Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: This *IS* important to the company (Score 1) 128

by financialguy (#28741461) Attached to: Red Hat Is Now Part of the S&P 500
"While this means little directly for the company..."

Not true. Inclusion in a widely-invested index almost certainly means an increase in the stock's price, all things being equal. This will be most visible up front as index fund managers buy in (because they have to). But there will also be a much larger base of investors that hold this permanently insofar as they hold S&P 500 index funds (or ETFs, CTFs, etc.). This could directly provide the company more "currency" to make purchases of other firms (by paying in stock), as well as give it an advantage in attracting and maintaining talent that are partially compensated in stock (assuming they award stock/options).

It could also result in more stock analyst coverage which would bring valuable publicity to itself and its shares, and likely also more "mind share" for Linux for the average investor that follows this sector/industry.
Image

German Gov To Ban Paintballing After Shooting 580 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-all-fall-down dept.
whoever57 writes "In response to the school shooting in March in which 16 people were killed, the German Government plans to ban all games in which players shoot at each other with pellets. The rationale for this is that 'paintball trivializes violence and risks lowering the threshold for committing violent acts.' Fines could be up to 5,000 euros."

Comment: Future not as good, but still good (Score 1) 301

by financialguy (#27720405) Attached to: Future of Financial Mathematics?
I'd say the opportunity is more limited in investment banking, but there is still demand on the asset management side. Investment banks are the ones that created the now infamous CDOs and other complex mortgage-related structures.

Asset management using quants is done by mostly by hedge funds but also some traditional (a.k.a. "long only") investment managers (think mutual fund managers). Note that investment banks have traditionally traded their own money (known as proprietary trading), but that's happening less now because their a) many of their traders have done terribly and b) they don't have the same volume of money to trade.

To add one more wrinkle, most sizable investment banks also have asset management units where they take client money and invest/trade it for them, and/or create hedge fund structures/strategies to do the same.

I still see a lot of new job postings for PhD math people by asset managers, and occasionally investment banks. Try theladders.com or eFinancialCareers.com to get a flavor for what's out there. Another broad site that works very well for jobs if you can figure out the right search terms is indeed.com.

As another poster said, just because you specialize in one field doesn't mean you can't do something else with it. Lots of the math applies different places. If you really wanted to go whole hog you could do a math PhD in anything and then get an MBA with a finance concentration.

Note that Taleb is a smart guy, but he does have a product he's selling. He has many valid points, but there are firms still making millions or even billions of dollars using the statistical models he vilifies. Over the longer term there's too much skew/kurtosis/etc. from the human element (finance is a social science), but over shorter time periods there are lots of situations that work just fine with the kind of models you'd be able to build. Just always beware of leverage!
The Internet

Wolfram Promises Computing That Answers Questions 369

Posted by timothy
from the he's-feeling-lucky-you-feel-lucky-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Computer scientist Stephen Wolfram feels that he has put together at least the initial version of a computer that actually answers factual questions, a la Star Trek's ship computers. His version will be found on their Web-based application, Wolfram Alpha. What does this mean? Well, instead of returning links to pages that may (or may not) contain the answer to your questions, Wolfram will respond with the actual answer. Just imagine typing in 'How many bones are in the human body?' and getting the answer." Right now, though the search entry field is in place, Alpha is not yet generally available -- only "to a few select individuals."
Biotech

Designer Babies 902

Posted by samzenpus
from the wings-and-a-nice-prehensile-tail dept.
Singularity Hub writes "The Fertility Institutes recently stunned the fertility community by being the first company to boldly offer couples the opportunity to screen their embryos not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion. The Fertility Institutes proudly claims this is just the tip of the iceberg, and plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Even as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life's savings for a custom baby, opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries. Like it or not, the era of designer babies is officially here and there is no going back."
Earth

