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About BurntBread

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  1. Walking to work this morning, I noticed a number of people waiting at the bus stops, and the bus itself was quite busy (I haven't seen more than two passengers on it at any one time since March). On the way back, at half past five, the roads were significantly more busy than even yesterday, with queues at roundabouts, and the out-of-town retail-park car-park was rammed. I'm not sure why it's happened today rather than Monday 3rd, nor whether it will last. However, from my very limited perspective, I think the economy is finally getting up off its arse. Hooray! For what it's worth, my guess is that companies are realising they have to restart, or get strangled by the gradually increasing costs of furlough, and the reason I didn't see it on Monday was because premises took a couple of days to clean and prepare for work. Is anyone else seeing the same, or is this just my wishful thinking?
  2. Thank you Loki - that's an interesting question to me as a complete beginner. I only really started buying in April, and when, last weekend, I came to review what I'd bought, I had some sobering observations, some of which relate to what you ask. To begin with, I'm basically flat, even in this rising market, so I would have been a minor disaster if I had put my foot in at the start of the year. So, first observation is that I'm not good at this. I also resent having to be a gambler, and although overall I've been flat +/- 5%, that covers some wild swings in individual stocks, which would be an absolute white-knuckle ride if I didn't have some diversification (and I only have some). As I said, I hate being forced to be a gambler, but having seen the political actions over the last few months, I'm convinced that keeping cash is itself a gamble, and one with the odds stacked against me. Second, it's really hard to resist the temptation to adjust things, even though I know that I would be a catastrophe as a trader (I don't have the psychology for it). So, I have decided that I will only buy, never sell (with the exception that I plan to sell 75% of any PM miners if silver ever hits $200). So far, I have never sold a stock. Even so, I'm worrying enough about what I should add! HL seemed to give good general advice though, which I think I can summarise as: (1) Diversify; (2) Don't fiddle, and (3) Let time and compounding do their work. Anyway, enough of my whining, you raise a good question, and I'm going to make a simple observation from my basic knowledge of stats, which I guess most people know already. I don't understand the volatility of stocks, but let's keep it super-simple (and completely unrealistic - sorry), and suppose that they jump around in value, over some percentage range around a baseline price. If I just buy one company, then I'm in for a wild psychological ride, and I'm not going to get much sleep. However, if I buy several, and (in the best case) I have been really good and chosen stocks that jump around independently of each other, then if I hold 4, the swings in my portfolio price will be roughly half what they would be if I only held one. Similarly, a portfolio of 100 will reduce the size of the fluctuations by a factor of 10 compared to holding one stock. However, that only applies if I hold equal amounts of those 100 shares, which in general I won't. Instead, I hold a range of percentages of different stocks in my portfolio (which all add up to 100%). I might, for example, have 99% of my holding being RDSB, and 1% Google, then I'm not much better off (fluctuation wise) than holding just one stock. So, what is the "equivalent" number of stocks I hold, in the sense of what number of equal holdings would reduce the fluctuations to the same level? It turns out this is really easy to calculate in the fluctuation model above, just using high-school stats: You turn the percentages into the fractions of your portfolio (so a stock with a weighting of 50% has a fraction of a half). You then sum up the squares of the fractions, and the "equivalent" number of shares is one over this value. Here's the calculation for your portfolio. So, although you have 19 shares, the "equivalent" number (in terms of averaging out fluctuations in price) is actually 12. I don't know if that's useful. Stocks obviously do much more than fluctuate around a baseline (to the point where that is a meaningless statement), and their fluctuations have long tails, and correlations exist within and between sectors. However, I'm going to use this simple "equivalent number" measure as one way to keep an eye on the diversity of my holdings, and make sure I don't end up in the 99% RDSB / 1% Google scenario.
  3. Distanced from, and even forgotten by, the NHS & government is probably a good thing, I would say. The less I have to do with either, the happier I am. I do hope you manage to feel a bit more part of society again soon, though - but you seem to be doing a better job with that than most of us dissocial dosbodders. I almost never make casual conversation beyond the minimal "hello" or sign of acknowledgement in supermarket aisles or even on walks.
