Sep

20

The Afghanistization of America

Victor Davis Hanson:

The United States should be at its pinnacle of strength. It still produces more goods and services than any other nation—China included, which has a population over four times as large. Its fuel and food industries are globally preeminent, as are its graduate science, computer, engineering, medical, and technology university programs. Its constitution is the oldest of current free nations. And the U.S. military is by far the best funded in the world. And yet something has gone terribly wrong within America, from the southern border to Afghanistan.

Sep

19

some comments on the big decline.

(1) it was a decline red in tooth and claw with bonds, stocks, and gold down.

(2) it was harbingered by the decline of 47 bucks in gold on thursday. a once in a decade decline. the main reason there was a status incongruence.

(3) everything bad for the US. the 70 billion of equipment left behind. and all the US could come up with was that the afghans and their allies aren't smart enuf to reverse engineer it.

(4) the foreigners have to decide on options expiration whether they should continue their US buying. with the US in decline from the withdrawal and everything related, why should they park in US.

(5) the status incongruence of the admission we killed 19 civilians in the drone strife. but this was clearly an attempt to come up with good talking points about our over the horizon capability. this was the only thing they coudn't blame on pele another incongruence.

(6) the incongruence of Milley worrying about sanity of Trump but not concerned about the montreal semantic test for other high officials. incongruence of no punishment for generals who worked for raytheon and g.d. but impeachment if pele did it.

(7) as the professor says, the market moves to every higher numbers with cataracts along the way.

Vic's twitter feed

Jeff Watson writes:

With many talking doom and gloom regarding the future, it is a noteworthy accomplishment for the S&P to only be 2.5% off it's ATH.

Mark Graham asks:

so what's next come monday?

Jeff Watson responds:

Who knows what the market is going to do on Monday. Who cares what I think? Who cares what anyone thinks should happen in the future? Why should one trust the "experts?" People might have an idea of what might happen, but that's about all it is. I can't count the times I've been perfectly convinced something would happen and it didn't. What happens tomorrow happens, and you will either be right or wrong. That's the case for every one of us. It doesn't matter what Chair, Bill, Sogi San, Larry, myself, or any other member of this list thinks the market is going to do. It only matters what you think and how you navigate the often treacherous currents, eddies and shoals of the markets. Opinions given for free, market tips, supposed insider info, etc are worth less than what you pay for them. LeFevre talked all about tips, and allowing others to do one's thinking for them, and his advice should be heeded.

Larry Williams joins in:

There are people I listen to intently; they have established they are worth listening to…some are on this list. An explanation of why a trader expects such and such to happen is not a “tip". Big difference.

Jeff Watson clarifies:

Since I obviously wiffed the ball in my previous reply, to clarify and make my point clear, the message was it's best to keep one's own counsel.

Larry Williams concurs:

Yup, listen to all but pull the trigger at the target you see.

Nils Poertner adds:

I think what is tricky for most people to understand that in many other parts of business life (in particular as an employee), one can do very well as long one is social enough, aggressive, disciplined enough, progressive etc… or went to the right school…

whereas maneuvering mkts (long-term - over decades) by oneself requires a different mindset altogether - and trading even more so than pure investing

Sep

19

Snitch Nation

September 19, 2021 | Leave a Comment

bill maher does Snitch Nation. of course we're all wondering what we can get from others and what the others are going to desire to take from us. a natural consequence of the road to socialism.

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

19

Time to buy S&P 500? Levels to watch. Tesla breakout? 09/18/2021

Sep

17

The two most recently completed calendar quarters were by far the most profitable quarters in the history of the S&P 500. 12-month earnings through Aug. 31 were $158.74, compared to a year-ago estimate of $129.15. Who says estimates are always too rosy? Source: Standard & Poors

Click to see S&P earnings table

Sep

17

‘Science,’ They Said

Victor Davis Hanson:

The scientific method used to govern much of popular American thinking.

In empirical fashion scientists advised us to examine evidence and data, and then by induction come to rational hypotheses. The enemies of “science” were politics, superstition, bias, and deduction.

Yet we are now returning to our version of medieval alchemy and astrology in rejecting a millennium of the scientific method.

Sep

16

As I have said a number of times, China demographically is where the US was in 2008, as the larger cohort born before the one-child policy ages out of its peak productivity and spending years.