Arctic Ice Extent Understated Because of "Sensor Drift" 823

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-it-a-few-taps dept.
dtjohnson writes "The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has been at the forefront of predicting doom in the arctic as ice melts due to global warming. In May, 2008 they went so far as to predict that the North Pole would be ice-free during the 2008 'melt season,' leading to a lively Slashdot discussion. Today, however, they say that they have been the victims of 'sensor drift' that led to an underestimation of Arctic ice extent by as much as 500,000 square kilometers. The problem was discovered after they received emails from puzzled readers, asking why obviously sea-ice-covered regions were showing up as ice-free, open ocean. It turns out that the NSIDC relies on an older, less-reliable method of tracking sea ice extent called SSM/I that does not agree with a newer method called AMSR-E. So why doesn't NSIDC use the newer AMSR-E data? 'We do not use AMSR-E data in our analysis because it is not consistent with our historical data.' Turns out that the AMSR-E data only goes back to 2002, which is probably not long enough for the NSIDC to make sweeping conclusions about melting. The AMSR-E data is updated daily and is available to the public. Thus far, sea ice extent in 2009 is tracking ahead of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, so the predictions of an ice-free north pole might be premature."

Comment: Not an Either/Or Situation (Score 1) 286

by financialguy (#26328953) Attached to: The Perils of Simplifying Risk To a Single Number

First, don't forget that Taleb is selling something. Very smart guy, but he wants to make a good living too.

VaR isn't something I'd want to be without, but you clearly can't depend on models alone when your assumptions are uncertain. That's what the whole mess with CDOs and such comes down to- bad assumptions.

With the mortgage-backed market (e.g. sub-prime), the assumption was that N number of borrowers would default in X period of time. If they had the models would've been fine, but in reality they didn't, and the basis for the assumptions was horribly incorrect. Why those assumptions were incorrect is another story.

Government

Watergate "Deep Throat" Mark Felt Dead At 95 126

Posted by kdawson
from the linda-lovelace-in-mourning dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "W. Mark Felt Sr., 95, associate director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal, better known as 'Deep Throat,' the most famous anonymous source in American history, died at his home in Santa Rosa, California. Felt secretly guided Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to pursue the story of the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office buildings, and later of the Nixon administration's campaign of spying and sabotage against its perceived political enemies. 'It's impossible to exaggerate how high the stakes were in Watergate,' wrote Felt in his 2006 book A G-Man's Life. 'We faced no simple burglary, but an assault on government institutions, an attack on the FBI's integrity, and unrelenting pressure to unravel one of the greatest political scandals in our nation's history.' No one knows exactly what prompted Felt to leak the information from the Watergate probe to the press. He was passed over for the post of FBI director after Hoover's death in 1972, a crushing career disappointment. 'People will debate for a long time whether I did the right thing by helping Woodward. The bottom line is that we did get the whole truth out, and isn't that what the FBI is supposed to do?'"
Earth

Drilling Hits an Active Magma Chamber In Hawaii 251

Posted by timothy
from the time-for-a-lava-luau dept.
Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have inadvertently put a well right into a magma chamber. Molten rock pushed back up the borehole several meters before solidifying, making it perfectly safe to study. Magma specialist Bruce Marsh says it will allow scientists to observe directly how granites are made. 'This is unprecedented; this is the first time a magma has been found in its natural habitat,' the Johns Hopkins University professor told BBC News. 'Before, all we had to deal with were lava flows; but they are the end of a magma's life. They're lying there on the surface, they've de-gassed. It's not the natural habitat.' It is hoped the site can now become a laboratory, with a series of cores drilled around the chamber to better characterise the crystallisation changes occurring in the rock as it loses temperature."
NASA

Does Obama Have a Problem At NASA? 479

Posted by timothy
from the hey-what's-a-few-trillion-in-deficit? dept.
MarkWhittington writes "Has NASA become a problem for the Obama transition? If one believes a recent story in the Orlando Sentinel, the transition team at NASA, led by former NASA Associate Administrator Lori Garver, is running into some bureaucratic obstruction." Specifically, according to this article NASA Administrator Michael Griffin made calls to aerospace industry executives asking them to stonewall if asked about benefits to be gained by canceling the current US efforts to revisit the moon; we mentioned last month that cutting Aries and Orion is apparently an idea under strong consideration by the Obama transition team.
Robotics

