Thursday, June 26, 2008

NoooP and aah

This blog has dealt with ‘oops and loops of many types. As we know, ‘oops and loops, by necessity, lead to oops. One question is the size of that necessity. Too, some oops are more painful than others; hopefully, when the potential pain is large, we'll be more careful.

Engineering is usually careful; recent financial events don't confirm that is so in the monied realms; mostly, this seems to rise from the fact that not all share the pain equally.

But, there is another side of the coin which is larger in our affairs. Let’s call that side NoooP, as in no oops, which bring on aahs. Engineering’s goal is to bring in more aahs via NoooP. Of course, that sharing in the aahs differs, as does the pain on the other side, will bring up some discussion.

One might say that we can reduce the necessary aspect of oops through proper analysis and methods which is a story that the risk people have sold to management. Too, there are sufficiency conditions that will keep NoooPs up and oops down.

Now, given our nature, it is very easy for hubris to set in if all we see is the NoooP side as then a growing chance for oops may be overlooked. And, hubris can apply to engineering, especially that of the financial type.

What other than hubris could lead rational people to think that slicing and dicing junk (tranche and more) would make it other than it is? Is that not like putting lipstick on a pig and expecting something other?

So, expect there to be more coverage of NoooPs on all sides to balance the view and to allow appreciate of those aahs that abound more than not, oops notwithstanding.


05/18/2009 -- Testing in flight is within sight.

11/18/2008 -- More progress in testing is reported. Too, financial oops were very abundantly around in the fall of 2008.

Modified: 05/21/2009

Monday, June 16, 2008

New polls

These are again under consideration (Polls, Poll completions).

However, in the meantime, support bet2give.
Flightglobal polls.
  • Has Boeing finally got the 787 programme under control? Apr 11 08 (2228), Yes 23%, No 77%
  • Will further 787 delays push customers to the A350 XWB? Mar 28 08 (2422), Yes 58%, No 42%
  • Can Boeing still deliver the first 787 next May? Sep 04 07 (2797), Yes 27%, No 73%
  • Will the Boeing 787 stick to its certification schedule? Jul 13 07 (2129), Yes 63%, No 37%
As an aside, the July 13, 2007 poll shows the lingering exuberance of the 7/8/7 affair, plus the several years of talking up the program. The April 11, 2008 poll says something about the glow's difficulty of recovery.

Modified: 01/20/2013

Saturday, June 14, 2008

American dreaming

Yes, perhaps some older culture had dreams, but the American variety has played top-dollar in the media age of print and broadcast (what about in the new media?).

Well, we do have will which comes into play in the continued resolution of this recurring question (essentially, quasi-empirical at the core): we cannot do it or we do not want to do it. Of course, we could add much more: we do not know how to do it but can learn, we do not know what we do not know, ...

Earlier posts related to financial gaming and its effects which discussions will continue.

As a little comic aside, following Kelly-Bootle, recently, a Money & Happiness article by Laura Rowley tells a little tale that is very much apropos. If only it could be funny.


03/15/2013 -- Some controversy in the way SPR fired some people. See Weagle.

03/15/2011 -- The M & Ms are apropos.

11/30/2009 -- No one climbs above our neuropeptidergic limitations.

09/02/2009 -- The supposedly best-and-brightest have led us on a perdition-directed path through mis-using mathematics and computation.

05/18/2009 -- Oh yes, got us in a mess and still wants the bonus.

07/29/2008 -- Study continues on the etiology of the current mess. As there is much to catch up on, no time line has been established.

06/16/2008 -- Yes, some gimmick always seems to come forward to beat the market. MPT needs to remember about quasi-empiricism and black swans, due, in part, to the unfairness of the game.

Modified: 03/15/2013

Friday, June 13, 2008

Counting oops

David Wessel, of the WSJ, writes in Fannie, Freddie's Risks Exposed about the balance needed between privatization and nationalization. These two are examples of the abstractions that we love so much. If you would, these are 'dreams' that are problematic for realization, not like those things in engineering where actual production is possible.

So, what happened in the past decade is that a very much ideal approach to supporting home ownership was opened (but, not as a level playing field) to those who could not keep themselves from profiteering (which is related to Minsky's ponzi-ness). Along with this, another thing of beauty was besmirched, namely good old Sallie Mae. Several students who took loans found themselves wrapped by the python let loose by the privateers. These things are partly apropos in that Barack's vetting chief was one of those who interloped upon that space.

