July - 2020
 S&P +12.75
 USB -0.14
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 S&P +40.00
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 USB +1.14
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 S&P -30.25
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 USB -0.18



Leo Jia writes: 


Jayson Pifer replies: 

There has been a series of those videos coming out, pre-covid anyway.   I believe propelled by the eruption of MMA in China and it's suppression there by the traditional martial arts.

Turns out the winner of these bouts are consistently the ones who train for the ring against actual opponents rather than their rank achieved in their Art.

I'd suggest the same answer applies to the Special Forces versus Martial Artist question.  The answer wouldn't be their employed technique, but the effectiveness of their training and it's applicability to the rules, if any, of the fighting arena.



Zubin Al Genubi  writes: 

The martial artist who trains to kill and maim full time ought to beat special forces guy who has to diversify his training with guns, navigation, comm, explosives etc.   To generalize, the one who trains most to maim, disable and kill should win. A good reference is Musashi Miyamoto's Ringo No Sho, The Book of Five Rings.  Fighting is not always about head to head combat, but deception, surprise, unfair tactics, doing the unexpected.

Hernan Avella replies: 

A few notes on fighting:

1. Unconstrained fighting (using objects, eye gouging, groin shots, finger manipulation) is too chaotic, and for obvious reasons has never been studied systematically.  In an event of this nature, size, endurance and relevant experience with the setting are the most important variables. 

2.  In the hypothetical case where a person is limited to learn only one "martial art".  It's been more than proven that said martial art should be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For a high level excellent discussion on BJJ as a system, check the JRE podcast with the brilliant coach John Danaher.

3. The sport of fighting (MMA) is relatively new, it's as close as it can be to a real fight, a few constraints added to avoid catastrophic injuries and deaths, (and some nonsensical rules thrown in there to cater to the bureaucrats of the fighting commissions).  In it's short history you have seen the  quick evolution of the ruleset and the techniques.  Just like in markets, every little rule or artificial limit, causes an inefficiency to be exploited.

4. To be proficient at fighting you need to be able to understand all the intricacies of a fight in different planes:  Standing, on the ground, clinching. Each of these 3 planes have different details depending on the range of proximity to your opponent.  Additionally, fighting is not carried out in discrete steps along the different plains, so you have to develop a sophisticated game for the "transitions".  The number of scenarios quickly explode and a fighter needs to train so much to make a lot of this second nature. It really makes all the other athletic endeavors look easy.

5. Like in markets, the ever changing cycles are very important.  The key variable here is the different superior skills that are disseminated non uniformly. The video tape as a research tool has been instrumental to accelerate adaptation.  Since the early 90's, the sport has seen several phases, each one builds on the previous one:

    a.) Jiu-Jitsu is king. 

    b.) Wrestling and ground and pound and weight-cutting

    c.) The rise of the well rounded fighter

    d.) Sophistication of the striking game

 6. A few things have stood the test of time despite the quick evolution of the sport: 

      a.) Leg kicks, super debilitating they impede mobility and damage accumulates quickly.

      b.) Defensive Jiu-Jitsu (avoid getting blood flow to the brain from being stopped or your limbs twisted), it's easier to defend than to attack.

      c.) Takedowns and clinch game: He who can control the plain in which the fight takes place has an advantage

      d.) Genetic differences and/or performance enhancing drugs are always key.

Finally, practical advice.  If you are about to enter a physical confrontation and your future opponent has cauliflower ears. Don't walk, run!, your life is in danger

larry replies: 

Prison fighting is a separate art unlike any other as it must end instantly before guards come—perhaps the deadliest of all



I just had a nice chat with a German recruiter/headhunter.

I ask her about the current German labor market and how this (convid-
)summer compares to last year's summer ? I asked because I don't see
much difference on typical headhunter sites - lots of offers and job

She commented, that the labor mkt is quite different now. Many employees
work part-time and/or from home. Many are also satisfied with lower
wages ( as a result of part-time work) in exchange for more free time.
Many plan to keep working part-time.

I expect productivity or crater here. This is on top of a dried up
workforce even before the virus. Now many are also lazy. Such a move to
part-time does not happen gradually, but seems to occur herd-like.



Hernan Avella writes: 

That cluttered this list for weeks with nonsense charts and mumbo, were they banned?, are they solvent?

Interestingly enough, long term bonds are 11 big points higher than they were last time Spu was up here in early June and Jeffersonian stocks 5% lower.  July VX arabesque-ing higher.

NQ has done it's job, perhaps value stocks can take the baton for the next 200 pts.

Ralph Vince writes: 

Yes,and we have not had so much as two consecutive down days (Spx) within this period.

Oddly, the 6 week coefficient of variance (6 week std dev/6 week ma) has not gone to below 

.01, which usually means a large (usually down) move is imminent, despite the tightness of the past 22 days. In other words, it feels as though we've been in a right range for the past 4 1/2 weeks but there's been a lot of movement within this range.



A question that should be asked more often in martial arts circles and elite military posts is: If a skilled martial artist fights a Special Forces or Navy Seal trained in hand-to-hand combat who will win? Having trained on both sides I believe I can answer. The elite military receive special training in hand-to-hand combat from experts pulled in from civilian circles onto the army bases specifically to train them in close hand combat. Therefore, It would seem the teacher would win the fight over the student every time. However, this is balanced because the Special Forces and Navy Seals are the very best drawn from a huge pool of all-sports champions who have been chosen for the elite because the army knows to polish the hardest rocks. Therefore, in general, the elite are better natural all-around athletes than expert martial artists. They are bigger, faster, stronger, and with more endurance. Hence, it becomes a pivot of the student Bluto vs the teacher Popeye and I must say it’s a tossup depending on which way the spinach is tossed. But don’t take that as the final answer. I would give the edge in hand-in-hand battle to the Special Forces because of what he has been taught by the best martial artists in the land, his military instructors have told him fo forget everything the expert just taught him except the moves that work in four seconds or less, because you will want to put down or kill your opponent or multiple enemies in that amount of time. That is also why I ended up teaching the Special Forces, Seals, mercenaries, and even a king’s elite in Egypt because all I know how to do is put a man down and out in three seconds or less, and have done it over a hundred times in life-or-death combat while taking some hard knocks and wounds.  




July 13, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Henry Gifford writes: 

My uncle was a New York City police officer for a few weeks in the 1960s. Tall, strong, handsome, Irish (when that helped a lot), Navy veteran. He and some other cops answered a call for a burglary at a jewelry store. The other cops started stuffing their pockets, but my uncle took nothing. The others urged him to just take something. He didn’t. They explained “the owner will just do the same before the insurance company gets here.” He took nothing. He was off the force within the week. Until an honest cop can be trusted, there is no room for an honest cop.

In the 1980s I lived and owned apartment houses in a part of Manhattan where drugs were sold openly on the street, by people yelling at the top of their lungs about the quality of their heroin and cocaine. The cops came for raids with the sirens on from three blocks away, going the wrong way on a one-way street (slowed them down a lot). I saw the cops rob drug dealers in broad daylight, and was then asked to be a witness because “if I show up emptyhanded they will kill me – please be my witness.” Who was right and wrong in this situation?

Years later, in the 2000s I think, the newspapers reported that in “the dirty thirty” – the 30th precinct in Harlem - an undercover cop from another part of the city parked himself in an abandoned building with no apparent reason for being there, just sitting there doing nothing, and some local detectives figured he must be dealing drugs, so they came into the building and beat him up and took his money and his gun, and never arrested him, and never turned in the gun or the money. I think over 10 cops were caught in the sting, and the worst any of them got was 30 days in jail. Is it that different in another part of the city? What did the light sentences teach?

Today I was driving back from The Catskill Mountains – formerly and fondly known as “The Jewish Alps” to an older generation, resort area two hours drive North of NYC that has never recovered economically from the invention of the jet plane, and got off the highway and pulled into a gas station on the main street of a not-prosperous small city to fill up. I quickly realized I was the only person not there to buy or sell illegal drugs, and got out of there. If I could tell in seconds, how long have the local cops known about this, and why don’t they do something about it? A car parked there, or a few cameras would make a huge difference to the people living around there and to the children of the participants, but the semi-open drug market thrives with no apparent hindrance from anyone.

I don’t have a solution, but I have three ideas for things that might help just a little:

1 – double the police salaries, and if that doesn’t produce a competition for the job based on quality, increase the salaries again.

2 – don’t hire anyone for the job until they are 30 years old with a clean police record. This will weed out some career criminals, while enhancing the real-world life experience of those on the job.

3 – require that police officers live within X miles of where they work, preferably in the same city or county.

Not solutions, but they will help, I think.

Christopher Cooper writes: 


“Throw more money at it” seems to be the solution for everything these days.

I do think that Scott has the right ideas, but the chances of them happening are nil.

In my family there are 4 male siblings. Two are in law enforcement, and 2 are ex-felons. We’re not a close family!

I don’t think this problem gets solved until you can trust that police, and the rest of law enforcement, will do their jobs and prosecute each other instead of protecting the brotherhood in blue. I wouldn’t trust my brothers to do that.

Russell Sears writes: 

Until we get prosecutors and cops incentives to reform criminal not just prosecute them then there will not be too much of a solution. 





July 13, 2020 | Leave a Comment

was a mean reversion pivot since July 3.  



Good stuff:  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/75years/presentation.php



"When stocks are doing well but investors remain skeptical about how long they will do well, stock and bond prices can rise together. This is because investors continue to put money in stocks but also put money into bonds just in case the stock market drops. This spreads the demand among stocks and bonds, and that demand causes prices to go up for each type"  

Herman mentioned bonds are higher than last time stock were up here  (3150 level).  What does that mean?  Lower chances of continued stock rise?  

Stocks up, bond down only a little?

Stocks down, bonds up a lot?

Variations on Chairs stock bond calendar.

Higher bonds would be bullish as chair tweets. 



