Aug

18

VNThat Little Extra

There are so many market lessons that one can learn from the Olympics. To me the most important was that that little extra is the difference between success and failure. This was most apparent in the two big 0.01 second differential swimming races involving Phelps and Torres. In one case, Phelps said it was the difference of a "shaved finger" and in the second Torres said "I shouldn't have filed my nails." The former apparently referred to better streamlining and the latter to extra reach. Phelps had broken his wrist in 2007 and the extra kicking training he did helped him on the last reach, creating the winning margin. He stated that when he practices it's like a bank deposit. So often during the year, during a career, one decision, one wrong practice can mean the difference between success and failure. It underlines the importance of total concentration at all times, and constant practice.

The Blake/Gonzales match

Much has been written concerning the sportsmanship involved in the Blake semifinal. Right after the match in a press conference Blake remarked that his father would never have let him do it, and would have taken him out of the tournament. Jack Kramer has a similar remark in Ed Spec about his father's breaking his racket in a similar moment of poor sportsmanship and presumably Blake knew of this instance which is tennis lore, although I have found that among tennis players Kramer is derided for his treatment of Pancho. However, the key to me was that Blake must have been brooding about the incident from 5-5 in order to come up with such a lengthy exegesis right after the match. The brooding probably caused a lack of focus that led to loss. I had a similar revelation in my career when, at an early age, I used to complain about all the bad calls the refs made in squash. I subsequently realized that the complaining did me more harm than good. It not only took away my subsequent energy, but gave the infractor the advantage of seeing how much misery his misdeed caused. I stopped complaining during the last 10 years of playing and it was very helpful. Time and again I won when I would have lost if I had stuck up for my rights on the point. The same is always true with bad fills. By the time  I've complained about bad fills, or bad equipment, or bad treatment by a counterpart… By the time I've complained about it, and taking into consideration the extra costs involved and the missed subsequent opportunities, it's over. The legal system is such that on all matters involving less than 10 figures the costs are greater than the differences at issue. So that avenue never pays.
Putting it all together, one learns never to distract oneself worrying about the other side's problems and to concentrate on improving oneself and playing harder to compensate for the wrongdoing.

Denis Vako replies:

I can't define what "shaved finger" margin is, or unshaved for that matter, that is surely a joke, but in swimming hitting the wall makes the great difference for the result; as when one swims his body/hands/legs are doing cyclical movements and ability to break this cycle or accelerate it, to cut time on touching the wall, will win the race at the finish. In other words, when race is short, i.e. 50m or 100m, among equal sportsmen (as almost always the case), it is the touching of the wall which will determine the winner.

Different strategies there are, depending on the distance; when it is 50m race it is about how you jump into the water, how long you spend gliding under it and on the distance that left one must exhaust all his reserves before promptly touching the wall. While in a 200m or 400m race, one has more margin for error and strategy is more or less to "swim with the pack" and then to have an ability to explode the last 10-25% of the distance.

Stefan Jovanovitch writes:

It wasn't the finger; it was the half stroke before the final full one that gave Phelps the acceleration to touch out Cavic. Cavic's technique was the right one except he looked up a fraction before he touched. That lift of the neck and the added drag is probably what cost him the race. These are not my opinions but those of daughter, who — before her back injury — was good enough to be one of the field horses in Natalie Coughlin's 14-18 year old races at our County swim meet. Whether Cavic's looking up was a failure of character or just the inexperience that comes with being in a big race for the first time is also a question I leave to those who can read others' minds and souls. 

Reid Wientge adds:

Athletes "letting up" at the finish line seems to be endemic. It's in baseball and can be found almost every game. In the Olympics, I watched a German lose in one man paddling (the paddler kneels in the boat) because he slackened his pace just before the finish line. And I do mean just — he had the Gold in his canoe but his opponent, who had been challenging for more than half the race, pulled hard all the way to the line and won by a fraction of a bow.

Jordan Low extends:

We should trade by following our models, and constant meddling, i.e., looking up, while a trade is still in play, causes drag. Trading is like competitive swimming: there are many factors that you have to perfect, from the stroke to the turn, etc.

Nigel Davies replies:

I believe that Stefan is right in implying this goes much deeper. Trying to compensate for what seem to be the errors ('looking up' or 'not sticking to systems') tends to do little other than consume the attention after which a thousand other small errors appear.

So instead of vowing never to look up again, the guy should seek out the small vanity that distracted him with the thought of medals and glory. But this is somewhere most people won't go; it's easier on the ego to find some other excuse.

