From the monthly archives:

August 2011

The "software company" bubble

August 21, 2011

It's amazing what you can see when you refuse to open your eyes -- or need to talk your book. Take, for example, Marc Andreessen's article in the WSJ titled "Why Software is Eating the World." I became skeptical when this line appeared in the introduction: And, perhaps most telling, you can't have a bubble […]

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You didn't think this was over, did you?

August 17, 2011

The Justice Department has been looking into S&P for mortgage-related fraud: The investigation began before Standard & Poor’s cut the United States’ AAA credit rating this month, but it is likely to add fuel to the political firestorm that has surrounded that action. Lawmakers and some administration officials have since questioned the agency’s secretive process, […]

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Making the jump: Textmate to VIM

August 17, 2011

Finally making the leap from Textmate to VIM...

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I'm speechless.

August 16, 2011

Only Michael Arrington would propose something as absurd as a "wealth tax" and then use Donald Trump to demonstrate why it's not a crazy idea. And only Michael Arrington would take Warren Buffet, one of our generation's most respected investors and philanthropists, to task for daring to ask the government to raise his taxes. And […]

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Bayes, prior to reading

August 16, 2011

I may have to go pick up this book, which was reviewed in the NYT last week, if only because it opens with a favorite quote from Keynes. Titled The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy (Wow, titles are getting […]

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In defense of big ideas

August 16, 2011

Here's a provocative opinion ("The Elusive Big Idea") in the NYT by Neal Gabler, who laments that "we are living in an increasingly post-idea world — a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating […]

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Puzzling the Dow

August 14, 2011

What is the probability that the sum of the digits of the Dow's change would add up to the 26 on three consecutive days?

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Data science in the mainstream

August 14, 2011

AOL Jobs has posted an article titled "Data Scientist: The Hottest Job You Haven't Heard Of" -- except, of course, that you have. But you TGR readers would make up a very small fraction of AOL's traffic (trust me -- it doesn't take a data scientist to figure that one out), so let's take this […]

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Sell low, buy high

August 13, 2011

The WSJ is running an article comparing today's second-by-second "iPad inverstors" to the day traders of the dot com bubble. The article's point, near as I can tell, is that volatility makes people worry more about the markets, and that people aren't comfortable without instant feedback. I have a suggestion for the WSJ: A decade […]

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Installing Python, virtualenv, NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib and IPython on Lion or Mountain Lion

August 12, 2011

A guide to installing Python, virtualenv, NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib and IPython on Mac OS 10.7 Lion

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The Untouchables

August 9, 2011

Standard & Poor's is the Al Capone of modern financial markets. For many years, we went along with their protection racket: we paid the firm, and they made sure we knew which investments were safe. They got involved in politics, spending incredible sums to lobby the government for support, and eventually were mandated into perpetuity […]

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A funny thing happened on the way to the downgrade

August 9, 2011

The most interesting thing about yesterday's market action was the behavior of the Treasury market: It rose. If the market collapse was really about investors reacting negatively to the United States' new, lower credit rating, why on earth would replace their stocks with a direct investment in that very same government? We can only know […]

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S&P's tit for tat

August 6, 2011

Thanks to the time difference, I went to bed last night thinking the markets had stabilized, but woke up to learn that the United States -- the unassailable risk-free issuer -- had been downgraded by S&P. This is embarrassing -- on S&P's part. As we all recall, S&P was blamed squarely for contributing to the […]

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Misreading misleading charts: Alaska edition

August 4, 2011

There's a headline making the rounds this morning that caught my eye because it seemed preposterous: "Apple Stock Helping the Alaska Permanent Fund More than Oil." It's everywhere, but the original instigator seems to be this USA Today article. It looks like nobody bothered to read (or understand) the Fund's actual returns. First of all, the Alaska […]

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