Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Obama phone. My plan for free phones for the people.

Interesting video below that shows a source of Obama support. May be better at attracting votes than Mitt Romney's plan for more war in the middle east.

My plan for electronic currency includes a free cell phone for all citizens. A white on black screen that can text or email or browse but no actual voice or speaker. E-ink, text only, no backlight. Ad supported. Also everybody gets a free web site, social networking site, and email in addition to a telephone number. Must be small with a good battery and a wind up power source with geolocation. Connects with cell towers and short wave packet radio(input only). All bank statements come to this phone. Communication is encrypted. If they lose or break their phone they have to buy a new one. But by design this will be a very cheap, reliable and long lasting cell phone.

Customers have to come down to the bank in person to get their phone. Banks are in post offices and officers are armed. Customers are fingerprinted, photographed, retinas scanned, birth certificates checked,... There will be much fewer bankers than today but they would be highly qualified ex-military with big guns, horses, and maintain the flow of money and supervise the militia. Post offices become armories.

I allow for free guns for militiamen: a 30-06, shotgun, and 22, as well as flashlights, geiger counters, rain water collection devices. etc. They must pass exams to get into a militia -- shooting, IQ, physical abilities, survival abilities... Goal to get the top 10% of the population into militias (no pay). Reduce the number of active duty military and reserves. But have a large militia in case SHTF in which case the militia would maintain order and provide food and water to the sheeple.


Free Obama Phones: Fact vs. Fiction

WASHINGTON, September 28, 2012 – Do you pay taxes and ever wonder what exactly Obama is doing with your money?

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=tpAOwJvTOio] shows the end result of one miraculous government program that gives away free cell phones; it keeps the Democrat voters both fired up and totally oblivious to the world around them.

But what makes this program even more miraculous is that while the monthly charges go directly to the taxpayer, an illusion is created that the phones are given to the entitled voters personally by the Oprah-like President Obama: "You get a phone! And you get a phone!"

But wait, there's more! Our researchers have compiled the following list of features that distinguish the free ObamaPhone from a regular cell phone:


  • It automatically rejects calls from people with a different opinion.

  • Every time you take a picture, it produces a grimmer image of America.

  • It doesn't have a plan; it just keeps telling you how bad the other guy's plan is.

  • When it crashes, it blames your previous phone.

  • All 3 AM calls go directly to voicemail.

  • It has a really useless app called "Biden."

  • Pairing it with another device sucks all the energy out of the other unit.

  • Type in "job search" and it gives you directions to the welfare office.

  • The navigation feature covers all 57 States.

  • The default ringtone for international calls is "I'm sorry, so sorry, please accept my apology."

  • The healthcare app downloads and installs itself without your permission.

  • When you make a call, a teleprompter pops up to help you speak.

  • Restaurant reviews are all written by Michelle Obama.

  • There are never any winners on Angry Birds.

  • Instagram takes two months to process a photo and you have to fill out 3 PDFs to do so.

  • Paypal app is replaced with ReceivePal app.

  • You can't find "Jerusalem" on Google maps.

  • It turns all your Facebook friends into enemies and all your enemies into friends.

  • Don't want to work? There's an app for that, too.

  • It automatically bows down to phones made by foreign companies.

  • When you watch a YouTube video, a US ambassador gets killed.

  • When you dial "home", it calls Kenya.

  • As opposed to the iPhone, it's called the mePhone.



Friday, September 28, 2012

Ironman Triathlon 70.3 miles: Cervelo bike $10,000

First mail on my new Apple imac. Unfortunately my old firewire 400 cable does not plug into new firewire 800 plug so I can't upload all my old work files yet. Worthless keyboard but Lion feels like home. Huge download of updates going on while I listen to youtube Evanescence amazing song below.

Triathlon was awe inspiring. A very complicated, well managed, beautiful event for superior athletes. Branson is the hardest race in the series due to the rugged terrain. Winner took 4 hours for the 70.3 miles. Complicated equipment, fast transitions, grueling events requiring decades of training starting at birth. Only 1300 competitors. Cool heads + emotional intelligence, not the riotous atmosphere of a marathon that almost anybody can run. Actually 4 races run simultaneously: ironman, the shorter Olympic triathlon, sprint, and relay. Longer races, older people and females start sooner to try to get them to finish closer to the same time as everybody else. 7AM the oldest start first. Still dark, 40 degree air temperature, water cold. Do I want to do this? Everybody in wet suits (that I have never used). Enough to discourage me. Then climb out of the water run uphill over rocks and sand to get on a racing bike that I have also never figured out (gave my 10 speed away in 1978). Then up and down hills at very slow or very fast speeds (very dangerous). Requires careful gear changes and timing. Decades to perfect. I also need to learn how to speed change flats. The half-marathon is the easiest leg but up and down hills again after legs worn out from biking. Ambulances waiting at the finish line for big hospital across the street. Several carted off with sprains, dislocated shoulders, etc. Most walking carefully, dizzy, sore,... Pizza hot dogs and chocolate milk to speed recovery.

Awards ceremony: Competitors professional, well off, fancy cars, look mostly like doctors and Navy Seals, blonder than our light colored population. Married to super-models or better. I noticed one engineer drove his BMW mini cooper up from TI Dallas Texas with bike on the roof. I recognize the type. One blonde gray lady looked 70+ years old but finished -- slender, dynamic type but hurting, probably a model herself when younger. Another 70+ year old male finished, about 5'4" 200 pounds looked like a professional wrestler or other accomplished athlete. The 65+ winner 6'3" slender looked like a move star, like the Navy Seal on Hawaii Five 0 but with longer hair and fancy haircut. Won in 7 hours which would probably be as good as I could do at my peak many years ago.

I maybe could do it in 8 hours now with training double the winner at 4 hours. I can go out and time myself on the 3 legs to see if I can do any of them in twice the time as the winner. Then try to put them all together. No use in competing if I cannot do it by myself beforehand. Get up at 2am for the bike section when there is no traffic. First I must buy and learn a proper bike -- the longest, hardest and most dangerous part of the race. If I can't do that in 4 hours then I quit. Before that I will make sure I can do a half marathon in 2 hours. Should be easy but I only ran 1 race less than a marathon -- my ex-wife beat me in a 10k in 1984, a year after retired from running. We were both 5'7" and 140 lbs. I figured out about that time that 50 miles in 7 hours would be my max without excessive strain.

I am more interested in the Hawaii 140 mile ironman than the Branson 70 ironman. I am slow but can keep going. I figured out last week that I was born mostly white meat - fast twitch muscle that is good for strength, not endurance. By lots of running I have developed some circulation, red meat - slow twitch muscle. But I have always had trouble with endurance exercises. High school half mile 2:30 was the best I could do. Weightlifting I do 2-3 reps, not 6-10 like everybody else. Biking uphill I get off and walk between sprints. Swimming I butterfly down real fast and crawl back slow, for hours. I have strength and explode well. Just fill up with lactic acid or something and muscles get weak. Have to slow down to where muscles can get oxygen and flush out wastes. At my age this is not going to change. I am so erratic and often sedentary tendons get brittle, muscles get weak, all of this is dangerous. But I will slowly train for it. Diet helps, but training is essential.

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=y-chzZjJz5o]

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=3yUeyJUnnfw]

http://m.bikeradar.com/news/article/cervelo-p5-the-full-details-32962/

Striking new tube profiles were developed using Computational Flow Design where bike frame iterations were modelled against a virtual wind tunnel by a 16-core computer. From here, the tests were validated in real wind tunnels. It will save 6-11 watts ( 30sec in 40km) over the latest generation of 'super bikes'. custom designed hydraulic brakeset from German company Magura.

http://bransontrilakesnews.com/news_free/article_6ae744f0-0738-11e2-8362-001a4bcf887a.html

“We have 1,300 registered athletes, and we don’t expect all 1,300 to actually do the race. It’s very common people will register and they will get injured, so we always have a drop off because it’s such a grueling sport.” The event was the coordinated result of Missouri State Highway Patrol and Water Patrol Division, Taney County and Stone County Sheriff’s offices, Western Taney County Fire Protection District, Branson Fire and Rescue, Southern Stone County Fire Protection District, Branson Police Department, Taney County Ambulance District, Skaggs Regional Medical Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others.

