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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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 24, 2021

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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October 12, 2020

Hippy-San 0n Boogie 2988



Styx has one of the more reasoned takes on the recent situation with a YouTuber (Boogie2988 ) who had a stalker show up at his house

I'm not a fan of the YouTuber, but whatever one thinks of him, having a stalker is a dreadful thing, and having them show up at your house is absolutely terrifying, beyond the pale and not acceptable. Deadly force is authorized. However, Boogie's response was...sub-optimal. I've seen a lot of hot takes on this bit of drama over the last week but this one is notable for not being stupid. 

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November 04, 2019

Flash Gordon and the Ministry of Truth

Actually it's just Flash and the Ministry of Truth.
And to be honest any resemblance to the MoT is pure speculation on my part.
So were going to blame* Pixy for the stupid post title because he used a Flash Gordon pun when he linked to this post over at the Google Dev blog boasting about how they are going to put Flash (the animation program, not the planet hopping baseball player) to bed. For some reason the anonymous Hangul-proficient blogger is smug about it.

IT and cybersecurity are not at all in my wheelhouse, but I understand that there are some security issues with Macromedia Flash, so there might be some technical justification for this decision. However no such reason is mentioned anywhere in this announcement. There is this though...

  Flash was the answer to the boring static web, with rich animations, media, and actions. It was a prolific technology that inspired many new content creators on the web. It was everywhere. The Flash runtime, which plays Flash content, was installed 500 million times in the second half of 2013.  I still remember my son playing endless number of Flash games until my wife yelled at him. It's time to go to bed, son. Hey Flash, it's your turn to go to bed. 


It goes on to mention that anything using flash will no longer be visible via Google Search and they seem inordinately pleased with themselves about this loss of functionality, so much so that it got me to thinking about "chocolate rations" and since NO technical reason was given I find myself focusing on what they did say seems to make little sense. Let's review: "Flash YAY! Wonderful tool Yay!" We're cancelling it! Yaaaay! Oh, and we're totally your momma." Or further contexualized and simplified..."Derp!"


So now we've got to read between the lines, which is always fraught.

We see them note that Flash opened up the web and was intimately associated with an era of intense creativity, However,  sifting through the white pixels we note that what is not said is that this growth was driven by amateurs and people who came from the outside who were generally un-credentialed but talented and brought about a vast and disruptive age of change that Google is now trying to tamp down on.

There are a lot of Flash games and a lot of sites still use flash, some of them quite worthy ones. These will soon be lost, at least to those who don't maintain specific browsers. However, the Flash games are not done by the big companies, and the use of flash is a hallmark of an earlier era, one characterized above all by irreverence and freedom that Google/Alphabet would very much like to close the door on. The sorts of sites that use Flash, and the sorts of ideas presented in many of those animations are the sorts of knowledge that Google and their ilk would just as soon purge, if they make those sites unsearchable, they will have done so.

Now. It is important to appreciate, or at least assume that people one disagrees with do not, as a rule, share their motivations with Snidely Whiplash, or some Captain Planet villain sitting in their headquarters cackling that "Today..I will be EEEEVIL!" However, I find it hard nowadays, at least with with Google, to not ascribe their actions to malice.

So...


There are IT people who frequent this site.

Please explain in small words to this Bachelor of History why Google's decision is a solid one from an IT perspective and does not actually serve to erase a big swath of knowledge and history from the 'net. For bonus points explain why what appeared to be sadistic and patronizing glee is justified and appropriate.



*Note: This does not constitute any actual evidence of causation or responsibility on the part of Pixy Misa. Pixy is merely being blamed.

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October 05, 2019

Another Question For You, Gentle Readers

I know that there are people here who do research into events that were recently current, so, I've got a question.

Is anybody else finding it REALLY hard to find old news articles online?

One example. I can't find a lot involving the American response to the Russian movement into the Donbass back in 2009-10 2014 and particularly the fact that at that time there were actual Nazis (not neo-, not alt-right, I'm talking Jew Hating socialists sporting a Crooked Buddhist Sunwheel) in the Ukranian parliament.

I'm not a particular fan of Milo, but I recently tried to look up info on the hit job against him. I found plenty on the false accusations, but I had to use the mee.nu search engine to find one of my own posts with 6 links debunking them, none of which were searchable without EXACT wording.

I'm now having a hard time finding old blog posts, particularly ones on my old blog, or references to my, um,  ill-fated Congressional run.

