "Art of War", in the chapter on "Empty and Fullness" said with clarity: "When you are concentrated into one while your opponent is divided into ten, you are attacking at a concentration of ten to one, so you outnumber the opponent."  The implication is obvious.  Victory is assured.

Our forces at our Castle are deeply divided.  Factions and their leaders struggle and argue among themselves, and the people are weary with sickness, and fearful for the loss of their prosperity.   Could there ever be a better time for adversaries to act against us?   This is not  a squeaking warbler.  More like a beating drum...

So, here's the thing:  We rate the chance of a "war" (of some sort) breaking out soon, rather higher than normal.  Perhaps a lot higher than typically is the case.

[side note:] Occam's Razor - is the brilliant conceptual trick created by the famous "William of Occam" => shave away the complex explanations for an event, and what remains - the event explanation with the simplest and least number of auxillary explanatory pre-conditions - is probably the most likely explanation for the event.   But this assumes that misdirection is not occuring, of course.   When trying to model phenomenon, even with machine-learning methods, one can make use of Brother William's genius, as documented in the note below.  Using a neural network model with fewer nodes is more likely to reduce the problems of "overfitting", in which the model is trained down to give a perfect fit for the existing sample data, but thus completely fails when one tries to use the model for predictions.

https://memosisland.blogspot.com/2019/12/bringing-back-occams-razor-to-modern.html  

A curious example is the "back of the envelope" analysis.  If your analysis requires (and makes use of) few factors - one finds it often works better - sometimes a *lot* better - as a forecasting methodology, than does a complex, multi-factor model.  It is just Brother Occam's idea working again, but in a different context.

Best example:  To make money in the stock market, buy the stocks which are going up.  You do not need to know why they are going up.  If they start going down, then sell them, and re-position with others that are being bid up.    This is so painfully simple, and yet so consistantly effective a strategy, that is is comical.    This of course, requires some way to figure out what up and down really is, since there is always a pull back to where one started.   This pull back to where we started is called "mean reversion".  The dance between trend and mean-reversion is the driving force in the markets.    Tiny shifts in each, explains the crazy volatility that can occur in markets, when human fear and greed are re-calibrating what is "up" and what is "down" or what is "cheap" and what is "dear".

What is curious, is how well few-factor, simple models can work.   Back-of-the-envelope heuristics can beat complex, multi-factor models, just about every time.  I've just seen it too many times, not to accept the truth of that assertion, even though I doubted it at first.

With the USA in disarray, and an election ahead that will not please at least 40 to 50% of the people, divisions are deep and serious in the political core of the American Empire.   We are concerned.

[ Sept 11, 2020 ] Taiwan Chess - China flys into Taiwan's ADIZ bigtime, and Taiwanese are unhappy.    This could start a war.
A disputed election in USA, with the command-control questions that brings up, would be an opportune time for China to move against Taiwan.
 
Personally, I think Xi and the CCP would be insane to do such a thing, but I am seeing a lot of craziness lately.  
 
I can't find my copy of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" but I am sure Tzu must have said something about command-control confusion in the enemy ranks - along the lines of "when your enemy shows confusion and uncertainty, that is the time to respond with strength of purpose, and firmness of resolve."  If he didn't say that, he should have.
 
The current PLA incursions into Taiwan's ADIZ are probably meant to demonstrate the CCP's firmness of resolve.  Taiwan might want to respond with a reserve-callup, and the staging of some live-fire drills on their coastal areas.    The F-16's are cool and impressive, but the RAND Corp. Red Team/Blue Team exercises - a military simulation exercise held each year, in which the Red Team (representing CCP/PLA) always wins - suggests they would not likely even get off the ground, once the shooting starts.   The mainlanders just have more "stuff", and if Taiwan has sufficient military muscle to sink 1000 ships, the mainlanders will just plan to send 2000, 3000, 5000 or more.  
 
The solution is to station a bunch of defensive, tactical. nuclear-armed cannons in various (secret) locations around Taiwan, and once that is accomplished, message Beijing that any military incursion on Taiwanese soil would be met with an intense, unlimited respose, which might include the use of the artillery-deliverable small, tactical nuclear devices.    Taiwan's only chance to repel an invasion from the mainland, is to pepper the strait with explosives sufficient to make it impossible to operate any ships there.  The technology exists to do this, and it is cheap and easy to deploy.  But it is nuclear-based, and using it would be messy.
 
Then, Xi, the CCP, and the PLA will be risking starting a nuclear war, if they invade Taiwan.   Would the gains really be worth it?
 
This is not a far-fetched or absurd idea.  It is pretty much exactly what the Israeli's do now to maintain their territorial control and sovreignity over the region formerly known as Palestine.  The Israeli military is estimated to have roughly 100 tactical nuclear bombs, which can be "assembled" into deployable condition, in a matter of minutes.  
 
Having warehouses full of small working nukes is a tad dangerous, but so is being overrun by armed invaders.   Small devices, in tactical configuration, delivered by cannon-fire, are clearly defensive in nature, so Taiwan could honestly assert - as Israel does also - that it has no claims on it's neighbours lands - it just wants to ensure - completely - that it can maintain it's territorial integrity.    China could decide to use it's nuclear weapons against Taiwan - but what does that gain China?   A destroyed, radioactive rubble-field, filled with an angry population who would remember this crime - and demand vengence for the next 1000 or so years.   Bad trade for a small piece of territory.   The CCP/PLA and XI might gain Taiwan, but ultimately lose control of the mainland, once a big war is begun.
 
The problem-set before us all now, is that the RAND research and simulations *always* show the Red Team winning.  Taking Taiwan by force, if Taiwan is not nuclear-armed, is doable for China-mainland, probably.  The only real solution that will prevent this happening, is to ensure that the defenders of Taiwan have sufficient resources to repel and/or destroy a massive incursion from the mainland - say in the neighbourhood of 10,000 ships.
 
For Taiwan to maintain it's democratic freedoms, it will have to act like Israel, so that the mainlanders will see a very high cost - far beyond any gain - that will have to be paid if anyone starts a military adventure to harm the island of Taiwan, and the free people who live there.
 
Si vis pacem, para bellum.
 

[ Sept 10, 2020] Holding Pattern - Posted a better screen image, of testbed forecast, for data up to Sept. 9, 2020.   Ticking along.

[ Sept 9, 2020 ] Ex Libros - Reading some material from old traders / speculators, who lived in different times.  (The poets studied "Rules of Verse"...).

A common thread seems to be the insistance on the importance of "market characterization" - You must seek to determine with some accuracy, what kind of market you are in - a trading market, or a trending market - and if a trending market, of course whether it be "Bull" or "Bear".  

This seems such simplistic information, of little value, but that is not the case.  It is almost (but not quite) everything that one really needs to know, to make money in an open marketplace - be it a modern stock or commodity market accessed by electronic methods, an African bazzar in Cairo or Carthage, an ancient Roman Empire trading house/merchant bank in Lyon, or a Dutch Bourse in the mid-1600's.

In a trading-range market, you can scalp - buying below the bid when possible, and then selling above the offer, when you can.  If you specialize in one thing or class of things, you can determine the times this can be done, and make a small living doing it.

In a trending market, you position trade, taking care to establish attractive positions that show immediate gain, so that market motion and movement does not force you dangerously offside.

A careful and intense focus on risk-control is required at all times.  Historically, and today, this often means the use of spread-trades (offsetting positions in different traded items), and the use of arbitrage, if you have access to multiple market settings (you buy and sell at close to the same time, the same things, in different markets, reaping a profit which is typically small, but low risk).

But the real key is the determination of the bullish or bearish market nature - and the tranistion from one market type to another, is something that needs to be critically observed.

Are we in the ending phase of a long Bull market?   Or not...?

This is really the key question now.

Our view is that that the long Bull Market in equities, and other assets classes as well (gold, silver, real-estate, etc.) remains intact, primarily due to the monetary conditions that remain probably as accommodative as they have ever been in our recorded history.   And given that there is little evidence of any serious inflation, we expect this bull-run to continue for quite some time.  

What is also interesting, is that our value-oriented portfolios have tracked thru the traumas of this year more or less completely intact, and in one case, up nicely.   Given the "March Madness" that we saw earlier - when we wondered if the SARS-2-Cov virus pandemic would lead to 10's or hundreds of millions of deaths - this is a good outcome.  Total deaths from the Covid-19 illness are less than 1 million, infections are around 27 million.  These numbers are a tiny fraction of the number of people killed by malaria each year.

Covid-19 is a horrible nasty thing - but it's real awfulness is due to its highly infectious nature.  Properly treated, by medical personel who have access to the various drugs so that immediate treatment can be applied, the disease can be effectively managed and a sick patient can become well.  There are also numerous vaccines in development.

We would like to see the vaccine treatment offered at market prices, so that those willing to pay large numbers to be first in line, could subsidize the costs of production and distribution to everyone who wants to take the vaccine.  This could make the vaccine development and distribution self-funding, which would be a good thing.   Done as a market-based exercise, the rich could pay to be first (and take higher risk), and the poor could get it for free (and at lower overall risk, perhaps).    

All told - Covid-19 is ugly and annoying and lethal to some - like pneumonia, malaria, cancer and influenza can be - but it is not going to bring about the "End Times".   :)

We are (like always!) at much greater risk from bad government and poor economic policy choices, than we all are from this nasty illness.

[ Sept 8, 2020 ] Space Truckin' for Argentina & *Reset* Risk - When it works, it works well.  Spacex nails a fine mission, with the Aug 30/Sept 1 launch of an Argentina satellite - in a polar orbit no less - and recovery of the Falcon booster rocket right on the Florida cape.  It would appear that sufficient confidence has been created in the Falcon-9 rocket system, that it is now allowed to attempt it's landings back at - well, *land*.   This mission did not get much news - it was documented on the Teslarati website, and exists as a straightforward Youtube video.  But it actually is quite profoundly impressive - primarily because of its *routine* nature.   It was a major deployment to orbit of a significant radar-scanning satellite.

Everything worked - including the amazing videos of the landing.  Here is the URL:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-gLOsDjE3E

It is the routine quality of the process here, that is so impressive.   The whole launch system appears to have really come together.  Really *very* impressive.

Argentina has just emerged from it's NINETH default, and has recently *restructured* $65 billion of debt that it could not pay.   This is also becoming routine.   It tells us about *money* now.  

Money is & has become something different now.   A new ethic has developed in the world - massive amounts of money are borrowed - and then the borrower cannot repay the loan.   The response is not a corrective action - with assets being siezed by creditors, and then auctioned off.  That just almost never happens - loans are simply *restructured* - and more money is printed and given to the debtor.    This is a strange thing - for this process to happen repeatedly - in the case of Argentina  - NINE times in the last 60 years!

Same for major American commerical entities - General Motors was able to flush all it's shareholders down the drain, borrow the better part of a hundred billion US dollars from the Treasury's of USA and Canada, and magically reassemble it's bankrupt self as if nothing had happened.   

The process is curious and ongoing, it seems.   China and Russia run on *printed* cash, and many southern-hemisphere nations in South America and Africa have parallel economies that use US dollars for critical transactions.    Their local  junk-money is used to fund the operation of the local subsistance economies for the poor folk.   

I have this concern that the overuse of debt and debt-financing is one day, going to reach a terminal limit, in which the mechanism no longer works effectively.  MMT - Modern Monetary Theory - which essentially states that "deficit spending and deficit levels do not matter" - seems to be something that is an artifact of the rapid expansion and improvements in technology and technical methods.   We are now able to do things that could not be done before.   The technology is getting good traction in some areas (much is coming from one man - Elon Musk in the USA - which is rather bizarre, actually...)   

In an economy without rapid technology improvement, the nature and levels of debt that exist and are deployed, would be cause for some concern, since debt is typically something that has to be paid back.   But since this does not seem to need to occur anymore, we are into a new reality, where massive debt-financing can be routinely taken, and yet *inflation* does not occur.

This is curious.  I fear it cannot continue too much longer.

I suspect we are setting the stage for an extreme, non-linear corrective response, that will have to occur within some near-future time frame.   The expected response is *inflation*.   This is not happening.    But perhaps the economic response will look more like the *RESET* response in a video game.  

This is what Japan went thru at the end of the Second World War - when it was required to completely surrender.  Emperor Hirohito explained on the radio:  "We must now endure the unendurable."

Could this be the response?   A complete, catastrophic economic collapse - followed by a complete *reset*, alongs the lines of what Japan had to do, after two of it's cities were nuked, and it's military utterly crushed?    For the Japanese, this whole transition worked out rather well.   They transitioned to a rich, modern, industrial, democratic commercial State, from a militaristic, neo-feudal, proto-industrial agrarian economy in an amazingly short timeframe.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Yen and the US dollar were close to parity.  Both nations were agrarian-backed currencies, with industry only getting started in many cities.  By the end of the war, as Japan re-built it's economy, the new Yen was set at 360 Yen to the US dollar - the number chosen arbitrarily, as it equalled the number of degrees in a circle - and Japan had to come "full circle" to survive.  (So the story goes...)

This *reset* narrative also parallels the great German *reset* that was done to end the German hyper-inflation of the early 1920's, where the *old* Mark was replaced by the "Renten" Mark, which was supposedly backed by the "Land" of Germany.  It was just a monetary fiction - but the story held, and people accepted it, as they had seen firsthand how the old Mark was now worthless.   The transition to the "Land-backed" Mark - and the simple control of the printing-press - allowed the economy to stabilize and operate.

Do we all have a major catastrophic event and subsequent economic *RESET* in our future?   If we do, then being able to have access to physical items of value - land, gold, silver, weapons, etc. - could perhaps help mitigate the "reset risk".

What is interesting, is that shares in companies that are *not* crushed by the debt-loads, but in fact are able to benefit by the *reset* - might also offer protection.  This is not a widely held view, and yet if one looks at the shareholdings of folks during the German and Austrian hyper-inflations of the early 1920's, the shares of major companies actually performed quite well, and did offer shareholding folks some ability to mitigate the pain of the "reset" events that they had to endure.  German and Austrian share prices also tracked upward, with the hyper-inflation.  Data is very difficult to obtain - most price data series start *after* the hyper-inflation.  But the evidence we have collected suggests that stocks offered a viable hedge against the inflationary run up.

We have a model that suggests that the rate of technical transformation in an economy can influence the inflation rate.  The idea is the rate of change of the technical transformation co-efficients in a Leontif matrix (an input/output table for an economy, showing how many inputs are transformed into product outputs) can offer substantial economic savings that offset the upward price movements that are normally associated with monetary expansion.

The obvious example is the electric car, now coming into general use.   I see Tesla cars in the grocery store parking lots, and at the Beer Store.  Owners *like* them.  And for every vehicle running on nuclear fission-generated or hydro-electric power (stored in the battery), less of that expensive commodity, oil, needs to be consumed.   The advanced technology generates economic *savings*, and also new opportunities.  These transformational changes reduce factor costs in various areas, and this cost-saving shows up in the overall price level.

Enable and experience mass technological improvement, and you can force down price inflation.   This is a good thing.

But the bad thing might be, if the Central Banks overshoot on stimulus, and keep their foot down hard on the monetary-expansion process.  If rates of technological change just stabilize, and monetary expansion continues aggressively, you risk seeing a rapid and extremely self-stimulating feedback response by agents in the economy.  If prices start going up quickly, then everyone quickly raises their prices.  Inflation is *dangerously* self-re-enforcing.  It is also does great damage to economy-wide operations, for many reasons.  It should be avoided.

Deflation is also a possible outcome.  This has been seen in Japan, where even negative interest rates have been unable to drive up price level.  It is possible that rapid technological improvement - in driving down costs - can also destroy demand, in that everyones cost is someone else's income. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that perhaps the modern "Office" is an anachronism.  Technology allows virtual meetings to be held, and significant work to be done from *home* offices.  The employee provides his own "Office", just like the laser printer has allowed firms to require customers print their own forms and documents. if they want paper-trail backups of economic activity.    The savings from technological improvements may actually be so extreme, that major demand-destruction occurs in some columns of the overall economy production matrix, that price levels fall rapidly.

And here it can get a bit dangerous.   Demand collapse (for commercial office space, for example), can induce a falling price level, as cities depopulate, and all the restaurants and services that supported the office complex, go out of business.

In a deflationary environment, falling prices, combined with massive levels of debt held by everyone, can risk causing an "economic blackout" - with whole sections of various economic segments that were previously viable, simply going out of business, overburdened with debts which simply cannot be paid, or even funded.

As the technological change improvements drive lower costs for everyone everywhere, the falling prices - savings to some, but also loss-of-business and falling incomes to others - can magnify the burden of debt that debt-holders experience.  

Monetary expansion cannot fix this problem.   A failing business needs customers, not more debt.   The monetary expansion and low administered interest rates, may simply delay and then magnify the painful costs of business transitions in an environment where demand has gone away because of the changes wrought.

It is possible that monetary expansion  - which is stimulating asset prices, and fueling a significant run-up in debt everywhere - both private sector and public sector - might be setting us all up for an extremely unstable economic environment.

When I try to model this - the models typically blow up, with either runaway inflation, or a "Noah's Ark" kind of crash  ( ie. the population crashes down to just one or two breeding pairs left alive).

Less aggressive monetary expansion might be indicated => stability as a goal, rather than always stimulation.

 

[ Sept 7, 2020 ] Gold, Novichok, and the New Future - We have jumped to a different path perhaps?  Our view is that organizations like NATO were obsolete relics of the past and the world-mentallity of the "Cold War".    We were very supportive of Putin and the New Russia.

But the New Russia looks a lot like the Old Russia now.

The gangsters appear to be in control, and their democracy is a sham, if their Opposition leaders can be poisoned, and their "government" does nothing.

This is a very dangerous development.  We had no problem with the re-federation of Crimea to the Russian Federation - the people voted for it, so it is a done deal.   But the attempted murder of political opponents, using Novichok, completely changes our views on NATO, for example.

Now, NATO can be seen as a necessary bulwark against the dangerous actions that Russia has taken, and terrible threats that Russia now represents.  War - at some point in the future - is becoming rather quite likely.  The attacks that the Russian operatives are engaged in begin to look like the murder of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, by that Bosnian killer, Gavrilo Princip, who was supposedly an operative for the "Black Hand" terrorist group allied with the Serbian military.  This event was supposedly the catalyst for the First World War.

https://www.history.com/news/the-assassination-of-archduke-franz-ferdinand

So where does that take us now?   Probably to a new re-pricing of physical commodities?  A run-up in equity prices - followed by a retreat?   Unclear, of course.    But the markets are always ahead of politics.  They often successfully discount future events that seem absurd or highly unlikely - the change shows up in the market prices before the pundits and the political fraudsters begin their mouth-noise and their reactive responses, almost always.

This puts the price deltas we saw last week in perspective.  Almost no one at all thinks the Novichok attack on Navalny is affecting market pricing for US stocks.   But our view is that it really cannot fail to do so.

The German-Russian pipeline being built to export Russian natural gas, to Europe, may be a casualty of this episode of ugliness.   The Lukashenko Election Fraud in Belarus may now play out differently that we had thought.  (We expected it to fail, and the people of Belarus to remain under the boot-heel of that Thug-in-Chief.  The protesters have no weapons, and will just be beaten, arrested and abused by Lukashenko's squadrons of thugs.  They have no chance, sadly.  Of course, we hoped to be wrong.  But Belarus has no hero like Yeltsin.  And there are no tank commanders supporting the protesters. )  But now, maybe a different path may appear.

We find ourselves back in a world where gangsters with nuclear weapons are able to threaten and destabilize everything.   All the work and efforts done to support different economic and political models, can be successfully undone by the criminal "Strongmen".  This is simply a fact, which must be accepted and incorporated into a revised analysis.

The USA is engaged in a vicious internal fight - it does this well, and often comes out the otherside of these intense contests as a stronger and better place.  Curious - but this is their history.  Their conflicts should not be mistaken for weakness.   Their conflicts are a sign of true political strength - just like they were (and are) in England and Canada.   And in Taiwan.  When there are fistfights in the Parliament - you know that the political folks are debating real issues, and that they will have to reach a negotiated solution which will *not* likely put troops on the streets.

The stupid people of the world who do not understand the rhetorical+intellectual "bare-knuckle brawling" that a real Legislature represents, are unable to see this.  Especially the Mainland Chinese.  But the Taiwanese have figured this out - and run a real Parliament, and a real democracy.    They will have to become the Government of China, at some point in the future.  Probably not for a hundred years - but someday.  Or else thermonuclear war will likely take place - but again, not likely for 50 or 60 or 100 years from now.  

Nothing will change much now.  Except the market prices, for commodities and stock prices.  They may change quite a bit.

And the surprise is that stock prices will probably be bid up - along with commodity prices.  The simple reason is that investors will more likely be better off owning share units of commercial entities, rather than just holding the cash that is issued by a nation-state.  Nation-State fiat funds are perhaps more likely to suffer rapid and unpredictable non-linear price re-adjustments, than are shares in trans-national commercial entities.   The shares can be re-priced easily, but when confidence is lost in a nation's currency - then it is lost, and the re-pricing - Argentina-style - is often dramatic and very painful for cash-holders.

And of course, the run-ups in both Gold and Silver  - hard money - have been interesting, and probably reflect an accurate picture of the future value of fiat soft money.

We are entering a world that will be dominated by a range of un-attractive outcomes.  In Game Theory, it reminds us of the BATNA - the "Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement".   You realize your counterparty is a criminal, and you leave the table, and hope to make the airport, before you are killed.

In the realpolitik world of gangster-governments, this often means violence and warfare.  But it also creates opportunity.

[ Sept 6, 2020 ] Stinking Chunks of Dark-Brown Dung, Rotting in the Sunshine - The fields at the farmstead have been harvested again.   Good crop was obtained, and the weather cooperated.  And of course, this is the season for spreading the manure.  Oh my! - what a rank, intense, smell!  Hot sunshine today, and it is *really* stinky.

Reminds me of the official Government line the Russians have been trying to retail, about Navalny.  The lies that the Russian Government "spokesmen" are dumping from their mouths is fascinating and grotesque, in a truly surpising and horrific way.   Reading what they are saying is really quite curious - like watching a person expel a large turd out of their face, and drop it onto a plate.  One's eyes grow large with astonishment, before the revulsion and disgust sets in.  

A civilized nation would be *interested* in knowing who committed such a terrible crime, and would actively seek the assistance of everyone it could.    Instead, the Russian Putin-supporters are just pinching out these huge, astonishing brown, stinking lies.

The Brits are also livid, and also profoundly disgusted.  Viz:

From their Foreign Minister:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-russia-navalny-britain/russia-has-very-serious-questions-to-answer-on-navalny-uk-idUSKBN25X0BU

From their Prime Minister, and the USA National Security Council:

https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/alexei-navalny-poisoning-boris-johnson-condemns-attack-russian-opposition-politician-625778

Germany - with or without Merkel's agreement - may cancel or suspend this major gas pipeline project, if the Russian State refuses to act on the Navalny poisoning:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-politics-navalny-germany/german-politicians-question-russia-gas-project-after-navalny-suspected-poisoning-idUSKBN25X0KH

The civilized nations of the World have said that Navalny's poisoning with Novichok is an act of criminal gangsterism that requires a response by Russia.  The old approach - first lie, say the lie again, and then lie-some-more strategy -  may not work this time.

