• Category Archives Science
  • Silicon Valley Exec Has Created A New Religion That Will Worship A ‘Godhead’ Based On Artificial Intelligence

    I know that the headline sounds absolutely crazy, but this is actually a true story. A Silicon Valley executive named Anthony Levandowski has already filed paperwork with the IRS for the nonprofit corporation that is going to run this new religion. Officially, this new faith will be known as ‘Way Of The Future’, and you can visit the official website right here. Of course nutjobs are creating ‘new religions’ all the time, but in this case Levandowski is a very highly respected tech executive, and his new religion is even getting coverage from Wired magazine…
    The new religion of artificial intelligence is called Way of the Future. It represents an unlikely next act for the Silicon Valley robotics wunderkind at the center of a high-stakes legal battle between Uber and Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous-vehicle company. Papers filed with the Internal Revenue Service in May name Levandowski as the leader (or ‘Dean’) of the new religion, as well as CEO of the nonprofit corporation formed to run it.
    So what will adherents of this new faith actually believe?
    To me, it sounds like a weird mix of atheism and radical transhumanism. The following comes from Way of the Future’s official website…
    We believe in science (the universe came into existence 13.7 billion years ago and if you can’t re-create/test something it doesn’t exist). There is no such thing as ‘supernatural’ powers. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on November 16th, 2017.


  • Amazon Says It’s “Almost Ready” To Get 1,000s Of Grocery Store Cashiers Fired

    Late last year we noted Amazon’s efforts to ‘disrupt’ the traditional grocery retail model by introducing small format stores that allow customers to simply walk in, pick up what they want and walk out. The concept store, dubbed AmazonGo, tracks a customer’s every move, including each item they remove from store shelves, allowing them to skip long, often frustrating, check out lines (see: Amazon Goes Offline With Bricks-And-Mortar Grocery Chain; Envisions Opening 2,000 Stores).
    Now, after nearly a full year of testing their Seattle concept store with employees, Amazon says their cashier-less grocery store is just about ready to go live. As Bloomberg notes this morning, the company has already begun hiring construction managers and marketing staff to build out a store base.
    The e-commerce giant unveiled Amazon Go last December, saying it planned to open the store to the public early this year. However, the company encountered technical difficulties and postponed the launch to work out the bugs, The Wall Street Journal reported in March.
    Seven months later, challenges remain, but the ‘just walk out’ technology has improved markedly, says the person, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the project. And in a sign that the concept is almost ready for prime time, hiring for the Amazon Go team has shifted from the engineers and research scientists needed to perfect the platform to the construction managers and marketers who would build and promote the stores to consumers.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.


  • “How To Forecast Markets”: A Departing Top JPMorgan Strategist Reveals What He Learned After 30 Years

    One of the most popular JPMorgan analysts, traders and commentators, Jan Loeys, head of global asset strategy and author of the weekly “The JPMorgan View” piece is moving on (to a different, non-client facing part of the company), and is using his last weekly address to JPM clients to recap the main lessons he has learned over his 30 year career.
    For those carbon-based traders who still trade on the basis of fundamental analysis, inductive reasoning, and discounting, and forecasting the future – instead of merely relying on the fastest laser-based algos to react to the news or hoping for central bank bailouts – we have excerpted the entire piece, and are excited to note that while Loeys may be leaving, he will be replaced by two of our favorite JPM analysts and commentators, Nikos Panigirtzoglou and Marko Kolanovic, who under John Normand will take over as JPM’s new Cross-Asset Strategy team.
    So, without further ado, here is the latest, and last, from JPM’s Jan Loeys, explaining “What have I learned?” after 30 years of doing this…
    What have I learned?
    How to forecast markets?
    The theory and empirical literature of Finance are the best starting point as they deal directly with asset prices. Next are macro economics and statistics. Markets are not Math or Engineering, but a forever learning and adapting system with all of us observing and participating from the inside. Quantitative techniques are indispensable, though, to deal with the complexity of financial instruments and the overload of information we face. Empirical evidence counts for more than theory, but you need theory to constrain empirical searchers and avoid spurious correlations.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 12, 2017.


