Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals, the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great creative scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned if at all. -Martin Gardner, mathematician and writer (1914-2010) 

FactSet Research estimated that combined profits in the S&P 500 companies will rise 6.5% in this year’s second quarter. But the 6.5% average disguises considerable variation. Five of the 11 sectors have 1.3% earnings growth or less. Two are actually declining. Then there’s energy, where earnings growth is not just above above-average but 61 times more than average.
Needless to say, earnings growth is way out of balance. The energy sector’s big recovery skews the average—remove it and the average drops from 6.5% to 3.6%, according to FactSet.
So, does an index fund make sense?

Seven thousand Dutchmen volunteered for the SS, and a higher proportion of Dutch Jews died in the Holocaust—three-quarters of them, more than twice the proportion in Belgium, for example, and three times more than in France—than in any other occupied country of Western Europe. Whatever the reasons for this disproportion—the relatively unpropitious Dutch landscape for a life of clandestinity is surely one—unease about it is inevitable. According to one historian of the Holocaust in the Netherlands, Marnix Croes: the Dutch reacted to the German occupation, including the persecution of the Jews, with a high degree of cooperation, following their reputed tradition of deference to authority. This did not change when the deportations started, and it lasted until the beginning of 1943. . . . [T]here was for a long time little doubt that the bureaucracy would not sabotage German-imposed measures, and in fact these were thoroughly implemented.

Who is....Deep Blue?

The heart of the left isn’t helping the poor, or reducing inequality, or even minority rights.  The heart of the left is being anti-market.  With some honorable exceptions, very few leftists are capable of being excited about deregulation of any kind.  And even the leftists who do get excited about well-targeted deregulation get far more excited about stamping out the hydra-headed evils of market.--Caplan
This is more than the their confidence in their ability to control complex systems, it is also a disdain for spontaneous and beneficial order.

Will has an article on baseball and the changes in the game. One point, two pitchers in the 1960 World Series final game game, the Yankees' Bobby Shantz and the Pirates' Elroy Face, were 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches, respectively.

According to the 2010 Contaminated Water report from the United Nations Environmental Programme, more people die from contaminated and polluted water than violence and war.  

The second to last thing China wants is a new Korean war. But the last thing China wants is a united Korea under South Korean leadership. China's Communist Party leadership has learned the lessons of 1989-1991, when German reunification ultimately pushed the borders of NATO some 1000 kilometres to the east and Soviet communism was thrown into the dustbin of history. --Barbanes

NBC Sports on the deterrent effect Reaves might bring--or not bring--to the Pens:
Over the past four seasons the St. Louis Blues — Reaves’ former team — were on the receiving end of eight incidents that resulted in supplemental discipline from the NHL (suspension or fine), typically reserved for the dirtiest plays. The only team that was on the receiving end of more during that stretch was the Boston Bruins (10 –and keep in mind, this was a team that had Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic for most of those years)

House Republicans are proposing eliminating the deduction that companies get for interest they pay on debt, a move that would alter modern finance. (wsj)

Golden oldie:

The Enigma coding machine, invented in 1919 by Hugo Koch, a Dutchman, looked like a typewriter and was originally employed for business purposes. The German army adapted the machine for wartime use and considered its encoding system unbreakable. They were wrong. The Brits had broken the code as early as the German invasion of Poland and had intercepted virtually every message sent through the system. Britain nicknamed the intercepted messages Ultra.

The market's long-run effect on people's standard of living is probably the most successful economic argument of the last fifty years.

A network of seven internet sites in Europe to sell items including fabric, DVD cases, and maps are fake outlets. The faux store fronts are a multinational system to disguise payments for the $40 billion global online gambling industry. Online gambling is illegal in many countries and some U.S. states. The dummy sites underline a strategy which regulators, card issuers and banks have yet to tackle head-on. The scheme found by Reuters involved websites which accepted payments for household items from a reporter but did not deliver any products. Instead, staff who answered helpdesk numbers on the sites said the outlets did not sell the product advertised, but that they were used to help process gambling payments, mostly for Americans.

James Otis, a Massachusetts lawyer, came to prominence in his impassioned speech against the Writs of Assistance in 1761, centering his arguments on natural law. Struck by lightning in 1783, James Otis did not live beyond the Revolution. But John Adams remarked that he had never known a man “whose service for any ten years of his life were so important and essential to the cause of his country as those of Mr. Otis from 1760 to 1770.”

A warning issued by the head of a mosque-seminary in Pakistan's capital city: "The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-i-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses ... Sportswomen are spreading nudity. I warn the sportswomen of Islamabad to stop participating in sports ... Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the hereafter for such women."

What does this mean for the future voting? A new poll released exclusively to the Hill shows that most Americans feel the investigations into alleged collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign are a distraction. The poll found that 64% of Americans believe the investigations are hurting the country, and 73% believe that the focus on Russia is distracting Congress from important issues like health care and tax reform.

The so-called Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California Los Angeles, a publicly funded institution, recently released  a 'Resistance' handbook for their students.  Among other things, the handbook specifically defines "Trumpism" as a movement that "consolidates power through white supremacy, misogyny, nationalism, xenophobia, corporatism, and militarism."
And here I thought he was just a jerk.

Apart from this principle there would be no basis for general public support for economics as a legitimate academic discipline, no place for economics as an appropriate part of a liberal educational curriculum.  I refer, of course, to the principle of the spontaneous order of the market, which is the great intellectual discovery of the eighteenth century. --James Buchanan

Good news: More than 200 colleges and universities have set up Bias Response Teams.

I can’t talk about the details of the intelligence, but we have, the intelligence community has said, that this election was meddled with by the Russians in a way that is frankly not particularly original. They’ve been doing this for an awfully long time. And we are decades into the Russians trying to undermine American democracy. So in some ways, there’s no news, but it certainly puts a heightened emphasis on our ability to figure out how to stop them. --CIA Director Mike Pompeo

Uh oh. In a new report, Circa reveals why the Michael Flynn investigation may be nothing more than an act of retaliation orchestrated by Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe after Flynn personally supported an FBI agent that filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against McCabe back in 2012. 

Petrochemicals, once a cheap byproduct, are powering a U.S. manufacturing boom and export bonanza. The new investment will establish the U.S. as a major exporter of plastic and reduce its trade deficit, economists say. (wsj)

AAAAaaaannnnndddddd.....a picture of another of our animal friends, Deep Blue, believed the largest great white ever seen:
Largest Great White

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