Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Animal Spirits – The Magic Number


New Animal Spirits – The Magic Number

Courtesy of 

Don’t miss the new episode of Mike and Ben’s podcast, topics include:

  • How the competition for entertainment impacts business television.
  • Amazon’s numbers are bonkers.
  • How sales & marketing is changing in the asset management business.
  • My pet peeve with surveys & statistics.
  • Is America really as polarized as ever?
  • The coming demographic shift that’s never occurred before.
  • The end of the DOL fiduciary rule.
  • The speaker line-up for our EBI West Conference.
  • What our magic number is for retirement & much more.

Audio embedded below or listen wherever fine podcasts are streamed.


From Ben Carlson's website:

Stories mentioned:

Adam Schiff: Here’s evidence of collusion House Dems found


Adam Schiff: Here's evidence of collusion House Dems found

House Republicans' continual refusal to look at evidence of collusion which is right in front of them is unconscionable. 

Psychographics: the behavioural analysis that helped Cambridge Analytica know voters’ minds


Psychographics: the behavioural analysis that helped Cambridge Analytica know voters' minds

File 20180320 80618 1chynat.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Making connections through tracking behaviour. GarryKillian/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Michael Wade, IMD Business School

The dealings that have been revealed between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have all the trappings of a Hollywood thriller: a Bond villain-style CEO, a reclusive billionaire, a naïve and conflicted whistle-blower, a hipster data scientist turned politico, an academic with seemingly questionable ethics, and of course a triumphant president and his influential family.

Much of the discussion has been on how Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain data on more than 50m Facebook users – and how it allegedly failed to delete this data when told to do so. But there is also the matter of what Cambridge Analytica actually did with the data. In fact the data crunching company’s approach represents a step change in how analytics can today be used as a tool to generate insights – and to exert influence.

For example, pollsters have long used segmentation to target particular groups of voters, such as through categorising audiences by gender, age, income, education and family size. Segments can also be created around political affiliation or purchase preferences. The data analytics machine that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used in her 2016 campaign – named Ada after the 19th-century mathematician and early computing pioneer – used state-of-the-art segmentation techniques to target groups of eligible voters in the same way that Barack Obama had done four years previously.

Cambridge Analytica was contracted to the Trump campaign and provided an entirely new weapon for the election machine. While it also used demographic segments to identify groups of voters, as Clinton’s campaign had, Cambridge Analytica also segmented using psychographics. As definitions of class, education, employment, age and so on, demographics are informational. Psychographics are behavioural – a means to segment by personality.

This makes a lot of sense. It’s obvious that two people with the same demographic profile (for example, white, middle-aged, employed, married men) can have markedly different personalities and opinions. We also know that adapting a message to a person’s personality – whether they are open, introverted, argumentative, and so on – goes a long way to help getting that message across.…
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Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Kushner Was “In His Pocket”


Embed from Getty Images

Ryan Grim writes, "Big story from The Intercept this evening: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has told people close to him that Jared Kushner gave him intelligence that aided in his November crackdown, the infamous Ritz royals roundup." 

Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Kushner Was “In His Pocket”

By Alex Emmons, Ryan Grim and Clayton Swisher, The Intercept

UNTIL HE WAS stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February, presidential adviser Jared Kushner was known around the White House as one of the most voracious readers of the President’s Daily Brief, a highly classified rundown of the latest intelligence intended only for the president and his closest advisers.

Kushner, who had been tasked with bringing about a deal between Israel and Palestine, was particularly engaged by information about the Middle East, according to a former White House official and a former U.S. intelligence professional.

In June, Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upending the established line of succession. In the months that followed, the President’s Daily Brief contained information on Saudi Arabia’s evolving political situation, including a handful of names of royal family members opposed to the crown prince’s power grab, according to the former White House official and two U.S. government officials with knowledge of the report. Like many others interviewed for this story, they declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about sensitive matters to the press.

In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time.

What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s…
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Trade War Thursday – Trump Takes on China

Image result for trump trade war china cartoonWhat an exciting day.  

Trump will be rolling out his economic sanctions against China because what we really need now is more instability in the Global Economy.  Earlier this morning, the PBOC raised their rates in-line with the Fed so we can probably expect trade retaliation in-line with Trump against US manufacturers.  It's certainly going to be interesting, whatever the case.  

