Archive for the ‘Members’ Corner’ Category

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Third Edition. Roger writes, "Sapolsky is perhaps my favorite atheist. His research into stress and depression is as beautiful as it is almost terrifying. He somehow manages to put complex biology in a context that is instantly relatable. Personally I put a Creator into the equation but Sapolsky expands my frame of reference and I am very grateful. His book, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, should be required reading for all humans before they launch out into the world like prey on the Savanah.

 





Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America – TIME

 





The Deep State

 

What is "The Deep State"? According to Wikipedia, "The concept of a deep state is that there exists a coordinated effort by career government employees and others to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership." Originally, the term referred to entrenched shadow governments of countries like Turkey and Russia.

Conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters often use "deep state," with conspiratorial undertones, to refer to intelligence officers and government officials who use covert tactics, such as leaking information, to undermine the president (or control the world, depending on the purpose). 

In the article below, David Brin discusses the concept of "deep state" and how the term has been co-opted by Trump and the far-right to malign "every profession in U.S. society that deals in facts and knowledge." 

The Deep State

Courtesy of David BrinContrary Brin

[David Brin is an astrophysicist whose international best-selling novels include The PostmanEarth, and Existence. Dr. Brin serves on advisory boards (e.g. NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program or NIAC) and speaks or consults on a wide range of topics. David Brin's nonfiction book about the information age – The Transparent Society – won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.]

"Deep State" is a buzz phrase being used by the confederacy to explain the hostility they face, from every profession in U.S. society that deals in facts and knowledge. Their narrative is that these professions — the same ones that were maligned for decades in right wing media, from science, teaching, economics, skilled labor and journalism to the civil service, law professionals, medical doctors and judges — have colluded to create a truth-bending, Orwellian cabal. And now, note two of the last knowledge castes have been added — members of the Intelligence Community (IC) and the U.S. Military Officer Corps (MOC).  

This Deep State – the story goes – has been responsible for both liberal tyranny and American decline from greatness. (See Is Michael Flynn the first casualty of a “deep state” coup? It’s not unthinkable.) 

Never mind that these are the same professions that empowered the great burst of creativity and invention and entrepreneurial drive that multiplied our wealth a…
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Selling our Telecom position

John Hempton explains why he is selling Telecom. Does anyone have any thoughts on his thesis/broken thesis?

Selling our Telecom position

Courtesy of John Hempton, Bronte Capital

Several people on twitter and some in person have asked me for an update on my very bullish position on Verizon – especially since the results were not as good as expected last quarter.

I promised I would be forthcoming – but that I wanted to spell it out to our clients first. This is an extract from a client letter.

I want to start with the original bull thesis.

The original thesis

The original thesis came from watching Randall Stephenson (the CEO of AT&T) talk at a Milken Conference in 2012. The original recording is here. The relevant portion of the video starts at about minute 18.

Randall Stevenson tells a story of the iPhone’s introduction. The introduction of smart phones ran the company out of capacity in parts of country. [Apple offered the iPhone exclusively through AT&T in the USA.]

In New York the problems were intense. The complaint in New York was that the iPhone was a great phone so long as you accepted you could not use it as a phone. Jon Stewart mocked the coverage with unusual brutality on the Daily Show (link).

AT&T solved this by more and more capital expenditures. At the time, capex ran at around US$20 billion per annum. AT&T was – other than the government – the single biggest capital spending entity in the US.

Stephenson (speaking in 2012) said that the same problem would recur as usage continued to grow massively. But this time Stephenson argued it is different. He asserted that AT&T would not be able to solve this problem by more capital equipment. Spectrum congestion was inevitable.

He saw this as apocalyptic, but we saw potential pricing power and improving profitability.

We were doing simple arithmetic and getting very large numbers. Most Americans if given a choice between their pay-tv provider and their smart phone would choose the smart phone, but they currently pay more for their pay-TV.

We figured


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How Investors Get Tricked by Yield Products

It the article below, the "high-yield closed fund" that author Eric Newman constructs seems slightly like what a Bernie Madoff Fund might look like, before the investors started asking for their money back. 

How Investors Get Tricked by Yield Products

Courtesy of 

I want to send you over to Eric Newman’s shredding of a popular closed-end fund, which purportedly offers a 20%-plus yield to investors so that you can learn about one of the worst conventions of the investment biz. Eric is the CIO and partner of TFS Capital.

As rates rise (if they rise?) a lot of this type of thing will come back to haunt the investor class and the brokers who’ve been pitching it to people. It’s going to be ugly. You can protect yourself by understanding how the sausage is made.

It’s so good I won’t even excerpt. Just go:

Designing a bizarre Closed-End Fund (TFS Capital)





On the Climate Change Risk Management, the Paris Agreement & the Clean Power Plan

Concerned about global warming? Send your thoughts to the EPA and tell Trump that you support the Clean Power Plan.

