January 31, 2021

An Even Better Overview of the Gamestop Mess

Via Pixy

This video comes with the following list of citations in the description.

Like everything nowadays this has become polarized. I've had conversations with and read missives by people, including a few friends who are convinced the Redditards are in the wrong, and are the only bad actor here. Some have made it plain that to disagree with them on this point is to reveal oneself as a bad person. 

Here is where I take off the mask and reveal myself to have been secretly working for the forces of darkness all along. 

I think the Redditards are probably assholes. They likely are vulgar, blunt and rude people, who don't engage in the insincere social niceties so necessary for polite upper middle class society. Hell, they're probably just jerks and I don't think they'd be fun to hang out with.

I do NOT think they did anything wrong here. 

I think the hedgefund  shortsellers in the affair are probably well-spoken affable individuals, articulate and fun to be around. 

I think that shorting struggling companies 140 percent is and this being a common practice, is troubling. I think that the ability of a few firms to do this in such a way it affects the whole market is scary. And I think that the stink of corruption in the firms with fiduciary responsibilities to the hedge funds ; the ones that stopped trading, but not selling, on the very stocks that the hedge funds desperately wanted people to sell...is suss to say the least.   I think that lying about one's liquidity to investors and customers is not a best practice.

Finally, I think that struggling companies that might have turned the corner, not being crushed like grapes before they have the chance to maybe save the livelihoods of their owners, investors and at least some of their employees...well that's not bad per se. 
As for a bunch of assholes making money because they saw a legal opportunity and took it? Well, more power to them. 

Did some people get hurt in this? Yes, those with retirement funds...like mine have gotten burned. But they got hurt, not because some asshole on Reddit NOTICED that hedge funds were manipulating the market, but because the hedge funds pursued a short squeeze in the first place.  

So there, your milage may vary,  but now you all  know. 

The vast depth and breadth of my evil is laid out before you. Get your affairs in order, I'll be crossing the Rivr Isen on Midsummer Eve...and I'll be wearing black. 

(Or something...June 21st is in the middle of my vacation this year but COVID makes it hard to plan. ) 

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Meanwhile: In the world of English V-Tubers (Updated)

V-Shojo had their latest V-Tuber debut. V-Shojo, if you are not aware, consists of several English Language Twitch streamers with large followings by the standards of V-Tubers not from Hololive. Unlike Hololive, the streamers have creative control to the extent that while it is an LLC, it seems to operate more like a Co-Op. All of the members of the group thus far have been, in their own way quite talented and entertaining.

Then this happened.

Today is the first time that someone has actually debuted that was not a very established talent and while all V-Shojo members have had Hololive style intro videos done (after V--Shojo was formed) this was the first time that it it was one of their streamers' actual internet premiere. 

Hajime is an alien princess... a robotic space dragon titty monster sent to give a definitive answer to the Fermi Paradox...and conquer Earth...but mostly conquer Earth. Due to various complications she lacks an organization, significant infrastructure, and useful resources. Having landed/crashed/ cunningly concealed her ship outside of Tokyo, she was contacted by a certain rogue A.I. who helped her get a small apartment. Through said A.I. (Projekt Melody), she got a rundown on what a V-Tuber is, and hatched a cunning plan...

She will run a Twitch channel and get thousands of adoring simps to send her money, which she will use to gather resources and eventually take over the world. Her skillset includes, Loudness, Video Games, Serial Killer Trivia, Birthing lots of Dragonspawn, and speaking English, Japanese and Thai. Also lovingly animated fluid dynamics. 

As V-Shojo lore goes, this is straightforward and devoid of any caveats*, She's from space. Each of her tits is as big as her head . SHE WANTS YOUR MONEY. 

Thats it. 

There were some technical issues (she had over 16,000 viewers when she started) and boy is she shrill. 

I'm not sure about this. Aside from any cringing that might or might not have occurred, the word "simp" is now against Twitch TOS. (because the world is stupid).  

