Whew, Good Thing Palladium Isn’t Important

Good things palladium isn’t important for anything, what with ETF-driven inflows goosing the price up 82% so far this year. We wouldn’t want speculative buyers messing about in a market that was useful in a modern economy.


Who Do You Trust? Oil? Gas?

Trusting companies always strikes me as a largely indefensible anthropomorphic exercise in first place, but a new Harris Poll on the subject is worth a look. These are the least trusted industries in U.S., according to respondents. In a huge non-surprise, banks lead the list of least trusted.




  • Niederauer Says NYSE Has Best Listing Backlog of His Tenure – Bloomberg (Source)
  • Toyota Adopts Tesla’s Laptop Battery Strategy for Electric Cars – Bloomberg (Source)
  • Mountain Gorilla Population Rose by 100 in Past Seven Years, Census Shows – Bloomberg (Source)
  • Influenza virus strains show increasing drug resistance and ability to spread (Source)
  • Early Warning: Suicide Statistics in the United States (Source)
  • Abandoned on Everest (Source)
  • On beyond cities (Source)
  • In-browser earthquake visualizations (Source)

Snow Reports Anyone?

Impressive lake effect snowfalls in U.S. northeast and in Ontario and Quebec. Anyone want to report in withe local bulletins? Seeing totals of 40-inches and more in some areas.

Here’s more from Accuweather.

And here are some photos from southern Ontario.




More photos.

Puzzle: Buy, Sell, Profit — What?

Had an entertaining debate tonight involving a classic old logic puzzle that I first ran across in one of Raymond Smullyan’s books:

A dealer bought an article for $7, sold it for $8, bought it back for $9, and sold it for $10. How much profit did he make?

Have at it. [-]

Networks, Crowds and Markets

New book by Jon Kleinberg and David Easley looks interesting, and a free pre-publication draft is available:

Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World

By David Easley and Jon Kleinberg

Over the past decade there has been a growing public fascination with the complex “connectedness” of modern society. This connectedness is found in many incarnations: in the rapid growth of the Internet and the Web, in the ease with which global communication now takes place, and in the ability of news and information as well as epidemics and financial crises to spread around the world with surprising speed and intensity. These are phenomena that involve networks, incentives, and the aggregate behavior of groups of people; they are based on the links that connect us and the ways in which each of our decisions can have subtle consequences for the outcomes of everyone else.

Networks, Crowds, and Markets combines different scientific perspectives in its approach to understanding networks and behavior. Drawing on ideas from economics, sociology, computing and information science, and applied mathematics, it describes the emerging field of study that is growing at the interface of all these areas, addressing fundamental questions about how the social, economic, and technological worlds are connected.

Draft here. [-]

Temporal Issues in Information Consumption

I rarely read Google Reader anymore, and it makes me feel bad. I have all these curated feeds that I don’t check in on. I’m sure they’re great, but I’m not there to find out.

Why not? That damn Twitter thing, mostly. Much of what I see flows in over Twitter, or via a nutty hodge-podge of email alerts for academic papers, keywords, and topics. One captures immediacy, while the other captures things that I want to get to when I have a moment. Inbetween … there is seemingly nothing.

It would be nice if there was some way to make all of this less jarring and disjointed. There are things in Reader i’d like to see, but then I’d need to go in and prune it all back so I can find just those things. At the same time, there are things in email alerts that I miss because they’re not in Twitter. The latter’s high clock frequency dominates all the other low clock frequency items, like email, RSS/Reader, etc. And don’t even get me started about “web sites” and front pages. Who has time to read those? As my friend Nassim likes to say, if something’s important there, someone will tell me.

What are other people doing? How do you manage the different rates at which information flows to you across different mediums? Have you given up on feeds? On Twitter? On news sites? I’m really struggling to think through, in a coherent way, how all of this should fit together. All I know at present is that it’s completely dysfunctional. [-]

Nothing Like Higher Oil Prices for Higher Oil Price Forecasts

From Bloomberg, a nice chart showing how the oil spot price influenced price forecasts this past year.  You have to admire the non-courage of forecasters’ convictions.[-]


Little Cheap Houses, For You and Me

Hugely bullish deck by Pershing’s Bill Ackman making the case for real estate. Here is a key slide, which summarizes most of the argument, largely around low interest costs, distressed sales, and high (in a relative sense) rental costs.


More  here.

Ireland’s Millionaire’s Row Goes Pfffft

From the Guardian:

Few landmarks sum up Ireland’s boom and bust, culminating in last week’s €85bn international bailout, more succinctly than this street, where prices have crashed by at least two-thirds. “It’s right in the centre of things; it’s a street that’s always achieved top prices,” says Peter Kenny, associate director at estate agency Colliers International. “But from the height of the market, it’s fallen a very great deal. The sharpest drop has been at the top of the market.”

More here.