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Comment Re:you're both right (Score 1) 614

That's in a diversified portfolio of long-term investments

Dogma, most often repeated to dazzle small fish into thinking the stock market is a place where money is generated, instead of stolen. It's roughly equivalent to a poker table, and it's a zero-sum game. There's a great illusion where you put in a million dollars and a $5 stock with 200,000 shares issued becomes a $50 stock and woo there's ten million dollars!! ...except the other guy at the table only has the million dollars that was put into the market in the first place; you're not getting more than a million dollars by selling all your stock (the price will collapse or you won't sell it all) unless he brings another nine million dollars from outside *into* the stock market, netting $10 million in and $10 million out.

The trick is the idiot does come back with $10 million, because he sees the price going up and up, and wants in on that; you sell it back to him because you see the climb slowing and showing distress, and then it collapses and he cries and sells it back to you for $1 million, and you sell it to the next moron with $10 million in his pocket when it climbs back, and now you have $19 million in your pocket and two poor single-millionaires across the table from you.

The biggest argument against diversification isn't the most obvious. The most obvious is that investing 100% into SPY (the S&P500 tracker) is an instant diversified portfolio; as corollary, any selection of multiple securities--stocks, bonds, options (though they expire), commodities (they get delivered, so you have to keep trading contracts in practice; exchange funds that handle this for you are a close substitute)--behaves like a single security, fluctuating up and down as the market does and as their representative sectors in total do.

A diversified portfolio doesn't magically make money; it simply lowers risk. You must make good buying and selling decisions to make money. In the extreme, a single-stock strategy has the potential to gain *much* more than a diversified portfolio; it can also *lose* much more. In a diversification strategy, you try to select a bunch of securities--stocks or funds which represent a strategy (sector investment, profile investment)--based on what you think would make a good single-security investment, scaling their proportion to their relative risks versus return and your risk tolerance.

That all sounds complex, but it's easily illustrated. Let's say you think BGWNR is likely to climb sharply, making you a 7% profit in the next 6 weeks, but that it's of course more risky than SFBT which you believe is near-guaranteed to make you a 2% profit in the next 6 weeks. You have a pile of money with which to purchase these investments to fill a gap in your portfolio. If your strategy is an aggressive, higher-risk affair, you might put 75% of your money into BGWNR, and 25% into SFBT; if the market betrays you, BGWNR losses should be partially or wholly mitigated by SFBT losses, and the loss in total should be less even if both lose (because BGWNR would lose more of its value than SFBT). If your strategy is a conservative, lower-risk affair, you might put 10% into BGWNR, and 90% into SFBT, because a loss in both would be almost as small as a loss in SFBT, and a win in both would be significantly (but not greatly) larger than a 100% investment in SFBT, and a loss in BGWNR is way more likely than a loss in SFBT and so would probably leave you with *most* of the gain from SFBT if SFBT went up and BGWNR went down.

Does diversification magically mean profit? No. It means less profit, and less loss; it means you don't wake up one day finding out you got wiped out at the race track, and so can keep playing. If you're not a good trader in the first place, you might consistently lose money until you bleed to death slowly. For that matter, the market as a whole has a strong influence on individual securities: MSFT or AAPL can experience a 1.2% drop for the day for absolutely no other reason than the S&P having a shitty -3.2% day (an example of a strategy of all eggs in one basket managing better than a diversified strategy, which, again, isn't a magical rule and shouldn't be taken as an argument that one-bet-on-the-table is a good strategy, either). Your diversified portfolio should move around pretty much like everything else, just less extremely.

Long-term investments are also shit. To be more specific: buy-and-hold is shit; it's used along with diversification so that rich people can buy into small movements, hope for a modicum of stability over a much longer period than you really want to hold any security for, and then sell off and not have to pay income tax (if you hold for less than 1 year, you pay income tax--which can be 39.6% for rich people--versus 15% capital gains). Buy-and-hold is a great and powerful marketing tool used by investment funds who don't care if you make or lose money, as long as you keep it in their fund and let them suck 1% or 0.1% per year out of it.

This is why I no longer play the stock market. I made 1% per day for about a month, then decided to run as far the fuck away as I possibly can. I was waking up at 4am, checking foreign markets, checking foreign exchanges(!), checking commodities, reading news (MarketWatch, Seeking Alpha, anything eTrade brought through, anything UpDown brought through, etc.), reading charts, performing projections, manually calculating metrics (not all the metrics I use are standard-issue technical analysis), etc etc. My mind was in the stock market for 18 hours per day. Fuck that. If I'm not playing that hard, I'm just giving charity to Warren Buffet and Donald Trump; and there's no way I'm playing that hard ever again. There's nothing magic about it; it's stab-out-your-eyes obsession, and you still don't win 100% of your bets.

