Oct

22

Yes, it is different mind set and self fulfilling. I am thinking to replacing some wood flooring and got a quote and now makes me think better do it now before the wood become less available and/or more expense. Meanwhile cash is losing 5% this year. Multiply this mindset x 100m people and you get some inflation. Fed won't raise rates, wages won't keep up, but assets should do well until the yield curve is so steep that rates have to go up, which is the big unknown. Who will be our Volcker of 2020s? Does this not make the case for all the supply-siders. You can demand all you want, but someone has to make the stuff.

Steve Ellison adds:

I worked in technology supply chain management in a previous career and have been thinking about a scenario called the "dreaded diamond".

Technology part shortages occurred with some frequency as the transition from designing a next-generation product to ramping up production did not always go smoothly. And even before covid, accidents happened; some years ago, a factory in Japan caught fire. Many specialized components have only one supplier.

What typically happened in shortage situations was that the supplier would allocate the limited supply among the buyers. The buyers would try to game the system by placing 3x to 5x their normal orders, hoping that would increase their share of the allocation. Meanwhile, executives would want daily updates on the situation: how many units were delivered, and what the likely delivery schedule was.

This situation might continue for some months, with buyers continuing to place inflated orders, and the apparent shortage stretching out longer into the future with the higher orders.

As actual deliveries increased, one day, all of a sudden, the buyer would cancel all the excess orders. As other buyers did the same, the demand on the supplier would crash to near zero. This phenomenon of illusory orders that would vanish later was called the "dreaded diamond". A few quarters later, there would be big inventory write-downs because technology products lose value fast as they age.

Maybe some variation of this scenario could occur in the general economy as some of the shortages are alleviated in the course of time. We might find out the shortages have been exaggerated by purchasers trying to maximize their own supply.

Alston Mabry offers:

The Odd Lots podcast (BBG) had a recent episode about the chip shortage, and the guest described this exact scenario, where a customer orders 10x chips and is told by the supplier, "We can deliver 1x chips now, and the rest within 50 weeks." So the customer then orders 100x chips, hoping to get a 10x allotment, after which they cancel the rest of the order. But suppliers must be catching on.

A reader comments:

Sounds like how the Street allocates hot deals. The “pad-my-order-by-a-factor-of-10” move can’t help but to attract attention on the syndicate desk… and the result rarely benefits the customer.

A reader adds:

This has been my base case for some time. Interestingly, I get the sense that complacency is increasing lately, which us odd.

I expect a deflationary shock from overproduction within 24 months, globally synchronized. The delay us from supply chain snafu’s continuing for about another 18 months.

The difference between this and the diamond is deliveries being made and a simultaneous demand drop (ie they get their increased orders).

Hybrid system in time models are rolling out still.

Pamela Van Giessen writes:

This is not rocket science or even dismal science.

Quit testing healthy people for covid so companies that engage in non-Zoom activities can work at capacity and people aren’t "scared" to be around other people. We are still testing well over 1M and sometimes 2M people daily. ~2.5M people were unable to work between June-Sept because of covid. Since there weren’t that many sick people the bulk of them were out of work due to covid related quarantines. And I can promise you they weren’t the zoom class. Supply issues and inflation last as long as covid is a 24/7 threat that "must be conquered."

Our World in Data: Daily COVID-19 tests: USA

Yes, hoarding makes the problem worse but that will evaporate in 2 seconds once we have reliable supply.

Last week I saw a man on a bike wearing a mask in Park County MT where we have nearly 3000 sq mi and a population of ~16k. No helmet but he had a mask on. I should have snapped a pic as it was a perfect illustration of the brainwashing insanity that plagues our economy and health right now. The vaccines may prevent serious illness/death from covid but they don’t seem to be good for much else be it the supply of canola oil, engines, or other health conditions/injuries, etc.

Oct

21

Laurel Kenner on Substack: Nobody Asked Me, But…

Oct

20

It’s never easy

October 20, 2021 | Leave a Comment

it's never easy, clear sailing in markets. and with bonds at or near the 9-month low at 157 60 versus 157 50 month low on mon oct 11. it doesnt seem like very good for sp. however, the numbers say that it doesnt get bearish until thur oct 21 or at the close on oct 20. histeresis.

Vic's twitter feed

Oct

20

The energy crunch in China and Europe may grow into a bigger trend worldwide. Its one of those small line notes you notice and go hmmm. Like the pandemic was in early 2020. Hmmm, shortage of masks. Hmmm, Shortage of gas, coal. Things that make you go hmmm.

Water shortages also coming up. See how this winter is. Reservoirs are quite low. Look at weekly chart of FIW water etf.