Jeff Watson writes:

Back in my old days at the Mid America Commodity Exchange, the weekend before my trading debut, I remember practicing hand signals in the mirror for hours and hours on end. I wanted to hard wire them into my brain so they would come out effortlessly, with 100% accuracy. Anything less than perfect might end up with my having bought 20,000 bushels of March wheat at 3/4, when I meant to sell 20,000 bushels of May at 1/2. Vic and Laurel understand the value of practice, and know exactly what the fruits of practice will bear. Even though it's the oldest cliche in the book, "Practice makes perfect" is still an integral path in the road to success.

Ian Brakspear corrects:

"Practice makes permanent" — each time you repeat something incorrectly you are making the mistake more ingrained in your mind. It is crucial to have the right program/instruction before you start.

Jul

7

At times like this it pays to remember why to buy a portofolio of stocks for long run is on average excellent idea :

1. Mean Drift of 3-5% p.a. because of mathematical properties of portfolios composed of shares in USD.

2. Mean Drift of 5% p.a. because the system is "self-adjustedly" skewed; politicians, bankers, companies, media & the entire economy benefits when the market is up.

3. Mean Drift of 5% p.a. as entrepreneurs demand and will get it over risk.

4. Mean Drift of 4-6% p.a., statistics by Dimson, Marsh and Staunton over 100 years and different countries.

However, that was the easy part; it is more difficult for one to sit on his hands, and not override what is backtested and what shall work.

Riz Din runs some numbers:

If you invest $5000 each year in the stock market and earn a rate of return of 7%, after thirty years the total investment is worth half a million. Stay invested for a further ten years and it doubles to just over a million. It doubles again to two million after 50 years. To ensure good returns, it makes sense to invest in one's health and increase the probability of having an abnormally long investment horizon. Also, shooting for a long time horizon may give one the ability to see a playful cub where others see a grizzly ravaging the market.

Alex Forshaw objects:

But after approximating a realistic rate of inflation (3-5%), that number becomes much less impressive.

Other amusing implicit assumptions include

1) zero information costs on the part of the retail investor;

2) zero "oops" moments e.g. auction-rate securities portfolios which end up yielding -20 percent because a bank says so;

3) zero capital gains/ income tax;

4) forex fluctuations masking the enormity of market volatility; and

5) zero probability of not-even-very-extreme events, such as having to liquidate a large portion of your holdings immediately because of a family sickness, job change, etc.
 

Dec

3

Growth, from Denis Vako

December 3, 2007 | 1 Comment

DamodaranAswath Damodaran says 90% of finance is about PV (essentially DCF), and 95% of DCF is about estimating discount rate. Can we conclude, thus, that 80+% of DCF finance is about estimation of discount rate? Nope, he actually thinks that estimation of growth rate is much more important than estimation of discount rate — and that is the same premise Vic and Laurel initially lead me to, as I read their books a long time ago.

Since it is ultimately about true growth, which is now expected to be rare, therefore especially valuable, one can argue that the current growth industries of the market are: aerospace/defense, diversified and healthcare/medical. What other parts of the market could be growthful?

Henrik Andersson adds:

I remember a couple of years ago when this finance professor did a valuation of Google and said it was worth no more than $100 or similar. The stock was then at maybe $200 and is now around $700.  Not easy. even for someone like Damodaran, to estimate fair value…

Alex Forshaw suggests:

Are you thinking of John Hussman?

June 13, 2005:

Which brings us to Google. Initially, I estimated Google to be worth about $24 a share. It has since enjoyed some very good operating surprises. I'd currently estimate its value somewhere in the $30's.

No zero is missing in that last sentence, though the quickest way for the company to substantially enhance its intrinsic value would be to buy everything it possibly can with its own overvalued currency.

Google has been doing exactly what Hussman prescribed, even as Hussman's forecast/analysis could not have been farther off.

Hussman continues:

To paraphrase Grantham, if Google is worth $300 a share, capitalism is broken.

Oct

17

Maindonald & BraunI am reading Data Analysis and Graphics Using R by John Maindonald and John Braun, and really liking it so far. There are almost no mathematical formulas, but there is a lot of illustrative R code, so it is perfect for those that don't like the hermetism of some stat books, but can write a computer program. It is also written by two authors who are obviously practitioners of statistics, as opposed to theoreticians, which makes it very practical.

