Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ouch. My by brain hurts.

How to: Cheetah Project

Romney subprime

EK: You and I spoke shortly before the election for a piece I was doing on Romney’s history as a manager. These folks, too, are purportedly very data focused, very good at assimilating new information. So I find it genuinely scary that neither Romney nor his super-rich backers had any idea he was going to lose. All the polls, all the models, all the betting markets said he was likely to lose. How did a group of people who, in their jobs, have to be willing to read and respond to disappointing data convince themselves to ignore every piece of data we had? 
CF: That’s the single most astonishing thing. By his own definition, Romney’s single strongest qualification to become president was analytically based, managerial excellence. And if the election campaign were the test of that, and even if you were ideologically his fan, you should think it right that he lost. Now, how could it happen? My first thought was it was also the case that all the smartest guys in the room managed to lose a lot of money in 2008 and managed to convince themselves of a set of very mistaken beliefs about where the markets where going to go. It was a lot of the same people on the wrong side of both bets. 
But I find it truly mystifying. I don’t claim to have particularly unique insight. I think it could be a combination of things. One is a generic belief that in order to run for president you have to think you’re going to win. You can’t do it otherwise. A second thing, and this is not so much about the rich guys as about the Republican Party in America, I think Republicans have felt since the time of Ronald Reagan that they are the party that represents the true America, and that the Democrats might sometimes win, but it’s kind of an aberration. And when it comes to the super-rich guy dimension, and I imagine this has happened to Obama as well, when you’re a rich and powerful guy, it can make it hard to see reality, especially when you’re paying your campaign staff great salaries, as Romney was. 
EK: I’d add one dimension to that. From my reporting with the White House, I think the president’s view of the economy is that globalization is here and it’s not going away. The economy rewards high skills more than ever. Automatic and computerization and foreign competition are wiping out many middle class jobs, and while some new ones are created, it’s not at all clear that enough are being created. But in his view, he sees more redistribution as very necessary in this context. He thinks that if the economy is going to grow but the gains won’t be broadly shared, then it’s the government’s role to try and redistribute some, though of course not all, or even most, of those gains. 
My experience is that the very rich are open to higher taxes in the context of a deficit deal. They like, or think they like, the Simpson-Bowles plan. They’re very friendly with Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who says he’d let all the Bush tax cuts expire. But they don’t like the idea that their money should be redistributed simply because they have too much of it. They don’t like the idea that, so to speak, they didn’t build all of this, and as such, they need to give back in order to make sure it continues. And so that’s part of the tension: They don’t like why Obama is raising their taxes. And they certainly don’t like the lack of admiration he’s showing while trying to do it. They see it as punishing their success. 
CF: I completely agree. I think Obama and the economists around him have a very sophisticated understanding of both globalization and the technology revolution and the impact they’re having on the world economy and they way they’re creating these winner-take-all spirals. The positive scenario, which I think is a bit pollyannaish, is all you need to do is improve the education system and change the skill set and all will be well. And even that takes a lot of investment and a lot of time. But there’s actually the possibility that in order to have a healthy middle class, you’re going to need to have a more redistributive society, at least for awhile. I think that’s something the American super-rich don’t think about much. One guy who’s a liberal Democratic guy, who has worked in Washington for Democrats, who I quote in my book, he said to me, maybe this is how the world is. Maybe the 1950s were an aberration and the way the economy naturally works is this wide difference in distribution.

‘Romney is Wall Street’s worst bet since the bet on subprime’ - Wonkblog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crazy like a Fox

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disaster beckons?

"The world is using up its natural resources at an alarming rate, and this has caused a permanent shift in their value. We all need to adjust our behavior to this new environment. It would help if we did it quickly."


'Using a Phantom camera filming at 1200 frames per second while zooming beside a sprinting cheetah, the team captured every nuance of the cat’s movement as it reached top speeds of 60+ miles per hour.'

Monday, November 26, 2012

Five Things

1) Keep Trying New Things

Having lots of hobbies is one of the secrets of the most creative people.

Matt Cutts gives a great talk about how trying new things for 30 days not only helped him learn new skills but also changed him as a person:

2) Don’t Fear Failure

…if you cannot fail, you cannot learn.

Getting it wrong helps you get it right. Making mistakes is vital to improvement.

3) A Supportive Environment

The most effective way to change your behavior over the long term is to manipulate your environment. Change your surroundings to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn’t do hard.

The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change.

And when it comes to learning there’s nothing more valuable than a good mentor. How do you pick the right one?

1) Avoid Someone Who Reminds You of a Courteous Waiter
2) Seek Someone Who Scares You a Little
3) Seek Someone Who Gives Short, Clear Directions
4) Seek Someone Who Loves Teaching Fundamentals
5) Other Things Being Equal, Pick the Older Person

4) Focus on the Long Term

Merely deciding you’re committed for the long-term vs the short-term dramatically increases progress and improvement.

