Friday, November 30, 2007

Market Direction

As we approach year end people will try to guesstimate where the financial markets will close the year. You might hear such things as December is higher 8 times out of 10 after a negative November. If subjected to this type of claptrap, I suggest you heed Paul Samuelson, the American economist, when he famously quipped that Wall Street had “predicted nine out of the last five recessions”.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Festive

Is it Christmas?

funny.. well made me smile at least.

clubforgrowth

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In need of brain surgery

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island Hospital has been fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the state Department of Health after its third instance this year of a doctor performing brain surgery in the wrong side of a patient's head.

"We are extremely concerned about this continuing pattern," health department director David R. Gifford said in a statement Monday.

'extremely concerned'.. no shit.

wired

Patriotic Spirit

"China Investment Corp, the newly established sovereign wealth fund, is on a massive recruitment drive for investment talent.

CIC has come up with a simple but tasteful website to recruit professionals and graduates around the world. Even more unusual, it is in both English and Chinese.

But a quick glance at the recruitment website gives an intriguing glimpse into just how widely CIC’s ambitions may range.

Among numerous other positions are jobs for European, North American, Japan and emerging market equities portfolio managers, public relations managers, fixed income and structured products managers and so on.

However, while you can take the website out of China, however, you can’t really take the China out of an organisation like CIC.

So despite the clear, and correct, English language translations, the Chinese-language job descriptions contain an appeal to mainland Chinese financial professionals who have worked abroad. The pay scale, they warn, is “not internationally competitive” but overseas Chinese are exhorted to show some patriotic spirit."

ftalphaville

Yesterday

Proper busy for the first day in a while. It felt good. Good for the P/L account too..

They put a Christmas tree in the lobby downstairs. Nice touch. Not that they will actually celebrate Chrimble here. Good at decorations and lights though. Picture(s) to follow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

1000% return

"A Californian hedge fund has made more than 1,000 per cent return this year by betting against US subprime home loans.

However, Mr Lahde (the fund mananger), whose fund is one of the smallest specialists shorting subprime, has now begun to return money to investors.

“Our entire banking system is a complete disaster,” he wrote. “In my opinion, nearly every major bank would be insolvent if they marked their assets to market.” He also said he would be putting some of his own profits into gold and other precious metals."

ft

tempura soba


tempura soba, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

moonset


moonset, originally uploaded by Knotty.

sniff that


sniff that, originally uploaded by Knotty.

one more wave


one more wave, originally uploaded by Knotty.

winter at the beach


winter at the beach, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Gold is for optimists. I'm diversifying into canned goods."

"The trouble with being the leading harbinger of doom is that, rather like crack, you're going to need to keep pushing the limits to keep achieving the same highs.... the über-bears, no longer satisfied with dire predictions of a US recession, have now moved onto heralding a full-blown financial crisis. Only an all-out, systemic meltdown will do."

alphaville

happy thanksgiving


happy thanksgiving, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Trees for the wood

If a man says something in the woods and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?

iPhone on the apron

Recently there was an iPhone TV advert depicting the use of an iPhone to check the weather and hence use that information with regard to a commercial flight. Annoying, to say the least I suspect, to trained airmen. Now, apparently it is already happening..

"On one of the frequent-flier blogs, an airline pilot writes that only moments after informing his passengers of a weather-related ground hold affecting their flight to Memphis, Tenn., he and his captain received a call from one of the flight attendants. Seems an iPhone-wielding customer in the back had a challenge. "Some guy with an iPhone says the weather is good," the flight attendant says, "and wants to know what the real reason is for the delay. Is something wrong with the plane?"

Reportedly, the captain responded with a public address announcement that was sharp enough to elicit audible laughter from the cabin.

"If the passenger with the iPhone would be kind enough," he began, "to use it to check the weather at our alternate airport, then calculate our revised fuel burn due to being rerouted, then call our dispatcher to arrange our amended release, then make a call to the nearest traffic control center to arrange a new slot time (among all the other aircraft carrying passengers with iPhones), we'll then be more than happy to depart. Please ring your call button to advise the flight attendant and your fellow passengers when you deem it ready and responsible for this multimillion-dollar aircraft and its 84 passengers to safely leave."

boingboing

Toolhead

"I do think - and i'll go on record now as saying - i'll probably be wrong and time will tell - what they did is a one-trick pony in a way." That's clear then..

