Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Existential Woody Allen

"If nothing exists, I definitely overpaid for my carpet"

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Real wage stagnation, where it hurts

Tim Morgan is the independent thinking, ultra-bearish head of Global Research at Tullett Prebon, and he has been putting out some fascinating notes of late. If you are uplifted by the idea of the upcoming Spring and Summer, and everything is breezy and joyful and you want to keep it that way, do not read his works. On the other hand, if you want some depressing thoughts to continue the winter blues, carry on over to his site. His latest piece marks the launch of a UK inflation index that captures essential items only:

  • Food, alcohol and tobacco 
  • Council tax, water charges and home insurance 
  • The costs of domestic heating and power, principally gas and electricity 
  • Fuel, road tax and vehicle insurance 
  • Train, bus and other public transport fares 
Comparing how the price of this basket of goods has changed over the years versus growth in income is sobering:

You could add rents into the picture, which I imagine wouldn't make things look any nicer.

With inflation expectations ticking up, I can say with some confidence that we move ever deeper into the great stagnation!

An idea about happiness that resonates

"... a specific subgroup reports the greatest satisfaction: People who don’t feel rushed, but also report little or more “excess time.” Their high levels of happiness held steady even after a long list of demographic factors was taken into account, including marriage, age, education, race and gender.

Clearly, there’s much to be said for living a productive life at a comfortable pace."
 Source: Pacific Standard

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blog celebration: quarter a million hits

Not having the information to be in a position to disclose the humanoid/spam-bot split can only be a good thing!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book: One on One 101 True Encounters by Craig Brown

One on One is a novel is a unique little book. In it are101 true meetings between famous characters and each meeting is captured in exactly 1001 words, which makes dipping in and out very easy.

Despite winning many plaudits, One on One didn't quite do it for me, probably because I don't have any fascination for how Chaplin felt about Jean Cocteau when they met on a boat, what Elvis thought of the Beatles when they popped around, or about what happened when Madonna and Michael Jackson went out for a meal. There were enough interesting meetings (of my interest, that is) that kept me whizzing through, but overall this one didn't quite come up to expectations.

*** (be selective in reading the meetings about people you know already)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Russian meteorite shower

Some footage of the meteorite shower over Russia:

Threw It on the Ground from Lonely Island

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Photo-of-the-week entry: "Guarded"

guarded, originally uploaded by Riz RMF.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Random comic from xkcd

FedEx bandwith

"What if" is a sister site to xkcd. It asks and answers cool but nerdy questions such as when will the internet be faster than FedEx? (snippets below):

..." FedEx is capable of transferring 150 exabytes of data per day, or 14 petabits per second—almost a hundred times the current throughput of the internet.

gifs of animals falling off of things, volume 1
If you don’t care about cost, this ten-kilogram shoebox can hold a lot of internet

The only way to actually reach the FedEx point is if transfer rates grow much faster than storage rates.

... the bottom line is that for raw bandwidth, the internet will probably never beat SneakerNet."  

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Monday, February 04, 2013

Fitness goal: an ad-hoc diary

 20th Jan: From now until April 18th, I will eat clean, eat more, and train harder with a view to getting to 10 stone (currently 9.3). I'm off to the gym tomorrow to sign up.

Looking forward to this.


3 Feb: A week in review

- Played squash x2
- Gym x2 
- Yoga session (1.5 hour)
- 4.5 kg of protein powder arrived by post. 
- Body-fat checked in at 11.5%
- Aiming for 100g protein a day and approx 2,500-3000 calories

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Photo-of-the-week entry: "Endless"

DSC02345, originally uploaded by Riz RMF.
Accompanying text:

I fell into the Quixote, it possessed me and I became obsessed. For six or so years half of my reading were unwisely spent reading and re-reading this book, with every reading bringing fresh insights and understandings. Alas, it is only on reflection one sees that the peeling away of the layers of understanding was a deception. The book changed me and time changed me and because of this change I wasn't truly learning anything new on every re-read. I was merely approaching the text from a different perspective each time, believing that I was somehow edging closer to the truth. Was Quixote mad? Was everyone else mad? Was he a hero or a fool? Before I drowned in the wondrous words and beautifully constructed sentences, I decided to give up on trying to "figure out" the mad man; before my brain turned to cheese. Later on this year I hope to jot down some of my favourite passages before completely sealing the book up with sticky tape to prevent me from slipping back into Cervante's mad, mad world.

Film: The Last Samurai

After watching this fantastic movie a couple of nights ago, I recalled an old post from my currency spec days (way back in 2006) that linked the idea of an honorable death to trading:


The following quotes from Lord Katsumoto, the warrior-poet in ‘The Last Samurai’, have a certain resonance with my trading life:

KATSUMOTO: A Samurai cannot stand the shame of defeat. I was honoured to cut off his head.

KATSUMOTO: It was a good death. Hirotaro died in battle. He tried to kill the American, and he was defeated. It was Karma.

There is death with honour and death without honour, and there is the shameful death. Like the death of Katsumoto in The Last Samurai, so my end was supposed to be an honourable one. This is not what is transpiring and only I am to blame; there is no one else, only me and my weaknesses. In my trading plan the point of ruin was at 50% of the original equity and if I had stuck to the plan I would have committed Seppuku (self-sacrifice) several months ago. At least then I could have proceeded to get on with my daily life. Instead, I have ignored my well thought-out plan and seem to have chosen the option of further squandering my capital. My grandiose ambitions were unrealistic, I lacked fortitude, and I have let greed blind me from the reality the unfolding reality of capital destruction. As my trading death nears, I am fully aware there is no honour in my actions. It is quite possible that I am beyond an honourable death. 

KATSUMOTO: Taking a man’s life is nothing. You cannot take away his honor. To know life in every breath. Every cup of tea. Every life we take. That is the way of the warrior. …that is Bushido.

It saddens me when I realise how the quest for perfection can extend from trading to all of a person’s actions, from the moment he wakes to the moment he sleeps. It saddens me because I have allowed the weaknesses in my trading to extend and infect other aspects of my life, eroding my motivation for good health, dulling my previous interests, and closing my mind’s eye of to beauty of life.

KATSUMOTO: …man can change his destiny? ALGREN: No. I think a man can only do what he can, until his destiny is revealed.

KATSUMOTO: This is not your battle. You do not have to die here.

If only.