Saturday, September 28, 2013

History of the F word

OK fine, by request, here's the history of the F word.

Mistake at around 1:16: the "fucking" in "absofuckinglutely" is an intensifier infix. It's important because English words simply don't ever have intensifier modifications, or even infixes - though in some other languages it's common (Hebrew apparently has intensifiers for verbs, and off the top of my head the deperfecter particle in Russian is an infix). It could be argued that "fucking" as an intensifier infix demonstrates Chomsky's idea of a universal grammar - you end up using infixes and intensifiers even when your language doesn't allow them. It's especially interesting because "fuck" is one of those Tourette words you can still use even when your speech center is destroyed.

Now why don't you go outside and play hide-and-go-fuck-yourself.

Friday, September 27, 2013

There's a real Chopper Reid

Turns out that the fictional TV character "Chopper Reid" is based on a real person, Chopper Read:

Early life

Read was born to a former army father and a mother who was a devout Seventh-day Adventist. He was placed in a children's home for the first five years of his life. He grew up in the Melbourne suburbs of Collingwood, Thomastown, Fitzroy and Preston. He was bullied at school, claiming that by the age of 15, he had been on the "losing end of several hundred fights" and that his father, usually on his mother's recommendation, beat him often as a child. Read was made a ward of the state by the age of 14 and was placed in several mental institutions as a teenager, where, he later claimed, he was subjected to electroshock therapy.

Criminal activity

When he was still young, Read was already an accomplished street fighter and the leader of the Surrey Road gang. He began his criminal career by robbing drug dealers, based in massage parlours in the Prahran area. He later graduated to kidnapping and torturing members of the criminal underworld, often using a blowtorch or bolt cutters to remove the toes of his victims as an incentive for them to produce enough money so that Read would leave them alive.

Read spent only 13 months outside prison between the ages of 20 and 38, having been convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault, arson, impersonating a police officer and kidnapping. While in Pentridge Prison's H division in the late 1970s, Read launched a prison war. His gang, dubbed "The Overcoat Gang" because they wore long coats all year round to conceal their weapons, were involved in several hundred acts of violence against a larger opposing gang during this period. Around this time, Read had a fellow inmate cut both of his (Read's) ears off in order to be able to leave H division temporarily. While in his early biographies Read claimed this was to avoid an ambush by other inmates, by being transferred to the mental health wing, his later works state that he did so to "win a bet". The nickname "Chopper" was given to him long before this, from a childhood cartoon character.

Read was ambushed and stabbed by members of his own gang in a sneak attack, when they felt his plan to cripple every other inmate in the entire division and win the gang war in one fell swoop was going too far. Another theory is that James "Jimmy" Loughnan and Patrick "Blue" Barnes wished to benefit from a contract put on Read's head by the Painters' and Dockers' Union. Read lost several feet of intestine in the attack. Ironically, Jimmy Loughnan and Ned Clonan were longtime friends of Read's. Read was, at the time, serving a 16 and a half-year sentence after attacking a judge in an effort to get Loughnan released from prison.

In 1992, Read was convicted of shooting Sydney Michael Edward Collins in the chest. The incident took place in Read's car, which was in the driveway of Collins' residence at Evandale, Tasmania. The bullet was recovered from the backseat of the vehicle, and Collins named Read as the shooter. Pleading not guilty, Read was found guilty of grievous bodily harm, a downgraded charge from attempted murder, and sentenced as a "dangerous criminal" to indefinite detention. He walked free early in 1998. In 2002, Read was again questioned over the disappearance of Sydney Collins, who is still on the Australian Missing Person list after going missing under suspicious circumstances.

Described variously as witty, charismatic, sadistic and frightening, Read has claimed to be involved in the killing of 19 people and the attempted murder of 11 others. However, many of his associates in the underworld say he is prone to making up numbers to increase his own notoriety and the sales of his books, and Read himself has stated several times he would "never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn". In an April 2013 interview with the New York Times, Read claimed “Look, honestly, I haven’t killed that many people, probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it.”

Read has also spoken of his old mid-1980s to early 1990s rivalry with Alphonse Gangitano in the TV series Tough Nuts. Read explained that he had a disagreement with Gangitano regarding an elderly neighbourhood hero whom Gangitano admired. It is alleged that Gangitano burst open the toilet cubicle door with a number of associates and began a serious assault on Read who made his escape but not before spreading his faeces into Gangitano's face.

