Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

Investing By Jerks

Investing By Jerks

Nerd

Courtesy of Tim at Psy-Fi Blog 

Punctuated Equilibrium

Back in the early 1970’s a couple of young biologists came up with an suggestion that profoundly annoyed many of their colleagues and has continued to divide their subject ever since. The idea was called “punctuated equilibrium” and argued that evolution doesn’t develop smoothly and continuously over time but proceeds with long stops and short starts, thus making the chances of finding intermediary forms in the fossil record vanishingly small.

The opponents of this, to non-biological eyes, non-controversial extension to evolutionary theory responded sarcastically that this was “evolution by jerks” invoking the rejoinder that the alternative was “evolution by creeps”. Clearly, the world of the evolutionary life sciences is populated by some seriously adult people. However, the idea of punctuated equilibrium is a powerful one and its applicability to other systems characterised as evolutionary, like the world’s economy, is replete with possibilities. After all, can investing by jerks be any worse than everything else we’ve witnessed?

Another Long Argument

The scientists behind the idea of punctuated equilibrium were Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould. Subsequently Gould became involved in a series of intellectual spats about the concept up until his death in 2002. Critics included Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and E.O. Wilson which amounts to a fairly serious barrage of opposition given that everyone involved is a committed evolutionist.

Roughly two counterarguments can be discerned. The first is that punctuated equilibrium isn’t really a major idea in its own right, it’s more a minor extension of evolutionary theory which has gained vastly more public attention than it deserves through Gould’s extraordinary ability to make scientific ideas accessible to the general public. Obviously, that’s a bit of a back-handed complement given the opposition.

Reductionism

Flightless cormorant, Phalacrocorax harrisi

Secondly, though, is a more interesting debate, which is the argument between adaptationists and their opponents. Adaptationists suggest that (nearly) every feature and trait of biological lifeforms can be explained as an evolutionary adaptation.

Gould was firmly opposed to this idea, arguing that not every feature of every living thing is a direct result of evolutionary pressure. In fact, he went so far as to suggest that pursuing this approach to its ultimate conclusion was to substitute a Creator with


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“Trumped by Darwin?”

Courtesy of Mark Thoma at Economist’s View

"Trumped by Darwin?"

elk, Darwin, natural selectionRobert Frank returns to the point he made in Alpha Markets, i.e. that Charles Darwin provides the "true intellectual foundation" for economics. Though the example this time is male elk rather than bull elephant seals, the central point – and it’s one worth giving more thought to – is that "Individual and group interests are almost always in conflict when rewards to individuals depend on relative performance." In these situations, which occur frequently in economic and social relationships, the assumption in neoclassical economic models that the maximization of self-interest is consistent with the maximization of social interest does not hold, and failure to recognize this has " undermined regulatory efforts … causing considerable harm to us all":

The Invisible Hand, Trumped by Darwin?, by Robert Frank, Commentary, NY Times: If asked to identify the intellectual founder of their discipline, most economists today would probably cite Adam Smith. But that will change. … Charles Darwin … tracks economic reality much more closely. …

Smith’s basic idea was that business owners … have powerful incentives to introduce improved product designs and cost-saving innovations. These moves bolster innovators’ profits in the short term. But rivals respond by adopting the same innovations, and the resulting competition gradually drives down prices and profits. In the end, Smith argued, consumers reap all the gains.Charles Darwin

The central theme of Darwin’s narrative was that competition favors traits and behavior according to how they affect the success of individuals, not species or other groups. As in Smith’s account, traits that enhance individual fitness sometimes promote group interests. For example, a mutation for keener eyesight in hawks benefits not only any individual hawk that bears it, but also makes hawks more likely to prosper as a species.

In other cases, however, traits that help individuals are harmful to larger groups. For instance, a mutation for larger antlers served the reproductive interests of an individual male elk, because it helped him prevail in battles … for access to mates. But as this mutation spread, it started an arms race that made life more hazardous for male elk over all. The antlers of male elk can now span five feet or more. And


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Zero Hedge

"There's No Way Out": Johnson Slams "Undemocratic" Irish Backstop In Letter To European Council

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as barely been in office a month, and he's already convinced some Britons that he's ready to take the UK out of the EU, with or without an interim trade deal to soften the blow.

