Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Was it cautious or "cautious"?

You often read that Obama was too cautious in the size of his stimulus, making it too small (for example here). But really in this context the word cautious should be in quotation marks.

Having a smaller stimulus may have been what seemed cautious to many, or what was considered cautious by Washington conventional wisdom, but it was actually much riskier politically for Obama and the Democrats – and for the country.

The truly cautious thing was actually doing the opposite -- erring on the side of making the stimulus too big (assuming you could pass a bigger one).

Making the stimulus substantially bigger than the estimated expected amount needed was the cautious thing. Making it much smaller was the "cautious" thing.

Any source

FT on the "true value of gold"

Well I'm a bit skeptical that any modern news outlet will accurately pinpoint the true value of gold, but let's give the Financial Times points for trying in this latest piece (hat tip: James Rickards):

"The Baird & Co warehouse sits in a dreary business park, half a mile east of London’s City airport. A black Mercedes and a blue Jaguar near the entrance are the sole touch of glamour. Step inside, and men in overalls are fashioning medallions, bars and rings from molten gold, purified in vats next door.


From an office upstairs, Tony Baird, the company’s managing director, and a former coin dealer, presides over the hubbub. “Gold is stable,” he says. “It’s the value of money that goes up and down.” Baird & Co sells gold to everyone from pension funds to jewellers, and as the MD says: “Our machines can’t work fast enough these days...”


Gold is still hot with investors, especially with leading hedge funds who have entered the trade in recent years, and with more conservative and libertarian-minded individual investors who seek a refuge from the uncertainties of our current government and the eroding paper money system.

As the FT notes in this piece, the leading mints and gold refineries are struggling to keep up with booming demand worldwide. And it's no mystery why, when you acknowledge the fact that many sovereign nations face grave financial problems and deficits that may lead to further "debt monetization", aka inflation via the running of electronic printing presses.

Ron Paul speaks to the problems of fiat money systems in the FT's article.

"...In his book
Gold, Peace and Prosperity, Paul decries the end of the gold standard – the practice of backing currencies with a fixed weighting in the metal, which took many forms through history. President Nixon brought an end to the gold standard in 1971, as part of his attempt to overcome the strain of funding the Vietnam war and the US’s mounting trade deficit. Paul thinks the system of fiat money facilitates “governments’ attempts to inflate, control the economy, run up deficits and fight senseless wars”. He worries, too, that both the supply of paper money and government debt levels are spiralling out of control.

“My beef is with the paper money,” he says. “All the problems we’re having today were destined to happen. Gold plays an important role in the monetary system because it restrains government spending.” Without it, Paul argues, central banks have the power to print money without pausing to consider the consequences, and more impetus to spend it."

Check out the full piece for more on gold from private banker Adam Fleming and Jim Rickards, who is quoted on the issues of GATA, gold short positions by the bullion banks, and rumored gold sales from LTCM in 1998.
Any source

Vendredi 10 Septembre 2010 electrique

Forte activité électrique pour ce Vendredi 10 Septembre 2010 ?

Matin :
L'anticyclone serait sur l'Espagne, le Portugal, l'Allemagne, l'Italie mais pas la France !
Du coup, les basses pressions se retrouveraient alimentées par un flux de Sud chaud à l'avant et une composante froide à l'arrière : gros conflit de masses d'air en perspective donc.
Ainsi, les orages pourraient éclater dès le début de la journée sur pas mal de régions (Ouest notamment).

Les températures minimales oscilleraient entre 7°C à Aurillac et 18°C à Ajaccio en passant par 11°C à Vierzon, 12°C à Paris et 13°C à Toulouse.

Après midi :
La suite de la journée serait placée sous le signe de l'activité électrique.
Le système dépressionnaire prendrait de l'ampleur sur l'hexagone ce qui aurait des conséquences sur les nuages cumuliformes (à développement vertical) : les orages seraient plus nombreux encore et auraient même tendance à se généraliser !
Prudence donc !

Les températures maximales seraient globalement assez chaudes pour la saison (à affiner) : elles partiraient de 19°C à Quimper pour aller à 21°C à Strasbourg, 22°C à Saumur et 23°C à Nantes.
Au Sud, entre 20°C à Biarritz et 28°C à Perpignan en passant par 25°C à Agen et 26°C à Ajaccio.
Any source

New Fund: Public Indonesia Select Fund


Public mutual is launching a new fund, Public Indonesia Select Fund on 1st September 2010. The fund invests in a diversified portfolio of blue chips, index stocks and growth stocks primarily in the Indonesian market, with up to 30% of its net asset value invested in the Malaysian and other global markets.