Alex Castaldo writes: 

Heres the skinny. from math puzzles volume 1, by  presh talwalkar. doc here. from nature walk. originally to stretch aubrey's mind . odds of a comebak victory

Consider 2 teams a and b that are completely evenly matched. given that a team is behind in score at half time, what is the prob that a team will overcome the deficit and win the game. assume the first halve and the second half are taken to be independent events. Presh solves it as follows logically:

Since the two teams are evenly matched, it is equally likely that the team will score enuf points to overcome the deficit or that it will not score enuf points. fo example the event of falling behind 6 pts in a half game happens with the same prob as gaining 6 pts in a half game. He concludes prob is 0.25

Now we posted the empirical resutls from basektaball games and many others have given the empiriclal results for football games … and i gave some results for the markets.. this seems to be of interest to everyone , had the most views of any posts, and it was good for 7 or 8 points today.. lets have your discussion and solution of this problem. presh says the answer is 0.25 both empirically (NFL in 1995) and logically.

Jared Albert writes: 

In a game with two teams where in the first round, the team 1 advantage varies from flat to all the points available in the second round, the probability of  team 0 coming from behind to win are in array with 20 available points in the second round:

[0.49, 0.306, 0.22, 0.129, 0.09, 0.03, 0.018, 0.011, 0.004, 0.002, 0.002, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0]

For example, if the teams are even going into the second round with 20 available points, .490 chance that team0 wins; with a one point advantage to team1 at the start of round2, team0 wins .306 of the time;

2 points to team1, team0 wins .220 of the time etc

Here's the montecarlo:

import numpy as np


out_list = []

out_list = []

count = 1000

win = 1

lose = 0

team0_start = 0

team1_start = 0


def runs():

z = np.sum(np.random.choice([win, lose], size=size, replace=True, p=None))

return z

def outcome(team1_start, count = count, team0_start=team0_start):

 l= []

 for _ in range(count):

 team0_end = runs() + team0_start 

 team1_end = runs() + team1_start 

 came_from_behind = team0_end > team1_end 


    #print(f'l: {l}')

    outcome = sum(i > 0 for i in l)


for i in range(size):


print(f'outlist: {out_list}') 

Victor Niederhoffer writes: 

up your alley i  think. we have done something similar for market with real empirical results. the  unconditional prob is much less than20%

Stephen Stigler writes: 

I am sure you know but I repeat anyway:

1) the simple calculations ignore correlation between teams.

2) they also ignore information on the distribution of changes

3) Calculations using the distribution of changes are not hard.

4) But the information about the probability of extreme events is not well determined so they can be inaccurate

5) In any case  markets unlike sports are not zero sum games.



So much in the world of late about safety, feeling safe, makes things more safe. Safety is not a binary state and is one of degree. No one is ever completely safe or conversely completely unsafe either. And should safety even be a desired goal? Life is not a safe activity. In fact, in the end it is quite deadly. No one got very far being safe in trading. In fact, safety in a high turnover activity like trading probably leads to bankruptcy with repeated trading costs and de-risking at the wrong times for the sake of safety. The whole industry of asset management is built around the concept of Safety - protecting asset, managing risk, having a third party advise on what is safe and most importantly making investors feel safe. Whether they actually are or are not safe in another matter.




Paul W. Rhode, Koleman Strumpf

ABSTRACT Political future markets, in which investors bet on election outcomes, are often thought a recent invention. Such markets in fact have a long history in many Western countries. This paper traces the operation of political futures markets back to 16th Century Italy, 18th Century Britain, and 19th Century United States. In the United States, election betting was a common part of political campaigns in the antebellum period, but became increasingly concentrated in the organized futures markets in New York City over the postbellum period.




July 11, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Victor Niederhoffer writes: 

are you doing  and how is millie doing…'2 what is your reaction to all the police violence lately .d o you feel it shoudl be defunded?  3 artie said  that during  his tenure it wa s     aomost mpossible to arrest a b lack personage because  eveyone was loookign at you a skew.

William McCarthy replies: 

Hello Victor,

How are you doing?  Millie and I are hanging in there.  Plenty of doctor visits for the both of us.  But all is well considering.

The only thing different about the police violence today compared to the past is media technology.  Cell phone video cameras and the internet.  These recorded criminal acts by police unfortunately have always occurred by some rogue police officers that were denied. There is no justification for what was witnessed in the Minneapolis incident.  I feel for the 2 rookie officers that were present who were also charged.  There lives were ruined before their law enforcement careers even got started.

It seems that physically resisting arrest has become an expected allowable standard practice on the part of the public.  Resisting even a unlawful arrest is against the law (at least in the New York State Penal Law). The citizen's recourse is to submit to the arrest and make their claim of false arrest in court.  

The police have little influence if they are not supported by the general public.  And without the public's support they are personally discouraged from self-initiating any enforcement activity.  No one can know in advance the outcome of an encounter.  The public has been falsely educated by all of the popular TV shows that depict the law enforcement main character's swift and facile physical actions.  In real life it can get ugly fast even when the actions of the police are lawful. Few ordinary officers are prepared to make it look easy. That requires constant physical training and technique. On television the "good guy" always wins.  That is not the case in real life.  

Can society survive without the acceptance of the rule of law by the public and its enforcement by the police?  There would be little to video if the public did not physically resist arrest!

Victor Niederhoffer writes: 

do yoou agree with me that the strength oof the unons makes it    almost impssiblet ofire ann officer, and no knock lawas and qualified  immunity and  oikuce nilitary equipment, and  juries favoritism to olice   needs reform. very glad to hear of  your consilience, we are abotu the same as y ou and Millie. moved out of ny. no good reason to stay for us without broadway and restaurants, just reread the Gofrather . wata is realistic?.

Victor Niederhoffer adds: 

billl mccarthy  was a friend   and student     of my father    andn chie fo the bomb and couter  intelligence dept, and  made more arrewts than anyone with his patented method. loved to biox. his book is the best crime book ever

Ken Drees writes: 

 The Godfather types will move into cities that let their police forces shutter and then there will be the peace



A very interesting interview with Ken French.

May 28, 2020

Episode 100

Prof. Kenneth French:

Expect the Unexpected



The learned ignoramus: "Anthony Fauci, the "Learned Ignoramus"

Who else should be put on this list in contrast to useful idiots. The Upside Down Man is on both.



Last weekend I have completed a transcontinental travel going from Las Vegas > Los Angeles > Amsterdam > Prague.

Prior departure Delta & KLM did bombard me with docs to fill out for the trip and plethora of entry and in-flight requirements.

Vegas: almost empty airport, 99% people in masks, at about 10% of normal capacity in terms of people traffic, 1 newspaper shop open, everything else closed. West Jet flight – small Embraer plane with about 30% seats taken, comfy free mid seat arrangement, 2 people in 1st class, refreshments placed on your seat in a Ziplock bag, no service throughout the flight. Masks required on the plane during the whole flight.

Los Angeles: no transit working, had to exit the domestic terminal and walk the curb to the international terminal, 14 flights on the monitor for the whole day, destinations as such as Mexico, China, Paris & Amsterdam. Terminal completely closed except 2 newspaper shops, departure terminal complete ghost town, passengers only for my and another China flight, both relatively small planes Boeing 777-300. Passengers ranging from full-on hazmat suits, masks & shields for ICU units, to scarf over the face and only when specifically requested by the personnel. No tourists-type travelers whatsoever. Flight about 35% full. Refreshments in Ziplock bags on the seat, except 1 hot meal (hot oats with marmalade – seriously, I kid you not) mid-flight, no in-flight service as well. Masks required on the plane during the whole flight. Big fuss about several forms to fill out before departure which will be requested upon arrival in Amsterdam. People using 1! pen provided by the gate attendant.

Amsterdam: no one asking for the tons of paperwork we were forced to fill out, no temperature check at all, no in-person questions inquiring where you landed from. About 80% of the airport in masks, terminal capacity at about 25%, all shops open including high end jewelry and designers.

Prague: airport at about 20% capacity, baggage delivery at record breaking 10 minutes from plane docking at the gate. First time border control staff asking where I did land from, even though I did land in Schengen terminal, meaning there is no border control in normal circumstances. 99% of people in masks inside buildings, outside no masks.

Every single flight except Prague had bus transfer to plane location, no direct gate access – perfect petri dish environment to get the virus.

Czech legislation allows to have the test up-to 72 hour after arrival as long as you self-quarantined home till the test results. Alternatively you can arrive with test results done max 4 days before departure. In Arizona the current test result delivery is up-to 10 business days with up-to 5 days wait time for the test exam as such. In Prague I did have it 24 hours after landing, to capture the trip exposure. I considered the risk during the transit much higher compared to being tucked away in my home in an small town in the middle of the Arizona desert. PCR test results took 6 hours, based on which I sent an email to the authorities and released myself from the quarantine.

Let's see how the experience will be in about 5 weeks when I fly back to the USA.



Zubin Al Genubi writes: 

I've been eating plant based for 8 months.  I feel great, lost all body fat, breath better, sleep better. 

BBQ veges are very good with oil pepper, garlic baste.  Eggplant, onion, asparagus, squash, mushrooms,zucchini are great.  BBQ browning gives them a great taste.  I love to put them in a bun salthered with lots of dill based vege mayo, tomatoes, pickle, lettuce.  Its easy to broil them if you don't want to start up the barbie.  We just harvested the first round of sweet corn and it was fun and delicious.  The corn can go on the barbie in their husk to a light burn outside.  We just planted the second round of corn which will be ready in 60 days

Christopher Cooper adds: 

Interesting. I’ve had pretty much the same results, over the same timeframe, from a combination of working out more and time-restricted feeding. No other change in diet, which is carnivorous but moderately low-carb.

I’m down to the weight I graduated from high school with, 50 years ago. In my case, it’s the fat loss and exercise that is responsible for the benefits, not the diet.