"The reason they make music is because they're damaged goods and they're generally not that bright when it comes to making business decisions." Ouch..

"So eventually the vampires that survive the aftermath of the industry collapse will figure out a way to get their fingers back into these guys." Blood sucking.. nice.

Maynard James Keenan, Tool frontman on Radiohead's recent 'In Rainbows' internet release.

nme

I like both bands. A lot.

Identity Theft

"Two compact discs containing bank details and addresses of 9.5 million parents and the names, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers of all 15.5 million children in the country went missing after a junior employee of HM Revenue and Customs put them in the
post, unrecorded and unregistered. HMRC said the staff member who sent the CDs assumed they had gone missing in the postal strike or in an office move by the NAO and kept quiet “hoping that it would turn up”. The missing details account for almost half the entire UK population. It confirmed that every parent in the country with children under 16 - even the Prime Minister himself - was affected."

telegraph

Will you be affected?

Revenue & Customs (HMRC) says that your details are at risk only if someone in your family is claiming child benefit (£18.10 a week for the eldest child and £12.10 a week for each additional child). If all your children are over the age of 19 it is unlikely that your or their details are on the discs that have been lost.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Michelin Tokyo

"In a departure from tradition, stretching back to the 1900 publication of Michelin’s first guide, to France, every one of the 150 restaurants in the Tokyo guide has been awarded stars. Eight restaurants scored Michelin’s coveted three-star rating (five Japanese restaurants and three French establishments). Jean Luc Naret, director of Michelin Guides, remains unruffled at the suggestion of controversy, pointing out that the field is both huge and unparalleled in quality. Tokyo has more restaurants – at least 160,000 that could be classified as proper ”restaurants” – than almost any other urban centre. Paris, by comparison, has little more than 20,000 and New York about 23,000, he says. ”Anyone who complains about this has never travelled to Tokyo, because if they do, they can see for themselves the fantastic quality of restaurants here,” added Mr Naret. Yasuhiro Yamamoto, one of Japan’s leading food critics, says, the rankings ”will show people overseas what ’real sushi’ is about.”

ft

So come to Tokyo for great food, but remember it has 8 times more restaurants and 3 stars less than Paris.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Aspiration

"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. Now I'm beginning to believe it."

Clarence Darrow

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jyu


Jyu, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Getting paid is the name of the game

the hollywood writer's strike..

Brighta - Japanese snowboarders

The Japanese make mountain movies too.. the snow is coming.. reports of falls in Nozawa and Niseko already.. am hoping it is a good season as there is no heli-skiing this year.. bring it on :)

Sunseekers


P1000846.JPG, originally uploaded by Joli Knott.

Tokyo temperature dropped this week.. colder outside and inside.. the dogs seek the sun and its heat..

Friday, November 16, 2007

If men wrote advice columns

Dear Walter:

I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in the bedroom with a neighbor lady making mad passionate love to her. I am 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years. When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that he'd been having an affair for the past six months.
I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get through to him anymore.

Can you please help?

Mrs. Sheila Usk



Dear Sheila:

A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber.
I hope this helps.

Walter

Thursday, November 15, 2007

delirium cafe again!


delirium cafe again!, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Dipso, Fatso, Bingo, Asbo, Tesco

Modern Britain summed up in 5 words.. As submitted by readers to the Times..

more..