While it's very exciting to have International Diplomacy carried out via unilateral decisions announced on Twitter – it does undo DECADES of careful negotiations carried out via shuttle diplomacy by dozens of our Nation's most experienced representatives.  Sadly, once you break Humpty Dumpty, it's very hard to put him back together again but the century is still young – I'm sure we'll be able to fix it later…

Meanwhile, as we expected, the market was not too thrilled about the Fed hiking rates and we made some big money in yesterday's Live Trading Webinar (replay available here) playing them bearish into the meeting and even our Oil (/CL) and Gasoline (RB) shorts turned around this morning for $300 per contract gains as gasoline came back below $2 and oil fell back below $65 (both are our stop lines now and both good for new shorts with tight stops above those lines).

As I said in yesterday morning's Report, 2,640 is our immediate downside target on the S&P (/ES), on the way back to 2,400, which would be $15,000 per contract gains on shorts below the 2,700 line.  We checked our portfolio hedges in yesterday's Webinar and we're generally content with our positions and looking forward to a nce correction – so bring on the Trade War!

FaceBook's (FB) Mark Zuckerberg attempted to put the brakes on their crisis with a timeline that spun the narrative but people aren't having it and Facebook is down again this morning, back at $167 but it will be interesting to see how hard Congress comes down on them as the very data they are accused of mishandling was used by GOP operatives to swing the elections for several high-ranking members of Congress – not to mention the President himself!

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After Tempe fatality, self-driving car developers must engage with public now or risk rejection


After Tempe fatality, self-driving car developers must engage with public now or risk rejection

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An autonomous vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian on March 18. via AP

Courtesy of Andrew Maynard, Arizona State University; Jameson Wetmore, Arizona State University, and Thaddeus R. Miller, Arizona State University

On Sunday evening, March 18, an Uber SUV hit and killed a pedestrian in the Arizona city of Tempe. In a place where vehicle-related pedestrian fatalities are unfortunately a regular occurrence, this shouldn’t have stood out as particularly unusual. But what made the death of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg different was that the vehicle that killed her was driving itself.

As faculty on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus who also study technology innovation, we’ve become used to seeing self-driving cars operated by Uber, Waymo and others on our daily commutes. We know that our neighbors and students are largely excited that our streets are being used to test self-driving technologies. And we love pointing out the cars and SUVs topped with spinning sensors to colleagues from out of town. But we also know that the people who live and work here have local knowledge and values that are being ignored by those who are designing and testing these new technologies.

In 2015, Arizona famously opened its doors to such vehicles by encouraging companies to test out their self-driving cars on public roads. And apart from a relatively minor crash in 2017, there have been few serious incidents. Yet despite this record, the lack of coordination, collaboration and transparency between industry, city government and the public – even on issues as basic as road safety – has created an environment where the future success and safe use of self-driving cars is far from certain.

A 2017 autonomous vehicle crash in Tempe didn’t kill anyone. Tempe Police Department via AP

Bearing the risks, without a voice

No matter what, 4,000 pounds of steel and plastic hurtling along at speed is dangerous, whether a computer or a person is in control. Sunday’s incident forces society to think more…
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Think Facebook can manipulate you? Look out for virtual reality


Think Facebook can manipulate you? Look out for virtual reality

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What these people are seeing isn’t real – but they might think it is. AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Courtesy of Elissa Redmiles, University of Maryland

As Facebook users around the world are coming to understand, some of their favorite technologies can be used against them. It’s not just the scandal over psychological profiling firm Cambridge Analytica getting access to data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles. People’s filter bubbles are filled with carefully tailored information – and misinformation – altering their behavior and thinking, and even their votes.

People, both individually and as a society at large, are wrestling to understand how their newsfeeds turned against them. They are coming to realize exactly how carefully controlled Facebook feeds are, with highly tailored ads. That set of problems, though, pales in comparison to those posed by the next technological revolution, which is already underway: virtual reality.

