Posts filed under “UnScience”

Apple Closing = $500 is Not Proof of Conspiracy

One emailer is an oddity, two a coincidence, three emails plus a respected tech site means this is a full blown trend. Thus, I am compelled to address this:

There seems to be a bit of paranoia circulating amongst the intelligentsia ignoramia that the mere fact that Apple’s stock closed at precisely $500 on Friday was proof positive of a grand conspiracy to manipulate markets.

The odds were so strongly against this exact close occurring randomly, the argument goes, that something nefarious had to be afoot.

Where this argument fails is that this is hardly random. You see, Friday was an option expiry — that is when all of the various Call and Put options at various strike prices expire in or out of the money. Apple being the single biggest stock (by capitalization) and one that has had some pretty big moves up (up 100% from Q2 2011 to Q3 2012 highs) and down (off 29% since 2012 peak).

Lots of these folks have their Apple common stock positions hedged with these options. If they want to cover some of their downside, they buy puts. If they want to juice their returns to the upside, they may own calls. But unlike stocks, which do not have an end date, all options have a time value and a date when they will eventually expire. Out of the money options expire worthless.

Which is what leads to pinning. There are folks who may want to roll their option positions over (sell the current month, buy a later month) or unravel a current position or create a brand new one. The largest open option position can impact trading of the stock.

Note that both options and stocks trade via continuous auction process. This sometimes results in prices being pinned to a strike price (see chart below). There was an enormous amount of open interest n Apple Options, and $500 is a big round psychological number. In this case, the $500 on the nose was the lucky winner.

There is an enormous amount of literature on Option pinning and (delta/gamma hedging) strategies to take advantage of it. It is a well known phenomena.


There are many, many, many things to be angry at Wall Street about.  This is not one of them . . .



Price action around a pin often resembles a “dampened harmonic oscillator

Source: Investing with Options

Category: Options, Trading, UnScience

US Navy Chief Oceanographer: I Was Formerly a Climate Skeptic


Longer form video from U.S. Navy, RADM David Titley

Category: Science, UnScience, Video

Global Warming Debate is No Debate At All

Funny thing happens sometimes when you look at who the witnesses are in a public policy debate . . .   These Groups Say The Danger Of Manmade Global Warming Is A . . . FACT FRAUD U.S. Agency for International Development United States Department of Agriculture National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration National Institute of…Read More

Category: UnScience

Ending the Silence on Climate Change

Climate change communication expert Anthony Leiserowitz explains why climate change gets the silent treatment, and what we should do about it.

January 4, 2013

Category: UnScience, Video

QOTD: On Bias, Correlation and Objectivity

I love the way this unfolds: Someone did a study — I have no idea if its serious or not –  that suggested eating more chocolate improves a nation’s chances of producing Nobel Prize winners. One of the Nobel prize winners responded with the appropriate amount of snark: “Eric Cornell, who won the Nobel Prize…Read More

Category: Humor, Mathematics, Psychology, UnScience

A Closer Look at Mythology

Knocking on wood & getting no reply. Source: This is indexed

Category: Digital Media, UnScience

Ice Melting at North AND South Poles

Dear denialists:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The collapse of an ice bridge at the South Pole and record thinning of Arctic ice at the North Pole, indicate the global climate is warming faster than thought, and prompts international calls for action.

April 6

Category: UnScience, Video

Climate of Doubt

Watch Climate of Doubt on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Category: UnScience, Video

Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children


Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. According to Bill Nye, aka “The Science Guy,” if grownups want to “deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them.”

Transcript after the jump

Read More

Category: UnScience, Video

Innumerate Claim of the Day: NASA Scientists Dispute Climate Change

So I get this email from a colleague today offering me “proof” that global warming is a scam. His “overwhelming evidence”? A letter from 49 former NASA Scientists. NASA is in open revolt over climate change! Wow, 49 Scientists? That’s really impressive (at first glance!) Let’s see if it holds up to scrutiny. Whenever I…Read More

Category: Mathematics, Psychology, UnScience