Jeff Watson adds:

I’m noticing many holes where product should be on shelving at every retail establishment we patronize. I’ve been waiting on a part for my Jeep that’s been on back order for 6months. Still see little to no ammo in stores. The system is full of hiccups.

Tim Melvin notes:

I saw a lot of empty shelf space at Costco last week. Very unusual.

Pamela Van Giessen writes:

No joke. We have a huge problem. This is what happens when the world gets shut down and everything is all covid fear all the time. No workers. Test school kids constantly and they will end up being sent home and parents won’t be able to work. Then stuff won’t get made or shipped to where it needs to be. Freight train, fully loaded, sat parked in Livingston MT for nearly 2 weeks. Just left the other day.

As someone running a business that relies on actual commodities (flour, sugar, etc) I find myself overbuying out of concern that I will not be able to get basic ingredients. I had a hard time getting boxes about 2 weeks ago. It’s ridiculous.

Laurence Glazier writes:

It’s getting reminiscent or the Atlas Shrugged movie.

Nils Poertner suggests:

UK is worth to watch as most things we are going to see here in Eurozone or you guys in the US are happening a touch earlier over there (UK being such a tiny, little, open, exposed, econ).

Laurence Glazier adds:

Yes, over here in London it's harder to get petrol (i.e. gas) for the car, less things available in online stores.

James Lackey writes:

I can get everything to build a car a bike or a motorcycle and mysteriously no spikes no single bearing or one simple chip - I call BS. This is almost as big as a Vatican scam.

Jeffery Rollert adds:

The most common boat engine, the Merc Cruiser, is quoting deliveries of full engines for next summer.

Duncan Coker notes:

Motors being taken out of production. Sounds a lot like a book I know.

Oct

20

How do traders deal with sleep patterns or disruption? Especially with markets in different time zones, etc.

Circadian Rhythm and Sleep Disruption: Causes, Metabolic Consequences, and Countermeasures

Abstract
Circadian (~24-hour) timing systems pervade all kingdoms of life and temporally optimize behavior and physiology in humans. Relatively recent changes to our environments, such as the introduction of artificial lighting, can disorganize the circadian system, from the level of the molecular clocks that regulate the timing of cellular activities to the level of synchronization between our daily cycles of behavior and the solar day. Sleep/wake cycles are intertwined with the circadian system, and global trends indicate that these, too, are increasingly subject to disruption. A large proportion of the world's population is at increased risk of environmentally driven circadian rhythm and sleep disruption, and a minority of individuals are also genetically predisposed to circadian misalignment and sleep disorders. The consequences of disruption to the circadian system and sleep are profound and include myriad metabolic ramifications, some of which may be compounded by adverse effects on dietary choices. If not addressed, the deleterious effects of such disruption will continue to cause widespread health problems; therefore, implementation of the numerous behavioral and pharmaceutical interventions that can help restore circadian system alignment and enhance sleep will be important.

Larry Williams comments:

That’s one of the hardest parts of this business 'secially when you live in 2 places.

Zubin Al Genubi writes:

Haha. I sleep when I trade. Wake up . Sell too soon.

Jeff Watson responds:

Sell too soon? My life story is that I always pay too much and sell too cheaply. It's a bad habit.

James Lackey adds:

In Ecuador your perfect 12 hours of sunlight all year 365 sure beats fall back to dark at 5pm here. The fall back time change and the further/ farther your from the equator is
More difficult than staying up 100 hours a few times a year.

Oct

19

Cochrane: Britannia's Last Sea-King
by Donald Thomas
1978, The Viking Press

The book begins with the story of the Cochrane family. The subject's father was the 9th Earl of Dundonald and in the 1780s he tried to salvage the family's fortunes with innovation:

As a young man, the Earl had spent a short while in the navy. During this period, he had noticed the ravages of worms on the bottoms of ships, where they ate into the structure of the hull. The replacement of so much rotten timber was a considerable drain on the resources of the Admiralty. A few ships were "hobnailed", the bottoms covered with large-headed iron nails, but this was far too expensive a method to be undertaken often. The 9th Earl, pondering this problem, thought of the coal on the Culross estate….He had undertaken some simple experiments of his own with coal, in a kiln. When it was "reduced" to coke, a thick black substance was given off, known as coal tar. But might not the coal tar be refined in such a way that it could be used to coat the hulls of ships?

[ The Earl pays for a test where one side of a buoy was painted with coal tar and the other left as is. ]

Yes, the test had been a complete success, protecting the side of the buoy against the worm while the other side had rotted. No, the Admiralty was not interested in the invention.

The Earl was dumbfounded by this reply….Still with young Lord Cochrane in tow, he began to visit shipbuilders, to see if there was some special technical problem involved in using coal tar, some minor defect which he might be able to overcome. He received his answer at last from a shipbuilder in Limehouse.