Maybe I'll take up day trading one day. That's much more casual, believe it or not: the exact same rules as swing trading and trend trading apply, but only over a period of hours. You don't need to make big projections, and you get much faster feedback and instant gratification; the problem is you have to invest more time (you have a few minutes of turn-around before you have to pull your investments, make shorts, buy out your shorts, make new long positions...), which, as I said, is kind of a farce when I'm spending almost zero time trading and 18 hours every fucking day researching. At least when the god damn market closes you're done day trading.

Comment Re:Trading one set of problems for another (Score 3, Interesting) 614

The first thing you do is hire manservants.

If I had $250,000/year income, I could do my own dishes, tend my own yard, and so forth. I probably would tend the bees; but I'd get out of gardening. I'd have a gardener. Someone else would clean my house.

There is no faster way to create jobs with some $200k/year of disposable income than by paying some teenage wench to clean your house, and some old fuck to tend your trees. There just isn't.

If you have millions of dollars, that's great! You can start businesses; but can you create jobs? Well, kind of. If you find a way to produce something currently in production, but with *less* labor, you can produce that product more cheaply. That means you can undersell your competition, outcompeting them, and *eliminate* jobs. More unemployed.

With more unemployed, but cheaper common goods, people generally have more money after buying all the shit they need (except the unemployed, who are struggling to get by). That means you can now spend your millions to expand some niche market--say, smart phones, which still cost $600 and bump your bill by $30/month, but now everyone has more than $600 on hand, whereas before they had the ability to spend an extra $50 on shit they wanted--and make a shitton of profit. That, of course, requires workers--this is why it costs money--so you wind up creating jobs, although only about the amount you displaced in the first place.

This is why we always have unemployment, and why population tends to expand: you create wealth by making things cheaper to produce; you make things cheaper to produce by reducing the total invested labor-hours in production. All those layers of profits added on every good (coal to make steel, steel to make bolts, bolts to make cars) are just aggregate price; bulk purchase can negotiate that down, and direct competition can force it down, but only to the aggregate human labor costs of everything put together. When you reduce the labor cost, you wind up increasing the total buying power--same number of humans produce more things, thus the same percentage of the total income (of everyone and every business) purchases more--which means you can re-employ the same amount of displaced labor (not necessarily the same people) elsewhere, and everyone can buy more shit.

It also means the cost of high amounts of production drops. Producing 10 things costs $100 per unit because of inefficient methods (you wouldn't open a million-dollar production facility to make ten chairs; you'd do it in a slow, inefficient manner that costs less than a million dollars in labor); producing producing 10 million costs $10 per unit, because you can use better methods; and then producing 10 billion starts relying on things like fertilizer and artificial irrigation to grow trees for wood, which is more expensive than simple tree farming, and so it costs $50 per unit. You can actually support a bigger population as you raise wealth in this way, because suddenly everyone can afford that $50 per unit good, since they're spending $50 less elsewhere on other goods; of course, then the population grows and keeps its 4%-8% unemployment, because low unemployment is restrictive on total population wealth and weird shit happens.

So yeah. I'd have tutors, manservants, and landscapers. I might have a purser, but uh... look, my finances are better than yours. Financial management is a side hobby that's reached such a point of acuity for me that I scare bankers and accountants. Their balls shrivel up and die when we talk. I'm hoping our interest rates will go up to 14% median on mortgages so I can start an information campaign to eliminate the 30-year mortgage, since high interest rates make 10-year mortgages accessible for most people who can afford a 30-year mortgage (you wind up only having to tip in $100-$200 more per payment, instead of $2,000+ more; and you pay overall less for the same house). I was going to kill my mortgage in three years, but decided to stretch it to four or five so I could end in a much stronger position--the kind of position where I basically buy whatever the hell I want and get *richer* by taking loans, and can retire on 5 years of savings--on a $60k (now $75k) salary; but that was handled by purchasing a lower-valued house (strategic finances).