Public Mutual’s CEO said Indonesia, which has the largest economy in South East Asia, is poised to be one of the fastest growing economies in Asia after China and India.

Key selling points:
  1. Huge domestic base, being the 4th most populated country in the world.

  2. Rich in resources

  3. Improved fiscal position in recent years



    The fund would focus on sectors which include banking & finance, commodities, building materials and consumers. The fund is a niche product suitable for aggressive investors who wish to capitalize on the long-term growth prospects of Indonesian market.

    Offer period                 : 1 – 21st September
    Min investment             : RM 1,000
    Min top-up                  : RM 100
    Entry fee                      : 5.50%
    Any source

    Tempestes i neus permanents a Sierra Nevada

    Després d’unes vacances per terres andaluses, tornem al dia a dia i ho fem amb un resum de fotografies de les vivències meteorològiques d’aquestes vacances per la zona de Granada.



    Remarcable les neus permanents d’aquest anys a Sierra Nevada, on en ple Agost era ben visible la neu que encara hi queda.



    El matí es presentava amb cel serè, però es veien nuvolades sospitoses per la zona de muntanya de Sierra Nevada.





    Creixien amb força i en 2-3 hores el cel es va tornar fosc i ben amenaçador. Ràpidament va començar a tronar i caure gotes ben grosses, un ruixat que es va intensificar i va acabar amb un preciós Arc de Sant Martí just davant de casa. Remarcable l'intensitat, fixeu-vos les muntanyes del fons com es van desdibuixant darrera de l'Arc de Sant Martí.





    Després va arribar la calma i va deixar un ambient ben fresc, a la nit amb màniga curta, tot i que cal dir que estem a 1000 metres d'alçada. Les muntanyes del fons ronden gairebé els 2000 metres d'alçada.



    Detall del tamany de les gotes d'aigua, com dues monedes d'un euro. Semblava que volia caure un nou ruixat, s'escoltava tronar, però al final quatre gotes gruixudes i res més.







    També varen haver-hi alguns incendis forestals a la zona est de Granada. El més gran, aquest que va cremar 5 hectàrees de matolls.





    Però el més sorprenent era les neu permanents que hi havia a Sierra Nevada. Malgrat la calor (40ºC a l’hombra) i els dies amb manca de precipitació, es mantenen nombroses congestes de neu a la part més alta del Sistema Penibètic. No m’ho esperava pas...





    Any source

    Lib Dems response to IFS report is causing Tory headaches

    In case you were wondering what it would take to get the Coalition and its cheerleaders genuinely concerned about something, then Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander provided it over the weekend, by announcing that there will be no tax breaks for anyone in the next 5 years.

    The Official reason being that the deficit is so high that this has to be done, but its got the Tories up in arms as the UK is now facing austerity cuts, no tax relief, possibly subdued growth and higher unemployment, not exactly easy to defend now or sell to a weary electorate at the next election.

    The unofficial reason this was announced is an attempt by the Liberal Democrat to mitigate the damming criticism by the Institute of Fiscal Studies report last week that proved that George Osborne’s June Budget was regressive and would hit the poorest hardest. The Lib Dems are hoping that if they rule out tax breaks for everyone then the Budget might be seen as a lot more “progressive”.

    The problem for Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander is the damage has probably already been done and claiming that growth and measures to move people back into work weren’t included makes them sound petty and more than a bit desperate.

    More on the need for the Coalition to focus on growth and less on cuts from Iain Martin over at the Wall Street Journal.Any source

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    SAVE THE DATE: LACCD VAN DE KAMP INNOVATION CENTER GRAND OPENING, OCTOBER 13TH


    For more information contact:

    Veronica Garcia
    Communications/BuildLACCD
    770 Wilshire Blvd. 6th floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90017
    213.891.2493 office
    714.380.7731 mobile
    veronica.garcia@build-laccd.org

    ---

    Other news about the LACCD Van de Kamps Innovation Center

    VAN DE KAMP'S COALITION TO COMMUNITY COLLEGES: SEE YOU IN COURT

    TAXPAYER LAWSUIT TARGETS CITY OF LOS ANGELES TAKEOVER OF HISTORIC VAN DE KAMPS BAKERY COMMUNITY COLLEGE SITE

    LACCD’S ACADEMIC SENATE PRESIDENT WANTS TO TELL NORTHEAST COMMUNITY TO “FUCK OFF” OVER LOSS OF NORTHEAST SATELLITE CAMPUS