But, back to Wessel's comments, which are usually resonant with themes of 7oops7. The recent looks at Fannie and Freddie have resulted in recognition of their usefulness and in some appreciation for what might be done to control the Minsky inevitables.

So, how many oops are there to count in this regard? Well, those related to the program of initial interest pale by comparison.

Another example involves the Auction-Rate Security (ARS, see Wikipedia) which has trapped a few people. Again, from the WSJ (Holders of Auction-Rate Debt Have Choices, but Few Solutions), we can see some specific cases. One person asked where to part $375K for a few months in order to sort things out. Well, this investment idiot (UBS? you would think better of them) spouted that the ARS (was there some notion about the ARS being a cash equivalent?) was the place; essentially, the person has lost half the value. Naturally, claims for some type of damages are forthcoming. The article has a few other examples.

A lot of these things are understandable as many made oodles of money with problematic instruments for awhile and got lured in. It is very much true that proper accounting was not done; meaning, of course, accounting that would have shown the losers over this time (near zero-sum, folks - oh, that would be a God-eye's view? you might ask).

Gosh, the rating agencies adding junk on junk and getting something that didn't smell (or so they thought) just shows that mathematics has been mis-applied and reason pirated.

In this case, short-term CDs, even with the diminished rate due to Ben (thank you, guy), would have been preferred. But, various traditions of finance and mottled thinking says not.


11/04/2010 -- Big Ben is still putting us at risk and trashing the savers.

10/11/2009 -- Discussion has gone over to FED-aerated. Note the 10/11/2009 Remarks about the Business Week article on India's progress' inhibitors. 'Near zero' recognizes that some always suffer more than others, especially in win-win situations, as the whole notion of characterization minimizes visceral reactions by diminishing the real in favor of the abstracted (ah, the modern world, you say?).

03/30/2009 -- Near-zero will be looked at more closely.

01/27/2009 -- Lessons to be learned (as opposed to learnt), including, by necessity, Ponzi.

Modified: 11/04/2010

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It is not funny

Earlier, we talked about financial decisions that would be funny, such as leveraging, as being a cause of oops as it provokes gaming which can have very much non-funny results. Minsky's notion of the inevitability of the ponzi following speculation seems to fit.

Well, we see financial issues everywhere, from the Fed opening up discounts to junk'ies (a view in the WSJ asks, Why Is the 'Discount' Free?) to workers being screwed out of their pensions that are comparatively small to what the fattest of the cats may get (also, see recent WSJ article on CEOs posthumous pay -- millions and millions).

An example of a problem, that has lurked but is very illustrative, is the dilemma of workers. For instance, we see pension robbing, where one would expect that after all this time we could support the future for workers with more than just gab. We see little respect for workers from management as the latter go about their profiteering ways.

Of course, many of these issues would be hard for an angel to resolve, that we have greed involved to the equation just complicates things more. Perhaps, getting the dismal areas to be less so would be a good step forward starting with currency that has 'real' value.


08/24/2009 -- Last year, Ben blinked and panicked. He frantically pulled out all stops as if with no thought for tomorrow. Now, he has no use for 'mea culpa' big daddy that he is. Ben, start to unwind now. The Vienna School's view that these things are undecidable (which is a computational issue) is right on.

08/17/2009 -- As promised, FEDaerated is here.

01/26/2009 -- Lessons to be learned (as opposed to learnt), including, by necessity, Ponzi.

07/31/2008 -- For a little bit, we'll be looking at money and why there is so much problem handling things. The oops part results from our letting computationally-framed methods run amok, just because we could. Lawmakers and lawmen, essentially, have let this happen either due to wanting the benefits to accrue for their friends (and, boy, has this happened) or just due to the complexity of the situation (which is real, but that does not mean that we ought to let those opportunists who play and win to not see beyond their mountains of dollars [or any other currency]).

That these issues are not simple is due to the very foundational nature of the related problems.

Modified: 08/24/2009

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gab standard

Or, should we say 'Gab as standard' which we do see a lot?

The title came from a WSJ opinion article but struck me as funny. Some earlier posts in this and the related blog talked about things like this. For instance, in finance we can look at the relative rankings of marking. Such as, is to model better than to market? Well, it turns out that it depends, like anything, upon who wins and who loses (it's near-zero, no matter what the richer and smarter say, folks). Of course, some have been marking to myth (Note to Cal Thomas: yes, we're in a 3rd-world dictatorship where the 'dictator' is not the 'decider' (whatever) but the group whose mindset is that their success is a divine-right and that their use of a gaming ontology, which is stacked in practice somewhat, is okay).