"My lord," said the man, "we live by repairing ships as well as by building them, and the worm is our best friend. Rather than use your preparation, I would cover ships' bottoms with honey to attract worms."

Similar objections, wrote Lord Cochrane, were "everywhere encountered" among the shipbuilders. "Neither they, nor any artisans in wood, would patronise a plan to render their work durable." As for the Admiralty and the Navy Board, it was common knowledge that many of the clerks in the King's dockyards also acted as agents for the private contractors. They were hardly likely to recommend to the Board a substance which would lead to a recession among those on whose behalf they acted and whose profits they shared.

Epilogue to the story:

The financial catastrophe which had overtaken the Earl in no way diminished his enthusiasm for scientific investigation. While he and his creditors were in prolonged negotiation for the disposal of Culross, he produced his largest and most important publication, A Treatise Showing the Intimate Connection that Subsists between Agriculture and Chemistry. But once again, he was in advance of his time. What was dismissed as eccentricity in the Earl of Dundonald was to be hailed as the genius of discovery in Sir Humphrey Davy. Indeed, the most bitter irony of all was still far in the future, when the Earl was an old and dying man, struggling to support his ailing mistress and her child in Parisian squalor, to which he had been driven by the most remorseless of his creditors. From the miseries of this exile, where drink had become his last consolation, the old man heard that the Lordships of the Admiralty had conceived an interesting new idea. In 1822, they had asked a committee of the Royal Society, under the chairmanship of Sir Humphrey Davy, to investigate the possibility that coal tar might be an effective and cheap preservative for ships' bottoms. The committee reported favorably and the Lordships congratulated themselves on their acumen. Not only was their suggestion vindicated but the cantankerous Scottish earl who had taken out a patent in the 1780s had neither heart nor money to renew it in 1806. The Admiralty, by biding its time, got the process for nothing.

An overview of the 10th Earl's life.

Henry Gifford asks:

Why didn’t fishing boats, freighters, ferries, etc. adopt this technology?

Stefan Jovanovich responds:

Because it was foul stuff to work with compared to pine tar and Davy was promoting the uses of coal over which Britain had the same near monopoly that North Carolina had over turpentine and pine tar.  Britain became coal mad as they discovered that British midlands anthracite had superior qualities for ship's boilers over everyone else's stuff.  (When Admiral Dewey's squadron won the Battle of Manila Bay, they were fueled by British colliers from Hong Kong.)

Peter Grieve writes:

It looks like shipworm could have an impact on the city we love:

These Tiny Wood-Eating Creatures Want To Sink Brooklyn Bridge Park

Oct

19

Here's a good download site for all 51 books of the Harvard Classics Anthology. Since they are all in the public domain, there is no charge. They can be easily put on your Kindle or other reader.

Oct

17

The Big Ratchett by Ruth DeFries is an excellent book describing the human insecurity in more productive ways of producing food such as hybrid seeds irrigation, capture of nitrogen and phosphorous for fertilizers, insecticides versus the ratchet that comes from diets. it leads to a cob web test of food prices versus stock market and other useful relations.

Oct

17

After a bull week, S&P500 & crypto ready for the new highs? Coinbase and Galaxy 2021/10/15

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: A pause, small pullback and range trading for S&P 500 next week is likely. Bitcoin ETF, Coinbase NFT trading, lots of other headline news contribute to bitcoin rally, is it too much too fast?

Oct

14

Heard a great quote today while driving and listening to SiriusXM. No clue who said it but enjoying this nugget of deliciousness from the meal for a lifetime:

Music is mathematics for the ears.

[Ed. note: attributed to Stockhausen]

Art Cooper writes:

Here's another, in a similar vein:

Geometry is frozen music.

Peter Saint-Andre chimes in:

Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that it
is calculating.
- Leibniz

Music is mathematics - and architecture is music in stone. - Ayn Rand

Andy Aiken builds on the theme:

Goethe said, "Architecture is frozen music".

There aren’t physical geometric forms, but many physical representations of geometry, such as in architecture.

Nils Poertner suggests:

Christopher Wolfgang Alexander

(born 4 October 1936 in Vienna, Austria)is a widely influential British-American architect and design theorist, and currently emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His theories about the nature of human-centered design have affected fields beyond architecture, including urban design, software, sociology and others.

Oct

12

One of my contrarian disciplines is to read the quotes from money managers and analysts in the Wall Street Journal’s daily market roundup. I don’t care about the opinions themselves—on any given day there are 100 plausible reasons the market might go up, and another 100 reasons it might go down. It’s the editorial selection that is interesting and might occasionally give a clue the market is leaning too far in one direction. But today’s first quote is a head-scratcher.