But after enduring a chunk of the debut, I wonder if V-Shojo is going to be doing something like Pro-Wrestling and having her be a designated villain. 
That might be her niche. 

UPDATE: Well. Twitch suspended her after her first stream. Rumors are that her character design was too sexy...though I note the use of the word "simp" multiple times is a TOS violation. 

* Or wolf-plant hybrids

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January 30, 2021

As Good A Rundown as I've Seen On The Gamestop Thing

I've seen people asking what Musk is commenting on this for, and I think it's because Musk was almost put out of business by shortsellers in 2017-18. Musk sued the shortsellers in 2018, and still is trying to end the crooked practice.  

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January 29, 2021

Space X

Well, there are a lot of conflicting stories as to what happened with the FAA and the SN-9 test flight scheduled for yesterday. 

However, as I type this they are rolling out SN-10 to the launch pad. 

Reportedly, SN-9 is scheduled for a Monday launch, but SN-10 is scheduled for "soon". 

We'll see. 

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Well This Bodes Ill

Yesterday there was a bit of confusion regarding Space-X's test flight (which failed to transpire). Specifically,  there were conflicting reports that the FAA had or had not rescinded their flight authorization at the last minute. 

Well, Space-X does appear to be in trouble with at least one other branch of the government, the Justice Department. 

It seems that they are being investigated for workplace discrimination. Specifically, they are accused of refusing to hire non-U.S. citizens

They're gonna be prosecuted for not hiring foreigners at an ITAR sensitive firm, and one of the Few U.S. firms with a global technological lead in its fields.  There is no info on what the nationality is but as this doesn't seem to have been an issue until president Djo Bai Din came into office, I would be very interested in knowing that crucial fact. 

UPDATE: Via Scott Lowther comes this article which contains a SCRID copy of the D.O.J. complaint.  

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It's Like an...Analogy, or a Metaphor

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January 28, 2021

On Gamestop

So for those who may have missed it GamestopGate (seriously, does it HAVE a name?) is where a bunch of Redditards, on a lark,  decided to use their $600.00 dollar stimulus checks to white-knight for the dying retail chain that meant so much to them in their youth. The firm was being targeted by short sellers whose business plan is to kick struggling businesses in the nuts. The Redditatrds in question, thousands and thousands of them, did the exact mirror image of what Melvin Capital was doing to Gamestop, and boosted its stock from 3 dollars to over 300. The result is that Melvin Capital is loosing their shirts, having borrowed money with which to invest in Gamestop stock once they wrecked its price. 

The problem as I see it is that people whose retirement funds are locked up in Melvin Capital are getting burnt by this too. This is sad.  

It's also dangerous. 

The outrage by the Wall Street types is shining a light on the fact that they are really angry that someone from outside the their clique doing what they do all the time, just without sneakiness or subtlety.  And that is a genuine danger because it brings into stark relief how fake the current Wall Street situation is, and that brings to mind...Tulips. 

Oh. Oh no. 

And that's not good for ANYBODY.

A rock solid argument can be made that this is unacceptable. But if that's the case, then it has to be unacceptable for everybody including the people who were perfectly content to profit mightily from doing the exact same thing to the less powerful and now whine like stuck pigs that what they did to the peasants is now being done to T...THEM!

The establishment is gathering the wagons around the predatory short sellers, freezing trading on this and other stocks that are getting relief from the short sellers. as Glenn  Reynolds notes in the Post....
Meanwhile, regulators huffed and puffed, and CNBC was filled with industry bigshots arguing that this sort of thing shouldn’t be allowed — although, as critics noted, the Reddit mob was just doing to the short-sellers what Wall Street insiders do all the time to retail investors.

The Biden administration, meanwhile, weighed in with the sort of response we’ve come to expect from the Really Smart People™. Asked if the White House was concerned about the stock market and the movement of GameStop stock, Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded: "Well, I’m also happy to repeat that we have the first female Treasury secretary.”