    OFFICIAL EMAILS SHOW LACCD LIED TO ELECTED OFFICIALS ABOUT ITS ABILITY TO OPERATE VAN DE KAMPS COLLEGE CAMPUS
    Article any source

    Appunti su throwback e rintracciamenti

    a)     durano 1-2 sedute (vedi indicatore supertrend) – non conviene neppure disinvestire, viste    le       oscillazioni (dato anche che il supertrend tende a NON farti cogliere importanti movimenti – in valore assoluto – di ripresa del trend primario (dojii + candele lunghe  solitamente > 1%) (*)
    è non ascoltare la consulenza finanziaria che dice di chiudere 
    b)     mai usare chiusura definitiva di supertrend quando non sono passate più di 5-6 sedute (meglio di più dall’inizio di un trend) 
    c)     oltre al supertrend, usare test wilder su random walk BP


    (*) commento con supetrend a valori 0,4 e 10.

    è ritorno a supertrend  1 (meglio: 0,9), 10 . In ottica a grafici giornalieri, i coefficienti proposti di 3, 10 sono troppo lenti.

    Il SUPERTREND  dev’essere un campanello di allarme, ma non un metodo assoluto per chiudere posizioni.
    Chiudere solo se sono già passate numerose barre (si può pensare ad un take profit soddisfacente)

    es: 22 e 25 giugno 2010
    Any source

    Jeudi 9 Septembre 2010 orages

    Forts orages pour ce Jeudi 9 Septembre 2010 ?

    Matin :
    Pour une journée électrique, on pourrait difficilement faire mieux !
    En effet, nous serions sous influence d'un vaste système dépressionnaire en plein cœur du pays.
    Dans ces conditions, les précipitations tomberaient un peu partout prenant parfois un aspect orageux, y compris sur le pourtour méditerranéen !

    Les températures minimales oscilleraient entre 8°C à Aurillac et 19°C à Bastia en passant par 11°C à Saint Aignan (Loir et Cher), 12°C à Paris et 13°C à Montauban.

    Après midi :
    Cette seconde partie de la journée pourrait être à surveiller (malgré l'échéance) !
    Vu le conflit de masses d'air grandissant, l'intensité des développements verticaux de nuages serait à la hausse !
    Concrètement, il faudrait probablement s'attendre à des orages violents sur une grande moitié Est du pays (surtout vers la Côte d'Azur et la Corse) et peut-être plus localisés sur l'Ouest de l'hexagone !
    La violence de ces orages pourrait se caractériser essentiellement par les forts cumuls en eau et l'activité électrique.

    Les températures maximales seraient globalement assez chaudes pour la saison (à affiner) : elles partiraient de 17°C à Ouessant (Ouest breton) pour aller à 20°C à Strasbourg, 21°C à Langeais (Indre et Loire) et 23°C à Nantes.
    Au Sud, entre 21°C à Hendaye (Pyrénées Atlantique) et 28°C à Perpignan en passant par 24°C à Toulouse et 26°C à Ajaccio.
    Any source

    Introducing our new YouTube channel for Google Mobile

    By now, some of you may have noticed our new Google Mobile YouTube channel, with a fresh look that includes a video box that rotates along multiple axes (we love the Rubik’s Cube here at Google). As you click on and discover more videos, we hope you’ll have fun checking out all the ways the box can turn.

    In our channel’s “featured” section, we highlight some of our mobile search capabilities -- like search by voice, sight, and location -- that really help you take advantage of your phone’s unique technology. Since we understand that these represent new modes of searching for many of you, we’re going to launch some new videos that help illustrate the variety of practical and fun ways that you can use these features. To start with, check out our “Shoot This” series of videos for Google Goggles. Goggles can actually recognize much more than just bar codes and book covers, and these videos really let you take Goggles for a test drive. You can navigate through these videos by clicking on the embedded annotations to fast-forward or rewind.

    When looking at “all apps,” you can not only check out any of our latest videos at a glance, but also quickly sort them by mobile platform or by app.
    We’ve also made it easier for you to share videos by email or through popular social networking sites.