If Trump's administration does not take action here, then it will be necessary for even the most die-hard Trump supporters to hold their noses, and vote for Biden - if Biden makes explicit promises to end economic relations with Russia, and put the USA on a war-footing with the dishonest gangsters who control the place.  Sadly, I doubt either Biden or Trump will take any meaningful action.   The USA will trash talk, the Brits will shake their jowls, and nothing will be done, as usual.

Curious world now.  Our political people are rather weak, dangerously unwise, and rather useless - and we wonder: how did it come to this?  Everyone expects China and Russia will make a Devil's Pact, to dominate the world with military gangsterism and other murder-methods.    The criminals who carried out the poisoning of Navalny - and maybe the other Russian gangster murder-crimes - are gambling that they can get away with this.   Perhaps they will - for now.   But many, many people who in the past strongly supported Russia, and it's market reforms, have now changed their minds about the current Russian "authorities".

This ugly problem of criminal gangsters in charge, will have to be dealt with by the Russian people themselves.  We can - and must - stop doing any business with them, and begin to use the same methods against them, that they themselves are using now - but our governments are dominated by kleptocrats and fraudsters like everywhere else.  This is unfortunate.   And we are having to pay attention to this ugly turn of events, because it will likely begin to affect post-pandemic recovery confidence, and directly degrade investors expectations of future prosperity.  

A war is never a good thing for anyone.   But there are times when plowshares must be beaten in to swords.  If we are all to move in this direction, there will be great costs and painful times for many of us.  Market prices will sadly reflect this, of course.

Really, what good is a world run by thugs, fools, fraudsters and gangsters?   We had all moved away from that model.  It took so much blood and wealth and years of effort - decades of effort.  And yet now, we seem to be tracking - quickly, it appears - back towards a dark-world that risks being dominated by Asian gangster politics.  And at a curiously rapid rate!   This is unfortunate - but really, the old ugly historical model of the "Authoritarian Strongman" always remains a terrible risk for every nation.  This is why we must have strong laws and strong constitutions and honest courts with fair and honest judges.  Russia almost made it to that level - but has now been struck down, and hammered back into it's painful History.  It is again at risk of suffering another period of years of authoritarian rule and crushing slavery.   And again, they become just a sad nation of people wearing yokes.   

It was not just Alexei Navalny who was poisoned.  It was the whole of the Russian people who were poisoned.  It was their future that was poisoned.  It was their children and their children's children who were poisoned.

What kind of a "government" would not what to find out who the poisoners were?

[ Sept. 5th, 2020 ] The Carnival is Over? - Unclear.  But there is a game a-foot.  I can't help but having a funny feeling about the political attack on hydroxychloroquine, since the data on Remdesivir show that it's effectiveness is pretty marginal.   If given early enough, it can reduce the severity of the Covid-19 illness progression, and that's about it.   This is just about the same level of efficacy, in just about the same treatment regime, as hydroxychloroquine, which is pretty hilarious, really.   The key is to give the anti-viral agents *early*.  Once the virus is deep in the lungs, it creates it's own defensive environment, and requires an aggressive immune system response to purge the filthy thing, and restore basic homeostatic bio-operation - like being able to breathe and metabolize O2!

The politics of media deception perhaps explains this.   And this may be just an accidental result of the fact that most people who write for and own mainstream media companies are just not very smart or curious.

Maybe really, they are just lazy and stupid like we all can be - only they are just a bit more so, and have the luxury of being paid for their lazy and stupid non-thinking, non-observing behaviour - so they have no motivation to be any different.  

If given early on, hydroxychloroquine can offer some real benefit.   There is solid and peer-reviewed research that shows it works very effectively against the virus - in vitro.  And it works in the early stage of a SARS-2-Cov virus infection.   But wait too long, and the effectiveness falls to about the same level of Remdesivir - ie. it offers only a slightly faster path to recovery.   The trick is that if you can keep the patient breathing on their own (without intubation), then recovery rates are better, recovery times are quicker, and scar-tissue formation in the lungs is reduced.  Don't take my word for it.  Most of the bio-technical notes are public - not locked behind paywalls, so a lot of research can be obtained and integrated, if one is curious.

We can treat this disease, and we have developed vaccination procedures that are effective.   If political organs that task-block - like the WHO and the FDA - could be removed or bypassed, then faster paths-to-the-people could be developed.  But this social model does not exist anywhere.   The task-blocking regulators have full control virtually everywhere.

We seem condemned to live in this foolish "world of welfare", and be constantly restricted by the agency control mechanisms and production+distribution that that social model both exhibits and mandates.  The FDA and WHO exist to stop things from happening.  They are self-serving agency actors, with "task-block" mandates enforced by law.

The FDA prevents drugs coming to market.  The WHO - World "Health" Organization - requires a large community of "sick people" to justify it's funding mechanisms.   Both organs are self-serving, multi-billion dollar bureaucratic organs with significant political power.  Their operational power comes from their ability to task-block, and effectively assault any individual or company that expresses a viewpoint that threatens their power and control.   Both organs are - our opinion - unhelpful, and ultimately dangerous, as this virus outbreak has so clearly demonstrated.

We would hope, that at some point, the existence of these powerful "task-block" agencies could be re-thought, and a social model of "limited-government-involvement" could be activated.  This would allow these "task-block" organs to be eliminated.

People die in either model - but our research suggests that having fewer of these political organs that task-block, would lead to better overall social outcomes.   Less Government => More Social Health (for most).  

The task-blocking by the WHO is justified by a desire to prevent an economically rational distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.  They have explicitly said that it should be distributed equally to everyone, without those with means having the opportunity to obtain the vaccine first.  There is no rational basis for this view.  This view is based on emotion and nothing else.  It makes both economic - and moral - sense for the vaccine to be first distributed to people who are taxpaying members of the economically successful segment of a society.  The easiest way to do this, is to make them pay for it.   The parasitic folks who do not contribute, should be last in line.  The argument is that they might be more likely to die, and that somehow, this is "unfair".

This argument is absurd, foolish, and will be costly - both in needless deaths of economic contributors, and in the continued social disruption that the virus will cause, as the vaccine is delayed by the blocking agency.

And in fact, if this virus, and other bad personal behaviours (ie. drug abuse, smoking. gay-sex, etc.) can reduce the number of cruel, stupid, irresponsible, ignorant, abusive parasite-people in a society, perhaps this can actually be viewed as a positive outcome, regardless of how "heartless" this view appears to the uneducated.  Perhaps it might be viewed as an extremely positive outcome.

This radical "no-government-restrictions-on-access-to-health-care-products" social model - in which people bear the *full* responsibility for the maintenance of their own health and are free to deploy their economic choices accordingly - might prevent the continued geometric increase in the planetary population.  This continued geometric increase in Earth's population, will be *certain* to create a horrific and catastrophic, non-linear population crash, at some point in the near future.  Historically, the solution to this problem has been very common - mass warfare, which can violently destroy whole nations and populations.

By just removing the restrictive "task-blocking" behaviour of the large trans-government, deep-deception political organs, private choices made by private individuals would substantially determine social outcomes.    The foolish, stupid and irresponsible human parasites would find their existence untenable, and would either alter their behaviours, or perish.  Either outcome, would benefit the educated, enlightened, higher-quality social-segment of every operating national civil structure, and no action by government agents or agency operatives would be either expected or allowed.   The system - like it always does in nature - would self-correct.

This would let us jump quickly to medical solutions to viral outbreaks, it would address the ongoing and expanding problems of social irresponsibilty and the growth of bad behaviour seen everywhere now, and would also - in reducing the population growth rate - make a much better future possible for everyone.  

This extreme-limited-government model - especially in the areas of health-care and it's related economics - would make the world a better place.    And it would give us all a path into the future that has a much lower probability of being dominated by warfare and other mass-death outcomes from similar warlike conflict-events.  

We cannot put 500,000,000 people in the hospitals of the world, and we should not be trying to.

And if people have the economic means to self-fund their Covid-19 prevention efforts, then they should be actively encouraged to do so, and not have foreign "task-block" organs, political agencies, and "ANTIFA" neo-terrorist "Socialists" constructing powerful in-State regulatory entities that prevent them from doing this.   The FDA should be abolished, and the WHO should be de-funded, if justice, fairness and good-health are national and social goals.

[ Sept. 3rd, 2020 ] Country Matters - As Hamlet said, when he had his head in Ophilia's lap...  And "History Matters".  History actually matters quite a lot.  

History can be a prison, from which escape is difficult.   We need only inspect the tragic situation of Russia today - despite two attempts at engineering effective "revolution", each time, the poor nation has fallen back into the same ancient model of being run by autocratic "strongmen" who hold power using the lowest forms of human life - evil spies, back-stabbers and poisoners. This is a tragedy.

I saw the clip of Angela Merkel's explicit speech, in which she indicated that multiple laboratory tests in Germany and elsewhere, have confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with "Novichok" (the advanced Soviet-era neural-toxin, which has the nickname: "Newcomer").   Merkel is seriously pissed (angry) now.    But in the long sweep of Russian and German history, this outcome is not a surprise, is it?   It is very difficult to escape from History.  It can imprison an entire nation, like it does in Korea, for example.  Perhaps when the Third Russian Revolution happens, the Russians will be "third-time lucky".   They build very good spaceships, so I suspect Russia, as a nation and as a people, are critical to the future of our species.   I do hope they can fix their problems, and clean the rotting filth of murderous evil from their lovely house.  It would be a terrible shame to see the whole place obliterated.

The use of long-wave data helps one's analysis and can really illuminate the dark corners of things.   We find, in the design and construction of successful investment (and life) strategies, that looking back - way back - can often provide understanding that is missed, if one only looks at the immediate past.  The bumps and farts that characterize price-action in a market, are highly interesting, in that the short-term movements can be predicted with some accuracy.  It is also possible to predict the long-wave movements.  But in the middle - anywhere from next-week to next five-years - it is pretty close to impossible to predict with any real accuracy what will happen.

Folks were worrying and writing books and articles about "The Coming Plagues" back in the 1990's - but Ebola, Zika Virus, West Nile Virus and even SARS and MERS, did not really get much traction.  Effective measures were able to mitigate the outbreaks.   We had to wait 25 years to get something that spread "Army of the 12 Monkeys"-style, and hit the world economy like a freight-train into a Volkswagon.

But what we noticed, is that those "long-wave" pictures of things do give us information that is valuable.  We cannot predict what the "disaster-de-jour" will be this week, month or year - but we can see who has been able to survive similar storms & violence in the past.  This can give us a path into the future, which does not lead to ruin and destruction.  And what is interesting, is that those paths to ruin, are many.  The pathes of all human lives end at the graveyard - or worse.  If you are investing, then your primary concern is to have cash-generating investments which both grow in value (to mitigate inflation risk), and also throw off sufficient money to pay expenses and buy food (to maintain life).   

What is curious, is that this simple requirement has and is becoming, just a bit difficult.

But in history, we can see it has *always* been difficult.   Most people lived short, hard, painful lives, up until very recently.   Prosperity has come to many now, and much of it is the result of procdures and processes that allow and encourage rational, effective economic investments to be made, and operated.  The first canonical examples are the Ancient Egyptian civilization that grew to strength along the Nile River in Africa, and the Babylonian civilization that flourished along the Euphrates, in what is now Iraq.  The key magic of *investment*, is that it can and should throw off an income stream in the future, for effort made and risk taken on, today.  Agriculture and investment are early twins - born together with civilization, as farming allows for the production of surplus food, and investment allows the surplus to be set-aside and re-deployed at a later date.  If this is done right, and you are lucky, then the Kingdom grows strong, the people healthy and the population increases.

The curious northern country we live in, has a short history of doing pretty much what the ancient folks did in Babylon and Egypt.  And the economics of our successful commerical enterprises tend to show this basic progression.   The Sept 2nd forecast, from the C_Machine looks a bit extreme in the context of an in-year estimate (the forecast share-price curve is pointing almost straight up!), but I inserted the long-wave price chart on the Sept. 2nd  image, to put the short-term forecast into longer context.  When the longer picture is viewed, the forecast does not at all look extreme.  On the contrary, it looks like pretty much what history has always shown happens after the storm passes.  The building work begins and the mess is cleaned up, and money is both spent and earned.

The wheel goes round.  The prices go up.  People complain.  Old people die.  Young people get together and make babies.   And the babies begin the process of growing up - mewling and puking and shitting and learning, just like they are supposed to do.

I am surprised by the strange comments I read by so-called "experts".   If one inspects many of the long-wave pictures - or if you just look at history - you can see that nothing much new is happening.  The markets can probably move up another 10 or 20% from here.  We are still getting a recovery.   This is not "It's different this time".  This is pretty much what one should expect.  It will be more difficult in some areas than others - and there are problems all over the place that could blow up.  But this is *always* happening.    FD:  We remain, despite some recent trading, all-in, fully invested in equity positions.  We have no "bonds" because with zero interest rates, the investment process is not really working in that market at the moment.

[PM update:  Gunning for Stops -  Folks are beginning to understand the "downspike game".  This is where pros track the lead traders, and when the mid-level guys sense (using AI or traditional methods) that the top movers are going to engineer a "gun-run", they all just step back their bids, and let the price collapse.  This was a common (and great-fun/profitable) game in the old commodity trading "pits" (which were actually raised platforms...), and worked by simply letting prices run down enough (by enough big traders withholding or dropping bids), so that the pit traders could hit the stops that the big commodity house traders had established on their long positions.  It was primarily a game played only in the commodity pits - not so common in the stock market.   But things change.  The trick is to hit the stop-loss orders, get a bunch of cheap fills (and maybe cheap thrills too...), and then have some inventory for when the market moved back to even.   This game can now be played in stocks, and detailed monitoring methods help it to work - even in large, complex markets.  It was called "Gunning for Stops", and it was a way for floor-traders to put some cash in pocket, to cover ongoing expenses.  And now, it is common in stock markets too.

The big fast price downspikes - like we saw in the DJIA this morning - followed by a quick recovery, is a hallmark of a successful "stop-loss gun-run" .   The flip side of this, is how the "dip buyers" make money.   :)  ]

[ Update #2:  Well, looks more than just a stops gun-run.  Down almost 1000 points now on the DJIA as I key this.   I suspect the issue is the Novichok assault on Navalny.   It really alters the future picture, in many subtle ways.   We thought we had seen the Russian Empire make a transition to a working democracy.  But with military agents running "dark kill" assaults on political opponents of Putin, and the absurd story of "low blood sugar" retailed by the terrified doctors at the Omsk hospital, the world suddenly looks different.  Putin has engineered Russian constitutional changes that give him the Presidency of Russia for the rest of his life, effectively, and so we are back into a dark and dangerous world of realpolitik, which perhaps changes everyone's estimate of the available set of future opportunities.   In some ways, this looks like it could be worse than the Cold War world.  It is a retrograde step that looks particularly awful, and may well be the catalyst for many negative and unexpected shifts.   Such little wisdom...]

[ Aug. 31, 2020 ] Winter of Discord & A Planet of Possibilities - The Great Winter Hexagon was visible this AM.  Orion rose, and then SIrius, and Venus and Mars hang bright and high in the sky.  Watching Mars, a local satellite tracked past it - maybe it was the ISS?    Bright and very cold this AM.   

Warren Buffet's Berkshire bought into Japan trading houses - which looks like a smart move.  They are trading mostly below book, are down in price on the year, have good free cash flow, little debt, and offer diversification from the increasingly dysfunctional USA.   And as cash risks being devalued by inflation, Buffet's business is sitting on roughly $145 billion US of the stuff.  That's a sack-o-bucks that really should be invested - if something that is not overpriced and a bad deal with poor prospects - can be found.   

This is a real problem.  The bond market is either junk or ZIRPed.   The cost of equity in good businesses is very high now, and the stock markets are surfing on foam.    And the Central Banks have said they *want* to see more inflation.     (USA Federal Reserve has created something like over 2 TRILLION US dollars in the last 7 months.  Not very "reserved", is that?  Maybe they should call it the "Federal Excite"?)

There seems to be a lack of imagination holding everything down now.     The internet is boring and annoying - and technology is not offering much benefit now - just enabling more monitoring - people watching other people do stuff.  So what?   Nothing much is getting done anywhere, and little of real use or value that is affordable, exists at disruptive price levels anymore.   The future is getting poor, tired and stale.

Humanity needs to stretch a bit, we suspect.

Warren Buffet should invest in Elon Musk's SpaceX work - several billions at least - to build a working trans-planetary Mars-Transport fleet.    Mars is low hanging fruit.   The first folks there, will get to win a whole planet full of resources - and no lifeforms that need to be protected.  We can exploit Mars to the fullest, and not bother or disturb anyone.  The planet is dead, and we could bring it to life.  What is really interestnig, is that the first colonists there, can claim ownership of the place, regardless of what idiotic laws are passed on this planet.   Mars is *not* "international waters", as some local agreements here suggest or assert.  Mars will belong to whomever lives there,  makes it theirs, and ensures they have the means to defend their claims.   This is how history works.

Mars hangs there in the morning sky, bright and red and fresh, like a cherry waiting to be picked by which ever group of clever folks can build the technology to get there and live there.   :)

Back here on Earth, we are seeing amazing rainbows.  Quite spectacular - the Double-Rainbow - only lasted for about a minute, right after the rain stopped, and the setting sun broke thru the clouds on the other side of the forest.

[ Aug 30, 2020 ] When TV Was Young and Fresh - So good, it was scary.  Best TV ever created.   I was tiny fellow, and the black and white cathode-ray tube-unit with it's knobs, yielded this...:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCcdr4O-3gE&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5GtYATWNkg&feature=youtu.be

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6ol3hb

Our technology has gotten somewhat better.  But the future looks pretty lame, really.  A world of high-taxes, extreme regulation, and shrinking opportunity,  There seems to be also, a strange collapse in the quality of creativity.  Too much is derivative, and really just sampling of other's work now.   There is very little that is original or interesting.   Curious.

[ Aug. 29, 2020 ] A Regulatory Artifact? - Every so often, you read something that is well researched, and well written.   This is the case with the following "Motley Fool" article below, which explains how Tesla earns income by the sale of "regulatory credits".   The magic of "regulatory credits" is that they are 100% pure profit - they are an artifact of Government Regulation, meant to force the auto industry into adopting electric vehicles.  

The key facts of this article are that 1): Regulatory Credit sales are a big factor in Tesla's profitability, and this not only helps it show a profit as a company, but that this profit it has shown (for the last 4 quarters), now qualifies it to be added to the S&P Index.   Being added to the index is a very big deal, since that means the stock funds that *track* the index have to load up on the newly added company's stock, thus bidding up the stock price by their purchases - maybe bidding the price up a *lot* if necessary to buy some.   

And 2): The timing of the recognition of the Regulatory Credit sales as revenue may have been used to smooth revenue recognition, so that Tesla was profitable in *all* of the last previous 4 quarters, not just  3 out of 4.  Normally, this isn't a big deal, but here, it is, because it allows (but does not ensure) that Tesla can be added to the S&P 500 index AND it also offers a stock-option compensation event to Elon Musk, worth over 2 billion US dollars.  

It all comes down to a sentance that disappeared and then reappeared, in the Tesla quarterly financial reports.    Don't misunderstand - I like Tesla, and we have no positions in Tesla shares.  I would like to buy a Cybertruck, but that product is a very long way from being on the market.

Here is the article URL:

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/08/29/tesla-the-curious-case-of-the-vanishing-sentence-t/

The analysis is good, and suggests the degree to which Tesla is a regulatory artifact.   And it also explains the crazy run-up in the Tesla share price, and why the Tesla stock is being split.

I seriously worry about the degree of artificial *constructs* that seem to be dominating so much of everything these days.  It is like we are all living inside of a virtual-world simulation, being played by external agents.

There are so many clever political strategies, and dubious economic and political artifacts being created and marketed to an entertainment-numbed and slightly unwell. over-crowded population of citizens who are running out of money.  This feeling grows each day, and worries me.  Maybe it's just me.

I thought Tesla at  $500 a share was a tad stretched in valuation - but it closed on Friday at $2,213.40 for one share.   There are always reasons for these sorts of runs, we must remember.   And these reasons are not always the obvious ones that appear on the surface of things.

I remember when Nortel was trading at over $120 per share, and a close inspection of their financial statements, showed that they were not profitable and were not likely to become so.  But their valuation accounted for a significant proportion of the Toronto Stock Exchange's total value of all listed shares.  It looked crazy.   I had lunch downtown, with an Industrial Products analyst at the time, and he and I both figured $20/share was probably the maximum that the money-losing Nortel was probably worth.  We both agreed the share price was crazy.    And of course, it was.

Nortel blew up and failed, and the executives were prosecuted (unsuccessfully) for fraud.   Nortel was a regulatory artifact, created from internal research groups at Bell, and supported by unwise government policy.  And it was run by an executive team that routinely fiddled the numbers.

Tesla is not Nortel, of course.   But should Tesla really be worth more than Toyota or Honda?

[ Aug. 28, 2020 ] Virginia Plane - "Take me for an airplane ride...   "

When the gov't money stops flowing to everyone, this country may roll up the sidewalks like in the 1930's.   Having any debt at all, was quite dangerous in the '30's, because of the significant positive rate of return that just holding cash provided.  We do not want to become Argentina, but historically (and sadly!), that is the path the "Liberals" who currently hold power, have typically tried to put Canadians onto.  At some point, the Central Bankers are going to have to normalize interest rates, or the market will do it for them, in a chaotic and almost certainly very abrupt, manner.

Always loved Roxy Music - at the MusicLaden in West Deutschland (the Free Zone part...), in 1973.   Could be last week.  Or maybe next year?  

Imagine living in the hinterland, and discovering Roxy Music. "Street Life", or  "Song for Europe" (where Bryan Ferry sings a pop-song in *Latin* and French, as well as English?)   Eno on the electronics, with his ReVox recorders doing audio-hacking in the background?  Phil's Flying V, and Andy's awesome sax?   Suddenly, all that whining folk-music-stuff sounded so very, very silly...  Bob Dylan was already sounding like an old man by the middle 1970's.  Curious time - a bit like now.

Suddenly, everything changed, as the economy went down the drain, and inflation ran up - quickly - to 20% annual, by the late-1970;s.  (LIke it is in Argentina now - actually, latest "Southern Cone" number for the Defaulters of Argent-TINA is 43% annual inflation.  Hilarious.)  The stock market went south, maybe to find that "Southern Cone"?  The IMF is the "Soft Machine", is it not?

Eventually, stock markets do not like inflation.   Maybe we do all this again now, but at "internet speed"?

