Archive for the ‘Members’ Corner’ Category

Fatal Flaws of our Enlightenment?

 

David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on many topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He’s also one of the “World’s Best Futurists.” Find David’s books and latest thoughts on various matters at his website and blog. In Fatal Flaws in our Enlightenment, David further discusses subjects he covered in our interview in October.

 

Fatal Flaws of our Enlightenment?

Courtesy of David BrinContrary Brin

I post this heading out the door to speak tonight at the California Democratic Party Convention, in San Diego. And yes, they even invite registered Republicans, when they have important ideas to share. Or at least vital questions. For example….

Is our Great Experiment in danger of coming to an end? Certainly, the world seems filled with forces pushing for Government of the people, by the people, for the people to perish from the Earth.

Ezra Klein summarizes the book: “How Democracies Die,” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Klein’s appraisal is cogent and very important reading in its own right. I urge you to find time for it, even if (like me) you lack time for the source material. As you might guess, I agree that Donald Trump is “not the disease” but a symptom, top-to-bottom. Here’s an excerpt:

‘“2017 was the best year for conservatives in the 30 years that I’ve been here,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week. “The best year on all fronts. And a lot of people were shocked because we didn’t know what we were getting with Donald Trump.”

"‘The best year on all fronts.' Think about that for a moment. If you want to know why congressional Republicans are opening an assault on the FBI in order to protect Trump, it can be found in that comment. This was a year in which Trump undermined the press, fired the director of the FBI, cozied up to Russia, baselessly alleged he was wiretapped, threatened to jail his political opponents, publicly humiliated his attorney general for recusing himself from an investigation, repeatedly claimed massive voter fraud against him, appointed a raft of unqualified and occasionally ridiculous


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An Interview with David Brin

 

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer). Here, David shares his ideas about the future, specifically the future of civilization. ~ Ilene 

 

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historical conflict between two models of civilization -– the diamond and the pyramid. Can we start with a brief explanation of these?

David: In somewhere like 99% of human cultures, the stable attractor state was feudalism or some variant, a pyramidal society with owner lords controlling ignorant masses. This structure was a huge success for the topmost males, who got harems, reinforcing the system… but it was lousy at governance because it inherently suppresses criticism and ferment and creativity from below. Whenever human males get a lot of power, we feel within us a temptation to consolidate that power and re-create that pyramid.

The Enlightenment diamond-shaped society, with a huge, prosperous, socially-mobile, empowered middle class, is by far the most productive and creative system the world has ever seen. In 200 years, we accomplished more than all other societies combined, and not just in physical endeavors. Also in attacking age-old assumptions about race, gender and environmental blindness. Adam Smith showed us how to use competition open and fair to create fecund arenas markets, democracy, science, etc. that in turn spawn cornucopia.

But the diamond is unstable. The very same wealth that we use to attract creative people to take risks and foster new goods, services, etc. starts to build a new caste of owner-oligarchs, whom Adam Smith knew to be the inherent enemies of the very system that engendered them! Marx was also aware of this basic "contradiction of capitalism." Capitalism's winners are tempted to become cheaters, using wealth to suppress new competition. And cheating kills capitalism, perverting it and giving it a bad name.   

Ilene: Lately, it seems like there are a lot of winners who are also cheaters… are we going backwards?


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Day of Last Dances

News today has been relentlessly terrible. A horrific mass murder happened last night in Las Vegas. (Our politician's abject failure to address gun control is beyond sickening.) And today, reports that Tom Petty died of a heart attack, followed by reports that Tom Petty is not dead, and now reports confirming that Tom Petty has passed away. 

Tom Petty, Staple of Rock Radio With the Heartbreakers, Dies at 66

Tom Petty, a songwriter who melded California rock with a deep, stubborn Southern heritage, died on Monday after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 66 and had lived in Los Angeles.

Tony Dimitriades, Mr. Petty’s longtime manager, confirmed the death.

Recording with the Heartbreakers, the band he formed in the mid-1970s, and on his own, Mr. Petty wrote pithy, hardheaded songs that gave a contemporary clarity to 1960s roots. His voice was grainy and unpretty, with a Florida drawl that he proudly displayed.