    We hope you enjoy trying out our new Google Mobile YouTube channel. We’ll be adding many more new videos, so please visit youtube.com/googlemobile and subscribe. Also, if you’ve already subscribed to our old channel, note that you need to subscribe to the new one separately.



    Any source

    Arcade Fire incontra HTML5

    Negli ultimi mesi ci siamo chiesti più volte: come sarebbe un’esperienza musicale progettata appositamente per il web moderno?
    I browser e le tecnologie web hanno fatto progressi così rap
    idi negli ultimi anni che offrire agli utenti un’esperienza personalizzata in tempo reale è diventata una possibilità concreta.

    E oggi, infatti, lanciamo, non senza un po’ di eccitazione, un’esperienza musicale realizzata appositamente per il browser. Chiamato “The Wilderness Downtown”, il progetto è stato creato dall’autore/regista Chris Milk con la band Arcade Fire e Google. Realizzare questo progetto sul web e per il browser ci ha permesso di costruire un’esperienza che non solo è personalizzabile, ma risulta anche profondamente personale per
    ciascun utente. “The Wilderness Downtown” riporta indietro con la memoria attraverso le strade in cui si è cresciuti. Il progetto si basa sulla nuova canzone degli Arcade Fire “We Used to Wait”, inclusa nel loro nuovo album The Suburbs (una canzone che forse risulterà familiare ai 3.7 milioni di utenti che recentemente hanno seguito il concerto della band in live-streaming su YouTube).E’ stato realizzato con le più recenti tecnologie web e include HTML5, Google Maps e StreetView, uno strumento di disegno integrato e più finestre browser che si muovono sullo schermo.
    “The Wilderness Downtown” è inspirato dai recenti sviluppi nei moderni browser ed è stato costruito pensando a Google Chrome. Per questo, l’esperienza viene goduta al meglio attraverso Chrome o da un browser di ultima generazione compatibile con HTML5. Il progetto, e maggiori informazioni, sono accessibili dal nostro sito Chrome Experiments all’indirizzo www.chromeexperiments.com/arcadefire.

    Speriamo vi piaccia.

    Scritto da: Aaron Koblin, Google Creative Lab
    Any source

    StockTwits now home to private companies

    Last Friday, StockTwits announced they would partner with SecondMarket, an independent marketplace for private company stock and illiquid assets, to provide an expanded new commentary stream for discussion on private companies.

    Some thoughts from Howard Lindzon on the new partnership:

    "I love stocks and I LOVE investing in startups. About 8 months ago I started calling Facebook
    $fbook and Twitter $twit when I tweeted. I felt the IPO market was struggling and it would be cool if Private Companies had a lightweight exchange or center of conversation to point people too to learn about them in real-time. A place where employees and investors could get a pulse of what people were saying about private companies.

    It would be cool for the Companies and REALLY COOL for STOCKTWITS is we could own all the company conversations on twitter. When I had the idea and Fred Wilson noticed me doing it, at least he thought so and his hunches are better than mine.

    Through a partnership with SecondMarket, the marketplace for illiquid assets, we are excited to deliver to our community at StockTwits the capability to comment on an entire network of private companies..."

    You can find the newly expanded private companies stream here, along with a database of ticker symbols that helps users find company info and profiles and allows them to tag their discussions on private firms for all to follow in real-time.

    Here are some snapshots of the discussion stream and the private company symbols database:

    We (notably Howard and Fred Wilson) started out tagging private companies like Twitter ($TWIT) and Facebook ($FBOOK) with unique tickers on StockTwits earlier in the year as a way to include up & coming private businesses in our discussions on the stream. A few more proposed symbols were added for companies like Skype ($SKYPE) and Bloomberg ($BBERG), and we were well on our way.

    The sudden expansion of this list from a handful of ticker symbols to a list of more than 200 companies is a surprising and exciting development. Furthermore, StockTwits will allow private companies to declare and manage their own ticker symbol. Seems like they are hip to the recent urging by Fred Wilson to open up the private company database to new firms, and this will likely help fuel the growth of this new database and the buzz around it.

    So, in summary, now you know where to go when you want to chat about private companies in real-time. The StockTwits private company stream should prove to be an increasingly active venue for aggregating info and chatter on innovative, new businesses that have yet to IPO (or prefer to remain private in a post-SarbOx world). Should be fun. See you on the stream.

    Any source

    Downpayment to be raised to 20%?