We have this radical theory that suggests the Central Banks should *raise* rates up to 4 or 5 percent.  Maybe more.  The idea is to jump-start the financial system again.   Price money correctly, and restore financial system operation.    Bond investors could make some return, money would be priced as an investment product, and all sorts of stuff that is basically broken now, could re-engage and start to operate again.   Stocks would shift to reflecting fundamentals (at least a little bit, maybe), and the monster-meltdown that we are not just tee-ing up for, but now actually progamming for, can be avoided.

I have learned in most organizations, that most folks do not even have a clue.  Really.  They are really good at talking, and doing politics.   But most organizations are dysfunctional.  That is why Tesla is so valuable.  One guy still calls the shots.  Same with Apple.   The "ghost of Steve Jobs" still haunts the place - just like the ghost of Lysenko haunts Russia.     Personalities are what matters.   All organizational "science" is just so much backside-wind, really.   Much of reality is silly illusion and in fact, just pure NLP-style fraud and manipulation.   All information is suspect.  That is why science sometimes works.   This is why the KGB (or FSB) and the CIA and NSA are the most dangerous organs in the world, as they know and understand this machine of deception, even if only a little.   

It's the artists who warn us about this basic truth.   Do a little jam, and with glam you can show the sham.  Viz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJH8MOiopis

[ Aug. 27, 2020 ] Another Crazy Forecast by the C_Machine - I am sure there is a bug or flaw in the C_Machine forecaster program.  It is nuts and is giving a crazy, off-side nutty forecast that does not make market-sense.   But it spooked us, and as we had a respectable profit in a large position, we took it (and have watched, of course, the price be bid higher.   That is painful, truth be told)

The AI stuff offers some advantage - but it does not make the actual act of trading any less uncomfortable.   And yet, one finds that the more uncomfortable you are, the better the results often look at the end of the year.

[ Aug. 26, 2020 ] AlphaDogfight Trials - The DARPA AlphaDogfight Trials were run last week and were impressive.  You could watch the best AI programs "flying" F-16 fighter jets in simulations, compete against each other.   Here is a link to the Youtube video of the trials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzdhIA2S35w&app=desktop

If you are on a mobile device, you can use:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NzdhIA2S35w

The simulation aircraft are interesting, in that they model F-16 "Vipers" which are special, lighter and more maneuverable, almost VFR-grade stripped down, designed for very high-gee turns, like 7 or 8 gees.    This is almost the limit of what a human pilot in a pressure suit can withstand.  (1 g or gee = Earth gravity.  2 gees = 2 times Earth gravity, and so on.  The max g-force humans can withstand is around 9 gees.  At higher g-force levels, human cells will collapse into mush, and organs will be damaged and/or destroyed.)

The AI-controlled aircraft, at the end the competition where the competition is run between a human pilot, and the Heron AI, results in the AI algorithm winning every time, 5 to zero.

This is why so much money is being spent on AI development.

It can work.  And it can work better than the best human, which raises up a number of possible benefits and problems.   Simple strategies, such as proper policy selection by the meta-agent, can just about always beat the human actors, and give the AI an advantage.  This is both exciting and disturbing.

And the final match-up between "Banger" (the nickname of a skilled, real F-16 fighter pilot), and the winning AI - from Heron Systems - was interesting.  The Heron-AI won, but in the final 5th round, the human pilot put up a good fight, and managed to out-maneuver the AI for a respectable amount of time.  Realize:  The AI *should* win.  It has perfect situational awareness, and in the simulation, it has no sensor failures.   This of course, does not occur in real-world scenarios.  A simulation, by definition, is a ludic construct - a game - where all rules are clear, and boundry conditions are evident.  In reality, there are always additional degrees-of-freedom, and possible unforseen variables and parameters.  Therein lies the opportunity for effective action and successful outcome.

For example, the enemy might expect you are not missle-equiped, and engages with the view to using his (or her) advanced flight skills.  As the engagement begins, a door opens on the side of your aircraft, and a hidden missle is released, tracks fast toward the enemy, turns thru > 9 gees, and dispatches the enemy aircraft.   You cheated.  And you won, because you brought a AI+radar enabled Sidewinder to the gunfight.

[ Aug. 25, 2020 ] Cholinesterase Inhibitors - I happen to know a small amount about cholinesterase inhibitors, as the neural science of the brain is studied intensely by most AI research and development folks.  Also, my mother died of complications from Alzheimer's and that makes my interest in this area more than just academic.

The cholinesterase inhibitors block the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, and when you block that enzyme, you can prevent the brain from sending messages to the muscles.  This causes the muscles to go into spasm.  They cannot operate correctly - it is literally like a "short circuit" in an electrical device.   The heart muscles can effectively operate themselves, but the muscles for breathing become affected, and breathing can become difficult or impossible.  Many pesticides use this chemistry.  In the case of both bugs and people, you can stop the breathing machinery, using this method and these chemicals.

Read about more details in this BBC article:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53892900

Navalny's anti-corruption agency has been declared a "foreign agent".  This is also most likely nonsense and a lie.   Do the Russians themselves not care about corruption and fraud and dishonesty?

Regardless of your political views, this sort of personal assault on someone who appears to be an honest and legitimate politcal figure, is not acceptable.  

Whoever poisoned Mr. Navalny's tea, should be prosecuted and imprisoned as a criminal, as should the persons who ordered this attack.

This event has the power to destabilize the world, and at the very least, affect the world markets.  It also makes me and others I talk with, feel sad, disgusted and angry.   Navalny and his people had no real chance in the upcoming elections, and his removal will make little difference in terms of immediate Russian political outcomes.  Putin and his team will dominate.   But it disturbs many people, as this "Murder Inc." approach seems to have become a common strategy now, used by many powerful political agents in several non-democratic regimes.  Saudi Arabia and "MBS" have provided a particularly ugly recent example.

This bad behaviour by Governments has to stop, or the "powerful people" who are ordering these murders, will end up being hung from lamposts, as the great Wheel of Revolutionary Fortune takes another big turn.  This is the big "Lesson from History", is it not?   Why do these "powerful people" not pay attention to what History can tell them?  

If the world falls back into conflict and mass warfare, it will impair prosperity, damage opportunity, and degrade the future for all of us.  We all have a stake in fixing this problem.  Corrupt criminal States that use murder of political opponents as a political strategy, need to be utterly removed from the World, and play no role in the Future.  Corrupt States *must* be reformed.  The people of this planet, and the Future itself, demands this.

[ --- Update: Just for FD (full disclosure), we remain, *fully invested* , all-in in stocks basically, with no bonds at all. (We truly believe that 60/40 percent stock/bond thing is profoundly wrong and foolish, during these times of zero and near-zero interest rates.  As mentioned previously, the entire bond portfolio, was rolled into a significant real-estate purchase.  See the "Fee Simple" section for pictures of the view from the northern waterfront property.)   The stock portfolio (the all-in  trade) has swung thru 6 figures this year, but it has worked out well.   The dividend-stream has paid the bills, and the real-estate holdings appear to be increasing in value to a remarkable degree, except you really don't know until you successfully sell.

Real-estate is very risky - but so are stocks and life in general, right?   Our views as analysts, and the AI-models also, both expect markets to continue rising, as inflation begins to take hold.   We are seeing rising prices everywhere.  We are telling folks to expect inflation to come on in a rather non-linear manner, rather quickly, in a short period of time, but in the future (not yet, for a while).

The inflation tsunami is probably still 8 to 12 months away, or maybe a bit further.   Silver is probably a better hedge than gold, since silver is more likely to jump to $30/oz, than gold is to go to $2500/oz.  We don't have models for silver - just historical data that suggests that hard money beats out soft money, in times of extreme uncertainy, and when nation-states and their financial machinery cannot be trusted.  There is a *lot* of silver around, and a bunch of 1 oz pieces of silver makes a nice and easy-to-negotiate hard-currency wallet, especially during times of State-failure and monetary collapse. --- ]

[ Aug. 24, 2020 ] The Big Lie in Russia Damages Russian Science Badly- How awful does it have to get in Russia, before things can be fixed?  Answer: Pretty astonishingly awful.  The horrific poisoning of Alexei Navalny is just over-the-top awful, and shows the terrible, tragic turn that events are taking in Russia now.   The clock is whizzing backwards, and Russian medical advances and Russian scientific achievements are being damaged by the grotesque "fake news" from that Omsk hospital.

The evidence is emerging that Navalny was poisoned with a sophisticated nerve-agent, as the German hospital where he is being treated have found evidence of  cholinesterase inhibitors.  These compounds are the product of nerve agents (like "nerve gas"), and provides strong evidence that Navalny was poisoned - and that the poisoning was done by professional attackers, who had access to very sophisticated biochemical weapons technology.

No doctor in his right mind could claim this was the result of "low blood sugar" or was simply a self-induced "metabolic imbalance".   Russian medical doctors are made to look like dishonest or poorly educated fools.    This is not the case.   Many Russian doctors are well trained, and are as committed to being good doctors as they are anywhere else.   The only explanation is that orders came from Moscow to create and output this lie.

When doctors and medical science collapses in to being another "lie machine", then national, government-funded science is badly damaged, because no-one will trust what it says.

With this one horrific action, Russia has been badly hurt, and Russian science has been badly compromised.

Is it not possible for the Russians to fix this grotesque and brutal abuse of who and what they are, and everything their science has created?    Should the proud Russian nation always be controlled by hidden spys and murder-men?  Should truth always be viewed as something optional?    Is murder, arrest and assault always going to be the Russian baseline political process?  People thrown from windows?   Political persons in opposition murdered or poisoned?  No real change possible unless it is accompanied by violence?

Isn't it time that this ugly and destructive behaviour was finally stopped and corrected?  Russia as a nation is damaged by this.

We many never know *exactly* what chemical agent was used to poison Navalny, but we - the entire planet of knowledgeable scientists and engineers and researchers - we know *exactly* what happened, and who was ultimately responsible.   Sophisticated nerve-agent technology is supposed to be something we do not work on any more.   But of course, research still continues and anyone who wants to know details, can easily determine who is doing what and where they are doing it.

I had a professor at University, who had come from Prague.  As a young lad, he had been forced to study "Lysenkoism" as if it were real science.  His prof knew it was all lies, and the students knew it was all lies - but they had to write exams on the nonsense that denied genetic research results.  Once DNA was discovered, and cell biology understood, the absurd nonsense of Lysenko's drivel was shown to be the Soviet fraud *everyone* knew it was.  But it did so much damage to so many people.   Here is a  link to a 2017 summary article in "Current Biology" which summarized the tragically dishonest fraud & abuse that was Lysenko's nonsense:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982217309491#undfig5

Lysenko became the director of the Genetics Institute of the USSR, in 1940.  But this happened after the "Great Purge" of 1937-1938, in which over 1.5 million Russian doctors, scientists and educated people were arrested by Stalin's henchmen.   This "junk-science" and the use of "big lies" was used to justify and then carry out, an astonishingly large mass-murder.  This is why the big lie is a big problem.  When it enters politics, it can be used to lever terrible tragedy.

From the article in "Current Biology":

"The beginning of an aggressive campaign against classic academic geneticists coincided with the ‘great purge’ (1937–1938), politically motivated repressions and terror in the USSR. Approximately one and a half million Soviet citizens were arrested, including hundreds of scientists of the first league. Around 700 thousand of all arrested were executed. The number of biologists persecuted at the All-Union Institute of Plant Breeding alone exceeds that of all biologists repressed, emigrated, or killed during the Nazi reign in Germany [11]."

This was a dark and evil time for Russian science - and for the Russian people.   Lysenkoism set Russian biological science back into the darkness, and damaged Russia as a nation.

And this same kind of damage is still occuring, apparently.

The fact that Navalny can be taken to a real hospital in a major urban centre in Russia, and the doctors can be told to retail the lie that he had a "metabolic disorder - perhaps from low blood sugar" is tragic.   Navalny was screaming in pain on the aircraft - there is a video of this.  This is not a symptom of "low blood sugar".   

The Russian doctors were either truly incompetent, or they were lying.  No one believes the Russian doctors were this stupid, so they obviously were instructed to say this nonsense by authorities in Moscow.   And thus we are now back in the world of Lysenko and Stalin.

So, it is not just Alexei Navalny who has been badly hurt here.  Russian medical science, and the Russian state has also been badly damaged by this.

The risk now, is that people will not trust the Russian authorities.  Confidence has been lost.   Russians who love their homeland, should try to fix this problem, before it gets any worse.

In the rest of the world, the markets are improving, and everything is re-opening.   But something different seems to be happening in Russia.   The Russians themselves must fix this problem.  The "big lie" degrades and damages them all, and puts the peace and security of the whole world at risk.

[ Aug. 23, 2020 ] If Mr. Trump Really Wants to Blow Up World Trade, Then USA Voters Will Almost Certainly Blow Up Mr. Trump's Presidency - Donald Trump will lose the USA election badly, if he continues this strange & foolish assault on international trade and the world economic linkages that have made America both rich and strong.   The USA is deeply integrated into the World Economy, and having China companies list on American Stock Exchanges is a great and sensible way for USA to control those China companies and make them play fair and operate honestly.

If Trump keeps talking about blowing all this up, and "de-coupling" from China, then he will lose the election, and lose it badly.   We just bought some equipment for the farm - a couple of powerful  deep-well 240-volt water pumps.  They are Chinese made, and were a tiny fraction of the absurd price that Franklin, the American manufacturer, charges for the same thing - we are talking $300 verus $1500.   Having tariff-free access to Chinese products *really* helps Canadian farmers and consumers.  A lot.  And I have an Android Huawei cellphone - which can run all the apps we developed - and which are *not* allowed to run on the monopolist-manufactured Apple iPhone.  

[ Background:  Apple explicitly prevents computer languages, compilers, and interpreters from running on it's iPad and iPhone devices. This means the GEMESYS app gDOSbox and all four of the APL interpreters are excluded from consideration for distribution using the Apple iStore.   Google has also recently removed these same apps from it's "Playstore" because they have not been updated to latest Android O/S version - despite the fact they still work fine.   By even the most casual and loose definitions, the Apple iStore and the Google Playstore business models are examples of the restrictive trade-practices that abusive monopolist operations employ.   Yet the Americans, with their long tradition of "trust-busting" monopoly business-models, do nothing to prevent this abuse, probably because Justice Department officials lack understanding of what is really going on. ]

Everyone needs to understand that there is no chance we are going back to the ugly, expensive, "everyone-dependent-on-overpriced-American-products" world.   It will just not be happening.  If Trump continues his unwise assault on world trade and international business supply-chains, then the man will - almost certainty - lose the November 2020 election.

Everyone - from farmers and manufacturers in the midwest, to car-dealers and working people and finance people and government people on both coasts - all now rely on world trade being operational.   And world trade means business and commerce with Asia - mostly China.

If America wants to fix the economic problems of the World, they could start in California.   China is less of a problem than the Apple monopoly which so effectively stifles innovation, and limits opportunity expansion in the world of technology.

Mr. Trump needs to stop being a boot-lick for the Saudi-Arabians and Israelis, and recognize the real interests of his own people lie in being the businessmen and businesswomen to the World Economy.   USA runs the global reserve currency, and if Trump "de-couples" from Asia, he will also be "de-coupling" from USA economic dominance, and American peace and prosperity.

For crying out loud, someone has to explain this to the poor fellow, before he commits electoral hara-kiri, and hands the USA to Joe Biden and the Democrats - on a golden platter - in the November election.  

Trump and his bad-cop Pompeo, are increasingly viewed around the world as dangerous loose cannons which are sliding towards the edge of the deck.   If the "economic storm" gets worse in the next few months, the World need only wait, many quietly suggest.   And the Democrats could run a brain-dead automaton and a "glass of (coloured) water", and still win the election.  ( Wait - isn't that pretty much what they're doing?   Oh my...)

[ Aug. 22, 2020 ] Main Street Needs Customers, Not Debt - Curious times, and probably will get more curious, as the vaccine for the virus is made available, and we get improved conditions.  We were having a look at the "Main Street Lending Program" and some of the other US Federal Reserve programs.   They also have this "Municipal Bond Support" program - where basically they buy junk bonds issued by US cities.  The program is really called  the "Municipal Liquidity Facilitiy", and according to what I have been able to determine, it has bought two issues - a $1.2 billion State of Illinois 1 year note, and a $450 million 3-year issue from the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Interesting, this.  What this means, is that the Fed is literally creating money, and giving it to the States and Cities, with the promise that they have to maybe give it back at some point...

The "Main Street Lending" thing is even more strange - it is run by the banks, and the idea is that you (if you are a small or medium business), make the application to get the loan, and you pay LIBOR+3 full points to get a loan that is backstopped by the Fed.  They buy 95% of it, and the bank administers it.  This LIBOR+3 pecent is stiff, since a good company with good credit can issue bonds in the 2 % range now, and even junk can be sold at around 6% yield.  The "Main Street Lending" thing is complicated, it is not *advertised* of course, and so pretty much no one is using it.  The Fed has authorization to buy up to  $600 billion of loans, but looks to have bought only around $500 *million* in loans - so the program is a failure, really.   It is expensive, it is complex, it has significant restrictions, and it exposes any company who gets a loan this way, to "government political risk" - the risk that by using some government program, you do something that is politically incorrect, or make a mistake, and suddenly find yourself and your company is now the target of a political witch-hunt.

You can download and read the report, if curious about details.  Here is URL:

https://coc.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/COC%204th%20Report_08.21.2020%20with%20Appendix.pdf

By any measure, really, this "Main Street Lending" program is a failure.  And icing on the cake - it is run out of Boston, by Eric Rosengren, who is the President of the Boston Federal Reserve Branch.  I am sure Mr. Rosengren is a fine fellow, but really, "Main Street" does not go to Boston to try to borrow money when things get tight and difficult.  Trying to get help or assistance from anyone in Boston, would probably not be the first thing that a sane and sensible business-man would consider, would it?  

This whole "Main Street Lending" thing looks to have been a political effort that was inserted by Democrats who were unwise, and crafted by Federal Reserve people who were not unwise.  It appears to have been designed to work just like it is working now - ie. not work at all, and not offer anyone anything meaningful.

I've watched and seen government programs like this get created and run - and they are designed to be exactly like this - create the impression that something is being done - while not actually costing any real money, or causing any disruption.  

One is wisest, if one simply avoids getting involved with any "government help".  

Remember the joke about the biggest lies every told?  Viz:  "I'm from the Government.  I'm here to help you!"

[ Aug. 21, 2020 ] World on a High Wire - Just completely sad & silly.  Terrible ugly news about Alexei Navalny being poisoned in Russia, and being held in an Omsk hospital until he dies or the radioactive polonium is removed from his body.  Just awful news. This may end the West's relationship with Putin.   This idea where you just murder anyone who threatens you - this cannot be tolerated.  

We can't have murderous gangsters running corrupt, nuclear-armed states going around killing folks like this.  The North Korean regime will just have to be removed (another corrupt "gangster" State, run by a murder-monkey), and probably, so will all the other "Murder Inc.". States.   Maybe it is time for a big, all-out, world-cleansing project.   We had thought Russia was actually transitioning to a working, modern democratic State.   This is so very sad, and combine this with the fake-election run by that Lukashenko thug that is raping Belarus - it is just so very sad to see this all play out.    The 'Winds of Change' are blowing poison gas, now, it seems.

The World has to transition to democratic States, and compete using commerical interests, not murder and violence.  If we have to move back to warfare to fix this ugly horrorshow that is shaping up, it will damage us all very badly.   But it may be necessary, sadly.

Stock market reflects the money that is available.  There is no shortage, since it is little more than numbers in computers now, obviously.  Gold at $3000/oz is not a big stretch.  If you hold cash, you will watch it get inflated away.   Stocks are not a perfect inflation hedge, but in early stages of inflation, they can do very well.  (Check out stock prices in Austria and Germany in the first half of each nation's big post-World-War-One hyper-inflation.)

(See top chart on Corporate yields)

[ Aug. 20, 2020 ] Going All In - Two things:  1) Federal Reserve Meeting Minutes, for July, released yesterday, and 2) Demographic data for Top Part of North America (TOPONA = Canada & USA).  

The data is pretty clearly focused here.   I found the US Fed's Minutes for July which were released yesterday and read them from one end to the other.  They are well written, and it is *always* better to go to original source if you can.   And then secondly, I did a quick run thru the demographic data for TOPONA, and it is pretty grim.   The summary:

1) USA Federal Reserve will remain *accommodative* and will keep easy-money policy and zero interest rates for some time in to the future - roughly one or two years, probably.   Yield curve "caps" are not planned at this time, and administered short-term Fed. controlled interest rates target 0 to 1/4 percent.  The SOMA Desk (the Fed's System Open Market Account desk in New York  is instructed to roll over maturing Treasury paper and CMBS's.   Fed targets a 2 percent inflation rate, and the various rates they look at (CPI and PCI and various sub-categories) are ranging around 0.6% to 1.2% annual inflation - well below the 2% the Fed wants to see, and believes is needed to maintain a stable & near-full-employment economy.   But the SLOOS report (Survey of Loan Officers at banks) indicates that credit-granting is tightening, and loans are harder to get, as standards are being raised.

Our take on this:  Things are working OK, financial system is sound and stable, but business-conditions for many small and medium businesses are really awful, but are at least improving.   Only roughly 1/3rd of the 22 million jobs lost have been regained, and the Fed's balance sheet has shrunk slightly from $7.2 trillion to $7.0 trillion, so we look to have weathered the worst part of the storm, and will probably all be ok, unless more crazy stuff happens.

The stock-market runup makes perfect sense, since monetary conditions are the easiest they have ever been, interest rates are the lowest they have ever been => at zero (for the very big special ORGS that can tap the SOMA-supplied zero-interest rates overnite stuff), the US economy is efficient, lots of labour is available, and demand is being held up by payments under the CARES Act and other coronavirus-related programs as well as unemployment insurance payments.

The near and medium-term future is clearly expected to be better than the current situation, and the monetary conditions are the easiest they have every been.  Since the stock market is driven by these two main motivators - money being available and the 12 to 18 month collective picture-of-the-future that market participants have in their heads - it would be strange if there was NOT a vibrant, up-moving stock market.  Under these conditions, asset values can be expected to be very well supported, and should drift upwards.

Fed Minutes here:

https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomcminutes20200729.htm

The real toad in the soup, is the TOPONA demographic profile.  It is even worse than I thought.  Canada has always had a crappy fecundity rate, typically around 1.76  (this is just the average expected number of children a female is expected to have in her fertile lifetime - 15 to 45 years typically).  You need it to be at least 2.0, just to replace your existing population.  Canada's is now around 1.5 or lower (estimates for 2020), and has been falling for decades.  What is interesting, is that the USA, which was always mostly above 2, has also cratered, and is now south of 1.7 and is closing in on 1.5 also.  

The numbers are so awful for Canada, that is is comical.  Consider, in 2017, the Canadian Fertility rate was 1.5.  In Niger, Africa (pronounced "Neeshar"), the rate is roughly 6.5.  

