10 Sunday Reads

Settle in for some snowy Sunday morning reads:

• Questioning Your Most Dangerous Assumptions: Does Rebalancing Add Value? (Newfound)
• The History of the Global Equity Portfolio (Pragmatic Capitalism)
• Value Investing Fund Assessment: The Incorrect Approach (Alpha Architect)
• Swedroe: Be Leery Of Hedge Funds (ETF.com) see also Hedge Fund Wades Into RadioShack’s Rough Waters (WSJ)
• Why Tesla’s battery for your home should terrify utilities (Verge)
• The Primary Tactics Used to Influence Others (Farnam Street)
• Guy Who Gets Paid to Say Obamacare Doesn’t Work Can’t Find a Single True Fact to Support His Case (NY Magsee also Krugman: The Mystery of Moore (NYTimes)
• How to Counter the Russian Information War (Foreign Affairs)
• Would you leave your family behind to live on Mars? These people would. (Washington Post)
• FiveThirtyEight’s Election-Style Oscar Predictions (FiveThirtyEight) see also The Biggest Best Picture Upsets At The Oscars In The Past 25 Years (FiveThirtyEight)

What are you reading?


Slow Burn

Source: WSJ


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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. VennData commented on Feb 22

    People who have Obamacare don’t love health insurance.

    – Rudy Guliani

  2. James Cameron commented on Feb 22

    The Harvard-Smithsonian Center – and Alcock – should have been aware of this . . .

    “He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.”

    Dr. Alcock said that, aside from the disclosure issue, he thought it was important to protect Dr. Soon’s academic freedom, even if most of his colleagues disagreed with his findings.”

    Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher

    http://goo.gl/UqNgm5 (NYTimes)

  3. Jojo commented on Feb 22

    Artificial intelligence and nanotechnology ‘threaten civilisation’
    Technologies join nuclear war, ecological catastrophe, super-volcanoes and asteroid impacts in Global Challenges Foundation’s risk report

    Wednesday 18 February 2015

    Artificial intelligence and nanotechnology have been named alongside nuclear war, ecological catastrophe and super-volcano eruptions as “risks that threaten human civilisation” in a report by the Global Challenges Foundation.

    In the case of AI, the report suggests that future machines and software with “human-level intelligence” could create new, dangerous challenges for humanity – although they could also help to combat many of the other risks cited in the report.

    “Such extreme intelligences could not easily be controlled (either by the groups creating them, or by some international regulatory regime), and would probably act to boost their own intelligence and acquire maximal resources for almost all initial AI motivations,” suggest authors Dennis Pamlin and Stuart Armstrong.


    • rd commented on Feb 22

      Arnold Schwarzenegger was years ahead of them with the “Terminator”. They need to read more science fiction and watch more movies.

  4. Jojo commented on Feb 22

    Have We Found Alien Life?
    Microbes that eat and breathe electricity have forced scientists to reimagine how life works–on this planet and others

    January 21, 2015

    Kenneth Nealson is looking awfully sane for a man who’s basically just told me that he has a colony of aliens incubating in his laboratory.

    We’re huddled in his modest office at the University of Southern California (USC), on the fifth floor of Stauffer Hall. Nealson is wearing a rumpled short-sleeve shirt, a pair of old suede loafers, white socks–your standard relaxed academic attire–and leaning back comfortably in his chair. An encouraging collection of academic awards hangs on one wall. Propped behind him is a well-worn guitar, which he sometimes breaks out to accompany his wife’s singing. And across the hall is the explanation for his quiet confidence: beakers and bottles full of bacteria that are busily breaking the long-accepted rules of biology.

    Life, Nealson is explaining, all comes down to energy. From the mightiest blue whale to the most humble microbe, every organism depends on moving and manipulating electrons; it’s the fuel that living matter uses to survive, grow, and reproduce. The bacteria at USC depend on energy, too, but they obtain it in a fundamentally different fashion. They don’t breathe in the sense that you and I do. In the most extreme cases, they don’t consume any conventional food, either. Instead, they power themselves in the most elemental way: by eating and breathing electricity. Nealson gestures at his lab. That’s what they are doing right there, right now.

    “All the textbooks say it shouldn’t be possible,” he says, “but by golly, those things just keep growing on the electrode, and there’s no other source of energy there.”