WSJ: U.S. Stocks Waver Amid Energy, Inflation Concerns

Investors are running around like chickens with their heads cut off,” said John Buckingham, portfolio manager at Kovitz. "They focus on one thing at a time and buy and then change their mind and sell."

What is he talking about? The S&P 500 is down 0.2% today, maybe 1% over 3 days.

Oct

12

Mr. Terminal Value

October 12, 2021 | Leave a Comment

mr. terminal value: i always used terminal value rather than discounted value on problems including my final exams for big things like phd. it's so much better than discounted value. but the professors never understood it. and I got graded down. so i had go to the dean for rectification of terminal value. the dean was George Stigler who was in the old days too good an economist to be canceled by the "committee". fortunately he was still able and sharp and understood it. he was able to hit 3 holes in 1 at 60 in his club in canada.

Vic's twitter feed

Oct

12

Biden's nominee for Comptroller of the currency has a plan, a big plan. It's such a big plan, it's best done in places that used to have 5 year plans…don't worry, we're getting there soon enough.

Oct

12

No it is not the Onion.

3 economists awarded Nobel for work on real-world experiments

"The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that Card's studies from the early 1990s "challenged conventional wisdom." By comparing what happened when New Jersey hiked its minimum wage to labor market conditions in neighboring Pennsylvania, he was able to upend the accepted theory that increasing the minimum wage would lead to fewer jobs."

Peter Saint-Andre adds:

Why don't we raise the minimum wage to $200/hr so everyone can be rich?

James Lackey relates:

True story: What is the probability old lack would sell a unit to University PhDs in Econ in a year? They both asked why I sell Carz. That I blew up again peaked their interest. What they didn’t realize is the Econ profession told me the exact same thing the Law clerks told me: Go trade lack.

Anyhoo they always bring up the big short movie book or some other mumbo story then they quote their book. I exhale and call bs.

I get very upset at men calling me a not ummm honorable man or imply that whether it’s Carz or trading for a living.

I blast them with a 11 minute data dump and why the street works and how and Mr Vics ecology the story of the elephants and like Gresham law they know they never read Albert K Nock and they do implicitly understand the law of least effort. I end my discussion with the same to all business men: It’s the pay plan man!

I’ve been asked to speak at MBA classes and seminars and for sure interviews for their next book. After blow up artist and hour interviews and a one line quote that was actually the get the joke true real deal about Mr Vic "he always found a way for all of us to make money". Which in bmx or drag racing terms means to win! I say no thanks have a nice day.

A year later I see the profs new book at the library. I flip through it and I’ll be damned. Ya can’t make a jackass drink the koolaid.

Henry Gifford comments:

The thing frequently referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics is misleading, at best.

The original Nobel Prizes were established in 1895, and financed (the word "funded" implies "free" government money in some circles) by Alfred Nobel's will.

The prize in economics was established in 1968 by a donation from Sweden's central bank. Perhaps the central bank has some economic agenda to pursue, but if so, they didn't state that as their goal.

In 1995 the prize in economics was redefined as a prize in social sciences for the stated purpose of widening the field of possible recipients to include people who are not economists.

While the prize in economics is often called "The Nobel Prize in Economics" in the US, that has never been the official translation to English agreed on by the people giving the award. The official English translation of the name has changed eleven times since 1971 - perhaps they are striving for the most confusing and politically correct name possible. The official names in English usually include the words "Memorial" and "Alfred Nobel."

At a minimum, the prize should be referred to with the word "Memorial" in the name, to distinguish it from a genuine "Phone call from Sweden."

Oct

10

Uncle Howie

October 10, 2021 | Leave a Comment

My uncle Howie: (1) is notable for winning and losing 55 national handball Nationals, and (2) is the world's most apreciative person of father Artie (he lived across the steps from him)and (3) he always looks like he's going to punch you in the face if you disagree with him.

(4) he gave me that mix of 2 to 4 and insisted i take a whole body scan. its similar in its efficacy to the illumina story. I finally yielded in view of 2-4 and it saved my life when it found a 10-fold elevation in cea. David Brooks said I had about 6 months to live had he not operated on me. how many have passed away because of regulatory delays?

Vic's twitter feed

Oct

9

Is the market ready to rally to new highs as bonds sell off? Part 1 2021/10/08

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: Everything being woke is good for the markets as well as the sell off in bonds. Lower volatility is likely for next week as we close above the vol trigger level.

Part 2

Best DeFi project to buy now. Shibu? Ethereum & Bitcoin update. Part 2 2011/10/08

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: Will the Ethereum killers succeed this time or will history repeat itself? Curve CRV has one of the best valuations in DeFi now.