Don't be critical of Africa - it just looks like Canada did, demographically, in the 1800's.  For Canada, In 1851, the rate was 6.56.  In 1871, it was 6.83.    In 1891, it was 4.92.   For most of the 20th century, Canada's rate fell from the high 4's, to 1.49 as of 2018.  In the 1950's, the rate floated around the high 3's - typically 3.6 to 3.9.  In the 1960's, it fell from 3.9 to 2.3, and the crash began in the 1970's, with 1972, the first year it fell below replacement, to 1.98.   By the 21st century, it is now well below 2, and latest numbers are at the 1.49 level.

USA is following this same trend.  In 2008, the USA rate was 2.08, but by 2018 data, it is shown to be 1.73, down from 1.77 in 2017.   The birth-rate - especially among educated white people - is falling dramatically.

USA:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_fertility_rate

Canada: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Canada

This demographic profile means - starkly, without argument - that both nations have to run *expansionist* immigration policies just to maintain existing population levels and economic demand.    We have no choice but  to hoover-up the world's curious-looking, funny-smelling, strange-coloured people from elsewhere, and invite them to come live here, fornicate with vigour, and make a bunch of babies.   We don't have the luxury of being "racist", because white females are not even close to making enough babies just to keep things operational, never mind have any sort of growth, economic or otherwise.

North America - at least TOPONA - is screwed.   This is really serious.  We are in real trouble here, as we are diluting and degrading everything that we are culturally.   And we really have no choice at all, since otherwise, our economies will just stop working, most opportunity will fade out, and we will not be able to maintain a workforce and a viable military.

This isn't a racist argument or something we should information-hide.   This is just statistical fact, and it threatens our collective and individual prosperity.  And it is actually a very strange problem, since it is more than just economics.  

I recently attended an event, last year, before the virus thing, where I met a bunch of folks I had not seen in years, since school-days.   An curious number of the guys present were just bio-failures.  They had not succeeded in attracting females and reproducing and the situatlon was actually quite scary and tragic.   One fellow was unwell and was already living in a retirement-style home, another was living in the basement of an aging sibling, having lost literally all his money, and another looked to have become what the Japanese call "hikikomori" - a kind of home-bound person who has disconnected from society and does not socialize - almost an Asperger's Syndrome type.   And then I thought about two other close friends - and realized they both were also bio-failures.  Both were very successful economically and made lots of money and had girlfriends and such, but had somehow not managed to get any of them pregnant, and had not got married.

Something is wrong here.  Really.  Something is just plain seriously and deeply wrong.

The advanced world we have built here - it's a death-world.   It's designed to go terminal.  We have to seriously consider the idea that our "women-should-be-doing-everything-that-men-are-doing" economic, political and cultural model might actually be a lethally bad, and foolish idea.

We desperately need the AI and the robots and the new advanced fabrication technology, because there will not be enough workers born and raised to operate the factories.

And maybe women *SHOULD* be at home, raising the children, and not be wasting their young, healthy, child-producing years out in the workforce, competeing with men economically.

Either way, this curious and rather toxic demographic problem, will hit the economies of the two TOPONA nations, and this will affect asset prices.   This problem is many years still down the road, but our solution to it that is being applied now - massive immigration - will have some consequences right now, especially in Canada.  We here, have the luxury of accepting *wealthy* and *healthy* immigrants, and we have been doing this and should keep doing it.

We might also want to give special preferrence to attractive, healthy and fertile young woman, who want to come here and look for partners.   This sounds terribly sexist and politically incorrect, but it might also be a bloody good idea.    Kind of like those "mineshafts" in "Dr. Strangelove"... but of course, the risk is that we end up with something that looks like "A Boy and His Dog" instead, which is not a pretty picture-of-the-future at all.  

Either way, we still have a real problem.  Our women don't want to be homemakers and have babies, and our men are not stepping up to the job that they have to do.   The most very basic thing that a bunch of living creatures must do - reproduce - is just not getting done here at a rate sufficient to maintain the population of the living creatures.

This will have market consquences in the future, and it is already driving market behaviour and investment and consumption action right now.   And it will - from a public finance - government debt and tax perspective - be a nasty, almost economically-lethal problem in the future, as we won't have enough taxpayers to fund government AND the payments needed to sustain the debt-levels we have already built up.  Something will have to *give* - the system will find some way to *adjust*, and if this adjustment is not managed, it might happen rapidly and chaotically.

[ Aug. 19, 2020 ] Trump Is The Only Viable Choice - I think Trump's foreign policy is not particularly wise, but when I see the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ticket, I just feel overcome with nausea and a quiet sadness when I consider that these two lightweights might sieze power in the good old USA.   

Our family history intersects American history in many places, and I came across some notebooks from a family member from Los Angeles, from 1930 and 1937.  Those were tough years in America, but really, things worked OK for most people, as there was a traditional & honest shared-vision for what America stood for, and what it's values were.   Despite the economic problems and the Leftist experiments, the country remained strong and free, and was comfortably able to ramp up production to meet the requirements of the Second World War.   America was directly responsible for defeating Japanese and German military-backed fascism, and the American military did a very good job of NOT being racist.   America and China, UK, Canada and Russia were all allies in this critical effort to save and repair the World.

The belt-tightening and fiscal prudence and balanced budgets of the 1930's allowed America to ramp-up spending, issue financially viable "Victory Bonds", fund the "Lend-lease" of equipment to besieged England, and crank out expensive bomber aircraft like Henry Ford could build cheap cars.  Because America had not blown it's economic brains out in the 1930's, it had reserves of men, material, and money.  The privations of the 1930's meant that the costs of the Second World War could be funded, and post-war, American money replaced English UK money as the world's reserve currency.

The Leftists paint a deeply distorted picture of American history, and it does not jibe with what really took place.    The "Big Tech" enterprises - Google, Facebook, Twitter - and the US mainstream media continue this fraud, and promote and present deliberately false and distorted pictures of what is happening today.   Take a look at what the "BLM" movement really looks like:

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/08/portland-da-actually-vows-prosecute-violent-terrorists-pummeled-truck-driver-viral-video/

The so-called "Democrat" Party of the United States is becoming a tragic, grotesque joke.  It succeeds in its operational efforts by means of distortion, disinformation, and deception.  It's efforts require aggressive "information-hiding" and consistant judicial and legal abuse for it to maintain power.  The real danger, is that it succeeds politically when America is weakened, so it's policy choices are crafted to inflict explicit damage on it's own nation.    These "Democrats" want to see US cities burning and riots taking place as they understand that this gets them elected.  They say otherwise.  This is the power of the Leftist Lie.

But this weakens civil society, and does great damage to the American nation.

The Romans taught us clearly that the only way to have peace and prosperity is to have a well organized civil structure, a fair legal system, be disciplined and ready for war, and be willing to act with intensity when the moment requires it.  And when you look at the fraud and violence that the "Democrat" Leftists unleash, and their committment to dis-arming and degrading all that America has stood for in the past, there is simply no way a rational person could support these manipulative fraudsters.

For America to survive, it appears that Trump will have to be re-elected.   Curious times, indeed.

[Update:  We are not the only ones noticing this mass-media deception process.  Here is a link to an interesting article that details 7 specific stories where the author indicates the mainstream media acted to try to hide information and bury stories that otherwise would have been showcased as major news events, because the information would have been expected to benefit President Trump and support his actions.  ]

https://thefederalist.com/2020/08/17/7-big-stories-corporate-media-is-ignoring-because-the-truth-might-help-trump/

[ Aug. 18, 2020 ] Hydroxychloroquine Works Effectively to Help Early-Stage Covid-19 Patients - Minnesota Governor Reverses Unwise Ban on It's Usage-  Very early on, back in March of this this year, I wrote a note about the possible efficacy of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment option for those suffering from virual infections of SARS-CoV-2.  This was the result of reading and research that showed significant and provable in-vitro anti-viral action of the drug.  This drug has been around since 1955, and is very well understood by many doctors, and it is prescribed to many patients, without serious side-effects.   

I wrote my note based on information provided in respected peer-reviewed journals which detailed controlled, experimental results that showed it had clear in-vitro efficacy, and that results in early-stage patients reported by Chinese researchers and medical professionals show that it could be a useful treatment option.   It is not a perfect cure, but it does not cure malaria either.  It is a safe drug, which has been used by millions of people.

The curious, anti-scientific political response that some people had was surprising.

There is a very ugly and profoundly foolish politically inspired dis-information campaign underway, which seems to suggest that this drug has no value at all.   This is absurd, and there is now substantial evidence that the drug can benefit people suffering from early-stage Covid-19 infection.

See this article, which details the reversal of the surprising Minnesota ban on using this drug:

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/08/17/mn_governor_quietly_reverses_course_on_hydroxychloroquine__143978.html

Here is the text of my original note:  First published: March 17, 2020

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.

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 explicit 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.

---- end of copy ---

Glad to see some of the American Governors are becoming more wise, and have decided to let the doctors make the treatment decisions.

 I fear that those who flatly reject hydroxychloroquine as a treatment option for Covid-19 in light of the evidence available, are simply ego-driven, arrogant, poor-quality scientists.   These type of people are common in the common-room, sadly.

[ Aug. 17, 2020 ] "There is No Great Genius, Without Some Touch of Madness" - This is a quote from from Lucius Annaeus Seneca's "Moral Essays", the section "On Tranquillity of the Mind", but Seneca himself references Aristotle as the source.   It's also said in Plato's "Phaedrus".   I saw a video clip about some fellow at Todai (Tokyo Daigaku - literally "Tokyo BigSchool", or Tokyo University) who as a young lad in public school began developing his own synthetic language.  He continues this work at Tokyo University.   It's not an easy language, and it's not like Esperanto.  Rather it seems more like Klingon crossed with Thai, and seems to use variants of Sanskrit and Linear-B for glyph-characters.   You watch the clip, and the young fellow seems quite mad, and yet, his efforts and research into language structure and conceptual nomenclature could certainly prove useful in a number of obvious areas - machine translation, AI-based syntax decomposition, machine learning, knowledge-representation schema, and so on.  Perhaps even translation of alien radio signals?   One cannot predict where such a curious skill-set might offer useful insights.

The mapping between meaning and awareness, using language constructs, is an interesting area of investigation.

I dabbled with Mayan, and it's similarity to Ethiopean Amharic and Japanese Hirogana & Katakana  ( all use a matrix of vowelized consonants - termed a "syllabary", by language researchers and scholars).  You look at these vowelization matricies, and wonder if you should calculate an eigenvalue or something.

Most languages are a mess, filled with "special case" constructs hoovered up from lone-words being dropped in from other languages, as well as being stuffed with idiomatic and ambiguous homonyms and homophones.   English is hilarious:  "to, two & too" for verb infinitive prefix, a cardinal number & and a modifier to indicate intensity level.  And of course: "rough, bough & though" => pronounced "ruff, bow (as in: "bow down", not bow, like "bow and arrow")  and thoe".

Human language is really awful - and yet it lets us conceptualize abstraction, and then create mathematics, and thus become reflexively aware of our own awareness-machinery.   I can communicate much important information to my dog, and she to me also, but our dialogue fails when even simple abstraction is required,  She has trouble with the abstraction of temporal intervals  - as in:  "I am leaving, but I will be back in one hour" is often incorrectly interpreted as "I am leaving and I may not ever return."   (I get the same "anxious-concern" face, worried barks, flailing-tail and worried-window-checking response for each suggested event-plan.  All departures are evaluated by her as being equivalently high-risk events.)

We humans are rather fortunate to have language which encapsulates the capacity for complex (and even simple) temporal abstractions - such as past, present, future and associated conditional verb constructs - and nouns and adjectives which designate ideas, images, mental constructs and possibilities.

And so we can even analyze our analysis, and think in depth about our method of thinking.  But of course, too much of this sort of introspection is probably not healthy or productive, and both history and neural research both suggest this is in fact, the case.   :)

[ Aug. 16, 2020 ] "Madness Takes it's Toll ..." "But listen closely, not for very much longer, as I've got to keep control."  - Anyone remember the "Rocky Horror Show" and movie-version, "Rocky Horror Picture Show"?

Great fun.  I saw the original stage production in London, UK, long years ago, when I was a very young lad.   Amusingly educational, it was.

If you want to see the future, just consult the past.   Glad I am not in the UK now, especially as a student.  I hear they are using some bullsh/t algorithm to "forecast" student grades, and the algo uses the *average* grades from the school you went to.  So, it means if you were an outstanding student from a low-quality school full of stupid yobs, then your grade would be dialed-down towards the average of the other dunderheads in the scut-school.

Oh my...  if there ever was a reason to dump the entire *educational establishment* into the Big Commode of History, and push the lever to get rid of it all, this just might be it.    So very, very glad that I do not live - or have family or kids - that live in the UK.   The place is run by the unwise, even worse than the USA.   Why not just let the kids sit exams?  Because the teachers would actually have to do some work, and mark the bloody things, perhaps?    Oh my.  Oh my, oh my.

[ Aug. 15, 2020 ] "Yo Ho Ho - A Pirate's Life for Me!" Shouts The Great Donald...- Damn, but if I were voting in the US election, I think I would have to spoil my baltot, and just write "None of these people should be USA President", and go home and drink a gin and tonic.

Donald Trump has gone full pirate, and ordered the US military to sieze 4 Iranian tankers trying to ship gasoline to fuel-starved Venezuela.  I don't like the idiots who run Venezuela, nor the religious-fascist ragbags that run Iran.   But this sort of high-seas piracy bullsh/t makes America look like a bunch of lawless gangsters.   It's just plain old-fashioned thug-action by a strong-man from a warfare-state.  There is no "rule of law" happening here.  Nations have to be free to execute commercial activities with each other - and pirate-thug entities - whether they be Somalian Islamic State bandits or the 'Murican military - must not interfere.   Using armed ships to attack and sieze unarmed trading ships on the high seas is piracy.  The USA is playing the role of pirate here.

Trump is making America look like a bunch of gangster scumbags.  This is just so amazingly wrong.  That crazy bastard wants to provoke a war with someone so the Big Toad can win an election.  This is wrong.

What has happened to the USA?   When did the Republicans decide to become such abusive, flaming fools?   They used to stand for that which was good and fair and right and proper.  What has happened to them??   What good is this act of piracy going to do anybody anywhere?   This is just fat-bottomed stupid.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-seizes-four-tankers-carrying-142826011.html

There is clearly political desperation at work here, and it is ugly and serious.  Folks need to understand that these ancient "pictures-of-the-world" that most are using now to interpret events, carry with them dangerous flaws and extreme in-built errors and risks.   Politics is now all about deception and message manipulation. The ability to do this, and the tragic consequences of forcing bad policy by political image-trickery, have now risen to very high levels.    Driving your car very fast as you see a false picture out the windshield, quickly becomes the "Highway to Hell" and the result is flaming wreckage.

The "Coronavirus" thing is only the beginning.   Bad politics, driven by unwise, arrogant child-politicians  and toxic "strongmen" in positions of power, are perhaps the most dangerous threat the world now faces.    Nature is pretty good at solving problems that are *natural* in origin.  But wannabe kings bent on murder can be much more lethal.

George Bush Jr. took us to into a foolish and mindlessly destructive war in Iraq that only offered minor benefit to Israel.   That fool's exercise - based on faked up "intelligence" suggesting the existence of "weapons of mass destruction" led directly to the collapse of civil society in Iraq and Syria, the rise of the murderous ISIS entity, and the full militarization of all the Middle East.  The USA plans to cut and run from Afghanistan, and most Taliban criminal prisoners (400 violent men) have recently been freed, in a "peace" deal.   Violence and tragedy will occur because of this action.  

The whole arena in the Middle East is deeply unstable, and its future will be dominated by angry young men who have no jobs - as perhaps will be America's.    Yet there is no top-level effort to address the problems the unwise Bush warfare created - just more abusive Israel-motivated attempts to attack the near-bankrupt Iranians.   The American Trumpers seem determined to avoid taking any knowledge-lessons from history.   The whole Middle East tragedy and violence-fest has been driven by political message-making and image-construction for American political objectives.   This is insane, and will lead almost certainly to more war.  

None of this stupid nonsense needs to happen, but unless either Israel or America suffer a massive military defeat, this tragedy is certain to grind forward for many more decades, and continue to drive American and European politics, as violence-based political-action strategies are deployed by all sides.  

Trump seems determined to drive the Iranians to fully reverse the anti-nuclear deal, and standard rational geopolitics and basic state-survival requirements strongly motivate the Iranians to create some sort of nuclear deterence to protect their nation - especially given the awful George-Bush/Tony-Blair "WMD Lie War" that smashed their neighbour, Iraq.

US political operation needs to be disconnected from the Middle East violence vortex, and Trump - who once looked like he was trying to do this, by making a peace-deal with the Taliban - does not seem able to act rationally here.   America will gain nothing by provoking a war with Iran, or encouraging Iran to attack Saudi Arabia.  Perhaps Trump is beholden to his Saudi controllers or something curious like that...

The world may recover quickly from Covid-19 pandemic once the vaccine is made widely available, but the recovery from the economic "stop" may not occur as expected, if war with Iran or China is initiated by Trump's deeply unwise foreign policy.  And this outcome looks more likely now.    The current American administration seems determined to provoke a military clash with someone, so that Republicans can use fear and loathing to encourge their man to be re-elected.

In many ways, this strategy looks more dangerous, and more likely to result in high rates of death, than anything that the Coronavirus might throw at us.

Here's a way it might play out.  China and Iran could sign a "Mutual Defense and Assistance Treaty", which would state simply that any military attack directed at either of their nations, would allow and perhaps require assistance to be offered by the other.   America then attacks coastal regions in Iran, or commits some other act of murderous piracy and the Iranians ask for help.  China decides it's now time to show off it's abilities, and offers to destroy the American military bases in Saudi Arabia.  The Iranians eagerly agree, and China obliterates the US bases and the belligerent US nuclear aircraft-carrier threat - but only in the Middle East, and only because it's ally insisted that it act under the terms of their treaty obligations.

The whole thing could play out over a weekend.  China would assert it was just assisting an ally in suppressing an illegal aggressive assault on a sovereign nation, the Saudi Democratic Resistance would welcome the removal of what it sees as a foreign military invader, and the Iranians would all dance in the streets.  And the Rest of the World would just accept that old Roman truth - If you live by the sword, you will likely die by the sword - and not cry too much.

But of course, this would only be the beginning.  

[ Aug. 14, 2020 ] Quick Watson, the Needle - There are now over 150 different candidate vaccines for Coronavirus SARS-2-Cov under development, testing, and in operational use and being given to people.  So far, all the ones that are being tested on people are producing antibody repsonse, but long term safety and efficacy is not clear.  We don't know if they will prevent someone from catching the virus, many months after having been given the vaccine, and we don't know if any of the vaccines have any strange long-term risks.   The large Phase III trials try to get a sense of this.  Russia has approved a vaccine which looks to be safe and effective - and results published in JAMA indicate a  Chinese vaccine is working well, and will be tested in the Middle East in a large-scale (> 10,000 people) Phase III trial.

Now, how about malaria?

Here at the farmstead, we are dealing with insect pests - tent caterpillers, gypsy moths and strange golden-coloured japanese beetles that eat just the fleshy parts of leaves, leaving behind a sad looking leaf-skeleton.   The crops - alfalfa and grass - appear to be completely resistant to these various pests, but the cherry and apple trees were stripped of their leaves in July.  They've now grown new leaves, but no fruit of any kind - a bio-economic *stop* rather like what happened back in March-April  of this year because of Covid-19 mass-quarantine attempts.

The "Japanese Beetles" are one of the first invasive-species, and are believed to have arrived in North America as small grubs in the soil of potted Japanese Iris plants, in the New York / New Jersey area.  They were first noticed in 1916, and by 1920, attempts to stop their spread were given up, as they had become too widespread.  The Latin name is: "Popillia Japonica".  Details, if curious, from the Farmer's Almanc:

https://www.almanac.com/pest/japanese-beetles

Crazy year - one for the record-books.   Nature *always* solves her problems.  We just don't always like how She does it.

We've noticed that some of the useful chaotic models that have been helpful in tracking and forecasting financial market activity, derive from ecology and population growth/dieback models.  Insect populations are interesting to study, as their populations experience massive blooms and diebacks, which closely resemble the booms and catastrophic-collapse-events (CCE's) that characterize financial market activity observed through various time scales.

[ Aug. 13, 2020 ] Central Bankers Begin to Wise Up- When you have been doing somthing really stupid and destructive, the smartest and most effective thing you can do is - FIRST, just stop doing it.   What is amusing is just how painful and difficult this is for most people.  A good example is fat people.  If they want to stop being fat slagheaps of artery-clogging lipids, the first task is simply to stop eating so damn much food.   And this proves to be difficult, yes?

Same with central bankers.  Many of them are profoundly arrogant, egos bloated with the sense of their own self-importance - like most senior people in most government organs now.  You don't get to be the boss of anything anywhere, unless your ego is a great, giant thumping thing.  

So this makes turning around from *really bad decisions* that the horribly-out-of-touch policy wonks fabricate, such as the lunatic "negative interest rate" strategy, really difficult.

Most central bankers are of the curious view, that low and negative interest rates are somehow "stimulative" to a national economy.   Our research suggests this is just not the case.  But it is truly amazing the degree to which really bad ideas, that cause very bad results, can gain such currency.   The zero and negative interest rates that prevail now are idiotic, and only really exist in the rarified world of billion-dollar-plus positions that are executed by bond traders and other financial foo-fakers who shuffle government paper.

Most ordinary folks are paying 19.99% annual interest on their bloody VISA card debt, which is a long way from the science-fiction-idiot-crazy zero interest rates that the banking system is typically offered by the twits who run the world's central banks.   The stupid economists and zero-business-knowledge policy people who work at government organs mostly have no idea how painfully disconnected they are from the real economic world that exists in most nations real economies.   It is just comical how profoundly de-coupled most of these boneheads are.   

And so moron-crazy-stupid ideas like "zero and negative interest rates will stimulate the banks to lend more money, and so that will stimuate the economy" get taken seriously, and actually become national goverment policy in places like Germany and Japan - and begin, of course, to influence the rest of the world everywhere else.

This is the dumbest idea, since the days of the Weimar Republic, when the silly doofus bankers believed this model that said they had to keep a certain value-amount of currency circulating, so as the exchange rate fell vis-a-vis the British Pound, they printed more currency to maintain the overall valuation-level of the circulating cash ( The Germans are not normally stupid.  But the hyper-inflation that the early 1920's money-printing caused, was just seen as a necessary by-product of this model-driven need to maintain this curious balance.   But of course, as the cash circulating rose, the exchange rate between the Mark and the Pound got worse and worse.  You had this perfect Sorosian reflexive feed-forward process.  The German hyper-inflation happened because the German central bank had this bad model, that drove these insane actions - but which seemed to be dictated by the needs of their wrong model.)