I'm SURE there used to be an option where one could search by date ie: by year and month and keywords as opposed to just "Anytime, Past Week, Past Month, Last Year".

Am I imagining this?

Anybody?

That is all.

Here is a completely coincidental video:



 

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September 02, 2019

Well [Expletive Deleted]


Of course none of this mess that's coming is likely to compare to what's befalling the Bahamians right now.

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Well This is Interesting

There's a report that the U.S. military is getting into the domestic speech regulation business.

Now I'm so old that I remember last week's report that Trump was removing automatic citizenship from the children of service-members born overseas, so I'm holding judgement.

However, if this is a nuanced and accurate characterization of the policy as proposed, then the position of this blog is...


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August 30, 2019

Slow Clap

***

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August 29, 2019

What the Actual Hell is This?

This has been making the rounds today.

As a request by DARPA this might not be really odd until you consider the short notice.




It's the urgency that causes one to ponder things.
Why do they need an underground facility the size of several city blocks that can be sealed from the environment....BY FRIDAY?


Picture unrelated....Hopefully.

DARPA's Twitter feed is here.

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August 16, 2019

Mara-Igloo?



There are multiple reports that the Trump administration has been trying to buy....Greenland

This is exactly what many of us were afraid of when weighing the nomination of a sketchy Bronx real-estate developer to high office.


"Actually, I don't remember this specific scenario ever being discussed."

Greenland is...misleadingly named...and a poor location for a casino, golf course or beach resort.


Not that it's without charm. To wit: Scenic Kulusuk.

However, Greenland is massively strategic, in both location and mineral resources, potentially making this a very good investment.



Image via

The world's largest island (which, while big, is not NEARLY as big as a Mercator projection often makes it look) is a net (albeit slight) economic drain on Denmark,which doesn't have the resources to develop it or realistically defend it and it's small population of ~56,000 has been steadily dwindling for some time. This is mainly due to them being eaten by polar bears and  Ithaqua.

"Please ignore his last sentence as it is dubious and lacks a citation!"

This is actually the third time the U.S. has tried to buy Greenland, once in 1867 and once in 1946.  As of now, Denmark has looked at the cost/benefit of owning Greenland and once again said "No!".

China, will, no doubt, be undeterred from their more subtle efforts towards the same end.

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July 25, 2019

A Sobering Realization

Ilhan Omar was only 10 years old when she got here.
She went to school here.
She's had 26 years here.
She bore 3 kids here.

Any hate for us she brought with her she did not unlearn in our schools.
The rest of her hatred was not imported but learned here, in our schools.

I don't say this to defend or excuse her execrable views, but to point out that she is even more an indictment of our increasingly degenerate education system than our broken immigration policies.

Keeping out barbarians is all well and good, but it is a futile gesture if we make them domestically.

 
 

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May 20, 2019

We're Not ACTUALLY Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

Brickmuppet Blog is protesting against the cyberbullying of a 14 year old girl by Buzzfeed. She delenquitized herself way before we linked to her.

I would not want a 14 year old of mine to make herself a target to the crazies like she does here...er....here


Trigger Warning!! Language, Burkas, anti-anti-semitism, insightful armchair psychoanalysis,  and actual citations in the write-up.

...but that is between her and her parents, and NOBODY else. It is certainly not the business of Buzzfeed and not a matter that should involve the police in any way. Yes Buzzfeed called the police on her.

Parents beware, there is foul language, but rather less than I was led to believe, this is far from the tourettes cascade that was described to me. There's actually some nuance in it. She mentions that 'call-out-culture' is a subset of the left, pointing out that there are still lefties who are for free speech.

Of course it wasn't the language that pissed Buzzfeed off. It was the fact that she nails the big domestic issue of our age.

Now, the fact that she's in Marin county is causing her troubles with her school. There have been walk outs by students protesting her existence and I suspect that she's now the target of every Heather and soy-boy that wants to virtue signal. (Thanks Buzzfeed).

There is, of course a lot to be offended by here.

What pissed me off the most about her is that this 14 year old is a better writer than me.

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March 13, 2019

At About 16:30 Today on YouTube (Updated)

We have, from top to bottom:
A: A stoic, calm, and reasoned You-Tube commentator.
B: A Brexiteer and, well,  a bit of a troll.
C: A mellow, and yet delightfully wackadoodle libertarian loon from Vermont.
D: A generally left leaning journalist whose reporting has been quite wide ranging.