Ants Used For Mind-Controlled Robotic Limbs 82

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-can't-feel-my-arms dept.
mr sanjeev writes "Australian researchers are reducing the divide between science fiction and science reality by bringing the development of mind-controlled robotic limbs a few steps closer. Even the most fertile science fiction imagination might not see a link between the behavior of ant colonies and the development of lifelike robotic limbs, but that is the straightforward mathematical reality of research underway at the University of Technology, Sydney. The technology mimics the myoelectric signals used by the central nervous system (CNS) to control muscle activity. Artificial intelligence researchers have long used the complex interactions between ants to construct a pattern recognition formula to identify bioelectric signals. PhD student Rami Khushaba said 'swarm-intelligence' allows scientists to understand the body's electrical signals and use the knowledge to create a robotic prosthetic device that can be operated by human thought."

Comment: Why I don't read comments anymore (Score 1, Insightful) 217

by financialguy (#26055173) Attached to: FCC Commissioner Lauds DRM, ISP Filtering

One look at the tags on this story reminds me why I almost never bother with comments anymore.

Like most Slashdot readers, it's hard for me to imagine statements this blatantly stupid and biased coming from a sitting government official.

But SERIOUSLY, notwithstanding some really bright, reasonable, articulate people, it feels like this place is up to the gills in 8th graders. "Whore" and "bitch" are the kind of words I remember seeing on bathroom walls. I get emotional about some of these things too, but how can anyone take this site seriously with those kinds of responses?

Government

Obama Wants Broadband, Computers Part of Stimulus 901

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-would-stimulate-me dept.
damn_registrars writes "President-elect Barack Obama announced in his radio address that his administration's economic stimulus package will include investing in computers and broadband for education. 'To help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.' He also said it is 'unacceptable' that the US ranks 15th in broadband adoption." No doubt with free spyware and internet filtering. You know... for the kids.
Space

Obama Team Considers Cancellation of Ares, Orion 870

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-infinity-and-maybe-not dept.
HanzoSpam sends us this story from Space News, which begins: "US President-elect Barack Obama's NASA transition team is asking US space agency officials to quantify how much money could be saved by canceling the Ares 1 rocket and scaling back the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle next year. ... The questionnaire, 'NASA Presidential Transition Team Requests for Information,' asks agency officials to provide the latest information on Ares 1, Orion and the planned Ares 5 heavy-lift cargo launcher, and to calculate the near-term close-out costs and longer-term savings associated with canceling those programs. The questionnaire also contemplates a scenario where Ares 1 would be canceled but development of the Ares 5 would continue. While the questionnaire, a copy of which was obtained by Space News, also asks NASA to provide a cost estimate for accelerating the first operational flight of Ares 1 and Orion from the current target date of March 2015 to as soon as 2013, NASA was not asked to study the cost implications of canceling any of its other programs, including the significantly overbudget 2009 Mars Science Laboratory or the James Webb Space Telescope."
Transportation

Online Carpooling Service Fined In Canada 541

Posted by kdawson
from the regulatory-capture dept.
TechDirt is reporting on a disappointing development out of Canada. An Ontario transportation board has fined PickupPal, a Web-based service for arranging carpools, because a local bus company complained of the competition. (TechCrunch apparently first broke the story.) "[The transportation board has] established a bunch of draconian rules that any user in Ontario must follow if it uses the service — including no crossing of municipal boundaries — meaning the service is only good within any particular city's limits. It's better than being shut down completely, and the service can still operate elsewhere around the world, but this is yet another case where we see regulations, that are supposedly put in place to improve things for consumers, do the exact opposite."

* * * * * THIS TERMINAL IS IN USE * * * * *

Working...