 That we are in fact living in Clown World is demonstrated by the fact that the pithiest and most cogent take is from...Glenn Greenwald.

And that...is why we're here.  

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Lets See If They Launch

UPDATE: 15:35:58  It sounds like the FAA has rescinded their launch clearance for today...but there's an appeal being made. 


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It's My Math lab.

Not My Meth Lab.

So the spam wasn't QUITE as toxic as I thought. 

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Who Hit the Box Button?

Yesterday, I was lamenting the ridiculously low volume we were getting at work recently. Today, wow; cardboard tsunami!

This was particularly surprising as it coincided with a blizzard. 

Yeah, I need to do something about that ivy.

Now Pete, Wonderduck and everyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line are all like "That's not a blizzard, that's a Thursday."   

And indeed work was not materially affected...except for all the people who did not show up. 

"It's a blizzard!"
" I can't open my door!"
"I can't get out of my driveway!"
" My neighborhood 's roads are impassable" 
" I can't get out of bed!"  

Kids today. 

Despite the sudden spike in volume and dip in staffing we got everything out on time and I worked my first full day in nearly two weeks. 

I also suspect from those lame-ass call-ins that the overstaffing situation is about to change. 

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Brickmuppet Blog: Trendsetter

OK, not really.

However, about a week ago I noted the U.K.s decision to allow Hong Kongers to immigrate there and stated that our not doing the same was a missed opportunity for the U.S..

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January 27, 2021

Leading Indicators

Today was the first day in 2 weeks I've worked more than an hour and a half. There's been an astonishing drop in volume at my work over the last 2 weeks. There always is a severe drop after Christmas, but before Christmas we had Christmas level volume because of the COVID restrictions...which have gotten much more onerous during that time.. Now I'm not laid off, I have sufficient seniority that when they lay people off I can volunteer to be one of them and I've had errands, family issues and doctors appointments so I've taken advantage of that several days, but we're still very short of volume. Even in slack years, even in January, we did not finish unloading packages after an hour and a half on a nominally 4-5 hour shift. 

Given the increasing intensity of he lockdowns and the volume of vaccines that we were getting before this week, one would expect a heavier than normal January. Indeed the first two weeks of the month (which in my 28 years of experience are usually dead) were remarkably heavy. 

In general the end of January and beginning of February are a bit heavier than most of the post-Christmas winter since stores are restocking their inventory. However, this is the very time that we're seeing volume DROP. 

One shipping center is not representative of the company, let alone the economy. In fact it's a ridiculously inadequate data point, but it is concerning, and the lack of pay is of some personal concern. 

U.S. economic numbers lag a fair bit in relation to the current time, so I checked out the Baltic Dry Index, which is a current measure of the cost of international shipping. It is an imperfect metric, particularly now as COVID restrictions have likely added considerable overhead to shipping costs, but in general it is a leading indicator of how robust world trade is, the lower the cost the less trade is happening. 

However, the BDI is an indicator of bulk raw material shipping prices, not retail. It proceeds in fits and starts with production. 

Other leading indicators are at the precise moment that I type this, on a generally downward trend, but I don't know enough to say if it is precipitously so. 

Note that that is a screenshot of an active, constantly updating chart that has one or two indices occasionally switching between red and green. 

The sudden, unexpected drop in volume from its aberrant and bonecrushing highs to lay-offs where I am may be a localized phenomenon and should not be a cause for undue concern. 
A focus group of one is a woefully inadequate data set. 

However, in my 28 years of experience our volume trends quite closely with the overall economic health of the nation, so I'm very curious if anyone else here has noted any drop-offs in economic activity. 