If you're ever rich, hire yourself a purser. You definitely want somebody managing your finances. You want somebody telling you when and how to spend your money. You want someone who can say, "Hey, it's 2004, you definitely don't want to buy into this stupid solar panel fad", and then come back later like "Dude it's 2015 and the ROI on solar panels is 2.5 years instead of 19 years, and you'll eliminate a full $1,500/year out of your electric bill and draw $1,500-$2,000/year of income on top of it from energy credits. It's time to buy into this; divert your salary to your 401(k), pay yourself out of your emergency fund, and then take a $15,000 401(k) loan 6 months from now so all the interest goes back into your loan basis. Take this 30% credit and this $1,000 grant. Pay $450 for permitting and engineering." You want someone who constantly alerts you to when and how to save money and if it's a good proposition at the moment, as well as to tell you when you absolutely cannot spend money on stupid shit like a $30,000 sailboat unless you sell the RV or cancel your 4 week vacation in Japan this year.

Comment Re:What did he expect? (Score 1) 240

No, he's facing PROSECUTION for RAPE. There's a big difference.

No, he's facing QUESTIONING for RAPE. There's a big difference.

No, he's facing a final round of questioning prior to being CHARGED for RAPE, which occurs right before being TRIED for RAPE. Sweden's legal system has been discussed here often enough.

That "Sweden's legal system has been discussed here" does not somehow turn into, "there is no investigative process in Sweden and 100% of people questioned are tried." That is just absurd.

Oh, and specifically, in support of my post above, the following is from the UK High Court opinion:

Plainly this is a case which has moved from suspicion to accusation supported by proof...
In England and Wales, a decision to charge is taken at a very early stage; there can be no doubt that if what Mr Assange had done had been done in England and Wales, he would have been charged and thus criminal proceedings would have been commenced.

Investigation is complete. They're ready to charge. In Sweden, the very last stage before charging is interrogation, which is what he's wanted for. It gives him an opportunity to confess - essentially, pleading guilty.

Comment Re:What is UNUSUAL (Score 2) 240

Also add the STD issue (which was Assange being an arse hole that got him into this mess!) and the lobster dinner after.

While the post you're supporting has been debunked already, I'd also like to point out something here. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you would take issue with the concept of a woman "having regrets" after sex and deciding, a day later, that what was consensual sex was actually rape.
"That's outrageous," I'm sure you'd say. "How can her regrets - or anything else the next day - travel back in time to somehow make consent disappear?!"
And you'd be entirely correct. Consensual sex or non-consensual sex is determined at the time sex occurs, and not based on what happens the next day.

... but then you bring up a lobster dinner. As if that lobster dinner somehow travels back in time to make lack of consent disappear.

What happens later is irrelevant. In this case, the woman told Assange no to sex. She then went to sleep. She woke up with him inside her. He admitted to all of that during his appeal to the UK High Court. Anything that happened later - lobster dinners, demands for HIV tests, etc. - do not change the fact that, knowing he did not have consent and taking advantage of an opportunity when she could not resist, he penetrated an unconscious victim.

Comment Re:What did he expect? (Score 1) 240

No, he's facing PROSECUTION for RAPE. There's a big difference.

No, he's facing QUESTIONING for RAPE. There's a big difference.

No, he's facing a final round of questioning prior to being CHARGED for RAPE, which occurs right before being TRIED for RAPE. Sweden's legal system has been discussed here often enough.

That "Sweden's legal system has been discussed here" does not somehow turn into, "there is no investigative process in Sweden and 100% of people questioned are tried." That is just absurd.

No, rather, it's like the investigative process here. The police don't rely on interviews with suspects, because - and this may be a shock to you - suspects always claim they're innocent. So, unless his story is amazingly credible, then interviewing him is merely a formality.

But here's the thing - Assange has already admitted to everything he's accused of during his appeal to the UK court:

Emmerson went on to provide accounts of the two encounters in question which granted — at least for the purposes of today’s hearing — the validity of Assange’s accusers’ central claims. He described Assange as penetrating one woman while she slept without a condom, in defiance of her previously expressed wishes, before arguing that because she subsequently “consented to continuation” of the act of intercourse, the incident as a whole must be taken as consensual.

That right there is everything they need to proceed with charges, even if the "interview" consists of them saying "did you do it" and Assange smirking and staying silent.
So, yeah, as I said, he's facing the final round of questioning prior to being charged and tried. Calling it merely questioning disingenuously attempts to hide the fact that he's already confessed.

Comment Re:What did he expect? (Score 1) 240

No, he's facing PROSECUTION for RAPE. There's a big difference.