Too, on the engineering side, we can go on about 'gab' versus progress, where we know that the latter is hard to measure though it can be done. The former is always problematic, probably by necessity.

We also can look at the lowering dollar. How can this have come about when the US (Uncle Sam) talks (brags about) the 'capitalist' game? Well, we've talked about that, too, as mainly an issue more related to keeping the coffers of the few full. Turns out, though, that we've done so in the US using extracts from the pockets of many others. For how long can this be sustained?

Judy Shelton (see also Stable money) in the WSJ article (The Weak-Dollar Threat to World Order) looks at various reasons and the consequences of the current status. It's not pretty, folks. Anyway, the article is full of clever turns of phrase, such as things like "sleight-of-hand monetary policy" and like what we see with the title. In that case, the question is what is better, a gold standard (Note: 'gold' is being used since that was the standard [albeit erroneously] at one time; we could use anything, such as an element -- the key issue is what is a sustainable growth rate -- medical metaphors [morbidity, for one] may very well be apropos) or a gab standard? Some actually think that this is a foregone conclusion.

Oh, one sees that those who fell for the abstractionistic advances of the 20th century have really caused a lot of grief.

One case in point is that the supply-chain idea of globalization can fail in more ways than we've allowed ourselves to consider. Okay, we've seen both engineering and financial failings.

Now, let's look at agriculture. Has anyone ever thought about having a garden (or did so)? Seems almost to be a human right. Also, remember the idea behind the Victory Garden? Well, the World Bank and others have been telling others, of the developing mode, that they (the super rich) will supermarket-chain food to them. These countries were told not to have their own effort; consequently, many places cannot even do any type of sustenance farming in a reasonable fashion now.

What silly notions these are, all of this stuff. It has been 'rich' and supposedly smarter people telling everyone else what to do. Oh, I know, that's not new. It's just that technology and mathematics has allowed us to spread pain faster and further now.

See the WSJ for an article titled, Food Crisis Forces New Look at Farming. Makes one wonder what other ways the 'smart' set will be screwing it up for those who, in many cases, have no champion. By the way, of what is a CEO champion of?

There is a lot more to cover. It's interesting that the subprime problem has precipitated some of this review, yet that a whole house of cards has had such a very shaky basis portends what?


01/15/2015 -- One of the most-read, of late, as things do look unsettling. Did we learn anything?

06/23/2013 -- Ben sure has talked up (gabbed to) the investors; a recent downturn offers a lot to think about.

03/23/2012 -- Ben is doing a series of four lectures on his, and the FED's, role.

11/08/2009 -- The gigantic chimera needs proper attention.

09/08/2009 -- Heterodox covers several things, but here the suggestion leans towards the energy-based approach to money and value.

08/24/2009 -- Last year, Ben blinked and panicked. He frantically pulled out all stops as if with no thought for tomorrow. Now, he has no use for 'mea culpa' big daddy that he is. Ben, start to unwind now. The Vienna School's view that these things are undecidable (which is a computational issue) is right on.

08/17/2009 -- As promised, FEDaerated is here.

06/15/2009 -- Globalization, and capitalism, now a dirty word, according to one in private equity.

04/27/2009 -- The IMF who sits on a lot of gold got about $1T more to play with.

03/30/2009 -- Near-zero will be looked at more closely.

02/13/2009 -- Debate continues.

12/16/2008 -- Shoes continue to drop, but they are of several types.

10/20/2008 -- It got even worse throughout the year, from Ben's blink, through spitting in the face of savers, to bailouts (what?) of those touting capitalism.

07/31/2008 -- It's not enough to rant and spout off. So, let's start something constructive by looking at money and what it is.

Modified: 01/15/2015

Monday, June 9, 2008

Oops and types

We have seen how oops are related to 'oops and loops and are studied by various engineering foci, such as control, risk, etc. Oops can be small or large, with a wide range of consequences.

One problem that we face is that nothing is really a replay of the past; the PLM mindsets need to remember this. Too, those who look to Lean need to understand better what is behind this thing.

So, given that we're living a big 'experiment' in an unknown lab, we have to be careful, especially if our decisions affect others. It's like this, folks. Look, keep your oops (however motivated and whatever you might think is best for me) to yourself. If I want to do something stupid, I'll let you know.