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January 26, 2021

Meanwhile: At the Freedom of Information Act Office

Over at Unwanted Blog, Scott Lowther (as part of his job) is filing FOIA requests. This morning he provided a link to the USAF FOIA Reading Room, which is spectacularly sparse on information. But, right between Telephone Directory and Slickspot PepperGrass is, uh,  Teleportation

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My Baby Sister Just Had a Heart Attack

She's 40 and has 2 kids. 

I've let work know I'm going down to look after the children. 

UPDATE: Well she's been released on her own recognizance and has a series of stress tests and such today and tomorrow.  I called work while at the gas station and told them I can come in but they said that staffing was fine and I was already listed as off for the day. My FMLA application is obviously on hold. I'll know more tomorrow. 

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January 24, 2021

Oh. They ARE Going to Finish the Trilogy.

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Perhaps Blair, or Cameron Would Be an Acceptable Compromise?

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Meanwhile, In Russia:

It looks like mass demonstrations have spontaneously broken out all across Russia in protest of the jailing of a Russian opposition party leader named Alexi Nalvany who was  just arrested and jailed after returning from a trip trip to Germany. There is apparently concern for his safety since he was arrested, as he had been in Germany recovering from acute nerve agent poisoning he had contracted from his underwear (as one does). The Russian authorities refused to open an investigation into the attempted murder of a Russian citizen. Given the history of poisonings of Russian political opponents, this was particularly suss, and there seems to be genuine fear for his safety by his political supporters. 

This is not just around Moscow either. There are currently protests in 109 cities across the largest country on Earth and  I've heard reference to Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk in some of the video coverage. Also; according to the NYT article above, these protests are taking place in temperatures as low as minus 68 degrees Fahrenheit which would seem to indicate a certain level of passion and motivation on the part of the protestors. Over 3,000 people had been reported arrested as of 23:05 GMT

Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting  in hundreds cities in the largest country on the planet, which controls a large percentage of the worlds oil reserves and which has the largest nuclear arsenal on Earth....

This seems seems like it ought to be getting rather more coverage than it is here in the U.S.A. 

I do not know anything about Nalvany or how, in what is presented to us as a country with fairly strong social media control, he got such a following, but I'm very interested in finding out. Anyone who, you know,  speaks Russian or has insights into this situation...feel free to sound off in the comments. 

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January 23, 2021

Big Bag o' Meat

So I placed an Amazon Fresh order and this evening my milk, fruit, curry (presumably extracted from the titanic sandworms in the vast deserts of...Vermont) were delivered to my door in 4 paper bags. 

Upon inspection, I realized I'd paid for 3 of those bags. 

So I called Amazon, and took an inordinate ammount of time explaining that "No...my order was fine...I just got someone else's too and it seems like a pretty consequential bag of groceries" After a few minutes I got passed far enough up the chain that I talked to someone capable of making a decision, rather than taking dictation. 

It turns out that they can't send the driver back to pickup the bag for obvious liability reasons but after going through what was in the very full bag, I gather they were able to close out, or correct a concern ticket. As I went through my unexpected loot, I found that I'd scored  a couple of steaks, lots of expensive sausages, children's lunch packs, TexMex cheeses, High end Swiss cheese, diet lemonade, Hamburger  and...Turkey sausage. That last  is, upon reflection, somewhat disturbing in concept, but less so than the realization that someone who'd spent more money on that bag than my cheap ass had on groceries all month....and had ordered them just in  time for dinner...and had kids, was without what was probably their Saturday dinner. Hopefully they got the bag replaced quickly. 

OTOH, Brickmuppet's eatin' lotsa' STEAK this week!
(Not sure about the turkey...sausage though.) 

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Meanwhile In Colombia


What is this now?

Hippopotamuses are not even FROM South America.  

Escobar's been dead for 30 years. 

Well, it turns out that the late and not very lamented drug lord Pablo Escobar, had a private zoo and when he was forcibly retired and sent to vacation in hell, his hippopotamuses escaped. 