Evergrande’s Woes Fuel Selloff in Chinese Property Shares

Conversely, the US now has a demographic tailwind as the large millennial generation forms households and advances in careers. The Fed should end QE now because the demographic drag that made the Obama-era economic recovery so painfully slow has reversed. QE is now inflationary.

Sep

15

Yankee analytics

September 15, 2021 | Leave a Comment

forget the regularities and statistics. the yankees lost 7 in a row while s&p moves to 14 day low but won 13 in a row while the market broke 4500. yesterday they finally won one while following insane analytics that are set before the game and don't take account of recency.

incredibly an analytics that says that after 100 pitches the other side does better trumps an ERA on current pitches of 2 or less et al. does someone know about ever changing cycles there or are the analytics designed for losses the way yankees use them?

the yankee games are good predictor of the sp? why is this not chance? but the ads on the radio game are so biased and woke that they ruin ones enjoyment of the predictions. worst of all the the attempts at humor of the insurance ads and the hope for cancer and the lottery ads.

the kars for kids and the lawyer ads that have received a 6 million settlement are reprehensible also

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

15

i found this interview extraordinarily educational and revealing. self-loathing virtue signaling military defense generals at general dynamics and raytheon.

In this Direct interview, John Anderson, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, is joined by Victor Davis Hanson. Dr. Hanson addresses Biden’s role in the Afghanistan crisis, increased tensions between China and the US, and the future of the US-Australia relationship.

Sep

14

Current odds for 2022

September 14, 2021 | 2 Comments

apparently 4 to 1 that house will be changed in 2022 and 55 to 45 that senate will be changed

Current PredictIt odds on the House and Senate 2022

Sep

13

Friday predicts next week?

September 13, 2021 | 1 Comment

friday was a most unusual day: down 50 big from the open and set an x-day low but not a 29-day low. all things considered should be a great bull week next week, regardless of the reduction of progressivism and the rise of pele in the odds.

Vic's twitter feed

Zubin al Genubi follows up:

Friday-Monday regularity kicked in nicely. Little bit of sogi coffee action this week?

Sep

13

S&P pullback, Apple lawsuit & Crypto selloff explained

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: S&P 500 2% pullback, what next? Crypto's sharp reversal this week, cause and levels, weekly close is important. Inflation and hawkish Fed is likely.

Sep

11

Laurel Kenner on Substack: Nobody Asked Me, But…

Sep

11

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

More H. L. Mencken quotes

Sep

11

Bookies and the vig

September 11, 2021 | Leave a Comment

remember that sports books are among the most profitable enterprises in the firmament and they let you choose a million interactions and/or splits, what used to be called the automatic interaction detector in my day. they dissect the data much more carefully than any technical analysts and they report statistics. they find that with all the expertise and all the advice that they can give, 1 in a million sports bettors can beat the 52% necessary to win.

the vig in trading is much more than the 5 1/2 % that the sports books take out.

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

10

From Lee Child in Without Fail:

The thing about baseball is that the regular season is one hundred sixty-two games long. Way, way longer than any other sport. Any other sport has about half as many games as baseball. Basketball, hockey, football, soccer, anything. Any other sport, the players can start out thinking they can win every single game all season long. It’s just about a realistic motivational goal. It’s even been achieved, here and there, now and then. But it’s impossible in baseball. The very best teams, the greatest champions, they all lose around a third of their games. They lose fifty or sixty times a year, at least. Imagine what that feels like, from a psychological perspective. You’re a superb athlete, you’re fanatically competitive, but you know for sure you’re going to lose repeatedly. You have to make mental adjustments, or you couldn’t cope with it.

Stefan Jovanovich adds:

It's even worse. You go up to the plate knowing you are going to swing and miss or, at best, hit a foul many more times than you are going to hit a ball square into fair territory. And, then, on the ones you hit right, half will be outs.

Total # of games played in MLB and Negro League history: 232,680
Total # of perfect games, i.e., 27 outs, no hits, no walks, by losing team, no errors by winning team: 22
Ratio: Perfect to Played: 1/9.455045556128589e-5
[That is, 0.00946% of games played were "perfect". -Ed.]

