Please take a look at this: http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/debt/ownership.html
The Federal Reserve ownership of long term US bonds is only 16% as of end of 2011, even after QE 1 and 2.
Foreign ownership of US government bond actually increased in the last 10 years to 46%.
That they are willing to lend to the US government at negative real interest rate SHOULD tell you that they trust their money with the US government than with anyone else (including themselves). This is exactly the reverse of your RISKY claim.
Do you really believe that the world insititutional investors are all more stupid then yourself?
Credit agency down grading the US rating was a non-event. Neither the bond market nor the interest rate swap market paid any attention to it; US agencies continue to pay the same rate to borrow before and after. PLEASE study some real data and don't just imagine conspiracy everywhere.
I checked on Bloomberg today.
7 year US treasury bond is yielding 1%.
7 year Australia goverment bond is yielding 5.25%
7 year German government bond is yielding 3.5%
Why do the world investors accept a lower yield for US government bond that German government bond?
Because they trust the US government MORE than German government to pay back their money.
Don't live in a 'Gold Bug' world view seeing inflation around every corner. You must look at the entire economy of each country one by one and learn the facts, not blindly follow theoretical fantasies.
You are ignoring the Execution aspect of trading. Thus your comments are wrong on several counts:
" its really only transfer between Wall Street Entities" As others have pointed out, the Wall Street Entities include your pension fund, 401k, etc. So you are very likely to be affected.
"HFT machines may have moved the share price up or down a few pennies. That might just as easily work for your as against you"
This is only true if you can execute at the posted prices. When you want to sell at $2.00 and there's interest to buy at $2.05. HFT will buy it from you at $2.02 and sell it at $2.05, thus pocketing $0.03 that you might have been able to earn. On the return trip, the same thing happens. The round trip does not wash out, otherwise the HFT CANNOT make any money!
' you can protect yourself easily just use limit orders"
This is only partly true. If the market only has 1,000 shares to offer and you want to buy 1,000. The HFT will always be able to buy ahead of you and you may not be able to buy any at all. Thus, you will not be able to buy the dip or sell at a top unless there is enough depth.
While HFT is clearly legal, it is still worth asking how it contributes to the market place or if it's just parasitic.
One SEC proposal to charge for cancelled orders might be appropriate to curb excessive trading if HFT has no added benefits to the market.
Since the course is for a general student, I don't see a focus on programming or computer hardware as most appropriate.
As an alternate, I would suggest SCALC, the open office spreadsheet program, as a good platform for several activities:
1. Learning to compute numerically - calculate sales tax, etc.
2. Learning how algoritum work - sort, binary search can be visually illustrated beautifully within a spreadsheet
3. Real life program solving tool - Post a real life problem to the student; have them analyze it; rephrase it to put in a spreadsheet; check the answers.
4. Graphs and formulae - links direclty to analytic geometry classes
5. Macro - automation which starts to provide motivation into programming for those interested.
6. Statistics - for advanced students
This is much for useful for the avearge student than any narrowly focused programming course.
If you are doing type setting, by all means use 1 spaces. But as you cut and paste your texts into different programs, you may be pasting into different default type faces. Sometimes it's proportional and sometimes it's monospaced. So why not use 2 spaces to be on the safe side? It's simple to programmatically replace 2 spaces by 1 space any way, if necessary. Let's be considerate of our readers rather than swear allegiance to a rule learnt in our youth.
Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line