5) Make It Fun

Play creates new neural connections and tests them. It creates an arena for social interaction and learning. It creates a low-risk format for finding and developing innate skills and talents.

What five things can make sure you never stop growing and learning? Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Against the Grain

"Modern wheat is a "perfect, chronic poison," according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has published a book all about the world's most popular grain.

Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn't the wheat your grandma had: "It's an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the '60s and '70s. This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there's a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It's not gluten. I'm not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I'm talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year."

"All that literature says is to replace something bad, white enriched products with something less bad, whole grains, and there's an apparent health benefit - 'Let's eat a whole bunch of less bad things.' So I take...unfiltered cigarettes and replace with Salem filtered cigarettes, you should smoke the Salems. That's the logic of nutrition, it's a deeply flawed logic. What if I take it to the next level, and we say, 'Let's eliminate all grains,' what happens then?

"That's when you see, not improvements in health, that's when you see transformations in health."

Modern wheat a "perfect, chronic poison," doctor says - CBS

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pump primer

"IT IS rare in Japan for politicians to say anything meaningful enough to move markets.

One worry, however, is that he is already on record as saying he would appoint a more like-minded governor than Mr Shirakawa in April—in other words, his man, not the BOJ’s. That would be a blow to the bank’s autonomy. Another worry is that if a future government thinks monetary policy is the only cure for the economy, it feels less pressure to take bold steps to deregulate markets, spur innovation and make Japan more competitive."

Battle of the BOJ

What if Money didn't matter

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Austerity Abyss

"What is it about fiscal policy that brings out the crazy?

Which brings us to the fiscal cliff (or slope, which is more accurate and avoids creating the false impression that all is lost come January 1). The tax increases and spending cuts in place promise to repeat the mistakes of the UK and the Eurozone by pivoting too fast and too hard into the realm of fiscal austerity. A solution to the fiscal cliff means smoothing the path to fiscal consolidation (optimally, with no austerity in the near term, but I don't see that as an outcome).

If markets are shaky, they are shaky because participants recognize the recessionary impact of this level of fiscal austerity and they don't like it. Market participants want Congress and the President to do exactly what Greenspan claims is impossible, minimize the impact of spending cuts.

It is truly time for Greenspan to simply fade away; he no longer has anything useful to add to the discussion. Of anything.

Bottom Line: We need to find a cure for the crazy that some fall into whenever the topic is fiscal policy."

Fiscal Madness

Monday, November 19, 2012

High Five


"We all know that the stressors of exercise are necessary for good health, but people don't translate this insight into other domains of physical and mental well-being. We also benefit, it turns out, from occasional and intermittent hunger, short-term protein deprivation, physical discomfort and exposure to extreme cold or heat. Newspapers discuss post-traumatic stress disorder, but nobody seems to account for post-traumatic growth. Walking on smooth surfaces with "comfortable" shoes injures our feet and back musculature: We need variations in terrain.

Modernity has been obsessed with comfort and cosmetic stability, but by making ourselves too comfortable and eliminating all volatility from our lives, we do to our bodies and souls what Mr. Greenspan did to the U.S. economy: We make them fragile. We must instead learn to gain from disorder."

Learning to Love Volatility - WSJ
'In a world that constantly throws big, unexpected events our way, we must learn to benefit from disorder, writes Nassim Nicholas Taleb.'

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tokyo Bay

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tokyo Disneyland

Today one will be mainly queuing with an over-excited girl at Disneyland. And thats just the 4yr old's mum.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Canis lupus


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


What's in my pocket?

How I learned a language in 22 hours
"He's never been good with languages, so can Joshua Foer really hope to learn Lingala in a day?"

When a C.I.A. Director Had Scores of Affairs
"But private life for a C.I.A. director today is apparently quite different from what it was in the Dulles era. Mr. Petraeus resigned after admitting to a single affair; Allen Dulles had, as his sister, Eleanor, wrote later, “at least a hundred.”"

The United Kingdom is still a Warrior Nation
"The gist of his argument was that defence cuts will lead to an unwillingness by political leaders to use force in future, and that our glories belong to the past, and not the future. The author strongly disagrees with this very fatuous statement."

The Man Who Made Star Wars
"The idea was to make a high adventure film for children. The result was the box-office hit of all time. The man responsible was George Lucas"

U.S. Oil Output to Overtake Saudi Arabia’s by 2020
"The U.S. met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first six months of this year, on track to be the highest annual level since 1991."