There is a lot of long term uncertainty, and it seems a lot of daytrading going on. The vol is good again, finally, for day trading. The overnight moves can be pretty wild, so the day session seems a bit more smooth. Also staying up all night is hard nowadays. All the stupid daytrading tricks seem to be possible, MA, the wave bs, 50's effect, momo, maybe even the oscillator's. The little dino vol thing I posted seems okay for about 10 bars. Buy any dip seems to be good. Now that I can see it, its probably about to end. Also its a good way to pick up pennies until the freight train hits you.



It's becoming a good tradition to buy spoos Sunday night after a bad Friday. i.e the heuristic that has saved many speculators from going bust is now hindering profits, as it should be. VX was ahead of this bounce, since Friday.



Free Will is a popular idea, but in reality not nearly as achievable as we would like.

First, nature controls many aspects of your life: your genes, how you look, male/female, your wiring, predispositions, psychological traits. I would say this accounts for 40% of what you do, who you are. Then you have habits and training from youth which have become patterns that are all but impossible to overcome. Give that 25%. Add legal laws, social responsibilities and we're already at 80% determination.

Another big problem is just being aware of what is going on around you. Here are a couple of examples. Ever misplace your keys or iphone even though two minutes before you had them in your hand? Here's another example. I have an infrared floodlight. You can't see it at all at night. But when you look through the night vision scope its lit up bright as day. We just don't sense a lot of what is going on around us. Do you know what your wife is thinking? Here's another example. Can you control what and how much you eat?

Okay, we're up to 90% of what you are and do is controlled or you are unaware of it. You have all these emotions pushing you around. Then add in your wife, kids, work. That leaves us with 3% free will to do as we wish. Sure you can overcome some of it, some of the time, but not many people can, and its really really hard to overcome any of it.

If we could, it would be easy to buy low and sell high. It would be easy to be slim and buff. It's not. Free will is more of an illusion and philosophical concept than a practical reality. As Ralph mentions - patience and nerve. Overcoming the pain of exercising free will. These are part of the elements of free will. It's hard, if not impossible.



3 times the chair has sunk the prez with terrible prepared remarks. Lets the cattle trader spoon get ahead of the prez in the betting odds, Mr. Kudlow should take the Cat to the Chair and tell him that's not why he was made Chair. He was supposed to be diplomatic. We know he doesn't know anything about monetary or economic theory but at least he could refrain from a fourth strike.



Slab City, CA has become a free national refugee camp from coronavirus because it's an isolated oasis of hot sand on the Coachella Canal. We have people here who have been displaced, lost their jobs, couldn't pay their mortgages, or heard that the desert is the place to be in an epidemic and that land is free in the Slabs. Because of the virus our dry town is thriving with their influx of money for the first time in decades.

Yesterday Imperial County, CA, in which the Slabs sits smack in the middle, made the national news as the county with the most deaths per capita in the nation. Now the Corona refugees don't know what to do. Is this last bastion now their biggest threat?

The opposite it true. However, no one knows why unless they go to the source of the virus 50 miles south to Mexicali, Mexico. That congested city with a population of one million is rampant with the infected who flee to the US side for treatment in Imperial County where the county population is a fifth that at 200.000. I just came from Mexicali. Thousands of workers and students live here and commute daily across the border into Imperial County to work, go to school, shop, and visit their relatives. The reason is it costs about one-sixth to live south of the border, while earning five-times more money and enjoying the US infrastructure.

They are Mexican residents with US addresses at the same mail centers that I use on this side of the border, or many use relatives' address to maintain their US residence. These cross-overs by foot and car who harbor the virus come to use the hospitals, colleges, schools, work places, Social Security, and have their business in California. Then they return for the night or weekend to Mexicali to pick up the virus.

People I have known for years in Mexicali told me the citizens who get sick all enter the US for superior medical treatment or to stay with their relatives with air conditioning. Mexicali is a huge town with five times as many people as our entire county. 'You stupid gringos,' a resident confided, 'don't know the inflated figures for Imperial County corona deaths are from Mexicali.'

Imperial County is still one of the safest counties to stay if you keep out of the border towns of Calexico and El Centro and especially their hospitals. With one of the lowest density populations, Imperial is a safe place. And countywide the oasis of Slab City is your best bet to wait out the epidemic.



"41% of businesses closed on Yelp have shut down for good during the coronavirus pandemic"

This article may be one of the evidences that the next shoe or shoes to drop. I have seen yelp report on 26% of fitness facilities to 53% of restaurants listed on yelps that have been closed forever. Regarding the US-China deal, I don't believe CCP will hold up their end of bargain. But then it is a ultra-small potato, in comparison to the significant loss of lives loss and the unprecedented impact on the US economy caused by the Wuhan virus.

If Trump wants to sing the praise of signing of the trade deal or use the per-pandemic economy and wants to get reelected, he is grossly mistaken. Whatever playbook he used to win 2016 won't work this time around given the current pandemic-driven unprecedented downturn. Just don't know who is advising Trump on his reelection campaign. Whoever they may be, they all need to be fired. Whoever running the campaign needs to adapt and modify the campaign quickly. Running for the highest office against one's opponent is like MMA competition in the UFC. It needs a well-rounded fighter. Just being a strong striker or 10th degree black-belt jujitsu expert can't enable a fighter to win the champion. It needs a strategy to adapt and change according to the opponent and the surrounding circumstances as well. In the mean time, I am buckling up and brace for the impact of having Beijing and dementia-stricken Biden in the White House, and the Democratic-controlled house and senate. I would like to be proven wrong, but until there are new data to show otherwise, that is what I envision for the time being.



In the end, they will push hard (HARD) for mail in ballots to ensure their (liberal) victories. I wouldn't be surprised if they try to do almost all mail in ballots. There will be a major ramp up of fear. We'll see a major spike in cases and deaths blasted out from the media and the democrats will in congress will be all over the news trumpeting doom and gloom and the end of civilization as we know it and that we need to close down the polls and do all mail in voting)

Anyone who doesn't think that there is a huge opportunity for fraud with mail in ballots is just disingenuous.

Heck, even if the non-liberals were pushing for mail in ballots, I would be saying that that is ripe for fraud.

I would be suspicious of any group that is pushing for mail in ballots. Why? Because that means that they are prepared for it. Prepared in a fraudulent way. I would say the same thing if non-liberals were pushing for it.

We're being played by TPTB and the useful idiots are lining up to worship at the altar of liberalism. And those of us that don't line up to worship at their altar will see the modern day version of Brownshirts unleashed on us. We've gotten a taste of that already.

anonymous writes: 

We've had mail in ballots in CO for years. I'm not sure mailing in versus filling out a ballot in person changes things dramatically when we think about fraud. Fraud happens when what was dropped in the box doesn't match the results.

Voting seems like a great way to use blockchain so a person can trace their vote and see it be counted anonymously. That may a leap too far, but it (on the surface) could solve many issues of fraud. Smarter people than me feel free to chime in. 

Brian Mulvihill writes: 

OSTK-backed Voatz has been garnering momentum on blockchain voting over last year.



Many companies and law firms are considering cutting office space, cutting costs, cutting commuting. People are bailing out from cities. I wonder if mass transit, the auto culture, and even cities will go the way of the post office and wither away.



The one (ex)lawyer I trust and I have to deal with the last survivor among our parents.  That will require driving through Kentucky in a car with North Carolina license plates and all that entails.  It will be a while before anything further in inflicted on you all.  Until later.

A Dooley Wilson remember this for you political junkies: Michael Dukakis led George H. W. Bush by 17 points in late July 1988. Bush I won by 8 percent with over 400 electoral votes.



The only thing different about the police violence today compared to the past is media technology.  Cell phone video cameras and the internet.  These recorded criminal acts by police unfortunately have always occurred by some rogue police officers that were denied. There is no justification for what was witnessed in the Minneapolis incident.  I feel for the 2 rookie officers that were present who were also charged.  There lives were ruined before their law enforcement careers even got started.

It seems that physically resisting arrest has become an expected allowable standard practice on the part of the public.  Resisting even a unlawful arrest is against the law (at least in the New York State Penal Law). The citizen's recourse is to submit to the arrest and make their claim of false arrest in court.

The police have little influence if they are not supported by the general public.  And without the public's support they are personally discouraged from self-initiating any enforcement activity.  No one can know in advance the outcome of an encounter.  The public has been falsely educated by all of the popular TV shows that depict the law enforcement main character's swift and facile physical actions.  In real life it can get ugly fast even when the actions of the police are lawful. Few ordinary officers are prepared to make it look easy. That requires constant physical training and technique. On television the "good guy" always wins.  That is not the case in real life.

Can society survive without the acceptance of the rule of law by the public and its enforcement by the police?  There would be little to video if the public did not physically resist arrest!



PPP Anecdote

July 9, 2020 | Leave a Comment

"I heard some people are re-incorporating their business under a different name to avoid repaying PPP loans" - Anonymous Source

As I recall the last time we had big loans programs like TALF and TARP they were eventually paid off with interest.  Though the size would seem trivial now, in 2007/8 there was a fair amount of debate in congress and rules set up to at least make a good faith effort for repayment of tax payer funds.  This time around with PPP and other SBA loans there was almost no debate and the vague payment/forgiveness language makes it almost certain a good portion >50% will never be repaid.  Maybe that is the intent.  Add in outright fraud of 2% (my estimate) on 1 trillion is another $20 billion.  A lot of cash searching for a home, even if it a terrible misappropriation.



Check out this story: 'Serious threat': Scientists say WHO ignores aerosol risk of coronavirus from Flipboard .

Henry Gifford asks:

What is the difference between droplet and aerosol?

People spit out viral particles, and the particles stay in the air for some time, with a decay rate of X % per time. Maybe below some threshold it is called droplet, and above some threshold it is called aerosol?