Denis Vako remarks:

The most practical one gets in programming is when one has source code and a debugger; these two make magic in terms of knowledge discovered, which feels better than a good book. The downside — you see what and how, but sometimes cannot figure out why. I also think statistical software help files are a treasure, e.g. those of NCSS.

Sep

22

 By reading the biographies of great people, I learn much about how our world has been shaped, gain insights into how they thought, and through this find avenues for self-improvement.

My favoritie biography is Memories of My Life by Francis Galton, and no matter how many times I read it, I always come away more thoughtful, amused, and creative. Above all, there is a feeling of calmness and awe that comes from knowing that a person of his genius, wisdom and versatility actually existed. Galton wrote this biography at the age of 86 and it is as fresh to me as Tom Sawyer.

In broad outline, it shows the development of his contributions in the fields of geography, medicine, meteorology, photography, electricity, anthropology, psychology, statistics, heredity, and forensics. Some of his most notable contributions include the invention of correlation and regression, weather map composite photography, fingerprinting techniques, twin studies (in eugenics and genetics), and a handheld heliostat for signalling over long distances.

Almost every page of Galton's book has an example of one of his ingenious inventions, contributions, or observations on life. His insights are so great and his interests so broad that almost anyone who reads the biography will come away wanting to follow up and re-examine some insights that Galton gave that are applicable to his or her field.

I will concentrate on some insights I gained into the markets:

1) The influence of rhythm. Galton writes about the influence of rhythmic gestures in creating mass behavior, after noting how famous preachers and politicians of his day were able to influence people by personal (vocal) ascendancy. He offers the story of a college classmate who with the mere movement of a glass was able to drive assembled students into an ecstasy of enthusiam. He concludes that:

"Human senses when rhythimically stimulated by certain exact cadences are capable of eliciting overwhelming emotions not yet sufficiently investigated."

I find that market practicioners when stimulated by certain opinion leaders can fall into similar overwhelming emotions. The stimulation is heightened by the rhythmic movement in prices that accompanies the gestures. Since there are innumerable influences on markets, and an emotional reaction to one opinion leader or another is likely to lead to excess, the job of the market practicioner is to find when the rhythmic movements have run their course, and then profit by the excess of enthusiasm.

2) Positions of stability. Galton was the first to systematize the use of finger prints, as a note in the book from Bertillon confirms. Galton writes that there are quantum differences in the patterns that fingerprints show, that are similar to the different genera in nature. He notes that these patterns could not have come from natural selection but must have come from internal conditions of the structures in the hand. He generalizes the finding as such:

"The number of positions of stability in each genus must be limited, There are limits which if they can be overpassed without disaster would require a new position of stability."

He points out the analogy of the quantum leaps in fingerprints between leaps and whorls and relates it to the question of the importance of mutations versus small improvments in the theory of evolution, and he points out that these questions also arise in the fieldd of glaciers, which are formed by a succession of refreezing and crunches… in other words by successive conditions of stability of state.

What are the levels of stability in markets that correspond to these refreezings and crunches? Laurel and I have often proposed that round numbers often are positions of stability to which markets tend to move with inordinate frequency. I beleve this holds true for the 100s in the Dow Jones, the 10s in the S&P, and the previous close in any market. By testing the paths that markets take when near these numbers, we can develop insights into when disaster or equilibrium is more likely.

3) The influence of Visionaries. Galton notes that there are always visionaries subjected to fantasies that have no place in the real world. Usually the visionaries are laughed at or subjected to reality checks that discredit them:

"When popular opinion is of a matter of fact kind, the seers keep quiet as they dont want to be thought mad. But let the tide of opinion change, and grow favorable to supernaturalism, then the seers of vision come to the fore."

Most of the market visionaries in ordinary times are subject to a similar process of reality and discredit. Those who constantly posit a big decline in stocks, are subjected to the reality of the 10% a year drift over the last 100 years, but let a month or two come along with a decline, and these visionaries come out of their lairs with all reasonable safeguards broken.

SlicerNo discussion of anything written by Galton is complete without remarks on the ingenuity and sagacity that leaps out of everything that Galton touches. On one page you can find his index of boredom, measured by counting the number of fidgets, and on another a contrivance for sending telegraphic signals through the use of needles mounted on each other. Other pages include a discussion of how to divide prizes among the top three contestants in a competition, how to cut a round cake on scientific principals, or a way of measuring how horses gallop. The appendix of the book enumerates 192 of Galton's inventions and papers and offers an overview of how he developed most of them.

