Saturday, December 31, 2011

Posts of interest - 2011

As a means (an attempt) to freeze a point in time (which we know is not possible), the last post of 2011 will list the top four posts in terms of having been read (well, views, anyway). Perhaps, this will be a yearly event.

Aside: As said in Mission and Method, posts are to contribute to a theme, though there may be divergent ones from time to time. Blogs allow categories, but these are problematic since they collect and present in a time order. From time to time, there ought to be a super-post that gives a more coherent view (here is an example - Truth, Fiction, and Finance). Perhaps, that type of thing will be done more often in the coming year.

Posts of interest, as of today:
  • -- Wing and body -- This is from mid-2009; at the time, a lot was unknown by the lookers. Of course, the Company did make the right decisions to work things as needed, because the test period continued. Too, there have been deliveries. Now, the issue is production. But, the topic of this post was proven by tests. Will we know the lessons learned? I just hope that one of them is to not 'believe' computational modeling, by itself despite what has seemed to be sufficient evidence that we can do so. As an aside, a whole lot of testing has been pushed out to the users, in a seemingly production environment. Even, with cars we find this. Usually, this failure has little consequences beyond grief. As we saw with the airplane, the rigors cannot be avoided.   
  • -- Confoundedness -- Again, mid-2009. One player is gone. In the look backs, what will be seen as lessons learned? It remains the case that measured steps from a known position is the right thing to do in many cases. However, there are many other times when going further is warranted. Again, this is a balance that we need to learn more about. 
  • -- Truth,fiction and finance -- From 2008, this post pulls together somethings about the idiots of finance. Why do I say that they're idiots? They 'believe' too much in computation; the main issue is that this belief was reinforced due to machinations that allowed big paybacks (without clawbacks). The real issue is that these are not trivial things that are easily resolved. And, the current state of evolution in these matters is so apparent in its unfolding over the past years; yet, forces whose sole purpose is obfuscation seem to have the ear of the politicos. Oh yes, money is what drives that whole thing. 
  • -- Cramming for the exam -- From 2007, the thing was motivated by a CEO's off-handed remarks that must have made engineers cringe. Yet, his was the mouth that perturbed the airways. As the first bullet says, from two years later, the proof is in the pudding. So, there was eventual performance. But, that came about from applying expertise, money, and thoughtful reviews and not from hubris associated with word play. 

12/29/2012 -- Summary - 2012.

Modified: 12/29/2012

Monday, December 5, 2011

December, 2007

The blog started with a project management focus. By the end of 2007 and the next year, it seemed that finance had really gone down the drain. Why? Too much gaming and misuse of mathematics (all because of an environment that relaxed oversight and that allowed young ones to play games without constraint as long as it filled the pockets of those who were funding the game -- at the same time, the real engineers had followed their improvements with an increasing amount of power at a reduced cost).

We had people thinking that trashy stuff, like the tranche, was high-powered finance. Wishful thinking, in some cases. Definitely, unrealistic in scope (there is no perpetual motion machine (something from nothing -- Ben, Ben, you can't just keep printing money -- oh, you're developing an economy to be like a game board -- funny money), yet there are many ways for people to gather more than they deserve).


Then, there was this role that had been created in which a wizard had a couple of buttons to control the economy via monetary schemes. Back in 2007, we had not realized how far he could take it in applying changes, and schemes, without any real data with which to know the impacts.

So far, does he look like gold? We don't have the final accounting; in other words, it's too early.


We jawboned a lot about moral hazards. It seemed that the FED was rewarding this a lot in its prancing upon the world's stage. Is that not still the case? Later, it was obvious that Ben liked to dance around strewing his fairy dust.

Too, the FED made happy talk.


The whole structure was shaky due to an overabundance of leverage. This was one consequence of the bastardized mathematics mentioned earlier. In fact, much of the machinations of financial engineering would not have been possible without the advances in computational modeling (this I know about deeply).


So, it's been four years of major oops, with all sorts of people suffering. Of course, the system risk is still there and understated. We can look back and try to see what happened. That will happen in the academic environment.

In the meantime, people are trying to move forward. As the OWS shows, we cannot sustain ourselves using the methods that led to the failure. What would help improve things? Do we not need to reconsider the deleterious effects of colonization and exploitation, for one thing?


12/07/2011 -- Jim Rogers sees saver sacking, too.

12/06/2011 -- Congress wants to clean up its act.

Modified: 12/07/2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sealy finale

A Thanksgiving theme, in part. We can be thankful that some retail establishments stand up to their role in offering quality products over time. Defective products can reflect upon their reputation; sometimes, one might think that they're caught between two immovable forces: shoddy production and design practices on the one side, discriminating consumer on the other.


A bedroom stands empty since the retailer removed the mattress and refunded the purchase price. The consumer is now venturing, again, upon a quest for a good mattress; perhaps, the events described below will allow for a more informed decision.

Too, additional information, such as that provided by sleeplikethedead will be part of the decision process. It is interesting that the particular manufacturer rates low in customer satisfaction.


So, what happened with this consumer? Firstly, a mattress set was delivered in June, 2010 (yes). As the delivery folks were setting up the bed, the lift strap broke. That is, the mechanism provided to allow one to move the mattress failed. Ought the consumer have accepted this set?

A few weeks later, the second set was delivered which then allowed the consumer to become acquainted with the bed set. Ah, what was a firm mattress had obvious soft spots. How could that be?

These earlier posts depict what occurred as the consumer tried to find out what was what. Is firm 'firm' in the modern parlance?
  • - Sealy snafu (Feb 8, 2011) -- It took from July 2010 until February 2011 to get Sealy to send out someone to look at the mattress. This was after several go-arounds with their filtering process (is this to weed out those who don't follow through?). And, the first complaint was registered within five days of starting to use the mattress.
  • - Sealy saga (Feb 15, 2011) -- Sealy went from a point test to one that averages across a fairly large expanse, perhaps due to an excessive amount of returns. The averaging test made rejection a whole lot harder for the consumer. However, using weights in a consistent fashion allowed the problems to come to fore in a measurable, repeatable fashion.
  • - Sealy shimming (Feb 26, 2011) -- The net result was that there had to be shims put on the mattress in order to prevent sinking into the soft spots. That is, in order to provide a sleeping platform, the mattress had to be reinforced in several areas.
  • - In April, the retailer (not Sealy) honored the consumer's analysis (described in the above posts) and decided to replace the mattress. When it arrived, the consumer accepted the mattress with only a casual review. However, before use, the consumer did have a closer scrutiny, and the mattress was found to be full of flaws. It had soft spots, even without use. It had mangled sewing (even Sealy admitted this). However, they had to send out the guy, again, before doing anything. That whole process took some time.
  • - So, this time, Sealy said that they would replace the mattress (before, it had been the retailer who stepped up). In the meantime, a shimmed Sealy (Stearns and Foster) was in use by the consumer. The replacement mattress, this time provided by Sealy, was scrutinized before the consumer would accept it. Why? Sealy's policy makes it obvious that the only way to reject is to scrutinize for flaws prior to signing. Was the mattress acceptable? No. Hence, the mattress went back.
  • - At that point, we were talking four flawed mattresses (the user satisfaction rating is low, the consumer found out). Why are so many flaws overlooked? You see, it's hard to do the proper lookover while crew is awaiting one's decision. Besides, there is the social pressure to not make waves. And, some of these things are not easily seen. Where is the quality control inspection at the plant that ought to be looking for these obvious shortcomings?
  • - Since the time of that latest delivery attempt, early summer of 2011, the consumer has been in discussion with the retailer. They do offer the brand and have to give their stamp of quality. It was obvious that four strikes ought not to be ignored.
  • - So, the decision, finally, was for the consumer to return the thing and get refunded.