Sep

8

possibility of pittsburgh phil bet with trump leading presidential odds by 30 to 20 with 30 milllion bet and dems still 53-46 to win the election. but bets on a republican to win are 55 to 45 in favor of republicans.

Current odds for the 2024 Presidential race

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

8


In the years before 1894, when the Daily Racing Form first started publishing, there was only one way to handicap horse races with past performance charts - you had to make the charts yourself. The number of people who were compiling data on horse races and making their own charts prior to the 1890s was most likely very small, but nobody was as successful at using racing data to inform his bets than a young man from outside of Pittsburgh named George E. Smith.

The Legend of Pittsburg Phil

Sep

6

Blow off top or a small pullback? NFTs craze fuels Ethereum? 2021/09/03

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: S&P 500 statistics on all time highs bring up the ghosts of 1987 & 1929. Crypto Punk is worth more then Picasso as NFTs become the new status symbols.

Sep

3

his bio of the skateboard champion and entrepreneur in Americana is classic tom wolfe and makes life much better after a read:

The Birdman Drops In

“I don’t even think of Tony as an adult,” said Phil Jennings, a 12-year-old I met at the HuckJam. “He doesn’t act like the big man. He’s one of us.”

Sep

3

reading Hampton Sides meticulous and highly recommended military books Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground, one is struck by systemic attention to detail with which the us military destroys all of their own weapons in their evacuations.

what could explain their leaving behind 70 billions of US weapons in their evacuation of Afghanistan? one posits a quid pro quo. loki must be behind this.

Sep

3

Is Our Military Woke, Broke or Both?

The Pentagon needs to stop virtue signaling about diversity days, culturally sensitive food for Afghan refugees, and rooting out supposed white conspiracists.

Instead, can it just explain why the Bagram Air Base was abandoned by night? Why suddenly are the terrorist Taliban our supposed “partners” in organizing our surrender and escape?

Sep

2

Music and Math: The Genius of Beethoven

Laurence Glazier comments:

Very nice, I would add that Bach was the engineer who enabled Beethoven and everyone else to write in lots of different keys. 1.5^12 and 2^7, in music 12 fifths and 7 octaves, are almost but not quite the same. Bach fixed this with a tuning system which averages out the difference.

Peter Saint-Andre adds:

Indeed, there were a lot of tuning systems developed around then: Neidhardt (seemingly Bach's preferred system), Werckmeister (he developed several), etc. Just last night I read all about them in The Esoteric Keyboard Temperaments of J. S. Bach. These folks were the quants of their day!

Peter Grieve comments:

Yes, the problem with getting good fifths and good octaves in the same scale is find a power of 3 that is equal to a power of 2. This is because a fifth is a ratio of 3/2, and an octave is a ratio of two.

Of course, there is no power of 3 that is exactly equal to a power of 2. There is a fairly good match at 3^5=243, and 2^8=256. The power of 5 on the 3 means that this corresponds to a pentatonic scale. And 3^12=531,441 while 2^19=524,288, (proportionately a better match) which as Laurence says is the basis of a diatonic scale.

Because the matches aren't exact, something's gotta give, and this is what Bach's temperment ideas addressed (as Laurence said).

There are other near matches at larger powers, but a scale with dozens or hundreds of notes has limited appeal.

Laurence Glazier writes:

Excellent attachment on the tunings, esoteric is the right word. The fact that this is being rediscovered after hundreds of years, is of special interest to me.

Adam Grimes adds:

I have built and played harpsichords for many years. When you play harpsichords, you also tune them. A lesser-known fact is how quickly this instrument goes out of tune… you can have it in tune for a concert and then it will need a touch up at intermission.

So, harpsichord players quickly become very familiar with these tunings. Some are much more useful than others, but it also explains what composers meant when they talked about affects or emotions associated with certain keys. This was a very real thing, in some of the older tuning systems, but has been completely lost (for better or worse) with modern equal temperament.