The article rightly makes a big deal of the fact that Hippos are dreadfully disruptive of the environment, not the least because their excrements are quite poisonous to the local wildlife (and people) . 

However, the article fails to mention that these beasts are a direct danger to the populace. Hippos are dreadfully territorial and vicious in a way that just doesn't happen with any herbivore in this hemisphere.  

Thankfully not pictured, the poor man's dismemberment, as reported here

Hippos are superficially cute but they are vicious, aggressive, territorial, killers that would render vast swaths of recreational areas too dangerous to visit, and if they get into the back country the monsters will be a tragic 'out of context problem' for the poor farmers and aboriginal tribes that exist in an on the rivers of South America. We've already seen in places like Florida that fairly large fauna can become endemic. These are worse than any monitor lizard, monkey, or murder hornet. I rather suspect that The Amazon and Orinoco basins are good hippopotamus habitat, and that will be tragic for the local flora, fauna, and citizenry if this invasive species is not dealt with. The goal has to be extinction and not management. 

 At least they'll be easier to find and cull than cane toads or kudzu. 

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January 22, 2021

In Which I Annoy the Wrong People Again

One of Trumps signature issues and the reason that he got elected was immigration. The fact is that the lack of enforcement of immigration was  (and soon will be again) causing massive disruptions and suffering for American citizens, particularly along the southern border. Unchecked and un-vetted the masses of people, especially those from Central America and Mexico have flooded into the country and caused some genuine disruption. Quite aside from the horrific criminal element that has attached itself like a remora to this desperate migration, the influx of people who don't know the rules, language or mores is a stress on our most vulnerable communities. 

However, I think that the issue is being misidentified by both sides of the argument. 

The problem is that new arrivals are NOT being screened for criminal histories nor assimilated into those values. Rather we're importing the pathologies that these people are trying to escape from. Sothwestern cities and even moreso California ones are increasingly surrounded by the sorts of favelas that these people tried to get away from, and, bypassing the immigration test they don't get a primer on U.S. civics...

I'm not nearly as concerned about immigration per se as I am the lack of assimilation with regards to civics. As long as you learn English and accept the tenets of U.S. civics like equality before the law, freedom of speech, and that the state's near monopoly of force does not extend to self defense, ( and, er, the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) then everything's OK. Even if you have a completely different background culture that's OK. we've got 17 vastly different ones , hundreds of reservations and thousands of ethnoburbs already.

(Nicked from Reddit, source Unknown)

America is not The Borg.

However much certain of our ruling class would like you to think that the Toni stops on the Acela corridor and boardrooms of Palo Alto are the only acceptable cultures, (aside from some exotica kept for their amusement). The US is , and has been from the beginning a collection of wildly diferent societies. 

It's why E Pluribus Unum is a thing. 

Having wildly different points of view that agree on the basic tenets of society (and don't mess with each other) is a good thing and can keep us on our toes. Yielding to demands that we give up these myriad quirks for the sake of unity will result in something much less interesting free and robust that America. 

So as long as we are assimilating people with regard to language and civics, we're fine. The problem is that we aren't. The concerns about wage competition are legitimate, but they are occasionally overblown and separate from the concerns about demography. 

I note that the people I've known from Eastern Europe, Haiti, Latin America, and even Afganistan tend to be way more "red pilled", entrepenurial, civic minded and concerned about freedom of speech ect. than most of the college or immediately post-college age native born types.

Unless, perhaps, I'm an evolutionary biologist, I'd rather have a recently immigrated member of the Falun Gong working for me than Triggly Puff.

So what inspired this rant? 

Well, the UK. recently passed legislation allowing the population of Hong Kong to immigrate there en mass. I think we missed out.

5.4 million highly educated people who have seen the horrors of the social credit system up close, who have been waving American flags for a year and are highly motivated to protect free speech and hate communism would have been a fine addition to our polity. I suspect the Dems are breathing a sigh of relief that this did not happen. 

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