29 September 2017

Great Job, Brownie

We've been here before, and done a much better job of it. What job? Supplying a cut off population with the wherewithal for existence. Read up on the Berlin Airlift. It began in less time, post loss of access, than Donald J. Quisling has done with Puerto Rico and the USVI. It was, of course, run by the US military. Stodgy establishment.
The day after the 18 June 1948 announcement of the new Deutsche Mark, Soviet guards halted all passenger trains and traffic on the autobahn to Berlin, delayed Western and German freight shipments and required that all water transport secure special Soviet permission.

On 25 June 1948 Clay gave the order to launch Operation Vittles. The next day 32 C-47s lifted off for Berlin hauling 80 tons of cargo, including milk, flour, and medicine. The first British aircraft flew on 28 June. At that time, the airlift was expected to last three weeks.

Granted, the Berlin crisis had been on-going for some time, but Donald J. Quisling's dismissal of Puerto Rico is of a piece with W's disdain for New Orleans; now essentially white-ified.

27 September 2017

FIRE Alarm, part the second

Well, the mainstream pundit class finally has something to say about FIRE burning down the house. Were that this was the prevalent view. Sometimes, especially in the realm of human activity, data doesn't trump corruption.
Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, envisioned financial services (and I stress the word "service") as an industry that didn't exist as an end in itself, but rather as a helpmeet to other types of business.

Ya think? All those business school grads looking to Gekko-ize.
The financial industry, dominated by the biggest banks, provides only 4 percent of all jobs in the country, yet takes about a quarter of the corporate profit pie.

Minority rule: the many support the few. Only in Amerika. And Russia.
But it's not data or privacy or algorithms that are the fundamental issue with our financial system. It's the fact that the system itself has lost its core purpose.

Finance has become the tail that wags the dog.

Couldn't say it better me self. Well, may be.

26 September 2017

Thought for the Day - 26 September 2017

Recall the mentions, some recent, about how the Russian oligarchs got rich plundering the public resources? Well, here's more proof that Donald J. Quisling is on the same autocratic path. Drain the swamp? They're just a horde of swamp people. here.

24 September 2017

Don't Mess with Texas?

One of the more annoying bits of propaganda to emanate from the Right Wingnuts over the years was that Texas was special, and that Texans should really invoke their right to secede (there isn't one, as it happens). Texas has been, for the last century or so, just a bunch of Blue Eyed Arabs, sucking at the hind teat of petro. Geology has gotten smarter over the century, but it doesn't create that black goop. Either it's there or it isn't.

So, of course, they haven't seceded and want Uncle Sugar to send them gobs of moolah to fix Houston, which even an increasing number of Texans admit has been a cluster fuck for decades. The place floods like a wave pool without hurricanes just average rain storms, for crying out loud. I wonder if the Texans will also vote to fix Puerto Rico? Ya think?
It finally seems to be dawning on people that low taxes, less regulation and more oil are no substitute for actually governing.

Take a close look at that map. Notice something? Well, I'll tell you: greater Boston, including southern New Hampshire of course, is going great guns. As it has for a long time. Socialism works.
The tale of the Texas Miracle was a big fat lie: Plentiful oil, low regulation and even lower taxes are not a panacea. Sure, they don't hurt. But they don't help, not without consistent, well-considered state policy to attract and build businesses.

Still, there is hope. Harvey is forcing Texans to rethink our political dogma of small government at any cost. Harris County, which surrounds Democratic Houston and includes bedrock Republican suburbs, has placed everything on the table to prevent disasters in the future: from radical rezoning to land conservation and a giant Dutch-style engineering project to protect the region from another direct hit. That will take at least tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.
[my emphasis]

As Dr. McElhone (of UT/Austin) used to say, "Boy howdy!"

20 September 2017

Watch the Gap

I've lost count of the number of times that some comment on some board about this or that spiffy mobile device says that said device would be so much more better if it had a more better battery. Or, a comment that opines some new battery tech is just around the corner. My standard comment is some variation of "a better battery will appear when some genius invents an element better than Li". Consider that for a minute.

Comes the third iteration of Apple watch,
But the issues with Apple's new watch don't stop at bad reviews, inconsistent wireless, or even a short battery life. (It can only manage an hour of talk time when using LTE.)

Tim Cook, meet the asymptote of progress.


Serendipity (and some quasi-folk singers from the 1960s) happens when you least expect it. For some time I'd been intrigued by a title on Amazon,"Bayesian and Frequentist Regression Methods" by one Jon Wakefield. Never heard of him, but the table of contents promised a new approach: conpare and contrast real statistics and Bayesian foolishness (OK, that's harsh). So I've been wending my way through it in a desultory manner for a week or so. On the whole, IMHO, Wakefield demonstrates that Bayes offers little usefulness. Good on him.