Another interesting aside is that I find these historical tunings don't work that well on the modern piano. Completely aside from the temperament issues, there's also the issue of inharmonicity (the deviation of a physical string from the theoretical ideal). All strings have this, but the piano has A LOT because of the thickness of the strings. (Certain types of harpischords (Italian) have scalings that are much closer to the theoretical ideals.) A piano is tuned ever-sharper in higher octaves so that it is in tune with its own overtones rather than the actual pitches. It's subtle, but it's real and important… and it also obliterates the precision of these historical tunings. (Another interesting aside is that once your ear learns to hear in these historical tunings, moving back to ET is a kick in the gut. You'll sit down at a piano, play a chord, and think "wow. everything really IS out of tune." which is the compromise of ET. (For the record, ET is a beautiful and useful thing, as well.)

What I don't see much value in are the microtonal modern experiments, but I understand what drives that line of thought.

For any musicians, if you haven't had the experience of singing pure-tempered intervals against a drone I'd highly encourage it. You can spend hours or even weeks exploring the beauty and power of these resonances… and you'll know musical materials as an EXPERIENCE of resonance rather than a sound or a theoretical construct.

One might imagine that it was these experiences of resonance that encouraged early humans to sing, to seek sound, and maybe even to seek language… maybe in those caves where they left us paintings of mystery and power… somewhere a very long time ago.

But, seriously, go get a bass drone sound and sing some pure octaves, fifths, and thirds against it. You'll never hear the same way again.

A reader adds:

Each open tuning has a special resonance that is different than the same notes played in concert. Similarly chord inversions carry different overtones from base fingering.

Jeff Watson adds:

I love Fripp’s New Standard Tuning, CGDAEG. The mnemonic for recalling it is “California guitarists drop acid every gig.”

Adam Grimes responds:

yeah but slightly different. Fretted instruments are ET. You could potentially bend some notes, but you're still working in an ET world. (Scordatura certainly changes the timbre of instrument, and resonance of open strings, etc., but is a substantially different thing from temperaments.)

Laurence Glazier writes:

Thanks Adam, fascinating thoughts.

When transcribing from inspiration, I am sometimes unable to use the note I hear in my mind, which lies somewhere between a pair of adjacent semitones. As my software uses ET tuning, I have on occasion resorted to using MIDI control instructions to nudge the pitch into place, but in the light of your post, I now see that the issue may be with the tuning system. On one of the historical keyboard instruments, the note I require might simply be there.

I have enjoyed writing music in the past for clavichord, because of the pressure sensitivity, but am now writing mainly for orchestra.

As you say, experience trumps academic construct. I personally consider music to be an elemental force of nature, and species evolve to sense it along with every other aspect of reality. It's also interesting that lunar and planetary orbits often lock into similar ratios. The Pythagorean Comma has a counterpart in the slight divergence between the lunar and solar calendars. The term live music, in my opinion, is literally true.

Adam Grimes responds:

Clavichord is a beautiful and intensely problematic (at least in my experience!) instrument.

I own one. The intimacy of it is incredible… it puts the player's finger in almost direct, expressive contact with the vibrating string… but that brings up so many issues of control and it's such a different technique than any other keyboard instrument. To say nothing of the whisper-soft sound level (that defies amplification, which might seem to be the obvious answer.)

And you're right… all those "in between" notes exist as a possibility on that instrument. Not hard to imagine someone playing in a remote key and instinctively bending the out of tune notes into an acceptable range.

Zubin comments:

Guitar players always bend notes giving infinite micro tones. Squeezing the string to approach the note can give great feeling. Of course singers all do it too.

Vic is reminded of a Beethoven story:

During a performance of one of his piano concertos Beethoven was the soloist, and he got so carried away with conducting that at one point he forgot to play the piano. He flung his arms wide and knocked the candlesticks off each side of the piano. The audience burst out laughing, and Beethoven got so mad that he ordered the orchestra to start over again.

Two choirboys were enlisted to hold the candlesticks out of harm's way. One of them got increasingly intrigued by the piano score and came in closer and closer just as a loud passage broke forth. Out went Beethoven's arm, knocking the choirboy in the mouth so that he dropped his candlestick. The other choirboy, having followed Beethoven's motions more cautiously, ducked, to the complete delight of the audience.

Beethoven fell into such a rage that on the first chord of his solo he pounded the piano so forcefully that he broke half a dozen strings. Die-hard music lovers in the audience tried to restore order, but failed. After that debacle Beethoven became increasingly reluctant to give concerts.

From Wisconsin Public Radio: The Catastrophic Conductor

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