Other activities

In 2001, Read was featured in an advertisement on behalf of the Pedestrian Council of Australia warning of the dangers of drunk driving. Read is seated at a kitchen table undoing his shirt and, while pointing to the numerous scars and injuries on his body, says:

“ When I was in prison… I got slashed in the face … my ears cut off … my eyebrows trimmed and a butcher's knife here, an icepick here - not fun at all … If you drink and drive and you're unfortunate enough to hit somebody, you ought to pray to God that you don't go to prison. ”

In 2005, Read embarked on a tour of Australia performing a series of shows titled I'm Innocent with Mark "Jacko" Jackson and later toured Sydney in a stage show with a new co-star, former detective Roger "The Dodger" Rogerson.

In 2006, Read appeared in another commercial speaking out against domestic violence. On 13 March 2006, he released a rap album titled Interview with a Madman. He also appeared in the 2002 Australian comedy Trojan Warrior.

Read allowed use of his name to a beer called "Chopper Heavy". The beer is produced in Rutherglen, Victoria, a town associated with Australia's most notorious outlaw, Ned Kelly.
He made the headlines again, on 15 December 2008, after being questioned by police about an alleged incident in Johnson Street, Collingwood. Read was attacked by a tomahawk-wielding man he said he had never met before. He said: "I ran to the panelbeaters and grabbed a pipe. I said, 'Come here now' and he jumped into a car and pissed off." Read suffered a minor injury to his arm after being hit with the blunt end of the tomahawk. Read was questioned by detectives at Richmond police station before being released without charge. His alleged attacker has not been found.


Read is an author of crime novels, selling more than 500,000 copies of his works. In recent years, he has made recordings of voice narratives, which have also sold well.

Read's first book, Chopper: From the Inside, was collected from letters he sent while incarcerated in Melbourne's Pentridge Prison and published in 1991. It contains tales and anecdotes of his criminal and prison exploits. Further biographical releases followed in a similar vein. With the advent of Chopper 5: Pulp Faction, Read began writing fictional tales based on his experiences of criminal life. Attempts were made to ban a children's book written by Read titled Hooky the Cripple.

Public commentary and political views

Read has frequently appeared on radio and television talk shows to promote his books. He had a column in Ralph magazine, was regular columnist for the British magazine FHM, and Zoo Weekly.

Read's success in selling tales of his criminal past has prompted widespread calls to amend the Federal Proceeds of Crime Bill (2001)—which confiscates the proceeds of drug deals and robberies—to also apply to indirect proceeds of crime, including book sales, TV appearances, and the like.

Read has described his political beliefs as "to the right of Genghis Khan". In his book Chopper 2, he lists Bruce Ruxton and American conservative G. Gordon Liddy as his political heroes.

I stand corrected. There's nobody even remotely as hard as this in my hometown.

And for those of you complaining about gold manipulation....

In recognition of Chopper Reid week here in the bloguverse, here's a suggestion for those of you still whining about the Lizard People's manipulation of the gold price:

Sean Brodrick with several charts on China

Sean Brodrick - 11 charts on China. It's more complicated than just this, though, which is why anyone commenting on China should be subscribed to and a regular reader of the sinocism blog. Also, as the black China blog has noted, the aluminium production data make utterly no sense from an industrial standpoint.

Nevertheless, the data is the data, and taken in sum it shows China is still growing.

Brodrick impressively understands that China is important to gold, unlike the clowns at Sharps Pixley and SocGen and Goldman Sachs and so on.

So keep at it, Sean! One day you'll have finally made amends for that horrible Rye Patch call....

Open letter to PSDave

Since I didn't want to relegate this to the comments section:

If market price is a low-frequency signal whose inputs are fundamentals and outlook, then all an algo can possibly do is steal alpha and generate a hi-f noise on top of that signal.

Maybe sometimes they can temporarily change the outlook input by pushing price far enough to trick TAs.

The only argument against this is random walk, and I'm pretty sure that random walk theory is dumb.

Now go visit Toledo. It's nice.

The Friday news, including the shocking truth that Otto Rock doesn't want you to know

More news later, perhaps. Here's something to get you moving:

Calculated Risk - yeah, Congress will pay the bills. As he says, "the GOP is bluffing into the strongest possible hand - and everyone knows it". Then again, they've worked so hard to cultivate a reputation for being utterly batshit insane religious fanatics; aren't they going to try to live up to that this time?