He discusses a term I'd not run into, sandwich estimator (appears to be from 1960s and 1980s, though), as a palliative to heteroscedasticity. Now, for those who've not been through a baby stat or econometrics course as an undergraduate, one of the teehee moments was when the instructor starts discussing homoscedasticity and it's evil twin heteroscedasticity. Simply put, homo- means that variance is steady with increasing value, while hetero- means that variance increases with value. The problem with hetero- is that its presence mangles the maths' assumptions underlying the normal regression equations. The resulting regression results are "unreliable". Make mine with lettuce and tomato.

So, today Norman Matloff posts some slides from a talk and a new book on regression. The slides are linked to in his r-bloggers post. You should go through the slides, tons of fun. And more sandwich estimator. I will destroy you, heteroscedasticity!!!!

There are a slew of sentences that I'd turn into preamble quotes; they'd last nearly a year. My hero.
Contrary to popular opinion, statistics is not a branch of computer science.

And, my favorite
Myth #3: R 2 is only for linear models.
• R 2 (on either sample or population level) is the squared correlation between Y and Ŷ .
• Thus is defined for any regression procedure, even nonparametric ones like k-Nearest Neighbor.
• Example: Currency data.

Minority Report, part the third

Time has come for another installment in the Minority Report series (here and here for the basis). To recap, the whole point of a dictator is to extract value from the many and transfer to the few. One might argue that the 1% have been doing so for some decades, but Donald J. Quisling makes the gambit explicit. The mealy-mouthed Lefties keep bleating that Donald J. Quisling makes no effort to build a larger base. They ignore the facts staring, and hooting, them in the face.

So, now we have the Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare bill. Clearly even more Darwinist than the earlier attempts to take from the poor and give to the rich. The NYT has a write up today. In particular, a very nice graph showing the transfer. Likely done in R, of course. Note that the losers were those states that accepted Medicaid expansion, while the winners didn't. So, who's going to get the windfall moolah? The lower classes? Not likely. The key to block granting, of course, is the Alabama's of the world can use the money any way they wish. Mink coats for the governor and all his friends. Just like Joe Namath, Alabama player.

Guess Who's Buying ?

This from today's briefing.com @7:56
U.S. Treasuries have made it through another range-bound night ahead of the release of the FOMC Statement for September. The market is all but certain that today's update will not feature a call for another rate hike, but it is widely expected that additional guidance will be provided regarding the Fed's plan to begin reducing the size of its balance sheet. After recovering off this year's low, the benchmark 10-yr yield hovers near levels that have been revisited on multiple occasions since the middle of April.

Yield Check:
2-yr: UNCH at 1.39%
5-yr: -1 bp to 1.82%
10-yr: -1 bp to 2.23%
30-yr: -1 bp to 2.80%

Where, oh where, is the moolah coming from to drive up those prices? The 1% and corps? Ya think. Guess what happens if Donald J. Quisling and friends gives such 1) a huge tax break and/or 2) a tax holiday to re-patriate overseas moolah? Yet more moolah chasing Treasuries. The Donald J. Quisling solution: push through legislation to change how Treasuries are sold. No longer at auction, with a fixed coupon, but with a fixed interest rate. That way right wingnuts can explicitly transfer wealth from the many to the few without all the hand-waving that goes on these days.

The sell-off from the Fed is a hand-waving method to drive up the interest rate: increase supply of instruments will drive price down and interest rate up to where it should be for the idle money rich. Amerika, such a great country. Just don't get sick.

18 September 2017

Where Have Oli Garchs Gone?

For those with short memories, this is how the Russian Oligarchs got rich.
Zinke declined to say whether portions of the monuments would be opened up to oil and gas drilling, mining, logging and other industries for which Trump has advocated. It was not clear from the memo how much energy development would be allowed on the sites recommended for changes, although the memo cites increased public access as a key goal.

You wanna bet?

16 September 2017

Coin of the Realm

About two years ago, in these endeavors, was this
2) bitcoin, by design, is a pyramid scheme

And, not for the first time, the mainstream pundits didn't follow my lead. Sigh. But wait, there's more! In today's reporting, we find that a cryptocurrency vendor has second thoughts. Very, very second:
the cryptocurrency market "increasingly feels like a bunch of white libertarian bros sitting around hoping to get rich and coming up with half-baked, buzzword-filled business ideas."