 I don't get it. Reminds me of the endless article a few months ago about if the epidemic is a pandemic, or will it become a pandemic and when, then the discussions of the definition of a pandemic…


K. K. Law replies:

I don't have a scientific distinction between the two. The very qualitative and non-scientific difference between the two is droplets will eventually land on some surfaces sooner (maybe in a couple of minutes) than aerosols which could suspend in air for much longer in time.




Yesterday afternoon while hiking I found a white recent model Nissan Pathfinder with Arizona plates current to December, 2021 in the remote desert outside Slab City. It is located off-road where other vehicles may not spot it but so that it would eventually be found. The abandoned vehicle's owner is a mystery that perhaps you may help to solve with the clues of the find.

The Pathfinder is perched on a bluff such that a hiker or person on an ATV would find it. The current plates indicate it belongs to a Slabber or tourist from whom it was stolen. It is likely the owner is still alive because a vehicle of value with current plates usually means the owner's demise in order to use a 4-wheel drive such as this to scrap the range or to use as a Slab rental. I have found one nice vehicle per year out here for six years and know how the game usually works. The owner could not have walked away because there were no tracks, and he wouldn't' have bothered to slash his own tires. Yet the car was apparently towed there across the open desert before the tires were slashed, in reading the tracks.

All the tires had been slashed by a large knife after it had been laid to rest. It was cleaned of it's spare, all items from the interior and glove box, and the ignition key removed. Nothing else on the car was damaged except under the hood the battery and belts had been removed. It was placed here within the last two days from when I last passed this way.

My impression is it was a revenge theft where the vehicle had been taken last night, towed to another spot, cleaned of its valuables and the spare tire, and towed to drop in the desert for the owner to eventually find with the tires slashed and battery missing. The other indication that it was intended to be found is the tower left a soap clue on the front windshield in 2' block letters 'KMK' where the second K is written in mirror to make the mysterious acronym symmetrical. It appeared to have been written by a tall male because there were no smudges on the hood. He brushed his tracks on the sand out.

I walked a small circle around the car and found nothing of consequence. I followed the tow tracks across the desert to a Slab stem where nothing could be discerned. Then, while sliding down the cliff past Salvation Mountain, I stopped at one of the near residents to inquire if she knew who it belonged to. 'No.' So I asked, 'Do you want to call the police?' 'No. Do you?' 'No, I don't want to get involved either.' I walked on toward Niland in the 110F day for ice and came across the second find of the day, a sheriff parked off-road in the middle of nowhere with a Corona mask on and his nose to the ground as if sniffing out something. I did something I never would have on another day.

'Hello,' I greeted, and when he glanced up, I raised my hands and he told me to put on a mask. I obeyed to look like a bandito, and continued to walk within ten steps of him. I felt a need to explain myself in hobo rope suspenders and ankle weights. 'My name is Keeley, a retired schoolteacher, and I live in Slab City.' 'Go on.'

His bald plate was pouring sweat onto his scrub mask. 'I was wondering if you had found a body for the missing car I just located four miles over your shoulder?' 'Body? Body!' Where?' 'I have the car, do you have the body?' 'I can't tell you. You go first.'

So I described the site, pointed to the direction, and asked if he wanted the license number. He wrote it in blue ink on his green scrub glove that ran in the sweat. So I wrote it down for him on a notepaper. 'I'll call it in.' He went to his vehicle, and after the radio crackled a couple of minutes, returned with the information that the car is not reported stolen but belongs to a lady named Josephine (no last name) out of Bullhead, AZ.

He told me he couldn't leave the call he was on now, but that after he would drive in the direction I pointed to look for it. He thanked me and put his mask back on, and his nose to the ground. I hiked three miles into Niland, CA to sniff around yesterday's fire that put Niland on the map wiping out forty homes and turning 120 people homeless. There was no ice because all the store workers had been burned out.



There is one very famous Black Swan bug and he has around 400K followers on twitter so one assumes there would be a decent number of aspiring Black Swanists too.

The Black Swan Mafia Don tweeted that what keeps growing at 1% each day will grow to 38 times at the end of one year.

So do I understand the Black Swan Mafiosi aren't aware of the s-curve that works out in the spread of all memes and in pandemics too? And if this mafia is aware of this then he is just creating a lot of Black Swan crap to market an opinion that this world will be doomed?

Is he ever going to be bullish on anything properly?! He is bullish on the virus & so poorly!

Or is he just a marketing machine? A snake oil vendor? If anyone has battled for life and fought successfully from a life threatening illness such a soul would be one of the most exalted optimists and be a beacon of hope, courage, conviction and a hero in his thoughts, speech and actions.

Even after going through such an ennobling experience as battling death and coming out a winner why would any soul be keeping betting on doom?

Something is just not adding up. Horribly the algebra of this Black Swan is missing even an iota of consistency. Something is horribly missing in this "story".



A spy is so deeply ingrained with the emotion of commitment to duty that they remains unaffected by any other emotions. Any trader who has survived markets is also eventually ingrained with such a deep respect for risk and a deep duty to protection of capital.

Which spy movies do the pro speculators recommend for watching and taking notes from on the attitudes and attributes of a duty bound mind that is easily able to cross all limits on analysis, imagination, action that confine the usual human and still strictly follow the limit that no spy will ever breach?

If you can spare a few minutes in penning/clicking, what meals your recommended movie provides for a trader it would help set the priority in the list of spy movies to watch one by one even while there is a partial lockdown and get ready even better with a sense of deeper duty to protection of capital.



An attractive woman feints and asks Grant who rescued her to lure Grant into a compromising position. Where have we seen that.

Jeff Watson writes: 

Or when Clews described an attempt to get President Grant out of the way so Jay Gould et al could corner the gold market without Grant selling government gold. It didn't work.

Stefan Jovanovich adds: 

Grant's first financial act as President in 1869 was to sign the Public Credit Act of 1869. His first choice for Treasurer had been Alexander Stewart, but Senator Sumner had blocked his nomination and offered his fellow abolitionist, George Boutwell, instead. Grant never wasted time fighting a losing battle so he accepted Boutwell. From the start Grant knew Boutwell would be too much of a financial Puritan. Boutwell accepted the Public Credit Act and shared Grant's understanding that the Congress and the United States Treasury had to return to the Constitutional pledge that the only U.S. money was gold and (for lesser denominations) silver coin. Grant was unshakeable in his determination that the Federal government would never again default on paying its obligations in international money. His own calculation was that the Treasury's deliberate default in the first year of the civil war had increased the total cost, through inflation and increased borrowing, by least a third.

What Grant could not get Boutwell to accept was the simple fact that the country was never going to return to its pre-war balance sheet. The abolitionist dream that the national debt could be largely wiped out if not totally eliminated through confiscation of Southern property was, in Grant's mind, illegal (the Confederate soldiers had been pardoned), immoral (the Constitution did not give Congress the authority to take people's property without compensation) and just plan stupid (it would destroy America's credit and property market for a generation). Boutwell and Sumner should accept the fact that the country now had a debt that would never be paid off. Hamilton's wish had finally been granted. The national debt would be there, in size, forever; and it would be the safe asset that speculators and investors, including foreign holders of dollars, would hold while they waited. In 1869 the interest alone on the Federal debt was TWICE the entire Federal budget in 1861: $130,694,000 vs. $66,547,000. In that period the debt itself has grown from $90,582,000 to $2,545,111,000. The debt could be reduced over time; but it would never again be calculated in millions as opposed to billions.

Black Friday is a big deal in the history books because Garfield and Congress had extensive hearings and the story of "the corner" fit everyone's favorite narrative: politicians were corrupt, the market was manipulated, Grant was a fool, etc. The numbers tell a different story. Jay Gould's bet, at its highest, was $60 million. For the 3 fiscal years since 1866 when the debt peaked at $2,755,764, the average net redemption of debt by the U.S. Treasury was $70 million annually - roughly $6 million a month. Through August 1869 Boutwell had bought in $50 million - the pace of regular redemption. The idea that bribing Grant to withhold $4 million in redemption in September was somehow the key to the corner is laughable. The key to the corner was the belief that Boutwell, Grant's sister's husband and others in the Grant administration could be bought. Boutwell could, in fact, be bought - by his fellow Massachusetts citizen, the King of Shovels, Oakes Ames. (Ames is a fascinating figure who deserves attention.)  Of course, the real story - the one that we will not know - is what were the positions and trades of the serious players on Wall Street during that week. The story Crews and others tell is the one Henry Adams wrote up in 1870; it is still the fundamental narrative that will become "history". That is, to my mind, the biggest laugh of all.



"Understanding Bayes Theory with Ratio"

In the old days we used to learn Bayes theorem in terms of odds ratios. I didn't pay much attention to it till recently until the odds of the invisible man winner reached 56 to 40, and the query is "Is he more likely to beat the incumbent than the incumbent is to beat the cattle trader?" The 40 to 1 in favor of incumbent is abut 25 times as likely as the invisible man is over the incumbent.



In essence, China now has a better fiscal position, a more conservative central bank, higher interest rates, and a relatively improved net international investment position."

This has some thought provoking charts and ideas.



May 9th:

Why can't we all stay at home many unemployed receiving more money then when they were at work with the Fed buying the government debt needed to pay universal bailout and unemployment claims. The answer has something to do with you cant consume what you don't produce it is productivity and things that creates material well being. There is no inequality in a dead economy except for the 20 million gov employees who have permanent jobs. We can have universal equality and misery or incentives to create betterment for the individual and goods (perhaps I could have said this better. Would you help me pleases one thing for sure with universal basic income the dems will have a permanent and insurmountable lock on government.

The foregoing is what Mr. Vince is thinking of as to the economy. But he must realize as I have repeatedly said that the economy rise and fall is quite different from the stock markets. And he must be careful to maintain survivability and not to let one trade destroy the legacy that is his.

From @VicNiederhoffer on twitter



 I'm working on an hypothesis on Sweden and it's economic impact.