A: Matt Christensen




B: Sargon


C: Styxhexxenhammer

D: Tim Pool


All have been focusing on threats to free speech of late and most, if not all have been targeted over the last week or so by doxxings and calls for deplatforming.


Meanwhile, as this is being typed, other Youtube channels seem to be fine.
It's probably nothing. Just an odd coincidence.

UPDATE:
As of 19:00, all 4 sites are back up, but they were down for over an hour.

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September 23, 2018

Medieval Meltdown (UPDATED)

UPDATE: This is a more recent article that is less comprehensive, but potentially less triggering than, the one linked at the end of this post. END UPDATE:

Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown is a medieval studies professor at the University of Chicago. Some years ago she wrote a post on her blog entitled Three Cheers for White Men which is only 228 words long so you should go read it now...

There. Was that so bad?

Well, that post got noticed by the professionally outraged in 2016 and caused, shall we say, a scene, which has been building ever since. 

Fast forward to last month, and it appears that this is coming top a head and the National Association of Scholars has asked the University of Chicago to confirm that she is a scholar in good standing, because things are just that insane now.


There's now a very comprehensive and interesting article on the broader details and implications of this written by...umm...well... 
There's no way to sugar coat this. 
The article is by Milo Yiannopoulos.


"WAT!?"

It's 16,201 words and despite the author's well earned reputation, is calm, fair, measured, reasonably balanced, informative and completely devoid of profanity except for a few instances necessitated by directly quoting college professors. 

It really is a top notch article, but you'll probably want to run to the loo first and perhaps get some snacks. 

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May 07, 2018

Signs, Portents and Ponderables


 This story dates from March, but it caught my eye for a couple of reasons.

"We’re seeing members from all the three letter agencies,” said Fortitude creator Drew Miller, a retired Air Force colonel and intelligence officer, in a reference to the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The gentleman being quoted runs Fortitude Ranch, a prepper outfit that provides a number of fallout shelters and protected compounds around the U.S. in the event of a societal catastrophe. 

The two facilities near D.C. are reportedly getting a lot of business from civil servants in agencies that would be standing duty during a crisis with the aim of protecting family members.

Over the last several years, there have been quite a few luxury bomb shelters in the news like Vivos that cater to millionaires and such. While those are certainly cause for interest with regards to what the rich and connected might be anticipating, this particular collection of facilities are interesting in part because of their austerity. 

The underground portions of the compounds are not 5-star accommodations. 



They do, however, appear to be reasonably well thought out and adequate

The company requires that everyone familiarize themselves with their facilities weapons and stand watch at the gates in the event the area is habitable. They provide air transport from the many small airports in the DC area, to get the families to the facilities in a crisis.

One clever bit: they want their clients to be familiar with the facilities so they double as rustic resorts (as they have large acrerages and the east coast facilities are in the mountains) at which the members can relax and get training on the facilities weapons(!).

So why should this be of any interest:
The impression given by their approach and lack of granite countertops is that this series of shelters is for people who are...serious...about this sort of thing. More importantly, civil servants in the agencies that concern themselves with this stuff have reportedly looked at the situation the country is in and decided to put down money on it. 

The whole thing brings to mind this...



Yes kids. It's time to get your bug out bags in order.
 

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The 2nd Fleet Returns

  The United States Navy's Second Fleet has just been re-activated. It's area of responsibility is the Atlantic Ocean. During the Cold War, this was a major unit second only to the 6th fleet (Mediterranean and inshore Europe) in importance if the balloon went up.  The 2nd Fleet was deactivated in 2011 because the Obama administration determined that there was no need for there to be a U.S. Navy fleet in the Atlantic.....



"Do what now?"

Anyway, the 2nd fleet command has just been reactivated. In the event of any hostilities in Europe it would be tasked with keeping the Atlantic sea-lanes open. This is being taken as a sign of the rising tensions with Russia, and to be sure, that is a factor. However, it's also a matter of remedial Geography and common sense that the U.S. needs a fleet whose area of operations is the Atlantic.

It would be even better if we could provide it with some ships. 

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November 15, 2015

Meanwhile: In Worcester

It looks like someone hit a National Guard Armory in Massachusetts. According to the article the thief or thieves made off with...


Six M4 assault rifles, 10 pistols, and several long guns

That isn't exactly going to arm a brigade but.....Wait...What?

What does that even mean?