The central banks have a similar "bad-model" problem now.   Real-economy interest rates and the science-fiction-economy interest rates that prevail between the banks and the central-bank (the absurd zero and negative interest rates), are far apart.   It is this simple:   Setting zero or negative interest rates do *NOT* encourage banks to lend money to consumers.  These insane low interest rates cause exactly the opposite to happen, as the banks need to ensure they maintain their capital, to meet the regulatory requirements imposed by the macro-prudential regulators (In Canada, we split the bank-regulator function away from the central-bank money-supply managers, for obvious reasons.)  The capital regulations are needed, of course, to keep the banks solvent and from blowing themselves up, like Lehman Brothers did in 2008, or like the Knickerbocker Trust did in 1907 - each time, triggering a financial panic that did great damage.

So as rates go zero and negative, the banks have to stash more cash aside to meet regulatory restrictions and maintain capital adequacy.   They make *no* money on their central bank holdings, so bank-business-action just gets dialed down, same as it would in any other business, when you are not making any damn money!   Business has two modes of operation - dialing-up and dialing-down.  Steady-state seems to basically be very, very rare.  The river is either increasing it's flow-rate, or the flow-rate is decreasing  (Hurst's Nile River Flooding research, which led to the Hurst Exponent - his famous "rescaled range analysis".)

Now something interesting and significant has just happened.   Haruhiko Kuroda, who is a clever and creative central banker in Japan (amazing out-of-type guy, really...) has come up with a *bonus* scheme to encourage banks to lend.  He has the central bank *actually pay interest* on collateral that the banks post with the central bank, if and when they make loans to cash-strapped near-bankrupt Japanese businesses that are trying to survive the Coronavirus shutdowns.    This is a clever trick, and it looks like it is working.     The amount of the "bonus" is small (10 basis points), but at least the sign on the goddamn number is positive.   This means that the smaller regional banks that actually advance loans, are not immediately punished for making a loan, but are actually offered a small *reward* for doing so.   And this works.

Here are the details in a Reuters article:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-money-boj/boj-paying-banks-to-boost-pandemic-relief-compensates-for-negative-interest-rates-idUSKCN2590SM

This is a big deal.   Kuroda and the Japanese central bank have just discovered what many behavioural scientists and other researchers have also learned - the carrot works much better than the stick.   Or as my old Irish grandmother would have said - "You get more flies with honey, than you do with vinegar."  

Negative interest rates - at the banking system level - are not the least bit "stimulative".  They are in fact, just the opposite.  Those low rates do not make it down to the consumer and business level - they are just an accounting-fiction, like the "dividend gross-up" scam used by the Canadian Federal tax-collectors.  (In Canada, if you receive dividend-income, you are required to multiply it up by a factor (roughly 38%), to create a higher fictional "income* value, which then counts towards your "taxable income", and then you get a "tax credit" later on, down the tax-form.   This scam ensures that you have to report a higher (fictional) taxable income number on your tax form, which then triggers a bunch of "claw-backs", and increases the amounts that have to be rendered to the government pension schemes.  Only by going thru a tax form manually, can the nasty clever trickery of this scam be observed, and of course this is what the bastards are counting on.  I used to work for people who would go to "Taxman" conferences in Las Vegas, where they would compare notes on how to craft nasty sh/t like this.  Seriously.)

But the key fact here, is that at least one of the major world's central banks (Japan) looks like it has finally discovered that it's policy models are broken.  This is a good and positive thing, and shows how terrible events - like a lethal pandemic - can encourage a shift from bad results to  good results, as folks rethink their basic assumptions.    Japan seems to be leading the way here.

[ Aug. 12, 2020 ] Whoop, There it Is!- Joe Biden has just given Donald Trump the victory, I suspect.  If you look at Trump and Pence, and you look at Biden and Harris - it looks like a bit of a no-contest scenario.   I can't understand the Democrats.  All they had to do, was pick a proper candidate who is not a radical nutjob or a dottering old man - and they could have taken the contest.  But they could not do it.

Obama was a profoundly clever, articulate and rather nice fellow.  His heart was in the right place, and he had a big brain, and he could speak well, even if he had no experience.   He didn't win because he was a dark-skinned guy, he won because he was a top-grade person, and folks knew it.  And he offered a new picture for USA - one that did not include a lightweight like George Bush's kid being in charge.  It worked.

This is not the case now.  Only radical "Defund the Police!" and not-clever poor-people will really want to vote Democrat now.   The rest may not even show up.

If you care about America, and want to see it survive and prosper, then the Trump+Pence team is the way to go, even with Trump's unwise and belligerent foreign policy.  Trump at least tries to get it done.

Whoop-Girl and the Old-Backstroker are no match for Obama, who must be laughing himself silly.  Harris attacked Biden as a *racist*, during the primary contest!   But now she loves him to bits, and they are big partners!?   What a crazy, loony-tune puke-fest.

Remember all the way back to Sept, 2018?   Harris lied and misrepresented events with her "dog whistle" tweet to attack Brett Kavanaugh.   Maybe she dislikes smart white males, or maybe she is just a lying Leftist running on auto-hate?   Or maybe she is just another nasty, dishonest political operative who has lucked her way into a position of power, with her abusive, false narratives?   You be the judge:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/kamala-harris-is-rapidly-gaining-a-reputation-as-the-most-dishonest-senator

What sort of goofed-up fool would want two desperate clowns like Biden and Harris running the World?

US politics are at least amusing, in a strange, end-times kind of way.   Beats watching Pay-for-Fiction on the news channels.   :)

[ Aug. 11, 2020 ] Like Leon says, in Blade Runner:  "Wake Up!  Time to ...."- US Stock market is getting "deep stupid".   The 3:20 pm reversal, was dramatic and fast.   I looked to see if there had been a terrorist attack, or something awful like that.  But no, it was much worse:  It was algorithmic trading, and automated "Sell NOW" programs cutting in, it looks like.  

I think the automated hacking programs are going to go wrong soon.  Maybe very soon.  We will see them loose money - and it will maybe be a lot of money.   

The Russian Covid-19 vaccine looks like it works.   Good for them.  I hope it does.  We need to have a breath of good news that is authentic.

[ Aug 10, 2020 pm] Kodak Drugs?  Or Americans on Drugs? - Most absurd thing I've read this quarter...   DFC (another US Agency charged with handing out money - called: "Development Finance Corporation".), has decided not to give Kodak $700 million to make drugs.  The Kodak stock-price has been crazy.  FD: We own no Kodak and no pharma stocks at this time.

What makes this crazy is this article, complete with a strange "Tweet" by DFC:

https://www.barrons.com/articles/kodaks-government-loan-appears-to-be-on-hold-51596919128

This is nuts.  DFC says no money until "allegations of wrongdoing" are "cleared".  That is their "Tweet".  WTF??

How the f*ck do you "clear" an allegation?   It's like someone yelling "You suck!"   What exactly is the response, that can "clear" that allegation?  Allegations are cannot be "cleared".  That is why it is called an "allegation".

We are talking a serious amount, here.  That $700 million US is real money, and is it not American taxpayer's money?    No, wait... it's just fluffed up printed virtual money, isn't it?   So, really, nothing matters, I guess.

I would not even try to make up sh/t like this.   Nothing here even passes the *sniff* test.   :)

[ Aug. 10, 2020 ] Working from Home, or Just Home from Working?- Interesting that the Americans didn't really do very much with the Space Shuttle, except build the ISS.  And the ISS should really have been built as a re-fueling depot for Mars exploration and colonization.

Instead, all we have is a violent world tired, scared and angry from living on the edge too long - that great line from the Blue Rodeo song, now made manifest.  

The tragedy of Beirut & Lebanon is not just the awful explosion, but the idiotic rioting by the children of the place - instead of grabbing shovels and equipment to begin the cleanup and repair process, the spoiled young people there riot and attack their gov't offices,   It make one think the whole thing might have been a Mossad operation.   Israel seems to be effectively destroying all it's neighbours, and America seems to offer only abusive economic sanctions, warships, xenophobic hatred. and bombing.

Americans are very good at bombing.  They can bomb really well, as can Israel.   I wonder what will happen, when the rest of the world gets as good at bombing, as America now is?  Probably, America and Israel will just bomb more.  I fear our future may be less about commerce and business, and more about cruise missles and high-explosives.  And of course, engineered virus-agents.  

Perhaps bombing is already an obsolete thing - a failed, last-century warfare strategy.   Bombing may be replaced by active virus agents, being spread using aerosol methods, and engineered to be lethal only to the enemy.   Your soldiers have the vaccine, and the enemy has none.  You spray their cities from low-cost drones, designed to look like civilian air-craft - or maybe you just use civilian airliners - and you "RoundUp" your enemy, and watch them die like tent caterpillers do when their web-nests are sprayed with insecticide.   It's not a pretty thought - quite nightmare stuff, really.  But it seems to be the track the world is on.

It might just be Nature herself that does the work.   Nature is always "working from home", and right now, she has this infestation of humans on her pretty blue planet.  A short time ago, it was only a few hundred million - but now, there are almost 10 billion of them.   I can't help wondering if the SARS-2-Cov virus is just the beginning.  There may be many more mutations possible.  Nature - just working herself - from home - has the machinery to try them all.  Randomness allows Nature to try every key in every lock, until she finds the one that unlocks the solution.  It's called "evolution", and we know for certain, it is the truth of how living things are made.  

So we *must* - as a species - move out from this lovely planet.  If we don't focus our efforts outwards, we will all just die in this nest, like the tent caterpillars do, once they have eaten all the tree-leaves, or some external agent exterminates the nest.  

And Nature herself, is the most effective Exterminator.   She is ruthless, effective, and her decisions are final.  There is no appeal that can be made, for she is mindless.  

As humans, we must continue to learn how to *manufacture* the Nature that we want to have.  We must aggresively take control of physics, biology, evolution, and all the machinery of natural process.  In space, on Mars, out in the Great Void, we will have to do this.

If we do not do this, then Nature herself - mindless, automatic Nature - will ensure we reach a limit-level population where we all starve and die on this planet, drowning and choking on our own by-products of life.  Or perhaps we will blow each other to bits, or poison ourselves with engineered toxins, or just beat each other to death with clubs, as we spread high-technology caltrops everywhere.  

If we don't focus our efforts outward, then our collective future as a species is - certainly - one of violence, warfare, sickness and death.  This is what the children of Portland and Beirut are telling us.   And it is what Nature herself shows us constantly, if we care to look.

Nature is always "Working from Home".  

Our job -  as a species - is to grow up, and leave home.

[ Aug. 9, 2020 ] Business or Personal? - Just read another sad gangster story from the US of A.   This time, about gangsta Republican xenophobe govboys from Indiana, Chinese investment genius guys, Nassim the Flanwhore, and an assortment of badgirls.    What a wild and tragic awful clusterfoop.     The USA is going full xenophobe, and Californistan is going full-on political-correct, complete with "make-them-fall-on-their-swords" if they don't respect the witch.   Gawd, it is so awful...

Here is the story:  The CIO (Chief Investment Officer) of monster California govfolk pension scheme, CALPERS, just got toasted because he was not a round-eyed witch-pleaser.   Just read the Bloomberg story...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-08/calpers-cio-meng-s-mysterious-exit-preceded-by-months-of-torment?srnd=markets-vp

And then, facepalm?  I don't know.  It's just sad.   This guy Ben makes them a bucket full of billion dollar returns, and they just quad-fack him.   It is so American, it makes me want to weep.  Do some big-good for your BIG ORG, and you just get whacked by the Toadsters and all their big, wet Sprockettes. JHC...

Makes me think of this scene, from 1989 film, "Harlem Nights", staring Eddie Murphy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzMC8kgib3c

CALPERS.   Oh my.   Was it business, or was it personal?   

[ Aug 8, 2020 ] The Devil You Know- might be better than the Devil you don't?   This is a really old concept.  And like many ancient ideas and observations that have stood the test of time, it contains some solid truth.

When you read the stuff that the Democrats and Joe Biden are proposing to do - and the astronomical costs that are implied, and the clear, co-ordinated assault on individual freedoms and traditional American values that the policy plans represent, the choice of voting for Mr. Trump starts to appear the better option.   It's just crazy, but it does.    Trump is the "anti-politician", who knee-jerks his way along, and seems to have become a xenophobic badguy now.   But hard-core xenophobia is a deep-seated American trait.    And the more American isolates itself, and removes it business agents from global commerce, quite possibly the better for the rest of the world.   Trump has at least stopped shooting himself in the feet, and is now directing fire at Chinese and American businesses.

This may get him elected.   Americans historically don't give a sh/t about foreign folks, and a leader that articulates that viewpoint is well respected in USA.    Chinese lives don't matter - any more than the lives of rioters and inner-city gangsters do, regardless of their skin colour.   That is the truth, really.

With Trump, you get a clearly focused, America-first guy, with all his faults.

With Biden, it looks like you will get the "Swamp on Steroids", and some woman who will become another "Lecturer in Chief" like Obama.  Do Americans want to be bitch-slapped for four years, have their federal finances made bankrupt, and their traditional freedoms removed by the Biden "Tracking Police"?   

Trump is at least the Devil you Know.  And he now has 4 years of experience being the Boss of the World.   Biden, and his crew of hard-core leftist women, look like they seriously want to turn America into some sort of socialist gulag.

Ordinary folks in USA may just have to grit their teeth and vote for Trump, in order just to keep America being America.

Biden's alternative looks and sounds too much like those failed experiments in East European socialism.

Trump says: Support the cops, get the kids back to school (not that online video-gamer stuff), and re-open the economy, since 99% of the Covid-19 folks recover from it.   Pretty clear message.   Might be the right one, also...

[ Aug 7, 2020 ] Sing a Song of Six Pence- and watch the dance of Mike Pence?  Oh my, but it is getting weird in USA.  The electronic media is solidly behind Joe Biden, who will be 78 if and when he is sworn in as USA president.    Trump seems determined to piss-off just about every single consituency that exists in the good old USA, so it looks like he is toast - and his latest attacks against Chinese business entities makes his Administration look like a collection of nasty, ill-educated paranoids.  Of course this is not really the case - but the media is playing it up hard, and doing so quite effectively.  And really, the whole "Anti-China" thing looks deeply bogus and dishonest.

Biden, at 77, is dangerously too old.  So everyone assumes he will pick some female to be his running mate as VP, and then one or two years into his first term, he will have the decency to either die, or resign like the old Pope and the Japanese Emperor did.    And USA will get it's Female Boss, which the Lefties there want, it seems.   Call it "The Revenge of the Clintonites"?

But the obvious other scenario is a Trump presidency terminated by either virus, assassin, or perhaps by a sudden desire for Trump to resign so he could "spend more time with his family" or something like that.   The Republicans could then pick Mike Pence (who looks not too bad, and also does actually have some government experience - a major plus in his favour), and the future for that Party could look very different.  Instead of being hammered and overwritten in November, they might just win.

And that would change everything, really.   It is such an obvious positive course of action, that some of us grow concerned that the *Inner Party* of the Republicans, might decide to take some sort of action to encourage this outcome.   They would not have to dispatch Mr. Trump, only just convince him to step down, at a time when his doing so, might reverse the polling numbers with a fresh, experienced candidate who could re-create (or re-invigorate?) the old "big-tent" model that worked so well for the Republicans in the past.   These days, they look like a Party of racist, anti-Asian xenophobic tinfoil hats.  This is sad.

Trump has really managed to direct fire at just about everyone who supported him.  It really is quite astonishing.  Had he done less damage, and been just a tad more careful and sensitive to the various groups that are being bashed now in the USA, he might have just skated on thru to a second term, without any real opposition.

But who the hell wants to live in a country where some arrogant SOB in a big high, white house, can trash any business entity he wants to, and force it so sell itself out to a big USA-based thing like Microsoft?   JHC, what a nasty, rogue-stupid thing to do.  I don't give a flying f*** about TikTok or WeChat or even Facefook - but the whole idea of business is to have a fair and level playing field - but in USA, the Gangster-in-Chief in their Gov't can stop the play, and award the win to the team that has USA written on its back?  That is just obscene and wrong - and this is true, regardless of what you think about China, the Chinese, and the technology industry in general.

It reminds me of the 1936 Olympics, where Hitler was unhappy that an American negro won the foot race.   Forcing Chinese software business out of USA for "security reasons"!?  What a fat load of sh/te-lies of the first level - when you say that reason, then nothing can be checked, and all is covered by the dark cloak of spy-spookery bullsh/t.   Everyone knows it is bullsh/t, and bullsh/t it will always be.

So President Bullsh/t needs to go.   And this is sad, because the Demorats are scammers and fraudsters.   And thus we reach an ugly place in USA history, where you are just wrong regardless of which candidate you vote for.  Normal, rational folks have no one they can support.  There are even fiscal-conservative, police-supporting Democrats in the USA who are deeply troubled by what they see as Biden's surrender to the radical left-wing of his Party.  Do they vote for Trump?  Or do they just stay home?   See the URL below, from "The Federalist"..

https://thefederalist.com/2020/08/07/joe-bidens-capitulation-to-the-crazy-left-is-alienating-democrats-like-me/

One can't help feeling that something needs to be done to fix this awful and rather absurd mess.

[ Aug. 5-6, 2020 ] Everything AND the Kitchen Sink - 2020 will go down in history, as "The Year that Everything Failed"   It is just comical, hilariously awful.  The level of awful is so great, that one can only laugh.  We have been compiling a trivial catalogue of the curious disasters so far this year - both big and small.  They are unique and perhaps indicative of something bigger?  Not sure yet.  But too much is too broken lately.  

Everything, everywhere seems to be failing, falling or exploding - both here in our tiny local world, and outside, in the bigger, badly-broken world beyond our small estate.

We have had two insect plagues - tent catapillers and gypsy moths.  Both are destructive - all the leaves on the apple trees were stripped away completely, and many of the maple and poplar also.  The apple leaves have grown back, but there were *no* apples produced at all.   

Of course, the Covid-19 virus assault has sickened and killed many, but it is the reactive response by governments that has hurt the most, and done the great economic damage.  It shows how failure is endemic to government process.  To "govern" is an illusion.

But it is the small things - the small disasters that provide useful information.   Our water system failed, and required the entire 1970's vintage well-water system be removed, renovated and replaced.   Two hundred feet of rusting steel pipeline was replaced with modern "Munipex" 200-psi polymer pipe, and the Jacuzzi-pump with it's US-made Franklin motor was replaced with a Chinese-made SHYLIYU stainless-steel-and-brass submersible 240-volt pump.  So far, it is working well.  The well is well, which is important, since a farmhouse and farm without water, is a rather grim, unworkable thing.  Why did I buy a Chinese pump?  Because it cost $236 and the plumbers who had originally installed the water-system, quoted me $1400 for a new Franklin pump.   And the Chinese pump looks to be well made, and it works well.   The disruptive pricing is a very good thing for us - as it let us fund the $1100 needed for the 300 feet of blue, Munipex pipe and expensive brass compression fittings, which means I can now raise and lower the pump in the well, without a large machine.

Then the Ford F150 truck failed.  Again.  Came out one morning, and the truck tire is flat.  It is a new tire (last year), and I could detect - on close inspection - no failure of bead, and no puncture.  But it would not hold air.  Turns out, the wheel rim itself had failed.  It had a small flaw where it had rusted through.    I visited the Ford dealer, where we had bought the truck, and they indicated a new rim - ONE SINGLE RIM was going to cost $1200.   Twelve-hundred dollars for a SINGLE RIM for a 2005 Ford F-150!  It is just a plain mild-steel rim, with a piece of chrome over it.   Ford's pricing is abusive, designed to prevent access to vehicle parts.   

Now I understand much better, why American companies are having trouble.  Ford stock price is like GE stock price.   Each is selling for six dollars and change.  Each company is in trouble.  There are reasons why this is the case.   These commerical entities obviously view their customers as idiots or fools or morons to be exploited, hosed, and manipulated.   The customers eventually figure out what is going on, and they simply seek alternatives.  I certainly did.  I went to a "wrecker", and bought a used 2005 Ford F-150 rim for $40, and spent another $20 to have a local tire garage install my new (last-year) tire on the used rim, which I sanded and painted first.  Ford is pricing their vehicle parts to prevent people from economically maintaining their trucks.   This is a curious approach.  

And it shows a technical problem.   A truck rim - which rolls along in dirt, and dust and rain, snow, salty-winter-slush, and gravel - should be made of stainless-steel, so it does not rust.  Using "mild steel" is stupid.   These trucks are just badly designed.  The whole auto-industry is stupid.  If the rims are made of steel that rusts away, then each truck should be sold with an extra set of wheels or something.  The whole business model is just silly.  Trucks are crazy-expensive now.  They should not rot away after a few years of regular usage.

And the horrible Beirut explosion that just happened is tragic.  A warehouse full of ammonium nitrate - stored since 2014 - which may have been set burning by some fireworks that caught fire because of some guys doing welding work - appears to have first caught fire, and then exploded.   It was a large blast, and killed many innocent people.  I was at a meeting yesterday, and the fellow I was talking with has family in Cyprus, 160 km away from Beirut, and they *felt* the explosion - it rattled windows.  The Beirut harbour looks like it was hit by a tactical nuclear weapon.  It reminds me of the Halifax harbour exposion of 1917, which resulted from a French cargo ship, SS Mont Blanc, loaded with explosives, which collided with a ship from Norway.  That explosion killed almost 2000 people, and blew the city of Halifax all to hell.  

The fertilizer ammonium nitrate is a well-know material that can become unstable, and if mixed with fuel oil or diesel fuel, it is termed ANFO, and was the explosive material that American terrorist Timothy McVeigh used in 1995 to blow up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma CIty.

With war-torn Syria to the east, and a hostile, military enemy of Israel to the south, Lebanon - which has roughly 6 million people - is now in deep trouble, as the Beirut port - now badly damaged - is its primary port-of-entry for most of the nation's food supply.

This year has been a curious and rather disturbing time.

We have had a series of curious technical failures - our land-line telephone, one of our Linux boxes, and so on.  But we are of course very fortunate to be outside of the major urban regions, and able also to maintain most of our own equipment ourselves.  And when we called Bell Canada to fix the phone, they had a technician here - who diagnosed and solved the problem - the very next day.  So we are lucky, which in these strange times, in this very strange year, is a good thing.

[ Aug. 4, 2020, evening..] - Elon's Rocket Science - This is a big thing.  In some ways, it might be the biggest thing.  Space travel is looking like it might become possible again - which has not happened since 1972.   SpaceX did a successful short test flight, of their "Starship" prototype, SN5.  Several others have exploded, but this one did not.  It launched, flew a short distance, and then landed successfully - without exploding into a ball of flame.  This was a good result.  Much was learned.  The Raptor engine worked, as did the stability control systems.  Bravo, guys.  Bloody well done.  You are making history.