“Britain: my country, my home”, “I respect who you are”, “Great people, great country, Great Britain”, “Hail Great Britain! Live, develop and flower”, “A country so brave and true”, “Fairness for all”. “For honour and for freedom”, “Pride, passion, history, monarchy, exploration”, “Courage, reason, humanity, democracy, monarchy”, “Promoting ahistorical unity myths since 1066”, “West Lothian was my undoing”, “Britain will always be England”, “Britain is dead. Long live England”, “Once Great: Britain”, “Once mighty empire, slightly used”, “Your nation, ruined by Labour”, and “Going down with Brown”, “Americans who missed the boat,”, “At least we’re not France”, “My other car’s a Porche [sic]”, “Britain is great without a motto”,"Yeah, but no, but yeah", "We strive for valiant defeat", "Let’s discuss it down the pub", "Pride, passion, history, monarchy & exploration", "Robbin' hoodie and Jade Goody", "Britain; Live wrong and prosper", "Care, responsibility and fun", "Great people, Great country, Great Britain", "Land of yobs and morons", "Ave Britannia! Vivat, Crescat, Floreat! (Hail Great Britain, live, develop and flourish)", "Great once, and great again", "Oggie, oggie, oi, oi, oi!", "Sorry, is this the queue?", "Drinking continues till morale improves", "In America we trust", "At least we’re not American", "At least we’re not French", "National mottos are for wimps".

Fortress Britain

"Train passengers face routine airline-style bag checks and body searches as part of a new counter-terror crackdown announced by Gordon Brown. He conjured up visions of ''Fortress Britain" as he unveiled a succession of security measures at airports, railway stations, sports venues and other public places. More buildings will be defended by barriers to stop car bomb attacks, extra blast-proofing, vehicle exclusion zones and metal detectors." telegraph

Sounds like a lovely place to live.

"The notion that bag checking at major stations could be carried out on all but a handful of people, making the exercise futile, is completely fanciful." guardian

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon?

lots of wind noise.. turn the volume down..

What Would Jesus Buy?

A must-see?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bicycling

A quiet statement against oil wars. Critical Mass

"People who commute by bike have a certain pop culture image to overcome. It's geeky." Bicycling.com

I have been 'commuting by bike' since the summer. I started with fitness and health in mind, and a nod to the
environment, but recently it has hit me that it is rather geeky (or quirky). Why is it geeky though? I would agree that it is. But why? It's not enough of a reason to stop though.

The weather now is a lot more conducive than it was in August when the humidity was so high! In fact it is a great start to the day to ride into central Tokyo on a crisp autumn morning (usually in the sunshine). I hope to ride in year round. Weather permitting (the car is in the basement carpark for all those rainy evenings!). It's about 10C to 15C first thing at the moment which is a bit chilly for the first few minutes, but I soon warm-up. It's difficult to dress correctly in fact.

Tokyo is a bike friendly place. In so much as a lot of people use bikes as transport. The city's taxis are not so friendly.. but great fun to annoy in traffic - the rearview mirrors perched on the front of the bonnet (hood for you Americans) make an exceptionally easy target after you have been cut-up, cut-off, nearly sideswiped by an 80yr old nutter swooping from 7 lanes away to pick up a curbside patron. Surprisingly they dont seem to like it much. About as much as I like to feel hunted on two wheels. Two-wheel urban hunting - how is that geeky?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush

Essay in Vanity Fair.

"The title of the essay, incidentally, is a play on "The Economic Consequences of the Peace," the bestseller written by John Maynard Keynes in 1920, in which the economist argued that the Treaty of Versailles imposed unduly harsh conditions on Germany. If you take the line of argument that holds that the Treaty of Versailles enabled the rise of Adolph Hitler, well, then, you'd have to concede that the winners of World War I monumentally screwed up. And so, implies Stiglitz, did the voters (and Supreme Court justices) who elected George Bush president of the United States."

economistsview

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sit down, strap in, and turn on all you've got..

The Bourne Ultimatum was finally released here in Tokyo so we had a Sunday matinée viewing.. simply awesome..

Fink

Friday, November 09, 2007

The snow is coming..

Funny money



bigpicture

171 feet in a Subaru

Airline merger?

"I was just talking to a friend who said he booked a trip to Ireland on Aer Lingus. This made me wonder what would happen if that airline merged with, oh, let’s say Continental Airlines. This new company, potentially named Conaerlingus, would get people’s attention. But would you be concerned about your flight going down?"

dilbertblog

Crater

"..it is clear the dollar is no longer “money”, at least in the sense of a store of value."

"To be sure, the US economy is likely to have a hard landing over the next four quarters. But that essentially premature — and at that point unnecessary — easing has almost certainly ensured the landing will be harder."

