Twitter Digest: 2011-09-29

  • Michael Lewis goes to California – ->
  • The glib notion that startups do best with no money is up there with the idea that asphyxiophilia is the path to great sex. ->
  • Okay, this is political, but it's so surreal that it's non-partisan: Rick Perry, Bad Lip-Reading –! ->
  • .@shefaly Sadly, not online. A private event here in Madrid, Spain. in reply to shefaly ->
  • Gave a talk tonight cleverly combining yoga clothing, Arc'teryx, dirtbag skiers, @Richard_Florida, and Newtonian physics. Do I win? ->

George Magnus Talks Europe

The ever-interesting George Magnus of UBS talks Europe today on Tom Keene’s Bloomberg show. I’d embed it, but I can’t figure out to stop it from auto-starting.

Michael Lewis on California: California and Bust

Michael Lewis continues his series on seriously screwed economies around the world with this visit to California (where he lives). It’s better than his Germany installment, if not as much as his fun as his entries on Greece and Iceland.

[Arnold Schwarzenegger has] got to be one of the world’s most recognizable people, but he doesn’t appear to worry that anyone will recognize him, and no one does. It may be that people who get out of bed at dawn to jog and Rollerblade and racewalk are too interested in what they are doing to break their trance. Or it may be that he’s taking them by surprise. He has no entourage, not even a bodyguard. His former economic adviser, David Crane, and his media adviser, Adam Mendelsohn, who came along for the ride just because it sounded fun, are now somewhere far behind him. Anyone paying attention would think, That guy might look like Arnold, but it can’t possibly be Arnold, because Arnold would never be out alone on a bike at seven in the morning, trying to commit suicide. It isn’t until he is forced to stop at a red light that he makes meaningful contact with the public. A woman pushing a baby stroller and talking on a cell phone crosses the street right in front of him and does a double take. “Oh . . . my . . . God,” she gasps into her phone. “It’s Bill Clinton!” She’s not 10 feet away, but she keeps talking to the phone, as if the man were unreal. “I’m here with Bill Clinton.”

“It’s one of those guys who has had a sex scandal,” says Arnold, smiling.

“Wait . . . wait,” says the woman to her phone. “Maybe it’s not Bill Clinton.”

Before she can make a positive identification, the light is green, and we’re off.

via California and Bust | Business | Vanity Fair.

The Ten Thousand Kims

Strange and magnificent stuff:

The Ten Thousand Kims

In the Korean culture the family members are recorded in special family books. This makes it possible to follow the distribution of Korean family names far back in history. It is here shown that these name distributions are well described by a simple null model, the random group formation (RGF) model. This model makes it possible to predict how the name distributions change and these predictions are shown to be borne out. In particular, the RGF model predicts that, for married women entering a collection of family books in a certain year, the occurrence of the most common family name “Kim” should be directly proportional the total number of married women with the same proportionality constant for all the years. This prediction is also borne out to high degree. We speculate that it reflects some inherent social stability in the Korean culture. In addition, we obtain an estimate of the total population of the Korean culture down to year 500 AD, based on the RGF model and find about ten thousand Kims.

via [1109.6221] The Ten Thousand Kims.

Twitter Digest: 2011-09-28

The Gazillion Euro Question

The FT frames it all nicely for today’s German vote:

The gazillion euro question is not whether MPs will vote to expand the EFSF (that’s a given since the opposition is backing the move) but whether Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, will preserve her absolute majority. If the rebellion gets above 19 MPs then she’s in trouble. Current predictions suggest that won’t happen but nothing can be taken for granted.

via Eurozone crisis: live blog | The World | International affairs blog from the FT –

Gary Shilling: Still Bearish-er

Channeling a decent number of my views, here is Gary Shilling on Bloomberg TV today:

Schilling on how much further the 30-year Treasury bond yield could fall:

“I think [the 3-year Treasury bond yield] might go back to 2.5%. That’s where it was at the end of 2008 in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers meltdown. That’s my target for now. I think we are looking at deflation. As I said back then, I think that will be the media chatter by the end of the year. Plus, the weakening economy here and abroad. The long bond, the 30-year Treasury, is the ultimate safe haven in the world.”

On why Schilling sees deflation on the horizon:

“In my new book, I identify seven different types of deflation. Now five of those are already in place — we’re having financial asset deflation, tangible asset deflation, commodities are coming down, wages are coming down. The one that hasn’t kicked in yet is goods and services deflation. The point is that the whole world is really marking down assets. It’s marking down the whole spectrum. I don’t think goods and services are going to hold up in terms of inflation. I think that will move to deflation fairly soon.”