On one hand, virtual worlds hold almost limitless potential. VR games can treat drug addiction and maybe help solve the opioid epidemic. Prison inmates can use VR simulations to prepare for life after their release. People are racing to enter these immersive experiences, which have the potential to be more psychologically powerful than any other technology to date: The first modern equipment offering the opportunity sold out in 14 minutes.

In these new worlds, every leaf, every stone on the virtual ground and every conversation is carefully constructed. In our research into the emerging definition of ethics in virtual reality, my colleagues and I interviewed the developers and early users of virtual reality to understand what risks are coming and how we can reduce them.

Intensity is going to level up

“VR is a very personal, intimate situation. When you wear a VR headset … you really believe it, it’s really immersive,” says one of the developers with whom we spoke. If someone harms you in VR, you’re going to feel it, and if someone manipulates you into believing something, it’s going to stick.

This immersion is what users want: “VR is really about being immersed … As…
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Facebook is killing democracy with its personality profiling data


Facebook is killing democracy with its personality profiling data

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Facebook’s data know exactly what fits best in your mind. leolintang/

Courtesy of Timothy Summers, University of Maryland

What state should you move to based on your personality? What character on “Downton Abbey” would you be? What breed of dog is best for you? Some enormous percentage of Facebook’s 2.13 billion users must have seen Facebook friends sharing results of various online quizzes. They are sometimes annoying, senseless and a total waste of time. But they are irresistible. Besides, you’re only sharing the results with your family and friends. There’s nothing more innocent, right?


Facebook is in the business of exploiting your data. The company is worth billions of dollars because it harvests your data and sells it to advertisers. Users are encouraged to like, share and comment their lives away in the name of staying connected to family and friends. However, as an ethical hacker, security researcher and data analyst, I know that there is a lot more to the story. The bedrock of modern democracy is at stake.

You are being psychographically profiled

Most people have heard of demographics – the term used by advertisers to slice up a market by age, gender, ethnicity and other variables to help them understand customers. In contrast, psychographics measure people’s personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. They help advertisers understand the way you act and who you are.

Historically, psychographic data were much harder to collect and act on than demographics. Today, Facebook is the world’s largest treasure trove of this data. Every day billions of people give the company huge amounts of information about their lives and dreams.

This isn’t a problem when the data are used ethically – like when a company shows you an ad for a pair of sunglasses you recently searched for.

However, it matters a lot when the data are used maliciously – segmenting society into disconnected echo chambers, and custom-crafting misleading messages to manipulate individuals’ opinions and actions.

That’s exactly what Facebook allowed to happen.

Quizzes, reading your mind and predicting your

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Regulating Facebook won’t prevent data breaches


Regulating Facebook won't prevent data breaches

File 20180321 165574 1jxobmc.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Facebook already controls how its users’ data can be gathered and shared. It’s university ethics boards that need to join the digital age. Shutterstock

Courtesy of William H. Dutton, Michigan State University

After revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly appropriated Facebook user data to advise Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, many are calling for greater regulation of social media networks, saying a “massive data breach” has occurred.

The idea that governments can regulate their way into protecting citizen privacy is appealing, but I believe it misses the mark.

What happened with Cambridge Analytica wasn’t a breach or a leak. It was a wild violation of academic research ethics. The story is still developing, but a college researcher has now acknowledged that he harvested Facebook users’ data and gave it to another company.

A scholar and his company failed to protect sensitive research data. A university did not do enough to stop him. Regulating Facebook won’t solve these problems.

What Kogan did wrong

I am a professor of media and information policy at the Quello Center at Michigan State University, and I was one of the first academics to study the internet. The quality and integrity of digital research is of great concern to me.

I think the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook incident is a total disaster. I just don’t think it’s a government regulatory failure.

Here’s the story, at least what the media has confirmed so far.

Aleksandr Kogan is a Cambridge University data scientist and psychology department lecturer. Outside of the university, Kogan also collected and analyzed Facebook user datapresumably with the knowledge of Facebook – for his company Global Science Research.

Through online surveys, he was reportedly able to gather sensitive personal information on tens of millions of American Facebook users, including demographic data, private messages, information about their friends and possibly even information about the friends of their friends.

Kogan then provided this data to a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica. According to the New York Times, the company analyzed that information, aiming…
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Will #deletefacebook become a thing?


Will #deletefacebook become a thing?