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190 at http://www.regulations.gov

From the U.S. Federal Register website: In accordance with Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” EPA is seeking input on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. Comments must be received on or before May 15, 2017.

(See also Previous comments"TIPS for effective comments." Proposed EPA cuts. Commentary on Trump's dangerous climate Executive Order.)

To learn more about climate change risk management and the Paris Agreement, watch this discussion by Dr. Jan Dash. Jan Dash is author of Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, A Physicist's Approach and over 60 scientific papers. He is also the Managing Editor for the Climate Portal.  

Resources

The Climate Portal has a variety of resources and links for business and climate change. Business, spurred by investors, is waking up to the material risks of climate change. The transition to the huge opportunity of the distributed energy economy is underway. This will mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, if done with all deliberate speed. The future of our grandchildren depends on the success of the renewables transition.  The good news is that the renewables train has left the station. The climate contrarians/deniers may try, but they cannot stop it. Have a look. ~ Jan

Business and Climate Change (main page)

Climate Economics

Carbon Finance 

Non-fossil Renewable Energy 

Articles

News Log

****

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in…
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Should I buy that stock?

Courtesy of Phil Stasukaitis (pstas)

I was asked by my local investment club to do a presentation on "how to buy a stock?" As I pondered the question, I began by noting all the elements that I monitor regularly and which come in to play as part of my decision process. As the group is comprised novices to experts, I tried to gear my discussion to cover both basics and more advanced concepts.

Four Part Discussion

  1. Macro Economic Indicators
  2. Market Indexes
  3. Fundamental Analysis
  4. Technical Analysis

1. Macro Economic Indicators

We'll start with reviewing some basic concepts and measurements that have direct effects on the stock market. 

A. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Data source: Dept. of Commerce/Bureau of Economic Research (https://www.bea.gov/index.htm)

Total market value of US produced goods and services – $18 Trillion.

GDP measures total US economic activity. Positive numbers indicate expansion; negative numbers indicate contraction, i.e., recession. In the past, there usually have been accelerated expansions coming out of recessions. That has not been the case since the Great Recession. 2% annual GDP growth, plus or minus, appears to be the new normal.

The GDP and change in GDP are "lagging" indicators meaning they tells us where we have been. Where the economy is headed falls to GDP forecasts which are regularly issued from various sources.

B. Consumer Price Index (CPI)

The CPI is used to measure inflation. The CPI measures changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for representative basket of goods and services. Latest report on the last 12 months gave a CPI reading of +2.5%. The Federal Reserve uses a different inflation measure, Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). CPI is based on a survey of what households are buying; PCE is based on surveys of what businesses are selling. Both measures break out "headline" and "core" numbers. Core numbers strip out housing and energy which tend to be more volatile month to month.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics- US Dept. of Labor https://www.bls.gov/

C. 10-Year Treasury Note

The Ten Year Treasury is often used as…
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Bombing – Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democrats are about as supportive of the strikes as they were under Obama, with 38 percent backing them in 2013 and 37 percent agreeing with them now, according to the Washington Post. Now 86 percent of Republican voters back the strikes, compared with the just 22 percent who did so in 2013.

This is a pretty stunning difference. Democratic views stayed solidly negative regardless of who was president. But Republican approval rates skyrocketed from 22 percent to 86 percent when Trump became president. This despite the fact that Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons was more extensive in 2013 than it was this year…  more >

I mean WTF – because you have a GOP president, strikes are now OK. Liberals a bit more consistent there.

***

SJL, "WTF" is a common (but not highly regarded) form of philosophical reasoning. Instead of looking at the outcome of an action, or examining whether the act itself is right or wrong, this less logical approach considers whether the actor is a republican or a democrat to determine whether the act is right or wrong. ~ Ilene





CAR-T & CRISPR – the Future is Now

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members….it has been a while since my last post, but since many have all been on the board following the chat, it is time for a scientific lesson in a few of the companies we are long.  In addition, another revolution is coming in the medical field, and it will be touched upon as well.

CAR-T – stands for Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and the T is for T-cell.  

From the picture above, T-cells are one cell type of our immune system that fight off infection as well as they are one player at keeping rogue cells from becoming cancerous. Unfortunately, cancer somehow evades the immune system and so it begins.

CAR-T came along in the late1980s via a brilliant scientist, Zelig Eshhar, an Israeli immunologist at the Weizmann Institue of Science.  The basic steps are noted below in picture.  The insertion of different 'components' and the way the replication of the protein happens (Step 2; Step 2 subitem 4) yields the clinical variations that are competing in this area by the companies.    