On whether the Fed will decide to try to accelerate inflation:

“In effect, [the Fed] tried to do that with QE2. Because you remember at the time they were worried about deflation… That was one of the objectives. Of course, they spurred commodities, they spurred stocks and they got a temporary offset. But I think the forces of deleveraging in the world are greater than the Fed can handle. We’re marking things down to equilibrium. Look at government sovereign debts around the world. They’re much greater than taxpayers can handle. You either have to mark them down or get somebody else to handle them, like the Germans, or try to inflate them away. Inflating away is an excess supply world is almost impossible, even for the Fed.”

On volatility in the bond market:

“In the portfolios I manage, we’ve maintained our 30-year bond positions. We haven’t really changed them. We’ve changed them a little bit over time. When they got to 2.5% at the end of 2008, I said, we’ve gotten every pullback….It is awfully tricky to do this on a daily basis. At this point, I don’t see anything that has fundamentally changed either in stocks or bonds. You have this volatility, this event-driven market. It’s great for the latest news. Is Greece like to pass a law to tax itself or not? Markets jump up and down 100 points on the Dow. That is ridiculous. That is whipsaw. It shows a lot of day trading. It shows a lot of program trading. It doesn’t show a lot of investing.”

On other places to see a safe haven outside the Treasury market:

“There are some [safe havens] in the real estate area. We like medical office buildings. That’s because of aging populations, the new medical health care bill, and improving technology. Also, 55% of physicians work for hospitals. Private practices with a storefront are disappearing. They’re moving into campuses… Another one is rental apartments. People are deciding a house is no longer a sure shot investment. Prices can and do fall. They have, for the first time since the 30’s…Rental apartments will continue to be very attractive.”

On metals like gold, silver and copper:

“I’m agnostic on the precious metals. We have in our portfolios been short copper. Copper peaked out in February and it’s down about 25% from its peak. I think it will go a lot lower. As you pointed out, copper goes into almost anything manufactured. It’s a great indicator of global industrial production. What I think will really knock the pinnings out from under all commodities is a hard landing in China, which is what we’re forecasting.”

“[The Chinese] are trying to cool off a red-hot economy. They’re worried about the property bubble and the high inflation rate. They are affecting a soft landing and with their crude economic tools it’s tough. Bear in mind, the Fed, with more sophisticated tools, tried, by my reckoning, 12 times in the post World War II era to cool off the economy without precipitating a recession. They only succeeded once. What are the chances for China?”

On whether the stock market will go down:  

“I think it probably is [headed back down] because the economy here is slowing, and it’s global and of course a lot of the S&P 500 companies have their earnings predominantly overseas. In that kind of environment, we’re going to see disappointing earnings. The Wall Street analysts always optimistic, of course, crank down their numbers….If you put a ten multiple on it, we’d be at S&P 800.”

“We had a big sell-off but I really suspect that this is a pause before things drop further.”

Twitter Digest: 2011-09-27

  • All Starbucks Pastries dude went on to dust off two in-flight tins of Cherry Garcia ice-cream. His pancreas is so screwed on this bet. ->
  • Dude beside me on flight apparently bought one of everything in Starbucks pastry window. Must have lost a pancreatic stress bet. ->
  • The myths of Easter Island – Jared Diamond responds ->
  • Jeb Corliss does some PoV wingsuit flying in HD. You know the drill: full-screen zen. ->
  • Toronto: The Worst Sports City in the World ->
  • Why the Tambora Volcano Won’t Kill Us All (at least not yet) ->

Twitter Digest: 2011-09-26

  • Fire in the Sky and on the Ground ->
  • Jeb Corliss and some PoV wingsuit flying in HD. You know the drill: full-screen zen. ->
  • Self-described former Zynga staffer on the company's alleged profit decline – /via @mathewi ->
  • Oh, the President was here — so that's why there were so many damn helicopters here in La Jolla today. ->
  • This link should work for Peter Aspen's thought-provoking Weekend FT piece about the "HBO revolution" – ->

Jeb Corlis — PoV HD Wingsuit Flying

WIld mix of PoV video, Jeb Corliss interview and general wingsuit zen. Take the HD feed and flow it to fullscreen.