Mr. Petty’s songs were staples of FM rock radio through decades, and with hits like “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Free Fallin’” and “Into the Great Wide Open,” Mr. Petty sold millions of albums and headlined arenas and festivals well into 2017. He played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008 and entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. But his songs stayed down-to-earth, with sturdy guitar riffs carrying lyrics that spoke for underdogs and ornery outcasts. In his 1989 hit, “I Won’t Back Down,” he sang, “You can stand me up at the gates of hell / But I won’t back down.” More > 

Earlier today, confusion,

CBS Erroneously Reports Tom Petty’s Death, Setting Off an Outpouring

The news ricocheted around the web immediately: CBS News was reporting that Tom Petty was dead.

It kicked off widespread reaction and remembrances on Monday, with star singers like John Mayer, Shania Twain and Jon Bon Jovi all paying tribute to Mr. Petty on Twitter.

It soon emerged, however, that the news was premature.

When CBS reported Mr. Petty’s death on Twitter, preceded by a capitalized banner “JUST IN,” the network attributed the news to the Los Angeles Police Department. In an article published online, there was no mention of the L.A.P.D., merely the phrase “CBS News has confirmed.” (CBS later deleted the tweet.)  More >

We'll miss you, Tom Petty.





“Citron Exposes Ubiquiti Networks” But TNN Says “Not So Fast”

What do you think? (There's a comment section below smiley)

"CITRON EXPOSES UBIQUITI NETWORKS" 

Does Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) actually have real products that sell to consumers? Of course! So did Valeant and WorldCom, but that does not stop its financials from having every indication of being completely fraudulent.

Citron will detail a series of alarming red flags and detail how Ubiquiti Networks is deceiving the investing public.

Read the full report here.

******

Rebutal by The Nattering Naybob, Seeking Alpha: 

Left And Citron: The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

Excerpt:

Citron Shorts Again?

The latest target for infamous "activist" short seller Andrew Left and Citron Research is Ubiquiti (UBNT). After placing their short bets, the strategy involves launching torpedoes with intent to sink the stock, by publishing accusations of fraud or abuse. There is nothing illegal in these activities, as long as what Left and Citron publish is not fraudulent.

Before analyzing Citron's allegations of fraud, we will first exert some quick and dirty due diligence. An examination of Ubiquiti's debt service and short term liquidity situation should reveal whether they are in immediate danger.

Debt Service?

Below, UBNT debt to equity ratio is 43%, only a concern if earnings to interest payments ratios are not acceptable.

Courtesy SimplyWallSt

From Q4 2017 financials: income from operations 290M/4.8M = net interest expense = 60X, which is quite safe from a debt servicing standpoint.

Liquidity?

Below, near term liquidity measured as short term liabilities vs assets.

Courtesy SimplyWallSt

From the financials: Cash 604M; Current Liabilities 96M; Long Term Debt: 242M; Retained Earnings: 601M.

It appears that should adverse conditions arise, UBNT can readily meet expenses and debt (short and long term) with liquid assets.

Scratching the surface with the quick and dirty analysis above, with regard to debt service and liquidity, or can you pay the bills and debt, even if the note is called, there doesn't seem to be much to worry about here.

Taking It In The Shorts?

In the markets, some investors make it or take it, in the longs and or shorts. Below, Citron contends that the existing UBNT customer base does not "constitute a core competitive advantage". We address this further below.

Full article here >





Why we need to act on climate change now (updated)

 

Why we need to act on climate change now (updated)

Interview with Jan Dash, PhD, by Ilene Carrie, Editor at Phil’s Stock World

Updated in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on September 13 , 2017.

Jan Dash is a physicist, an expert at quantitative finance and risk management, and a consultant at Bloomberg LP. In his thought-provoking book, Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, A Physicist's Approach, he devotes a chapter to climate change and its long-term systemic risk. Jan’s Climate Portal provides extensive background and references. In this interview, Jan discusses climate change and how inaction is threatening our future. (Click here for pdf version.)

Ilene: Hi Jan. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas on global warming. . . I’m looking at a graph, along with the current atmospheric CO 2 level that you and Yan Zhang modeled for the Bloomberg Carbon Clock, which shows just how sharply CO 2 levels have increased mostly in only the last 50 years relative to the last 12 thousand years. And I can see that CO 2 levels are currently about 400 ppm – and that at 450 ppm, the text says we will reach a “danger zone.” What happens when CO 2 levels reach 450 ppm? Why is that level considered the "danger zone?"

