Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Deal Demoncrat sounding the horn of fear, this time empirically

New Deal Demoncrat - poor housing permits points to looming slowdown in GDP. The housing cycle really is the US economic cycle, so this is important:

The preponderance of evidence, based on this morning's report on housing permits and starts, is that increased interest rates and continuing increased prices are beginning to take a bite out of the market.


Should single family permits fail to make a new high for at least one more month, and should the decline be over 5% from peak, I will switch their rating from positive to neutral. And, while the evidence is by no means conclusive, I would say the preponderance of the evidence is that housing is slowing down, and that will have an effect on the economy over the next 6 - 12 months.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The charts say nothing

Haven't posted charts in a while.

The charts are actually confusing as hell right now:

Emerging markets are tanking.

Gold is tanking.

But gold ex-USD is still doing fine, with no violation of the SMA-50 support. Silver is still rangebound, though the big puke downward last week looks like a warning of a future drop.

And yet, tech stocks are doing fantastic. This is a breakout to a new alltime high.

I guess you could interpret this as a play on American hegemony: the USA rules tech completely, and tech is a field with extreme market power, so any move by the US to impose an oppressive new world order is going to be reflected in a big pop in QQQ and a big drop in, say, EMs.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The invasion begins

At 9AM, let's watch the Vikings beat Argentina the way they beat England:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Feel good soccer story

Feel good story for you:

Al Jazeera - Iceland in the World Cup. The descendants of Viking warriors and Irish slavegirls, who were chased out of their homeland for murdering too many people and sailed off to live on the world's largest active volcano in the middle of the North Atlantic, and who now while away their days pulling jetliners with their teeth and occasionally winning wars against England, are on their way to World Cup history.

I'm rooting for them all the way. Be especially great if they kicked the snot out of the Russians.

Friday videos: Rush's 2112, played by... wait, what?

Rush's "2112", played by... wait, what?

Monday, June 11, 2018

You're not allowed to like DeNiro anymore

Well, all those Republicans are going to have to quit watching mobster movies, as well as Brazil, Raging Bull, and Taxi Driver:

Recession coming in 2019, or not

It's recession watch time!

Jason Smith - JOLTS data and the 2019 recession. His model suggests that a recession is coming in 2019. Of course, you don't have to believe him, he's an econophysicist.

New Deal Demoncrat - I take issue with the JOLTS data indicating a 2019 recession. YoY hires haven't turned down yet, so no recession.

Jason Smith, Later That Same Day - Oh yeah? Well, so's your mom. Actually, more of a discussion on possible problems with his model.

Far as I'm concerned, the death of the neoliberal world order due to Trumpian stupidity should be able to trigger a recession all on its own, and then there's that whole Italian banking crisis in the making thing.

As for Trumpism, by the way:

New Deal Demoncrat - about the last time a narcissistic moron emperor destroyed the world. Important to note is that Kaiser Wilhelm single-handedly managed to destroy 30 years of empire-building under Otto von Bismarck. Then there was the whole two world wars and extermination of the Jews thing.

Speaking of which, some of Trump's (and Putin's) biggest supporters also seem to hate Jews quite a bit.

I think it's because Jews are great comedians, and right-wing fruitcakes hate comedy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Jim Chanos on Bitcoin

INET - Chanos says bitcoin is a security speculation game. Great quotes from him. The introductory quote says it all:

I’ve found in my research and my teaching that what I would call the “fraud cycle” — instances of large-scale financial fraud over multiple platforms and companies in the financial markets in the modern era (the last 500 years) — follows the financial cycle with a lag. That means that as business and particularly financial markets improve, peoples’ sense of disbelief and caution that they’ve often earned from the previous downturn begins to erode. Schemes that before might have seemed too good to be true begin to be embraced.

And as for the utility of bitcoin:

Bitcoin is still the area for people who are trying to avoid taxation or other examinations of their transactions. That’s one thing where I think it probably still has utility, but the governments have figured that out.

Last year, just as the mania was really going, an early convert who had gotten in early and had made a lot of money wrote this humorous blog about trying to cash in his winnings, if you will. He chronicled telling the exchange that he wanted to convert his bitcoins into U.S. dollars and have them wired into his U.S. bank. It took something like eight or ten days and numerous follow-ups and phone calls. The funniest part was his having to fax his passport to Lithuania. [...]

Using a fax machine to Eastern Europe struck me as kind of the antithesis of what you’re trying to do here. So this is simply a security speculation game masquerading as a technological breakthrough in monetary policy. Someone at Grant’s interest rate conference recently said that it was as if we had intentionally created a “monetary Somalia.”

