Thursday, April 9, 2015

FB and metaphors

This week, I saw several references to occurrences (notions and more) that got me to thinking about the "Facebook as metaphor" post (time frame of September 2010).

In fact, on FB, this week, I put a comment after reading this article - Humans in Computing: Growing Responsibilities for Researchers which was published by the ACM (

Comment (4/8/15 at 8:39 on FB): Like we saw with Pavlov's subjects, ought we to suppose that some feeds may cause more salivation than do others? Much to discuss here: FB/cloud as metaphor (very crude approximation of the real thing which modernity has tried to squelch, but cannot), for one. We know what causes politicos to salivate: money passed under the nose.

Yes, all sorts of metaphors apply. But, then, FB, like all modern computing paradigms, is running willy-nilly, casting flowers about (hippy like - but with money involved - looking to gain some) while entrapping mankind into a very insidious snare (wake up, people).

So, we will get on with this topic once more. After all, it's five years late. You know what? Who would have thought that Ben/Janet would still be screwing the elderly, flaying the savers, and such. In the time frame of that metaphor post, we were looking for some improvement. What happened was that more idiocy ran amok. But, later on that.

For now, I have to tell about what I ran across yesterday. First, though, a couple of words about my FB usage. Essentially, it's a large index (albeit, full of features) into which I push notes, links to posts, and such. Too, I belong to a few groups (usual affair of watching for events, happenings, announcements, and the like). But, I do not hang on FB. I get in, and out, several times a day. That is, I log in, do what is needed, then log out (there is a reason behind this that will be explained, at some point).

Yesterday, during one of my many, mini-sessions, there was a pop up of the chat window with a friend as the originator (at least, that was what would be assumed from the ID). The attached image is a trace of the conversation. Now, it shows an hour for the elapsed time. I was doing other things, including leaving FB and coming back. Too, I had to assimilate the message, ponder the meaning, etc. several times.

The chat tone was: hey, I just heard from an agent who has been authorized to give grants of $150K. You can see that I was asking for more information trying to be understanding. As the interchange went on, flags were flying. For instance, there was a requirement to send in money which is a classic sign of a scam.

But, how does one not step on a friend's toe? Say, what if the friend had already sent in money. Actually, what if it had been legit (who knows with all of the activity that one sees on-line, nowadays, including financial efforts).

Aside: The biggest pain are know-it-alls (even if they are correct a time or two) who walk in their hubristic cloud as if they are superior in every way over the little guy, especially if they are computer types who are ignoring issues related to the shaky underpinnings. If you read, and follow, my exposition on economic basics, you will see that we ought to see that the economy really belongs to the humans who are in it (not to the capitalistic/aristocratic/... classes who have been overlords for so long - ah, so much to discuss).

Anyway, it turns out that the friend's account had been hacked. I just happened to be picked by whomever (more below) to get contacted. I didn't get a chance to see if it were a bot or fiend (meaning human). Look at some of my queries. Too, FB took away the content once some supervisor (meaning system-watching system) tagged the conversation as spam. So, too, when I reported the chat as spam, the thing disappeared.

However, I did get this trace (ought to have snapped earlier, but I can recreate the bot/fiend part of the dialog). Here is the image (FB Friend [other] and FB User[me]).

Chat with bot or fiend
I named it "Chat bot or fiend" without knowing whether it might have been a fiend on the other end. I asked what high school the chatter'er had graduated from. It took awhile, but the response was: I'm already retired, why do you ask that? Then, I asked if the chatter'er was a bot. The response was: Well, I just wanted you to have the money, too.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have pursued the conversation further (Turing'ly).

In any case, it was troubling for several reasons. If the friend's account had not been hacked, then it would imply that predators were loose on FB. Well, since last night, I have looked at the issue, and, sure enough, spam is a concern.

Guess what? I have been on FB since 2008, and this was my first experience with this sort of thing. Of course, the practice that I mentioned earlier came about because I observed side-effects of using FB (can explain, as required) that were problematic. So, once I got my process in place, FB (and my computer) has been nicely behaved.