On the other side of the Atlantic, President Trump has pledged to cobble together a trade deal to help bolster Johnson's popularity should he need to call for an early general election to try and bolster his party's mandate (the Tories and their coalition control the Commons by one measly vote).  This past week, Johnson has generated headlin...



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Phil's Favorites

Aramco Asks Banks To Submit Proposals For Role In Mega IPO (Again)

Courtesy of Julianne Geiger, OilPrice.com

The Aramco IPO is one step closer to reality, with Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company seeking proposals from banks who wish to fulfill various roles in the much-anticipated IPO, Reuters sources said on Monday.

The requests for proposals were sent a few days ago, the sources said. Saudi Aramco declined to comment on the development.

Aramco’s official request that banks submit proposals is a positive development for the IPO, although even with banks handwringing with anticipation, the mega IPO has an uphill battle ahead.

Aramco’s Senior VP of Finance, Khalid al-Dabbagh, said last week that it w...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Watch Out Bears! Fed POMO Is Back!

Courtesy of Lee Adler

That’s right. The Fed is doing POMO again.  POMO means Permanent Open Market Operations. It’s a fancy way of saying that the Fed is buying Treasuries, pumping money into the financial markets.

Over the past 6 days, the Fed has bought $8.6 billion in T-bills and coupons. These are the first regular Fed POMO Treasury operations since the Fed ended outright QE in 2014.

Who is the Fed buying those Treasuries from?

The Primary Dealers. Who are the Primary Dealers?  I’ll let the New York Fed tell you:

Primary dealers are trading counterparties of the New York Fed in its implementation of monetary policy. They are also expected to make markets for the New York Fed on behalf of its official accountholders as needed, and to bid on a ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Steel About To Breakdown And Send Bearish Economic Message?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is the Steel Industry suggesting that a recession is nearing? In my humble opinion, the jury is still out on this one.

This chart from Marketsmith.com takes a look at the patterns of Steel ETF (SLX).

SLX has spent the majority of the past 3-years inside of trading range (1). The persistent decline over the past year has it testing the bottom of this trading range at (2).

The weakness over the past year has it below long-term moving averages as its relative strength r...



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The Technical Traders

Fed Too Late To Prevent A Housing Market Crash?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Real Estate is one of the biggest purchases anyone will make in their lifetime.  It can account for 30x to 300x one’s annual income and take over 30 years to pay off.  After you’re done paying for your property, now you have to keep paying to maintain it and to support the property taxes to keep it.  What has happened to the US Real Estate market since the 2008-09 global credit market collapse and is the US Fed behind the curve?

Case-Shiller Home Price Index

One of the most common indicators used to measure national housing affordability and price trend is the Case-Shiller Home Price Index.  In this chart, we are displaying the Case-Shiller National Home ...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Tuesday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index for the latest week is schedule for release at 8:55 a.m. ET.
  • San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly is set to speak at 4:30 p.m. ET.
  • Federal Reserve Board of Governors Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles will speak in Salt Lake City, Utah at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Posted-In: Economic DataNews Economics ...



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Chart School

Bitcoin 2019 fractal with Gold 2013

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Funny how price action patterns repeat, double tops, head and shoulders. These are simply market fractals of supply and demand.

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Ref: US Crypto Holders Only Have a Few Days to Reply to the IRS 6173 Letter

Today's news from the US IRS has been blamed for the recent price slump, yet the bitcoin fractal like the gold fractal suggest the market players have set bitcoin up for a slump to $9000 USD long before the IRS news hit the wire.

Get the impression some market players missed out on the b...

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Digital Currencies

New Zealand Becomes 1st Country To Legalize Payment Of Salaries In Crypto

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been on a persistent upswing this year, but they're still pretty volatile. But during a time when even some of the most developed economies in the word are watching their currencies bounce around like the Argentine peso (just take a look at a six-month chart for GBPUSD), New Zealand has decided to take the plunge and become the first country to legalize payment in bitcoin, the FT reports.

The ruling by New Zealand’s tax authority allows salaries and wages to b...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Biotech

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing - but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

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

 

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, ...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

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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.

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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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