Oct

8

arthur niederhoffer my father was a police officer for 20 years and routinely did acts of kindness for others. everyone who knew him said they thought of him as their fondest elder brother.

banana ice cream: Artie encouraged many kids and police officers to go on from high school to college. At 12 midnite when his shift ended he led a regular group of 12 in going over the entrance exams using the Delehanty study guides.

At that time NY City creameries included the Breyers Ice Cream Factory. Artie treated all his students and me to banana ice cream from Breyers at 1 or 2 am after the study sessions ended. After 70 years i can never eat banana ice cream without crying as i'm doing now.

the slice backhand: as part of his acts of kindness, artie graded the Delehanty guides. indeed on the last day of his life he graded all his students at John Jay and gave them all an A. i studied these Delehanty guides and it helped me get into Harvard. it was there i learned the terrible slice backhand as i had never played squash before.

The life and career of Arthur Niederhoffer

At his memorial service, John Jay College President Gerald W. Lynch said:

"Arthur is the prototype of what John Jay College is; the practitioner who stood on the front line of police work; the thinker and explainer to us all of the reasons for social deviance and the proper responsibilities and limits of social control; the man of strong compassion for his fellow human beings who strove to help us understand police work and its stress, as well as the criminals the police must deal with.

"In loving tribute, his colleagues, friends, and relatives established the Arthur Niederhoffer Memorial Fellowship, awarded annually to students in the doctoral program in criminal justice at John Jay College who ”best epitomize in academic achievement and in the promise of future fulfillment the professional accomplishments of Arthur Niederhoffer.”

Vic's twitter feed

Oct

7

still 53% for d's to win. and with 25 million gov employees who vote 90% dem, and 50 million on foodstamps etc, its amazing its only 53%.

electionbettingodds.com: Chance of…Presidency 2024 (by party)

Oct

7

Last moonless midnight I bumped my CSC-259 along the railroad right of way looking for the old RR stations. I was 20 miles south of Niland when I passed a railroad signal and the arm went down. But there was no train, and the arm went up again. A minute down the track, I turned back and this time the signal faced me. The arm went down, and I stopped.

The Salvadoran carried nothing but a jug of water, new blanket in a package he had found in the track, and an extra pair of tennis shoes strung over his shoulder.

Three nights ago, he stood at the Trumps new, unclimbable border fence and climbed it. As he got his first foot off the ground a gun pressed his temple, with the order, ‘Not yet!’ The Mexican Mafia robbed his cell phone and wallet. He had $2.75 in his pocket when he dropped to the other side in USA.

The railroad track here begins in El Salvador and passes through Mexico to Calexico, and north through Slab City to the promised land. It is the notorious La Bestia line that is the rolling pipeline of Central American immigrants into America and jobs. He had taken one month to pass through Mexico, worked a week in Mexicali to buy the phone and stake the border hop. Now he had turned himself into a RR signal to try to stop the only passerby he had seen in three days of walking the hot track.

‘Is this California?’ he asked in fair English. I laughed in Spanish. He had lived for fifteen years in Virginia, owned a house, car, and then his wife took everything and reported him to immigration. They had flown him back to his native country, where he turned around and rode La Bestia the second time. His goal was to recover the American Dream.

I have ridden La Bestia myself and, knowing the travails, picked up the walker. He had not eaten for three days.

He ate the same as I did that night, canned spaghetti, and the following morning I outfitted him to hobo the freight out of Niland. There is a patch of bushes on the west side of the track to twiddle the thumbs until, daily, a Union Pacific pauses to change crew. There would be orchard work at the next stop in Indio, CA. He carried a copy of my ‘Executive Hobo: Riding the American Dream’.

He ducked into the portal of a cement car. There you are in a steel rolling hotel room looking out. I waved goodbye like a RR signal, and he mechanically waved back.

Oct

6

%$#@ Yankees

October 6, 2021 | Leave a Comment

to me the yankees play a pathetic game with no small ball and terrible defense, and the great majority of their batters with averages below 220. typical is their clean up batter gallo with a 190 average. compounding the misery for me is the terrible managing and the way the yankees use quant strategies unvarying and fixed. even worse than technical analysts in our field. no matter what, the yanks will take a pitcher out after 100 pitches even he's if pitching a no hitter.

worst of all are the promotional ads like kars and dear priscilla and the cancer and lotteries ads on the radio that destroy ones equanimity. in short the yankees don't deserve to win and good bye susan and john for 6 months.

stockholm syndrome at bronx baseball. the players, when asked about the good job that boone is doing, come up with "he shows up every day."

