Those of you who are still shopping need to seriously reavaluate your lives. You have issues with time management and excessive consumerism. For these rest of you, here are some interesting reads to start out the day:

• The Bears’ Case (Morningstar) but see A Bull is Pulling Santa’s Sleigh This Year (Barron’s)
• The Goals of Traders and Investors Are Light-Years Apart (NY Times)
• Being Uninvited to Lefty, Righty and Libertarian Dinner Parties: Corporate Income Tax Edition (The Unbroken Window) see also How to Measure Corporate America’s Huge Profits (WSJ)
• The Buyback Rally (Crossing Wall Street)
• Secret Handshakes Greet Frat Brothers on Wall Street (Bloomberg)
• Happy Birthday, Federal Reserve! Have Some Punch (Before the Bowl Gets Taken Away) (WSJ)
• Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished (Washington Post)
• Where in America Can You Get a Good Deal on Rent? (Priceonomics)
• Do bigger governments lead to happier people? (Washington Post)
• How Lobbyists Will Keep You Hooked on Vitamins (Daily Beast)

What are you reading?


A Creeping Ascent

Source: Economist

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

16 Responses to “10 Tuesday AM Reads”

  1. chartist says:

    CSCO’s buyback reality: They continue to do them yet the outstanding share count never changes. CSCO just uses them to funnel money to executives.

  2. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    Google Glass real-time facial recognition arrives with “NameTag” (

    “Since the first demonstration of the plausible future abilities of Google Glass, instant facial recognition has been one of the most exciting ideas in the pipeline. According the the development group Facial Network, the time for real-time facial recognition through Google Glass is coming a lot sooner than we originally expected. …

    “With NameTag, Glass users will be drawing from an archive that delves into the library of faces from dating networks, the National Sex Offendery Registry, and a set of criminal databases (public, the lot of them, of course). You’ll also see this app recognizing celebrities galore….”

  3. hankest says:

    I liked that article on vitamins. This is really funny cartoon by Tim Minichin.

    It’s not actually about vitamins, but about “alternative medicine” in general.

  4. Concerned Neighbour says:

    “A Bull is Pulling Santa’s Slay This Year”: is this a more pleasant way of saying these “markets” are nothing of the sort, having morphed into price setting mechanism for central banks?

    I’ve been asking the following question for a couple years now, and no one ever treats it seriously. It goes thusly: Now that central banks around the world have made it de facto policy that stock markets must always rise, will we ever see a losing year on a major developed economy stock market again? If we expect interest rates to stay at zero for eternity, at the first sign of trouble will central banks start buying up AMZN and FB and TWTR to make sure the precious wealth effect is preserved?

    A Merry Christmas to all and may some semblance of price discovery return in 2014, though I expect we’ll be seeing more of companies with no earnings being valued at 30 times revenues.

  5. RW says:

    Robots and Economic Luddites: They Aren’t Taking Our Jobs Quickly Enough

    …you can craft a story where we have huge advances in robot technology so that the need for human labor is drastically reduced. You can also craft a story where an aging population leads to too few workers being left to support too many retirees. However, you can’t believe both at the same time …

    NB: Unfortunately one of the consistent features of prejudice is the ability to hold two contradictory or mutually exclusive ideas at the same time; hacuna matata.

  6. rd says:

    Apparently McDonalds workers are supposed to avoid eating fast food because its not good for them…..

  7. theexpertisin says:

    Re: Bigger governments lead to happier people.

    The article brought to the fore several valid observations. What was left unsaid was the AAA-rated countries that have strong labor markets and a generous social welfare system have largely homogeneous populations with a rich and celebrated cultural heritage, consistent social order, secure borders that are strictly supervised and a common language those few, documented immigrants permitted to enter these countries are expected to learn to assimilate appropriately.

    Not to acknowledge this reality does enhance the author’s premise.

    • DeDude says:

      “Not to acknowledge this reality does enhance the author’s premise”

      Actually it is: “not to perpetuate this right wing myth/excuse enhance the authors credibility. All countries develop tribalism within them with or without racial and ethnic diversity. The rulers use nationalism and invent “outside threats” to keep down the tribalism and hold tribalism down. Although the US has had a a longer tradition of diversity it also has had a strong and unique weapon to counter the potential for tribalism – the “melting pot” concept. Today most of those european countries you refer to as “largely homogeneous” are no such thing. In the past 40 years there has been a lot more influx of “different” cultures in those countries and religious/race/ethnicity based tribalism has become much worse there than they are here.