And an interesting aside comparing the Bushes to the Clintons, which the Democrats should fucking pay attention to when discussing why the working class has abandoned them:

I always joke that the two presidents who have put more executives in jail than all the rest combined were both named Bush. W’s father was instrumental in prosecuting the S&L [Saving and Loan] crooks back in the early ‘90s and put about 3,000 of them in jail. I think they realized that the public was losing money in the stock markets, not just because of the frauds, but because the long dot-com bull market had ended. People were upset. Then when you had the revelations of WorldCom and Enron on top of it, there was a sense that every corporation was crooked and this was going to have exogenous impacts on the economy and the market as a whole. I think they correctly realized that we’ve got to basically show that we’re the cops on the beat. And they did.

Whereas after 2008 under the Democrats:

People in New York and San Francisco and Boston might be fine with everything, but in the South and Midwest, where you’re from and where I’m from, there’s still this general sense that “the bastards got away with it and I’m still suffering.” So there is an exogenous cost to this where people don’t feel that there was justice. They feel that they were taken advantage of by those sharpies on the coasts.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday extra: catnip

As you know if you've been here a while, I grow catnip outside for my cat.

Now, catnip grows pairs of leaves along a stem; those pairs then eventually become branching points for arms, which then again grow leaves along them in pairs again. They then branch as well, and so on a few times. And each subsidiary branch, as far as I can tell, then builds its own separate pipe down the main branch to the root bundle below. But everything works in pair symmetry in a typical catnip plant.

Anyway, a few times I've had a mutant catnip, which grows leaves in triplets instead of pairs. The first time, it essentially had no root system, so the structural gene that got transposed to produce triplets must have overwritten the root structure gene.

The second three-leaf catnip plant lived a bit longer, but never grew tall.

But this year:

The plant in the centre is a three-leaf catnip, and it's about the same size as the non-mutant catnip plants around it.

I'll be interested in seeing if it flowers, and if so I might collect all the seeds. Though all my plants this year have just sprouted in the ground without my help from the previous year's seed scatter, thanks to the sunny and wet spring we've had.

But it's neat to see how unstable the structural part of a plant's genetic library is.

As an aside, far to the right of this picture there's what seems to be a mutant mint plant: it's a lighter shade of green, and the leaves are rounder, and it smells of lemon instead of mint. I doubt it's hybridized: it's probably just a devolved mutant mint, because the seed packet I grew it from was crap.

Friday, June 1, 2018

On the crypto crisis of faith

FT - the crypto crisis of faith. Apparently there's this crypto investor clown who's selling his Manhattan townhouse for $30m in bitcoin.

Except he isn't. In reality, he's selling his house for $30m in cash, but $45m if you want to pay in bitcoin instead.

Which means that he feels bitcoin is only worth 2/3 of its cash quoted price. Either because it's so illiquid (unlike currency), or because as his lawyer states it's so volatile (unlike, y'know, currency).

Either that, or he's simply charging a 50% money-laundering fee, which seems to me like one heck of a high risk premium to charge on a mob deal, but then again I don't regularly interact with the mob so what do I know.

But it is a sign that the top has come and gone when the bigshots in the bitcoin pump scam all start converting their bitcoins into real hard assets.

Oh, and McAfee is starting to wonder if he might have to eat his own dick on TV. Forget Otto Rock and his "Daniel Ameduri promised to shut down his company!!1!" story, because an even more fun (and actually relevant outside the world of goldbug pump and dump bullshit) story is how McAfee will wriggle his way out of his promised autophallophagy without cratering bitcoin.

Friday videos: Let Forever Be

And how does it feel like, to watch in 360p?

As an added extra, here's Noel talking about recording "Let Forever Be" and "Setting Sun" with the ChemBros, and you know it'll be fun to watch just cos it's Noel:

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ontario election: ok that's it, I've decided

I just got a YouTube ad where Mike Ford promised me 12% off on my hydro bills.

12%? Wow! Fuck education, environment, and the apparent complete and utter incompetence of a fat clown whose daddy was rich, whose brother was a cokehead, and who can't even string together an intelligent sounding sentence!

A 12% special on Hydro, and the beer in the corner store thing, is all I needed to see in the Conservative platform, I'm hooked.



ADDENDUM: he's also going to use his mystical power to control the international commodity markets to cut the price of gas by 10c per litre! Or, of course, just bankrupt the province by cutting the provincial tax on gas.