BI - investors pile into bonds, dump equities. And yet equities are holding up. And why buy bonds with the attendant interest rate risk, since the long-term trend is higher yield? Answer: because these are short-term traders.

Bloomberg - why China will disappoint the pessimists yet again. This is Jim O'Neill, therefore you should pay attention to what he says.

NY Times - the danger of pursuing graft in China at high levels. As noted in the article, and alluded to by Bill Bishop, Zhou Yongkang is an untouchable mandarin; however, the leadership can still eliminate everyone in his circle, and that's what they seem to be doing.

Reuters - monsoon to hasten retreat next week. And that means one thing: gold buying season! - $9 trillion monetary expansion not keeping gold afloat. Really? Monetary expansion isn't keeping gold afloat? Then maybe the gold price has nothing to do with monetary expansion. Oh and Mr. Els? Tell Sharps Pixley to quit with this stupid chart:

Go find a balance-sheets-versus-gold-price chart that starts in 1980 or 1990. You'll see that the two didn't move in tandem for years, and thus you'll learn that this chart above is nothing more than a cherry-picked dataset that simply shows two things going up. You may as well chart worldwide cellphone usage versus gold price. This chart is a waste of your readers' valuable time and will only mislead them into making utterly wrong investment decisions.

Bloomberg - Lionel Messi in court for unpaid taxes. I am shocked, btw, that IKN refuses to carry this news item, despite it involving his three favourite topics - corruption, Latin America, and Lionel Messi. Your coverup will not succeed, Otto!

Friday videos - Because I Backtraced It

Whatever happened to Jessi Slaughter and her dad?

Yeah actually she became a dude and her dad died of a heart attack. Or so the internet says.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chart of three commodities associated with economic growth: another Francis Dolarhyde moment

Either you can see it or you can't.

Here's the charts for three commodity metals, all of whom are positively correlated with economic growth. We'll start with a chart since Jan 2012:

Do you see?

Now here's the chart, since May 2013:

Do you see?

And this is the same chart for just the past four weeks or so:

Do you see?

There's a positive ocrrelation between all three. One moves mildly, the other two are more insane. The other two also tend to move too far after the first changes its trend.

The other two are moving too far after the other changes its trend because they're being bought and sold by people who think that silver and gold have anything to do with the UST10, or with US money supply, or with Fed policy, or with anything at all to do with the US.

In fact gold and silver are closely correlated with copper across each of these time frames.

Which should be obvious, since all three are metals, mined in similar deposits in similar countries, traded ultimately on commodity exchanges at prices determined by simple supply and demand, where demand is influenced by global growth and supply is influenced by amount of metal mined.

I dare my regular readers from Goldman Sachs, Societe Generale, M Partners, Stifel Nicolaus, Miller Tabak, Carrelton, Macquarie, RBC and Credit Suisse to write a report for their clients where they do a correlation analysis between the price trends for copper, silver and gold. Because when you show your clients the positive correlation, they're going to realize that silver and gold are all about world economic growth, and that therefore they have nothing whatsoever to do with money supply, the UST10, or Fed policy.

It'll never happen.

Gold smackdown at 10:15

Apparently someone dumped 2000 contracts at 10:15 to knock down gold by $9.

I'm sure they made money doing it, and I now accept that an instantaneous smackdown is precisely their opinion of good execution. Probably something to do with delivery day coming up.

I now have the strength to accept the things I cannot change. Om.

Oh and also, puking 2000 contracts at 10:15 does not in any way negatively impact Indian and Chinese physical demand. Because contracts aren't gold, Otto.

Marin Katusa interviews Eric Sprott

It's Marin Katusa interviewing Eric Sprott:

I've posted the 20-minute interview for one reason.

Either Eric Sprott is a genius for loading up on miners right now, (or he's lying about what he's doing,) or you're watching the second inning of the greatest wipeout of a PM bigwig since Eike Batista.

So if you disagree with Eric, this video will provide you a good twenty minutes of Schadenfreude.

He does still spout off the right-wing blather about "printing money", which is sad because you'd think someone trained as an accountant could figure out what's really happening.