“We got all those people in the same room and said, ‘Can we do this?’” “When you’re 65 miles in, and all you want is to have this thing over with and you got people cheering you on and telling you to keep going...” The swimming portion is particularly dangerous, and required 20 lifeguards, 10 boats and six jet skis operated by surrounding fire departments, and about 15 kayaks “The water poses obvious dangers, but we’re really fortunate to have wonderfully trained people,” “To know you’re a half mile out in Table Rock Lake that you have a backup plan, it’s a great feeling to have them out there with you, because stuff goes wrong. You cramp, no matter how much you train, so it’s great to have volunteers out in the boats, as well, and just seems really well-organized.”

http://youtu.be/PJGpsL_XYQI

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

QE Impact On Western Financial World

QE1 and QE2 were designed to pad the wallets of bankers and cause deflation. QE3 is probably more of the same. By the Basle III banking agreement the banks required themselves to hold more capital.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basel_III
So the Fed (owned by the banks) bought junk securities from the banks to give the banks the capital that they required themselves to hold. Not much new money was created, not many loans, and not much new economic activity. The economy remains very weak. Trickle down theory is wrong. Money stayed in the banks and did not trickle down to the people who would spend it and boost the economy and inflation. As long as bankers and rich people hoard their money and gold then we will continue to see deflation. Poor people won't be given much money to spend so the prices of what they buy will have to be low. They cannot spend money they do not have or borrow. Inflation requires lots of money so that people can spend more on what they buy. Lack of jobs and income puts a severe constraint on income and thus what people can buy. Minimum wage, welfare and junk food stamps can only buy so much -- not enough to cause inflation.

Poor people will have to pay higher food prices because of the drought and the wars that have driven up fuel prices (quadrupled since 1999 91 cents in LA to $3.65 MO yesterday). But people will have less money to spend on other items so overall prices will continue to decline. The swipe fee also boosted prices. Banks were charging 30 cents per swipe so if you buy a dollar quart of milk you have to pay a 30% swipe fee tax to the banks. Frank Dodd cut the swipe fee but it is still too high. I noticed food prices jump a few years ago immediately when I also gave up cash and went to a debit card. I buy almost everything electronically now.

Gold inflation is helping the rich unload their hoards at inflated prices. They bought up gold back when it was cheap and now finally are getting to unload it. After the rich bought all the gold they invented gold derivatives and other securities to boost the price of gold. It worked as planned, just like the real estate derivatives bubbled house prices 2000-2008. I remember that real estate boom, everybody said "real estate is different, it never goes down," All bubbles have erroneous and illogical arguments supporting higher prices. Web sites can spread advertising disinformation faster and cheaper than talk radio, TV, etc. Eventually bubbles burst or slowly deflate. People can live without gold a lot easier than live without a house or food or water. If we ever do see a real inflation people will sell gold to buy essentials causing a gold price collapse. That has not happened yet, still deflation near recession. On a positive note, the House Price Index (attached) has turned upward, finally! But is still only 70% of what it was in 2007.


Subject: QE To Have Major Economic Impact On Western Financial World























































About Jim Sinclair

Jim Sinclair is the Chairman and CEO of Tanzanian Royalty Exploration Corporation (TRX: Altanext NYSE platform, TNX: Senior Toronto Stock Exchange). He is a precious metals and commodities specialist. Some of the highlights of his nearly 50 year career include the founding of Sinclair Group of Companies (1977), which offered full brokerage services. Mr. Sinclair served as a Precious Metals Advisor to Hunt Oil and the Hunt family for the liquidation of their silver position as a prerequisite for the $1 billion loan arranged by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker. He was also a General Partner and Member of the Executive Committee of two New York Stock Exchange firms and President of Sinclair Global Clearing Corporation and Global Arbitrage .

He has authored numerous magazine articles and three books dealing with a variety of investment subjects. He is a regular speaker at various commodities related events.

In January 2003, Mr. Sinclair launched, "Jim Sinclairs MineSet," which now hosts his gold commentary and is intended as a free service to the gold community.



















"Nothing will unnerve the paper gold shorts more quickly and do more to undercut their confidence than to strip them of the real metal and force them to come up with more hard gold bullion to make good on deliveries. "Stand and Deliver or Go Home" should be the rallying cry of the gold longs to the paper gold shorts." --Trader Dan Norcini









My Dear Extended Family,

For years we took major criticism for saying that QE to infinity was guaranteed. Recently we took major criticism for even saying QE itself was possible. Now we take criticism for saying QE to infinity is going to have a major impact economically in the entire Western financial world.

All the talking heads and writers are on a tear saying QE will do nothing, emphasizing deflationary scenarios both from within the community to financial TV. Those that take that position are raving morons.

The markets today are full of normal manipulation based on the MSM disinformation that QE to infinity is a hollow tool. It is dynamite and will have an impact of historical dimensions, but not necessarily the ones the morons expect.

Keep your gold investments. Gold is going to $3500 and beyond, about which there is no question. Stand tall. Don't trade, and shut off the gold naysayers sensationalists we have battled from $248 to today.

This is nothing different from the disinformation of early 1979. The Philadelphia Fed president is an example of MSM disinformation.

Regards,
Jim














Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TeX for mac OSX

TeXshop is a superb Mac OSX implementation of TeX desktop publishing program (Knuth Stanford). That is one reason why I go to the Mac. Produces great PDF output and works fine, fast, easy to use. Easy to imbed images, diagrams, tables, etc. All the advantages of TeX -- great layout, ... The default CM fonts are very artistic and would be better for philosophy and literature than the math Springer Verlag type books it is usually used in.

The Mac is much more stable than Windows for me -- never reboot or crash. I did not shake or jiggle my mac. Took care of it and ran it cool. Unfortunately got a short in the surge protector!!!! not the mac.

Get SSD if you travel. Rotating hard disks are slow and can be easily damaged by abrupt motion, heat.... And they draw more power.

http://pages.uoregon.edu/koch/texshop/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeXShop

Friday, September 21, 2012

Amazing molecules, diet, religion, finance

It is hard to do anything without my Mac. MSWin is a dud. I may get a Mac Mini while waiting for the new iMacs.

I am going downtown now to talk to a broker about a house on 1 acre. I could live off the grid from my garden, mostly raw, fermented, or home-canned fruits and vegetables supplemented by fish caught within walking distance of that home. If I don't move to Minneapolis or some such ivory tower location. After that meeting I will help organize the ironman triathlon Sunday.

Most modern health problems can be prevented by reducing carbohydrates, especially sugar, flour, fructose, potatoes,... Fancy pills and vaccines are not needed or desirable until the basics are established.

I am slowly watching the videos -- they are aimed at lay persons. I am trying to find links to more scientific research such as
(1) biochemistry details in peer-reviewed journals
(2) many double blind tests on large populations to determine positive and negative affects

Coming from a finance background I always first assume scam until proven otherwise. Finance, diet, and religion are the most popular areas for separating fools from their money:
(1) Get rich quick without even trying
(2) Cure disease, lose weight and live longer
(3) Go to heaven

It is easier to catch crooks on (1) and harder on (2). For (3) the crooks cannot be detected. This Utah product may be some of Romney's Mormon finance friends who are well trained in (1) (2) (3)

One advantage of being older is that I have less years to lose by self-experimentation gone bad. This product may be dangerous. Many drugs are taken off the market after too many people die. Many more are left on the market that should not be on the market. Like financial derivatives.



You may find the following interesting:

Www.amazingmolecules.com --- Go to the bottom of the page and watch: metabolites genesis and product. Then read Athletic VT Report on the bottom right side.

From what I have seen, this is probably the greatest health science breakthrough of our lifetime.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

new iMac, Minneapolis, The End of Men, Rise of Women

I was just getting ready to drive up to Minneapolis when my computer crashed. I may not want to get a new iMac until they release the fancy new retina display version in October
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/09/07/apple-to-unveil-new-lineup-imacs/

I am glad I waited to get the retina display on my iPod -- it is really a good display for computers. The iMac has the display, camera, speakers all in one box so is very simple wiring, and starts at $1200 http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/imac/select

I also like the Mac Mini that costs only $600 but does not come with keyboard and monitor, is a little slower, and is harder to upgrade because of the very small box.

While waiting for a new computer I may go investigate better places to live.

Texas the best overall. Lubbock, Austin, College Station, and Dallas all interesting and not too far away. And Santa Fe New Mexico. Texas is growing, makes the best computer chips and is sinking lots of money into all kids of research in the universities and corporations.

Missouri has numerous good locations, good universities, federal reserve banks, corporations.... Rather spread out all over the large state so hard to pick.