That event puts the consumer at square one, again. Frustrated, of course, in having to go through this whole thing, again. The final choice from the upcoming decision process will be reported once it has been made. In fact, there may be a post or two during the interim.


You see, this is under 'oops' since there are several involved. On the consumer's part, one big 'oops' was thinking that brand reputation held up in the modern day. Will we ever get back to how it was before? Too, brand loyalty (the consumer has used Sealy for years) is not the way to go either, evidently.

What 'oops' there are on the manufacturers side we'll not go into, though we could. That is their issue.


What ought Sealy do? Well, pressure test, for one thing. We hear that they spend oodles on research and development. What amount of this effort goes into testing? Of course, if they're doing 'lean' they ought to be making (the building process) their product so as to not have to test (ah, that is the ideal; can it apply in a case like this?).

Sealy, perhaps, is learning something. They are offering 'core support' which looks like an engineering improvement. It would be interesting to find out when this was first offered. As well, there are other modern offerings that indicate some thoughtful design.


Why did the National Sleep Foundation pick Serta? Does that mean anything?


03/03/2012 -- Decision made, after much research, and looking. Se*** (guess). 

Modified: 03/03/2012

Sunday, October 23, 2011

There yet?

There was a 'not back' series that kept confirming that we were still looking at the idiocies of the finance world while letting engineers do their thing, such as deliver the 787. Of course, we know that there are engineering marvels all around and coming about every day.


This marvel of finance exploiting computing is not what it appears to be. In fact, the reality stinks; we'll somehow have to constrain the thing with regulations and moral imperatives. We don't have to count the ways these things can go wrong, as the stench as drifted even up to the heavens.


So, we're start another discourse that is more amenable to discussion and test. The automobile's expected life-cycle, for short. Ignoring, for now, issues of planning for obsolescence and other optimization schemes that increase the profit while reducing the utility and issues related to drive-by-wire (et al), let's just look at one vehicle.


Taken by an old digital camera.
Now, the make and model will be ignored, for now, to protect the not so guilty. The thing is of 2004 vintage and has 163K miles on it without any major breakdowns. Its companion, a little older, has over 149K miles on it.

The drift of the post ought to be apparent now. Yes, why ought we not think that a purchase of a new vehicle is a transaction that allows us to get something that will work for as many years as we want it to? Who can tell us what the life expectancy might be?


Insurance companies do this for people. They even put their money up front on betting that they can do the modelling correctly (however, things like the dead peasant must really throw them a curve ball -- who would think that bankers would stoop this low?).


Here are a few particulars, to support the query about how far this thing can go:
  • -- The miles have been mostly road miles (up to 80+ is common, where it can be driven like that legally and safely); the mechanic says that the brakes are just over 1/4 worn.
  • -- For driving habits, all starts are gradual; there is almost nil quick breaking (if it's necessary, it's usually due to some unexpected move by another car); for disclosure, usually the car has out-raced others in seeing who gets to the top of the mountain first (yet, the tach seldom goes above 2500).
  • -- It's on its 3rd set of tires. Judicious care about rotation, pressure care, etc. allowed maximal use to within 5/32nds of wear. Since I got a nail in the tire early, I used the spare for a pair. So, then the issue was managing the change over of pairs. A recent change of all four tires now has offered 10/32nds to play with.
  • -- Oil changes were kept, for the most part, around 3000 miles. The air filter was changed, at least, yearly but sooner if dirty (you would be amazed at how eight hours driving in rain on an Interstate can trash the filter). Since manufacturers claim that the oil monitoring is a great system, I've giving this a try (but, the mechanics say that they've had to fix many cars that pushed too far without an oil change).
  • -- The first major preventive work was changing the transmission fluid around 100K miles. This unit is one of the workhorses in mostly continual use.
  • -- The plugs were not changed until 134K miles. They didn't look too badly. A performance change, though, could be seen in acceleration and mileage.
  • -- The belt wasn't changed until 154K miles. It had no cracking. There was some stretching in certain load conditions.
  • -- Problems: the instrument panel went (could not see speed, drove awhile with a stop watch and eyeballing mileage markers - that only worked out in the country) and took $.5K for fixing. A sensor went but hasn't been changed (it's been out for two years, another story that will be written) since it only applies to startup conditions.
  • -- Oh yes, the windshield. It has about 20 dings, one starting to crack slightly. Insurance will change that; already has done this once. Needless to say, the wipers have been changed (but, they're kept clean).
  • -- Light bulbs have been pretty good. One headlamp and one taillight, so far.
  • -- Body work, interior -- only one ding that happened in a parking lot with a cart (intentional?); of course, trying to remove bug juice can be an issue; the interior doesn't have any real problems after 7 years. The thing still looks good when cleaned and shined up a little (never have added wax -- mostly hand washing).
  • -- Warranty work: there was one little recall item early on. Did not buy the extended warranty this time with the thought that I would self-ensure. Turns out that I saved the money. The manufacturer (or its representative) is still trying to get me to buy this type of insurance at 163K miles.
  • ...

There may be more to add to the list. Right now, we can ask two questions. Can this vehicle go to 200K miles without any major work? If so, what about 300K? One mechanic told me that he had just done the first brake job on a pickup with over 300K miles on it.


Now, as we know, the answer would depend upon several things which we'll get into. One thing is that all of the subsystems have some life expectancy. What are those? Where do you go to find these?

You see, people ask these questions all the time. No one seems to want to answer. Why? I can go to the web and find expected life of household items. Why not for auto systems?

I can tell you a lot about tires. The major worry there, for me, was tread and handling since I'm doing year around driving (only got stuck once in the snow -- the better tread was on the front tires at the time -- the thought, at the time, was safety over traction). The casing can have a very long life (hence, re-rubbering as we see with trucks) if cared for properly.


If there are places where this data is available, I, and others, would sure like to know. If it is there, how do we make it more than anecdotal?


03/27/2015 -- Almost 210K. See photo from Nov. 2014 (see some disclosures).

10/12/2014 -- Over 200K. This story is apropos: F250, 1M miles, 4 years.

06/24/2014 -- Over 198K. Wrote a review at Kelley's Blue Book. Also, updating the Talk page on Wikipedia. Latest incident was an actuator arm freezing (A/C system) after a battery failure. -- General question: With all of the recalls of late, are we seeing engineering cutting too many corners? Too, some of these were due to software issues; are they just hacking away? Where is the software engineering discipline?

04/25/2013 -- Over 180K, several weeks ago. Had the transmission serviced, again. It looked good. The first time was about 100K miles as this is one of the work horses. A recent failure was the water pump going out. But, with that fixed, the Rainier runs smoothly and quietly. On a business trip, I rented a new Buick and almost got hooked on all of the newer features that one finds nowadays. But, I'll be thorough in checking out all options before buying new. In the meantime, a couple of road trips are planned with the Rainier.