And he shows he's pretty damn clueless when he suggests hyperinflation would be good for gold and silver. It certainly won't help the miners, since that hyperinflation will also affect their cost inputs; and if you're investing with hyperinflation in mind you may as well buy oil or real estate or US equities.

He thinks the "skyrocketing" US yield (2.65% on the UST10 as of this morning, ahem) will destroy autos, despite the fact we've had post-recessionary increasing interest rate environments before where the US did well - because the economy was improving - and despite the US LEIs looking fantastic and getting better.

And when he says "China's increased gold buying by 25% in the past two years but gold went down? It must be manipulation! Nothing else explains it!"? We already know gold went down because the ETFs dumped hundreds of tons of gold into the market, because the ETFs were being sold by hedge funds who realized they had no clue what they were doing when they bought gold in the first place.

There are only two possible explanations for why Eric doesn't mention this, or why he puts it all down to "manipulation". One: he's purposefully lying to play to a crowd.

Or two: he's an utterly ignorant fool who hasn't even bothered to read the WGC or Thompson GFMS reports on gold supply and demand. The data is available, the explanation is simple, and if he hasn't read those two reports - given his position in the company - then he is not only ignorant but negligent, incompetent, and suicidal.

I'd not completely write off the possibility of explanation two, but if he really was that incompetent then he'd never have made his money in the first place. So he's probably just lying to please his crowd - he knows what the Marin Katusa viewers want to hear, so he feeds them want they want.

Anyway, Eric could still end up being proven right on the miner bet despite being not even wrong on the economics. That's how the market acts - it rewards (or punishes) positions, not politics.

We'll see. Like I said, either this interview represents a smart guy buying at the bottom, or the second inning of his untter destruction.

Or, alternatively, just a bunch of vapid pleasantries to keep the goldbugs happy.

Randy Tinystick and The Sandstorm Kid on streaming

Kitco News - time is right for streaming companies to look for bargains.


“This is a time that’s good for us; there’s a lot of opportunity on the streaming side out there,” Randy Smallwood, president and chief executive officer of Silver Wheaton told Kitco News at the Denver Gold Forum. “In this market, with equities as punished as they have been over the last while, companies are hesitant to issue equity, to finance their own growth going forward. We compete against equities as a source of funding.”

Nolan Watson, president, chief executive officer and chairman of Sandstorm, said they managed to benefit from a similar situation.

“We’re actually a company that was born out of the tough times; we launched the company at the beginning of 2009, during the financial crisis, and the best deals we still have in our company today are the ones we acquired in 2009,” Watson told Kitco News. “This is the perfect environment to try and find deals.”

And also,

The oft-talked about, and still-to-be-located, market bottom for the mining sector has not yet arrived, according to both streaming companies.

“I think there’s a bit higher probability that there’s a few more down side moves before we see upside,” Watson said. “That’s just being driven by sentiment in the U.S., everyone’s worried about tapering and increasing interest rates. I don’t think the U.S. matters as much when it comes to gold in the long term; they’re not the fundamental buyers anymore.”

Unfortunately, The Sandstorm Kid both agrees with my broken record point that the US doesn't matter to gold, and thinks there's more down moves in the miners.

I'd like to hope that he's failed to pull the trigger at the bottom and will be left playing catch-up as the miners recover, but (aside from his recent utter bloody fiasco with Bracemac-McLeod) The Sandstorm Kid is usually brighter than the rest of us about all this stuff. So maybe more bottoms await?

Three morning newsbits

Three things for the morning:

Calculated Risk - weekly initial claims. The chart simply looks beautiful.

Bonddad - gas price trend the best in a decade. And high gas prices strangle the US economy, so this is good. Here's the chart:

FT beyond brics - rupiah's fall puts fuel subsidies back on the table. Maybe the EMs that suffer worst in a US bull/EM bear are the ones with the most subsidies? China still seems to be doing fine.

Oh how they laughed at Facebook....

Then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say

"Facebook with your userbase so bright, won't you fly into a completely unjustified momo surge while all the real user and revenue growth is going to be in Tencent and Weibo?"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

And since we're having Chopper Reid day....

Here's Ricky from Trailer Park Boys in his famous court scene.

"The defence rests. Everybody can fuck off."

In response to PSDave's "centre of the universe" quip of a few days ago....

No PSDave, I don't come from "the centre of the universe", if by that you mean Toronto.