The URL (short 2 minute video) of the flight:  (The NASA video is 2 hours FFS!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sCQcbOqO5A

The big test-bed rocketship, rose into the air, hovered, and then landed in a cloud of dust.  When the dust cleared, it was standing successfully.   So, it worked.  This is impressive.  Elon Musk has bloody well done it.  This is the real acid-test.   This thing might actually get us to Mars - and back...   : )

[ Aug. 4th, 2020 ] - Is USA President Trump is Becoming Unglued?  Is "Rule-of-Law" Now Only an Historical Artifact?- I am not even going to comment further here.   The folks at "TechCrunch" have published a transcript of Mr. Trump's answer to a question about what he and the CEO of Microsoft talked about, re. the TikTok forced-sale.  Just read it.  It's short, and it is quite frankly, disturbing.   I think President Trump is at risk of becoming Captain Queeg.  He is demanding vigorish if a Microsoft-ByteDance deal for TikTok happens.    This is nuts.  And it is almost certainly not a lawful act.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-calls-tiktok-hot-brand-185036192.html

Turns out I am not the first one to have this concern.  Google "The Caine Mutiny", and there is an article from 2018 discussing this exact concern - what to do about an insane President - with explicit reference to the famous film.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/09/10/how-the-caine-mutiny-and-the-paranoid-capt-queeg-contributed-to-the-debate-over-the-25th-amendment/

Just when we thought it could not get more weird in the Excited States.  USA used to be a place where "rule-of-law" was taken quite seriously.   But something has gone wrong now - not just with Mr. Trump, but with the entire political machinery.   We have the same problem here, also, with new "laws" and prohibitions being drafted in secret, back-rooms, and given to police agents to enforce.  In Canada, Parliament is being bypassed, and in USA, Congress is being ignored.   Lawful process is under threat in both nations, it appears.   This is curious.  It's a bad thing, but it also makes the world a more predictable place.  People are no different now than they were during ancient times.  They just use different language now.

[ Aug. 3rd, 2020 ] - A Little Right - There are some useful bits of accurate information and helpful suggestions out in our electronic Lala-Land.  Here is one I ran into:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-02/investors-rethink-60-40-as-ultra-low-yields-test-portfolios

The old "60% stocks/40% bonds" portfolio mix thing, is pretty much dead.  It fails, because like most of the herd-instinct, knee-jerk nonsense that characterizes much of the investment "advice" that floats around, it manages to combine now, the worst features of each investment class - you get the risks and wild volatility associated with stocks, and the absolute lack of any appreciation potential, from the fixed-income bonds.  And this is now combined with the complete lack of almost any yield, most bonds of low-risk nature, typically exhibit.

So, as an investor, one is pretty much screwed.   A typical oldster, trying to invest a life-time of savings in the government bond-market, is better off holding half his/her wealth in cash, putting the other half into dividend-paying stocks, and then getting a minimum-wage job at a store or some business that is still operating.  A tiny bit of any kind of employment income will be much more significant than the little dribble-stream of yield the gov-bonds throw off.

What is interesting, is that even the investment pros have figured this out - and many are wisely suggesting that the bond-market be avoided entirely, since to get any yield at all, one has to take on serious, significant risk, and buy junky stuff.

As an older person, seeking investment income, one is required to focus pretty seriously on preservation of capital - ie. the return OF your money, rather than just the return ON your money.  Many (far, far too many) investment schemes are crafted just to allow some investment "professional" to climb onto your income-stream, and hijack a little bit of it.   In a world where you can only be expected to make 4 or 5% on your assets, that "investment professional" who takes a "management expense" of 2% is scooping up almost half of your income stream!  That's just a bad idea to let that happen.

This is why we recommend that anyone with any IQ at all, should learn enough about the markets to make their own investments, run their own portfolios, and manage their own money.

The gains that you can capture from this little bit of effort, amount to just about half of what your investments are likely to return, over the short, medium and long term.  Really.  Seriously.

A lot of procedures that use to work well for investors, don't work very well now, as there is so much ability to "game the system" everywhere now.   Economists and engineers call this the "Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns".   Any attractive process (which makes money), will be exploited by more and more economic agents so that over time, it will yield less and less, until it is just barely profitable.   This is a very big factor in explaining why the world is always changing.  

Fortune's Wheel is always turning.  Prosperity gives way to poverty, and peace is abandoned in favour of war.  Poverty and war lead to destruction.  But destruction will be followed by construction.   At bottom, there is nowhere to go but up.  And at the very top, any change at all, will move you downward.  And change is certain to come.

This is also why non-traditional strategies, like holding cash instead of bonds, and buying physical gold, are now even being recommended by the pros.   Mostly, one holds gold to *preserve* wealth, not to try to make it grow.  And cash, by definition, does not yield anything, except in times of falling prices, when it actually can show a very positive rate of return, like it did in the 1930's.

New, disruptive, science-driven technological change, has been giving us here on Earth, large and increasing benefits, since the early 1800's.   The invention and deployment of the steam-engine, and the research & development around electricity and invention of electrical apparatus has vastly improved human transportation and communication.   We are still riding that train of growth and development, and it is still paying off bigtime.  The massive economic gains associated with improvements in biotechnology - improved crop yields and enhanced medical understanding and medical-services - have been underway for over 100 years, and are still continuing.    Effective investment strategies have surfed upon these waves of scientific and technical change, and have being doing so for several hundred years now.

But I do worry that the whole science-driven "growth" machine might be slowing down.  It has not stopped, and is not likely to stop any time soon - but it is running slower, and it's gains are being much more widely dispersed.  Diminishing marginal returns suggests we will all be seeing less runaway economic success, than our parents saw, and their parents saw.

I notice too many retrograde movements now.  We can't make nuclear fusion work in controlled reactors (only in hydrogen bombs, sadly).  USA has given up on "spaceship" technology, and is now only just  able to launch to orbit using splashdown capsules, like they did in the 1960's.  The international air-travel industry has likely peaked, and a return to tightly-packed aircraft and overcrowded airports, is unlikely, given the sickness this high-density travel option will always spread.  

The SARS-2-cov coronavirus is only one of many factors that will be slowing down our growth.  The fragility of globe-spanning supply chains was already apparent even before the virus-induced lockdowns hammered them.

And there are the retrograde political developments of tribalism and tariffs.  As the tariffs rise, the substantial benefits of free-trade will fall silently away, and show up slowly as higher prices for everything.  This is almost certain to happen, and shows the failure of a populist-driven political-economic model.

At the same time as this ugly anti-free-trade transition is underway, we are also seeing the limits to the benefits of "Big Science", now almost exclusively government-funded, yet with it's results blocked-off behind high paywalls.   This is particularly retrograde, and harkens back to the old "locked-library" and "restricted scriptorium" knowledge-model of old, medieval Europe.  History shows us that it is mavericks and those outside the mainstream, who contribute the most significant scientific advances and drive much human technical progress.  By restricting science behind paywalls, to keep the outsiders out, we limit and restrict scientific advancement and truly reduce the probability of "leaps" in scientific knowledge.  Our current "science model" now limits scientific and technological improvement.

So, we may face a rising-prices / falling-incomes future.  I can't see it playing out any other way.

We just are not getting the same level of gains from the technology-change, that we used to.  The internet has become a giant side-show of fraud, a shopping-channel, an angry-no-rules debating society, a second-rate school, an arcade-game pachinko parlour, and a state-run propaganda machine.   And that is about it.  It really sort of sucks now, truth be told.

Space travel is on hold, aircraft production vastly exceeds demand and will fall hard, cruises and tourist-trap visits & restaurant meals carry lethal risk now, retail-shops are failing, and school is being done badly on video-game screens.  None of this is good.   We don't have the mass=energy conversion technology many thought we would have by now.   It just has not been created.  No "hoverboards", no flying cars, no understanding or control or "Faraday Cage" of gravity.  Entangled photons and the promise of quantum computing is an interesting science experiement, but it is not likely to yield a real product.  And despite medical advances and the sequencing of DNA, we still have cancer and heart disease and ALS and Alzheimers and malaria and AIDS and so on, which painfully kill millions.  And now we have the newly mutating corona-viruses, which are really quite amazingly nasty, *evolved* technology.

So I particularly fear that much of the next ten years of market-driven investment gains, will mostly come from money-supply expansion, and not from any major technology improvements.  And this means rising prices and falling real incomes.  We will see the return of scarcity.

We need to be invested, but we also need to be crazy careful and aware.  It will likely just get a bit nastier each year, from now on, all across the board.  No Stutz-Bearcats.   No CyberTrucks.  These will be different times - again.   You need to be invested - but you also will need to be "on the bounce" - hyper-aware and reactive, as the military folks try to encourage their young recruits to be.

[ Aug. 2nd, 2020 ] - A newly operating well Well, well done.  - The new water well is complete, with the new pump, and is now in service, and operational.  Water turbidity is reducing each day, and we are almost back to crystal clear, fine water.  Without water, things get a little difficult.  :)

[ Aug. 1st, 2020 ] - So Much Popular Thinking is Just So Curiously Wrong - It's getting quite amusing and curious.   We have the tremendous luxury of being at some distance from the World, and this gives us perspective and great comfort.    We are aware now of just how truly wise this approach has been.   I've been "working from home" for most of this century now, and this strategy and operational economic methodology has great value and offers real benefits.    Being self-reliant is a very good thing - in many ways, and for many reasons.     Our dividend income has covered the major costs we have been hit with, and our tight-fisted, frugal approach to economic interaction, has allowed us to weather this current storm, without major disruption or hardship - so far, at least.

It's like song from the modern adaptations of the Bertolt Brecht play, "Three-Penny Opera", where MacHeath sings: "Once the cash is not a problem, "Happy Endings" can be found!"

So many of the plays and stories from the 1920's are quite wonderful, entertaining, amusing and  profoundly illustrative of useful knowledge.  "RUR" - Karl Kapek's play about the corporation "Rossum's Universal Robots" (which Philip K. Dick stole to become "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", and Ridley Scott turned into "Blade Runner"), is another example, as is the fantastic 1927 film, "Metropolis", by Fritz Lang, and the play "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw.  Pygmalion was actually written in 1913, but it won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925.   There is actionable knowledge in the study of history.

What I find particularly interesting, is how this knowledge is obscured and often even just plain missed.   I once found a $50 bill on the sidewalk in Toronto, in the evening.  It was summer, many people were walking, and it had been lying there for a while. It had been stepped on, and looked old and dirty, like part of a discarded packaging box (in Canada, the 50's are red-coloured).   I simply saw it and picked it up - but I found it very surprising that no one else had.  Our historical knowledge is like that - people ignore the information, because they think it is old and has no value - and they are completely wrong, of course.

Here is an interesting example, I noticed yesterday.   Some fellow has looked at the recent, localized inverse correlation between stock-prices and bond-prices, and he makes an assertion that falling bond yields are "flashing a warning" about future stock-prices.  He suggests that falling yields on long-dated US Treasury bonds suggest that stock prices will likely then fall.   He points to Jan 2, yields of 2.34%, falling to 0.94% by March 9,(while the bonds climbed in price 29%)  and then June 8th yield of 1.66% to end of last week, of 1.19% (a long bond price rise of roughly 9%) - and he suggests that this move *UP* in bond prices (and DOWN in yields) provides information that suggests stock prices will be under pressure,and at risk of falling.

Here is the article:

"Bond Yields Sending Scary Signal"

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bond-yields-sending-scary-signal-100003918.html

The article is lifted by Yahoo Financial, from Bloomberg's News & Opinion stuff.  

Now this is just plain wrong.

It is just wrong, no other way to phrase it.  This guy is just wrong.  I am not sure how anyone could write this.

If one looks at the linkages between the bond market and its prices, and the stock market and the prices that are reflected there, historically, the bond market action moves *before* the stock market.   If bonds are bid up (and consequently, there yields go DOWN), then this is a positive signal for stocks and stock prices.  Bonds are more conservative investments.  Stocks are more speculative, and show much greater volatility.

The bond market - and bond prices - is a bellweather.  But this fellow is suggesting the linkage has been inverted - with rising bond prices implying that stock prices will fall.

This is just plain wrong.  It is not born out by any historical analysis, and it also makes no sense.  And even with the current data, one could argue that the astonishing runnup in bond prices, from January 2 to March 9th - a 29% price rise, indicated that there was a lot of POSITIVE PRESSURE to be expected in the stock market, and that even if a disaster and an ugly economic storm hit us (ie. the SARS-2-Cov virus), the stock market would see strength.

And this is exactly what happened.

Stock prices took a big hit as the global economy was (very unwisely) shutdown and people were locked-down in their homes, but even before that foolishness ended, stock prices have moved upward in a dramatic and sustained fashion, JUST AS THE BOND MARKET PREDICTED THEY WOULD, and many equity valuations have in fact, reached new highs.

What is weirdly gruesome, is to see people so profoundly mis-characterize the relationship.  Sure, there is some short-term *sloshing* of funds between stocks and bonds, which can move price inversely for a few days, but mostly (and there is a *lot* of historical evidence for this - just go look), the bond market tends to lead the stock market by several months.  Bonds will turn down first, and stock-prices will tend to move several months later.  And if bonds are strong, and well-bid, then strength can be expected to show up in the stock market a bit later on.  This process, is of course driven by monetary conditions.

Falling bond yields - which means *RISING* bond prices, is a POSITIVE signal for stock prices (my typing fingers want to add something else, but I am forcing them not to do so.   :)  )

What a hilarious, curious world, eh?  

Full Disclosure:  We are still long, fully invested in stocks.  It has been a wild ride.  In the 1960's and 1970's, which saw long periods of rising interest rates, bonds were sometimes called "certificates of confiscation", as their prices fell regularly to maintain market yields.  And in this time of stupid/crazy government-economics, it makes vastly more sense to buy raw gold, than buy zero or near-zero yielding government bonds.   If you are buying bonds to preserve capital, then you probably should be buying gold or platinum instead.   This is why even Bank America analysts are suggesting gold prices might move to $3000 US/oz.   I don't even *like* gold as an investment - We are *not* "Gold Bugs".  But the case for gold as an investment class, is now the strongest it has ever been, perhaps since the 1800's.

Curious times, yes.   And oh, has anyone noticed the price of silver?  From the US $17 level to the $24 per oz. range?   That's what, a 41% rise in price?   We have a little silver.

Now, go listen to the two versions of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna!" (from his amazing: "Carmina Burana") at this URL:

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/o-fortuna-carmina-burana-lyrics/

[ July 31, 2020 ] - Submersible Pumps - When Being Underwater is Good!- Submersible pump technology was first invented for downwell pumping of oil.  The whole idea is that you can push water (or oil) much further than you can suck it.  Even the most powerful suction pump, can only lift water 25 feet or so.  But putting the pump at the bottom of the well, gives one the ability to *push* the water a very long way up.

And since most of Southern Ontario is sitting on a giant aquifer of sand and limestone - and is surrounded by the Great Lakes - there is lots of groundwater, if one digs down far enough.

We are still getting some red-brown iron tinting the water (from the steel water-well pipe itself slowly rusting), but the water softener filter removes much of it, and we expect the well will settle down, after a few weeks of not being mechanically disturbed by pushing and pulling stuff in and out.  

It was a major effort to install the new pump, with the 240 feet of blue, 200 psi-rated "Munipex" pipe.   The three hundred foot roll of 1-inch Munipex cost more than did the pump.   The trick of course, was to mate the well-top plumbing fittings into the "pitless adapter", which links the well pipeline to the house-water input pipe.   But with two people, ropes and the tractor front-end loader bucket as a "crane", the task got done successfully.   And we have RUNNING WATER again!     So nice...  :D

[ July 30, 2020 ] - Water From Earth - It is almost like alchemy.  A stainless-steel submersible pump, a deep, drilled wall with a steel wall side, electric wires, a condenser in a control box, the electric-grid (connected to a massive nuclear-fission reactor over on the shores of Lake Huron), and the induction-motor in the submersible pump + a long pipeline set vertically, made from a modern, super-strong polymer plastic combined with some brass and stainless-steel plumbing fittings - and you can tap into the groundwater table, hundreds of feet down below the Earth's surface.  The net result is a great flowing fountain of water, emerging from the Earth itself.

It's like absolute magic, really.   It makes the prosperous rural life we have here in Ontario, Canada, biologically & economically possible.

When you finally throw the switch on the breaker-panel, and a great gushing stream of water (at first, muddy and not nice, but soon it clears..) blasts from the end of the blue plastic pipe, you feel like Prospero.  "Fiat Aqua!" - or maybe "Fiat Lacus!"

If I can get the water-well to clear up ("develop" is the technical term the well-builders use), then I will connect the blue "Munipex" pipeline to the "pitless adapter" and we should again have water in the farm-house and the lab.   

[ July 29, 2020 ] - Pumped Up! - New Chinese deep-well submersible pump finally arrived.   Spent the day installing it - both electrical and plumbing.   Lots of work - and in first test, the well-water comes out brown!  (Brown??)   (This is actually typical when submersible pumps are installed/replaced, according to Google-searches...)

Replacing the submersible water-well pump has been a big project.   And it's still not finished, as the plumbing to connect the well-water to the house and lab has not yet been done.   We are hoping the water clears up with a bit of pumping.

Update:  Pumped for many minutes, several times today.  Water is still brown and nasty looking.  Damn.   As I told a friend, we are just itching to have a hot shower...

[ July 28, 2020 ] - Never been to Shibuya, but I've been to Berlin and Warsaw, Paris and Helsinki and Osaka... - Such a curious world.   Never been to Moscow either.  But I've been to New York.   When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around, according to Sting.  Basically, this is true.   Always thought I would return to J-land, but maybe not now.   I am pretty certain that biotechnics will be weaponized, regardless of UN conventions.   It won't be nation-states, it will be others.   So it goes, eh Kurt?  We can at least listen to some music...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDMfk76hMSQ

Leaking epidemic, indeed...

[ July 27, 2020 ] - Light Fantastic / Robot Fabs - A few more N2 TEA Laser experiments...  Posted a reprint of a schematic diagram showing how simple the Nitrogen TEA laser really is.   We ablated the inside of a natural piece of quartz crystal, and removed opaque discolouration with the TEA Laser.  

Also, we are doing a bit of a deep-dive into robot manufacturing.  The World is still at the beginning of this new industrial production model - but the change is moving more quickly now.  The pieces are coming together.  Problem is that it looks like it's breaking "Say's Law" - if the production is highly automated, and employees are not needed, then supply will *not* create it's own demand.   You risk having a large underclass of people who cannot afford to acquire the low-cost / high-quality products that are robot-fabricated.  This is an economic problem that folks have been talking about since the 1920's.

Common link between the two pictures at top (Canadian car making & Tesla car making USA) is the KUKA robots.  Here is some info on KUKA:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6HrPPoLdjNynZCvUrJbmBw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkpzc1XUwtQ

The "business end" of a KUKA robot can be a hand, a laser, a dremel-tool, a drill and/or a cutting tool.  

The future of manufacturing involves very few employees.   What makes the robotic "work cells" so interesting, is their ability to switch programs, and avoid the "assembly line" approach.

But we need to have demand for the fabricated product.  Our world and our economic models are all hard-wired to produce "growth", without which, we collapse into economic downturn, and risk social destabilization.  We cannot reap the benefits of rising industrial productivity, if we have mass unemployment, and a viral collapse in real incomes.

(Secret History:  I'm a fan of Willam Gibson and c-punk.   I read RUR a a tiny child and I would build flip-flops from transistors, and play with capacitance fields.   We need artwork and music to help us dream, as the dream-model  is the blue-print for the future.  It just is..  like/dislike..  like/dislike...  j-girls are so conflicted.  That's what makes them interesting... like the whole place, really.  Not sure if I will ever see Nihonia again.   But here is some artwork involving KUKA robotniks... )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExgmZXYUh6M

Automation of industrial process is a wonderful and magical thing - but if private incomes collapse, and governments become functionally bankrupt, as citizens cannot generate sufficient tax revenue to allow the governments to service their massive debts - we risk a failure of the economic growth model, and a commerical collapse due to insufficient funded demand for the products that the new technology can fabricate so efficiently.

The Tesla Model X is pretty cool, but in Canada, it costs over $100,000 to buy one.   That is simply an insane price, and ensures that it remains a toy only for the very rich.

We need to somehow create an economic and industrial model that uplifts the unskilled into higher income occupations and professions.  And we need to reduce the taxation punishment that accompanies this uplift, if it can actually generate better income-generation opportunities for people.   That way, we can system-generate the demand for the new class of products that the automation technology can now produce so efficiently.

We need to figure out how to do this, now that Say's Law has been struck down by KUKA.

[ July 26, 2020 ] - Garage54 CyberTruck Replica- And here is the Russian CyberTruck version - by Garage-54.  The basis for this vehicle is a UAZ truck engine and frame, with a steel body custom-built by the folks at Garage-54.  Pretty cool, actually.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8MYynmi80I

Not a bad replica.  And it runs in the snow,  

[ July 25, 2020 ] - Heat Wave / Robot Harvest- Hot weather, robot harvest.    Tractors with robot-arms to lift the hay bails, brought in the harvest today.   Three guys with their robot-armed tractors can bring in the full hay harvest in one day.   Pretty impressive.

[ July 24, 2020 ] - Build Your Own Cybertruck - I had thought this was just a bit of a "thought experiment' - but no, it seems it is real.  Several shops have already built their own "CyberTrucks".  The idea here is that you make the body out of "facets" or smooth, flat pieces of stainless steel, welded together.   No curves.  This is key, since it means no stupid, expensive complex dies have to be created - just flat sheet cut and welded to form the body.   This is a genius trick in aviation - example being the US Steath Fighter - the "Wobbly Goblin" as it was known.  And less well known - the "Facet Plane" (I even made a model of this thing, and confirmed it would and could fly).  

Here is a series of pictures from "Factory Owner Wang" who built his own "Cybertruck" and took it to show folks in Shanghai:

https://cntechpost.com/2020/05/04/homemade-tesla-cybertruck-went-viral-in-china/

This is cool.

This is what I was thinking about.  The real Tesla CyberTruck won't be available for several years (they still have to build the factory!), so if you want one, you are on your own - and the price in Canada will be well north of $50,000, even for the lowest-cost, two-wheel-drive model.

A custom-made stainless body, dropped onto a stripped down, body-off-frame big Suburban, seems a very interesting idea.    Here is Wang's original video (looks like it was shot with a cellphone..)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-tsnFRcniQ&feature=youtu.be

The key is to construct the body out of 3 mm stainless steel, not the usual junk "mild steel" crap that gives one the typical "rotting truck" problem that is so common here.  A ladder-box frame made out of stainless would also be a good idea.  And of course, an open-source Linux-based in-vehicle computer - which would allow one to toggle on and off the internet, depending on one's project plan.    Maybe you want to go somewhere, or do something where you don't want your location tracked...

The more I think about it, the more I like my design better than the real one.   :)

[ July 23, 2020 ] - Amazon Is Not Shipping on Time in Canada - Be careful if you are ordering something on Amazon.  We ordered a mission-critical part for the farm - a deep-well submersible pump - and it was supposed to be delivered today.   The thing was indicated as being "fulfilled by Amazon" and was also documented as being "in inventory" - which means inside the country, and not subject to the usual customs delays that are standand common practice now.