Vic's twitter feed

Oct

6

in proper sell-off in equity, one eventually gets a massive backwardation - and we haven't seen this - almost the opposite- it slightly steepened yesterday - that is odd - and could mean a lot more stress but who knows, am not an equity guy just noticing it on the side and it needs to be tested more…

Zubin Al Genubi comments:

Decay of hi vol over time is a regular tendency. This leads to pennant like structures. The most dangerous time is at the expansion phase where the rate of expansion rapidly increases.

James Lackey responds:

This is a fabulous lesson for new specs that fall for the bear memes then get whacked post dip rally buying.

Look there are times for all things. We can make money short but it's so crazy risk dangerous and the vigorish is insane. I love Mr Vic's "never short" advice!

However if you must sell them without owning them I'd test when the vix is increasing in the short term ie today's vix is higher than 5 days ago then keep it to something like no more than a few trading days hod short et al.

My gist is paying huge vig and buying strength and selling weaknesses is the stupidest system ever! However I'm a man that made it happen and allot over many years even prior to my spec list school.

In closing don't lol but if you must: It makes sense to move all the contracts you can, all day every day when the vix is over let's say 25 and my hypothesis is when it's expanded rather than contracted.

With love honor and respect for those that trade for a living.

Nils Poertner adds:

whenever this graph (from Peter Garnry at Saxo Bank) is -20 or -30, it is possibly a contrarian buy.- that is how I read it. in other wards, in strong backwardation in the vix curve…eventually one needs to switch and be bullish - in context perhaps with other indicators? treat with caution - have not done study myself. always test for yourself

Oct

6

1. Human Error, James Reason. A rather disappointing academic treatise on cognitive analysis of how humans make errors which is really dragged down by obtuse academia speak. Two major sources of error are lapses and slips, and secondly errors of reason and rules. Slips are when you forget steps, lose your place, get distracted, fall into a habitual practice inappropriate for the situation. Errors of reason are using the wrong rule for the situation, where the plan does not go as expected, or the plan was wrong. When the rule doesn't fit, the expert acts like a novice.

There are the raft of heuristics. One is how humans utilize familiar patterns rather than calculate or optimize a current new situation. It is cognitively difficult to consciously think through a new situation.

An interesting section was about how the brain uses "autodrive" to do many familiar things to make room for conscious thought. I was driving down somewhere thinking, and look up and arriving at my destination, realize that I basically had no recollection of the drive there - just on autopilot. A lot of daily life is on auto pilot thus ripe for error.

It's a difficult read. Better to rent, than buy.

2. The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality, by Kathryn Paige Harden

A flawed book addressing a difficult subject. Galton's biggest failing was his theory on eugenics. One of Harden's main points is to debunk the misconception that the genetics of race has any meaning. Race is close to meaningless in genetics. For example, people with genes from people from Africa have a much larger variation in genes than in all the other races, and the categorization of Black and White becomes meaningless.

Genetics does have an effect on personal traits. It predicts certain diseases. The attempt at connecting genetics with achievement in education, life satisfaction, and wealth, suffers from too many variables to have any use.

Their statistical studies, not disclosed, I think will not be robust.

3. John Steinbeck, Sea of Cortez, recommended by Andrew Moe. A beautifully written book and a joy to read.

4. Yottam Ottolenghi, Plenty More. Highly recommended cook book with smashing recipes for vegetarian dishes with a mideastern influence. He has other cookbooks such as Jerusalem with recipes that are real home runs. I've made a number with great success.

5. Michael Lewis, The Premonition. Excellent book about the sad state of the lack of preparedness for a pandemic in the US. Outlines some of the goings on in California to deal with pandemics and disease. Lewis is a fine writer and easy to read.

Pamela Van Giessen comments:

Lewis is a facile writer who performs a parlor trick by bringing forward, in Vanity Fair like story telling, that which will convince you that his view is the correct view. He will not be remembered 100 yrs from now.

A reader writes:

There are three sentences in the short review of The Genetic Lottery that are utter nonsense:

"Galton's biggest failing was his theory [sic] on eugenics."
"Race is close to meaningless in genetics."
"The attempt at connecting genetics with achievement in education, life satisfaction, and wealth, suffers from too many variables to have any use."

These sentences could probably be accepted in, say, the NY Times given that and other leading publications' denial of much of genetic science, but not on this Spec List.

James Lackey appreciates:

Fantastic report! I dig Lewis because moneyball was a great movie lol but really love him because his Wife is so amazing that he must be a good dude to keep her.

Duncan Coker

Thanks for the list. Has anyone read the latest from Steven Pinker, Rationality? It seems like a more scientific analysis of what Kahneman failed to do. We humans have trouble with advanced probability in every day life, so appear to be irrational, but there is more to the story. Do the shortcuts we use help or hurt. Try doing Bayesian Analysis at the grocery story. I think Pinker is one of the best writers we have at present.