Minneapolis probably a good place for my ivory tower kind of work. A very large university with several Nobel Prizes in my field, and the best Federal Reserve Bank in research. Right downtown in the middle of a big city. Unfortunately near the big Negro Slum. However, there is a bus line straight south 30 minutes to some very nice white suburbs. Also the world's largest shopping center 15 minutes south. It gets down to 40 degrees below zero but not much snow and lots of things do do so they get lots of exercise and Minnesota is one of the healthiest states (mostly Scandinavian and German ancestry). Maybe worth a drive up to see if I could feel comfortable up there probably better to go in the spring when the winter is over and days are longer.

It would be hard for me to live at the University of Chicago Obama's neighborhood Hyde Park , the largest negro slum in America. But it It is supposedly the most conservative economics department -- smaller government and more free markets. I agree with some of this but don't think it is worth a drive up there unless Obama or Mayor Rahm Emanuel pays me to do so.

I know and somewhat like Boston Harvard MIT although it has gotten to be very crowded and expensive. The east coast ivy-league is highly ranked because it supports big government, big oil, big pharma, the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, etc. Tends to be very liberal on many issues and thus appears very high on rankings. It is hard to get excited enough to go back.

It is hard to leave Branson because it is mild weather, white, upscale, with great ecosystem filled with plants, animals, fish,... Maybe I should stay here and do some more writing and move to Texas when the time is right. Big piles of paperwork I need to attend to. They get jumbled every time I move. Need to make sure I don't land somewhere worse.

Below is a new book describing a phenomenon you discussed 10 years ago that is increasingly common in most places I might move to.

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

http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Men-Rise-Women/dp/1594488045

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women
Hanna Rosin
September 11, 2012

A landmark portrait of women, men, and power in a transformed world.

Men have been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But Hanna Rosin was the first to notice that this long-held truth is, astonishingly, no longer true. At this unprecedented moment, by almost every measure, women are no longer gaining on men: They have pulled decisively ahead. And “the end of men”—the title of Rosin’s Atlantic cover story on the subject—has entered the lexicon as dramatically as Betty Friedan’s “feminine mystique,” Simone de Beauvoir’s “second sex,” Susan Faludi’s “backlash,” and Naomi Wolf’s “beauty myth” once did.

In this landmark book, Rosin reveals how this new state of affairs is radically shifting the power dynamics between men and women at every level of society, with profound implications for marriage, sex, children, work, and more. With wide-ranging curiosity and insight unhampered by assumptions or ideology, Rosin shows how the radically different ways men and women today earn, learn, spend, couple up—even kill—has turned the big picture upside down. And in The End of Men she helps us see how, regardless of gender, we can adapt to the new reality and channel it for a better future.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

traditional fermented foods. garden. macrobiotic diet

Hi 70. Green but winter is coming. My Apple Macbook is still in the shop being repaired.

How many people can your garden feed? Like how many square feet and hours per year to feed one person some percent of the year? Says 16 square feet per person

http://journeytoforever.org/garden_sqft.html
Probably cow manure and organic compost is healthier substrate than sawdust and wood chips that may be contaminated by numerous chemicals. Humboldt hippies import pebbles from Germany and numerous chemicals to make marijuana grow faster, although many of those chemicals are very dangerous.

While listening to the video below I googled macrobiotic diet and found I have been on a macrobiotic diet since 1975, upon converting from weight lifting to marathon running. Originated in China/Japan. I don't think it is healthy. I am having trouble reducing grains. Cool weather stimulates appetite as well as desire to exercise more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrobiotic_diet

This rural Tennessee cook (from NYC) has a lot of good ideas. Eat traditional fermented foods to build up immunity to germs and infections ... such as home-made sauerkraut, sourdough, yogurt, cheese, salami, wine, beer, miso, natto,... Best to use home-grown cabbage, carrot, onion, garlic, goat milk, deer... Commercial junk food is often not organic, is processed or pasteurized that kills off the live cultures that are the first line of defense of the immune system, make vitamins, reduce sugars,... Throw away your refrigerator to prevent use of modern methods. Grocery store food can be used but is not the best -- often has dangerous packaging and all sorts of chemicals added that nobody knows the effects of. Better to eat home-grown traditional foods preserved the old-fashioned way. Excellent instructional videos online and an interview of Sandor Katz by Dr. Mercola. And books. Seems to me some juicer / masticator would help in producing lots of this stuff.

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

http://www.wildfermentation.com/ Fermentation makes foods more nutritious, as well as delicious. Microscopic organisms – our ancestors and allies – transform food and extend its usefulness. Fermentation is found throughout human cultures. Hundreds of medical and scientific studies confirm what folklore has always known: Fermented foods help people stay healthy. Many of your favorite foods and drinks are probably fermented. For instance: Bread, Cheese, Wine, Beer, Mead, Cider, Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Pickles, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Salami, Miso, Tempeh, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha. I have been fermenting since 1993. In order to share the fermentation wisdom I had learned and demystify home fermentation, I wrote a book called Wild Fermentation, published in 2003 by Chelsea Green. Since the book's publication, I have taught hundreds of fermentation workshops across North America and beyond, taking on a role I describe as a "fermentation revivalist." Newsweek called Wild Fermentation "the fermenting bible." Inspired by people I met talking about fermentation, I wrote a book about diverse activist projects to reclaim food. In 2012, with a decade more experience behind me, the unique opportunity to hear countless stories about fermentation practices, and answering thousands of troubleshooting questions, I shared an in-depth exploration of the topic, The Art of Fermentation.

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=i77hU3zR-fQ]



[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=LkXT-XgyzkI]



Art of Fermentation

http://www.amazon.com/Sandor-Katz/e/B001KH6N9E

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Do Tax Cuts Lead to Economic Growth? - NYTimes.com

One of the first things you notice in the chart is that the American economy was not especially healthy even before the financial crisis began in late 2007. By 2007, remarkably, the economy was already on pace for its slowest decade of growth since World War II. The mediocre economic growth, in turn, brought mediocre job and income growth — and the crisis more than erased those gains. The defining economic policy of the last decade, of course, was the Bush tax cuts. President George W. Bush and Congress, including Mr. Ryan, passed a large tax cut in 2001, sped up its implementation in 2003 and predicted that prosperity would follow. The economic growth that actually followed — indeed, the whole history of the last 20 years — offers one of the most serious challenges to modern conservatism.  via Do Tax Cuts Lead to Economic Growth? - NYTimes.com.

Money-Laundering Inquiry Said to Target U.S. Banks - NYTimes.com

Federal and state authorities are investigating a handful of major American banks for failing to monitor cash transactions in and out of their branches, a lapse that may have enabled drug dealers and terrorists to launder tainted money, via Money-Laundering Inquiry Said to Target U.S. Banks - NYTimes.com.

Calculated Risk Blog

the unofficial problem bank list for Sept 14, 2012. (table is sortable by assets, state, etc.) Changes and comments from surferdude808: There were two removals and one addition to the Unofficial Problem Bank List, which leaves it standing at 886 institutions with assets of $330.5 billion. A year ago, the list held 984 institutions with assets of $402.4 billion.  The failed Truman Bank, St. Louis, MO ($282 million) and Alliant Bank, Sedgwick, KS, which merged out of existence on an unassisted basis. Added this week was The State Bank of Geneva, Geneva, IL ($84 million). Next week, we anticipate the OCC will release its actions through mid-August 2012. CR Note: The FDIC's official problem bank list is comprised of banks with a CAMELS rating of 4 or 5, and the list is not made public. (CAMELS is the FDIC rating system, and stands for Capital adequacy, Asset quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to market risk. The scale is from 1 to 5, with 1 being the strongest.)

via Calculated Risk.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them *Scientists,finance wizards,doctors,relationship gurus,celebrity CEOs,... consultants,health officials and more: David H. Freedman: 9780316023788: Amazon.com: Books

Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them *Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, ... consultants, health officials and more

via Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them *Scientists,finance wizards,doctors,relationship gurus,celebrity CEOs,... consultants,health officials and more: David H. Freedman: 9780316023788: Amazon.com: Books.

Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong: Scientific American

Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong

Financial-risk models got us in trouble before the 2008 crash, and they're almost sure to get us in trouble again

By David H. Freedman

150

inShare

MESSY MARKETS: Financial models get put to the test in the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street and other markets.

Image: ToonariPost

More In This Article

Overview

A Formula For Economic Calamity

The Best Science Writing Online 2012

Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way...

Read More »

When it comes to assigning blame for the current economic doldrums, the quants who build the complicated mathematic financial risk models, and the traders who rely on them, deserve their share of the blame. [See “A Formula For Economic Calamity” in the November 2011 issue]. But what if there were a way to come up with simpler models that perfectly reflected reality? And what if we had perfect financial data to plug into them?

Incredibly, even under those utterly unrealizable conditions, we'd still get bad predictions from models.

The reason is that current methods used to “calibrate” models often render them inaccurate.

That's what Jonathan Carter stumbled on in his study of geophysical models. Carter wanted to observe what happens to models when they're slightly flawed--that is, when they don't get the physics just right. But doing so required having a perfect model to establish a baseline. So Carter set up a model that described the conditions of a hypothetical oil field, and simply declared the model to perfectly represent what would happen in that field--since the field was hypothetical, he could take the physics to be whatever the model said it was. Then he had his perfect model generate three years of data of what would happen. This data then represented perfect data. So far so good.

The next step was "calibrating" the model. Almost all models have parameters that have to be adjusted to make a model applicable to the specific conditions to which it's being applied--the spring constant in Hooke's law, for example, or the resistance in an electrical circuit . Calibrating a complex model for which parameters can't be directly measured usually involves taking historical data, and, enlisting various computational techniques, adjusting the parameters so that the model would have "predicted" that historical data. At that point the model is considered calibrated, and should predict in theory what will happen going forward.

Carter had initially used arbitrary parameters in his perfect model to generate perfect data, but now, in order to assess his model in a realistic way, he threw those parameters out and used standard calibration techniques to match his perfect model to his perfect data. It was supposed to be a formality--he assumed, reasonably, that the process would simply produce the same parameters that had been used to produce the data in the first place. But it didn't. It turned out that there were many different sets of parameters that seemed to fit the historical data. And that made sense, he realized--given a mathematical expression with many terms and parameters in it, and thus many different ways to add up to the same single result, you'd expect there to be different ways to tweak the parameters so that they can produce similar sets of data over some limited time period.

The problem, of course, is that while these different versions of the model might all match the historical data, they would in general generate different predictions going forward--and sure enough, his calibrated model produced terrible predictions compared to the "reality" originally generated by the perfect model. Calibration--a standard procedure used by all modelers in all fields, including finance--had rendered a perfect model seriously flawed. Though taken aback, he continued his study, and found that having even tiny flaws in the model or the historical data made the situation far worse. "As far as I can tell, you'd have exactly the same situation with any model that has to be calibrated," says Carter.

That financial models are plagued by calibration problems is no surprise to Wilmott--he notes that it has become routine for modelers in finance to simply keep recalibrating their models over and over again as the models continue to turn out bad predictions. "When you have to keep recalibrating a model, something is wrong with it," he says. "If you had to readjust the constant in Newton's law of gravity every time you got out of bed in the morning in order for it to agree with your scale, it wouldn't be much of a law   But in finance they just keep on recalibrating and pretending that the models work."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

David H. Freedman, a freelance writer, is author of Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us--and How to Know When Not to Trust Them.

via Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong: Scientific American.

uFollow - Top Authors

uFollow - Top Authors.

Econbrowser

It seems UFollow's algorithms decided I'm among the 100 most influential columnists and bloggers. Other econbloggers on their list included Paul Krugman, Felix Salmon, Ezra Klein, Yves Smith, and Bill McBride.

via Econbrowser.

Calculated Risk

Calculated Risk.

college rankings

I believe there is much truth to what you say. Rankings are highly correlated to government funding of research and scholarship. Without government dictates on research, affirmative action, etc. we might see a very different ranking.

Higher education has become a cabal of self-congratulatory snobs who do not do serious research and their teaching is mostly entertainment. There are numerous exceptions but the overall trend is clear. Eventually budget problems may force education to get back to business. But improvements will not happen overnight.

I have to use universities but they are a frustration.


Will > try to get to them all. Thanks for this information on rankings, but I am > not in pursuit of which universities are better than others any more. I used > to find these to be somewhat political because most were involved in fund > raising, and it became an obscession for them to climb some kind of a > ladder.

Poor 99% force the Fed to "boost" the economy as Rich 1% profit from the deflation conspiracy

The rich 1% own the economy, politicians, banks, and Bernanke. The rich are taking a bigger share of income but do not spend enough due to lower marginal propensity to consume. The rich hoard money and assets while invest in the USA and around the world helping jobs go overseas. The rich bought up gold and silver when prices were deflated 1985-2005 and now are selling it to back to the suckers and pocketing huge capital gains on which they pay very low taxes. Sheeple are known herd animals, "trend followers" in the academic literature, that can reliably be exploited over boom/bust cycles (and fad diets and bad religions). The rich hire bloggers to frighten the sheeple into thinking that deflation is inflation and that more inflation is imminent (i.e. Shadow Market Statistics). The rich will not allow inflation to devalue the value of their investments -- the fed proved they can stop inflation Volcker 1979. The rich use deflation to buy up depressed assets that they will sell back to the poor during the next boom.

As many poor 99% have lost their jobs and income they had to cut back their spending. The rich have a lower marginal propensity to consume. So stores don't sell enough either to the poor or rich. So stores lay off employees and reduce orders to manufacturers leading to further cutbacks. This reduces tax receipts at all levels of government, while spending soars -- welfare, food stamps.... So state and local governments fire teachers, police, fire, hwy,.... This can lead to a downward spiral or at least protracted recessions and depressions.

The rich are fine with this situation as it impacts them little. The rich can make money from their investments in China, India, Brazil, Russia... that are insulated or less affected by the USA recession. The rich in those countries are glad to see money flowing into their economies from the rich USA, and are learning the tricks of the rich in the USA. QE1 QE2 QE3 are great tricks for boosting bank capital without increasing loans, the money supply or inflation -- timed carefully to match the new higher Basel III capital requirements. But so complicated and disguised that bloggers and liberal news media did not notice the coincidence. The rich and their banks win big while the poor see little improvement in their condition.

The USA government could stop this downward spiral is by raising taxes on the rich. This would force that money into the USA economy where it could help governments balance their budgets, hire back teachers, police, fire,... More money in the pockets of the poor would help stores sell stuff so stores would increase orders to manufacturers who would in turn hire more workers.... However, the rich do not want to pay taxes so this will probably not happen as long as they own the politicians.

The big problem for the rich is democratic elections. The rich 1% would prefer Romney so the rich instructed Bernanke to put on a show of stimulus 2009-2011 that did little (except pad bank balance sheets) in hopes that the sheeple will get mad and give Obama the boot. Now the people are mad and demanding the Fed do something. So Bernanke announced QE3 -- real stimulus to celebrate the election of Mitt Romney. The resultant boom will show the sheeple that Romney is better than Obama. Real stimulus QE3 could produce a huge boom with tax cuts for the rich so everybody will feel better off until the next crash after 8 years of Romney. During the Romney boom the rich can pay themselves huge bonuses and get even richer off the re-inflation. After 8 years another deflationary crash will leave the poor will get even poorer -- they will blame Hilary Clinton or whoever the Democrats nominate. The boom/bust cycle can continue for a long time and the swings can get bigger and bigger. And for a long time the rich can get richer and the poor can get poorer. There is no reason why these trends and cycles cannot continue as the rich learn from their mistakes and perfect techniques. The rich nowadays can use the internet and social media to increase their control of the social system and force their desired outcomes.

Expensive bogus college degrees (paid for on credit) do not give the sheeple enough understanding of the economy to compute the return on investments, see the games being played against them, or deconstruct media rhetoric. The sheeple go along and play the game and have some fun although the game is not fair and may result in the extermination of most sheeple if SHTF. Their economic situation is precarious and fragile, like their health and environment. Exciting for thrill seekers and gamblers (investors?).

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/business/fed-chooses-jobs-over-fighting-inflation.html?hp

Fed Responds to a Grim Reality

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

WASHINGTON — When the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman said in a 1994 speech that the central bank “had a role in reducing unemployment,” colleagues were publicly dismissive. The very word “employment” did not appear in a policy statement until 2008. The Fed was focused on inflation, officials said time and again.

That era is over. The signs have been there for some time, but they are now unmistakable. Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed’s chairman, made clear on Thursday that job creation is its primary concern for the foreseeable future.

The remarkable transformation of the Fed’s priorities is partly a response to the grim reality that more than 20 million Americans cannot find full-time jobs. It is made easier by the fact that the Fed has been so successful in stabilizing inflation right around the 2 percent annual pace that officials consider most healthy.

But as circumstances have changed, so has the Fed itself. Under the leadership of Mr. Bernanke — with considerable prodding and support from a board almost entirely appointed by President Obama — the central bank has gradually concluded that it has a responsibility to act more forcefully, and, equally important, that it has the ability to spur job creation directly.