Of course, I will categorically say that I do not (do not expect to) buy via FB. Nor, do I look at their ads. People who watch me notice that I don't get distracted by the frilly going-ons that screen presentation has devolved (yes, yes) to these days.


Well, enough. Here is a re-look, 2012 time frame.

Remarks: Modified: 04/09/2015

04/09/2015 -- So, this event happened during a feed'ing frenzy related to a new group that had grown to 600+ users in just 2 days. Lots of feeds going on.

Friday, March 27, 2015

There yet?? II

Carrying forward the reporting being done in the There yet?? post. Photo from Nov. 2014. Now, almost 210K. 

Taken by phone camera. Not bad. 
What vehicle has not had recalls? Can we get to where cars are not tested once released out on the road (yes, ala the regimen that FAA puts airplanes through)? That is, let's look at how we got to where customers are the test subjects, albeit without their knowledge.

Disclosure: Wikipedia log, Kelley Blue Book (image at bottom). One large factor is that the miles are 80% highway with little hot dogging (who can resist moving up a mountain with alacrity when there are multiple lanes to use?). The original brakes are little worn.

Remarks: Modified: 03/27/2015

03/27/2015 --

Kelley Blue Book comment,
rated the vehicle as a 10

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Today is a slump day (markets down over 1% by noon). Yesterday was a seeding day. Both of these effects are influenced by the magical multiple which feeds the illusion of liquidity.

The Monday WSJ can be always full of insightful comments. The close of last week allows a breather and a better look (review). So, then, one gets the real deal prior to the week's openings. This past Monday was no exception. There are three articles that will be looked at here. Each has an image that is worthy of note.
  • Stock Bulls Run on Shaky Ground -- Spencer Jakab -- iterates the theme of expanding multiples (we'll get back to Minsky on this) and cautions that there will be an implosion, eventually. 
  • How to Survive a Bear Market -- E.S. Browning -- provides a nice (squished via log view) look at the mania since the 1940. Why mania? Lots of reasons but see the next buller. 
  • Prepare for New Money-Fund Rules -- Kirsten Grind -- there is a little image (Ahh, remember 5%?) that I will augment showing how Ben/Janet have been thrashing the savers (taking us behind the woodshed - plus, flaying us to within an inch of skin) these past few years. So what? Well, conservative/stable approaches are more rational than not (somehow the brains [best and brightest - so called] have made life to be a joke, essentially game based without proper consideration of the issues - yes, unbalanced view abound).  

Now, where else to talk about this continuing set of problems? Oops are all around; albeit, those who suffer are, for the most part, not party to the choices that affect them. ... But, we will get there. For now, see the notes about our research at Fedaerated (in particular, Browning's article).

Here, we will show an image from each of the above with comments.

Jakab's article: This approach does reduce things
 to a game where we can identify winners/losers in
the sense of the metrics involved. However, Near Zero
shows how those metrics are insufficient; in some (many?)
cases, we look at the wrong thing. 
Browning's article: See Fedaerated (link in above text). 
Grind's article: Remember 5%. Lady, I remember 8%. With this
image, I will overlay my experience over the same timeframe
as a saver who was (is being) flayed by the Fed's policies. Yet, there
is no complaint other than concern that it did not have to
be this way (the players are too tied to their game to see). 

Remarks: Modified: 03/10/2015

03/10/2015 -- 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Minsky quoted in the WSJ

Saturday, 02/14/15: Why Bear Markets are Inevitable (Morgan Housel).

We have mentioned Minsky a lot, over the years (he has his own category). It's nice to see him referred to, albeit in a Saturday issue which implies reflective views rather than something more operational (that is, until we have the downturn with the accompanying pain).

At the FEDaerated blog, we're doing a series (albeit slowly) on why the markets crash so fast.