An excerpt from Pinker's latest:

Why You Should Always Switch: The Monty Hall Problem (Finally) Explained
By Steven Pinker

Oct

5

Vic notes:

an observer who seems as acute as andy:

SUBSCRIBER 6 minutes ago: We had a hot tip, in about 2010, about stock in a company that could do many different lab tests from a "drop" of finger stick blood! Knowing nothing about the company structure–just the excited promises–but being 30+ years into a Laboratory Medicine career, we realized that this was nothing new. We'd been doing a variety of chemistries & blood counts on finger stick and heel stick blood sample since at least the early 80's–actually 2 or 3 drops of blood in a thin glass capillary tube. The variety of tests, and the number of analytical systems doing these tests, expanded every year. It was routine–a standard of medical lab operations…nothing at all new except the excitement of a 20-something girl who had the market, a score of hyper-successful board members, and an uninformed public fascinated by her predictions. She was masterful at marketing–initially.

A reader adds:

I have heard several interviews with John Carreyou about his book, Bad Blood, but haven't read it yet.

Oct

5

Decoded neurofeedback

"Decoded Neurofeedback (DecNef) is the process of inducing knowledge in a subject by increasing neural activation in predetermined regions in the brain, such as the visual cortex. This is achieved by measuring neural activity in these regions via functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), comparing this to the ideal pattern of neural activation in these regions (for the intended purpose), and giving subjects feedback on how close their current pattern of neural activity is to the ideal pattern. Without explicit knowledge of what they are supposed to be doing or thinking about, over time participants learn to induce this ideal pattern of neural activation. Corresponding to this, their 'knowledge' or way of thinking has been found to change accordingly."

Nils Poertner comments:

interesting. personally, I found cross-training v helpful - so honing skills in non-work areas, too. eg, professional trader in equity who has singing as hobby might benefit a lot from taking professional singing classes to open up new pathways (also re creativity in trading. also) - am happy to be the subordinate then whereas in trading there can be some unconscious resistance in learning from others.

Jeff Watson adds:

Ben K Green wrote a book called Horse Tradin'. The entire book is cross-training and might even be on Chair's list of recommended books. If it isn't on a list, then it should be.

James Lackey writes:

I've been working on this for a while now 3 years. Path duration outcome based on neuroscience. Dr Andrew Huberman my skate park guy is one of the best - Prof from Stanford University and Army special forces fan. It's fantastic to study.

Nils Poertner responds:

yes excellent. the thing is it can't be an endgaining experience, one needs to have an intrinsic interest in something /also the learning part. if ppl love skateboarding for the sake of skateboarding and hire a teacher to get better, this enthusiasm may carry over for trading (learning /improve process here as well) too.

(our whole culture is way too much based on endgaining - maybe not in all areas - but in a lot of them which is part of the problem why are in this situation altogether)

Oct

5

An Armor Conspired: the Global Shipping Freeze

First, the foundations. While bottlenecks are occurring everywhere, at present US ports are disproportionately affected. Docking locations along US coasts are among the slowest in the world: not because of size or technological capacity but collective bargaining hindrances. As Dominic Pino recently wrote,

Why are our ports so far behind? Not because we don’t spend enough on infrastructure, as the Biden administration would have you believe. The federal government could spend a quadrillion dollars on ports, and it wouldn’t change the contracts with the longshoreman unions that prevent ports from operating 24/7 (as they do in Asia) and send labor costs through the roof. (Lincicome finds that union dockworkers on the West Coast make an average of $171,000 a year plus free healthcare.) The unions also fight automation at American ports today, “just as they fought containerized shipping and computers decades before that.”

James Lackey adds:

Pete there is another one you can add to your list: The conspiracy to collude. The ftc is looking the other way whilst all car manufacturers minus Toyota Subaru and Mazda are limit up on next years ie 2022 sticker prices and it's not collusion - if you're not cheating, you're not winning in racing.

Oh, and the help wanted signs are bullshiza as they do not want to hire anyone as their wage offers are limit down. They can't pay back the ppp - they are all broke.

Bud Conrad comments:

The article is long on the sequence of events that colluded to a Perfect Storm of shipping delays. But he doesn't pick the specific culprit (Labor Unions? Government Port Investment? COVID Rebound? Trucking and intermodal capacity inadequacies? and I'll throw in another: Some kind of government or business sector conspiracy to get prices higher.

Regardless of the cause, the impacts on our economy are likely to be most felt in surprisingly high price inflation, for a broad range of products, that the US no longer knows how to make.

We will also see prices rising from the expanded money supply. Wage price inflation is already visible.