    • Crocodile Chuck commented on Feb 22

      I believe what you [& the article] refer to is more properly called ‘archea’-uni cellular organisms separate from, and more primitive than, bacteria. Archea frequently inhabit reducing environments, feature ‘exotic’ metabolisms, and contain glycerol in their cell membranes, in distinction to prokaryotes [‘normal’ bacteria]: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/archaea/archaea.html.

  5. Jojo commented on Feb 22

    Washington Post
    Efforts aimed at slowing the aging process have produced some promising results
    By Tara Bahrampour
    July 2 2014

    Some promising avenues in age-delaying research:

    Caloric restriction: In moderation, limiting caloric intake has been shown to lower the incidence of aging-related deaths in many strains of mice and rats and in rhesus monkeys, reducing the incidence of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and brain atrophy. Because few people would be expected to adopt a diet that cut back significantly on their diets, scientists are looking for drugs that mimic the effects of caloric restriction.


  6. Willy2 commented on Feb 22

    “How to Counter the Russian Information War (Foreign Affairs)”

    Pathetic. We should ask ourselves; “How to Counter the American Information War”.

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Feb 22

      Why by electing Putin as dictator of the world so his God-like intellect can guide us all, of course.

    • ilsm commented on Feb 22


      Why not Putin, he is as democratic as either of the Koch boys who own congress. While the NYT and the rest are pushing war in the tradition of “Remember the Maine”.

      In this case the issue is not a holed battle ship but a CIA operation installing fascists.

      The Koch boys’ US’ intent is to move the NATO nuclear tripwire to Donetsk!

  7. Singmaster commented on Feb 22

    Thanks Swag.
    Need to read that one in more detail. I was eager to try it out.

  8. RW commented on Feb 22

    A thought for Sunday: the October forecast that near-record Siberian snow cover would lead to a brutal eastern US winter has been vindicated

    …here we are at the end of February, with snowstorm after snowstorm having raked the Northeast, and some of the most brutal and long-lasting cold in decades. Meanwhile, just as predicted by the forecast, temperatures in Alaska have been has high as 40 degrees above normal!

    Dr. Judah Cohen’s theory, and forecast, have been vindicated this winter.

    • ilsm commented on Feb 22


      I lived in Fairbanks 40 years ago. We had visitors from Atlanta, that week in February was warmer in Fairbanks than Georgia!

      Inversions have happened

  9. rd commented on Feb 22

    I think the big point about rebalancing that is being missed is how it works with investor behavior during periods when the market is going stark raving mad (Japan 1989, NASDAQ 1999, 1929, Nifty 50, 2007)) or quaking in its boots with fear (1932, 1982, 2009). These are the maximum inflection points for potential for portfolio destruction or missing out on a bull market. If the investor has bought into it, the rebalancing discipline can save a portfolio in a way that is far more important than just picking up a few basis points on an annual basis. Recovery will occur far faster than a “buy-and-hold” approach which helps greatly in the investor maintaining discipline.

    Similar to the US stock/US bond portfolio mix, adding even a small amount of international stocks as a separate class similar allows for rebalancing among markets with very different mood swings (like right now).

    Investing in market cap indices exposes you to the potential for manias to take over your portfolio (1999) with just a few individual securities dictating the performance of your entire portfolio. Rebalancing among the asset classes, even if they are cap weighted, means that the mania gets used to provide cash to buy the less loved asset classes. International funds became dominated by Japan in the late 80s while US stock funds became dominated by a few tech stocks in 1999 – those were fabulous opportunities to rhythmically buy other asset classes. That wasn’t easy for the individual investor to do in the 1970s and 80s but is now very easy.

    • rd commented on Feb 23

      That’s because Texas and Arizona are valiantly protecting consumers from the evil car companies using auto dealers as the primary consumer protection mechanism. It’s all in the best interest of “The People”.

  10. hoopsjunkie commented on Feb 22

    Regarding Krugman article….as a self-employed person who does not qualify for a subsidy my premiums DID skyrocket after Obama Care. My monthly health care cost went up 91% after Obama Care went into effect.

    I do like that the bill got rid of denying people for pre-existing conditions though. But I do hate how you just can’t cancel and move to another health care provider any time you want. Overall, thumbs down for me other than the pre-existing condition change.

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