Memories of My Life has a freshness and decency of spirit, and is an illustration of how amazing and creative the human mind can be. It has insights into most scholarly fields, and advice and examples of living a good life on almost every page. I highly recommend it as a source of rejuvenation and growth, and as a reminder of how far the human mind can travel.

Pitt T. Maner III adds:

The collected published works by Galton are available at Galton.org. Also, according to Wikipedia, Terman estimated Galton had an I.Q. near 200, or about as high as it gets. How would he have fared in today's academic environment? A free thinker such as he would be quite controversial nowadays, Victorian England's somehow being more accepting of individual genius and eccentricities. 

Vitaliy N. Katsenelson notes:

Google allows you to download the book for free. Here is why: "It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired." On the top right-hand side click "Download PDF" ( 8.5mb) and you are ready to go. Thank you, Google!

Sam Humbert notices:

Nass#m Tal#b discusses Galton, The Bl#ck Sw#n, pg. 244 –

Sir Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's first cousin and Erasmus Darwin's grandson, was perhaps, along with his cousin, the one of the last independent gentlemen scientists — a category that also included Lord Cavendish, Lord Kelvin, Ludwig Wittgenstein (in his own way), and to some extent, our uberphilosopher Bertrand Russell. Although John Maynard Keynes was not quite in that category, his thinking epitomizes it. Galton lived in the Victorian era when heirs and persons of leisure could, among other choices, such as horseback riding or hunting, become thinkers, scientists, or (for those less gifted) politicians. There is much to be wistful about in that era: the authenticity of someone doing science for science's sake, without direct career motivations.

Unfortunately, doing science for the love of knowledge does not necessarily mean you will head in the right direction. Upon encountering and absorbing the "normal" distribution, Galton fell in love with it. He was said to have exclaimed that if the Greeks had known about it, they would have deified it. His enthusiasm may have contributed to the prevalence of the use of the Gaussian.

Galton was blessed with no mathematical baggage, but he had a rare obsession with measurement. He did not know about the law of large numbers, but rediscovered it from the the data itself. He built the quincunx, a pinball machine that shows the development of the bell curve. True, Galton applied the bell curve to areas like genetics and heredity, in which its use was justified. But his enthusiasm helped thrust nascent statistical methods into social issues.

Denis Vako extends:

Another confirmation of the positive linear growth rate in economic activities of civilizations can be found in the works of Fomenko, whose main conclusion was that there never was such a thing as the dark ages, lost civilizations, abrupt destruction of technological and material achievements and there never existed an age of barbarians or renaissance. The history of human civilization, Fomenko indicates, is the positive linear growth from one invention to another, with one discovery on top of another, it is an almost evolutionary process, always onwards and upwards.

Hence I propose that the 10% drift was not only for the last 200 years, but rather at least for the last 800 years as covered by Fomenko.

Steve Ellison adds:

I am not familiar with Fomenko's books, but I just started reading The Renaissance by Paul Johnson. Mr. Johnson says that much more innovation occurred in the Middle Ages than in the Roman Empire. The Romans had many slaves and resisted labor-saving advancements because they feared unemployment and social unrest would result. Conversely, medieval Europe had a shortage of manpower as Christianity phased out slavery. The Black Death made the labor shortage more acute. There was great incentive to develop and deploy labor-saving technology. Many watermills and windmills were built. Medieval mariners, lacking Roman galley slaves, greatly improved sail designs, making possible larger ships that could sail much greater distances.

"Thus in the later Middle Ages, wealth was being produced in greater quantities than ever before in history" (p. 13).

Denis Vako comments:

I have never read Mr. Johnson, but at a first glance this paragraph looks a little too smooth and ideal. Renaissance, black death, middle ages these are interesting titles … but on my second thought may be they relate to real history as much as bear or bull markets labels relate to the market?

Does one really know at the time if there is a bull or bear market?

Presumably we now have better decision making tools than throughout history — databases and computing power to process and categorize knowledge — and yet the only answer we can give to the above question is no, one does not know for sure! But we can say what it was after the fact, right? — July and August was a bear market in stocks.

but then someone may justly ask: a bear market for whom?

Isn't it strange that now, in the present, after the fact, with all those great tools, it is not easy to define what really happened in the market in July and August, yet when it comes to history it is all so clear?