No, he's facing QUESTIONING for RAPE. There's a big difference.

No, he's facing a final round of questioning prior to being CHARGED for RAPE, which occurs right before being TRIED for RAPE. Sweden's legal system has been discussed here often enough.

Comment Re:What is UNUSUAL (Score 1) 240

If you were the father or brother of those two girls your opinion on the matter would probably be different.

If you read the details of the charges, your opinion would probably be different...

Not likely. Raping someone while they're asleep and unable to resist tends to be frowned upon in civil society.

Comment Re:What is UNUSUAL (Score 4, Informative) 240

They both say that what started as consensual sex became non-consensual

That's a gross misstatement of the facts. In one case, the woman was asleep at the time sex started. She had previously told Assange no to sex, and then went to sleep. She woke up with him inside her.

... which is rape in Swedish law.

Penetrating someone who is unconscious is rape in most countries.

Assange has not been charged with a crime as yet.

That's also grossly misleading - in Swedish law, the charging comes at the very last stage, prior to trial, which has to commence within one week of the charging. The fact that he hasn't been charged yet is simply because he's hiding out.

Frankly it looks like a case where two women discovered that they were both having sex with Assange and decided (together) to come up with a way to get back at him - there's no way to prove that sex becomes non-consenual while it is in progress. It's a classic "he said, she said" situation.

Not at all. Assange admitted during his extradition appeal to the UK High Court that he had sex with the sleeping woman, knowing that he didn't have consent. There's no "he said, she said," because everyone agrees on the facts - he penetrated her, knowing that she was unable to give consent and unable to resist. As the court said, "it is difficult to see how a person could reasonably have believed in consent if the complainant alleges a state of sleep or half-sleep."

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 5, Informative) 258

He was 17, she was 15 when the sex occurred. He didn't rape her. She regretted it afterwards, and either cried rape or was forced to cry rape by her parents.

18, not 17. It's in the article:

But at its core, the case was about an intimate encounter last year between a 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old acquaintance, and whether she consented as it escalated.

And he was convicted because his story wasn't credible. He (now) claims he suddenly saw the light, seconds before penetrating her. And yet, for days afterwards she was texting him to ask whether he used a condom, and she went to a pharmacist for emergency contraception. Are those the actions of someone who wasn't penetrated? Add to that the fact that he repeatedly changed his story, and it's very easy to see why a jury didn't believe him.

And yet, despite all that, they didn't convict of rape. So you're right on that count, Anon. So why all your crying and attacking the victim?

Comment Re:DS9 aka "Cspan" (Score 1) 85

LEXX lost steam after the first season, and just began to resemble Star Trek, and in all the bad ways. DS9 turned into a political/wartime strategic series, and I'd say if you have a love for military SF (which I do), it was probably the finest of its kind. I really wish they had continued in the vain of the grubbier, less noble Federation, muddied and made ugly by its wars, sort of a "The Third Man" of galactic proportions. Instead, they made the completely irrelevant and silly Voyager with a cast of characters that I never could even remotely get into, and the even worse Enterprise, which might have been interesting in the right hands, but instead just ended up being an even worse version of Voyager.

Comment Re:It'll devolve. (Score 1) 85

Overall, the last few seasons of DS9 were indeed probably the best in overall quantity. I still think there are about a dozen ST:TOS episodes that are better than anything that later Trek series produced, and a handful of just really brilliant TNG episodes, but the overall story arcs in the last few seasons of DS9 were, as a group very gripping, and in some ways kind of presaged, though I wouldn't say at the same level of quality, the way that the writers of shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men built up strong characters with long-term character plots and trajectories.

The problem with DS9 is that I think it exhausted the Trek universe, and they should have paused things there for five or ten years. Instead they saturated and degraded the whole thing with Voyager and Enterprise, which while they might have had the odd episode here and there that was reasonably good, all in all felt like the products of tired writers and producers who no longer really had a zest for the universe, or the ability to conjure up new and interesting characters.

Comment Re:Okay, if they think that will work (Score 4, Insightful) 85

I actually thought the movie was a pretty good one, probably the best movie outside of the Toy Story films that Tim Allen has been involved in. He played a great Bill Shatner, vain and obnoxious, and of course Rickman and Weaver were pitch perfect as versions of Spock and Uruha. It was much about gently mocking Treckies as it was about mocking the actors. It was a mild, good-natured bit of satire that I've watched a couple of times since it came out and have enjoyed.

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens. -- Bengamin Disraeli