    According to real estate players, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) may impose a lower mortgage Loan-to-Value (LVR) ratio soon. How soon?

    What is the rationale?

    As reported in all dailies recently, property prices in Malaysia have been escalating since last year. No doubt, many people made handsome profit even in this down time through properties. Even though BNM has upped the base lending rate (BLR) 3 times so far this year, demand for properties seems unaffected, especially for high-end properties.

    According to Bernama, Bank Negara is reported to have written to financial institutions to secure feedback on the possibility of capping the LVR for mortgages at 80% to avert the risk of a potential property bubble.

    Recalled, government had imposed a 5% real property gain tax (RPGT) during Budget 2010 to curb the speculative buying of properties. So, it’s not surprise that BNM will implement the 80% cap on mortgage LVR, or at least for properties of more than RM500k.

    Currently, banks can usually lend up to 90% of the house value, or up to 100% in selected cases. Moreover, developers are promoting 10/90 home loan schemes for their new launches, by the way of interest absorbing, as witnessed last year. Yes, the schemes are very successful given the property outlook last year. Because people can easily buy a house without much commitment, it may pose a danger to banks’ non-performing-loan (NPL), if house buyers default on loan payments later.

    To curb speculative buying of properties, countries such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore, have already implemented progressively higher down payment ratio for buyers who own more than one property.

    In my opinion, should BNM set new lending rules to cool real-estate industry, I suggest increasing minimum down payment to 20% for high-end properties only, and exclude first-time buyers for all type of properties.

    Why?
    1. To minimize the impact on the industry.

    2. To support government effort to encourage home ownership.

    3. To target speculators specifically, not public at large.


    Once more, only first-time buyers should be exempted from higher down payment. Because, once high-end properties’ down payment set to 20%, speculators would shift their focus to middle-class properties, which could hit the man on the street.
    Any source

    Tony Blair’s pre book orders are lagging behind Nigella Lawson and Terry Pratchett

    Its looks as though Tony Blair’s autobiography "A Journey*, due out later this week isn't going to do as well as in the UK as its publishers initially hoped. I’m not sure whether that's down to his unpopularity or the fact that we have already had so many accounts of his and Labour's time in Office from Alistair Campbell, Peter Mandelson, Andrew Rawnsley and others that fatigue is kicking in or whether people are bored with Labour's psycho dramas of old.

    But according to the Daily Telegraph ‘Sales in this country (UK) are not expected to be as high as previously predicted and orders for the book are currently lagging behind those for Nigella Lawson and Terry Pratchett, which are also published later this week.

    Add to that the strict security in place and a list of banned items that autograph hunters aren’t allowed to bring to any book signing he does in the UK and you can see why further on the article they report that ‘ His aides are thought to have become increasingly alarmed at the sharp fall in his popularity in Britain since leaving office.’

    Its not all bad news for Mr Blair he is due in Washington this week as Middle Eastern Envoy when the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians start a new round of peace talks and his publishers are expecting the former PM’s memoirs to be a best seller in America. Make of that what you will.Any source

    Mercredi 8 Septembre 2010 orageux

    De nombreux orages pour ce Mercredi 8 Septembre 2010 ?

    Matin :
    Pas mal de choses dès le début de la journée !
    En effet, les basses pressions occuperaient tout le franc Ouest de la France alimentées par de l'air chaud à l'Est et une composante froide d'altitude à l'Ouest.
    Dans ces conditions, le risque orageux concernerait toutes les régions avec de jolis impacts en perspective !

    Les températures minimales oscilleraient entre 9°C à Gap et 18°C à Nice en passant par 11°C à Orléans, 13°C à Paris et 14°C à Toulouse.

    Après midi :
    Grosse agitation normalement pour le reste de la journée !
    Avec l'air chaud restant bien présent en basses couches, les orages pourraient prendre de l'ampleur notamment de l'Aquitaine à l'Alsace en passant par le Massif Central et la Bourgogne !
    Cependant, les autres pourraient être aussi concernées localement par des orages violents !
    A voir !

    Les températures maximales seraient globalement assez chaudes pour la saison (à affiner) : elles partiraient de 18°C à Cherbourg pour aller à 21°C à Strasbourg, 22°C à Tours et 23°C à Nantes.
    Au Sud, entre 20°C à Biarritz et 27°C à Perpignan en passant par 24°C à Agen et 25°C à Ajaccio.
    Any source