The Great Bangkok Flood

Chao Praya river levels peaked this weekend in the unprecedented Bangkok flooding:

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is currently experiencing what is perhaps the greatest flood ever to swamp a city so large in world history. This dynamic Asian megalopolis has a population of around 10 million within the city limits and a metropolitan population of at least 20 million. The flood is affecting virtually every resident and many have evacuated to provinces outside the flood zones.

The worst of the flood was expected to occur on Saturday October 29th as the river that bisects the city, the Chao Praya, was expected to crest at its highest level ever recorded some 8 feet above normal and astronomical high tides were expected to peak, possibly causing the drainage of the cities canals and the Chao Praya to back up and push the flood waters into the heart of the city. Fortunately however, it appears that, so far, the dikes have held and the worst-case scenario is not playing out. This could change at a moments notice.

via Weather Extremes : The Great Bangkok Flood : Weather Underground.

Research Reading

Links to a  few research papers I have in various browser tabs this morning:

  • Event-Driven Trading and the “New News” (Source)
  • The ‘cultural inflation of morbidity’ during the English mortality decline: A new look (Source)
  • All Scale-Free Networks Are Sparse (Source)
  • Would you follow your own route description? Cognitive strategies in urban route planning (Source)
  • Assessing Vaccination Sentiments with Online Social Media: Implications for Infectious Disease Dynamics and Control (Source)

Wave Heights in Current Storm

Impressive wave heights off Cape Cod right now in current storm. Check the buoy data:


And if you’re more of a snow kind of person, there’s this:

Sbiw totals

tuart Kauffman on “The End of a Physics Worldview”


First Round Capital Holiday Video, Making of

I think I”m going to watch “making of” videos for First Round annual holiday videos from now on.

Twitter Digest: 2011-10-29

  • The Republican plan "includes $600 million in new revenue, mostly by assuming economic growth" #
  • Thoughtful post from ex-Wall Streeter and current VC @fdestin on the #OWS movement – #
  • Recall Vancouver house with 25-person bidding war 6 months ago that went for $2.2m? It's now being flipped for $3.5m. #
  • [post] Vancouver Bidding-War House? It’s Being Flipped for 78% Gain #
  • Think this may be my favorite bad software demo of 2011. Especially the upside-down part. #
  • Today in accidental Onion headlines. RT @CMEGroup: We've created a timeline of financial ingenuity and innovation #
  • Fascinating the revenge effects in contact lenses, with high-water, long-wear lenses causing dryness disorders. /cc @edward_tenner #
  • My friends at Smartr have launched their iPad news app. Very clever product. (Full disc: Am investor) #
  • On that bad software demo … RT @grocklein: @pkedrosky It's like she's trying to present her way out of a hostage situation. #
  • Good test of demarkation problem in phil of science: If you send jackasses to science meeting, can people tell? #
  • Checking my spam folder, & it seems Russian women want to help me with cancelled ACH Transactions for past taxes. That's great. #
  • You big data people may dig this: TV ads in the age of databases, & rise of "best available screen" – #
  • RIM gets desperate to move BlackBerry Playbooks #
  • Commodity traders: The trillion-dollar club – #
  • Incredible data in that Reuters piece, like … Glencore in 2010 controlled 55% of world's traded zinc market, and 36% of copper. #
  • Good post by @johnbattelle on the changing nature of government & the U.S. economy. Non-partisan and empirical. #
  • Latest Sprott comment on commodities talks up oil – #
  • How the technology of performance capture is ruining movies (even more) – #
  • How do you tweet an URL without Twitter encoding it as an URL? #
  • Community service: AdBlock filter "||getconnected DOT southwestwifi DOT com$third-party" blocks annoying in-air SWA wi-fi banner. #
  • Apple accounting geekery, but this @asymco guy is an analytical star. #
  • From 2007 to 2011 Apple added an entire Procter & Gamble worth of revenues, during the worst downturn since the Depression. #

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Reviewing the New Steve Jobs Biography

I reviewed the new Steve Job biography for the Globe & Mail. Here are the opening two ‘graphs:

On his hospital bed after a 2009 liver transplant, Steve Jobs, heavily medicated and passing into and out of consciousness, tried to persuade nurses to bring him a selection of oxygen masks from which to choose the design that he liked best. His wife, Laurene Powell, finally had to distract the ailing Jobs long enough so that the hospital staff could get a mask on him.

If Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the recently deceased Jobs only told this story and stopped, you would have 97 per cent of what you needed to know about Apple’s founder and chief executive officer. First, being deathly ill troubled him less than did offending his finely developed aesthetic instincts. Second, as a control freak’s control freak, few things could set Jobs off more than the loss of control inherent in anesthesia and surgery (an abhorrence that may have helped cost him his life).

You can read rest of  the review here.

The Apple vs Microsoft Market Cap Game is So March of 2010

The Apple vs Microsoft market capitalization game is so March of 2010.

Aapl msft

Apple Market Cap Chart by YCharts


A few browser tabs worth sharing:

  • Sprott on oil (Source)
  • Government By Numbers: Some Interesting Insights (Source)
  • Commodity Traders: The trillion dollar club (Source)
  • How motion capture technology is making movies even worse (Source)

Commodity Traders: The trillion dollar club | Reuters

Probably marks a near-term top in the commodities boom, what with China changes, etc., but highly worth reading piece from Reuters:

For the small club of companies who trade the food, fuels and metals that keep the world running, the last decade has been sensational. Driven by the rise of Brazil, China, India and other fast-growing economies, the global commodities boom has turbocharged profits at the world’s biggest trading houses.

They form an exclusive group, whose loosely regulated members are often based in such tax havens as Switzerland. Together, they are worth over a trillion dollars in annual revenue and control more than half the world’s freely traded commodities. The top five piled up $629 billion in revenues last year, just below the global top five financial companies and more than the combined sales of leading players in tech or telecoms. Many amass speculative positions worth billions in raw goods, or hoard commodities in warehouses and super-tankers during periods of tight supply.

… How big are the biggest trading houses? Put it this way: two of them, Vitol and Trafigura, sold a combined 8.1 million barrels a day of oil last year. That’s equal to the combined oil exports of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Or this: Glencore in 2010 controlled 55 percent of the world’s traded zinc market, and 36 percent of that for copper.

Or this: publicity-shy Vitol’s sales of $195 billion in 2010 were twice those at Apple Inc. As well as the 200 tankers it has at sea, Vitol owns storage tanks on five continents.

via Commodity Traders: The trillion dollar club | Reuters.