Beijing should revalue


Thursday, November 08, 2007

admn

Did you hear about the dyslexic devil worshipper?


He sold his soul to Santa.

Birthday present

"A stripper peeled off her clothes and whipped a 16-year-old student in front of his class, ensuring that the boy’s mother had achieved her aim of providing a birthday surprise he would never forget.

But it was not the surprise gift that she had intended when she booked a man dressed in a gorilla suit."

timesonline

I can't remember what I got for my sixteenth.. bet he'll remember what he got!

late afternoon november sun


late afternoon november sun, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Iconic

Iconic photographs of the 20th century with the elderly

with Lego

Famous historical events in video game format

kottke


How to win at Monopoly

'the relentless pursuit of victory..'
  1. Always buy Railroads; never buy Utilities.
  2. At the beginning of the game, focus on acquiring a complete CG (Color Group) in Sides 1+2, even if it means trading away properties on Sides 2+3. After acquiring one of these CGs, build 3 houses as quickly as possible: no more houses, no less!
  3. Once your first CG starts to generate some cash, focus on completing a CG and building 3 houses in Sides 3+4.
  4. Single properties are the least good investment if you don't build on them.
  5. The only exception to the above rules are when you need to acquire stray properties to prevent your opponents from completing their CGs to accomplish the above strategy.
boingboing

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wedgie!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Beagles on the Beach


Beagles on the Beach, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Storm

Level 3 Storm about to hit Wall Street. ML with $18bln "Level 3", GS with $72bln Level 3, ML reports $8bln hit (44% of Level 3), GS?

Descriptions of the Levels in shorthand:
  1. Mark to market.
  2. Mark to model.
  3. Mark to meth. :) - thanks Altus

For those who hold dollar savings, to borrow from the classic line from the movie “Romeo Must Die” by the Kung Fu master Jet Li to his brother who betrayed him – “That was a mistake.” “It is like the Dark Ages.”

Find out who is listening to what and where

Global warming? Deceit? Which is it?

"No one can deny that in recent years the need to "save the planet" from global warming has become one of the most pervasive issues of our time.. "a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism".. by the end of this century the only habitable continent left will be Antarctica.

People have been bemused by this somewhat one-sided debate.. if so many experts are agreed, then there must be something in it. But if we set the story of how this fear was promoted in the context of other scares before it, the parallels which emerge might leave any honest believer in global warming feeling uncomfortable.

The story of the panic over climate change falls into five main stages. Stage one came in the 1970s when many scientists expressed alarm over what they saw as a disastrous change in the earth's climate. Their fear was not of warming but global cooling, of "a new Ice Age".

The one thing certain about climate is that it is always changing. Around 1300 began "the Little Ice Age", that did not end until 200 years ago, when we entered what is known as the "Modern Warming". But even this has been chequered by colder periods, such as the "Little Cooling" between 1940 and 1975. Then, in the late 1970s, the world began warming again.

When two things are observed together and scientists suggest one must have been caused by the other. In this case, thanks to readings commissioned by Dr Roger Revelle, a distinguished American oceanographer, it was observed that since the late 1950s levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere had been rising. Perhaps it was this increase that was causing the new warming in the 1980s?

Stage two of the story began in 1988 when, with remarkable speed, the global warming story was elevated into a ruling orthodoxy, partly due to hearings in Washington chaired by Senator Al Gore, who had studied under Dr Revelle in the 1960s.

Global warming hit centre stage in 1988 with the commission of a huge scientific report, which might have included all sorts of doubts and reservations. But was to prefaced by a Summary for Policymakers, drafted in consultation with governments and officials in which most of the caveats contained in the experts' report would not appear.

A second report in 1996 gave prominence to a study by a US government scientist claiming that the evidence for a connection between global warming and rising CO2 levels was now firmly established. This study came under fire from for the way it manipulated the evidence. But it was claimed that there was now complete scientific consensus behind the CO2 thesis, and the Summary for Policy-makers, paved the way in 1997 for the famous Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto initiated stage three of the story, by formally committing governments to drastic reductions in their CO2 emissions.

An article co-authored by Dr Revelle just before his death urged that the global warming thesis should be viewed with more caution.