The FT has few articles on the way they are treating the covid but given that I do not have an edge on that I m more focused on second level thinking i.e

Sweden is the opposite of Italy from an economic standpoint high private debt (companies and private are highly levered) low country debt.

Riksbank stretched its mandate and there is a parliament earring to try to limit its intervention.

The economy is exporters based and employee costs are elevated (We are talking around 70% tax rate) due to highly "social" economy employees are covered for 6/9 months Va Italy 6 weeks…

They have kept almost 80% of the economy open but if you do not have external demand … who you are going to sell to?

Nevertheless the Omx is one of Europe best performer indexes…supported by a depreciated currency .Theoretically if you plot it against skeusd you will see that the relationship broke down around 2yrs ago according to this metrics it should be trading at half the price.

Add to this the real estate market which is creating a bit of headache on the ground.

All this to layout the conclusion that they could not close the economy without intervening directly on the private debt market.. which given the low level of country debt they could have done… but they preferred no to…

Hope I was able to add few point to your thinking process.



 Has anyone read any good books lately that they can recommend. I reiterate my rec for: The Time it Never Rained by Elmer Kelton and I'd add rec for books by Bernard Cornwell. I just read Waterloo with much learning its a good antidote to chapter on Waterloo in Les Miserables.

Pamela Van Giessen writes: 

Empire of Shadows by George Black about the people who explored the Yellowstone area, all of whom had an impact on the space being made a national park. Some were dark people who ended up doing great things; others were "good" people who did some terrible things, and some were just lame. We are a complex creature. Way too much detail but probably more fascinating American history than you ever got in school.

Indian Creek Chronicles
by Pete Fromm about a young man who takes the craziest job in the world on a lark, living for 7 (winter) months in the Idaho backcountry guarding salmon eggs. Great tale of isolation, resiliency, stamina, and ingenuity. 



Dear Mr. Niederhoffer,

This article alone is a great but sad read: “Bankrupt and Dying from Cancer, Ulysses S. Grant Waged His Greatest Battle





I would be right there with Ralph…

The economic numbers are horrible, beyond belief. I'd rather look at Freddy Kruger than Look at them.

My guess/bet is what matters is what flipped the numbers and can they be flipped back?

This is all about the virus. It caused the numbers, it can change the numbers. So, I don't focus on the numbers. My focus is on history pf virus growth and decline…that is my weak spot….if I misread that I will be wrong.

I don't know of a single economic number that forecasts the end of a recession before it is over. Not a one. I do know that stocks have ALWAYS put in their lows and rallied a certain % before the recession is over. In short, stocks are the best harbinger of the end of the recession

On top of that I got my Panic Bottom buys signal as on Cramer, YouTube etc.

This time is like all times…I still wake up at night.. worried, wondering how wrong I can be with a big position on. I know I have had more disappointing trades than Jenny Craig customers.

The answer to me, if it is to all fall out of bed, is in the performance of the daily advance decline line. That is my main focus….

Happy trails to all

PS I have the perfect hedge here, long myself and an investor in RV fund so, "what me worry?"

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

It might help to see this episode in American history as the analog to 1941/2. The GDP and employment numbers don't show the comparison because the figures for WE 2 make the assumption that all those pieces of utterly useless machinery and all those wages paid to war plant workers and the 13 million in the armed forces were somehow productive in the sense of adding to people's accumulations of personal wealth. They were not, except for the cash savings from the wages. The post-war boom came from the fact that Americans needed to rebuild their personal physical assets. No one had bought a new car or appliance or even a set of tires in 4 years. Given the marginal tax rates and price increases hidden by price controls and rationing, the Fed's interest rates were equal to and at times lower than they are now. As for job dislocations, what faces our society is on a lesser scale than what happened during mobilization and immobilization. What this historical comparison says about future common stock prices I have no idea, but the premise that this period is unprecedented deserves to be set aside. 



The flip side or cause of an asset shortage was too much money and liquidity. Money is nothing more than confidence and optimism and both have taken a hit from propaganda and governmental mismanagement and uncertainty about what a handful if governing idiots will decide for the rest of the world. Froth, exuberance are the ideas. Money just disappears now and I'm not clear on the mechanism except for asset prices and credit.



May 3rd:

The keys to the game are particularly difficult and diffuse this week.

1. The earnings estimates are more disperse than ever.

2. The companies that reported so far the big five are much more buoyant than the remaining 45% of S&P 500 companies to report.

3. If there is one fly in the ointment. To me it is the fall in real estate prices. To an amazing extent almost all major declines in stocks have been associated with declines in real estate prices since the time of Henry George in the 1880's.

4. With a google of pics of Joe Biden being affectionate with others, it is likely that another victim besides Tara Reade will come forth.

5. Hillary is now 7% like to be the Democratic nominee.

6. With all these cross currents I have looked for one market that will be the canary. I find it in the Japanese Yen.

With every major pharmaceutical company racing to find a treatment or vaccine for the virus, it is likely that there will be other breakthroughs reported in the media. The last one caused the biggest overnight rally ever. Strangely the improvement over the placebo was only 3 days.

More generally many drug therapies provide only a few days or few months improvement over no treatment. Considering the damage to life from side effects of digestion and energy and life style disruption, the cost benefit of many of them has to be negative as is the treatment from Gilead. It is amateurish and typical of Dr. Fauci to say the improvement is statistically significant. And that he always will err on the side of excessive caution.

The pictures of him and the Prez always remind us of Czar Alexander and Rasputin and I still claim he plays the same role as Rasputin in his and his families hoped for demise of the Prez's family.

Others in his peer group are the 95% in the CDC and the swamp that contributed to the Democrats last election. As I asked about the cattle trader what happened to the other $500/ THE OTHER 5%? The news about Peter Strk trying to get Flynn to lie is a terrible example of the battle that the Prez has faced with the samp. What would have happened if during the impeachment trials the Prez had declared a more draconian ban on China? More generally what is the hidden cost of all the productive activities that were lost and not made by the handouts?

I received an urgent method from Mr. Vince. "The worst of the dri is still to come". He looks at volume and pain… I don't agree.

The statistics.

Every gentleman and woman knows that when you kiss someone on the face but not the lips the kiss conveys an invitation for further romance. Presumably that was not unknown to the VP and also that he wasn't always unsuccessful.

A prescient response from a WSJ subscriber: "I suspect that many of the 'reported' Corona Virus deaths in NY Hospitals were really those who died of other major underlying problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart problems, etc, with CV-19 adding the last straw. A standard autopsy would show this, and the cause of death would not be CV-19. However, in the current panic, the NY Hospitals know they can get $39,000 from Medicare for a CV-19 death, and only $19,000 if the real underlying cause was listed. It's money that is driving the higher CV-19 stats in NYC."

Both Mr. Vince and I were right.

A more traditional version of "I am right and you are right"



From 1951 to 2019, there were 15 6-month periods ending on April 30 in which the S&P 500 index declined. The average net change over the next 6 months was -3.8%, a statistically significant underperformance compared to the 4.2% average 6-month gain during the entire 69-year period.

Date         Index close   net change last 6 months      net change next 6 months
    4/29/1960      54.37                  -5.5%                     -1.8%
    4/30/1962      65.24                  -4.9%                    -13.4%
    4/29/1966      91.06                  -1.5%                    -11.9%
    4/30/1970      81.52                 -16.1%                      2.1%
    4/30/1973     106.97                  -4.1%                      1.2%
    4/30/1974      90.31                 -16.6%                    -18.2%
    4/29/1977      98.44                  -4.3%                     -6.2%
    4/30/1982     116.44                  -4.5%                     14.8%
    4/30/1984     160.05                  -2.1%                      3.8%
    4/30/1990      330.8                  -2.8%                     -8.1%
    4/29/1994     450.91                  -3.6%                      4.8%
    4/30/2001    1249.46                 -12.6%                    -15.2%
    4/30/2008    1385.14                 -10.6%                    -30.1%
    4/30/2009     872.81                  -9.9%                     18.7%
    4/29/2016     2065.3                  -0.7%                      2.9%

                        Average                                     -3.8%
                        Standard deviation                          12.8%
                        N                                              15
                        t                                           -2.42
                        Average of all 6 month periods               4.2%

Hernan Avella writes: 

Thanks Steve. Some notes:

- If you include the monthly data from 1928 (free yahoo finance), you effect disappears the average next 6 month goes from -3.80% to -0.12%
- Since you have such a small sample perhaps better to look at the trimmed mean or the median……the median of your sample is -1.8%
- Another (arguably better) way to check for significance is calculate your own p value with the bootstrap and the empirical distribution of 6 month returns, using the trimmed mean and winsorized variance.
- Related to above, Victor recommended a fine book a while back.
- Whether one can make more money adding this layer of complexity is still to be determined.



Folks here are running out of money for food. Unemployment web site is nonfunctional. They just extended shut down another month. Something is going to blow up soon.

K.K. Law writes: 

I don't have any proof and yet I always wonder whether that is part of CCP's multi-prong game plan that uses the Coronavirus, among other objectives, to create some form of limited-extent slow and steady self-annihilation within the US. While jury is still out whether they released the virus on purpose, and yet certainly they would not let even an accidental crisis go to waste. If this is a provocative speculative allegation, then so be it. 

Ralph Vince writes: 

Now I see the good Governor of MI has extended the lockdown for another month.

I'll stand by me earlier prediction, there will be bloodshed at that Capitol over this, that's but a formality now. The question is how do the governor's of other besieged states react.



Gilead arguably has the best science in the business. But success in Biotech / Pharma is reserved for those who keep their customers alive, but milk them forever by not curing them of anything.

Hits against Gilead:

1. Gilead did not make any friends by creating the Gardasil vaccine for HPV, which killed the downstream pipeline for those companies that would have treated HPV for 40-50 years.

2. Gilead does not have deep hooks inside the FDA either

Regeneron on the other hand has deep contacts inside the FDA and also practices the milking-forever business model. If they package dried-prunes as a cure for Covid, FDA will merrily approve it.