  4. I believe it is also possible to use willpower to postpone death from old age, at least for a couple of weeks. I remember there was some statistical study on a Jewish festival where the oldest family member takes a leading role, and the mortality rates for that age group are significantly lower for the two weeks before the festival (and higher thereafter). That or people just pretend that grandma is being very quiet, and politely wait for a fortnight before calling the doctor.
  5. You're extrapolating previous lunacy, and I can see why you might do that, as props and schemes have been added to the housing market that nobody thought were possible. However, I can't see things going as far as you say. To begin with, those repayment holidays might count as defaults under international banking rules, which could cause problems. Also, although it might be possible to pass on mortgages to the next generation, there is no way to make it compulsory. If the debt has increased beyond the value of the house, then people can just reject the inheritance. Maybe these are famous last words, but I genuinely think the great house scam has finally run out of road, in that from now on the costs required to keep it going have at last got much bigger than the costs of letting it end. I think that's true even with the HTB liability the government (i.e. us taxpayers) have shouldered.
  6. BurntBread

    Design Icons

    If Eric Gill were alive today, he would deserve a thread of his own. Also, I think arial was a slightly controversial rip-off of helvetica ... but that would be a less interesting thread.
  7. BurntBread


    It reads clearly as a declaration of a new cold war, and since it plays to values from America's foundation, and also evokes a previous, successful confrontation, I can see this new mission getting a lot of traction in the US, and furthermore being a force for domestic unification. I think the military will love it, because it's a battle against another communist state, and there is nothing that a general like more than fighting the last war all over again. He has really opened the Overton window a yard wide (although it begs some questions about America's own military-industrial-financial-corruption in countries e.g. in South America: "The diary of an economic hit-man"). He says China is not a normal country, and its state enterprises are not normal, profit-driven businesses. He calls for courage from other countries (and is it the UK he singles out for criticism?). He draws a clear distinction between China and the CCP, and essentially calls for regime change. I'm not sure how well that will play in China itself, though: the impression I get from various Chinese colleagues is that they are fiercely nationalistic, and that since the CCP is China's government, then despite whatever reservations they may have, supporting the CCP has a strong element of patriotism, especially if it's criticised from without. As an aside, I was struck by the setting and the praise that was heaped upon Nixon (whom people normally maintain a polite silence about). Given the subject, a good move, I think, to resurrect a tarnished reputation. I was also struck by the name of one of the dignitaries: "Julie Nixon Eisenhower". The land of the free is just as much an aristocratic hairball as good old Blighty. Spy, I don't follow much news. Could you expand a bit on why Pompeo is not electable, and what you mean by "Trump letting him pursue his own interests"? (Do you mean more than that Pompeo has a bee in his bonnet about China?).
  8. Not quite. I mean that it would make sense as a narrative if you follow it for long enough, and there might even be verifiable evidence in support of it. However, demonstrating that to someone not prepared to put the time in would be near impossible, so Q is destined to remain niche. Two caveats: I'm not saying that there is any evidence like this to support Q, even for those who have followed him/it. Also, things can go mainstream even without evidence. I'm guessing that a lot of the popular estimation of heroes & villains* in history is based on very little evidence. It may be that the rubbishing of Q is an attempt to head off the possibility that he becomes a folk hero. *For, example, I have no idea whether Nixon, Clinton, or most of the kings of England were generally forces for good or evil (or just context-specific, or had limited freedom of action). Modern marital relations could probably learn something useful from Henry VIII, though.
  9. I think TMT makes a good point: Q is running this like African drums. The talking drums aren't like Morse code: you can't isolate a single letter, nor a word, nor even a sentence from them. They only make sense as you listen to long streams of the rhythms, but then they can speak across multiple languages and hundreds of miles. It was a clever system and interesting from an information-theoretic point of view; but more to the point, it let news travel great distances very quickly, before the invention of modern telecommunications, and it was very hard to shut down. If Q is intending the same, then as you say, any isolated part will be nearly meaningless, by design, and certainly impossible to prosecute for libel. It would need someone to follow the stream continuously before the narrative emerged. However, that still only makes it an interesting communication channel, and very few people will have the time to follow it. None of them will have much evidence to convince the wider public, even if some of the big outcomes materialise. It seems destined to always be a niche channel, and only function to draw a few people's attention to embarrassing facts. I don't know what would make Q go "mainstream", or how that limited communication is supposed to make any difference.