KITE, JUNO and Novartis all have CD19 directed CAR-T technologies.  CD19 was attractive as a CAR-based target therapy because most B-cell leukemias and lymphomas express it, but normal tissue other than the B cell lineage do not.   The companies therefore have focused on CD19 first, and there are subtle difference in the way the T-cells are made.

Any modification of the immune system comes with risk, and CAR-T was no exception.  Even thought the CAR-T was hailed as a wonder treatment due to is successes in blood born cancer, it also caused some complications.  Last year, JUNO hit the wall with their lead, as it caused severe cerebral edema – cytokine storm??  This caused all the CAR-Ts to be evaluated, but in the end, only JUNO's lead was halted. Companies are continually making progress on the CAR-T front, and BLCM seems to be on the cusp of one way to get around a side effect.  

BLCM also has a CD19 directed CAR-T program, with a twist that…
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Natterings from the Naybob

Courtesy of The Nattering Naybob

[Click on titles for full articles.]

The American Dream: An Endangered Ethos?

At Danielle DiMartino Booth's The American Dream: An Endangered Ethos -

"It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class."  No more elegant words were ever written to ensure our ethos would never be endangered. And yet it is at risk of extinction today. It is high time we stand up for what is rightly ours and take back the American Dream for one and for all."

Ever excellent and mental viagra. Musing… Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Homes are sticks and bricks where people live their lives and raise families. All have the right to earn that dream which should not be denied by greedy serial flippers or serial landlords.

Our Corporate Anthem?

Once again, not to be mistaken for Tuesdays With Morrie, it's time for Tuesdays With Trump. Over at Philstockworld… High Finance for Real People – Fun and Profits… 

Muck – "As long as we allow corporations to buy congress critters we will get more of the same."

We Natter… Sixty-nine of the world’s 100 top economic entities are now corporations instead of countries. Juristic person hood could be the biggest sham ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting and naive public. SCOTUS holding that spending money is in any way related to the core of freedom of expression, is of dubious moral character, but it gets far worse my fiends, er friends…
 

 

 

Are You Credentialed?

StJL – Ackman's Pain – "So out of a $4.6 billion investment, Pershing Square got back about $874 million."

We Nattered… Proving that even so called accredited "experts" can get drunk on their own punch bowl. We covered Ackman's bankrupt investment philosophy and felonious folly in Platform Value: The Fall?  Along those lines, re my latest, A Quick


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Phil's Favorites

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

GOLDMAN SACHS: Hedge funds are betting billions that these 18 stocks are doomed (Business Insider)

Hedge funds have had a great year picking stocks. But there's a dark underbelly to their investment activity that involves betting on companies to falter.

Moody's downgrades Hong Kong credit rating after China cut (Fox News World)

Moody's decision to cut its credit rating for Hong Kong soon after downgrading its ...



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Zero Hedge

Has The Drug War Incentivized Police To Treat Citizens Like Terrorists?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

A video of a Florida Sheriff making a promo video to scare has been making the rounds recently.  Casey Research recently covered the affair, noting the following quote f...



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ValueWalk

Boost Your Retirement Savings

By The Sovereign Investor. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Kids don’t understand money. They don’t understand how to save it, how to spend it or how to stay out of money trouble.

According to data released by the Program for International Student Assessment, more than a fifth of U.S. teens lack basic financial literary skills.

Photo by stevepb (Pixabay)

In fact, Chinese students are ranked as the most financially literate teens, followed by Belgium and Canada. American teens ranked seventh overall in the assessment of science, reading and mathematics.

This lack of knowledge is go...



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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrency Chaos: Bitcoin Bounces Back After Crashing As Asian Fever Re-Emerges

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

After crashing $500 from its intraday highs today, Bitcoin has bounced back $300 off its intraday lows extending gains into what is likely to be another frenetic Asian session. While there are numerous drivers of the recent action, 'scaling' and 'asian fever' are the greatest factors with Japanese and Korean premia exploding.

Of course in context today's intraday drop is de minimus...

...

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Chart School

S&P Breakout on Higher Volume Accumulation

Courtesy of Declan.

While I expected the Dow Jones to be the breakout flyer, instead it was the S&P which led the charge on higher volume accumulation.  Technicals are all in the green with a return of the MACD trigger 'buy'.



The Dow did manage to break past 21,000 with a MACD trigger 'buy' but it's still contained by all-time high resistance at 21,200. The index is still well positioned for a larger breakout, but this is the sixth day of consecutive gains for the index so some pullback can be expe...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

OPEC Boss Embraces Shift to Top Diplomat (The Wall Street Journal)

During a turbulent year for oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ top official, Mohammad Barkindo, has embraced a role as the global energy industry’s chief diplomat.

Eurozone ‘still fragile’ despite growth spurt, warns European Central Bank (The Telegraph)

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis might seem like a distant memory as the eurozone economy ...



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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites



About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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