Taken by by phone camera but
modified to grey scale. 
09/17/2012 -- Approaching 180K. In the past year, replaced one failed sensor used to determine fuel mixture at start-up temperatures. Put on a new set of tires. Of late, getting queries about selling. Evidently, this year of Buick Rainier has built a reputation for reliability. 

Modified: 03/27/2015

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


There have been several developments the past few weeks. One of the major events relates to the Title, which is not expanded for a reason (see below).
  • 1% versus 99% -- the latter is finding a voice and a presence - finally, one might say. Tech Ticker has a good overview of the basic issues.
  • best-and-brightests' lack of sense versus the public's heart -- again, it's good to see that there is still something afloat (the suppression of the past decade was extreme).
  • own Wall Street versus occupy Wall Street -- of course, those running the game think that they own the street; actually, we could do a better job with a bunch of smart monks.
All of this is too new to see what's going to be the end results. However, the blogger is happy to see the unfolding, almost deja vu (so many ways, to boot).


12/13/2011 -- McKinsey report shows that households hold over 40% of the world's wealth. Hence, the consumer as the major influence on the economy. Now, consider that the household wealth collection (using income in the U.S. as a proxy) is skewed to a very small bunch.

10/18/2011 -- Hopefully, the OWS will bring this type of thing to public awareness.

10/15/2011 -- The recognition goes global. Banking ought to be handled by those whose greed is close to nil.

10/14/2011 -- One thing that has always concerned the blogger was the trickery that finance did with student loans which ought to be as straightforward as mortgages. Yet, some play games with those needing the support and, in doing so, made oodles (atrocious, in essence). Some of have this in mind as they join in the protest. Yes, it was turned over to bankers of whom there are many types; and, do not bankers exist for the purpose of filling their pockets?

10/13/2011 -- Cain, the candidate, has a 9-9-9 tax plan. Of course, those at the top would pay less, fattening their pockets more. Those at the bottom would be bled. What is interesting is that he wants to remove any capital gains tax. Guess what? That would put even more money, and silliness, into the gaming that we're now all paying for. Actually, the short-term profits (milking the system, actually) and speculative gains ought to be taxed higher than anything. The consequence of these things -- though, the aura is hyped daily by pundits, tv, and more? Moving money to the bigger pockets (small set) from myriads (very, very large set) of the hapless.

Too, Cain, of the boot-strap thinking, worked for the government (Department of Navy -- not in uniform, mind you) for his starter work. And, in a well-paid position with all sorts of benefits. Yet, he wants the young people (it seems) to create a position for themselves out of thin air (we'll have to re-address the whole perpetual motion issue -- no, we're not talking the mouth motion of people like Cain -- it has to do with accumulation expectations that are unrealistically founded and are not sustainable (except by chewing up the hapless)).

Where is the worker's equivalent of the 13th amendment? Workers, in many cases, are indentured servants (ah, we can easily explain this). We want them to enlarge their debt in order to keep the controls in place (shackles). Remember the Irish and the IPhone suicides (as if those using these things care about that sort of thing -- sort of like us not being mindful of the mistreatment of farm workers as we belly up to the tables of bounty).

Modified: 12/13/2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


As in, the 'most valuable' of the CEOs. I first saw this in Fortune (May issue). That Jamie is foremost on the list got my attention.


Will need to find out what were the results of the poll.


The whole notion reeks of the claim here that what are roles has turned into a 'cult of personality' sort of thing. And, the importance of the role is not in question. Rather, that this type of top-down person can rake off so much is a very big issue (see Wealth).


So, there will be much to talk about in this regard. But, first, let's just go down the line of the qualities (see article) needed by this new type of king (whose wings have not been clipped yet by the proper Magna Carta).
  • understand global business in their bones -- or, 'true citizens' of the world (come on, Fortune, I thought you were better than this). Exploiting workers, and other resources while building up a framework that is beyond the reach of law, and more? I have no problem with applying the 'bones' (intuition, folks) as those at the lowly side of things do that, to boot. Those with their hands in the dirt. Yes, indeed.
  • change strategies and business models more than before -- innovate at a deep level? does that not imply that there are those AT THAT LEVEL who can, and are allowed to, innovate? Let me remind you all, after the innervation! Besides, how can this sit with the ego-maniacal boss at the top (as in, from whence will we see self-adapting organisms, with autonomous parts, congealing to an effective entity? -- what? yes, the real indicator of a mature humanity!)?
  • skillfully manage relationships with governments -- ah, a tight-rope walk here, do you not think? smooze, do you say? The balance that will be required for the political (used in a universal sense) and the business and the social (used as the closure - hence, fairly broad) realms is very important indeed. Is this then the place for the swash-buckler?
  • identify and manage risk before they become disasters -- crap, have we not heard that before? In fact, just a few years ago, were not risk's uncertainties forever put to bed since it was being so well managed (as in, pushed under the cover or out to the hapless)? Are we to forget that Jamie and his kind are at the core of the troubles?

No doubt, these four items cover a lot of territory. Anyone who can handle them all has a lot of talent. Yet, Jamie does what exactly for his company? I never see him when I go talk to a banker (yes, I see that he doesn't want, or has been allowed, to not pay me and my kind -- oh, wait, it's Big Ben who is behind that).


So, let's see who Fortune crowned as MVP.

In the meantime, is it okay if I go barf?


04/27/2013 -- The *CEO* is only crap without his engineers, lowly workers and many others. Too, these types keep us from having a sustainable economy.

05/29/2012 -- Jamie's bank in the news, again.

10/12/2011 -- CEOs could look to Paul.

10/09/2011 -- Kings have sovereignty over their dominion however large it may be. There, currently, is no king of the world of this type. CEOs have sovereignty over their companies. Now, many of these have domains that are larger (measured many ways) than geographical types of kingdoms. BUT, each has sovereignty over themselves (or ought to), ideally (constitutionally, if you're in the U.S.A.).

Now, being able to exhibit sovereignty requires talent of various sorts. Throughout history, those who ruled others may or may not have had this talent. From all of the turmoil over the millenia, one has to just marvel at the stupidity of these types, exhibited, in the modern age, by the CEO MVPs.

Our task is to foster that which enhances one's self-sovereignty and diminishes others' influence on oneself. Oh wait. The social media seem to be antithetical to this notion. Also, all of those issues related to mature interactions (of a peaceful manner) must be resolved (philosophers have long been involved with that dilemma).

It is this type of notions that are behind a lot of what motivates the current protests. Those who could (LT 1%) have exploited (and have been allowed to exploit) the rest (GT 99%).

10/07/2011 -- Magna Carta, the celebration thereof.

Modified: 04/27/2013

Saturday, August 13, 2011


OFFME stands for The Order of the First Families of Maine. It is a historic and genealogic organization; many of these came to be in the past century.

 The OFFME ancestor list consists of people who were early into Maine. ‘Early’ is considered to be from 1604 to 1652 which makes them prior to the Virginia and Plymouth settlement efforts. The purpose of the group, which started in 2003, is, in part, “to honor those hard and enterprising early ancestors who concentrated their efforts, labor, and skills in building the enduring greatness" of the State of Maine.