  10. Are any of the big oil companies overweight in shale, and so to be avoided?
  11. Are there not dated Q posts for people to use in arguments, showing that Q was giving correct information ahead of time, or are they all vague to the point of meaninglessness?
  12. I thought the issue with water getting underneath was that big, rubble-filled dams rely quite a lot on friction with the bedrock to stop them getting pushed downstream by the hydrostatic pressure of the backed-up water. When you get water underneath, this reduces some of the downwards force from the weight of the dam on the bedrock (Archimedes principle, more or less), and also provides lubrication, reducing the coefficient of friction. Both those make it more likely the dam will slip on the bedrock. The Ozzie video above does seem a bit like disaster-porn, with plagues of locusts, earthquakes, and dodgy flood animations. Although he claimed the satellite images were from a non-google source, he didn't provide any evidence for this. If there really were that much deformation, then several countries would have satellite images, and surely we would be hearing about it on the news? I'm not saying the flooding isn't serious (thank you for the alternative newsfeed, TMT), but it would be nice to get some non-exaggerated analysis of the effects, particularly on agriculture (for the rest of us), and also to know how bad things are for the residents on the ground.
  13. DB, I may be misreading your comment, but I thought your thesis was that governments will resist monetary discipline for as long as possible; initially because printing will let them invest to get the industrial economy moving, and later on because too many people will be dependent on government spending for their livelihood? The printing press would have to be dragged from the reluctant hands of the state, and the only thing that would make them stop would be the imminent threat of hyperinflation and the destruction of the currency. The impression I got from your comment quoted above was that the gold standard might be adopted earlier on, and voluntarily as a tool against China. Is that what you mean, or are you still saying this will only happen at cycle end, and the "screw you, China" is just a bonus while the real motive will still be to avoid imminent collapse? On a related point, I have been wondering whether cryptocurrencies might serve as a break on inflation much earlier in the cycle? In previous times of inflation, while it would theoretically have been possible for businesses and individuals to write contracts or receive payment in gold or other non-inflatable commodities, it would have been very inconvenient. Nowadays there is theoretically the possibility for ordinary people to reject traditional currencies - or rather to use a competing currency, Hazlett-style - to force some measure of discipline on governments, against their will. What will make that difficult is that most cryptocurrencies are seen as get-rich-quick schemes, rather than workaday means of exchange; and the resulting wild swings in exchange rates make them pretty useless as reliable hedges against inflation. It seems to me that if "the silk road" had remained up, had really taken off and become a large part of the black economy, it could have propelled bitcoin into a crucial political as well as economic role over the coming years. That would have been an interesting story for the history books! I know someone who used TSR occasionally to obtain "recreational materials", and he thought the system worked pretty well. I haven't asked him what he uses now, but he does still mine monero.
  14. Thanks for the reply, TMT. I have just listened to the clip now, rather than asking on the basis of what R4 reported alone (what was I thinking?). Anyway, I believe @wherebee makes an excellent point about getting the deniability of a connection in early, and @LC1's theory about it being a code for her life being in danger is intriguing. Both were done well, if either had been his intention. If we temporarily set aside the theory that Trump is going a bit senile, then what struck me was that his comment "I wish her well" was a direct response to the question: "what people want to know is, is she going to turn in powerful people?". In that light, his reply has a slightly sinister edge. The denial of any knowledge about Andrew at the end could have been due to a number of things, given he has associated Andrew with Epstein's island (the quote was something like "terrible island, where terrible things happened", if I remember). He seemed to be underlining the (fairly consistent) point that what he said previously was rumour, and he does not have any forensic evidence on the matter. That's different to a message of support for Andrew, but it could be seen as a statement of neutrality on the matter: that he won't deliberately try to destroy the Duke. It felt like a move to keep his options open, more than anything else, which seems to be quite a Trumpian tactic in complex situations. Anyway, the alternative is that he's just going a bid Reaganish, and we'll start to see further signs of neurological problems shortly. My opinion, for what it's worth, is that he is still playing a game of threat/retreat and keeping people guessing, while defusing some potential landmines, as wherebee described. That feels like someone who is still compos mentis.