Other high-profile skeptics have sounded the alarm about a potential crash in the crypto market, including Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, who last week called Bitcoin a "fraud," and compared the current digital money craze to the 17th-century Dutch tulip bubble. And even true cryptocurrency believers have started to worry that I.C.O. mania won't end well.

The goal, as always, is to get "in on the ground floor"
But more dollars are still pouring into cryptocurrency ventures every day, as giddy investors ignore the warning signs and look to multiply their money.

I wonder, how many stock certificates of pets.com do you gentle readers have lining your bird cages?

Alternative Fax

For those who may have missed it, the Equifax security chief was a music major. Now, it is well known that facility with music often accompanies one with math. But, come on!!!
[Susan Mauldin, who had been the top security officer], a college music major, had come under media scrutiny for her qualifications in security.

Well, no shit, Sherlock. I'll leave the sexist and elitest rants to the reader.

Here's a bit more detail.
Equifax "Chief Security Officer" Susan Mauldin has a bachelor's degree and a master of fine arts degree in music composition from the University of Georgia. Her LinkedIn professional profile lists no education related to technology or security.

And, according to further reporting, here LinkedIn pages have been scrubbed. My guess as to how she got such a position: it ain't what ya know, it's who ya know. I expect we'll find out the truth in due course.

14 September 2017

FIRE Alarm

For some time, these endeavors have discussed data analysis, and the (somewhat) artificial divide between micro and macro versions. There is the real difference, in that micro analysis (nearly) always has population data: all the products, inputs, customers, and the like. Macro analysis, on the other hand, nearly always is limited to sample data. What the alt-right call fake news, when the numbers don't fit their pre-determined result. What the non-stat literate don't or won't admit is that large sample theory kicks in with a rather small number of observations. Macro data sets easily exceed such requirements. The problem is that macro data is seldom actually used in setting policy. Policy is set by political favor-making, irrrregardless of the data. Sigh.

Along the lines of macro data, I've implored gentle reader to dig into FRED data. In particular the simple fact that FIRE has burned down the economy. Not a lot of mainstream pundits have picked up on this. Until today, of course.
In the postwar era, finance has grown enormously as a share of the global economy, often feeding debt-fueled bubbles. In 2015, the economist Alan M. Taylor and his colleagues looked at data going back 140 years for 17 leading economies. Before World War II, there were 78 recessions — including only 19 that followed a bubble in stocks or housing or both. After the war, there were 88 recessions, a vast majority of which, 62, followed a stock or housing bubble or both.

This leads, of course, to
Today, global financial assets (including just stocks and bonds) are worth over $250 trillion and amount to about 330 percent of global gross domestic product, up from $12 trillion and just 110 percent in 1980. Traditionally, economists have looked for trouble in the economy to cause trouble in the markets. But the ocean of money in financial markets is now so large, it's possible that ripples on its surface could trigger the next big downturn.

13 September 2017

The End of Civilization

The 19th and 20th centuries gave us things like the steamboat, standardized rail networks, the periodic table, vaccines, and the dishwasher. Today Apple gives us
One of the other features for the technology shown by Apple was the ability to generate a face mesh and map new textures to it, such as new SnapChat 'masks', or animated emoji in Message. The hardware will map 50 muscle tracking points, and a user can choose one of twelve animal emoji (fox, cat, dog, pig, unicorn, poop emoji) and record a ten second message where the 'ani-moji' will mimic in real-time how the user is moving and speaking in order to send to the other person. Apples plan here is to open the resources up to developers to use in their own applications.

If any of you dear readers have doubted these endeavors' insistence that we've reached the asymptote of progress, doubt no more.

Thought for the Day - 13 September 2017

In case it hasn't been obvious, Donald J. Quisling has been very, very busy not draining the swamp. In fact, he's been very busy stocking it with alligators and other predatory critters.
Tens of thousands of former students who say they were swindled by for-profit colleges are being left in limbo as the Trump administration delays action on requests for loan forgiveness, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Putting the crooks in charge isn't draining the swamp, of course.
In August, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos picked Julian Schmoke Jr., a former associate dean at DeVry University, as head of the department's enforcement unit. She also has tapped a top aide to Florida's attorney general who was involved in the decision not to pursue legal action against Trump University to serve as the agency's top lawyer. More than 2,000 requests for loan forgiveness are pending from DeVry students.

Isn't just such corruptions what you would expect from a convicted crook?

Other Trump administration agencies also have hired staffers who previously worked on behalf of the industry they now regulate. For example, Nancy Beck, deputy assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, used to work at the American Chemistry Council, the industry's leading trade group.

