economics

Conan Boyles will pudge the daylives out through him, if they are correctly informed

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In 2012, hedge fund manager and venture capitalist Albert Hu was convicted of a financial fraud that stretched from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong. Today, he is locked up in the minimum security wing of Lompoc federal prison—inmate #131600-111—without access to the Internet. But, somehow, his bogus investment firm has come back to life.

On the surface, Asenqua Ventures appears to be legitimate. It has a website. It has a working voicemail system and lists a Northern California office address. It has distributed multiple press releases via PRNewswire, which were then picked up by reputable media organizations. It is included in financial industry databases like Crunchbase, PitchBook, and S&P Capital IQ. Its senior managers have LinkedIn profiles.

One of those profiles belonged to Stephen Adler, who earlier this week sent out hundreds of new Linkedin “connect” invitations (many of which were accepted). Among the recipients was Marty McMahon, a veteran executive recruiter who just felt that something was a bit off about Adler’s profile. So he did a Google reverse image search on Adler’s profile pic, and quickly learned that the headshot actually belonged to a San Diego real estate agent named Dan Becker.

McMahon called Dan Becker, who he says was stunned to learn that his photo was being used by someone who he didn’t know. Then McMahon did another image search for the LinkedIn profile pic of Adler’s colleague, Michael Reed. This time it led him to Will Fagan, another San Diego realtor who often works with Dan Becker.

{ Fortune | Continue reading }

Do you know she was calling bakvandets sals from all around, nyumba noo

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Two hedge fund “quants” have come up with an algorithm that diagnoses heart disease from MRI images, beating nearly 1,000 other teams in one of the most ambitious competitions in artificial intelligence.

{ Financial Times | Continue reading }

Qi Liu and Tencia Lee, hedge fund analysts and self-described “quants,” didn’t know each other before they won the competition, beating out more than 1,390 algorithms. They met each other in a forum on the Kaggle site, where the competition was hosted over a three-month period.

{ WSJ | Continue reading }

He always had a smile on his face. Maybe it’s because he was working in customer service.

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The shipping industry is struggling through its worst recession in half a century, and that icon of globalization — the mega-container ship — is a major part of the problem.

Between 1955 and 1975, the average volume of a container ship doubled — and then doubled again over each of the next two decades. The logic behind building such giants was once unimpeachable: Globalization seemed like an unstoppable force, and those who could exploit economies of scale could reap outsized profits.

But by 2008, that logic had begun to falter. Even as global trade volumes collapsed after the financial crisis, with disastrous effects on the cargo business, ship owners were still commissioning more and bigger boats. That had ruinous consequences: This year, 18 percent of the world’s container ships are anchored and idle. […]

Such boats make prime targets for cyberattacks and terrorism, suffer from a dearth of qualified personnel to operate them, and are subject to huge insurance premiums. […]

Yet the biggest costs associated with these floating behemoths are on land — at the ports that are scrambling to accommodate them. New cranes, taller bridges, environmentally perilous dredging, and even wholesale reconfiguration of container yards are just some of the costly disruptions that might be needed to receive a Benjamin Franklin and service it efficiently. Even when taxpayers foot the bill for such upgrades, the costs can be passed on to vessel operators in the form of higher port fees.

Under such circumstances, you’d think that ship owners would start to steer clear of big boats. But, fearful of falling behind the competition and hoping to put smaller operators out of business, they’re actually doing the opposite.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?

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Citigroup is suing AT&T for saying thanks to its own loyal customers […] Citigroup has trademarks on the phrases “thankyou” and “Citi thankyou,” as well as other variations of those terms.

{ Ars Technica | Continue reading }

Just learn how to capture your luck, for your luck is always there

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As Goethe observed in 1797, “the publisher always knows the profit to himself and his family whereas the author is totally in the dark.” This problem of lopsided information was aggravated by the near-absence of copyright protection in the 18th and 19th century. A bestseller could be expected to spawn an abundance of pirated versions. Charles Dickens, on his first trip to the United States in 1842, complained endlessly about the pirating of his works for the U.S. market. This lack of intellectual property protection led to further conflicts of interest and opinion between authors and publishers: it was standard practice among publishers — even respectable ones — to have multiple print runs without an author’s permission, and writers sometimes tried to sell near-identical editions of the same title to multiple publishers. Because authors couldn’t trust the sales numbers if and when their publishers provided them, 19th-century book contracts were for a fixed fee rather than per-copy royalty payments. […]

Goethe engineered the following mechanism […]

I am inclined to offer Mr. Vieweg from Berlin an epic poem, Hermann and Dorothea, which will have approximately 2000 hexameters. …Concerning the royalty we will proceed as follows: I will hand over to Mr. Counsel Böttiger [Goethe’s lawyer] a sealed note which contains my demand, and I wait for what Mr. Vieweg will suggest to offer for my work. If his offer is lower than my demand, then I take my note back, unopened, and the negotiation is broken. If, however, his offer is higher, then I will not ask for more than what is written in the note to be opened by Mr. Böttiger.