In 1998 a new temperature chart,devised by a young American physicist, Michael Mann, became known as the "hockey stick" because it showed historic temperatures running in an almost flat line over the past 1,000 years, then suddenly flicking up at the end to record levels.

But then academics began to raise doubts about Mann and his graph. This culminated in 2003 showing Mann had used an algorithm that would produce a hockey stick graph whatever evidence was fed into the computer.

The global warming juggernaut rolled on, now led by the European Union. In 2004, stage four of the story began when the Kyoto treaty was finally ratified.

All this has rested on the assumption that global temperatures will continue to rise in tandem with CO2.

Yet, stage five of the story has seen all sorts of question marks raised. Despite the continuing rise in CO2 levels, global temperatures in the years since 1998 have no longer been rising.

In August, a revision of US surface temperatures shows that the past decade had seen the that the hottest year of the 20th century was not 1998 but 1934, and that four of the 10 warmest years in the past 100 were in the 1930s.

Scientists and academics have been pointing out that fluctuations in global temperatures correlate more consistently with patterns of radiation from the sun than with any rise in CO2 levels, and that after a century of high solar activity, the sun's effect is now weakening, presaging a likely drop in temperatures.

If global warming does turn out to have been a scare like all the others, it will certainly represent as great a collective flight from reality as history has ever recorded. The evidence of the next 10 years will be very interesting."


Cribbed from an article on timesonline by Christopher Booker and Richard North who have written a book "From BSE To Global Warming — How Scares Are Costing Us The Earth".


So which is it? Beats me. Are these guys just against Gore and his 'school of thought' because it sells books and pays bills? I precis'd and (re-)edited the article here because I thought it summarised the global warming story quite well. I do agree with their 'state of fear' concept. Fear is used to sell advertising. Its pathetic. Whatever you do out there, remember, don't ask questions, just turn the TV on and be afraid of what they tell you to be afraid of. Twaddle. As for Global Warming, the world's climate is an incredibly complex model that cannot be forecast. We should be kinder to the environment with recycling and more intelligent use of energy etc. We should hope that the doom-tards are wrong but listen to the environmentaltwits in order to try and live in harmony with our surroundings.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

future leader of the free world


future leader of the free world, originally uploaded by Knotty.

You'd need to see the earlier blog post..

Friday, November 02, 2007

Man's Best Friend

Two guys are watching a dog lick its balls and one says "Man, I wish I could do that." The other guy says, "Really? I think I'd just pet him first."

The true outrage of US politics

and a topic (for some reason) close to my heart.. it's bias against bald men.

"First, bald men - because of our superior intellect and virility - are seen as threatening; this is why they are often cast as baddies, such as the evil Hood in Thunderbirds. (Perhaps the childhood trauma he caused is itself part of the explanation). But what the public want from politicians is comfort and the illusion of security. Hairy boys, being blander, offer this.

Secondly, the people who report on politics want politics to be a vacuous, glamorous business. They don't want to think their job consists of no more than talk about who can best empty our dustbins. And they certainly don't want to investigate substantive questions of who is genuinely competent to run the country."

stumblemumble

The Bald Truth - Time

A Must-See

Air Guitar Nation - Awesome

Thursday, November 01, 2007

delerium


delerium, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Less doom and gloom

"What we haven’t really had yet, outside China, is a traditional end-of-cycle rally in equity that takes us beyond the atmosphere to the edge of space. I believe we will manage that within the next 18 months, before most people in Wall Street and the City of London have to move on to organic farming, bartending, or their parents’ spare room."
Or a nice beach house in Shimoda :)
All elements in place for an equity bull-run

"China's oil and gas investments in 50 countries clearly signal its worries over its ability to fuel an economic growth rate taking it towards mass car and air-con ownership. China now has a target of 10 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and India (quickly acquiring similar problems) has a target of 10 per cent by 2012. A score of big private equity funds are actively searching for renewable and clean technology opportunities in Asia."
Hmm.. shame it doesn't say what opportunites they have found.
'Wall of money' set to flow into Asian renewable energy

tokyo american club 2


tokyo american club 2, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Finished by january.

our local koban


our local koban, originally uploaded by Knotty.

See earlier post..