 Sheltered Specs,

Thought you might enjoy this talk:

"Roland De Wolk and the Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford"

Sushil Rungta writes: 

Very interesting.

Just ordered the book also.

A subject of great interest to me.



Looking at Dow Jones there have been 17 declines from ATHs since 1900 over 22%. Only two have recovered high within 1 year. 1990 and 1998 had declines around 22% and recovered within 1 year. 1917, the year preceding the Spanish flu recovering the all time high took 2 years.



 Twenty years ago one fourth of all goods sold by the biggest hardware companies in the US were horse, buggy and wagon companies. But how would you like to have remained these twenty years a heavy stockholder in a buggy whip man.

Many years ago the Canal stocks were much in demand the same way google is today. Canal stocks were among the most conservative of investments suitable for widows and orphans. Most people who owned canal stocks put them away and forget about them. These canal stocks shortly started a descent to zero.

Two other great books for seeing the importance of adjusting to the new times are The Time It Never Rained and Monte Walsh. The Kelly book was recommended by Mr. Avella.



I'm also wondering about real estate. Here there's a moratorium on evictions, a moratorium on foreclosures. Naturally no one will pay either rent, especially rent, or mortgage, because they are out of a job, and the unemployment fund is dried up.

That puts pressure on the banks, and so on down the chain.

Ralph Vince writes: 

Yes. This is why I think the virus is NOT a problem to be concerned about. Everything is downstream from everything else, in a giant circuit that is the US economy.

It cannot be started simply by reversing the order of operations form which it was stopped. Some fraction of the machine will inevitably be "amputated," I fear, and never re start.

I wish I knew what size that fraction is.

Peter St. Andre writes: 

The following is speculation, but it seems to me that much of the retail sector will not return to "normal" for at least 12 months and possibly as much as 5-10 years because apparently a vaccine will be difficult to create and distribute (the previous record for developing a vaccine - for Ebola - was 5 years [1]). You can write off theatres, music clubs, and the like. Museums and gyms and restaurants and salons and such will be severely challenged and perhaps unable to generate even 50% of their previous revenue because of persistent social distancing and the fact that many former customers will simply stay away. Some of this activity will move onto the Internet, but many of these organizations will cease to exist. Will anything take their place? That seems unlikely, which means it seems likely that retail rents will plummet ~50% too, leading to widespread bankruptcies in the commercial real estate sector. And this doesn't count factories, office buildings, and so on. What are the downstream effects on REITs, banks, pension funds, property managers, service companies, etc.? Others on the list are more expert in these matters so I'd love to hear their perspectives.

Peter Pinkhasov writes: 

If one had to throw darts I would think major consolidations in retail, airlines and O&G coming. Big winners are still middle-man removing; anti-cartel tech giants.

Ralph Vince writes: 

None of this stuff you fellows are discussing are part of the major backbone of American manufacturing though — what you are mentioning, even airlines, are not even complicated processes.

I'm talking about, say, large, design- engineered products, often one-offs like huge power transmission componentry involving oddball power transmission devices ( say, rotary actuators) that, say, operate in unusual environments, involve many complex comppnents and engineered upstream.

So if the more simpler services of the economy will struggle to reopen, how will the manufacturing backbone, comprised of it's own, interdependent, rather circuitous food-chain, stand up this decade, or ever? If things had been lost to globalism, the propensity for more of that will be far greater now by sheer necessity.

K.K Law writes: 

"COVID-19 is attacking our defense supply chains and our nation's security"

Gordon Haave writes: 

Covid 19 isn't attacking them. Human decisions are.

Julian Rowberry writes: 

Exactly Gordon, the same goes for the recovery. It won't be held back by complex physical limitations, it'll be limited in varying degrees in different segments by human decisions (red tape, regulations, access, sentiment etc).

The two areas I see that are going to do well are those with political clout to enforce the flow of decisions in their direction. These segments will be hard to swim along with because they will be able to front run, maintain and work their syndicates. The other is those who are who break the paradigm with new ideas, businesses & services, that the gatekeepers don't see coming until it's too late.

Easan Katir writes: 

Anecdote, pointing to a trend ahead:

A business-owning friend voluntarily quarantined on his yacht in Sausalito called to talk about money. He said he had just had a zoom staff meeting, and everybody said they liked working from home, and hoped it would continue.

So among other effects, the govt decision to shut down accelerates the work from home trend. #WFH



"Mapping The World's Trade Domination: USA & China's Clout Since 1980":

"Our visualization compares the dollars traded between China and the chosen country to that same country’s trade with the U.S. For example, if country ABC did $100m in trade with China and did $200M with the U.S., the ratio would show 50% in favor of the U.S."
Top 5 U.S. Top Trade Partners in 2018 (Total Merchandise Trade, $M)
1. Canada: $617,382
2. Mexico: $611,528
3. Japan: $217,563
4. Germany: $183,558
5. Republic of Korea: $130,635

Top 5 China Top Trade Partners in 2018 (Total Merchandise Trade, $M)
1. Japan: $328,043
2. Republic of Korea: $312,520
3. Hong Kong: $312,258
4. Taiwan: $225,780
5. Germany: $184,368



Does anyone know if anywhere else in the world hospitals/ICUs were overrun?

After China, Italy, (Iran?), NYC?

I just checked South Africa: it seems not as severe as Italy.

Why aren't where any other extreme hot-spots?

Is it possible that the virus mutates itself to extinction? After the first jump from animals to human-quite deadly, each followup infection/generation gets less and less severe?

Denise Shull writes: 

It would appear Mexico City is over-capacity per Bloomberg.

Ralph Vince writes: 

The damage to thee economy, long-term, is immeasurable.

Who is going to go it there, borrow to their nose and beyond , risk everything, to create something now? Who, given the heavy boot of government at all levels, the precedent that has been set, all based on a comic book hoax?

Only this who have NEVER been in that situation, think the economy will just "reopen" and life go back to normal.

There is no engine now. 

Jim Sogi writes: 

Worse than the permanent damage to the economy is our loss of freedom. What good is all the money, nice house if you don't have freedom, freedom to travel.

We lost a lot after 911, but this feels more like a dictatorship by local governors and mayors.

Dylan Distasio writes:

If it's inflicted much longer, especially with weather warming up, and the economic hardships, people are going to openly ignore the mandates. It's already starting.



The future is different. It just started the 23rd of March. It is electrification, energy transition, home base work, clean air, shop online, 5G, IoT, renewable energy, robotics, individual skill development, online education, mastering of oneself. The new renaissance has already started. Who wouldn't want to invest money on such a bright bullish future.



 I wonder if meat is going to have similar problems as crude as someone here mentioned with the meat factories shutting down. Similar carrying issues. I'm vegan, so not too worried, but it could be a problem for markets and food supply in general.

Brennan Turner writes: 

I think the challenges in meat markets is just a blip and oil markets are not the best comparable.

Long answer: Meat processing plants will open back up as entire factories get sanitized. In the meantime, 3 options emerge for the remaining animals:

1.    Only cattle can be grazed (cheapest option for beef farmers but not an option for hogs or poultry)

2.    Put on low-weigh gain/maintenance rations (still expensive)

3.    Or be culled: 100,000s of animals (if not millions) in the U.S who are supposed to be moved to said plants but simply can't now. Any of these options represent a significant loss for the livestock producer. As plants open back up, in order to reduce COVID-19 contagion risks, it's unlikely they'll be going full tilt (maybe closer to 60-70% of capacity).

As a result, I believe a few scenarios will emerge in the coming weeks:

 1.    Those who can pay more for meat, will continue to do so, but with more and more people on the unemployment line, this number will drop which would lead back to lower meat prices in the medium term (I.e. 3-6 months).

2.    We're already seeing an increase in demand for the local butcher and thus, one area I'm watching closely is the D2C game (Direct to Consumer); I've already seen a few of my cattlemen friends around North America kill a few of their own animals destined for the plants, but instead of just dumping carcasses in the manure pit, they're capturing the surge in D2C demand from their local consumers. And yes, dumping animals in the manure pit is often how they're disposed of…great organic fertilizer for the crops!

3.    With less animals to feed, and/or animals on smaller rations, this is a significant hit to the feed line item for grains and oilseeds. Cash corn prices in many areas of the Midwest (usually the corn demand epicentre) are already below $3/bushel thanks to an ethanol market that needs 50-60% less corn than 3-4 months ago! Considering that less than 10% of farmers actually hedge in the futures markets, this means a lot of farmers are swimming pretty naked right now. My last point echoes Mr. Vince in that that the ripple effect will be deep and long. Small-town America in the agricultural heartland could see significant demographic changes: farmers can't afford brand new equipment or trucks or even eating out in town 1x/week with their family…lots of these local businesses depend on, at bare-minimum, a break-even agricultural economy and, without it, they won't be able to weather the storm coming).

Not to patronize any of the List, but this will be a major reset of the scales in the agricultural landscape. I think there'll be major regulatory changes to the meat processing sector i.e. in a intense twist of irony, I could see it moving to the extreme opposite of Chinese wet markets. Further, there's going to be a lot of blood on the streets and I'm skeptical that any bailouts for farmers won't be enough for many. Here in Canada, the government is only lending more money to an already over-leveraged farmer (but students are getting $9 Billion or $1,250/person/month, no strings attached!!!)

I left NYC in 8 years ago to go back to Saskatchewan and help my family's farm be a little more structured/professional. This spring, we plan to seed ~55,000 acres in Sask and 20,000 acres in North Dakota (combined, ~5x the size of Manhattan). Agricultural markets are unapologetically cyclical (as are almost all commodities). What we're seeing now is the exact reason I implemented some serious SOPs and a somewhat overburdening pay down of debt during the good times of 2012-2016. However, because we've done this, we'll be able to weather the storm financially, no matter how bad it gets. The high-interest rate environment of the 1980s continues to come to mind, although I haven't had a chance to dig into the all various ripple effects back then, but I think there could be some similarities.