These conclusions remain deeply controversial. Many monetary economists take the view that central banks should focus exclusively on controlling inflation, which creates an environment conducive to economic growth and job creation. Some argue that the Fed’s efforts to spur job growth by decreasing long-term borrowing costs will inevitably result in higher inflation, eventually reducing growth and employment.

And it is clear that many economic problems are beyond the reach of monetary policy. The Fed cannot force Congress to budget. It cannot repair consumer credit nor change Europe into something more sensible. Even the most optimistic analysts do not think its efforts will return unemployment to its precrisis level.

Mr. Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan, once told his board that he did not want to mention job creation as a policy objective because the Fed would be making a promise that it lacked the power to keep. Mr. Bernanke, by contrast, has decided to make the promise and try to deliver on it — not just because he thinks that it is within the Fed’s power, but at least in part because he thinks it is important to try.

“Up until now the Fed has been very cautious in interpreting the dual mandate,” said Stephen D. Oliner, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who worked as a staff economist at the Federal Reserve for more than 25 years. “They have not really aggressively pursued a trade-off between inflation and unemployment. And what they’re now doing is they’re saying we’re kind of rebalancing to put greater weight on unemployment.”

The evolution of the Fed’s thinking has been visible in its public statements. It made no direct reference to the labor market in its policy statements until December 2008, according to a review by Daniel L. Thornton, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In January, the Fed for the first time cited the unemployment rate as a primary reason for a new policy.

When the Fed started its last major round of asset purchases, officials said they were primarily concerned about the risk of deflation — the possibility that prices would actually begin to fall, with chaotic consequences.

On Thursday, Mr. Bernanke said the Fed was acting because of its “grave concern” about unemployment, including the long-term consequences for the many people and families that have now spent years without jobs.

In an important departure from past policy, the Fed also indicated that it was willing to tolerate somewhat higher inflation as the economy began to recover, although it remained determined to keep inflation around the 2 percent rate.

Some economists argue that Mr. Bernanke’s actions are consistent with the Fed’s longstanding approach, which has always struck a balance between inflation and economic growth.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Facebook’s Holocaust-Denial Hate-Speech Problem - The Daily Beast

For years, international organizations opposing anti-Semitism have been urging the planet’s preeminent social-networking platform to delete any content that asserts the Nazi-orchestrated extermination of 6 million Jews never took place.

And for years, officials of Facebook, boasting more than 750 million active users, have refused, insisting that mere denial of the Holocaust, however “repugnant and ignorant,” doesn’t constitute “hate speech” as defined by Facebook’s Terms of Service

via Facebook’s Holocaust-Denial Hate-Speech Problem - The Daily Beast.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hunt them down: Student Debt is being collected! Bad test scores, remediation does not help

Debtors can run but not hide. Looks like the government is collecting more than I thought.

I always questioned the wisdom of using colleges for remedial education of minorities and idiots who did not learn enough K-12. Their test scores are appalling and remediation usually fails.

Looks like the chickens are coming home to roost and the taxpayer is not stuck with the full loss.

Do you think Rahm Emanuel "the hammer" is going to nail the teachers unions or is he going to flop?

Do you think Obama is soft on Muslims who are rioting and killing Americans over a movie? Romney is talking tough. Will he bomb Iran?

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48958541
Debt Collectors Cash In as Students Struggle to Repay Loans
With an outstanding balance of more than $1 trillion, student loans have become a silver lining for the debt collection industry. There is no statute of limitations on collecting federally guaranteed student loans, unlike credit cards and mortgages, and Congress has made it difficult for borrowers to wipe out the debt through bankruptcy. Only a small fraction of defaulters even tries. “You are going to pay it, or you are going to die with it,” The average default amount was $17,005 in the 2011 fiscal year. Government officials will collect 76 to 82 cents on every dollar of loans that end up in default. collection costs that are billed to the borrowers and paid to the collection agencies. Borrowers are most often declared in default when they cannot be found. That is when the collection agencies take over. collectors comb through databases and public records hunting for contact information for borrowers. If ConServe reaches a borrower who refuses to cooperate, the company considers garnisheeing wages or withholding a government check. a student loan that was guaranteed by the federal government. “It’s the closest thing to debtor prison that there is on this earth,”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-11/college-is-no-place-for-remedial-education.html
College Is No Place for Remedial Education
A recent study issued by ACT Inc., a testing organization measuring “college readiness,” found that less than one-third of graduating high-school seniors met benchmark standards for science, and a majority failed to meet them for math. Even in English and reading, a large minority of students were below a level that would mostly earn a grade of C or better in college level work. The results are depressing. In science, most students don’t come close (within three points) of meeting the ACT benchmark standards. Yes, it is often pointed out, some population groups are less prepared than others: Only 5 percent of black students meet all four ACT criteria. But for white students, for every high-school graduate who meets the benchmarks, there are two who don’t. The student at least partially unprepared for college is the rule, not the exception. To deal with the dismal preparation of many high-school students, colleges expand “remedial” courses in subjects such as math and English. The problem is that these courses do a bad job of correcting these deficiencies, “remediation is a broken system.” It is a big broken system. Most students entering community colleges are enrolled in at least one remedial course, while at four-year schools about a fifth of all students are.

Debt Collectors Cash In as Students Struggle to Repay Loans - US Business News - CNBC

Should also collect from the universities that did not teach enough.  Every penny should be repaid to taxpayers.

nearly one in every six borrowers with a loan balance is in default. The amount of defaulted loans — $76 billion — is greater than the yearly tuition bill for all students at public two- and four-year colleges and universities, according to a survey of state education officials. To get the money back, the Department of Education last fiscal year paid more than $1.4 billion to collection agencies and other groups to hunt down defaulters.

via Debt Collectors Cash In as Students Struggle to Repay Loans - US Business News - CNBC.

College Is No Place for Remedial Education - Bloomberg

Agreed.  But Bloomberg should not be hiring reporters who cannot write clearly about numbers.

More than 2 million U.S. college students this fall will be spending a good bit of their time reviewing what they were supposed to learn in high school or even earlier. They are taking “remedial” education courses. A recent study issued by ACT Inc., a testing organization measuring “college readiness,” found that less than one-third of graduating high-school seniors met benchmark standards for science, and a majority failed to meet them for math. Even in English and reading, a large minority of students were below a level that would mostly earn a grade of C or better in college- level work. The results are depressing. In science, most students don’t come close (within three points) of meeting the ACT benchmark standards. Yes, it is often pointed out, some population groups are less prepared than others: Only 5 percent of black students meet all four ACT criteria. But for white students, for every high-school graduate who meets the benchmarks, there are two who don’t. The student at least partially unprepared for college is the rule, not the exception. To deal with the dismal preparation of many high-school students, colleges expand “remedial” courses in subjects such as math and English.

via College Is No Place for Remedial Education - Bloomberg.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

economics department rankings

This Chinese Ranking is similar to most other rankings I have seen. Economics is hard to rank because it is so large and has so many different fields and involved politics of the ranker. Some fields are highly quantitative, others non-quantitative. Same with business. Useful to see what outsiders think about USA. They offer many lots of rankings on the site. Cheaper than buying USN&WR Zuckermans rankings
http://www.usnews.com/topics/author/mortimer_b_zuckerman

http://www.shanghairanking.com/SubjectEcoBus2012.html

Academic Ranking of World Universities in Economics / Business - 2012




































































World
Rank
InstitutionCountryTotal
Score
Score on
AlumniAwardHiCiPUBTOP
1 Harvard University
UnitedStates.png100100
2 University of Chicago
UnitedStates.png90.950
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
UnitedStates.png84.886.6
4 University of California, Berkeley
UnitedStates.png79.561.2
5Columbia University
UnitedStates.png77.335.4
6 Stanford University
UnitedStates.png76.80
7Princeton University
UnitedStates.png75.261.2
8 University of Pennsylvania
UnitedStates.png73.30

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inflation, gold

Ron,

Nobody should be investing based on a forecast of inflation, especially now -- the rich 1% are powerful and will not allow inflation that would reduce the value of their paper assets.

The attached graph shows that inflation has been low for decades. We were just recently deflating, not inflating. Obama Bernanke managed to reverse the Bush great recession. If you look at the chart carefully you see that recessions (the shaded periods) tend dampen inflation with a lag.

