10 Sunday Reads

The weekend continues apace. Settle in for our easy-like-Sunday-morning reads:

• A Dozen Ways Charlie Munger Thinks like Philip Tetlock Suggests in his New Book Superforecasting (25iq)
• Investment Risk and Performance Feature Articles : No Winners with High-Fee Funds (CFA Institute)
• How Volkswagen Got Away With Diesel Deception (NYTsee also Is the New Mercedes Sports Car a Sales Dud? (Bloomberg)
• These Are the Fed’s Three Weapons If the Economy Falters (Bloomberg)
• The Chinese exchange that lured 220,000 investors may have been a giant Ponzi scheme (Quartz)
• Why We Hate Cheap Things (The Book of Life) see also Buying begets buying: how stuff has consumed the average American’s life (Guardian)
• For presidential hopefuls, simpler language resonates (Boston Globe)
• 5 Islands That Are Super Easy to Move To (Islands)
• Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages (Newsweeksee also Conservative Media: Clinton Won the Benghazi Hearing (The Atlantic)
• Astronomers Peer Inside Stars, Finding Giant Magnets (Caltech)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Paul Desmond of Lowry’s Research.


Gasoline Prices Drop to Six-Year Low

Source: WSJ


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Discussions found on the web:
  1. DeDude commented on Oct 25

    Excellent question about why 4 dead diplomats in Benghazi require more hearings and longer “investigations” than the 9/11 attack killing 3000 civilians and countless of other attack on diplomats under other presidents.

    “no previous assault on a diplomatic outpost has received this kind of relentless expression of congressional outrage. There weren’t investigations that were anything on this scale about the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983 (63 killed), on the U.S. Embassy annex northeast of Beirut in 1984 (24 killed) or on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, in 2008 (18 killed). Republicans didn’t believe these exact same scenarios that took place under Republican presidents merited similar zeal to dig down to some unexposed, imaginary “truth.”

    No wonder that over 70% of the people understand that this has nothing to do with making diplomats safer and everything to do with making Hilary less safe.

  2. RW commented on Oct 25

    The Ideology of Money Scarcity
    The conservatives wield every opportunity to invoke the mantra that the government is broke and its spending must be reined in, while the liberals …find themselves helpless to refute the “logic” that the many things they want the government to spend money on are severely limited by the fact that everyone (including the U.S. government itself) is competing for what appears to be a finite and limited pot of dollars.

    As I’m about to demonstrate, this view of money is illogical at its core—and profoundly counter-productive for our society as a whole, not to mention millions of specific individuals and families who comprise the vast majority of that “whole.” …

    NB: In macroeconomics the most fundamental errors are often grounded in habits of thought, in what is taken for common sense; e.g., the “paradox of thrift” wherein everyone feels obliged to ‘tighten their belt’ during economic hard times and thereby worsens those times considerably (demand collapse) or the “lump of labor” fallacy wherein it is supposed a finite amount of work exists and therefore what is given to one must be taken from another. The notion that money (in a financially intermediated, fiat system) is a scarce commodity is another case in point.

  3. RW commented on Oct 25

    NYT Runs G.E. Press Release as News Story
    …this may come as a shock to the reporters and editors at the NYT, but companies are sometimes not truthful. That is why when G.E. announced that it was closing a factory in Wisconsin because it no longer had access to subsidized loans through the Export-Import Bank, the article should have said something to the effect of “G.E. claims to be closing factory because of lack of access to Export-Import Bank loans.” A serious newspaper would not take the assertion at face value or headline the article, “Ex-Im Bank Dispute Threatens G.E. Factory that Obama Praised.” …

  4. Jojo commented on Oct 25

    I love the Ancient Alien shows! They make a strong case alien visits influenced much in our past history. But OTOH, no one has yet discovered any “smoking gun” evidence to support these theories.
    10 Things You Don’t Know About
    Evidence of Ancient Aliens?

    Ancient alien theorists like Erich von Däniken believe that, thousands of years ago, extraterrestrials landed on Earth, where they were hailed as gods and helped shape human civilization. But what proof could possibly exist for such an encounter? Proponents of the theory point to two types of evidence: ancient religious texts and physical specimens such as cave drawings, stone sculptures and pyramids. Is your curiosity piqued? Here’s a quick introduction to some of the most famous examples.

    The Nazca Lines
    Etched into a high plateau in Peru’s Nazca Desert, a series of ancient designs stretching more than 50 miles has baffled archaeologists for decades. Along with simple lines and geometric shapes, they include drawings of animals, birds and humans, some measuring more than 600 feet across. Because of their colossal size, the figures can only be appreciated from way up in the air—and there is no evidence that the Nazca people, who inhabited the area between 300 B.C. and 800 A.D., invented flying machines. According to ancient alien theorists, the figures were used to guide spaceships as they came in for a landing, and the lines served as runways.

    Many Sanskrit epics, which were written in India more than two millennia ago, contain references to mythical flying machines called vimanas. Pointing to similarities between descriptions of vimanas and reports by people who claim to have seen UFOs, ancient alien theorists have suggested that astronauts from other planets visited India during ancient times.


  5. rd commented on Oct 25

    Interesting story on expected declines in average national income as temperatures increase. However, I think it misses two important things for the US:

    1. The best agricultural soils in the US are the glacial age soils in the northern portion of the country; and
    2. Sea level rise is most likely to impact the hottest areas of the country, so there shouldn’t be a double-whammy of sea level rising in livable areas with the exception of some northern coastal cities (i.e. NYC)


  6. RW commented on Oct 25

    WRT 25iq’s post: Charlie Munger as “superforecaster.”

    Both Munger and his partner got interest rates and effects of QE completely wrong: Buffet openly admitted it, Munger couldn’t get beyond admitting he was flabbergasted and the false assertion that nobody else saw it coming either. Presumably even a “superforecaster” can have a bad day (or a few years in this case) now and then w/o losing status but failure to honestly analyze an error does dull the escutcheon.

  7. intlacct commented on Oct 26

    re the Fed’s weapons: Fiscal policy needed to step up 8 years ago. Like unvaccinated kids, the average Republican voter needs to start taking action for their own benefit rather than infecting the rest of us by re-electing the 0.1%s lapdogs.

  8. intlacct commented on Oct 26

    re the unattractiveness of cheap things “Our reluctance to be excited by inexpensive things isn’t a fixed debility of human nature. It’s just a current cultural misfortune.” Cheapness = intellect.

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