I come from the fucking depressing shithole down the way that stalks Toronto in its sleep, where the guys are, really, seriously, as in no they really fucking are, just like this guy:

However, if by "centre of the universe" you simply meant I'm an egotistical bastard, well... that's okay then.

"Congratu-fucking-lations to me, eh!"

Barkerville Gold's "gold loan facility" with Eric Sprott - WTF?

IKN - so now we know why Eric Sprott sold 6m shares of SII last week.

Because he's dying of the hydrophoby?

I don't get it.

Here's a link to Barkerville's NR.

Some things that hurt my brain are listed below:

1. Why are they calling it a "gold loan facility"? Does Barkerville actually have gold? I do know they have a wholly indeterminate amount of rock with a completely unknown economic value.

2. Ha! I get it now! They're calling it a "gold loan facility" because they have to pay it back in three tranches according to the notional value of gold at the day's close. Very clever, guys! That also counts as a "gold loan facility"! Sorta!

3. So for his $15 million, Eric The Half-A-Goldbug is getting a "guaranteed" 10% annual return on his investment, with gold price capped within a $1200 to $1600 range; plus nine million warrants at 50 cents, the exercise of which would only be icing and utterly not guaranteed, given Barkerville's recent history. Um... secured against complete ownership of all Barkerville has and all it will be, for better or worse. Why does he think this is a better deal than keeping his money in SII?

4. All of this is contingent on Barkerville getting a listing on the Venture. Which is why I haven't been using ticker symbols in this post - I forget what theirs even was, it was so long ago.

Can someone 'splain to me why this is a good deal for Eric? A better deal than just keeping his money where it was?

xkcd on internet privacy

Put me down as one of those guys with the strawberries.


All that and a bushel of onions

Here's all the news that's not fit to print.

Bonddad - employment burns while Washington fiddles. Some useful data for you.

China Economic Watch - credit to GDP in China has always been high. Um... some very interesting points raised in this article, which when taken in sum suggest that the anal ysts who have been crowing about high debt-to-GDP have been either ignorant or purposefully misleading. In either case, that gets them a permanent unsub from me.

Reuters - India shies from diesel price hike. And instead suggests that people carpool more. Seriously. Um... Mr. Moily? How's about you ask the rich people living in their enclaves to run their diesel gensets less often? And ask the farmers to quit using diesel generators to pump water into their irrigation systems? You know, to go without electricity because your electrical generation and distribution system is in utter collapse? No? Bad idea? - Turkish central bank binges on gold. You think they're dummies for buying 23 tons of gold in August? That's about 30% the monthly gold consumption rate of all the people in China, no?

Mineweb - world's worst gold stock gets debt market reprieve. By the way, by "world's worst" they mean "Buenaventura". Heh heh.

BI - man arrested after assaulting girlfriend who disagreed with him about the value of gold. And of course Izzy Kamizzy is all over it. Man, it makes you wonder if a goldbug stole her tricycle when she was a little girl.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More on "Atlas Shrugged III: The Speechening"

Alright, not really more about the new movie.

It's a cartoon.

click to embiggen

Help fund the Atlas Shrugged Part III kickstarter campaign!

Onion AV Club - Atlas Shrugged producers turn to kickstarter for help warning others against freeloading moochers who fail at business. Quote:

despite the free market repeatedly determining it would rather not have any Atlas Shrugged movies, producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro boldly refused to relinquish their rational self-interests to a world that would dare take their ideas from them, chiefly by not paying to see them. And because of their indefatigable commitment to film Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? by the fall—and thus propagate its titular character’s manifesto to “never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine”—Kaslow and Aglialoro have turned to asking other men to give them $250,000.

Of course—using the same foresight that’s convinced them it’s the third Atlas Shrugged movie that will finally reach the masses, despite the first two earning less than $8 million combined—both have already anticipated that certain people may find something ironic about their asking others to give, all to create a movie that’s little more than one long speech decrying the act of asking others to give. “Isn’t asking for charity antithetical to Ayn Rand’s philosophy?” reads the FAQ, to which the answer is an obvious no, because Rand’s philosophy just had a problem with being forced to give through some absolute moral authority, which Kickstarter definitely isn’t (yet).

“The Atlas Shrugged Kickstarter campaign is of course a voluntary value-for-value exchange. You are not obligated to contribute,” it says, reassuring you that donating your money to a wealthy Hollywood producer and fitness equipment magnate who definitely don't need it still qualifies as supporting rugged individualism, because you ruggedly, individually made the choice to do so, rather than out of some sense of subservience to a larger ideology.