Look at the graph (below) that Housel touts. Now, be aware of several things. For one, the current level is supported by largess on the part of the Fed and other central bankers. Then, recall that those higher levels are supported by rules that keep runaway falls from happening (though they did not catch the not-so-long-ago falls due to technical glitches [it is said, but who knows?] which caused some to experience losses - not golden sacks who was let off the hook). Then, remember that we now have computational influences of an unknown nature, as well as the existence of dark pools, and such, muddying the whole framework. ... We will, in time, go on and on.

Yes, inflated market
We appreciate the Hyman Minsky mention as it will allow another relook: A Theory of Systemic Fragility. ... We intend to show that his sequence (hedge, speculative, ponzi [made-off?]) has been perturbed in ways never consider by Prof Minsky. Namely, computation (dark pools, et al) have exacerbated the problem. My put: flim-flam use of mathematics (easily done since the algorithmic tools allow this) has run amok (it's time for a review).

Remarks: Modified: 02/16/2015

02/16/2015 -- The left side's view.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gab standard II

The original post was dated June 10, 2008. Gosh, over 6 1/2 years ago. Since then, financial discussions have mostly been under the context of FEDaerated (fiat money) in a continuing fashion as problem abound. And, we all of rational mind are waiting for the bubble to burst. The FED's roles dealing with fiat money have exacerbated the problems as seen from the reality of the street (as in, Main and others not called Wall).

One problem is that there is a chimera that comes about, in part, due to charades. Yes, Wall likes to make sure that the game is in their favor. And, a good example of that type of thing could be the dark pools and like ilk. There are others (and, if we could lift the skirt or open the kimono, we would see many, many more).


I noticed, today, that some of the older posts are being read - see the image - which could indicate several things. All of these were from back before the spurt of mania that came from the FED's largess. And, that spurt mainly is equity oriented; savers have been flayed to an inch of their lives (how much longer can they hold on?).

Be that as it may, no one seems to be pushing a normative view. Why? So, we intend to do that. One approach will be to pick up these old posts and bring them up to date. That, of course, will take work and time. But, then, we have already said that we're under no time constraint.


The original post looked at the concept of stable money. You know, figuring that out is not easy. In fact, some approach, such as bitcoin, might be the solution. However, it would be a generally adopted scheme and not privately owned (ah, lots to discuss there).

Now, for a real gas, one of the WSJ articles was talking about the weak dollar. What we know has happened, of late, is that the dollar is strengthening, perhaps too much. One thing for sure is that manipulations like done with the FED's type of operations are oriented to the benefit of the country doing the machinations. Others have to react as best they can.

What kind of strategy is that (asking normatively, okay?) for a sustainable economy?


Before quitting, notice that another of the posts is "Silly games" and refer to the dark pools above. Then, "Why finance?" mentions leeches; yes, still very much apropos.

Remarks: Modified: 01/15/2015

01/15/2015 --  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Summary, 2014

This is our fourth year for a summary: 2011, 2012, 2013. In earlier years, there were more posts: 2008 (82), 2009 (60). This year we only had 11 posts.

Part of that is due to the focus. Perhaps, by 2010, the realization of the Fed's largess continuing, and increasing (QE infinity), sank in and caused depression. Not. Rather, it has taken time to get to the current situation which is just ripe for failures all around. How many modes? Ah, we will get into that.

Remember when we said that we were done? Well, we're back!

However. let's look at this year's numbers for Past 30 days and for All time.

Past 30 days                        All time       

Again, "Confoundedness" is the overall top post for readership. Last year, it switched with "Wing and body" and has kept the position. Too, the top posts are older. Usually, when one is read, another of the older variety is picked up. One task will be to put an up-to-date pointer on these so that the reader can follow a link to current discussions.

Last year, the top of the "Past 30 days" was the overall top (prior paragraph). This year, there is a recent post, albeit from earlier in the year.

Remarks: Modified: 01/06/2015

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Page feature

I just noticed this facility. How long has it been around (rhetorically, of course)?