Most economists will not and cannot forecast anything very well. There are a few good forecasters but they are closely monitored, audited, and expensive. There is a newsletter where some of their forecasts are presented:
http://www.aspenpublishers.com/product.asp?catalog_name=Aspen&product_id=SS01934600&cookie_test=1

Expensive MBAs do not forecast and they are not usually trained in forecasting. Investments is a different subject than forecasting. Whether to buy gold is an investment topic not a forecasting topic, and does not depend on a price forecast. Lay persons do worse than professionals in investments and forecasting so they hire professionals to do that for them. Although many start up web sites make some money selling worthless opinions.

If you look at Shadowstats he is appealing to those who want bigger government checks using opinions and emotions more than facts. He also is probably paid for by the gold lobby that wants to stampede the sheeple into gold. It would not be possible to get data on who is paying him to say what. He does not collect inflation data but only massages BLS collected data using incorrect calculations. An Inflation Index must reflect the fact that people are always substituting less expensive items for more expensive items for thousands of years. The BLS and Commerce have tried to do that.

An Inflation Index must also reflect changes in quality and BLS Commerce have talked and tried some things but nobody has figured out how to do that right. Thus inflation index numbers have serious defects. I suspect that properly computed they would show we are deflating at around 10% a year, not inflating.

Low interest rates confirm low inflation. If investors feared high inflation they would not be buying bonds that pay tiny interest rates.

None of these figures reflect the vast underground economy of drugs, guns, prostitutes,.... People on welfare and even illegal aliens have large purchasing power and can afford numerous luxuries that the middle class could not afford when I was in high school. For many items prices are lower than the 1960s. Fantastic investments are readily available today. Others, such as gold, are ridiculously overpriced. Gold prices surged as gold derivatives developed, just like house prices did 2000-2007. I bought gold mid 1980s and recently bailed out. I bailed out of dot-coms fully 2 years before the 2000 crash. I bailed out of stocks a few months before the 1987 crash and jumped back in the day after the crash. Sometimes it is hard to understand why bubbles do not blow up sooner.

Bubbles refer to prices, not quantities. Almost everybody owns gold, even high school students, more than guns. Both diamonds and gold are far too popular and probably guns too. Systematic irrationality brought on by media manipulation and the sheeple herd instinct. They came into my high school classroom and wasted class time selling gold class rings. I bought one but don't wear jewelry. Still got the ring but lost my slide rule that I really liked and used a lot.

Joe

http://www.shadowstats.com/article/no-438-public-comment-on-inflation-measurement

If real dollar inflation is about 10% annum (Shadowstats) what does produce true cash flow? Ten year notes producing 1.5% interest on principle?

[gallery]

FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America — RT

Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions

via FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America — RT.

FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America — RT

Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions

via FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America — RT.

Wheat Belly Blog

About the Author | Wheat Belly Blog.

Modern wheat a "perfect poison,"

Modern wheat a "perfect, chronic poison," doctor says - CBS News

Modern wheat a "perfect, chronic poison," doctor says - CBS News.

mind, brain, shooter, arthritis, inflammation, obesity, gut flora

Alan,

How did your garden grow? I am thinking about buying a house + acres to do some gardening in the local pristine unpolluted environment.

Grocery food stores is terrible -- antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, preservatives, colors, flavors, ... Shipped by Muslim oil leading to wars, roads, trucks, and environmental catastrophe. Citizens must garden, farm, fish, hunt, ranch, gather to protect themselves and others. Also everybody needs to learn how to home ferment sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt to maintain gut flora.

Article below indicates bad mental and physical health from antibiotics, leading to movie shooters inflamed brains, inflammation immune problems such as arthritis colitis lupus.... And why people resemble the fat farm animals they consume.

No meat, fowl, eggs, dairy.... unless you grow it yourself.

Joe

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/05/microbes-manipulate-your-mind.aspx?e_cid=20120905_DNL_artNew_1

By Dr. Mercola



There are 100 trillion cells in your body, but 90% of the genetic material is not yours. It is from the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms, i.e. your microflora. Gut microbes are big in the news lately, as researchers continue to discover the important roles these tiny organisms play in your overall health and well-being. We now know that your microflora influence your:


  • Genetic expression

  • Immune system

  • Weight, and

  • Risk of numerous chronic and acute diseases, from diabetes to cancer



Most recently, research has shown that a certain set of these microbes may actually influence the activity of genes in your brain – and the parts they play are not small parts. They may work to manipulate your behavior, and your memory as well.

Microbes Manipulate Your Mind



According to a recent article in The Guardian1, certain species of gut bacteria have been found to influence gene activity in your brain. Some of this research was published in 2011.2Mice lacking gut bacteria were found to engage in "high-risk behavior," and this altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain.

According to the authors, microbiota (your gut flora) may play a role in the communication between your gut and your brain, and:

"Acquisition of intestinal microbiota in the immediate postnatal period has a defining impact on the development and function of the gastrointestinal, immune, neuroendocrine and metabolic systems. For example, the presence of gut microbiota regulates the set point for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity."

But they also discovered other differences between the mice with normal gut flora and those lacking gut bacteria. When examining the animals' brains, they discovered a number of genetic alterations in the germ-free mice. According toThe Guardian:

"Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was significantly up-regulated, and the 5HT1A serotonin receptor sub-type down-regulated, in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. The gene encoding the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor was also down-regulated in the amygdala.

All three genes have previously been implicated in emotion and anxiety-like behaviors.

BDNF is a growth factor that is essential for proper brain development, and a recent study showed that deleting the BDNF receptor TrkB alters the way in which newborn neurons integrate into hippocampal circuitry and increases anxiety-like behaviors in mice. Serotonin receptors, which are distributed widely throughout the brain, are well known to be involved in mood, and compounds that activate the 5HT1A subtype also produce anxiety-like behaviors.

The finding that the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor down-regulated in the amygdala is particularly interesting. NMDA receptors are composed of multiple subunits, but those made up of only NR2B subunits are known to be critical for the development and function of the amygdala, which has a well established role in fear and other emotions, and in learning and memory. Drugs that block these receptors have been shown to block the formation of fearful memories and to reduce the anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal in rodents."

Your Gut Bacteria Are Under Constant Assault



Your lifestyle can and does influence your gut flora on a daily basis. For example, your gut bacteria are extremely sensitive to:


  • Antibiotics

  • Chlorinated water

  • Antibacterial soap

  • Agricultural chemicals

  • Pollution



All of these common exposures can wreak havoc on the makeup of bacteria in your gut, but researchers are now increasingly looking at the cascading ill effects of antibiotics in particular.

Not only are antibiotics overused in medicine, the vast majority of these drugs enter you via livestock – you consume antibiotics every time you eat meat from an animal raised in a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). In fact, about 80 percent of all the antibiotics produced are used in agriculture3 – not only to fight infection, but to promote unhealthy (though profitable) weight gain in the animals.

Early Use of Antibiotics Also Linked to Obesity



With that in mind, is it any wonder that researchers are now finding that antibiotics are associated with weight gain in humans as well?



"For many years now, farmers have known that antibiotics are great at producing heavier cows for market," Dr. Jan Blustein, MD, PhD, professor of population health and medicine told PreventDisease.com in a recent article.4 "While we need more research to confirm our findings, this carefully conducted study suggests that antibiotics influence weight gain in humans, and especially children..."

According to The Washington Post:5

"The use of antibiotics in young children might lead to a higher risk of obesity, and two new studies, one on mice and one on humans, conclude that changes of the intestinal bacteria caused by antibiotics could be responsible. Taken together, the New York University researchers conclude that it might be necessary to broaden our concept of the causes of obesity and urge more caution in using antibiotics."

The first study, published in the journal Nature6, found that young mice treated with low doses of common antibiotics gained 10-15 percent more fat than the untreated controls. After surveying the gut bacteria in the mice, they found that mice treated with antibiotics had a different composition of gut bacteria compared to the untreated mice. Specifically, certain species of bacteria previously shown to be associated with obesity were found in higher concentrations in the treated mice. Furthermore, after genetic analysis of the bacteria's metabolism, they discovered that genes responsible for fat synthesis had greater levels of activity in the treated mice.

According to lead author Martin Blaser:7

"The rise of obesity around the world is coincident with widespread antibiotic use, and our studies provide an experimental linkage. It is possible that early exposure to antibiotics primes children for obesity later in life."

The co-author Dr Ilseung Cho added:8

"By using antibiotics, we found we can actually manipulate the population of bacteria and alter how they metabolize certain nutrients. Ultimately, we were able to affect body composition and development in young mice by changing their gut microbiome through this exposure."

The second study, published in the International Journal of Obesity9, aimed to corroborate these findings in human subjects. The study, which included more than 10,000 children, found that treating babies with antibiotics before the age of six months old appears to predispose them to being overweight in childhood. Children exposed to antibiotics between the ages of six to 14 months did not have significantly higher body mass than unexposed children.