And... no, I think we're done here.

Instead of the news....

Utterly nothing of any importance happened to the markets today. So in place of the news:

Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - 361 Capital weekly research briefing. Hm... I wonder if the UST10 breaks the SMA(50)? That'd be interesting. Wonder what people will be saying then? Will they just accept it as a retracement of a stupid overexuberance, or will they start crowing "OMG DOOM!"?

AP - Germany supplied nerve gas precursors to Syria. Of course they did! It's what they do! But don't worry: they only supplied the precursor chemicals, not the final solution.

Oh and also, Jeremy Clarkson wades in:

FT Alphaville - India and the danger of potential. Basically, on India being screwed unless the BJP wins the next election. - 50kg of gold ingots go missing on Air France flight. Wait, what? Why would anyone steal gold ingots? Don't they know gold is going to $0.00?

UPI - Man takes Viagra to impress girlfriend, overdoses, has an erection that lasts for days. And, of course, eventually he got gangrene and he had to get his penis amputated.

As an aside: I said "viagra", "penis", "impress girlfriend" and "erection" in the same post. I now await the 100,000 clicks.

Here's something interesting

No other news right now, busy doing other things. The newswire is probably all covered with speculation about Janet Yellen, the Republican suicide attack on government, and the "Octaper!!" anyway, amirite? As if any of that is important.

But here's something:

ETF Trends - gold miner ETF scooping up inflows. Quote:

Despite the price gyrations, GDX has net attracted about $1.3 billion in new assets via creation activity in recent days, and the fund now has an impressive asset base of about $7.7 billion, according to manager Market Vectors, a unit of Van Eck Global.

GDXJ (Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners, Expense Ratio 0.54%) is smaller in size with $1.3 billion in AUM and focusing as its name suggests on small-cap Miners, and this fund has raised an impressive $274 million year to date as well.

I guess much of that could have come during the spike last Wednesday and Thursday. The question is, why? Just chasing? And did the flows turn around and rush right back out again?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Some more newsbits

Let's give you some more to chew on.

Calculated Risk - what Dudley really said about the taper, not what the idiot lamestream media think he said.

Bespoke - prices at the pump fall to lowest level since January. Gasoline prices are a nasty drain on the US economy, so seeing them go down is a positive. As long as they don't go back up I guess.

FT beyond brics - container shipping: it's all about China. More on the shipping data.

FT Alphaville - cows as safe assets? Why do Indians invest in cows if they're a net economic loss? Well, they're only lossmakers if you factor labour at market prices; but if women's labour is valued at zero, they make you a decent income. This makes sense in the Indian countryside, where women are chattel.

Of course, another good reason to invest in cows is that if you're in a country that's seen regular economic collapse and mass starvation, then cows are a sensible insurance against future existential risk. They provide milk, and (if you're not too fundamentalist about the holiness of cows) are also a big pile of meat in storage for future need.

(Kinda like gold? Sh! Don't make the FT think about gold as insurance against existential risk! It'll put poor Izzy Kamizzy out of a job! Let them think it's all about interest rates and money markets!)

News at noon, plus the suckitude of Boart Longyear

FT Alphaville - rotation watch, swings, and bond routs. Some twit blogger who thinks he's clever is probably already saying "oh ha ha, if there's a 'great rotation' then why is the UST back down to 2.75%", and thus proving he has no clue how markets function. Simply, the selling got ahead of itself because of hedge fund cokeheads who think the slow trend to higher rates should instead happen in an overnight hammerblow torque. The trend is still the trend, it still is what it is. As for this comment:
So, in the short term, plenty of room for a pick up in non-central bank bond purchases. We wonder though what happens if the central banks ever do stop buying bonds?
Ooh! Who's going to buy bonds!?!?!?

Dan McCrum, you dumbass, coupon clippers will still buy bonds. A 3.5% yield UST10 is a good coupon in a growth environment. 4% is even better. And there are all sorts of institutions out there who live on coupon. You've been hanging out too much with traders. The real question is, who the hell will want to own similar-maturity EM debt at a 6-8% yield?

FT Alphaville - a Merkel rout. The question being puzzled out right now by the intelligentsia is how much of a price she's going to have to pay for SPD backing.