Now that it's part of the set up, we'll find a way to use. First up, let's get back to the financial turmoils that are around the corner (which we have been, patiently, awaiting for, now, for a bit) whether that corner is soon or far. It is inevitable.

The trouble is that the past few months have had such jawboning in favor of risking money on the ca-pital-sino that those who were leery before are now being pulled in to become instance (guaranteed) losers (proverbial sheep being led to their slaughter). There are worse things.

So, this time around, perhaps our observations/comments might be more in line with events as they unfold.

BTW, silence does not mean that there were no oops around. Rather, too many are around and about. It is the upcoming financial fall outs that will be of interest, again.


Oh yes, pages. One on Minsky references.

Remarks:  Modified: 12/16/2014

12/16/2014 --

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pause or not

Things sure do look different now than they did in 2007, from all sorts of angles. Yet, oops are and will be.

Those that are the most inimical come upon us gradually and subtly. And, these get us tied into warped worldviews from which it is hard to do the proper analysis.

There are several examples of this, but computation is right at the core of a lot of problems (current and latent). And, it is our principal focus for several reasons: applied mathematics, epistemology, and the phenomena of crowd'ish things (many, many examples).


One big issue, not recognized, it seems, is lack of quiescence. We mentioned ca-pital-sino in a related discussion. Problems there are made more difficult due to the 24/7 (whatever) thinking. For one thing, many world views allow for rest. Yes, despite the markets being closed, somewhat, we still do not see the proper analysis being done (to be discussed).

Remarks:  Modified: 10/30/2014

10/30/2014 --

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Renewal of faith

The Internet has been more a source of chagrin than otherwise, of late. There are many reasons for this which we will elucidate coherently, at some point. As one ponders the changes over the past couple of decades, not all of the change has been progressive .
    To wit, we have legions of people already hooked with more clambering to join in the frey. What frey? Being tethered to masters (real and virtual) through a so-called "smart" device that can dumb one down considerably, but not by necessity (more below). 
    Bloomberg, this week, had an article about so-called, again, patent trolls who many want to hate. Yet, in one case, the leaders of the firm are quite technical and have related ambitions. They are not of the type who claim (I almost barfed): the cloud is a marketing space. No, one of these guys says that he is trying to do (as in, solve a problem with and produce) something that people want (as in, pay for and use) to use (again, more below).
Now, to the point. Below is a sequence that is chronological but which, as well, follows a logical progression. We are talking a little bit of information here that will be expanded upon, in time.