Pete Earle responds:

I don’t pick a specific culprit as the current state is not the product of a singular influence. Very simple, and the entire point of my article.

"Some kind of government or business sector conspiracy to get prices higher." [Not a reasonable theory.]

Bud Conrad clarifies:

I learned a lot in reading your article, and the problems you so well identify, including presenting the many charts. Yes: the world and its movements do work with multiple influences.

My challenge was rooted in my hope for identifying an overriding cause that could be addressed, and thus be the course of action to get things back into balance. Of course solutions will require many many efforts. And that was your point. What do you expect to happen?

I also threw out what I expected to be the consequence, that we would have very high price inflation, which will have obvious implications for all of us.

Oct

3

Is the market correction over? S&P 500 new highs coming up or 200 day MA? 2021/10/01

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: Crypto breaks out as Fed loses the hawks and Powell goes woke. Crypto rally was not confirming the risk-off selloff.

Oct

2

Zubin Al Genubi writes:

bullish tendency

Larry Williams cautions:

Yes but not very much for october

Big Al starts the analysis:

Simple test on SPY, all dates thru Sept, 2021, comparing first days of the month to all days:

All days
count: 7171
mean % move: 0.04%
sd: 1.19%

FDOM
count: 341
mean % move: 0.25%
sd: 1.31%
z vs all: 3.28

Steve Ellison digs deeper:

Last 36 first days of the month, enough for significance and equal month weightings, but a short enough lookback to allow for ever-changing cycles, especially from prior knowledge of those who worked for the Chair: The average first day of the month is positive, but not significantly different from the overall upward drift of this period, t=0.68.

Date // Net change
10/01/2018 0.4%
11/01/2018 1.0%
12/03/2018 1.2%
01/02/2019 0.2%
02/01/2019 0.0%
03/01/2019 0.7%
04/01/2019 1.2%
05/01/2019 -0.9%
06/03/2019 -0.1%
07/01/2019 0.8%
08/01/2019 -1.0%
09/03/2019 -0.6%
10/01/2019 -1.4%
11/01/2019 0.9%
12/02/2019 -0.9%
01/02/2020 0.9%
02/03/2020 0.7%
03/02/2020 3.9%
04/01/2020 -4.7%
05/01/2020 -2.8%
06/01/2020 0.4%
07/01/2020 0.4%
08/03/2020 0.8%
09/01/2020 0.8%
10/01/2020 0.5%
11/02/2020 1.1%
12/01/2020 1.0%
01/04/2021 -1.5%
02/01/2021 1.6%
03/01/2021 2.3%
04/01/2021 1.1%
05/03/2021 0.3%
06/01/2021 -0.1%
07/01/2021 0.5%
08/02/2021 -0.2%
09/01/2021 0.0%

Average 0.2%
Standard deviation 1.4%
n 36
t 0.68
Average of all days 0.1%

Big Al continues:

Prompted by Steve's analysis, here is SPY broken into two-year periods, with September as the ending month. Shows the z of the FDOM moves for that period vs the SPY daily % moves for that period.

2yr end // z of FDOM
Sep-2021 0.69
Sep-2019 0.14
Sep-2017 1.67
Sep-2015 (1.18)
Sep-2013 0.16
Sep-2011 1.67
Sep-2009 (0.18)
Sep-2007 1.68
Sep-2005 2.88
Sep-2003 0.99
Sep-2001 0.85
Sep-1999 2.64
Sep-1997 2.56
Sep-1995 (1.23)

Oct

1

I've learned how to foil surf. (It was a brutal learning curve.) You can also downwind surf in open ocean swells on the open ocean, but it's tricky. You need to catch a chop that is steep enough to allow one to get enough speed to get flying on the foil. Once flying on foil, it is very fast and efficient and one can ride the open ocean like a bird.

The trick is to pick the right chops so as not to exhaust yourself paddling before flying on foil. There are 3 or more energy sources manifesting in the ocean wave pattern: (1) wind, (2) surface chop, (3) open ocean ground swell. The various energy sources create different wave energy patterns that overlap. At the intersection of 3 energy sources, a steep breaking chop is created which gives enough energy to paddle in and get up flying on the foil. This is the idea of a rogue wave, but on a smaller scale.

This practice can be applied to trading. As Larry Williams explained in his video on seasonality and cycles, there are energy currents and cycles in the market in seasonal wave patterns. Additionally there is energy in day to day price patterns and, as today, in monthly price patterns. It seems that occasionally three or more of these price patterns overlap and all the energy gets focused in one spot creating a good opportunity for a trade. An example might be 3 or 4 big down days, an x-day new low, an overnight drift pattern, and an end of quarter/month pattern, might all intersect for a good trade opportunity with lots of energy.

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