Bottom line is that, much like many other industries, the agriculture's big players will get bigger as the under-capitalized and under-prepared have to throw in the towel (be it now, or when the further over-leveraging catches up with them). I'm undecided if we want to expand our farm further, but it's either that, or all the pensions and endowment funds will buy up the land around us (assuming they've got pocket change to play with still), and the farmer is toast in the long-run over impossible cash rent costs. Thus, to respond to the conclusions in the Bloomberg piece, the U.S. will not be alone in this restructuring of agricultural economies.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

Questions for BT: Could you explain why you think the cash cost for rentals will go up? Don't the consolidations suggest that there will be fewer smart operators like you and more absentee landlords like the British Land Companies in the last third of the 19th century? 

Brennan Turner replies: 

Institutional investors always have deeper pockets than the local farmer/investor. And they are far from absentee landowners, as many have ESG requirements these days and are very protective of their generational investment. (They're not making any more land!) Ultimately, there's way less leniency and whoever can pay, will usually pay. Land ownership/operator has gotten fairly ruthless these days.



We just witnessed an historic perturbation on the price of oil, a very inelastic supply/demand structure. How many other industrial commodities will or are experiencing this (and I'm sure there are scores of unlisted commodities used in the industrial process that we're not even aware of what's going on in those markets).

And market perturbations have a tendency two fishtail going forward depending how inelastic the supply-demand situation is there, that is there's a tendency to go shortage to glut2 shortage to glut the more inelastic the commodity is.

My argument is that there are downstream systemic prices that will be paid these perturbations will echo through the entire manufacturing system, with the more complex products dependent and more components certain to suffer.

Returning say to the actuator example, and I use this only as an example I don't know where these perturbations will be felt, but let's suppose something as simple as manufacturer of a seal or a type of seal in hydraulic component tree cannot be performed four. Because of the unavailability of a certain industrial commodity necessary in its manufacture. And again I'm not picking on hydraulic seals I'm using it as one example of what I'm talking about, so as to be clear.

A large supplier like a Parker or SMC they keep an inventory but it is tiny, most products in most industries done JIT.

And if a seal is unavailable suddenly aircraft is hydraulic system needs repair are down, as are drawbridges, heavy equipment, even garbage trucks, and at least half the elevators in the world - any of these devices and the systems whose operations are contingent on them, go down too until something as simple as seal manufacturer is reinstated once supply of a necessary upstream commodity for its manufacture becomes available.

Maybe hydraulic seals are a poor example but you see what I mean about the domino effect at play here, that oil price going negative last week was a huge warning of this sort of pending trouble.



One notes that the Dax was down 100 points around noon before the announcement of the unpower. It is amazing that the statistical tests are actually done for real in a case like this. It's a false sense of scientism…. but fortunately the flexions in Europe were able to get the news ahead of the 35 point drop.



A lovely grind for 100 NQ points starting at Europe's close, from round to round. It culminates with ecstasy just in time with the MOC's and proceeds to reverse 3/4's of the move in 15 min. What a script. The only persistent regularity of equity index futures is that they never go too far in a straight line, manage your inventory accordingly.



What are everyone's thoughts on this? It's down 50+% for the day already.

R. Dirani writes: 

The narrative has not changed. Pressure of crude should continue. Demand destruction has occurred to a great deal. Demand will take time to come back. 



It's a shame we don't have Mr. E around any more to put things in perspective. He loved to eat at the weaknesses of atheists and people of different romantic preferences and collectives of all stripe and he would have caught every move in the market the last two months while cornering the soybean crop. I remember I took him out to dinner one evening and there was an attractive younger female with us and he admitted that he controlled the entire soybean crop and had just visited all his holdings on a trip to the Midwest (with his girl friend whose fare back I paid) because she didn't want to wait 3 days for a reduced fare). The attractive female didn't even look at me the whole evening as she was totally fascinated with E.



A retired state epidemiologist/former chief scientist of of European CDC, says Imperial paper "no good" and that all countries will end up pretty much the same; i.e. lockdown measures only spread out the fatalities. Thinks real death rate will be 0.1%. Well worth the time listening to (Interview in English):

"Swedish Expert: Why Lockdowns are the Wrong Policy"



I looked for historical instances in which the S&P 500 made a 6-month low and was at least 10% higher 20 days later (with no new low in the meantime). I found 14 instances going back to 1982 and determined the net changes in the next 21 days and the next 63 days.

                       % change      % change
    Date              21 days later 63 days later
          9/10/1982         13.4%        16.6%
          8/21/1984         -0.9%        -4.9%
           1/5/1988         -2.6%        -0.6%
         11/12/1999          0.3%        -1.5%
           5/3/2001          1.2%        -3.1%
         10/19/2001          7.6%         4.4%
          8/20/2002        -10.4%        -4.2%
          11/6/2002         -1.3%      overlap
         12/19/2008         -6.3%        -8.5%
           4/6/2009         10.5%         6.4%
           8/2/2010         -6.6%         5.6%
         10/31/2011         -0.3%         6.1%
          3/11/2016          2.2%         4.3%
          1/24/2019          6.2%        10.9%

Average                      0.9%         2.4%
Standard deviation           6.7%         7.0%
N                              14           13
t                            0.12         0.19
Average of all periods          0.7%         2.0%

Results are consistent with randomness. Maybe the forward-looking statistics were more bullish a month ago.



"Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services Partner to Distribute More Than Half a Million Medical Supplies Confiscated from Price Gougers"

Victor Niederhoffer writes: 

The speculator as hero. The siege of Antwerp.

Rudolf Hauser writes: 

For the private sector to inventory supplies, etc. for potential future periods of shortages requires a return for their investment and the risk that such shortages will never happen. Someone or some organization should be able to charge higher prices during such a shortage so that they precautionary investment will be rewarded. That will encourage such future behavior to be warranted. There also is a worthwhile function when someone buys large amounts in areas with adequate supply in order to make then available in areas of shortages.

From a demand standpoint, pricing insures that those who get the most value from a scarce product will be buyers when it comes to most goods and services.

But things are different when after a crisis is clearly at hand, someone purchases large amounts with the intention of cornering a market and selling at inflated prices. Nor is price a fair distribution mechanism when it is a matter of life and death and it would have maximum utility for all and the ability to purchase is limited by the means to pay at one's disposal. The most basic human right is the right to survival in oth non-human animal world and in the human world. Any enforcement against price gouging should be limited to such agents, not those who purchased before a crisis situation was well known. Nor should agents who purchased before a crisis be forced to sell at any point in time. It is in their advantage to sell when the shortage is greater. If they hold off selling, it may be because they see an even greater need in the future, and they might just be right. In that case society would be better off if they hold off selling. When the future is so uncertain, better more judgements than fewer making such decisions. 



Sort by over 65 here and see that Italy is second only to Japan. The same sort puts most African countries at the bottom of the sort.

Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19

Governments around the world must rapidly mobilize and make difficult policy decisions to mitigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because deaths have been concentrated at older ages, we highlight the important role of demography, particularly, how the age structure of a population may help explain differences in fatality rates across countries and how transmission unfolds. We examine the role of age structure in deaths thus far in Italy and South Korea and illustrate how the pandemic could unfold in populations with similar population sizes but different age structures, showing a dramatically higher burden of mortality in countries with older versus younger populations. This powerful interaction of demography and current age-specific mortality for COVID-19 suggests that social distancing and other policies to slow transmission should consider the age composition of local and national contexts as well as intergenerational interactions. We also call for countries to provide case and fatality data disaggregated by age and sex to improve real-time targeted forecasting of hospitalization and critical care needs.



Happy to say that Mr. Greedometer Mr. Seymour is still going strong. He surprised me at a spec party when he came up to me and said that I said he shouldn't be on list. I said it couldn't be. then I realized it was him.

Steve Ellison writes: 

I still remember Sam Eisenstadt telling Mr. Seymour at the Spec Party that his work indicated a likely 10-15% increase in the S&P 500 during the following 6 months (this was in April 2014).



Some nice maps:

The Subways Seeded the Massive Coronavirus Epidemic in New York City

Jeffrey E. Harris

NBER Working Paper No. 27021

Issued in April 2020 NBER Program(s):Health Economics

New York City's multitentacled subway system was a major disseminator – if not the principal transmission vehicle – of coronavirus infection during the initial takeoff of the massive epidemic that became evident throughout the city during March 2020. The near shutoff of subway ridership in Manhattan – down by over 90 percent at the end of March – correlates strongly with the substantial increase in the doubling time of new cases in this borough. Maps of subway station turnstile entries, superimposed upon zip code-level maps of reported coronavirus incidence, are strongly consistent with subway-facilitated disease propagation. Local train lines appear to have a higher propensity to transmit infection than express lines. Reciprocal seeding of infection appears to be the best explanation for the emergence of a single hotspot in Midtown West in Manhattan. Bus hubs may have served as secondary transmission routes out to the periphery of the city.



A few of us were around during 1960-82. These were bad years in the US. There were riots in the cities, the Viet Nam war, presidents were assassinated, impeached, there was a serious threat of nuclear annihilation. The stock market ranged up and down 40% for close to 20 years. The 70's were especially bad.

Hernan Avella writes: 

Everybody anchors to the familiar, to the period of time that fits their model of the world or their desires. Ray Dalio thinks we are in the 1930-1945, Stefan thinks we are in the 1920's, Ralph Vince thinks this is 1987… I don't feel very confident in any narrow set of outcomes outside minutes or hours.



I have some questions regarding eurodollars and attempted to answer them myself: Why is GE quoted as interest rates, but de facto acts like a commodity ? Why were GE quotes up (rates on eurodollar deposits down) during the 2008/2020 crises. There was lots of cash demand.