Other goals are to “educate, preserve and increase of the history of Maine” and more.

OFFME, like its sister organizations, is partly under the umbrella of The Hereditary Society Community (HSC). There are many (over two hundred) organizations (chronological list) spanning from 1637 (Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts) to 2011 (Sons and Daughters of WWII Veterans). The purpose of the HSC is very well expressed (see this page). Too, in April, the HSC helps to coordinate meetings of all of these groups in Washington, D.C.


Virginia, 1607
Having recently spent some time delving into a few genealogical matters, the blogger sees how the relationship with history comes strongly to fore. As in, history is not a bunch of dry facts, nor is it only about the exploits of those who are written up on paper (or stone). There were several entrant avenues to this land. New England stands out for a variety of reasons.

For example, a group came into Maine early, overwintered, and actually built (from scratch) a sailing vessel that crossed the Atlantic a few times (see story of the Virginia). In many ways, that little colony's  venture was an incredible tale, yet it is not well-known.

Note: 'scratch' would need some discussion. No doubt, the sails, and other rigging, would have been brought over with the group. Too, tools would have been brought over, as well as necessary material, such as tar. Yet, building the vessel was not an easy task. Of course, by 100 years later, ship-building was an established industry in the region.


The HSC has a national focus, unlike the NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical society) and other regional groups. However, these groups have a common goal of continuing education, and sponsoring research, related to what makes America what is it (which ties to the efforts of people and their families). Too, that 'America' is the one which has become (note: did not say 'was') a shining beacon (nod to Winthrop) to the world.

So, the HSC, et al, very much intersect with the interests of the blogger.


04/15/2012 -- Today's edit took a different format since it clarifies a misconception and affords the opportunity to discuss important issues (on-going). Some of the earlier content remains while much was added. The original post was in August of last year and was incomplete, as is much of the stuff found on the web. This blog, though, has always tried to stay coherent, given the problems with completeness (discussion pending under the guise of computability). 

Modified: 04/15/2012

Friday, August 12, 2011

Accounting's failure

As we watch the markets bounce (volatility is up) around, some might think that it's possible to get a handle on this thing. Why?

Well, there are long periods with little volatility in which the trend has usually been up. Yet, not always, as we can have sideways movement. The chart covers 70 years of the DOW.

The blue line is the overall trend line from 1939 to yesterday. As such, it has little variability due to assumptions (note, accounting is full of special rules and assumptions that then imply choices -- it's not mathematics, folks), since it is a mere straight-line fit (however, all the largess of late is very visible).

Now, those with a certain view like this line. In fact, viewpoints that talk a 30K DOW use this line as their basis for argument. This viewpoint might argue that it has a lot of history behind it, but, as well, we need to consider what has happened the past 30 years that has influenced the rise (inflation, general economic growth, foreign investors, ..., largess).


In fact, we have a whole generation or two of financial planners who believe this line. Look at the FED's goals. They love equity, even though their moves sack the savers and those who are retired (QEs, low rate, other bits of largess - will they ever end?).

Now, consider the green line. It is as if weighting out extraneous issues, such as those related to the recent bubbles, would allow for a better fit. What it shows is that we ought to be hovering around 9K or so. How could that be?


One fact is that it would not be easy to see this happen given all of the loose money floating around. Or, to where would the money go?


One means for control is suspect from the beginning. Remember all of the arguments about accounting and special rules that you heard a couple of years ago? One of the more controversial (but correct) rules was relaxed, by order of Congress; hence, the surge of the DOW the past couple of years. Add to that the largess of the FED as a big factor.

Well, a recent report talks about an even worse problem (Pentagon can't put their thumb on trillions). The truth is that no one can do an accurate accounting (to be discussed) of any of these financial things in our modern, complex economic world. It's about time that we recognized that and took the proper action.


There are several things involved. Just like some European countries are restricting use of 'short' positions, we need to put a damper on derivatives, except for a playground where we can let these 'children' play to their hearts content.

Warren may call these things WMD, but he's making money on them, too. Warren, my challenge to you would be to put you money where your mouth is. Help me show how this whole bunch of supposed advanced techniques are bad, will always be, and need serious control. Too, take the vow of no derivatives (or only those of a type that can be shown to have necessity).


Analog: taking the vow of not being an idiot and texting (or anything of that ilk) while driving.


Secondly, we need to stop the markets every day and take an accounting. How would this look? Well, anyone know? I propose that we look at it seriously. You know, it'll go against the grain as the big money wants their 'black pools' and other questionable tools.

Thirdly, we will tame the stochastic beasts rather than en-flame them in an attempt for non-chaotic progress.


The goal is a sustainable economy. Too, moderation of the ca-pital-sino. All of this bears, and will get, more attention.


Finally, why pick on accounting as this problem is larger than that discipline? Well, you guys and gals, have you not been implicated in every bit of mischief that has come down the pike? Or, at least, has not one of your kind been involved?

Has there been a successful establishment of ethical practices? If so, let me know where I can see this. From where I sit, computation has just increased the avenues toward perdition. This is outside of your domain? True. Hey, IEs! What are you doing in this regard?


08/15/2011 -- Let's give Warren some credit.

Modified: 08/24/2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Economics and fairness

How many think that deals ought to be fair? Who is going to see that this is so?


What if playing on the edge never has consequences for those who are doing the playing? Of course, someone pays; that's the nature of near-zero.


In a case that's been going on from some time, the prosecution (elected and appointed) could not make anything stick to what seemed to be obvious shenanigans. Then, the accused, after being left off, pursued a claim that resulted in an eight-figure payout (for himself).

The news sources report that customers won't pay; no, it's coming out of monies set aside by the stock holders; yet, we know that the buck always goes down those who have the least power and the most to lose.


Message here. How did this state of affairs come about? That is, how would we explain the idiocy to old Rip? The main oops: ah, that old siren of 'markets' and their seductiveness.

Necessary, yes. But, from a long view (we can give Warren that).

All the gaming (including shorts, derivatives, etc.) is not necessary; in fact, it's the chief culprit of our troubles.


The chief enablers have been mis-used mathematics and computation.


10/10/2011 -- With the successful message coming out of the protests about Wall Street, evidently the number who cares is large.

08/12/2011 -- What about better 'accounting' of all this?

08/10/2011 -- One might ask: economics and legitimacy - weird stock market. Removes all arguments for the legitimacy/sustainability of this financial mechanism; that is, how ought this be done in a civilized, sane manner?

Modified: 10/10/2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rip Van Winkle I

We looked at this a couple of years ago under a different context, but let's do it again with a new view. And, let's do a series.


Motivation: USA Today's Editorial dealt with the reaction by some bankers to the requirement to raise capital levels. See Remarks, this date, on Chimera, again. Of course, Jamie is a central figure.


Before we said, what if one woke up after 30 years? Part of that had to do with the major changes that happened with the Carter to Reagan transition. It is not outrageous to start there in order to look at what is behind the current messes.

To wit: the bosses are making oodles, after the downturn, while the rest of the people are losing. ... A very long list.

Are these people a special breed? In McCullough's latest book about American visiting Paris in the early 19th century, he describes some early surgeries that were witnessed by those who went to France in order to obtain more hands-on experience. Sure enough, they got that.