The M-4 is a carbine, but it's still a rifle.

Perhaps, by longgun they mean sniper rifles?

"Who knows. It's reporters talking about guns."



In any event,  even correcting for Gell-Mann, this is potentially noteworthy. 

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November 10, 2015

Portents in the Shipping Industry

Maersk is the worlds biggest maritime shipping company.


It's quite common if sailing in Hampton Roads Harbor to see three or more Maersk ships.

The company, presumably knows something about the shipping industry. 


 "We believe that global growth is slowing down,” he said in a phone interview. "Trade is currently significantly weaker than it normally would be under the growth forecasts we see.”


This does not jive with other forecasts, and certainly, with regards to domestic air and ground shipping industry my completely anecdotal and unscientific observations have been of daily box tsunamis. However, the shipping company I work for seems to be benefitting considerably from the explosion in online ordering, and we are spinning up for the hell called "Christmas".  Maersk handles 15 percent of worldwide maritime trade. They have a particularly good vantage point to see things on a macro scale that includes raw materials as well as finished products. They probably should be taken seriously.

I cannot speak to their corporate culture or analytical methods, but in my experience inspecting their vessels in the Coast Guard, Maersk always ran tight ships with highly professional crews. They seemed pretty squared away.

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October 31, 2015

Spooky Goings On

It's Halloween.

Let's sit around and tell scary stories. 



...and Ichabod Crane never saw his chips again.

Russia just conducted a combined arms exercise that included live firing of several strategic missile systems in a coordination.
On 30 October 2015, Russia conducted a test of the command and control system that involved a number of strategic and non-strategic systems. As part of the exercise, K-117 Bryansk submarine of the Project 667BDRM/Delta IV-class launched a R-29RM missile from the Barents Sea. K-223 Podolsk submarine of the Project 667BDR/Delta III class launched a R-29R missile from the Sea of Okhotsk. The Strategic Rocket Forces conducted a launch of a Topol/SS-25 missile from Plesetsk, while the Tu-160 strategic bombers launched cruise missiles toward targets at the Pemboy and Kura test ranges. In addition, Velikiy Ustyug small missile ship launched a Kalibr cruise missile from the Kaspian Sea. The exercise also involved a launch of an Iskander cruise missile from Kapustin Yar.
So, yeah. A comprehensive nuclear strike drill involving all the nuclear capable services as well as actual expenditure of ICBMs and SLBMs. 
Of course all militaries need to train (I wish ours would do more drills of this nature than it does) so this would not automatically be a concern if it weren't for all the other stuff going on with Russia right now.

 Russia's authorities should revive the old Cold War practice of training civilians on how to respond in the event of a large-scale nuclear attack, a senior government official said on Friday.

Note that the article couches this in terms of a response to the U.S. nuclear weapons modernization (which consists of improving the accuracy and lowering the yield on a group of existing bombs designed 45 years ago). No mention is made of the Russian deployment of 2 different ICBM types and current development of a new super heavy ICBM, no less than 3 different types of SLBM and a new cruise missile that is in direct violation of the INF treaty

Meanwhile, we are sending troops into Syria to help the people the Russians are shooting at. This could easily result in American and Russian forces shooting at each other. Does anyone see a downside to this?

Of course, one of the main problems in Syria is ISIS, which, as this article points out, has beyond it demonstrated depravity and stated goals a considerable potential to cause chaos in Europe even if they continue applying pressure indirectly via the refugee crisis. 

Meanwhile:

North Korea looks to be prepping for a new nuclear test. This would be logical since there are indications that they have some advanced, lightweight weapon designs they probably want to evaluate.  Furthermore, given that their nuke program has a lot of technical exchange with Iran, It probably won't be just a Nork Nuke being tested. 

Speaking of which, in a development that comes as a shock to only the most obtuse, the Iran Nuclear Deal is pretty much scuttling all efforts at non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as nations that gave up their nuclear programs look at the terms Iran got and conclude they were saps, those that are pursuing them conclude that the days of consequences for such actions have passed and a general feeling begins to take hold that the controls are off and everyone who values their sovereignty had best get them soon. 

Some folks think that the huge fissure opening near Yellowstone (well, in the same state) indicates renewed vulcanism is imminent at the worlds largest advertisement for storable food.  THe government isn't making any preparations for ashfall, and they are saying that the phenomena is a peculiar type of landslide...so it's probably just craboids. 






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