But all this made no difference.  After waiting a *week* just to get indication that it has been "shipped", we are now informed it is late, delivery is delayed, and it will not arrive until maybe next week.  No information as to why all this is botched so badly by Amazon is provided.  But we do note that shipping was "free"  (which means free of any honest information, also, apparently).

Here's what we have learned:  If you do not pay for shipping by a private courier, you may as well not buy anything on the internet.  Your shipment *will* be late, delayed, and sometimes delayed by weeks or even months.   Trade is broken now, here in Canada.  It is just plain broken - and it is *very* broken at the Canada Post Office, sadly.    The place is what it is.

If you *need* product, delivered on honest, predictable timelines, you *must* either arrange for your own courier people to do the shipment, OR, you have to pay a shipping premium, that prevents any "post office" or union-shop operation, from getting a-hold of your product, as it will just sit in a warehouse for a few weeks, while all the  union folks blame the "coronavirus" for slowing everything to a crawl.   And we all know that is complete nonsense.

Really, you want to avoid Amazon, as it is becoming like the traditional 1970's  "phone company" - a slow-moving, fat-arsed monopoly that can say any thing it wants to, as it avoids actually delivering your stuff.

We have no running water.   "God-F**king-Dammit!" as Cartman on South Park likes to say.

[ July 22, 2020 ] - Summer Harvest - Field harvested yesterday, which involved also removing a large tree which had been knocked down in  a storm the day before that.   Did the tree removal myself, with a hand-saw and just my own effort, didn't even take the tractor.   Got it done.  :)

Strange life - running a few portfolios, a farm, constantly doing basic physic research & economic analysis, and also sniffing about for ideas, opportunities and global trends - as well as running the AI stuff to assist in making market decisions.   Not much trading now, as holding for a multi-year timeframe looks to be the best strategy.   With Tesla over $1500 US/share, it is unlikely that will hold any opportunity, despite the unique attractiveness of the vehicles it makes.  Tesla at $400 per share was not as silly as it looked.  I met a guy at the bank (a teller!) who had bought in at that price.  I admired his courage.

Here is an interesting fact:  According to Reuters, Daimler, the German parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is worth 41.5 billion euros, as of today (that's roughly $47.7 billion US), while Tesla has a market capitalization of  roughly $304.6 billion US, which is more that six times Daimler's.  (Market capitalization is share-price times the number of shares outstanding, and changes as the shares outstanding are increased, and as the market price of the shares changes on the stock exhanges.)

And in the first half of 2020, (most recent data), Mercedes-Benz sold 935,089 vehicles, while Tesla sold 179,050.   Tesla's sales are impressive, and their growth rate in delivery is very good, but we are also seeing an astonishing example of "less is more", are we not?

I used to argue that the $400 per share price of Tesla, was justified, given the level and rate of change of the Tesla technology.    But even if one loves the cars and the technological cleverness of the approach, the share price now seems just a little stretched. I am also concerned that they won't be able to get the "Cybertruck" to market, at the scale to make it profitable.

I also had a quick tour of a small local manufacturing operation in the local area.  I was talking with the owners about lasers - and the research I was doing.  They said:  "Oh yeah, we have a laser.." and when they showed it to me - I was astonished - it was bigger than a small hotel room - and was a very powerful fiber-optic device which could slice thru quarter-inch thick stainless steel.  You feed in a *big* sheet of stainless, and you get out a great big (roughly 5 feet by 8 feet) sheet, with all your parts nicely cut out.  And each part is cleanly & smoothly cut - you don't even have to de-burr the parts - they can go straight into next stage of production.

I was looking at this amazing device, at the same time as a massive stamper/cutter/former machine was slowly injesting a big coil of steel, and making some part.  One of the owners joked "This guy is my best employee... never takes breaks, never complains, just works all the time.  Most reliable guy ever!"  That machine was also huge, and as it hammered and ka-chunked along, it sounded like a jazz symphony called "Productivity and Prosperity".

I have a feeling this might be the future.   The big laser, combined with the fully-automated stamper/basher/cutter/former (I don't even know what it is called), looks like it could build all the body and frame parts for a car or an airplane in an afternoon.  The hard part would be welding things together.  I've toured a couple of GM and Suzuki factories during production, and it is clear that volume production is really a complex and challenging process.

But does everything have to be done Henry Ford-style?   Would it not be possible to almost "open-source" production technology, if folks could have local access to robotic equipment that could process your KiCad or AutoCad drawings, and make your parts?   I can send KiCad files to a Chinese circuit-board fabricator, and he sends back beautiful quality Z-80 boards, which I can take a bag-o-parts from Mouser, and in one long evening of soldering, end up with a working computer.

Could one build a "Cybertruck" by one's self?  This is not so outlandish an idea.  When I was flying out of Oshawa Flying Club, back in the 1980's and 1990's, I met a guy who had built his own aircraft.  And it was not some skanky kit-built fibreglass thing - it was a *big* high-wing, aluminum 4-seater, that was modeled after a Cessna 182, except it had a "stick" instead of two control-wheels.  A guy and his son had scratch-built this thing, and it looked very nice, and it apparently flew well.

Right now, if you have the funds, you can build your own truck.  Typically, you would start with an existing vehicle, and use enough body panels so that you preserve the homologation and retain it's road-license ability.  Jay Leno and SEMA Garage did this with a 1968 Bronco.  I used to drive one of these - it had been damaged in an accident, but was repaired enough to run on a private road up in Northern Ontario.  I got it running, and drove it during a summer road-work project on a private, 4-mile gravel bush road.  Running it was a ton-o-fun - the short wheelbase made it more than a little unstable at speed... It's hard to image one with a 700+ horsepower engine...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzQ91ggSqZQ

The industrial cutting laser I looked at was called a "Fibermak", and it was so big, it had a door that you could open to go inside it.  I GoogDuck-searched the internet, until I found the info on the maker of the device.   It is *big* and it is magical.   Here is the URL:  

http://www.ermaksan.com.tr/USA/Product/Laser-Technology/FIBERMAK-FIBERMAK-Fiber-Laser-Cutting-Machine

And: Here is a video made by some guy in the USA, who has one of these big lasers in his machine shop, and he forms a front-bumper of a jeep, and some other parts, for a customer.  It's a two-minute video, showing what can be done with this technology:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG7fVhSqRgs

I need to investigate this stuff further.  I think small machine shops with this kind of equipment are maybe the future of all manufacturing.   The assembly-line "Henry Ford" approach is just way, way too expensive, and locks down design so that it cannot be changed or improved.  We need to build stuff more like we write code, and less like we build stone castles.

[Note:  I once visited the site on the island where the stone blocks were cut to build Osaka Castle foundation, in Japan.  Similar approach, except manual stone-cutting was used.  Japanese have a long tradition of manufacturing excellence.  But this big laser really is amazing.   It lets you make steel pieces like you would get in a plastic model, the kind you would make when you were a child..  :) ]

We still have no water at the farm.  We ordered (and paid for) the submersible pump from Amazon, and it seems they are having some difficulty in actually shipping it.  It is looking like the Amazon business model might have hit its limiting case.   They've charged my credit card - but there is no-one to contact, and their tracking information shows nothing shipped, despite tomorrow being the expected delivery date.   Fingers remain crossed...  :)

[ July 21, 2020 ] - Euroland Summit:  "Diese Pumpe ist kaputt" - It just keeps getting more comical - or comic-tragic.  The "leaders" of the nation-states of Europe have agreed that Euroland will use it's AAA credit rating to borrow 750 billion Euros on the global capital markets, and throw the money at the imploded economies of Italy, Spain and Greece and other economic disasters in the Southern Reach of Europe, and see if they can stimulate something.  

I watched video interviews with these Socialist bozos, as they all spoke about how hard they have worked, and how they have so much more hard work to do - as if sitting around and agreeing to spend other people's money is somehow actually "work"!   What an astonishing collection of political daemons and fraudsters.   If I put this sh/t in a movie, back in 1974, about the "Future of the World - 2020", people would have walked out of the theatre without their arses, because they would have laughed them right off.

The real punch-line to the whole Euroland Summit comedy-tragedy is that most Economists agree that no money will actually reach the real economy of any Euro-nation, until the middle of next year.   So this whole exercise will almost certainly be just a funding scheme for a bunch of bloated, low-quality, State-enterprises with overpaid, tired, Unionized workforces, which produce skanky overpriced stuff that no one in the self-financing sector will want to buy.    (The European auto-industry being a prime example - eg: Renault).    But somewhere - somehow - the borrowed funds will have to be repaid - and of course, this being Europe, it will probably be done by the ECB buying the "debt" - so it may not really be debt at all.  It may just be money-printing, and I am astonished that the Germans and Austrians agreed to this nonsense.    But they have forgotten their history, of course.   Nothing disappears faster than last year's newspaper - or "news cycle" as they call it now.  The destructive inflations are forgotten.

Any normal business, in a self-financing environment, will be past the point of government "stimulus" making any difference, by the middle of next year.   Any normal business will either be just gone, or will have re-structured to ensure survival, by then.

The whole tragic exercise will just be another round of freemoney for big Lefties, which will either 1) destroy the value of the Euro, if taxes are not used to fund some sort of real payback of the loan - or 2) generate another painful series of tax-hikes to hit European businesses just as they are beginning to recover from the Covid-19 economic-shutdown debacle.

Seriously - the *VERY* best thing the Socialist "leaders" of Euroland could have done, at this point, is just to stay home, and stop doing harm.  I am dead serious here.   If the global death levels are in the many 10's of millions from this stupid virus in two years from now, and the European economies have contracted another 20 or 30 percent - two years from now - that might be the time to do something like this.  But loading this sort of cost onto your fragile economies now, is just stupid.  They could have declared a 1 year income tax holiday, or something helpful like that - but this massive sh/tstorm of borrowing, will either just hammer the Euro's value, and damage the Northern (productive) economies, or it will just further tax-punish every commerical enterprise in Europe.  It might do both.   

Either way, it is *certain* that it will do harm - just at the very point when a post-Covid-19 recovery might have been in the cards, and might have been able to get rolling.

God save us from Socialist political "leaders".  They are more dangerous than any lethal virus.

[ July 20, 2020 ] - Diese Pumpe ist Kaputt  -  Really, "Diese Pumpe ist kaputt" is the theme for today.  Thought it might just be siezed or perhaps I could lubricate it - but the smell of burned electrical wiring is strong, and although it would turn a tiny bit - it would then simply sieze and grow very warm - obviously a short circuit or something, inside the sealed stainless case.  It appears to have been in situ for 47 years, so it looks to have done it's job.  The rotating pump vains and the check-valve were all still functioning, but the whole unit was covered in a layer of black gunk combined with red ferric rust.  

When I look at the technology that we rely on to live, I am always amazed that it works at all.  This whole system appears to have been running on MMT - Modern Maintenance Theory - which suggests that you do no maintenance whatsoever, and just run the system until it experiences a catastrophic failure.   I find this approach rather curious and more than just a little bit sub-optimal.  These deep-well submersible pumps should really be taken out an cleaned at least every 5 years.  But the system here had been installed with 9 22-foot pieces of 1-inch inside diameter steel pipe - meaning that it was almost (but not *completely*)  impossible to remove without a massive crane-truck  (each pipe is *heavy* - and 9 of them screwed together into a long vertical pipeline probably weighs close to 1000 lbs - given that the pump itself weighs close to 70 lbs by itself!).  

A new pump will be installed using expensive "Munipex" 200-psi-rated 1-inch flexible tubing.

We are very fortunate - damned lucky, really - that the system failed during the summer, and not during the winter.

I think this is why Tesla is doing so well.   Their vehicle has *vastly* fewer parts than gas-engine cars and trucks - something on the order of 4,000 versus 20,000.  The "maintenance-free" option for a Tesla is not an idle boast - but appears to be a real design objective.

But the price point is still insane, sadly.  :)

I am *really* sick of stuff that is crappy, and is designed to break and wear out and needs to be replaced every few years - when it is not at all necessary to do so - like Apple iPhones, for example.

We've been without running water for over a week now - and it really sucks.  ( and the pump does not!)..  For a Tesla, just being able to avoid having a *cooling* system that uses liquid glycol is a major advantage (like an old Volkswagon, for example).   Sloshing liquid around inside of very hot metal, is certain to cause corrosion and leaks and clogs.  The whole concept is awful. (Early big IBM mainframe computers had to be liquid cooled.  Guess what happened when the pipes broke or leaked?)

We have a big Ford F-150 for the farm - and we have maintained it - but it is slowly rotting away, like an old wooden boat.  They build the frame and the body panels with "mild-steel" - which is like using butter and toast to make something.  "Mild steel" in a northern climate, where salt is put on the roads to de-ice them, is simply insane.  The steel is *certain* to convert into a red ferric powder, in only a few years.  Using it as a building material, is like building mud-huts in a monsoon - it is just such a stupid and toxic idea for the product-purchaser, that it is comical.  I hear they have switched to aluminum - but it is too late now, probably for Ford.

Cars (and trucks) should be made of 1810 stainless, and with body panels sufficiently thick to stop small-arms fire.  I like the idea of the Tesla Cybertruck because it looks like it is designed wisely.  I envision a time in the near-future, when you will fabricate your own vehicles, based on modules and small machine-shops.   We almost need to think in terms of  "open sourcing" the automobile industry.   Big, expensive trucks made using "mild steel" - the worst building material one could deploy, in a salt-corrosive environment - are just silly.  My rotting Ford F-150 is perfect proof of this idiocy.  And the 47-year usage (with no maintenance) of our submerisble Jacuzzi pump, with its reliable Franklin electric motor, shows that electrics can function in a harsh environment - underwater, if necessary - if stainless steel is used to house the mission-critical components (like the induction coils).  

[ July 19, 2020 ] - Maxium Money Trickery -  MMT - aka: Modern Monetery Theory...  This stuff is just goofball crazy nutbar silly insane.  Really.   Recognize that the stakes are high, and the game is afoot.   You are being played, and the players are risking all.  It's like a Townes Van Zandt song... Mr Mudd and Mr Gold.  Just crazy stuff.   I read this drivel in Barrons, and some old dude interviewed Professor Stephanie something from Stoned River University or some crazy thing/place.   There is this belief that deficits don't matter, and the USA can print money like Germany did in the early 1920's, and it will not be a problem.  This is nuts.  This is looney-tune economics.

And here is the thing: this is in the program - this is how it happens.  Every generation does this sh/t, everytime.  Every King tries it.  Every sh/tbag failed klepto-state tries it - always.  And it always end the same way.  It is in the program.   The guys on the top blow themselves up, and they crash and burn and take down their world.  Every. Single. Time.  This is how History of Humans works.   We program and fabricate catastrophic senarios, and then execute them.  There is so little wisdom in the world, it is comical.

Modern Monetary Theory  - this idea that deficit spending can be ramped up as long as there is no inflation - is hilariously wrong and misguided.   It is exactly like Modern Maintenance Theory which suggests that you do not have to do any maintenance on anything.  

See, MMT - either kind - does not operate in a linear way.   MMT can be practiced successfully, right up until the day that it does not work any longer, right?   Example:  You build a huge bridge, and you let everyone use it.  You do no maintenance at all  (MMT).   The bridge works GREAT, every day, until it rusts and suddenly collapses, killing everyone on it, and blocking the river with debris.  This is MMT.

MMT is just fine - until the day come that it is *not* fine.  Then everything collapses, and everyone is surprised - if they are fucking stupid, that is.  And this is the new, current world we are in - a world of curiously stupid people, running things and spouting nonsense.  It is just absolutely hilarious.   All you can do, is laugh.

One day, the US dollar will be the world's reserve currency.  And the next day, it just won't.  I am not sure what exactly will happen - maybe another 9/11 style attack, or a huge accident that takes out a US city, or maybe a massive California earthquake, where the whole state falls into the Pacific Ocean, or a small nuclear war - we cannot know the trigger.  But MMT will ensure that the USA is horribly bankrupt, and it's currency will *suddenly* - overnight - make a non-linear transition from being a trusted and accepted medium of exchange - to being something that no one wants to hold.   This is MMT => Modern Maintenance Theory - you let the bridge rust, until at some point, it just collapses, because you have done no maintenance whatsoever.

This is how non-linear failures occur.   The whole system does not slowly and gracefully fail - it fails suddenly, and completely.

So don't be surprised.   The failure may be 20 years away - maybe 40 or 50 years away - but MMT will ensure that the failure will be dramatic, and it will happen very, very quickly.

We will survive this virus thing, I suspect.  Even 40 or 50 million dead (globally) will not be a problem, really.  But I fear that MMT will maybe be the thing that does us all in.  It is such a stupid, and astonishingly wrong idea - but so politically attractive - that I fear it much more than any biosecurity risk.

One thing is very clear.  England (the UK) was very, very wise, to decouple itself from the European Union monetary structure.   Europe is absolutely going to self-destruct it's currency - just exactly the way it *ALWAYS* has throughout it's long, sad, violent history.  Humans do not learn the long-timescale lessons of history - we just cannot do it, given the shortness of our lives, and the profound benefits that scam-economics provides to the political master-classes.  They live high and happy, until their worlds come crashing down as the great Wheel of Fortune turns.  As a species, we are provably incapable of learning the key lessons, and applying the solutions, and history shows this over and over and over.  

Only private individuals can act to protect themselves.   Governments will *always* blow themselves up, in an orgy of stupidity and cruelty.  Why?  Because they can - and because they are always dominated by arrogant, puffed-up fraudsters and buffoons, who have either lucked or street-fought their way into power, and this gives the leaders the strong courage of fools.

Bloody hell, MMT is without doubt the most perfect example of extreme stupidity I have seen in a very long time.  The "bridge" is rusting - and as the corrosion advances - and the bridge does not fall - this does not mean that it is *not* rusting - the long period of non-collapse does NOT provide evidence that the rust is not important.  The rust *will* certainly destroy the bridge, if the bridge is not maintained.

And if inflation is not happening - even if this goes on for a long time - it does *not* mean that deficit spending is not actively corroding the confidence and economic value of a national currency.  Think about it.   If a rapid attack against a series of US nuclear arsenals was successfull, and the USA nuclear-weapons were disabled or degraded to the point of not being effective or operational -  what would happen to the USA dollar, as a "world reserve currency"?

Would people still trust it?  Would it still have value?   Or, would it jump to being almost worthless, overnight?

[ July 17, 2020 ] - Clear Signal, Fast Machine. - Crazy - prices are getting weird everywhere - a combo of collapse and expansion at same time.  Oil is being bid up, as are stocks, rates are falling, imploding incomes for investors and retired folks.  Retirement is like television - something that is not really operational anymore.  For today, "Everclear" - from the 1990's:  "We can live beside the Ocean, leave the Fire behind, swim out past the breakers, watch the world die."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW6E_TNgCsY

I gave up on local retailers, and ordered a Shyliyu pump from Amazon.  I looked at a Gould pump, and it was going to be $1500 or something like that.  Stupid pricing for stupid times, I guess.  The dis-intermediation that the internet allows, has changed everything.   So many business models have historically been based on deception, manipulation, and information-hiding.  (Oh, like most of the Fixed Income market activity in so many places... "Your bonds are f***ing *JUNK*!"  says the analyst.  "Yes, but they pay their coupons, and the suckers keep buying them!" says the big fraudster with the diamond rings on his fat fingers. )  

Funny, funny times - like in funny-haha and funny-strange at the same time.   The key thing in the bond market, is to make sure that you are not being paid your coupons out of the money you have loaned out.  I remember seeing all these half-built, abandoned modern hotels in Aruba, built by Italian gangsters, funded by junk bonds - half a hotel would get built, and then the Euroboys would run away with the rest of the money, leaving the half-built hotel on the beach.

Folks always underestimate the genius of fraudsters.    When big money is involved - big creative effort can be deployed, it would seem.   Like the Bitcoin hack against Twitter (both fall into the class of things we are not interested in...)  :)

Not having water is annoying.  But I am thankful the system failed in July, and not January.   I think a lot of the world is dealing with this sort of problem - stuff has just not been maintained since the early 2000's, and it is now starting to fail, after 15 to 20 years use.   Like our roads and our medical-services delivery - the roads have holes, and all the doctors who did actual doctoring, have all grown old and retired.  There are no GPs, and all medical services seem to fall into that category of things that create the illusion of service-delivery, but in fact, are offering nothing of value.   For anything real, you have to visit a hospital, and if you can't make it there, then you can just FO and die.  And god help you, if you DO go to a hospital - because that is where everything from C-difficile to Covid-19 lives, floating about in the crowded hallways and waiting rooms.   Go to a hospital now, and if you were not sick BEFORE you went, then you soon will be!   

There were good reasons for doctors to make "house calls".   Really good reasons.

Basically, many things are failing now - and systemic re-design efforts are going to be necessary, across a very wide range of processes and activities.  Right now, the Covid-19 numbers are trivial, really.  With only 500K deaths, we are seeing nothing yet, really.   Even the most basic ecology and population models, suggest that numbers 10 to 100 times larger are much more likely, if this really is a "pandemic".   A vaccine will help, but it might also turn out to be a new infection vector, if the process is rushed.  There is also the chance - which no one talks about - that a vaccine might induce a faster mutation rate by the virus, and make it *more* lethal.

I see this phenomenon in the incredible strength of the weeds bordering the productive fields,  The long use of chemical poisons to kill the weeds, has caused the "community of weeds" to become very strong and very healthy, and show evidence of a high rate of mutation response.  

I seriously worry about the "green revolution" running retrograde, as weeds develop resistance to "Roundup" and other biocides, and the high-yield crops (as a monoculture), end up with something like the Irish Potato fungus, that wipes out *everything* in a short time.  Lots of examples of this in the historical record.  Wine lovers probably know about phyloxia fungus that killed *all* the European vineyards in the 1800's.  The European grape varieties were only saved by the importation of American root-stock, and careful grafting actions by growers.

And we have had an insect plague - tent catapillars have eaten most of the leaves off of most of the trees.   The apple trees were completely stripped of leaves by the worms, and are now sprouting new leaves (nature has many in-built recovery systems).   I did not spray for the worms, and they mostly died, once the leaves were eaten.   The birds will not eat the catapillars, but they will eat the pupas and the moths.

Despite all the weirdness, the portfolios are ticking along not too badly, and the models seem to be working.  But we are getting fixed-income stuff that was yielding close to 5%, being reset to south of 3.5%, so this means less income thrown off.

The "yield-starvation" of the bond-markets, forces investors into much risker investments, (the TINA phenomenon)  and this explains the bubbly equity markets.  Many stocks could double from where they are now, if the companies can figure out new ways to make enough money to pay good dividends.  We will have to see some inflation soon, or we will probably be seeing some hard-core deflation, as economic process and activity cycles down due to virus restrictions.   The central banks are making the bond-traders very wealthy, and the lawyers are doing OK too - but none of the central-bank stimulus is reaching ordinary people who run businesses.  This is a problem, since it is these self-financing sectors,  where the nation's wealth is created.