Picture this: Being operated on by a maniac (who has no regard for your health -- rather, he's into some ego trip), without any anesthesia, and in septic circumstances (including the milieu, the instruments, ..., all of it). And, the maniac takes some superior stance toward you, as if he were better.

One example given was of an old man who had some mass that the surgeon wanted to remove. Remember, these people wielded scalpels, thought that they were artists, and carved at will (pity the poor suckers, subjected to a fate worse than the martyrs (such as Richard Woodman, and many others)). Of course, the old guy died within an hour. The conveyor of the story (Oliver) remarked that the gent may have lived five to six more years if he had not been used for a 'live' and conscious experiment.


Oh wait! Bring yourself forward 200 years, is it any different in some cases? Yes, you have the anti-septic effort, you can get drugged to the max (not necessarily effectively), plus there has been better training (or so, we hope). Yet, is there not ego involved?


Well, medicine is only mentioned, right now, as an analog. However, please read this article in the Atlantic. It turns several directions but is right on target with the message. We'll discuss it later.


Change the doctor to CEO and what have you? Ego, not caring beyond the pocket (some call this greed), and a whole slew of other attributes that do not contribute to a sustainable economy.

One has to ask, were there any lessons learned (from two years ago)?

Somehow it seems to me, that Washington Irving's theme has some use here. Perhaps, it's that I've spent a lot of time the past couple of years looking at early American History.

As we just celebrated, people came here for freedom, for the most part, of several types. The early patriots suffered to bring about what we know as the United States. In the beginning, we did not have an aristocracy.

Based upon the attitudes of some, one wonders if we are not creating such a thing. The CEOs strutting around seem to have developed this virtually-founded little world in which they reign (without any restraint -- where is our Magna Carta?) seemingly without even any geographic constraint. We know that there are little political and legal constraints (given some of the decisions, of late, from the Supreme Court).


Of course, Big Ben deserves some mention, to boot, as he operated on us and our economy, without proper preparation (experimentation on the fly). No, he carved out the savings from the old-timers, for one thing, so that he could line the pockets of whining banks (who were bailed out, and then these people turned around and spit on us).

Then, we have people who were raked in as they believed in us (have you all forgotten?).

As said before:
  • Folks, remember Ireland (When Irish Eyes Are Crying) and many other countries that bought into what the idiots were selling? Jamie just wants to get back upon that leveraging wagon which rolled down the slope to the crash. Why? Big bonuses (why is it that such chicanery deserves pay? Jamie, play for free!).
  • Reminder: when things fell apart, the bankers, knowing that they're all crooks and not trusting each other, took their ball home. Said: we're not going to play. Have they yet? What context? They're sitting on money that we gave them. For the past two years, how has main street benefited? No, they want to know that their big bonuses will continue.

Theme will be continued.


01/15/2015 -- The experience is like being a parent whose kids are behaving. Then, you take a brief nap and wake to find that the inmates are running amok. Okay, we are all adults, responsible for our lives. We all expect adult behavior of other adults. The kids? Well, we hope that someone is watching. ... Now, in the Wall Street paradigm, there are no adults (putting greedy older people into the lot of uneducated minors - not knowing better - sheesh). So, old Rip, here, thought that there was some semblance of order in the economy - erroneously, it turns out. That the inmates trashed our lives is still obvious all around (except for those bailed out or for those who are friends of the Fed). ... No adults on Wall Street? Look, I have been there. If there is some mature mind in that vicinity, please stand up and let yourself be known (no Mr. Wonderfuls, please).

01/15/2015 -- At last, a series that will establish the basis and extensions, as required. We are going to go back to some simple and come forward to the modern, complicated economy. Why? My long chain of ancestors (inherited via Prof. Lucio Arteaga) is one motivation.

07/06/2012 -- Today, we have the one-year remembrance of George Edward Kimball III (GEK III)

06/25/2012 -- Washington Post on Congressional non-ethics

05/29/2012 -- Jamie's bank in the news, again.

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

10/07/2011 -- Magna Carta, the celebration thereof.

07/12/2011 -- We need to do a constructive build.

Modified: 01/15/2015

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not back III

We know delivery time is approaching, but we're not watching. However, the theme is good enough for being repeated (we're gone, not back I, not back II).


Believe it or not, we did not copy from this site. That is, notice the blogger saying: We are done. That post was dated 4/15/2009. I did reference the blog from a post on Hedge Funds that was dated 1/29/2009.

Recently, there was an update of 'hedge' funding at FEDaerated which referenced old posts. I was reading them today which is probably a good idea for a blogger, though tedious (not necessarily, as if done right, posts build a story).


I need to find another blog on hedge funds, which are idiocy from several angles. That those in power like these things does not make them right. If people knew how much they stink, there would be an outcry.


That little tirade, above, is well-founded, folks. Too, note that it DOES not say not to hedge (in reasonable fashion).

Anyway, the focus will continue to be on those gamers who use our money system for their sand box.


09/16/2013 -- So, the five year retrospective time. Business week devotes a whole issue. It will be interesting to read all of the perspectives, WSJ, FT, etc. We will have to say some things about Raytheon's push out of Hawker and its subsequent bankruptcy. Like Spirit's split from Boeing, wishful thinking on the part of management and the company led to problematic results (for a lot of people).

07/15/2013 -- A fire late last week bring an opportunity to see what goes into determining whether to do composite repair or to undergo a section replacement.

05/15/2012 -- Except for retrospective looks, as necessary.

04/07/2012 -- Flightblogger ends, as least, Jon's watch. Some issues raised five years ago are still apropos. The context may have changed a little, yet, perhaps now is time to re-address the themes which are beyond aviation, only one of a whole bunch of domains.

07/06/2011 -- It's been a month. The chimera is. The sandbox needs to be.

Modified: 09/16/2013

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Leverage, again

We went on before about leverage, which tranching leads to: 7oops7, Truth engineering, FED-aerated.

So, QE3? Sheesh. See The Daily Ticker (about 3:30 into the video). How many Americans are pointing fingers at the Greeks?

Leveraging: something from nothing, folks. The eternal, fruitless wish. Oh yes, it can work when there is a cadre of suckers to exploit (like, out-housing).

Where is the 'mature' capitalism being developed? We'll have to get back to exploring the real basis so overlooked in the interest of the best-and-brightest.


06/01/2011 -- In the writeup accompanying the above video, there is a brief discussion of 30-1 leverage giving people some pause. Only idiots ran after that as a good idea. Big Ben has, in his books, a leverage of 51-1. Very smart, big guy. In the trashy tranche post, I used an example of $7 find $93 so that we could have $100. Big Ben's status is $2 finding $98 (whatever, it's absurd to any but the mind of the best-and-brightest).

Modified: 06/01/2011

Friday, May 27, 2011


An older person, intellectual and college educated (very good school), asked about avatars. Its use by the gamesters was confusing the person, since the contexts were modern and computational. You see, 'avatar' is older than the hills (well, almost - and, implicit in this is that yo has been into that mindset since the early 60s); too, the world view behind the concept may seem strange to some western minds; and, as we see a whole lot, young minds took an older thing and used it to be something somewhat like, but really different from, the age-old usages (bringing angst forward, as well, each time -- until we get inured (or is it indoctrinated?)) .