Scholars had treated Goethe’s proposition as one of the enigmas left behind by one of history’s greatest literary figures. But the economists argue that there’s no mystery to Goethe’s choice of mechanism. The author wanted to know how much he was worth to Vieweg, and he devised this peculiar “auction” to get Vieweg to tell him.

{ The Millions | Continue reading }

police responding to N Yale/Macrum - report of a “Beer Olympics” taking place - participants urinating on cars

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A 2013 study published in the journal Circulation found that men who skipped breakfast had a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease than men who ate breakfast. But, like almost all studies of breakfast, this is an association, not causation. […]

In a paper published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013, researchers reviewed the literature on the effect of breakfast on obesity to look specifically at this issue. They first noted that nutrition researchers love to publish results showing a correlation between skipping breakfast and obesity. […] They also found major flaws in the reporting of findings. People were consistently biased in interpreting their results in favor of a relationship between skipping breakfast and obesity. […]

Further confusing the field is a 2014 study that found that getting breakfast skippers to eat breakfast, and getting breakfast eaters to skip breakfast, made no difference with respect to weight loss. […]

Many of the studies are funded by the food industry, which has a clear bias. Kellogg funded a highly cited article that found that cereal for breakfast is associated with being thinner. The Quaker Oats Center of Excellence (part of PepsiCo) financed a trial that showed that eating oatmeal or frosted cornflakes reduces weight and cholesterol.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Jeff Koons, Hair, 1999 }

related { Corn Flake Portraits of Pop Stars }

Holzwege proved a disarmingly difficult title to translate, or even understand: Holz means “wood,” and were means “paths.” Thus: “Paths in the Forest”—but Holzwege are not just any paths. They are paths made not for the forest but the trees; paths for finding and carrying wood (back to your hut), not for getting from point A to B. And when you are on one, you are, proverbially, on the wrong path.

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The mantra of Wall St hedge funds was once “only the strongest will survive.” It may now have to change to “the geeks will inherit the earth.”

Hedge fund “quants” who use computer systems to trade financial markets earned more money than some of the industry’s most famous stockpickers, who posted large losses in 2015.

The most prominent among the quants was string theory expert and former code breaker James Simons of Renaissance Technologies, who earned $1.7bn, putting him in joint first place.

He was joined in the top 10 earners by former Columbia University computer science professor David Shaw of DE Shaw who made $750m and John Overdeck and David Siegel of Two Sigma who made $500m each.

Their success came in stark contrast to some of the biggest names on Wall Street who rely on human investment judgment rather than lines of computer code.

{ FT | Continue reading }

quote { Cabinet magazine | full story }

Turn all the lights up 2 10

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{ Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo, designed by Asao Tokolo — he will be awarded ¥1 million ($8,250) and a free ticket to the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. }

‘And may I thank the Prime Minister for the advance sight of his statement, it is absolutely a masterclass in the art of distraction.’ —Jeremy Corbyn

Almost Nothing About the ‘Apple Harvests Gold From iPhones’ Story Is True

‘I wonder if Superman ever put glasses on Lois Lane’s dog & she was like, “I’ve never seen this dog before. Is this a new dog?’ —Rob Fee

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Katy Perry, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart are asking the U.S. government to reform provisions of copyright law that they say enrich large technology companies at their expense.

The three are among the more than 100 artists and managers who have filed petitions asking the U.S. Copyright Office to amend parts of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The office has said it will study the effects of so-called safe harbor provisions in the law, which shield services such as YouTube from liability when users upload copyrighted material without permission. […]

The industry is stepping up its fight as streaming becomes a more significant source of sales. Revenue from such services increased 29 percent last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, with most of that growth coming from paid subscription services that license music. Sales of CDs, along with online purchases of music, are shrinking.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

painting { Dan Witz }

89 flowers on their back… inventors of the Accu-jack

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MasterCard and Visa didn’t make, or even look, for profits for decades. MasterCard started as a not-for-profit membership association, in 1966, and Visa did the same, in 1971. Both associations managed their brands and ran the clearing and settlement systems for banks that issued cards or helped merchants accept cards. These card networks were allowed to charge their members just enough to cover cost and provide working capital. […]

Then the banks decided to turn the associations into for-profit companies, IPO them, and cash out. MasterCard IPO’d in 2006, and Visa followed two years later. Now they are very focused on making money. […]

Many other multisided platforms haven’t made the leap to making money. […] Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs) are multisided platforms that help members reach agreements over a standard (For example, mobile carriers, handset makers, chip providers and many others have to agree on a common standard — like 4G — for what they do to work together.) The SSO usually publishes a standard and disseminates it at low cost or even for free. That standard may then become a platform for many firms that produce complementary products and their customers.

{ Harvard Business Review | Continue reading }

Where would an investigator look for control hairs in a missing person’s case?

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Piper Jaffray analyst Stan Meyers said animated films generally cost about $100 million to make, as well as an additional $150 million to promote.

An executive producer who wants to drastically cut costs traditionally has two choices: water and hair. Those are the most expensive things to replicate accurately via animation. It’s no mistake that the characters in Minions, the most profitable movie ever made by Universal, are virtually bald and don’t seem to spend much time in the ocean.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }