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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Phil's Favorites

The US government has huge debts, and House Democrats could lead the way on solutions - an economist explains how

 

The US government has huge debts, and House Democrats could lead the way on solutions – an economist explains how

Democrat Nancy Pelosi spoke in D.C. the night of the midterm elections. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Courtesy of Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Boston University

Now that Democrats control the House, the question on many minds is what they will do with it.

Incoming Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi s...



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Zero Hedge

PG&E Plummets After Drawing Down Billions On Its Revolvers

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Two days after California utilities PG&E and Edison crashed, losing a third of their market cap in 48 hours amid investor fears over their exposure to the devastating California fires which are still raging, moments ago PG&E stock tumbled over 20% in premarket trading after the company disclosed it has fully drawn down its revolving credit facilities, in anticipation of soaring liquidity needs.

In an 8-K filing this morning, PG&E and its subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, announced they had drawn the full $3.3 billion available ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock Market Correction Lingers As 800 Pound Resistance Levels Hold

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Key stock market indices continue to struggle beneath 800-pound Fibonacci extension levels (resistance).

In today’s “6-pack” chart, we illustrate these key bull/bear lines for investors – see below. The Dow Jones Industrials, Transports, S&P 500, and Nasdaq 100 are all experiencing weakness and selling pressure at long-term Fibonacci extension levels each at (1).

But the overhead resistance spreads to other key sectors like the Banks and Semiconductors. The Banks are experiencing weakness at the 2007 highs at (2) and the Semiconductors are experiencing weakness at the 2000 highs at (3).

Expect market weakness (or consolidation) to continue until these stock indexes and key market sectors breakout above resistance. Stay tuned!

6-Pack of Stock Market Indices –...



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Insider Scoop

BTIG Research: Etsy Is Online Leader In Handmade, Artisanal Goods

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ETSY Is Etsy A Better E-Commerce Play Than Amazon? 88 Biggest Movers From Yesterday ...

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Members' Corner

NY Times: OPERATION INFEKTION

 

This is a three-part Opinion Video Series from NY Times about Russia’s meddling in the United States’ elections as part of its "decades-long campaign to tear the West apart." This is not fake news. Read more about the series here.

OPERATION INFEKTION

RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION: FROM COLD WAR TO KANYE

By Adam B. Ellick and Adam Westbrook

EPISODE 1

MEE...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Nov 11, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

This past week was saw another positive move up by bulls – especially in the Dow and S&P 500; the NASDAQ was not quite as enthusiastic.   Wednesday’s rally was on the legs of an election that was seen as market friendly or at least not as bad as it could have been.   Essentially – paying people a lot of money to get nothing done the next 2 years – woo hoo!

The market is interpreting Wedneday’s result as insuring that “no big things will get done,” in Washington between now and 2020, Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital told MarketWatch. “The market appreciates the relative certainty of the slow legislative agenda.” he said.

“As President Trump plans his 2020 reelection campaign, a gridlocked Congress is unlik...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern - but it may be a price worth paying

 

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be a price worth paying

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Steven Huckle, University of Sussex

Bitcoin recently turned ten years old. In that time, it has proved revolutionary because it ignores the need for modern money’s institutions to verify payments. Instead, Bitcoin relies on cryptographic techniques to prove identity and authenticity.

However, the price to pay for all of this innovation is a high carbon footprint, created by Bitc...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

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

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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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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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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