We probably ought to enumerate these types of idea morphs from the past 1/2 century; I've been involved with the development of computational techniques using mathematics and modeling for a long time and will start getting together a list if I don't find that it has already been done; development meaning, of course, the evolution of our artificially oriented prowess.


Now, concepts found in abstract mathematics can relate to the 'avatar' theme. Mainly, the lift and the projection. We'll go on about that, to boot. Sufficient for now is this: many times what seems like a lift is actually a projection. And the confusion arises from a 'virtual' vertigo, so to speak.

Take the avatar, for instance. It can be embedded in a space that 'lifts' (no, not a change of usage, let me explain - at some point). However, what we see is that its usage is involved with a projection (implying into a lower-order affair - again, will explain) many times. Let this slogan suffice, for now: lifts can trample while projections squish 'being' (unfortunately, we'll have to pause to consider some t-issues - but, as said before, PTIME may apply).


And, folks, that type of thing (see Remarks 05/28/2011, below, on vertigo) is behind a whole bunch of 'oops' that we see in life. Mind you, this discussion, in no way, is meant to imply that 'gaming' is never the 'lift' that it appears to be. Rather, we want 'computational being-ness' to be more uplifting than it has been to date.


Aside: the avatar concept may have more applicability than not; in fact, it allows another way to look at several problems that might be effective; too, why limit 'avatar' to being a glorified icon (even if it exhibits behavior -- hint: think duck test against an embodiment)?


09/16/2012 -- Avatar (movie's tale) as parable.

05/01/2012 -- We'll need to talk singularity in the context of Alan. The computer has as many holes as do we; however, we can cut out of the fog. 

06/22/2011 -- IEEE has a nice overview of social media and related issues.

05/28/2011 -- In what situations will an 'avatar' be confused (as in befuddled)? What? Yes, in the traditional sense, one would think never (except for those whose role might include the possibility). Because we have the quasi-empirical issues to resolve since we like to push the envelope, there is a 'vertigo' state that is possible computationally (or cyber-ally). The recent re-look at the Air France event (of 2009) that was made possible with the recovery of the flight data recorder can allow us an analog. One commenter talked about how the bucking of the plane, and it being night, did not allow any basis to determine appropriate action. That state has many more possible occurrences than we have admitted (for many reasons) to be likely in computational frameworks. We'll continue to try to explain why. The article on the Lemons problem touched on one possible avenue of expression of this phenomenon - implying, yes, that the cyber-based (without confusing map-territory) is what we know as the reality (think sensors and their increasingly electronic basis) many, many times. Aside: what the heck is money except for bits within the FED's (and its cohorts worldwide) cyber-realm, though all sorts of first-world expectations fill in its 'avatar' (if I'm allowed that stretch)?

Modified: 09/16/2012

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Caveat Emptor

A few words are apropos in the context of truth and lemons.


We've all know about, or heard of, buyer's remorse. That is, you spend your hard-earned money on something and then wonder if it was junk that you bought. There have been ways to help with this: consumer protection laws, etc.

You see, though, the bankers did just that. That is, bought junk. Actually, sold junk, too. And, got away with it, almost. Why almost? They did crash the economy for which we are still paying while they have, essentially, been playing (with our money).

Any remorse on their part? Not that I can see. At the ex ante time, they were rolling the dough with glee. Luxury was almost synonymous with banking (investment type). In the ex post time, they've spent oodles of money (on lobbyists, for instance) and time on avoiding any notion of blame.

Now, the article mentioned in 'lemons' and 'truth' (both above) somewhat offers bankers an out. You see, they were moving the shells in an indiscernible manner while only being human. We should all know that bankers wallow; have you ever seen one that might be considered angelic?

Aside: talking those best-and-brightest who have been allowed to lead the old farts astray, not the laboring clerks, and lowly managers, who work to help the customer base.

Yes, all the while, gaming our beans and trying to appear, to the public, as if they knew about due diligence, fiduciary duty, and the like. Yet, behind the scenes, the depths of idiocy were being explored.


Aside: I agree with the FED dude in KC who wants to clamp down on banks and to put banking back into its utility framework. Too, I saw banking 'fraud' up close. Was actually thrown out of a bank since I could do mathematical modeling, noticed slight perturbations on their returns that suggested chicanery, brought it to the attention of management. The government? They said to take the banking company to court. What? An individual trying to do what ought to have been done by the OCC, the FDIC, or such? Too, the state banking association told me categorically that they were for the banks, not the customers. What, again? And, there were never any repercussions for the potential losses to that bank's customers who were not aware of the 'thumb on the scale' tactic. How much did the bank take in with their little scheme?

Aside: It's funny that the bank responded by throwing me, and my money, out; too, they did some character assassinations (or tried to) as if I were a harasser. When the machinations of Made-off (my ordeal was prior to this -- in summary: depositor, mainly - no debts) were revealed, what was brought out? Many had tried to tell the tale of his misdeeds. One even depicted the state of being alone and fearing legal repercussions. My motivations for 'truth engineering' are deep (long association with computing) and wide (everywhere dense).

Aside: Not anti-banking. I deal with several. Financial advisers? That's another story.

Aside: The bank also got back at me by taking TARP money which, we all know, came out of the taxpayers' pockets. Why did not TARP have strings?


Essentially, there are serious issues to resolve with computing and finance. To date, those in charge have let the young people run, almost without restraint, after riches and glories. Some have hit things big time (and, we get freebies, like blogger, for instance). Many more (a very many more) have become impoverished with the new types of 'gaming' that resulted in the ca-pital-sino.

Now, the authorities can blubber all they want about legalities, and such, and the law-makers can listen to as many of the lobbyists as they want (by the way, these people do not want us to think about these underlying, systemic, problems), but malfeasance seems to have become an acceptable mode (what did one headline say today? John Edwards, mis-used campaign money and hid it -- the adage? mis-use was not the issue, covering up is -- what a state of affairs!).

So, to make this short, for now, here are some things with which we will need to concern ourselves:
  • -- mathematization does not equate to truth - nor, does computation -- we will have to work to build a framework that is sustainable, and does not do harm (nod to those behind this medium). We cannot let those who can spawn off all of these awful instruments that have unknown consequences to continue to do so willy nilly. A sandbox would help. But, what exactly is that?
  • -- just as the prior bullet suggests, we cannot let pseudo-science reign in finance, and economics. We need to make it real. Of course, many have said that. For one thing, we could expect some type of 'testing' (no, not what Timmy did last year) within our money realm that is more solid than what we have now. Of course, that has implications on the bean counting, to boot.
  • -- following up on the prior bullet requires me to note that the 'pseudo' is partly tongue-in-cheek, due to the dismal nature of the domains. Oh, of course, those who roll in the dough (a very small percentage) may not be dismal. The reality is, folks, that for the most, the dire situation does not have to be, in many cases. True, there are natural disasters, accidents, and such. Yet, the type of things where a few, because they can, risk the livelihood, and the health, of the many need to scrutinized. Where that is not being done is with those things computational, for a variety of reasons. Some of it is pure laziness (ah, it's too difficult) and hubris (what? you expect me to dirty my hands?).
  • -- ..., doing what might be consider a flip-flop, we ought to encourage 'open' methods in computing and software. However, there is a big potential for hidden 'snakes' (find the article about this - that is, altered electronics that can be controlled remotely, embedded within something that is widely distributed) on the hardware/firmware side. Too, even with open software, there are issues, such as understanding how code works, is executed, and such. Then, algorithms are not necessarily grasped correctly.
  • -- So, we will be back to using computing, and networks, to found the truth, albeit augmented with devices everywhere in the hands of trained minds who are not afraid to recognize the importance, and use, of intuition (what? - being mindful of the map-territory silliness).
  • -- And, we'll have to put insurance back into its proper state -- not where some dude, at the top, pulls in 100+ million, for himself, in one year, by not doing things: paying claims, etc. After all, 'lemons' can be insured against, AIG's little (actually large) turmoils notwithstanding.
  • -- ...