[ July 16, 2020 ] - Pump Out. - After working like a daemon for 3 days, and pulling and cutting 183 feet of steel pipe from well, we reached the dead pump - a Jacuzzi (later: Franklin, as they had bought them).   Removing (disconnecting) the "pitless adapter" took a huge 6x6 beam rigged as a second-class lever, and a 20-tonne house-jack.  (Yes, it can jack up a house.  I had to lift a corner of a cottage, and it worked.)  The "pitless adapter" is just dopey technology => a brass plate dropped against another brass holder, which sends the water from vertical to horizontal into the house.   It took several thousand pounds of pulling force to free it, since the plates leach iron corrosion and become tightly stuck.  This is badly designed technology - as is the whole system, really.  It is amazing it has worked for as long as it has.  We have used it for 17 years, and it looks vintage 1974 - like a Mott the Hoople tune, so I guess it passes the "good enough" test.

New pump will be installed with plastic pipe, and will not weigh several tonnes, I am hoping.  The trick is to find the pipe I need, since all the local stores seem to be sold out of just about everything useful.  They have lots of stuff you don't want on offer, but all the needed construction and maintenance supply materiel (like bolts, threaded rods, pipe, plumbing system parts, etc.) seem to be in short supply.  THe local TSC store has Red Lion pumps, and has just raised the price on them two days after I first checked them out.   Border closures between USA and Canada are really f***ing up our supply chains and even retail product availability, and this is being reflected in price hikes for critical components - like water pumps needed by farmsteads.

Don't you just *love* modern Government?   The fellows are so helpful.  [ Hint: Satire.  :) ]

[ July 14, 2020 ] - World of [*NO!*] Water!  - Very, very strange times.   Sunny weather as the world ends?   My partner in crime says this is the Year from Hell.  Not because of the viral death rates, or the Mongolian Rat Plague, nor because of the Insane Leaders Running AMOK everywhere - no, not because of that - but because here at the Latifundia Lorcalon - the technology for our aquaduct has *FAILED*!..  

I love Prefab Sprout - and I found some wonderful fellow had posted on of my favourite "New Musik" tracks (the boys doing a Dutch TV gig, back in 1980) from the "From A to B" album.  Great band...  bought it on vinyl when it came out....  "World of Water.."   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbJIu_na4gY

So good... you "swim for the other side - but your swimming against the tide..."   (Story of our lives these days...")

Corresponded with the respected Professor in Athens who wrote the 1990 TEA laser paper - Dr. Serafetinides.

http://www.physics.ntua.gr/~serafetinides/publications.html

Truly Dr. Serafetinides is a Scholar and a Gentleman of the very first level.  I requested a copy of his 1990 paper in IEEE Quantum, and he sent me the .JPG images of the paper.  The paper is very good, and has the math for the two sets of  oscillations that seem to be happening to drive the N2 TEA laser at atmospheric pressure.   I am weak on intregal calculus, and need to consult a math specialist to enhance my understanding - but their research and theory seems to confirm and describe the feedback process I am sensing.  Two sets of oscillations are happening  - and to get laser action from the N2 TEA laser, you need to configure a "sweet-spot" between to the two - like tuning a regenerative radio receiver.  So interesting.

I am pretty sure that D2 fusion in an IEC device, will require something similiar - a multi-factor tuning process, which when successful, will yield a small - but positive - rate of power production and associated neutron flux.  If this process could made to occur in a matrix of very small IEC type devices, a planar surface of heat-producing devices could be fabricated - and maybe run off of a lithium-ion battery.  The tricky part is making tiny paladium grids in a vacuum - like a sheet of bubble-wrap.

But we have no water.  I am working to remove the submersible pump from the farm house bore-hole well. and this is a huge job.   But we need water.  This is a World of Water, and it is waiting at the well-bottom.   I just need to rebuild and re-install all the technology to feed it to the house!

[ July 9, 2020 ] - Hot Coffee, Cool Running, Scary Times & Good Results- Very curious times.  In a world which seems hard-wired to generate serial "worst-case" scenarios and a constant stream of shitstorms, disasters and nightmare-class events, it is important to keep in mind, that positive outcomes are still possible.

It is satisfying and often useful to direct efforts to clearly defined projects which have linear development characteristics where increments of progress can be made each day  - but the real paybacks are those class of projects which are very open-ended, and which have high-degrees of randomness which influence outcome-attractiveness.  These kinds of open-ended, wide-ranging project/problems are completely differnent, and require the same intense focus of effort, but often the payoff is gated mosty  by chance.   Luck really matters.

Examples include marketing (ie. sales), trading (market speculation), gambling (games-of-chance), and scientific research (lots of lab work, but success often results from one lucky or unique observation or experimental result).

Our neural circuits are not wired to make projects which have a high degree of randomness related to success, easy to do.  We mis-calculate probabilities all the time, and it is difficult to remain focused on open-ended, non-linear tasks that offer random, intense, negative re-inforcement routinely, and only rarely exhibit large, postive payoffs.  And yet, it is this class of tasks, that typically have the very high, and significant outcomes, and can offer wildly beneficial results, if and when all the drifting elements come together in just the right way.  

Sometimes, it's as easy as just being there, seeing the "stars line up", and pressing the button.

But one also has to realize, that it might take a lifetime of work and effort, to have acquired the knowledge so that one can truly see what is happening, and be located in the position where the button is connected to an operational systemic process, and is available to be pressed!

You also need to avoid the "empty holster" problem, where you reach down for your six-gun at your side, to deal with a serious threat that you have just been confronted with - and you find your holster holds only empty air.   You learn the "lesson of the lanyard" when that happens, and also often learn another lesson about how much you can rely on the forbearance of poisonous reptiles, angry grizzly bears, and murderous bandits.   Which is not much, of course.

Still, if you can survive, and deal with the constant threats, and the negative, nasty outcomes, and also avoid being foolish and making dumb-guy mistakes, one must keep in mind that sometimes, it can all come together in a best-case scenario.   Mostly it does not - but if you can keep the costs of the failures and the stupid mistakes small and survivable, then you will increase your chances of "being there", when it actually *can* and does come together, as your plan with the optimistic-scenario had suggested was possible.

[ July 8, 2020 ] - Feed It Back, Jack. - I built a regenerative shortware radio, back 10 years ago, and I had made "improvements" to it that had basically stopped it working properly.  (Added an audio amplifier stage - but it broke the feedback circuit).  So, I put it back to a working regenerative configuration, and confirmed it would still work.  Turn up the feedback too high, and you get "motorboating" or squeals and howls - but that is part of tuning it.

I will create a new tab, called "Regen. Radio", with picture of the set, and a schematic sketch (sorry for the poor penmanship... a lifetime of keyboard work has left me a bad draftsman)... :)

The regenerative circuit is very interesting - if you look at the schematic, you can see that the 6SN7 is basically two triode tubes in one bottle, and that the radio signal that is detected by the first triode, and fed to the grid of the second triode to be amplified, is then also sent back to first triode, thru the 47K potentiometer.   The pot. acts like a volume control, except when you turn it up too high, you drive too much feedback thru the signal detector, and you get a "motorboat" sound, or a howl or a squeal.  Back off the gain a bit, and typically, a nice, boosted signal of the distant station can be heard well.  

This careful tuning with sensitive feedback process is very much like what happens when the laser-rail of the TEA Laser are adjusted, which is why I suspect there is a feedback process happening in the lasing of the N2 molecules.

The whole conceptual idea of a feedback process is very interesting - it is also very much the basis for both computer-based neural-networks, which use calculus methods to back-propagate small changes to neural node weights - and also probably how the real neuron state potential is adjusted in bio-systems (like in our own brains).

You can "suss-out" the degree of reflective (reflexive?) feedback in market activity, and you can gain some true, actionable insight into how prices are being set in a competitive marketplace situation.

I find that actually constructing the physical devices which make actionable use of these process methodologies, allows one to gain unique insights that otherwise often do not become apparent.

[ July 7, 2020 ] - Resonant Frequency, or the Frequency of Resonance?- The reason this TEA Laser is so interesting, is that there is something curious happening when it operates.  The penny dropped, and I realize it is a tuned, resonance device.

The device is surprisingly sensitive.  And it can be made to work  with transverse rails that are only 1 foot long, but it works better with the two foot rails - on exactly same capacitor.   Also, the coil inductance is very low - the laser seems to work best, with this small, poorly made coil, which is bent badly - but it works the best of several coils made.  Curious.

Also, it seems to work best if capacitor plates are asymetric - the first plate slightly smaller than the second plate.  And from my (limited) understanding of Blumlein circuits, I don't actually see one here - what we have here seems to be a very sensitive capacitor-inductor (LC) circuit, running at high-voltage and oscillating like an early radio transmitter.  The physical shape of the beam-rails, and their length and physical position to each other, seems to be the most important design parameter-set, that distinguishes an operational device that lases well, from a non-working device that just generates a lot of sparks and noise.

So that leads me to think there is some sort of very specific kind of resonance happening here.  If it was just a question of nano-second rise-times, and voltage levels sufficient to create scattered electron field density levels that would create N2 molecule population inversion, then the thing would not be so crazy sensitive to positional operation of the transverse beam-rails.  But it is.   The most *tiny* movement of the 61 cm (24 inch) transverse rails, will *wildly* effect the beam-spot intensity, switching it off completely, in most cases.

This is a very *non-linear* device.    I think that is one of the things that makes it captivate my attention so.

I just read a book on Lasers and Holography, and several websites on how to make glass dry-plates with photographic emulsion.   The chemistry is vastly more complex than I expected.  The whole development of light-sensitive photo emulsion is another area of almost witchcraft-level magic.  It's very much like the optogenetics phenomenon - a complex, multi-step process that yields a curious, (and crazy-useful and powerful) light-driven methodology.   IF I want to make a hologram, I first need a photographic plate, that is sensitive to light.   Easier said than done - since glass plates with photo-emulsion on them do not now exist - even chemical photography is non-existant almost.  And the manner in which full 3-D information can be encoded onto what is (almost) a 2-D planar surface, using interference patterns of direct and reflected light, is astonishingly interesting - and is also perhaps another reason why NVIDIA stock is being valued the way it is.  

If we can have screen-image resolutions that are several billion by several billion - actually, lets be accurate -  since it's right there on page 90 of Koch's book, section: "Information Content", where he estimates that to record a hologram interference pattern with sufficient details, (dots of light) for an 8-inch by 8-inch hologram, one needs emulsion resolution (either optically using photography, or electrically, using a TV-screen image), one would need 1500 fringe-lines per millimeter, and thus 200 mm (8 inches) x 1500 = 300,000 dots horizontal, and the same amount of vertical resolution, or 90,000,000,000 dots (90 billion, or 9 x 10 exponent 10) dots.  He points out that a US television screen has 500 dots vertical and 500 dots horizontal resolution, so max 250,000 dots (what we now call "pixels"), and so 3-D TV is right out - using 1968 TV electronics.

(Winston Koch, the author, was a researcher at Bell Labs - and eventually a Director of a NASA research centre - so doubtless he was familiar with Shannon's information theorems and related work.  The optical information density of holograms is one of their characteristics that make them so interesting.)

But with matrix-processors, and modern, fast,  multiprocessors, a 90-billion pixel image construction is not out of the question now, so it might soon be possible to have 3-D viiual video "tanks", or even projections of 3-D images out into the front of the screen,   The technology of the "holodeck" becomes closer.  But I would like to see a working prototype of an electronic hologram as a still image, first.  

But to return to the TEA laser.   It appears to be some sort of "tuned" device, which is actively making use of a resonance-effect.  Getting it to work at all, is remarkably similar to what one has to do, to get a regenerative radio receiver to operate correctly - you have to tune - then off-tune - then tune again back to resonance, and then off-tune, before the device over-oscillates and collapses into annoying feedback howls.  This iterative-process of tune and off-tune, and then re-tune, lets one use the information-content of the weak signal to isolate and then gently amplify the weak signal into a strong signal that can be heard. (Modern radios are "superhets", in that they hetrodyne the signal up into the super-sonic for tuning, and then drop it back down into the audible range for listening.  This got rid of the loud "howls" of the early, regenerative radios.)  

Regen radios are really interesting feedback devices, and actually, they are extremely sensitive, and can be made to work remarkably well (I have built several from bits of vacuum-tube technology, just to understand this physical manifestation of this curious feedback-process device).

See, there is something weirdly wonderful about feedback-driven processes.  They are clearly part of human (and even animal) intelligence - our brains are constantly running feedback loops to make sense of the world - and AI technology uses this process to excute the back-propagation virtual-neuron setting levels - as part of it's information encoding process.

AI-technology, regenerative radios, the ecology of living-systems (the Robert May equations), and even ion-circulating IEC fusion reactors, all make use of feed-back (and feed-forward) operational process.  Really.

But it surprised the heck out of me - to find this same, crazy-sensitve regen-radio, back-propagation, damped-driven feedback process, working in the bloody TEA laser!

See, our brains are funny things - they pull us along, both seeing and taking in information, and at the same time, processing the heck out of  this data - constantly, all the time, even if we don't know it is happening.   We honestly can seriously, truly *see* stuff, and we can act on that information, long before we even are consciously aware that this is occuring.

The stock and commodity markets are very much feedback/feedforward processes, that are driven by the strengths and weaknesses of human neural activity.   This explains our rising stock market, in the middle of a lethal pandemic.  The truth is - lethal pandemics - which are obviously not so good for the old and the sick - are actually *really* good for the basic investment process.  ONce you think about it, just a little tiny bit, it becomes painfully clear that this is the case.  The entire investment process works *much* better, if you have a method by which you can cull the weak, and the useless and the non-productive.  Just ask any farmer or manager of an orchard.  This is why farmers, way out in farm-country, far away from the market "action", can actually make pretty good investors.   They grasp the picture of what is happening.  The old must constantly be swept away, and turned into fertilizer, so the new can grow.  It's why we have Spring Festivals, and compound interest, and bankruptcy laws.

The N2 TEA-Laser is working like a regenerative-radio receiver.   I am sure of this, because in order to make it lase nicely, I have to fuss with the beam-rail position, exactly the same way that I have to tune-in Tokyo. on my home-made, two vacuum-tube short-wave regenerative radio receiver.   It's the same operational algorithm as the back-propegating Xerion AI, when it converges down to a minima, and finds (maybe) the best-fit for the neuron-activation values, for the current dataset - that damped feedback convergence-by-successive approximation fiddling like one does in a bond-yield derivation... tune, de-tune, tune closer - Ahiee, damn, too much feedback - de-tune (or go-past tune), and try again...  etc.   Like a line-search along a gradient, or an attempt to jump to another (better) minima on the surface... analogous to spinning the tune dial away from the station (ie. decouple from all the feedback links), and try again fresh (like going for a walk, or having a drink and working on something else for a while - when trying to resolve a problem by thinking about it...)  

So, why is the TEA Laser a resonant-tunable device?   What exactly is *ringing*?  Are the little N2 molecules like tiny bells, that "ring" at a certain frequency?  Does this ringing propegate by photon transfer? Are there harmonics?  Research suggests that there are megawatt N2 lasers, that can create sparks when the beam falls on metal. Could one make two intersected TEA lasers, with two sets of beam-rails, orthogonal to each other?  And could I point several N2 lasers into the centre of a working IEC fusion device, and induce the poisor (the ball of hot plasma made up of positive D2 ions trapped by the negatively charged containment-grid) to enhance the rate of neutron production?

And could an N2 laser (or several?)  introduce energy into a semi-stable compound of material, and cause it to "detonate", in a controlled fashion, and in such a manner as to focus the detonation, and create propulsion?   See, if there is a resonant process at work, then it must be possible to augment it, focus it, and drive additional energy-releasing conversions.

[ July  6, 2020 ] - Fiat Lux & Trip the Light Fantastic - Blasted a hole thru the dielectic again, but developed a fix.  There is electrical "overpressure" right at the beam-rails, so a third layer of 0.1 mm acetate sheeting, about 3 inches wide, is inserted under the rails only.  This seem to work.  Ran the laser for several minutes, in bright mode, to do some ablation experiment inside large crystals - seems to work without melting the table-top, or starting a fire.

Weird-science journey:  Lasers - because I toured a laser lab when very young, and saw a real hologram.  Then, with psychology and neural experiments - Skinner box lab rats, from young time to university - lab rats with electrodes, hitting a bar to stimulate their brain's medial hypothalamus (the "pleasure centre") - but computer technology became main focus,  and hard-core math & science programming - because I could and it paid really well.   Economics and computer science became the work & the playground.   But brain research always in background, and then the lectures from Dr. Hinton and Xerion and Linux - and all the Toronto Finance work and the neural net projects to forecast financial values.  But physics and biotech remained.  Our best neural network already sits on our necktop.  A brain holds data like lasers and holography - that curious holographic-model of how the brain encodes information, confirmed by the neural-network simulator matricies....  And the bio-research and learning how PCR worked, and how DNA could be fully sequenced.    

And now the strange discovery/invention of optogenetics - using virus-vectors to drop light-receptive genes into neural-cells, so the neurons become operationally sensitive to optical stimulation. The canonical article in Scientific American explains the amazing linkage between optical technology, genetic engineering, and brain-focused neural research.  I love the line where the author admits: "The experiments worked shockingly well."

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/optogenetics-controlling/

And this is now a working technology.  You use the bio-technology to vector gene-sequences that tweak neurons to encode for optical events into brain neurons, and then using the same stereotaxic surgery that was used to implant wires into rat's brains to deliver electrical signals - you now instead deliver pulses of different coloured light.  The neurons react when the light of the right colour stimulates them, because the genetic data that has been virally vectored into the neuron, causes it to generate a protein that makes the cell fire when light is applied.  This works better than electrical stimulation, and can be quite cell-specific.   Thorlabs sells the technical equipment needed to allow thin, fibre-optic cables to be inserted into rodent brains for neural-research.  Different colours of light can cause different neurons to fire.

https://www.thorlabs.com/navigation.cfm?guide_id=2187

Thorlabs typically sells commerical lasers, and even a device to make entangled photons.  But now, apparently, given the successful insertion (by viral infection), of the light-sensing genetic modification to brain-cells, one can hook up lasers to mammalian brains.  

Laser connected to brain, carefully, neuron by neuron.    This is impressive science, and will give a whole new meaning to the concept of "enlightenment".

But the real magic comes again from a hybrid approach - you can use the wire implants and other sensitive electrical recording devices to monitor brain activity - and at the same time, if the neurons have been modified to be light-sensing and reactive (firing when the the light is applied via fiber-optic cable), you can now send control signals, and monitor the electrical actions of the neurons responses, at the same time.  The two processes don't interfere.   You can learn what the brain controls where, like running a "debug" utility to monitor, change or correct, a running computer program.   

And this promises not just investigative science, but perhaps (finally) effective clinical treatment of brain-related problems.    

[ July 4th, 2020 ] - Stable Laser on a Table  -  Extensive work on the N2 TEA-Laser.  I want the thing to run in a stable mode, without melting sheets of plexiglass and starting little fires.   

I got the TEA Laser working with the big 1 mm plexiglass sheets, but it was *very* difficult to align, and would occasionally suffer breakdown arcs right thru the plexiglass. This was not good, sounded awful, and smelled even worse.   Also, it was running at close to 25 KVdc, which made it very dangerous.  The high-voltage wire, if it got close to any source of ground, would quietly arc and start tiny fires.  The resistors got hot and smelled bad (as they began to melt), and the whole thing was not very stable.  

So, when the 19 by 24 inch, 0.1mm plastic desktop-sheets arrived from Staples, I tried these.  I also wound several different coils of various inductance, but the ugly 7-turn, 2-cm diameter coil worked best - in both the big laser configuration (1 mm plexiglass), and in the smaller 19x24 inch Deskpad-sheet version.

Details of latest (stable) Deskpad-sheet N2 TEA Laser:

Deskpad-TEA-Laser, a Nitrogen (atmospheric) laser, running at 10.5 KVdc, drawing only 5 ma, and showing beam-spot on back of plain, white envelope  (top image).   The laser is constructed from 19 x 24 inch desktop plastic pad (from Staples), aluminum foil, and the laser rails for the transverse excitement of nitrogen (air) are made from 1-inch "Shur-Trim" aluminum seambinder strips, from Home Depot. (Spark-gap is covered to allow beam-spot to be visible).  Beam-spot on paper covered with yellow hi-lighter will fluoresce much brigher, but this image is better for comparison with other devices.  The laser-rails are 61 cm (24 inches) in length, the plate capacitor is 53 cm by 40 cm for lower plate, with upper two plates in total size being about 20% smaller in total area.  There are *two* 0.1 mm thickness desktop-pads used, so total capacitor dielectric is 0.2 mm.  If a single pad is used, the laser will perform well, but dielectric breakdown will occur.  The laser rails have to be adjusted carefully, to achieve a roughly 1.5 mm front gap width, and a very slightly smaller roughly 1.4 to 1.3 mm gap width at the rear.   Spark-gap width is roughly 3 to 4 mm, and this width should not be exceeded, else the capacitors will over-charge and dielectric breakdown (arcs punched right thru the plastic) can occur.  The capacitor plates are made from aluminum foil.  Power is supplied from a Molectron Hi-Voltage supply, originally designed to power a low-pressure N2 Laser.  A matrix of 5 x 5 1-megaohm resistors is used to limit current-draw from the power supply. Power supply was re-wired, so high-voltage negative is provided, and ground is positive (this was necessary to power the IEC Fusion Reactor).

This version of the laser generates a stable, bright beam-spot, and as it is drawing only 5 ma at 10.5 KVdc, it seems stable, and runs cool.   I will re-design the spark-gap to use two automobile spark-plugs, and enclose the thing to allow the noise and radio-frequency interference to be reduced.

Next Tasks:  I want to construct a low pressure laser-tube, with transverse excitation rails, and quartz glass end covers.   One should be able to pump plain air down to about 50 to 70 torr, and have rail separation about 7 or 8 cm, and get a nice, bright UV beamline at 10 KVdc, and not draw any more that 5 ma.  This lets everything run cool, and without external arcing.   Beam power can be improved by adding helium, in ratio of  7 parts helium to 1 part nitrogen.  Flowing nitrogen (from welder's gas) can also be used.   Eventually, I want to pump some dye-lasers, and try to create a hologram.  I also want to try to modulate the UV beam or a dye-laser beam, using the Z-80, and see if I can then de-modulate it using a second Z-80 at the other end.

[ July 2, 2020 ] - Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better - Bigger TEA Laser fabrication does not work better.   Extenesive tests with 1 mm lexan acetate sheet variant of N2 TEA laser design yields only weak beam-spot.   Lots of sparks, lots of current, voltage levels pushed up to 25KVdc and spark gap increasedto 6 to 7 mm, but either no laser action, or very weak, dim beam.  Tried different inductors bridging the capacitors, different shapes to capacitor plates, different locations of voltage inputs and spark-gap, and even managed to blast a flaming hole thru the acetate sheet from high-voltage dielec