- GE futures prices DO show de facto demand for cash (any fx cash offshore demand)
- GE is priced as rate to par of deposits
- GE reacts to or anticipates FED rates, as FED reacts to cash demand
- the rate of the deposits are not directly driven by supply and demand of global cash, but are driven by "external"/ non-eurodollar-mkt interest rates
- GE quotes can not be understand by the internal supply and demand of the eurodollar mkt conclusion: even GE-quotes are interest rates, GE-quotes act de facto like commodity prices, e.g. currently show huge cash demand.

Does you agree with my answers?



Another anniversary in history of American public violence: April 19th, Baltimore Riot of 1861



I suspect money from the Fed is at the root of this. Follow the money. I've been saying all along that they've been counting all death as coronas. That's why the other deaths in NY are down. The purpose is not only to get Fed money it's to embarrass the prez and increase the deep state. They're now saying he overstated vents needed was because of CDC estimates. It's a horse from the same garage. And has everybody seen the two love letters of Fauci to the cattle trader? How do you expect a 80 year old basketball player to change his stripes and inclination…I say it's the same as relying on the Chinese wall in merger negotiations at the big investment banks. Human nature never changes the incentive to make money or have sex.



1 barrel = 158.987 litres 20$/barrel=0.1258$/Litre

A bottle of water costs cheaper now. So do I drink crude? At least on the trading desk!

Massive contango. Next Month is 35% higher and the month after is 60% higher. Isn't this a free lunch? So one is wondering if it is free then is there something that I haven't figured out that can end up making me the lunch?

Isn't the senator's ratio of price of anything / price of gold in case of crude at an all time low?



 April 9th:

The best advice on the stock market during a "bear market" is contained in a book by Frank Kelly Why You Win or Lose: The Psychology of Speculation written in 1930 by a man who played the market during the 1929 crash and after and profited.

The advice is "the wrong behavior is almost sure to be seemingly logical behavior". Indeed one of the most charming things about the stock market is that one may prospect there by being illogical. The few who contrive to take more out of the market than they put into take more out by by going contrary to what would generally be accepted as logic. They do the opposite of what seemingly intelligent speculators are doing. Kelly gives many examples of this for the 1929 crash. Stocks go down on good news and up on bad news. A stock announces a dividend (earnings beat) and goes down but it rises when the dividend decreases (earnings masses) and goes up. Many other examples are given as to why the public buys stocks when the prices are near the top and sells them when prices are near the bottom.

No better example of the value of the illogical is given by the price behavior this week. For example, today. Friday March 7th, unemployment was at 8.5 million and 8 million more claims came in. What a time to take advantage of the coming carnage than that

At the beginning of the week the surgeon general reported that this would be a disastrous week or the hell of a week. Dr. Fauci in an interview give his usual prolonging the likely course of the recovery and downplaying the host of a cure within 4 months (why don't they confine him to jogging around a forlorn and distant track while others try to salvage any hopes of recovery). The drum beater of bad news continued during the week with headlines about retailers coming failure to meet debt payments and even online marketers were hurting because although views were up, advertising revenues were way down. Hardly a nook was spared. Typical was the highlight that airline leasing companies were in jeopardy to say nothing of the layoffs in Boeing and all travel companies.

No wonder the market has its best week in 48 years and that it is now 30% above its previous low. A content analysis of the negativity of news or headlines in the media this week would show this was the most negative on record. The WSJ was almost as negative as the NYT if that possible.

Is there any solution for succumbing to this all to human proclivity? Yes. A study of numbers will help. One example, it was 40 or so days without the stock market hitting a 20 day high. Such extended durations without a drink (or romance) are rare.

They have an expectation and Sharpe quite in line with what transpired. I could give many other examples. For example the big Friday decline that preceded the biggest rally ever. You have to be illogical and you can't assume that what happened in vivid memory continues.

Typical of all the bad news on the virus front was the number of new deaths and new reported incidents in NY reaching a maximum. (When will the common man understand that the more they test the greater than number of new virus will be found.

And the news that the after effect of ventilator cures are likely to be worse than shuffling off itself. As a benchmark the number tested is less than 10% of the population in almost all areas. The constant increase in the areas under lockdown and the extension everywhere. How illogical can you be?

T SUBSCRIBER 1 minute ago: "What we are doing is working," Dr. Fauci told reporters Thursday." Um, excuse me Dr. Fauci, you and your sidekick are strangling the economy of the US based on your euphoria over of this "pandemic". Mr. President, do what we elected you to do.

For all those against reopening the country until things are perfectly safe please educate yourself: (cont)

One more thing. Companies like Fedex and businesses like the professional sports have say 600,000 workers and the death rate is less than 10 deaths. How have they done it. They take care and use their common sense to distance.

Take manufacturing jobs 19 million or so. They are all used to tight work rules and restrictions on distancing. They would use choice and common sense to resume their jobs and pursuit of happiness. How did Mencken, Nock and Rand predict that we would give up all our liberties with a whimper.

What's amazing is that Kelly was able to profit by swing when commissions were so high unlike Livermore he was not born to commit himself in the Netherlands (never go near 62nd street). His swinging at least was with a several month holding period usually without margin.

Kelly didn't use margin and his average swing was 3 months hold so he didn't vig himself to death.

Follow @VicNiederhoffer on Twitter for more



 I bused today to Mexicali, Mexico out of Coronavirus curiosity. ­The Mexico border, despite all news and government reports, is wide open. There was zero wait, no questions, and no one even asked for an ID.

About half of the people on the streets are wearing masks. Vehicle traffic is a quarter normal. Buses are down but taxis still running. The city has ordered all businesses to close but about 20% of them have refused to comply without consequences. Hotel prices are halved. Taxi prices are halved. Street hookers ply their trade as usual.

There is no run on goods in the stores as there is in the U.S. That is not the Mexican mentality, according to the locals. They live for the day and let tomorrow take care of itself. Street vendors and shop sole proprietors who rely on daily sales to live hand-to-mouth are profligate behind masks.

I walked into the Walmart where customers are required to take a squirt of disinfectant on the hands and to enter singly and remain 6' apart from other clients and staff while shopping. This store and other chains are broadcasting on loudspeakers every five minutes, 'Mexicali is a dangerous place to be. The reason is because you are on the streets and not at home. Go home and remain there as soon as you finish shopping.'



The alleged reason why there is no more Coronavirus related deaths in Wuhan.



You recall they found a lot of iridium at the KT boundary in sediment, corresponding with the extinction of dinosaurs ~65M yrs ago. Luis Alvarez and others concluded that a decent size asteroid struck near what is now Yucatan around that time, resulting in mass extinction.

Long ago (but not that long) when I was involved with astrophotography I befriended* Gene and Carolyn Shoemaker. Gene's dissertation was on Arizona meteor (Barringer) crater, where he discovered "shocked quartz": quartz crystals with microscopically features diagnostic of a large impact. He and his wife spent their life searching for other such impacts, using satellite images and rock samples.

Early on they teamed up with Eleanor "Glo" Helin of Caltech (and my former neighbor), searching the skies for other possible earth-crossing asteroids (there are many of them). Every month taking images with the 18" Schmidt camera (telescope) at Mt Palomar, Gene built a microscope comparator to check images a few days apart to look for stars that moved (=asteroids or comets. Similar to how Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh using blink comparator). With this device the movement was seen as a 3D relief - like a star floating above the others).

Like many partnerships this ended in a feud, and the Shoemakers and Glo weren't on speaking terms. Caltech resolved it by giving one team the week before new moon (the dark part of the month), and the other after new moon. But Carolyn - who was not a professional astronomer (she met Gene when he was her brother's classmate at Caltech) - was very good at spotting these floating smudges, and went on to set the record of discovery of comets by a woman (Jean Mueller eventually broke this record - story for another time). The shoemakers went on to partner with amateur David Levy, who together discovered comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 - which impacted on Jupiter's atmosphere in spectacular fashion.

Anyway in those days there were cautionary calls for more programs to search for wayward asteroids that could impact the earth. Some suggested huge funding - to try to find these bodies early and also weapons that could be launched to deflect them away from the earth.

The Shoemakers are gone now (Gene died in a head-on collision in Australia while searching for impacts), and so is the impact worry. But imagine (if you will), that today's crisis - instead of a tiny virus - was an inbound rock 10 miles in diameter. "Why? Why Orangeman, didn't you fund X,Y,Z, when your top scientists said it was important? Why did you defund the 18" Schmidt on Palomar (a wonderful but obsolete instrument) when it could have saved us?

*I was using gas hypersensitized Kodak technical pan 2415 film, which they used as well. I did some studies on optimizing this process and that is how we met.



There is a very low but non-zero incidence of prosthetic joint infection with oral organisms. The vast majority are skin bugs (staph aureus, etc), but also colon, respiratory, and genital cooties on rare occasion travel the blood and land on a metal joint. Such transfers can also occur brushing and flossing, eating, defecating, or with sex. So for most people that’s a lot of antibiotics.

Mostly because of CYA, years ago the recommendation was prophylactic antibiotics prior to any dental procedure that could result in bleeding, such as oral surgery, tooth cleaning, etc. Then the dental and orthopedic organizations got together and said for the vast majority this was not necessary, in fact not advised - due to risk of allergic reaction and increasing bacterial resistance. The position paper said it should be reserved for high risk joint replacement patients, without exactly defining that risk. IMO patients with prior prosthetic joint replacements are high risk, as are others including poorly controlled diabetes.

That said most orthos want pts to keep doing this for ever, which reverts again to CYA.

There is a much stronger case for patients with prosthetic heart valves, though mainly the mechanical type.



It's been interesting to observe the performance of different "hedges" during the current drawdown. Up until Ronin demise Vol was your best friend. At that point long term bonds were 45 full points below max, and a rotation seemed sensible. A naive RPM type of approach would suggest that, with bonds 30 points above min and the potential effects of the stimulus start to sink in the minds of the collective…. perhaps gold will be a better partner for risk in the next sequence.


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