Just this past week, I read several articles in many publications that deal with oops. We'll get into each of these; here is a brief listing.
  • WSJ - Trying to Solve the Oil Puzzle - poor Congressman is trying to fathom the multiple layers of speculation driving the oil market and getting grief from fat cats who say that it is supply and demand --- We probably could use a lesson from mathematics here. Who has used any derivative (calculus, not financial gaming) beyond the 2nd on a regular basis (note the use of regular)? So, given that we humans always 'bubble' over, one way that the Fed (or whoever ought to play this role) could control things is by removing any layer of middle man beyond a certain level. It isn't that hard, folks. No, those who have fat pockets have been good at misusing what 'capitalism' is all about.
  • IEEE Spectrum - The New Economics of Semiconductor Manufacturing -- mainly about applying Lean to the clean room making of chips and more --- Gosh, remember how the US management went to Japan with hats in hand and all agog about something that came out of the western ontology - then they found out that it wasn't a magic bullet from zen or something like that - turns out that much of Lean has to do with empiricism (which can only be quasi, guys, don't be stupid there) and experimentation. Yes, any program (787 or A350 [oh, we'll be on time!!!]) that makes grand claims years in advance is suspect by definition; and, looking to others doing the work as being able to pull off magic?? What can I say, but tsk tsk.
  • IEEE Spectrum - The Hunt for the Kill Switch - about the possibility of outsourced work allowing too much power to someone else who can then come back and use it against you --- In this case, it's the real problem of chips being manipulated so as to allow malfeasance. But, it could apply everywhere. Globalization is a fat cat thing, folks. Gosh, are we to allow the idiots to ignore individuation and its use? Okay, everyone on the planet ought to be economically supported; but, globalization has been more about moving things around in order to reduce cost (more for the pockets of the few) than real development.
Oh, we could 'lean' the executive suite, come to think of it. They need to learn more science and less 'demigod-ness' for the sake of the rest of us.


06/15/2009 -- Globalization, and capitalism, now a dirty word, according to one in private equity.

11/20/2008 -- Boon and bust, the way of fairy dust.

Modified: 06/15/2009

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oops examples

We can find many examples of oops in a lot of places, as we know that we cannot have 'oops and loops without oops. Perhaps, we'll use enumeration of types via examples as a theme for awhile, rather than just beat on the engineering and finance themes.

For starters and nodding to the fact that this week is the third year anniversary of an event that had oops all around, let's use examples from a divestiture (big word for split) of a division out of a company.

How to start? Well, let's just look at a few potential types; we'll continue the theme for awhile until exhaustion, both of the subject and the blog writer.

In terms of the third-year re-look, let's do it from perspectives of various players.
  • -- Manager (spawning company) who started all this - oops, or is it oh-oh?
  • -- Worker who could have transferred but did not for whatever reason - oops, I don't have as good insurance and pension benefits as before
  • -- Managers (who spawned off and lined pockets) - oops, I should have waited a little before dumping stock as it did bubble there momentarily (ah, but now it's down again)
  • -- Worker who raised ethical concerns - oops, no one cared as the managers running the split were allowed two-tongued stances for many weeks
  • -- Management chain - oops, look at what those above me got
  • -- The general employee who got mail - oops, where is my piece of the pie?
  • -- The rejected who got DHL - oops, what happened?
  • -- Union worker - oops, what?
  • -- Worker who didn't accept offer - oops, ouch!! (thrown out by the ear with a swift kick from a black-booted thug)
Of course, there are the antitheses of the oops, non-oops if you would.
  • -- Financial-ers - oh, what wonder color Wichita money has!! Let's get more, ah Hawker!!
  • -- Retiree/double dippers - oh, great retiree insurance! two paychecks!! (Who cares that the majority is scraping by with less after this event's take-aways.)
  • -- Worker who did transfer and retired later - oh, isn't it great!!
  • -- Managers who didn't suck up and were pushed out -- oh, it's nice to have a conscience
Naturally, there are many more. Care to add some?

Or, leave stories in the comments or e-mail them: Shattered dreams, That stinks.


03/15/2013 -- Some controversy in the way SPR fired some people. See Weagle.

05/30/2012 -- As covered by flightblogger.

05/04/2012 -- A recent filing relates to this theme.

12/23/2010 -- Do oops continue to emerge?

11/20/2008 -- Boon and bust, the way of fairy dust.

06/18/2008 -- Not to be confused with American Dreaming.

Modified: 03/15/2013