While this study does not prove causation between antibiotic use in infancy and later obesity, it does show a correlation, and the mechanism appears to be related to the way antibiotics alter your child's gut flora. However, excess weight is not the only, or the worst problem that such imbalance can create. As previously explained by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, children with imbalanced gut flora are more prone to develop neurological disorders, such as ADD/ADHD and various learning disorders. These children are also more prone to vaccine damage.

Crisis leads to new economic theories of Reality

Below is a newspaper article on the rethinking going on in universities. Like re-integrating economics and finance and getting real data onto the computer -- the topics of my work since 1970. Most economists are shamans chanting faith-based mantras and parables, not scientists studying facts. They publish what is politically correct and use tortured logic. Not what is true or realistic.

I saw Lucas (University of Chicago) talking about rationality while irrationally chain smoking cigarettes under a no smoking sign in a fancy Chicago hotel at the 1978 AEA meetings. He won a Nobel prize for abstract math modeling of rational expectations that leads to the efficiency of the free market system. "The central problem of depression-prevention has been solved," he wrote in 2003. He talked about computers but could not use them. What a joke. 'Why didn't they see it coming,' the Queen of England asked on a 2008 visit to the London School of Economics. "The Economist" magazine wrote of a "dark age of macroeconomics". Hopefully these 'theorists' will finally start learning how to collect and organize data, do some graphs, run regressions and other statistical analysis.

I finally found a great journal to write for -- new, modern, free, open, on-line, popular, refereed, distinguished, short 7 page limit, pdf from TeX with good formatting instructions. I am trying to merge some academic writing, blogs, and 20 years emails. Not easy.

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

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/03/us-europe-economics-teaching-idUSBRE86207O20120703

Special Report: Crisis forces "dismal science" to get real

LONDON (Reuters) - Kirman, professor emeritus at Aix Marseille University and France's Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, has started to use the footage in a talk he gives about modern economic thinking. The insects were far from efficient, he said, but reached their goal in the end. "I think the economy is a lot like that."

There lies a hint of the revolution that is building at the heart of academic economics, particularly in Europe. As the euro zone crisis deepens, economists in France, Germany and Italy have been forced to turn away from classroom theories and look at the real world - from insects to financial markets, from banks to brain scans - to better understand what's going on. An increasing number of teachers argue that the textbooks, some by experts who didn't see the crisis coming, are divorced from reality, inconsistent, dull, and, in a crisis that has gripped the globe for more than four years, even dangerous.

"A crisis is a wonderful opportunity in some sense," said Kirman. "If it weren't for the fact that millions of people are suffering as a result, what better time to be an economist, because now you can see what's going wrong with our theory."

ROBOT BREAKDOWN

To suggest economies were not generally efficient would, until very recently, have been heresy in many classes.

The modern theoretical framework began to emerge in the 1980s by Nobel Prize winner Robert Lucas, the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. Lucas said economic models should be something you could put on a computer and run - "a mechanical artificial world populated by interacting robots." If it wasn't in the model, it couldn't happen. The collapse of the financial system, for example. Others helped build on this idea. New Keynesians took a slightly different tack, including assumptions about market failure but still resting on the idea people behave rationally.

After the turn of the century, Lucas even suggested economists had cracked one of the profession's biggest questions. "The central problem of depression-prevention has been solved," he wrote in 2003.

Four years later, Roger Farmer, a professor of economics at the University of California in Los Angeles, was at a dinner at the Bank of England to celebrate the "Great Moderation", a term coined to describe an era in which some politicians claimed monetary policy had ended boom and bust. "We had entered a new era of economic
prosperity," he recalled in a paper this February. That night, British building society Northern Rock went under, heralding the start of Europe's crisis and a global backlash against economists. Why didn't they see it coming, the Queen of England asked on a 2008 visit to the London School of Economics. "The Economist" magazine wrote of a "dark age of macroeconomics".

Economists began to ask how the profession had been blind to the fact that its theories were leading people down the wrong path - rather like Kirman's ants. That debate continues, charged with political thunder. Diane Coyle, a UK-based economic consultant who is compiling a book on how economics teaching needs to change after the crisis, says it can't be separated from a backlash in Europe against free market liberalism. But whatever their politics, a significant number of economics teachers in both Europe and the United States think it's time for a new, more pragmatic approach.

Around one in five respondents to a 2010 survey of economics instructors by the St Gallen university in Switzerland said their profession needed a "major reorientation or new paradigm." Even those who thought the curriculum was more or less fine said they had started paying more attention to financial markets, banks or speculative bubbles, and included real world context. Last year Coyle organized a conference on teaching post-crisis economics. Topics ranged from high theory to whether economists could expect to find employment. Most economists graduating today would not be equipped to read the Financial Times, according to British economist John Kay, who argued they have for too long conflated the abstract and the real.

"CHERISHED BELIEFS"

On a wall in the lobby of the Bocconi University in Milan, the script on an artwork plays on a Christian prayer: "Et Dimitte Nobis Debita Nostra." (And forgive us our debts) Established in 1902, Bocconi was the first university in Italy to grant a degree in economics. Prime Minister Mario Monti was rector there from 1989 to 1994 and dozens of top Italian officials and bankers have attended. It is, in most ways, a cathedral to orthodox economic thinking. That's now changing.

"All the macroeconomic paradigms have been put in discussion since the 2007 crisis," said Stefano Gatti, its Director of Bachelor of Economics and Finance. Bocconi students use a European edition of a leading textbook by Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist. Like the other main volume, by Harvard professor Gregory Mankiw, it has been updated to take in the crisis. But an update may not be enough.

Blanchard, who in August 2008 had declared that "the state of macroeconomics is good", wrote in a 2011 blog that "our most cherished beliefs" had been brought into question by the crisis. "The paradigm that the market corrects itself, on which all the traditional economists such as Blanchard and Mankiw base their theories, is on the rocks," said Gatti. "What the traditional theories do not consider is that the financial market must be regulated. A too-liberalized market creates monsters." Both Blanchard and Mankiw declined to comment for this article.

Eric Bonabeau, Marco Dorigo and Guy Theraulaz: Swarm Intelligence - From Natural to Artificial Systems

Eric Bonabeau, Marco Dorigo and Guy Theraulaz: Swarm Intelligence - From Natural to Artificial Systems.

Special Report: Crisis forces dismal science to get real | Reuters

Special Report: Crisis forces dismal science to get real | Reuters.

Special Report: Crisis forces "dismal science" to get real - Page 2 - Chicago Tribune

Special Report: Crisis forces "dismal science" to get real - Page 2 - Chicago Tribune.

People love talking about themselves, brain scans show - Worldnews.com

People love talking about themselves, brain scans show - Worldnews.com.

Academic Ranking of World Universities in Economics / Business - 2012 | 2012 Top 100 Universities in Economics / Business | ARWU-SUBJECT 2012

Academic Ranking of World Universities in Economics / Business - 2012 | 2012 Top 100 Universities in Economics / Business | ARWU-SUBJECT 2012.

Debt Collectors Cash In as Students Struggle to Repay Loans - US Business News - CNBC

Debt Collectors Cash In as Students Struggle to Repay Loans - US Business News - CNBC.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mitt Romney's Mission Evaded Vietnam Draft

The poor fight wars and pay taxes. The rich dodge their responsibilities. Like Leona Helmsley said: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes...".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leona_Helmsley

To reduce the number of wars and to be fair and treat all classes equally I have long supported universal military service for males such as is required in Israel, Taiwan, etc. This also helps military readiness. I also support cub scouts, boy scouts, and ROTC to prepare for military service and survival in general.

Most of the Ivy League employees were draft dodgers at the fancy consulting firm in Boston I worked 7 years. They had no respect for my military service. They were ladder climbing while I was marching at March AFB Riverside CA. They openly bragged how they hired a doctor to invent something wrong with them, like allergies. Romney is probably another such draft-dodger -- spent the Vietnam war in France enjoying wine and caviar in a castle instead of fighting. Romney was educated in Boston while I was there (below says he was there 1972-1975). I spent a lot of time around the library, in class or the street. I probably saw him there but can't quite remember him.

To reduce the number of wars, the politicians need to have their children, grandchildren, friends, and relatives in the military. Mitt Romney and his sons are examples of the problem. Most likely they will be more pro-war than even Obama who also did not serve in the military and spent too much insulated in Ivy-League institutions with no understanding of reality or appreciation of the troubles and hassles that military service can cause.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/questions-about-romneys-sons-and-military-service/

Asked if any of Mr. Romney’s five sons are serving in the military “If none of them are, how do they plan to support this war on terrorism by enlisting in our U.S. military?” Mr. Romney’s response is drawing criticism, because he said “one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected.”
-------------------------------------
In 1971, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University and, in 1975, a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/mitt-romney-vietnam-draft-french-mormon-mission_n_1838260.html

Mitt Romney's French Mormon Mission Deepened His Faith In Jesus, Kept Him From Vietnam Draft

From an invocation from a Mormon friend and videos highlighting Mitt Romney's time as a church leader in Boston, where he pastored to thousands of Mormons, the GOP presidential candidate's religious service will on display Thursday the Republican National Convention.

But it's less clear if the campaign will showcase his work in his late teens and early 20s as Mormon missionary. Romney, now 65, has said the time was integral to deepening his faith in Jesus Christ, but it also allowed him to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, and instead to spend two and a half years in France.

While hundreds of thousands of American men were drafted to serve in Vietnam, Romney received a deferment because he was working as a missionary, which the government classified as a "minister of religion." His mission lasted 30 months from July 1966 to February 1969, but Romney also was given almost three years of deferment before and after the mission because he was a student.

In 1970, when Romney became eligible for the draft, he drew a high enough number in the annual lottery that he did not have to join the war effort.

The Romney campaign did not reply to a request for comment about the candidate's mission in France and his deferments from military service. President Barack Obama, 51, also did not serve in the war because he was a child at the time.

In 2007, during his previous run for president, Romney told the Boston Globe that did not recall "thinking about political positions when I was knocking at the door in France." "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating," he said.

But as a Massachusetts Senate candidate in 1994, Romney struck a different tone. "I was not planning on signing up for the military," he told the Boston Herald. "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft."

Deferments to Mormon missionaries at the time were granted regardless of whether their assignments were within the U.S. or another nation. Ministers of any religion received deferments, though Mormons are unique since most men embark on temporary missions when they turn 19. Ministers of other religions typically had made a lifetime commitment.

In 1968, non-Mormons filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that the number of deferments granted to Mormon missionaries in Utah meant that non-Mormons were more likely to be drafted. The church had about 12,600 missionaries in 1970; the government issued around 5,359 Mormon missionary deferments just a year before, according to a New York Times article published at the time.

A spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said the church does not release information on where its missionaries served during those years.

Friday, September 7, 2012

SSDs Gold Price

Thunderstorms, torrential rain causes me to turn off and unplug my computer. We may be in a drought but it rains daily and is very green around here. Temperature dropped 30 degrees yesterday afternoon as the storm blew in.

I have been using SSDs since 1986. SSDs (Solid State Drives) can greatly speed up your DVD movie processing, like 100 times faster. Plug in a SSD and re-configure your software and files. Move the movie to the SSD drive. Or read off your big spinning disk mechanical drive and write onto your SSD drive if the movie is too big to fit on the SSD drive. SSD may be overpriced right now due to Tsunamis in Japan and Thailand. As production recovers prices will continue to drop.

News media report Putin is buying gold. Will Putin lose his shirt? Will he find greater fools somewhere to buy that gold? Is he bribing corrupt Africa dictators? Is he going to try to buy Alaska back to control the north pole? What are the sneaky Russians up to?

Paulson is big on gold, like he was on the mortgage CDOs before the real estate crash. Is he selling a bill of goods to Putin, like the poor minorities who bought real estate at the top of the market?

I found some interesting free reports on gold, serious academic studies, not so much sales pitches. Lists tedious facts needed to estimate historical prices of gold from the data, and why. pdf documents at: http://www.measuringworth.com/gold/#

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

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48827741/Paulson_s_Gold_Fund_Faced_22_Losses_in_July

In 2011 PCI was ranked as the world's fourth-largest hedge fund with $35.8 billion in investor assets
In November 2009 PCI announced a gold fund focused on gold mining stocks and gold-related investments. Paulson’s gold fund, which holds an array of gold miners, fell a whopping 22 percent between the beginning of the year and July 31, according to people familiar with its returns — outsinking the oft-discussed flagship funds, which were down 13 percent and 18 percent respectively during the same period

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Paulson

In December 2009, the New York Times reported that PCI had profited during the financial crisis of 2007 by betting against synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). PCI was mentioned by the U.S. SEC in court fillings when the SEC sued Goldman Sachs. The allegation was that Goldman Sachs had misrepresented to its investors that an ACA had assembled the mortgage package underlying the CDOs and that Paulson & Co. had a major role in assembling the mortgage package. As a counterparty in the CDO transaction, Paulson & Co. stood to reap great financial benefit in the event of default.

Paulson donated $1 million to Mitt Romney's Super PAC Restore Our Future according to fourth quarter 2011 filings. In 2008 testimony before US US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Paulson was asked about his low tax rate on long-term capital gains and carried interest earnings, “You make a billion dollars, yet your [tax] rate can be as low as 15 percent, ... Do you think that’s fair?” Paulson replied “I believe our tax situation is fair.”

His mother was the daughter of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Romania who had moved to New York City. her father lost his wealth during the Great Depression and moved his family to Los Angeles. Jacqueline met Alfred while they both attended UCLA. They wed and moved to New York City

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2078535

Gold objects have existed for thousands of years but gold has only been an actively traded object since 1975. Gold has often been described as an inflation hedge. If gold is an inflation hedge then on average its real return should be zero. Yet over 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 year investment horizons the variation in the nominal and real returns of gold has not been driven by realized inflation. The real price of gold is currently high compared to history. In the past, when the real price of gold was above average, subsequent real gold returns have been below average. As a result investors in gold face a daunting dilemma: 1) seek inflation protection by paying a high real gold price that almost guarantees a decline in future purchasing power or 2) avoid gold and run the risk of a decline in future purchasing power if inflation surges.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-is-putin-stockpiling-gold-2012-09-05?dist=countdown

Vladimir Putin, the Russian czar, is stockpiling gold as fast as he can get his hands on it.

According to the World Gold Council, Russia has more than doubled its gold reserves in the past five years. Putin has taken advantage of the financial crisis to build the world’s fifth-biggest gold pile in a handful of years, and is buying about half a billion dollars’ worth every month.

It emerged last month that financial gurus George Soros and John Paulson had also increased their bullion exposure, but it’s Putin that’s really caught my eye.

No one else in the world plays global power politics as ruthlessly as Russia’s chilling strongman, the man who effectively stole a Super Bowl ring from Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, when they met in Russia some years ago.

Putin’s moves may matter to your finances, because there are two ways to look at gold.

On the one hand, it’s an investment that by most modern standards seems to make no sense. It generates no cash flow and serves no practical purpose. Warren Buffett has pointed out that we dig it out of one hole in the ground only to stick it in another, and anyone watching this from Mars would be very confused.

You can forget claims that it’s “real” money. There’s no such thing. Money is just an accounting device, a way of keeping track of how much each of us produces and consumes. Gold is a shiny and somewhat tacky looking metal that is malleable, durable and heavy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Your Gut Flora Affects Your Physical and Mental Health

"Acquisition of intestinal microbiota in the immediate postnatal period has a defining impact on the development and function of the gastrointestinal, immune, neuroendocrine and metabolic systems. For example, the presence of gut microbiota regulates the set point for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity."

But they also discovered other differences between the mice with normal gut flora and those lacking gut bacteria. When examining the animals' brains, they discovered a number of genetic alterations in the germ-free mice. According to The Guardian:

"Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was significantly up-regulated, and the 5HT1A serotonin receptor sub-type down-regulated, in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. The gene encoding the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor was also down-regulated in the amygdala.

All three genes have previously been implicated in emotion and anxiety-like behaviors.

BDNF is a growth factor that is essential for proper brain development, and a recent study showed that deleting the BDNF receptor TrkB alters the way in which newborn neurons integrate into hippocampal circuitry and increases anxiety-like behaviors in mice. Serotonin receptors, which are distributed widely throughout the brain, are well known to be involved in mood, and compounds that activate the 5HT1A subtype also produce anxiety-like behaviors.

The finding that the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor down-regulated in the amygdala is particularly interesting. NMDA receptors are composed of multiple subunits, but those made up of only NR2B subunits are known to be critical for the development and function of the amygdala, which has a well established role in fear and other emotions, and in learning and memory. Drugs that block these receptors have been shown to block the formation of fearful memories and to reduce the anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal in rodents."

via Your Gut Flora Affects Your Physical and Mental Health.