05/29/2011 -- Fair dealing, can that be brought back? Was it ever?

05/26/2011 -- Quoted 'fraud' as will carry this discussion over to Fedaerated in a continuing discussion of banking, money, etc. Along the line of truth & lemons (context of the post), how do we discern the truth when mathematics/computation are involved? There are serious issues that have not been given enough attention, probably due to the operational effectiveness that we have seen. Too, there are human issues. Auditors are cut from the same cloth as the bankers, in many cases. Politicos are limited many ways. Somehow, we need to introduce independent reviews, beyond the oversight attempts by regulators. We'll closely look at this case of a bank throwing me out after I had been a good customer for 10 years. What changed? New management came in, an expansive mode went into effect (buying banks at other locales), and some operational changes were put into place to put the balance toward the bank (this is a key issue). At that time, returns started to diverge from the expected. Another factor is that it was not just me computing and checking one bank. I was comparing this bank's results against three others. Of the four, one bank's results were right on target with my expected return calculations (as in, mind you, zero deviation). The other two had slight residues, but that is to be expected given that one can interpret regulations several ways and still remain compliant. The bank out of which I was catapulted had deltas, in their favor, that were significant. We'll explain why and discuss why this was so. And, do it all in a nice manner despite a growing awareness that bankers are not upright (to wit, dead peasant - classy, indeed).

Modified: 05/29/2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Not back II

In the context of the new plane program, flightblogger notes a couple of recent developments that were mentioned in public announcements this week. For each of the below, the comments are well worth a browse.
  • Rework (April 27, 2011) -- evidently, all of the planes that have been manufactured, to date, need some changes dealing with handling lightening. One estimate said weeks of work per each. Too, there will be schedule issues, but does the current plan allow for things taking longer, in some cases, than expected? One comment mentions that relaxing along all decisional axes is almost guaranteed to raise problems. Similar statements (Rush job) here, earlier.
  • Break even (April 28, 2011) -- as the plane moves toward release, discussions will turn from technical issues to the economic ones. How one handles rework (prior Bullet) very much has to do with cost as well as with knowledge; confounding issues can arise along the whole development timeline, as we have seen. From a continual improvement viewpoint, one hopes that lessons learned carry forward.
It would be interesting to see Boeing lead in efforts to understand, for the betterment of all, when human and computational knowledge are not equivalent. And, that would deal with several subjects (things in themselves, model limits, Turing space, and more).


Again, there a parallels between plane engineering and the thing called financial engineering sufficient to allow some interesting discussion. This can continue (even while being 'not back').


07/15/2013 -- A fire late last week bring an opportunity to see what goes into determining whether to do composite repair or to undergo a section replacement.

04/07/2012 -- Flightblogger ends, as least, Jon's watch. Some issues raised five years ago are still apropos. The context may have changed a little, yet, perhaps now is time to re-address the themes which are beyond aviation, only one of a whole bunch of domains. 

06/06/2011 -- Still gone.

Modified: 07/15/2013

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not back I

Earlier, it was said: we're gone. That did not mean interminable silence; no, any appropriate situation can raise issues.

Like this one with the skin. Notice that it's a technical guy saying that they don't know. And, you know that they've modeled this stuff to the point of exhaustion. Guess what? How well are other areas modeled? Folks, did you know that skins are made lighter by reduction of material? Too, that the notions behind this minimization are not dissimilar?

One theme here, and in truth engineering, has been that the advances in systems thinking, despite the successes that we experience everyday, do not (will not) ever get us to where the model is more 'real' than matter itself.

As the economic messes are from a similar type of hubris (not picking on engineers, as they do have to match wits with nature), this theme will (is expected to) continue.

It'll be fun to look at these things. Perhaps, this event indicates that discussion on this theme ought to have parallel tracks between the three views. That is, the oops factor, aerated thoughts of the set with the money and power, and what can we do to help the folks live happily and travel safely.


07/15/2013 -- A fire late last week bring an opportunity to see what goes into determining whether to do composite repair or to undergo a section replacement.

04/07/2012 -- Flightblogger ends, as least, Jon's watch. Some issues raised five years ago are still apropos. The context may have changed a little, yet, perhaps now is time to re-address the themes which are beyond aviation, only one of a whole bunch of domains.

04/26/2011 -- As said, we're paying attention from afar. Yesterday, there was a report that rivets may be a contributing factor to the skin problem. But, process steps (this was a popular piece today), such as inspection, loom large, to boot. And, of course, any analysis (that is mathematically framed) assumes certain (a lot of) things (has to) about that being modeled; a weak point is always that there may be discrepancies between the model and the object (remember, the former is the map, the latter the territory, in this context) for whatever reason, such as pieces not being made to spec, or assembly steps not being followed, ....

04/19/2011 -- It was said that engineering has science behind it. What the hell is behind all of the gaming by the idiots in best-and-brightest clothing? That an insanity goes on daily is not seen (from whence, the blindness?); those in power (with their suits, suntans, ...) act with such grace. Somewhat vacuously, do you not think?

The prime characteristic: mutual admiration society! Almost like the 'royal' courts of old.

Modified 07/15/2013

Monday, March 28, 2011

The madness of March

Having watched the #1 seeds (as if that means much) fall (2011 NCAA #1s who lost - Pittsburg, then Ohio State, then Duke, then Kansas), with one of the more esteemed being 'trashed' (said one newsie), one has to think about this madness [see Remarks, 03/22/2013, 03/06/2014] which seems to have now permeated business. Alas.

You see, for the sporting event, there is a small group of youngsters (a team), generally right out of high school, who are on a floor playing a game. Then, you have the cadre of watchers. Essentially, we have many multitudes of those which are of many types.

Of course, the fans make up the largest crowd. Now, some of these may be affiliated directly with the institution sponsoring the team (students, alumni, etc.). Many are not, having adopted the school, for a very large number of possible reasons. Then, there are the pundits, too many to enumerate, especially with the growing social media. But, taking the media pros, we have all sorts of analysis and predictions.


No sense belaboring the point here. This madness has been around for awhile.

Yet, is not business now similar? That is, you have a small group of people actually doing something (doers, et al). I'll be nice and include the large body of middle people as doers. After all, distribution is a necessary service (and a human-oriented economy means 'service' as a main part - now, how to get this type of work to be respected with proper renumeration).

However, there is then a very large set of speculators. Even these are of types. The pros. We'll get back to those as that set does have some rational basis; for instance, hedging, in its proper sense (yes, I'll be so bold as to try to help define what that might be -- necessary to get hold of the need and use of a sandbox), is a must.

