First World Problems

First-world problems are such fun:

When Google Translate Attacks?

When Google Translate attacks?

Johnston Press Names Microsoft’s Ashley Highfield As Chief Executive

28 JULY 2011

U.K. informal journal publishing house Johnston Press PLC JPR.LN pronounced Thursday it has allocated Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT Ashley Highfield as a arch executive, subsequent John Fry in a tip job.

Highfield, who will take up his latest purpose upon Nov. 1, is now a clamp boss during a record hulk as well as oversees a U.K. consumer as well as online business, together with a MSN calm portal.

The 45-year aged was formerly senior manager of latest media as well as record during a BBC, where he was obliged for a launch of a iPlayer, as well as editor in arch of BBC Online. He additionally headed up Project Kangaroo, a video-on-demand corner try in between a BBC, ITV PLC ITV.LN as well as Channel 4.

“I am gay to make known Ashley’s appointment,” Johnston Press Chairman Ian Russell said. “His total online as well as media zone extraction will be a vital strength in enabling us to grow a commercial operation again.”

via Johnston Press Names Microsoft’s Ashley Highfield As Chief Executive.

Twitter Digest: 2011-07-27

The Future of Vegas Gaming: Farmville?

Some comments from an interesting interview with Caesars Entertainment Corp CEO Gary Loveman in the latest issue of Forbes Emerging Technology Report: [-]

Do you see poker maintaining its position as the front-runner of games, and what exciting games do you see in the near future?

Poker is a great game because it has an element of fortune, but it’s principally a game of skill—it combines a behavioral element with an analytic element. Players practice poker like they practice golf or anything else—they take it seriously. At the same time, I think interactive games have a very bright future. A few slot manufacturers are creating episodic slot machines with games like World of Warcraft or even Farmville. Players are recognized by their Total Rewards card, so when they achieve a certain level, then exit, they can come back and pick the game up where they left off. Games based on science fiction, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, have this episodic flavor. While the game has the same random monetary results of a slot machine, the context of the game advances like an online game. These use high-definition visuals, compelling audio, and multi-player schematics. A new game of Clue is coming out, played on an enormous high-def screen that reflects the board game Clue. I played it and thought it was a hoot.

Fed Feigns Deafness

Fun to see the Fed feigning deafness when called up by worried bankers:

Wall Street bankers, from senior executives to traders, are complaining that the Federal Reserve is refusing to engage in scenario planning for a US downgrade or default.

With days until the Treasury’s August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling, bankers say they are not getting a response to efforts to discuss the market impact of a failure to reach a deal in Washington or if credit ratings agencies cut the US triple A rating.

via Fed under fire over default talks –

The Evolution of Overconfidence

The Evolution of Overconfidence

Confidence is an essential ingredient of success in a wide range of domains ranging from job performance and mental health, to sports, business, and combat. Some authors have suggested that not just confidence but overconfidence-believing you are better than you are in reality-is advantageous because it serves to increase ambition, morale, resolve, persistence, or the credibility of bluffing, generating a self-fulfilling prophecy in which exaggerated confidence actually increases the probability of success. However, overconfidence also leads to faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations, and hazardous decisions, so it remains a puzzle how such a false belief could evolve or remain stable in a population of competing strategies that include accurate, unbiased beliefs. Here, we present an evolutionary model showing that, counter-intuitively, overconfidence maximizes individual fitness and populations will tend to become overconfident, as long as benefits from contested resources are sufficiently large compared to the cost of competition. In contrast, “rational” unbiased strategies are only stable under limited conditions. The fact that overconfident populations are evolutionarily stable in a wide range of environments may help to explain why overconfidence remains prevalent today, even if it contributes to hubris, market bubbles, financial collapses, policy failures, disasters, and costly wars.

via [0909.4043] The Evolution of Overconfidence.

Scrabble Math, or Why Q Sucks

Interesting new paper on Scrabble mathematics:

Variance Decomposition and Replication In Scrabble: When You Can Blame Your Tiles?

In the game of Scrabble, letter tiles are drawn uniformly at random from a bag. The variability of possible draws as the game progresses is a source of variation that makes it more likely for an inferior player to win a head-to-head match against a superior player, and more difficult to determine the true ability of a player in a tournament or contest. I propose a new format for drawing tiles in a two-player game that allows for the same tile pattern though not the same board to be replicated over multiple matches, so that a players result can be better compared against others, yet is indistinguishable from the bag-based draw within a game. A large number of simulations conducted with Scrabble software shows that the variance from the tile order in this scheme accounts for as much variance as the different patterns of letters on the board as the game progresses. I use these simulations as well as the experimental design to show how much various tiles are able to affect player scores depending on their placement in the tile seeding.

via [1107.2456] Variance Decomposition and Replication In Scrabble: When You Can Blame Your Tiles?.

Twitter Digest: 2011-07-26

  • FT: US money market funds are stockpiling cash in case Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling – ->
  • Just did this TestYourVocab thingie. Turns out there are a whole bunch of words I don't know. ->
  • For some real wonkery, the CBO analysis late today of the Boehner plan. It says cuts less than advertised. ->
  • Intrade betting line on U.S. reaching a debt ceiling agreement by July 31 2011 plunged today, now at 16.2%. ->
  • Important. RT @BloombergNews: Money funds’ risk rises over debt cap debate | ->

Hey, It’s Like Selling Stocks to Koreans

Pension fund asset allocations around the world. Dig the differences, like zero percent allocation to equities in Korea, versus the U.S./Australia where almost half is equities. [-]


Paths to Penury Watch

This a magnificently dumb idea: Sort of ETF-like thingies with (almost certainly) higher costs and in narrower areas? I can’t wait to read the ex post forensics on how much money it cost its backers and anyone who throws money at it as an investor. More Paths to Penury ahead!

…Motif allows investors to invest in different portfolios of stocks, each called a “motif,” that are centered around everyday ideas. For example, motifs can be built around themes and ideas ranging from cloud computing to democracy in the Middle East. In addition, each motif can be customized to meet an individual’s ideas or needs.

…For example, there’s a lot of current buzz around the impact the debt ceiling negotiations is going to have on interest rates in the US. Suppose you were reading a news story about how interest rates are likely to rise and decided that you would like to invest in rising interest rates. How would you do this? If you have a money manager, you could call him or her, but it’s not an easy task.

Motif says that the challenge to investing in rising interest rates is that these rates have a negative impact on corporate earnings because they result in increased short-term borrowing costs. So rising interest rates can typically hurt stocks.

But the startup’s Rising Interest Rate Motif would include the small number of companies that hold very large sums of customer cash, and where interest rates rise they can actually increase their earnings. Specific examples of companies that hold large sums of customer cash include online brokerages such as Charles Schwab or E*TRADE, payment solutions companies such as Western Union or Heartland Payment Systems, payroll processors such as Paychex, prepaid cards such as Green Dot, and custodian banks such as Northern Trust.

via Former Microsoft Exec Raises $20 Million For Motif, An Investment Vehicle For Ideas | TechCrunch.