And, of course, the creme-de-la-creme of corporate enablers, Scott "To use time and effort to address [climate change] at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida" Pruitt running EPA.

09 September 2017

I Thought So

From the first track that showed Irma making a hard 90° turn north, I wanted to know why. Not one of the dozens of forecasters mentioned why. My suspicion was that a low pressure system would set up to the north and west of Florida about the time that Irma got there. The reason, as all armchair meteorologists know, is that lows spin counter-clockwise and would thus sling-shot Irma up the peninsula.

And so it is. Now, it's true that normal highs spin clockwise and lows counter-clockwise, and they interact to push each other around. Turns out, which should have been obvious but wasn't, hurricanes are very unique in terms of their internal wind and temperature vis-a-vis other types of storms.
"With a tropical cyclone, its very symmetric. The temperature differences driving it are vertical--there's warm, wet air below, and cool, dry air up above--so there's a vertical circulation, but it doesn't move in a horizontal direction," said Neal Dorst, a research meteorologist at NOAA's Hurricane Research Division.

"There's no impetus driving a tropical cyclone--it will have a tendency to stay where it is," he said. If a hurricane appeared on a globe with no other weather systems, it would drift northerly only at a couple miles per hour, thanks to the Coriolis effect. It would not move in any other way, he told me.

So that's why Irma isn't headed back to Texas.

04 September 2017

Where In the World Is...

Being New Englander, born, bred, and mostly resident for most of my life; I have an inherent trust in pharma that live here. The Boston, Cambridge, 128 corridor companies especially. On the other hand, San Diego outfits seem to more often end up looking a tad shady. Or, at least, seem to fail more often. This is just the latest.
Otonomy (OTIC) stock crashed to a record low Wednesday after its Meniere's disease drug failed to reduce vertigo in a Phase 3 trial -- prompting the biotech to scrap its development.

Scrapping a failed drug is not completely unique; the worst offenders claim some subset responded very well, and the company will pursue the drug with further study. blah, blah, blah. Issue more shares, and the CxO class keep living well.

What's worse, sometimes (again, it seems epidemic in San Diego) a Phase III trial will proceed even when the Phase II was marginal at best. Here's what they had to say about the Phase II trial, that justified continued development of the drug:
Otonomy has completed a randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled single-dose Phase 2b trial in a total of 154 Meniere's disease patients. Results indicate that OTO-104 narrowly missed the primary efficacy endpoint (p=0.067) but achieved statistical significance (p<0.05) for multiple prospectively defined secondary vertigo endpoints at multiple time points. Based on these results Otonomy intends to initiate two parallel Phase 3 trials, with one of the trials expected to begin by the end of 2015 and the second trial expected to begin during the first quarter of 2016. OTO-104 is also being evaluated in a multiple-dose safety study in the United Kingdom in patients with Meniere's disease, and enrollment has been completed with a total of 128 patients.

IOW, we missed, but we're going to plow ahead anyway. The Phase III came in with a p-value on the primary of... .62. That's not just a whiff. Very San Diego. I often wonder what scientists who work for such companies think about when they go to beddy bye at night? Same for the biostats who have to make a legitimate narrative from the data. When it's this bad, there's nothing to do but look for another micro-cap pharma in need of a number cruncher.

And, not for nothing, the drug was yet another old one re-purposed. That and Orphan Drug are the increasingly common paths in drugs these days.

02 September 2017

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Sponge!!

That's, in essence, what enterprise IT managers have been saying since the invention of the commercial computer. For the better part of 60 years, we've gone from drums of 4 by 16 inches to 3390 washing machine sized discs (for the IBM mainframe) to now with the 3.5 inch sealed drive being the predominant norm. Even mainframes use them emulating CKD geometry. What's next?

This is Godzilla.
Migrating to flash is paramount, but existing SSDs do not match the form factor, interface, and power envelope of HDDs, forcing users to buy all-new systems. With ExaDrive, data centers can immediately rip-and-replace HDDs with flash. ExaDrive supports the standard SAS interface and is optimized to fully utilize the volume of the 3.5" form factor. As a result, ExaDrive-powered SSDs offer 5x the capacity of nearline HDDs in the same size and power budget, enabling a 5:1 reduction in rack space and power per terabyte.

01 September 2017

Thought for the Day, 1 Sep 2017

Contempt for governance at the statehouse generally, and the local level specifically, is why Houston is wiped out. They did it to themselves in the name of "freedom". So, they want to be free to do as they please. The Blue states shouldn't send them a dime, because they'll just do it again.