The Expendables
"It’s the dark romance of the French Foreign Legion: haunted men from everywhere, fighting anywhere, dying for causes not their own. Legionnaires need war, certainly, and Afghanistan is winding down. But there’s always the hopeless battle against rogue gold miners in French Guiana..."



"But the real prize here is the generation of Mandarin speech in a voice like that of the speaker's: if you can preserve the speaker's vocal cadence in the translation, their meaning will be more apparent and the conversation will be all the more effective. This was done by having Rashid train a machine-learning algorithm for a full hour, rather than the quick recitation of a stock page of text that software like Dragon Naturally Speaking asks for."

Machine translator speaks Chinese in your own voice - New Scientist

Monday, November 12, 2012


Friday, November 09, 2012

Garbage Disposal

"Why does the Empire care, anyway, about reducing its organic garbage output? Are we to believe that the architects of the Death Star, a group of individuals bent on controlling the entire known universe, are also concerned about environmental issues?

Would organic garbage rot in space? So what? Furthermore, why has the Empire gone to the trouble of acquiring a frightening parasitic worm-creature and having it eat all organic trash, especially given the aforementioned flaws in the design of the compactor and overall maintenance hassles?"


Exit to relevance

"In a nation of children, Santa Claus wins."
-- Rush Limbaugh

"It's over. There is no hope."
-- Ann Coulter

"I can't stop crying. America died."
-- Victoria Jackson

"What happened? A political narcissistic sociopath leveraged fear and ignorance with a campaign marked by mendacity and malice rather than a mandate for resurgence and reform."
-- Mary Matalin

"it's not a traditional America anymore, and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things."
-- Bill O'Reilly

"We conservatives, we do not accept bipartisanship in the pursuit of tyranny."
-- Mark Levin


Thursday, November 08, 2012

MR-808 - mechanic drum robot


Disney Wars


Four More Years

"We know who won. Now what? This issue of Bloomberg Businessweek reports on the road ahead for President Obama as he faces the fiscal cliff and crucial decisions for the future of the economy, business, and defense. The opposition remains considerable, and no matter how successful he is, the hardest job in the world will take its toll."

Cover of Bloomberg Businessweek Marks Reelection of President Obama


"This election is a total sham... We are not a democracy!...We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty... We should have a revolution in this country!"
-- Donald Trump tweeting on election night

"It's a perplexing time for many of us right now."
-- Sarah Palin

Marc Faber on Bloomberg TV sees Obama's re-election as "very negative for the economy".

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Less hope, more change?

"Mr Obama in 2012 still carries a promise about him that race does not have to be the end of the argument, and that is no small thing at all. In a bitterly divided America, the race of a given voter is still a dismayingly powerful predictor of partisan intentions. Mr Obama has a lock on black voters and 70% of Hispanics still shun a Republican Party that has done far too little to appeal to them with fair immigration policies. White men (especially white men without a college education) still support Republicans by huge margins. But, and this matters, Mr Obama's coalition does include lots of whites, notably educated white women who are some of his staunchest supporters.

He has every right to seek to win re-election by casting the contest as one between haves and have-nots.

But this lurch into partisanship still felt diminishing. The Barack Obama of 2004 and 2008 managed the useful trick of inspiring both workers and CEOs, waiters and Wall Street bankers (who sent him many large donations). Keep that up, and pretty soon an American president can pull off some real change."

Barack Obama wrestles with ghosts at his last ever campaign rally - Lexington's Notebook



Let's Voting!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Pray Hard. Save America. Make History.


"In Japan, a person's blood type is popularly believed to determine temperament and personality. "What's your blood type?" is often a key question in everything from matchmaking to job applications.

According to popular belief in Japan, type As are sensitive perfectionists and good team players, but over-anxious. Type Os are curious and generous but stubborn. ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable, and type Bs are cheerful but eccentric, individualistic and selfish.

About 40% of the Japanese population is type A and 30% are type O, whilst only 20% are type B, with AB accounting for the remaining 10%.

In the Western world, O and A types make up almost 85% of people, but in India and Asia, B types predominate."

Japan and blood types: Does it determine personality? - BBC

Monday, November 05, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Thursday, November 01, 2012


Too Big to Brew

"There has never been a beer company like AB InBev. It was created in 2008 when InBev, the Leuven (Belgium)-based owner of Beck’s and Stella Artois, swallowed Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, in a $52 billion hostile takeover. Today, AB InBev is the dominant beer company in the U.S., with 48 percent of the market. It controls 69 percent in Brazil; it’s the second-largest brewer in Russia and the third-largest in China. The company owns more than 200 different beers around the world. It would like to buy more.

There’s one hitch. AB InBev’s CEO is a skilled financial engineer, but he has had trouble selling beer."

The Plot to Destroy America's Beer - Business Week

Albino Mike

The Abominable Charles Christopher