 

Screenshot of Bloomberg’s Carbon Clock

 

Jan: If we can limit CO 2 to 450 ppm, it is likely that we can limit the average global temperature increase to around 2 degrees Centigrade or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. This is the goal of the Paris Agreement, designed to leave a livable planet to our descendants.

Ilene: Do you think we will be successful?

Jan: With present policies, it does not look like we will achieve that goal. Action must be increased urgently to avoid increasingly severe climate impacts on our grandchildren and their descendants. Solving the climate problem is prerequisite to any long-term solution to the many serious issues facing humanity today. Climate change is actually the outstanding moral, ethical, and survival issue of our time.

We are in a “ danger zone” now. Today’s CO 2 level of around 400


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Advice for Trump on how to avoid a nuclear war

 

Former Mexican President Shows Trump How To Avoid Nuclear War In Hilarious Video

By Carolina Moreno

The former Mexican president sat down with comedy site Super Deluxefor a new video, released Wednesday, in which he gave Trump some tips on how to avoid starting a nuclear war. 

[More here.]





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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Phil's Favorites

Theresa May Brexit deal hammered in parliament, but be wary of prospects of a new 'consensus' approach

 

Theresa May Brexit deal hammered in parliament, but be wary of prospects of a new 'consensus' approach

Courtesy of Simon Usherwood, University of Surrey

Another day, another record. The 230 majority against the motion to approve Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU smashes pretty much any parliamentary record one cares to discover.

That May’s immediate response was to make time for the house to debate and vote on Labour’s motion of no-confidence in her the day after her loss was thus hardly a surprise: how else to respond to such a heavy blow against the central platform and policy of the government?

And yet the abiding impression o...



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Zero Hedge

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Courtesy of John Mauldin, MauldinEconomics.com

For a couple of years now, the economic narrative has shown a comparatively strong US against weakness in Europe and some of Asia (NOT China). The US, we are told, will stay on top. I agree with that, as far as it goes... but I’m not convinced the “top” will be so great.

Americans like to think we are insulated from the world. We have big oceans on either side of us. Geopolitically, they serve as buffers. But economically they connect us to other important markets that are critical to many US businesses. Problems in those markets are ultimately problems for the US, too.

Last week I gave you my ...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto-Bubble: Will Bitcoin Bottom In February Or Has It Already?

Courtesy of Michelle Jones via ValueWalk.com

The new year has been relatively good for the price of bitcoin after a spectacular collapse of the cryptocurrency bubble in 2018. It’s up notably since the middle of December and traded around the psychological level of $4,000... so is this a sign that the crypto market is about to recover?

Of course, it depends on who you ask, but one analyst discovered a pattern which might point to a bottom next month.

A year after the cryptocurrency bubble popped

CCN...



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ValueWalk

D.E. Shaw Investment Calls For Leadership Change At EQT

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elliott Management has offered to acquire QEP Resources for approximately $2.1 billion, contending the oil and gas explorer’s turnaround efforts have done little to lift the company’s share price. The company responded and said that a thorough review of the proposition is imperative in order to properly act in the best interests of shareholders, “taking into account the company’s other alternatives and current market conditions.” The news came only a month after Travelport Worldwide agreed to sell itself to Siris Capital Group and Elliott’s private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital for $4.4 billion in cash and two months after Athenahealth was bought by Veritas and Evergreen for $5.7 bi...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold & Silver Testing Important Breakout Levels!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Gold and Silver from a long-term perspective have created a series of lower highs over the past 8-years. Will 2019 bring a change to this trend? A big test is in play!

Gold since the lows in 2016 has created a series of higher lows, while Silver may have created a double bottom.

Gold & Silver are currently facing break attempts a (1) and (2). These falling resistance lines have disappointed metals bulls for the past few years.

The direction of Gold and Silver weeks and months from now should be highly influenced by what each does as they are attempting to break above important resistance levels.

To become a member of Kimbl...



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Insider Scoop

UBS Says Disney's Streaming Ambition Gives It A 'New Hope'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DIS Despite Some Risks, Analysts Still Expecting Double Digit Growth From Communications Services In Q4 ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's failure based on his personality, which was evident years ago. This article, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump became president, in July, 2016, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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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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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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.

Market Shadows >>