      The real difference is that in civilized countries it is only a small fringe that see “we the people’s” democratically elected government as an enemy.

  8. hue says:

    Beauty & the Board Room: How Does Physical Appearance Shape Political and Economic Outcomes? (New Yorker)

    How the Science of Swarms Can Help Us Fight Cancer and Predict the Future (Wired)

    The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion (National Geographic) STP Acoustic Interstate Love Song

  9. bear_in_mind says:

    Hi Barry,

    Off topic, but just wanted to thank you for the cognitively-rich presents you’ve liberally littered under the proverbial Festivus pole this year! I’ve always been able to make good trades, but struggled to let go of bad trades. Reading your posts and a couple of your annual core investing book recommendations finally moved me from a “trader” mentality to more of a asset manager. When I have a position that’s dogging it, I’m much faster at killing it and moving on than ever before… and I don’t beat myself up for it. Huge cognitive/neural shift, so thank you, thank you, thank you! Best holiday wishes to you and yours and hope to see you in Nor Cal next year.


    • Hey bear,

      I love to hear that! Every now and again a retail broker will say something to me I taught them years ago, and its always an “AHA! YOU WERE PAYING ATTEMTION” moment.

      Very gratifying, thanks for sharing!

  10. Bob A says:

    I’ll keep taking my vitamins thank you, and so should you. It’s laughable that the medical industry that routinely charges $10,000 for emergency room visit and runs endless ads for testosterone (which may advance prostate cancer) and cialis during the dinner hour will proselytize that spending $100 a year on multi-vitamins is silly. Shame on them.

    • You need to distinguish between Science (which states the specifics of how much vitamins do for you) and political economy, which in large part determines the cost structure of specific items within a society . . .

    • You need to distinguish between Science (which states the specifics of how much vitamins do for you) and political economy, which in large part determines the cost structure of specific items within a society . . .

  11. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    While I agree that the benefits of multivitamin supplements are overblown in an effort to generate corporate revenue, the article you cite does not do much for science. The summaries of the studies presented in the article may be misleading.

    For example, the article says

    Study participants were randomly divided into two groups: One group received daily multivitamins; the other didn’t. The authors found no difference in any medical outcome. [emphasis mine]

    While the summary on the research site says

    Limitations: The analysis included only primary prevention studies in adults without known nutritional deficiencies. Studies were conducted in older individuals and included various supplements and doses under the set upper tolerable limits. Duration of most studies was less than 10 years.

    Conclusion: Limited evidence supports any benefit from vitamin and mineral supplementation for the prevention of cancer or CVD. Two trials found a small, borderline-significant benefit from multivitamin supplements on cancer in men only and no effect on CVD.

    So the summary in the research paper mentioned that the participants did not have known vitamin deficiencies. And it also stated that only the results for two specific health issues were tracked.

    Yet the article linked leads one to believe that multivitamins show no benefit at all under any circumstances.

    While I do think that multivitamins are more of a marketing breakthrough than a medical breakthrough, the cited article is also guilty of similar hype to promote a concept.

    • DeDude says:

      Another problem is that what correctly stated is a “failure to demonstrate benefits” is described in terms that the public would interpret as a “demonstration of no benefits”. Unfortunately the press hate to present the reality of science where there is a big grey slap of reality that should be described as “we don’t have a clue” – I guess it doesn’t sell that well. The easy way to explain the problem with how the results were presented is to say that if I did a 2 year lung cancer study of 5 smokers vs, 5 non-smokers I would fail to demonstrate any harm of smoking. To really evaluate the conclusion of a study you have to have information of the statistical power of a study to demonstrate an effect (usually expressed as a power of the study to demonstrate a specific % difference). Furthermore, you have to know the natural rate of the parameters studied within the length of time of the study. If the natural rate is e.g., 1% then it becomes almost impossible to show any improvement. Unfortunately the scientific literacy of our population means that there is no demand from the people that the press get a little more ambitious and deliver useful information, rather than simple “yes/no answers”.