Weekend Linkfest!

Sunday, February 05, 2006 | 06:30 PM

Good Weekend ! My bulbs and perennials are as confused about this weather as I am -- Shoots are coming up all around my yard here in NY. Gotta love global warming in January, tho I suspect we may have different feelings about it come August. Seasonably cold weather should return by next weekend, and that could impact Oil prices. Besides, the Superbowl is being played in a domed stadium.

Weather aside, now that we have put this week behind us, with its lots-o-earnings and economic releases, the pace of reports begins to slow considerably. That leaves us lots  of time to see what links are worth chasing down!

Let's get down to it:

Alan Abelson notes that "We won't have Alan Greenspan to kick around anymore (if no Barron's, go here);

The Real Estate Soufflé is a much better and more accurate term than Bubble;  When a soufflé falls as it comes out of the oven, it doesn't pop like a bubble -- it gently drifts back down part of the way towards its original levels;

• Got fiber to the premises installed by now? You should have. The telcos promised it in exchange for massive tax breaks back in 1998. Read all about it in the $200 Billion Broadband Scandal;

• Don't be in such a rush for the Fed tightening cycle to end; Once Fed Hikes Stop, Markets Fall;

• Thank goodness there's no inflation; otherwise, all these prices that keep going up might become a problem: The squeeze on American pocketbooks;

Myths of the Greenspan Era is a look at some of the Urban legends that seem to have grown around the newly departed Fed Chair;

• Meet the New Boss:  The Best Writings of Ben S. Bernanke;   

Bill Miller warns his new shareholders: "If your expectation is that we will outperform the market every year, you can expect to be disappointed."

Does the Market really hate "Uncertainty?"

• Over the past two years, optimistic supply-siders like Larry Kudlow and Brian Wesbury, as well as the charter members of the Doom and Gloom Caucus—James Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, Alan Abelson of Barron's, and Steven Roach of Morgan Stanley—have all argued that the Greenspan Fed was reckless in keeping rates so low for so long and ignoring signs of inflation;

New Home Sales tend to peak 6 months before construction employment, which may peak six months before recessions;

• A paired trade:

BW: Why The Economy Is A Lot Stronger Than You Think

EPI: What's wrong with the economy?   

Bernie Shaeffer looks at the new VIX Options;

• The folks in the fairytale snows at Davos seem awfully complacent;

• You knew it was true, and now there's Scientific proof: Brain Scans Show Link Between Lust for Sex and Money;

• My favorite sentence of the week:  "The wisdom of crowds" is just another name for "the behavior of distributed algorithms;"   

• The leaked Downing Street memo continues to vex British Prime Minister Tony Blair;

• All the news about Google tracking our every move led me to this NYT article: How to Outwit the World's Internet Censors;

• This year's crop of Superbowl ads should be posted on line shortly. (All of last year's SuperBowl ads are at iFilm); Be sure too see the collection of commercials deemed  "Too Sexy for the Superbowl;" 

• A stained sheet of Beatles lyrics went on display in London today before a sealed-bid auction. John Lennon's hand written draft of the words to A Day in the Life, from the 1967 album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, is expected to sell for up to $4 million. They are considered the most valuable musical manuscripts of the 20th century;

• Andy Borowitz cracked me up this week

Former Fed Chief’s Inscrutable Statements Baffle Wife

In his first day at home since stepping down from his post as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan made a series of cryptic, inscrutable pronouncements that left his wife, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, totally baffled.

The former Fed chief was renowned for his confusing, often incomprehensible statements about the markets and the economy while testifying to Congress, but according to Ms. Mitchell, those remarks were “a piece of cake” to understand compared to the mixed messages he has been sending at home.

The trouble began at the breakfast table, Ms. Mitchell said, when she asked the former Fed chief what he wanted to eat, a question which led to a serpentine 45-minute response.

“To order ham and eggs at this time is tempting, but may not be warranted given my desire to keep my cholesterol below a reasonable ceiling,” Mr. Greenspan reportedly said.

The rest of it is even funnier . . .

• The album getting the most plays in the iPod lately is Ray LaMontagne's Trouble -- Terrific stuff;

That's all from TiVo central, where I am ready for the upcoming final season of the Sopranos to begin next month. Bada Bing!

Sunday, February 05, 2006 | 06:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
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Your favorite sentence of the week is from December 2004, which is fine, but there's a reason why this argument hasn't already been advanced further. If you have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail, and I think the author was guilty of that here and, as he feared, was being unfair to Surowiecki based on a publisher's excerpt.

Please explain why you think the metaphor of distributed algorithms is more apt to "the wisdom of crowds" than Surowiecki's invocation of the law of large numbers whereby uncorrelated biases cancel each other out.

Please explain how human agents are reducible to algorithms and how they are governed by "precise engineering". Feel free to illustrate this with examples of algorithmic race conditions, deadlock, livelock, etc, and explain why Surowiecki's treatment of feedback trading and correlated biases is insufficient.

It's not that I think that prediction markets can do no wrong. I am very interested in their failures and in cases where structural factors like hedging, favorite-longshot bias and interest rates invalidate the probabilistic interpretations of their prices, as well as in general overconfidence in prediction, etc. It seems like you didn't really read this link and just threw it in because its tone struck a chord with your rightful skepticism.

Posted by: Jason Ruspini | Feb 6, 2006 10:30:07 AM

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