Suppose the market goes up 100% over the next 5 years, then July-August will be called "a minor interruption of galloping bull market"; if the market goes sideways perhaps it will be named "the beginning of maturing top formation"; and yet if it falls 50% it will be named "the start of the vicious bear market."

Anatoliy Fomenko concentrates first on time: he shows the difficulties and limits, and the proofs by calculation, based on planetary movements, then instead of 'feel good' story telling and emotions, he goes for logistics of language, weapons, fighting methods, writing style, coinage, prices and taxes, dress, burials, transport, communications, food and food supplies, buildings and building tools, climate, terrain.

He said that essencially all history is re-written from original chronicles … many of which have vital parts missing.

On mass infectious diseases he says that

"Once it was determined that people were dying from an epidemic, they were entirely exterminated in their localities by the army — all killed to save the healthy, as medical preventive injections and quarantine as we know it now was not known back then, the decision was made simply to kill."

Why the hoax, why the fake and cuo bono of historians? He indicates that too.

Sep

10

VIXThe problem that a short lookback period does not account for potential volatility regime change is well understood. This is really two questions First, what is the lookback period? Second, how does one accommodate quantitatively for volatility change?  This might be addressed in different ways. First, look for volatility similar to high volatility regimes such as big moves. Second, in Iceberg Risk, Kent Osband suggests taking two distributions, a normal for current everyday entry/exit, and one for outliers and tail risks, and combining the two. Risk control, money management principles and use of leverage could be combined with the trading signals and by using eight-sigma for the risk factor but a normal curve for entries. Phase in could be graduated as survival odds of low volatility drop, and reduce leverage rather than increase it.

Strange CurvesAnother approach is from Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, & Other Mathematical Explorations by Keith Ball from the field of information theory. The question in his example would be how to compute the minimum number of tests to give a robust reading on the number of children with a certain blood condition. The analysis is similar to the finding the one different coin out of nine with the minimum number of weighing problem, which is solved by dividing the 9 into 3 groups. Rather than equal probabilities as with coins, Ball poses the problem of testing children for a rare blood condition. This is similar to testing for a tail event in the market using a binary protocol — is, or is not, a tail. The number of tests is m and the test is computed as 2^m to be greater than n. For n=3200, then m=12, or 4096, which is greater than 3200. This provides a simple rule of thumb, that might be applied to divide the period into 12 samples, or a lookback of 266 days. The results is derived from principles of entropy as the minimum number of tests to detect the condition. Applied to markets, the lower number detects the cycle changes better. The number of tests might be the divisor of the sample to compute the lookback period. The rare condition to try to detect is the risk of a large excursion. The empirical occurrence of a four-sigma event has a probability of 1/400 or .0025. Another rule of thumb would be 1+2mnp, or 1+2*3200*12*.0025=196. Still some additional risk parameters are needed for the eight-sigma events we're seeing again per the Osband approach for protection in the turns.

Another method would be to change trade parameters to fit expanded volatility, and read the newspaper to follow fundamental changes. And there is truly no substitute for experience and good judgment and a good attitude.

Eric Ross writes:

Models are based on backtesting. Models are based on prior market moves that have happened. Thus, quants are nothing more than historians trying to predict future events from past performance. So, why is Wall Street looking to go black-box and and substitute historians for human traders? Isn't the human element of guts and feeling a powerful tool to trade by, when combined with charting and experience?

Rod Fitzsimmons Frey explains:

The heart of the scientific method is, say something testable, then try to disprove it by testing. If you cannot disprove a hypothesis, you may use it as though it were true (it is now a 'model'); however, continue trying to disprove it, and as soon as you do, cease using it.

Counters try to apply this method to markets. The only way to apply the scientific method to markets is to form a hypothesis (the market goes up every Monday after a down Friday) and test it against historical data. There are well-established statistical tests to take a certain number of outcomes (X number of up Mondays after Y down Fridays) and say something about the odds that such an outcome happened by chance. If the odds are long that something has occurred by chance, you may be wise to place a bet the next time the conditions occur.

AristotleInsofar as human beings have invented the scientific method and its servant, statistics, nothing could be more human than applying these tools to the market, as we have to medicine, evolution, physics, chemistry, physiology, agriculture, biology and botany.

Aristotle teaches us that we should apply only the level of precision to an inquiry that its nature allows: seeking more or less precision is a fool's path. The debate is about how much the markets will yield to scientific inquiry. The view of the Palindrome is that the markets are more akin to psychology and sociology than physics; the truth of the markets is determined by time and place and one must not trust the past. In other words, do not attempt to apply the tools of physics.Intuition, common sense, and experience taught many things that were eventually shown to be wrong when the scientific method was applied — the Earth's being flat and heavy objects' falling faster are obvious examples. I wouldn't trust intuition, but maybe I have no guts.

Fortunately, unlike psychologists, priests, or economists, we in the markets have an excellent scorekeeping mechanism.

Denis Vako remarks:

The "little birdy" model in the paper Mutual Information as a Tool for Identifying Phase Transitions in Complex Systems by Robert Wicks, Sandra Chapman and Richard Dendy covers regime change, clustering, entropy and velocity — all in one place!

Russ Sears extends:

NOAAThis is similar to the "credibility problem" actuaries face with Property and Casualty insurance.

Sometimes volatility changes due to a jump in the frequency of claims, but usually a regime shift occurs by when the size of the average claim jumps. New rulings or litigation or creative lawyers, besides more ordinary causes like inflation or new treatment cost.

The individual large jump should be looked at closely. Is it a new cause, or just an extreme example of current events? In other words, does this set precedent? Has the target changed, under new rules, or has the shooter changed, fighting more aggressively?

The volatility changes are important. Likewise it takes time and many more claims to establish a new norm.

Property and Casualty companies react to high-cost hurricanes poorly at first, due to the unknown of who got stuck with what claims. Then they rebound due to a softer regulatory environment and a mistaken assumption that because it happened once its more likely to happen again.

Gary Rogan writes:

Unlike regime changes in the physical world that are usually tied to the invariant physical laws, regime changes in the markets have no reason to have any specific characteristics because human beings are actively trying to outsmart the system while at the same time other human beings as well as random, from the financial markets point of view, physical reality changes inject error signals into the markets. It is also unknowable when the change phase is over and the new regime begins. It is futile to hope that any amount of backtesting will result in a reliable model. While the regime is constant, backtesting works, but when the regime unpredictably changes it stops working.

Aug

20

 Paul Heyne's book, Student's Guide to Economics, concludes work depends on specialization, which in turn requires trade, while trade is coordinated through movements in relative prices.

Then how prices are determined? Substitutes (everything depends on everything), costs (there are no objective costs, "things" cannot have costs, only actions do; opportunity costs), incentives (marginal insight, the value of anything and everything depends on the situation), and expectations, combined with institutions, which secure private property rights and freedom to exchange, lead to economic growth.

I believe this is an instructive book, to check if price formation for individual companies have similar factors. Besides, the author offers other interesting observations.

On scientific method I believe there is no such thing as absolute 100% proof. Beyond that, all we have is probability and levels of confidence. But what we do know is that principles of science are conservative, and this is why focus is on avoiding type one errors.

Apr

10

  James Kynge, in The Financial Times:

The first inkling the British had of the 13th-century Mongol invasion of Europe, a cataclysm for the continent, was when the price of fish at Harwich, a harbour on the North Sea, rose sharply. The explanation for this, people learned later, was that the Baltic shipping fleets, abruptly deprived of sailors required to fight the enemy approaching by horse from the east, had remained at their moorings. That had reduced the supply of cod and herring to Harwich, and prices had risen accordingly.

Ken Smith remarks:

That was a fishy tale. Pacific salmon are disappearing and lovers of the odor of fish cooking in an apartment building with no air conditioning are lamenting this fact.

For one six-month season I worked out of Dutch Harbor, on an ocean tug pulling a fuel barge around the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Island chain has a stream running from the hills above to the harbor. This steam is lined with homes built by natives. Homeowners fished off back porch, simply stepped into the stream and grabbed a meal if willing to risk the rushing water.

That was in 1955. Fish were free then. Since salmon are disappearing, there may soon be fish wars in the village at Dutch Harbor.

In the harbor, moored at the Chevron tank-farm wharf, we merely dropped a line over the side to snag 100 lb halibut, any time, day or night. Things have changed since Asian fisheries now have boats on every wave crest. 

From Denis Vako:

Here is an outlier's observation. Never was there such a thing as a Mongol invasion of Europe or Russia. It is a fairy tale invented by Romanovs to legitimize their power grab in Russia. Cossacks, Slavs, Vikings and other Russians are the ones who in fact invaded Europe.

A history book, fiction or science, by Anatoly Fomenko has the whys and the proofs. I found only 2 volumes on Amazon in English, but he has seven in Russian, including mathematical evidence.

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