Reuters - Greece and lenders expect 2013 primary surplus. Quote:
Athens said on Thursday that it expected its economy to shrink by 3.8 percent this year, less than a previous estimate of 4.2 percent.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said the economy may have bottomed out after a severe, six-year recession, citing government estimates that GDP had expanded on a quarter-on-quarter basis in the second quarter.

FT beyond brics - China flash PMI. Then again, look at this chart:

It probably doesn't mean much til the chart stops printing numbers in the lower end of that past few years' range.

Bloomberg - hedge funds reduced bullish gold bets before rally. This article is just here to let you know what the hedgie cokeheads are thinking. That's probably more important than Qatari export numbers, as far as the actual day-to-day gold price movements. Cos after all, it's all about Amurrica, right?

Yahoo Finacne - Boart Longyear sucks. When a drilling company has to price a debt offering at 1.5 times its market cap, that pretty much tells you how bad the exploration scene has become. Man oh man oh man.

Krugman - "freedom" in Amurrica means freedom to be hungry. Quote:
The economists Hilary Hoynes and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach have studied the impact of the food stamp program in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was gradually rolled out across the country. They found that children who received early assistance grew up, on average, to be healthier and more productive adults than those who didn’t — and they were also, it turns out, less likely to turn to the safety net for help.

SNAP, in short, is public policy at its best. It not only helps those in need; it helps them help themselves. And it has done yeoman work in the economic crisis, mitigating suffering and protecting jobs at a time when all too many policy makers seem determined to do the opposite. So it tells you something that conservatives have singled out this of all programs for special ire.

Even some conservative pundits worry that the war on food stamps, especially combined with the vote to increase farm subsidies, is bad for the G.O.P., because it makes Republicans look like meanspirited class warriors. Indeed it does. And that’s because they are.
As an aside, I find it funny that the reports out of the Ontario Conservative party convention in London included concern from party members that Tim Hudak comes across as a hateful bastard. Well, conservatives, let me explain something to you:

That's entirely because modern Conservative policy is a policy of divisiveness. Your party, if elected, is expected to govern in the interests of all Ontarians. That's a basic prerequisite of democracy. You're not supposed to aim to govern only for the people who voted for you.

But when your party comes out against gays, and against people who are in unions, and against people who work for minimum wage or can't even work at all - does that show you to be a party that will govern in the best interests of all citizens? No. It shows you're only going to govern for the minority who elect you.

Balkanizing politics might be a way to get elected, but it's also a way to destroy democracy and replace it with (at best) a rotating plutocracy, or (at worst) a murderous civil war between antagonistic factions. Quit trying to follow the vile example of the lunatic scum to the south of our border; start putting forward a new policy face that indicates you want to help the well-being of all Ontarians.

And no, cutting social programs to balance the budget doesn't count. And no, "market forces" don't help the poor without government help, so you'll be much better off just kicking out all the clowns in your party who quote Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand at everyone. Again, hatefulness and division are not Canadian politics, so don't be surprised that Canadians won't vote for you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Today's installment of SMBC Theater


The Catholic Church should try this btw.

Sunday reading: the STEM crisis is a myth

IEEE Spectrum - the STEM crisis is a myth.

I knew this already, ever since I read about Bill Gates in 2008 threatening to move Microsoft to India if the government didn't immediately give him something stupid like a million visas.

The argument is simple: if market forces aren't driving up the price of STEM labour, there is no shortage of STEM labour.

Employers wish America (and Germany, and so on) to think that there's a shortage of STEM labour, because they want to be able to pay a pittance to their engineering staff. They want to drive down the price of STEM labour by bringing in undereducated, incompetent workers from the third world to do engineering work for a fraction of the price.

I've always said, if your employer isn't paying you an embarrassingly high wage, it's either because you stink at doing your work (no harm there, someone's gotta stink - but please try to stay out of the way of your competent co-workers) or because you stink at finding an appreciative employer. I've said that more often since my employer started paying me an embarrassingly high wage, of course.

Market forces determine the wages of employees. Employers have no problem with this when it's portable menial labour in question; but when it's specialist labour with an outsized effect on the profitability of the company, suddenly they're anti-market.

And asking the government to grant a ton of visas to migrants, to drive down the price of STEM labour, is anti-market corporate socialism.

Which is to be expected from the corporations, I guess.