Courtesy of 

It’s always hard to tell whether or not people will follow through with these sorts of memes…

This is the cover of the new Bloomberg Business magazine:

And here is the accompanying story from Paul Ford.

This tweet is getting a lot of attention this morning. Brian Acton is one of the founders of WhatsApp, which sold itself to Facebook a few years ago for billions of dollars. It’s safe to say he is now out of the circle of trust…

Facebook stock has already lost $60 billion in market value since the Cambridge Analytica thing became national (international) news. That’s the equivalent of one Tesla or three Twitters. My take on the controversy here: It Takes Two.

Here’s a three year chart of FB with 200-day moving average. Would you buy this chart?

Previous violations of the uptrend turned out to have been false moves, with short-sellers being punished shortly after for assuming too much. But those times were different than this time.

This time, the company actually seems to be in crisis, the FTC is investigating whether or not they violated their own privacy settings / terms of service. Governments in Europe are up in arms. The long awaited potential entry into China has probably been vaporized (no way Beijing wants a service providing a way for third parties to warp its citizens’ minds – that’s their job). Civil suits and potential fines could be massive – along with the potential for new rules and regs that cost an arm and a leg to comply with, along a concomitant business model change that could render the company’s ad platform less profitable or effective.

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Phil's Favorites

The existential case for ditching Alexa and other AI


The existential case for ditching Alexa and other AI

Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Courtesy of Brendan Canavan, University of Huddersfield

Alexa’s creepy laugh is far from the most worrying thing about her. This is despite the fact that Amazon’s digital assistant – which allows users to access the internet and control personal organisation tools simply by speaking to the device – has been reported to spontaneously chuckle to herself. We shouldn’t be too concerned about he...

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Zero Hedge

Trader Shares "A Few Ideas For Avoiding A Friday Faceplant"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

From Bloomberg macro commentator, Richard Breslow

Don’t mistake this as a trade recommendation, but it is all right to do nothing. Trading when you believe you have an edge is when it is time to step in. If you are there, then go for it. But trading merely because things are moving around is a day-trading concept, not an investment thesis.

It’s important to match trading style, objectives and realistic liquidity assumptions to how you view volatility vs risk. They are very much not the same thing. Made even more so if you think the Fed equity put has been eliminated. It hasn&#...

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Insider Scoop

41 Biggest Movers From Yesterday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ: OMEX) shares climbed 118.42 percent to close at $8.30 on Thursday after the company disclosed positive Mexico Court Decision nullifying a previous denial of application for Don Diego project.
  • Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) shares gained 35.31 percent to close at $15.75. The maker of a cataract surgery drug called Omidria realized a "big win" from Wednesday's release of the U.S. government spending bill, according to Stat News. Specifically, a policy included in the spending bill includes a pass-through exte... more from Insider

Chart School

Bitcoin Cycles Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker. uses Bartel's logic to find dominant cycles in a time series.

Cycles are present in markets, as shown below the 22 and 40 day cycles on calendar days looks like the best fit. Therefore the chart below suggest we can expect a bitcoin low either now or in a few weeks.

Bitcoin has not been effected by the SP500/Dow sell off which is a very bullish sign, bitcoin may see safe haven money chasing price very soon, add to this the sister coin, litecoin, isgetting ready for wider use with the massive e-commerce payment market (litepay, litepal, atomic swamps, lightening network).

The bitcoin move is not over!


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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Speaks With CNBC's "Power Lunch" Today

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

WHEN: Today, Thursday, March 22, 2018

WHERE: CNBC’s “Power Lunch”

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” (M-F 1PM – 3PM) today, Thursday, March 22nd. Following are links to video from the interview on

]]> Get The Timeless Reading eBook in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Timeless Reading in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.


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Digital Currencies

Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Courtesy of Anwar Halari, The Open University

If you haven’t already heard of Bitcoin, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re a time traveller who just touched down in 2018. Because by now, most of us will have heard of Bitcoin and some of us have even jumped on the bandwagon, investing in cryptocurrencies.

But despite its popularity, many people still don’t understand the technology that underlines it: blockchain. In...

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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)


"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...

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How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

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


How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida


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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...

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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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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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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.


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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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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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 >>