Posts Tagged ‘irrationality’

Unpredictably Rational

I don’t think humans are rational creatures but we do have an ability to make rational decisions. And perhaps an even greater ability to rationalize our (rational and irrational) behavior.  Just saying. – Ilene 

Unpredictably Rational

Muskrat :: Ondatra zibethicus

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog 

Common Sense

As we go about our everyday lives we don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on the irrationality of the people around us. Certainly from time to time people do stupid things, but by and large most of us make it through most of our days without driving the wrong way up roads, roasting our dogs in microwaves or buying stocks in stupid companies. Even when we do odd things there’s usually some recognisably rational reason for us doing them.

This version of human rationality is virtually unknown to all brands of economics which largely insist on defining rationality in an irrational way and then sniggering at the human race when it fails to live up to the standards that some rather over-focused economists think it should. The problem for them is that we’re not the irrational ones, they are. The problem for us is that the people that matter listen to them, not us.

Maximal Utility

The definition of rationality that’s at the centre of modern economics is a strange conceit, based around the idea of maximising utility. Underlying this is an assumption that rationality means that we’re consistent in our choices: faced with the same situation we should always do the same thing. From this position economists have then spent a great deal of time trying to design experiments to show that this is what we do, which is just about possible when you remove all vestiges of reality from the situation (see, for instance, Be a Sceptical Economist).

Chimpanzees Take Control Of The Cameras For BBC Documentary

However, real-life isn’t like this. We rarely, if ever, face the same situation twice: life is a stream and we can’t stand in it twice. Mostly we must face each situation anew and make new choices each time. Obviously we rely on past experience to guide us in our decision making and, as we all have different experiences to guide us, we make different decisions. We even make different choices ourselves between very similar circumstances and most of us will see nothing wrong in this. It’s certainly not…
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Valentine’s Day Sexonomics

Valentine’s day revisited through the eyes of Eric and from an economic perspective.  The same principles that are used in choosing which stock to buy can be used in selecting a mate, or the other way around. – Ilene 

Valentine’s Day Sexonomics

Bottle of champagne by bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates


Steve Levitt’s Freakonomics bestseller highlighted that many quirky phenomenon can be analyzed using economic reasoning, or really, assuming individuals are self interested, and applying statistics and logic to that. Many people find this application of ‘economics’ much more interesting than applying such logic to widgets or muni bonds, so why not just get all those cost and indifference curves in price/quantity space out of economics textbooks, and replace with sexy pictures and fun sex trivia? One could then see economic lessons on Spike TV, right after Manswers. After all, sex is an object of exchange just like any other commodity, but a lot more fun for college-aged students to contemplate. 

For example, Charlotte Allen’s article on the New Dating Game, and Lori Gottlieb’s book on why women should settle rather than become spinsters, brought forth a lot of ‘Freakonomic’ issues around dating, sex and marriage, and generated considerable blog buzz (see Robin HansenSlateJezebel). Writing about these matters is always sure to get people excited, because these are issues people feel they understand pretty well, so people who disagree are way wrong! This got me thinking about the fun book, Mathematics and Sex, which is good nerd porn. Consider the application of economic models to the following issues:

Asset pricing: Choosing a young man for a long-term mate means evaluating his future value; you don’t want a young hottie who won’t age well. Hot Chippendale dancers with low intelligence aren’t good buys. But then, if you want to get the next billionaire, should you try to find the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? These are true nerds, and at 18 they weren’t attractive to most women (Buffet writes candidly about his social ineptness as a young man). So, should women glom on to nerds? Well, it could be that nerds have a higher top return, but lower average return, so this isn’t optimal even abstracting from their obviously lower current value. Fads based on conspicuous successes can alter the value of current young men. Perhaps your dad was a prior bubble (eg, he…
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Science, Stocks and Superstition

Science, Stocks and Superstition

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog

biasesUnreliable Science

As we’ve seen – repeatedly – people aren’t particularly good at overcoming the behavioural biases built into our nature by evolution. There’s no real reason we should be – computing the statistical probability of an above average return on the stockmarket over a twenty year period wasn’t of much value for most of human history. This was partly because twenty years was more than the average lifespan of a proto-human but largely because no one had yet got around to inventing money or stockmarkets or stocks. Or ‘years’.

If these biases are inherent and cause us to do stupid things around finance we might expect that they’ll appear in other areas as well where humanity has only recently started to apply its higher cognitive functions. So it’s unsurprising that our basic intuitions about science are about as reliable as those we have about finance. To whit: not reliable at all.

Greek Geeks

Science has been around a lot longer than modern financial theory. The Ancient Greeks developed many concepts that aren’t out of place in the modern pantheon of university science faculties – atomic theory, planetary orbits and toga parties amongst them. Unfortunately they failed to marry their scientific insights to a stable economic system and much of their knowledge was lost for the best part of a millennium. The lesson being, presumably, that disenfranchising women and relying on slave labour is a poor way of building a stable society. Global corporations take note.

GreeksDuring that lost thousand years or so the only real legacy of Greek knowledge in the Western world was a smattering of Aristotle, who was a bloody good thinker but a bit weak on stuff like planetary motion and mathematics. Somewhere along the line Aristotle’s ideas got mixed up with Christianity and resulted in the odd position of the Catholic Church defining God’s word on the basis of the scientific writings of an atheistic Greek who died before Christ was born. We can blame Thomas Aquinas for that one.

The period known as the Renaissance – the rebirth – was marked by a remarkable rediscovery of Ancient Greek thought. Some of this came from the Muslim world, where many ideas and writings had been sustained through the European Dark Ages, and some of it from the

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Phil's Favorites

Why Trump will weather Stormy


Why Trump will weather Stormy

Courtesy of Monika L. McDermott, Fordham University

Donald Trump’s opponents have long been waiting for some sort of scandal to bring him down, and they may think they have finally found it in pornographic film star Stormy Daniels.

Daniels alleges she had an extramarital affair with Donald Trump in 2006 and was subsequently paid off by a Trump lawyer to stay silent during the presidential election. These types of charges, if proven true, have felled many politicians in the past.

But Trump’s opponents probably shouldn’t get their hopes up.

While political science research has shown that politicians are generally hurt by political scandals like extramarital affairs, the context is key. ...

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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

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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.

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