From the monthly archives:

March 2009

The graph is half full

March 31, 2009

The Big Picture has a post which borrows two graphs from Credit Suisse that are meant to illustrate the performance of the S&P 500 in the 100 days following a "major trough."  I re-borrow them here: It looks like the top graph represents a collection of bear market bottoms, which are easily identifiable by the […]

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Bank Holiday Ends?

March 28, 2009

Now that Dimon has admitted that "March was a little tougher," does the party end?  Can we go back to thinking of the banks as villainous institution which can't manage their own risk to save themselves (poor choice of words)? We don't always get a look into the month-by-month performance of the big banks; their […]

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Scary (but not surprising)

March 28, 2009

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries (NYTimes)

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I'll have a carbonated beverage, please

March 27, 2009

Anyone who has visited the South has probably heard a conversation like this: Waitress: What would you like to drink? Southerner: I'll have a coke. Waitress: What kind of coke? Southerner: I'll have a Coke. And after this bizarre back and forth, the waitress goes off and comes back with (surprise!) a Coke.  Like this: But […]

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The world as seen from Tiananmen Square

March 27, 2009

The cover of The Economist features a fantastic take on a classic New Yorker cover (click to zoom): And here's the original, for comparison -- this is one of my favorite illustrations (again, click to zoom): Via Strange Maps.

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Now departing from platform 9 3/4

March 27, 2009

From the Freakonomics Blog: You might have learned about the hidden elves of Iceland if you read the Michael Lewis article we blogged about recently. (Note: for Icelandic pushback to Lewis’s colorful tales, see here.) The Icelandic government apparently takes these elves very seriously, and often requires that new construction sites be certified as clear of elves before building […]

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Superbowl Tweeting

March 27, 2009

I know I'm really late on this one, but the NYTimes put together an excellent timelapse visualization of Twitter comments across the US during the Superbowl.  It's especially cool to see player names jump out as plays take place, or ad campaigns taking hold as commercials air.  Check it out here.

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Issues with embedded video

March 27, 2009

It appears that the TinyMCE editor which ships with WordPress 2.7 does nasty things to HTML in a misguided attempt to be helpful.  In particular, it strips "embed" tags from embedded media (such as flash video), leaving only the object tag. The end result of this particular example is that embedded video shows up fine […]

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It's never too late for Stats 101

March 26, 2009

Google's Chief Economist, Hal Varian, on jobs in the upcoming decade (emphasis mine): I keep saying the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s? The ability to take data—to be able to understand […]

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InfoGraphics in motion

March 26, 2009

One of my favorite music videos is Royskopp's Remind Me, because of it's cleverly informative visual style, not unlike an animated airplane safety card or pictograph instruction pamphlet: Recently, a student named Tomas Nilsson has reinterpreted the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood in similar fashion: In fact, the style bears some resemblance to the Microsoft […]

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The way things work

March 26, 2009

South Park finally reveals how the Treasury decides what to do (via Calculated Risk):

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Why we are doomed

March 26, 2009

We elect people like this to our Congress: Just look at Geithner's face! Utter bewilderment that this woman is actually going have a say regarding his plan. She obviously doesn't understand the plan; she doesn't know what she's asking; and most critically - she doesn't comprehend the significance of his answers! The fact that Geithner has […]

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Misreading misleading charts

March 26, 2009

This chart caught my eye because it is potentially misleading (click to zoom).  It shows the year-over-year change in hotel occupancy rates, from 2001-2009. My first impression, on viewing the small chart, was that we haven't hit the low of the last recession.  But (as the box very clearly points out) the low of the […]

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Tilt/shift in motion

March 25, 2009

Tilt/shift photography in video form (with a timelapse spin) -- I especially like the plane around 1:25:

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Rendering Cleverness

March 25, 2009

Austin Robinson of NVIDA makes an excellent point during his introduction of a new CUDA-based ray casting engine (NVIRT) at I3D'09 [paraphrased from his slides]: Rasterization is fast, but needs cleverness to produce complex visual effects. Ray tracing robustly supports complex visual effects, but needs cleverness to be fast. This is especially interesting because it […]

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Dreams of Kurzweil

March 25, 2009

Microsoft's heavily-rotoscoped vision of 2019... I can't wait: For the closet futurists among you wondering about the title reference, see the "2019" chapter of Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines .

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Economics 101: Market Failure (PPIP edition)

March 25, 2009

Back in Ec 10 we discussed the two principal forms of market failure: moral hazard and adverse selection. Both are forms of information asymmetries, and lead to a loss of surplus and general lack of efficient resource allocation. Moral hazard is the idea that if someone knows they are protected from risk, they will behave in […]

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MouthOff

March 25, 2009

Thought this was funny - a new iPhone app called MouthOff:

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The Man who Broke the CDS?

March 24, 2009

George Soros has written an opinion in today's WSJ calling for the regulation - and elimination - of CDS. He notes that CDS are instruments which allow speculation on default: What makes [CDS] toxic is that such speculation can be self-validating. I find his nature-of-the-security argument severely lacking: The negative effect is reinforced by the […]

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Worst Weekend: Roundup

March 23, 2009

Unusually, the NYTimes published three opinions this weekend which all slammed Obama - from authors who usually gush about the administration. I don't back off my own opinion that the Times editorial writers are a bunch of pseudo-populist fair-weather fans, but as usual they manage some salient points in their rants: Let's kick it off with […]

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Empty lot > Trump?

March 20, 2009

Las Vegas real estate summarized in one picture:

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Extreme Sheepherding

March 18, 2009

This is awesome.  Take some Welshmen, some sheep, some LED's and a camera and you get: (Via swissmiss / Cultural Fuel)

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It's been tried

March 17, 2009

Today's Dilbert is excellent:

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Andy Kindler visits Wall Street

March 14, 2009

Clip from David Letterman featuring an excellent Krugman montage:

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57% of the deficit, visualized

March 14, 2009

Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it. ...continued at What does one TRILLION dollars look like?

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A FAS157 by any other name...

March 12, 2009

To suspend MTM is to enable fraudulent accounting.

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What would McKinsey say?

March 11, 2009

The NYTimes' Economix blog has a new post by Ed Glaeser, which reexamines my favorite Dr. Suess book, The Lorax, through a neo-classical lens.  Revealingly, it's titled "The Lorax Was Wrong: Skyscrapers Are Green." And while I found the whole thing a bit overdone, I did enjoy one piece of the analysis: Over the protests […]

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TALF via SNL

March 11, 2009

SNL's view of the bank bailout is very Monty Python-esque:

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Krugman vs Mankiw... again

March 11, 2009

They're still at it!  Mankiw explains on his blog (provacatively titled "Wanna bet some of that Nobel money?"): Paul Krugman suggests that my skepticism about the administration's growth forecast over the next few years is somehow "evil." Well, Paul, if you are so confident in this forecast, would you like to place a wager on it and take advantage […]

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