Too, there are a whole plethora of noisy media; some of these are full of pundits, while others are exploiting technical prowess such as to allow betting on about anything. Every business day, almost 24/5, there are up-to-date numbers and graphs about almost anything.

This state of possibility leads (or led) many to think that business might just be about this gaming (hence, the casino) and that we ought to let the individual investor in on the game (with serious odds against them, as those who run the game have regular extractions of the cream - will not name names, but just go back to the bad guys of three years ago to start a list).


Now, just as we see a winner and a loser (zero-sum, folks) in the March madness, we, too, see this in business (near-zero). However, for that played on the floor, it's only a matter of pride. Except, plenty put real money on this via the business casino's counterpart in the gambling meccas.

In business (economics), playing games leads to real hurt. Of course, many of the best-and-brightest got their bonuses despite poor performance; yet, the downturn (no matter the current chimera's climb) was painful to the majority. In fact, the toxic assets are still there; we have a national debt that is way out of line (let's not detail the litany, as of yet).

Just too much to say, including Big Ben's sacking of the savers.


Does business have to be that way? Well, as Buffet says, we don't need derivatives. Trying to control that whole thing (old idea bolstered by advances in technology) is imperative to a stable economy. Money? This thing of Ben and his crowd being oracles (ah, is it not fun, big guy?) is out of whack, to boot.

Of course, the gaming crowd thinks that futures betting will help us understand what might happen in the future. Sort of crowd sourcing, of and by the monied.


One thing about the 'madness' of March. It's over quickly. Too, the lessons can be extracted without sloughing through seemingly endless mire. That? Priceless!

The madness of business? Lingering pain, and more, for the most. Gluttony for the fat cats.


04/02/2014 -- NCAA's take, plus.

03/06/2014 --  This comment motivated by two articles: Roy Williams' school (It applies across the board; notice that Stanford is mentioned. Perhaps, it is time to lose the hypocrisy and admit in talents others than those determined by sitting tests -- SAT, et al. Look up the theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner.), MTXE versus angry playing (The "MT" was for mental toughness. Who wants a society of patsies? Wait. There is a long list, starting with bullies. One has to consider that aggressive part of being angry. You know, those who have are above such. Admitting anger is a sign, many times of lack of control and influence. ... Oh yes, I need to remember James Dean's influence, perhaps. ... The, righteous anger comes to mind. Sheesh. We now have to get metaphysical.).

03/25/2013 -- The Atlantic had an article about King Abdullah II. Now, he is an example of a doer, from several angles. What I liked when I read it was that while being educated in Massachusetts, he bussed tables. What that means for those who don't know is clean up dirty dishes and such. When I, as a young man, was in the US Army, we had still had KP duty which included such types of things. Another task that ought to be tried once by everyone: cleaning the grease pit.

03/22/2013 -- GW at ESPN (see image on right) has a nice point of view on the madness (and related comments). We ought to have something similar for the financial folks, using play money, with prizes. That's the sandbox, folks. Then, the real stuff would be handled by mature, stable adults (not the greed ridden - and similar ilks -- okay?). The madness has to do with animal spirits just like the market (ala Adam). Too bad that one loss gets one out the door. Perhaps, at the final four level, there ought to be a round robin, like college baseball. --- Now, having just written the above, this glorious bit of madness is really a sham (see comment on 03/12/2012, below). The whole madness pits kids against each other, who are playing for naught (comparatively), being coached by millionaires, with big buck media behind the affair, and a bunch of other lucrative ploys benefiting from the labors of the few. If one looked at qualities (as in, abstract out a truthful look at this), one could find parallels (many, many) all across history (these things being not consider our best behavior). Granted some (as in, not all) of the kids go on to big bucks. Others find glory in their endeavors (what would be be without school spirit?). Yet, besides the commonality with historic events that aren't looked at as being our (humankind's) best moments, there are all sorts of analogs in business (which we've seen of late, in glorious detail, as being problematic at its core - the heart that is supposed to be related to finance). By the way, see the below comment (02/08/2013); that particular team ended up with a #1 seed.

02/08/2013 -- We're within 40 or so days of the Selection Sunday. Within the past few weeks, every team that got the #1 ranking lost in short order. The latest was Indiana. Earlier, Michigan got the #1 nod for the first time in 20 years. Guess what? They lost. Other #1s who lost: Duke, Florida, Syracuse. While not #1, within the last week, Kansas a perennial #1 lost twice. Coach Self then denigrates his team (see video at ESPN). That behavior raises questions of propriety (or it ought to). He makes 4 million or so; his success relies on a bunch of young guys who play 5 at a time on the court (see 03/12/2012 comment). As coach, is he to bring more to the table than just basketball prowess? Or bullying? Say what? Yes, teaching by example is precisely the message, yet does anyone even care? As well, isn't performance best tuned by leading, not whipping?

04/01/2012 -- By the way, we all saw a 1/2 billion payout (well, less in actuality) come to the fore in the news. Those, like Self, aren't paid like that, yet there ought to be some more discussion about the reality what with the offer to Weber at KSU (losing season, yet paid multitudes of some average "joe" pay).

Earlier (3/12/12), there was mention of doing a random thing with the 'big dance' (yeah, NCAA, you listening?). Oh, would Self (et al) even be in the game if it weren't for the remuneration? Anyway, there are all sorts of re-configurations that could be thought about. Oh wait! TV, and its monies, is what drives the deals?

04/01/2012 -- No, it's not April Fool. We have "ku,uk" (as in KU and UK, or as in a #2 and a #1). At UK (Lexington, if you need to know), there was rioting because of a win in a semi-final game. Sheesh. Louisville, thanks for being classy.

By the way, Self got his payday. You know, people. The issues regarding this post remain to be discussed.

So, here is a conundrum of major sorts. I was afraid that if KU wins, I would be hearing the braying of semi-asses for a year (as if this were Missouri). However, how could one want to favor UK with the behavior last night? What would be the reaction to winning the title? If KU wins, let's hope that Mass Ave (not 12th and Oread, but close enough) remains peaceful, relatively.

03/12/2012 -- Sentiment hasn't changed about the Shame of College Sports. Many push the ethical boundaries fairly far in order to get into the big dance. Why not have a random assignment between the NCAA and the NIT for some schools? Let's, at least, talk about it.

03/03/2012 -- Time again. Still of a mind that things are awry. Coaches make too much. If athletics are to be part of higher education, then make it a full person sort of thing. Is intramural still there? Full person? Yes,  think peripatetics, if you would.

05/28/2011 -- Lemons problem, dark pools, ... Oh, so much to look at!

05/07/02011 -- This week a story about Warren used 'ruthless' as if this is how business is expected to run. In the sense of a game, that would mean no refs/umps. Think of it. Too, Big Ben (get link) says that they cannot understand enough to know problems in advance (channeling King Alan).

04/03/2011 -- We will look at the background issues and more.

04/02/2011-- Weierstrass did not banish the motivations behind Berkeley's concerns.

03/29/2011 -- Part of the madness is seen in the warped ideology. As well, See 03/24/2011 Remarks (1/2 rant).

Modified 04/02/2014