It was while visiting the TED site that I saw a page related to on-line courses. Not a new subject to me (see comment about Prof Osgood's take on Fourier's work). In fact, that such material is available, on the web (so far, I have dabbled with courses at Stanford, Harvard, and MIT - for one thing, the difference in culture is obvious, yet the underlying reality being taught is ONE - ah, yes -- of course, there have been other courses sampled, such as those that are based elsewhere, say, the U.K.), counters (can help counter), a little, the rest of the maniacal collective (aggregated idiocy). What I branched to, from TED, was a nice list of course options. We'll start there and continue in a bulleted fashion.
  • - Essentially, the sequence started with the openculture site. The graphic shows the list (shown here in that websites change, so we need a snap as of now). Notice the inclusiveness of the list, plus the mention of MOOC. Too, given that the autodidact's view is going to be the most important in many situations, that these things are accessible can calm things. 
  • - So, picking Math, we get this list of courses which is quite extensive. So, I picked Diff Eqs with Arthur Mattuck at MIT (Math 18.03). As with most courses, there are materials provided to the student that the web watcher does not typically have access to. In the case of this course, the students were allowed to use a program. The Prof mentions it several times in Lecture 1. 
  • - In Lecture 2, near the end (46:59), the Prof says that he wants to talk pitfalls (ah, my favorite subject - oops). He mentions two (this list I will enumerate, fully and completely, at some point). One of these the students are to work out. For the other he uses a particular equation and discusses the issues graphically (more below). He tells the students that the exercise won't cause them grief. But, the understanding that might come from doing the exercise will destroy their faith in the methods (I like that - there is too much love of abstraction and too many unwarranted pursuits for applying such; yes, big daddy data is a real big problem).  
  • - Later, I thought that I would see what the modern solvers do with y' = y^2 which the Prof says illustrates one of the pitfalls. Of course, Google was the starting point (could have been Bing or a number of others). But, an old friendly site pops up. Whose? Wolfram's. The company has been doing computational mathematics for a long while now (pre web). Too, the Alpha system is for knowledge searches. But, I got inspired on looking at their historical view starting at 20,000 BC. Naturally, there is something for recent advances with Wolfram on the list. But, note that the theme is computable knowledge (hence our friend Leonhard Euler is skipped over). BTW, the whole subject of computability will be coming back to fore.    
  • - So, let us go to Alpha: As one expects, there is an place to make a query. Otherwise, the interface has nothing that is noisy. All buttons that go away from this page are minimized (there if you want them, otherwise not intrusive). 
  • - Now, typing in y'=y^2 brings up a nice response. If you try other examples, you will see that the response can be quite lengthy. But, it returns quickly (letting you know if there will be more information coming later - after computing continues). Too, there are links to related material. 
  • - One final thing. Some links go to another Wolfram effort, MathWorld, which is a very extensive encyclopedia of mathematics started (and maintained) by Eric Weisstein (it is so good to see this type of effort).
Timeline of Systematic Data and
the Development of Computable Knowledge
This little sequence of events ending with Wolfram was so refreshing that it has motivated several things that will be added to my todo list. You see, news reports of Apple's little shindig last week talked swagger. Anyone who has bumped against hard problems knows that swagger does not bring anything to the table.

I have been following Wolfram's work (no swagger there), albeit from a distance, since the beginning (my life work has had computational mathematics at its core - see Truth Engineering, for one). Yes, swagger leads to failure and oops (ah, so many ways to address this).

However, even engineers can be tempted. Look back at the beginning of this blog, for instance. As one mathematician said: they just go by the book (nice, if the ground work was done well by the math and science types - otherwise, problematic).

As well, though, the main message is that there is no excuse to not know something if it is important to you and your life. That is, having a grasp of things of a knowledge basis (as opposed to the gossip-laden worlds that we see so much energy put into) is essential to coping with the current issues, such as that which ensues from complexity.

And, you know, folks, those who are the supposed best are not of any better capability, in this sense, than any other thoughtful, capable human. Perhaps, MOOC can help balance some of those issues related to the age-old problems of elitism (lots more on this).

Remarks:  Modified: 09/17/2014

09/13/2014 -- Seeing those who are tethered, I have to tell a story: supposedly, Newton was so involved in his thoughts that he did not eat his meal after it had been served. Eventually, his meal companion ate Isaac's food. At some point, Isaac noticed that his food was gone and mentioned that he must have eaten. ... Those with their nose to the devices are posturing in real life (think Rodin) as if their little brains are actively pursuing universals (when they are actually doing what? Playing a game, watching some video - tv included, reading some trashy novel, ... wait, it's elitistic to even think such thoughts). Like mentioned before, the management class started this with their love of the mobile (won't name the name) as indicative of their stature and status (tetheredness, 24/7).

09/13/2014 -- Have to mention Cyc and Doug Lenat. Alpha did not know the former; it knew the latter. ... Alpha's tie to equational parsing and processing is tremendously useful for those who are looking for such type of support.

09/16/2014 -- Is math discovered or not? Beside the quasi-empirical issues, we'll weigh in, soon (truth engineering).

09/17/2014 -- In a recent WSJ (letters to the editor), the writer rues that "smart" device tethering of a human's mind does contribute to shallowness. However, people were shallow before these mobile things came on the scene. What is new is that shallowness can now be broadcast far beyond what was the case before the new times. ... Message heard: the fact of the "smart" device is not the cause of (but, it is a contributor to) lack of depth (discussion: why is this important?).