  • Mass Shootings, Mass Psychology And Self-Defense

    There is an unfortunate correlation between crises and catastrophes and mass psychology. For those with a decent long-term memory, you may have noticed that the frequency of attacks and tragedies taking place today around the world is far above and beyond what occurred 10 years ago. So much so that many in the public have moved beyond the point of outrage and have now embraced complacency.
    The mass shooting issue, for example, once inspired fevered debate over gun rights. Not so much anymore. While I am happy that the relentless attempts by leftists to exploit every shooting as a tool for their gun grabbing agenda have taken a backseat, I see a trend in another direction which is equally dangerous. That trend is a move towards acceptance that “these things happen,” instead of a healthy discussion on real solutions (and no, more gun control is not one of them).
    A decade ago the Vegas shooting would have inspired media and social discussion for at least a year. Now, the story disappears in two weeks and is replaced with 10 others. I will be surprised if the latest church shooting in Texas in which 26 people were killed stays on the news feeds for more than a few days.

    This post was published at Alt-Market on Thursday, 09 November 2017.


  • The Economics Definition of Sanity: Keep Doing The Same Thing Over and Over Because It Has To Work One of These Times

    We live in an age of statistics. They are everywhere, including a whole lot of junk numbers (endless studies) that don’t pass minimum scrutiny. Somehow, statistics have become the gold standard for at least the mainstream media in framing our view of everything from new discoveries to further exploration into how things work.
    That’s fine for a discipline like quantum physics where the utterly complex probability models have been repeatedly tested and validated. It’s a far different proposition in the softer sciences where the rules of science aren’t as easily determined.
    In 1972, Karl Popper in further defining the scientific process in this modernizing age said that,
    Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.
    It’s a warning that I try to take to heart, seeing as I do eurodollars lurking ominously behind every global problem. But Popper also said at the same time, ‘no rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.’ In other words, as long as I stick to a broad enough survey of evidence then proceeding as I do on the monetary explanation for at least economic deficiencies is a legitimate, rational inquiry.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on November 7, 2017.


  • “One Simple Reason The Yield Curve Is Collapsing”

    The divergence between the ‘hope’ melt-up in stock markets and the ‘nope’ collapse of the US Treasury yield curve has never been so wide… and has never engendered so many excuses by commission-takers and asset-gatherers for why the latter is wrong and the former correct.
    One thing is clear, as The Fed tightens rates, the market is increaingly insensitive to the next tightening as financial conditions have eased dramatically as the Fed tightens. Former fund manager Richard Breslow suspects ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’ as the linkage between FOMC raising rates and a flattening yield curve suggests this tradable trend is far from over.
    Via Bloomberg,
    The yield curve in the Treasury market has continued on its flattening way. Look at a one-year chart and it shows a relentless, if at times choppy, move from its widest at the beginning of the period to today’s new tight. Everyone seems to have their theories why and what it means, giving clear proof that great minds can differ. And even the bond market isn’t simply well-established science. One thing that they do agree upon is the obvious: it’s been a clear, tradable trend. But before we start waxing eloquent on the historic magnitude of the move, keep in mind, this tightening absolutely pales in comparison to several others of the last 25 years.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 7, 2017.


  • Can Solar Survive Without Subsidies?

    In an increasing number of regions in the US, solar (and wind) power can produce electricity at the same cost – or lower – than more traditional fuels, like coal or natural gas.
    We call it reaching ‘grid parity’ here in the business.
    The catch, however, is what happens when government subsidies are removed from the calculation.
    That’s why what happened at the end of September in the UK may be a sign of things to come across the pond here in the US.
    Read Solar Costs Are Dropping Much Faster Than Expected
    See, the British just brought a new solar power project online without relying on subsidies. Only the market will dictate what this power plant gets paid.
    And the way they did it shows where the solar industry and energy markets in the US are headed next…

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/06/2017.


  • Scientists Look For A Cure For Politically Undesirable Behavior

    Via GEFIRA,
    The ‘Free World’ has taken on where the Soviet scientists and psychiatrists left off.
    German and American scientists of renowned Universities in Bonn and Lbeck do research on treatment for politically undesirable behaviour like their Soviet colleagues from the infamous Serbsky Central Research Institute in Moscow. In the Soviet Union people who protested the system had to undergo psychiatric treatment.
    Vladimir Bukovsky, a world-known dissident survived one and described it. The same will be the fate of the so called Free World’s citizens if they fail to conform to the idea of a multi-cultural society. The powers that be have given a signal, and obliging, complaisant scientists are already busy working on bettering our collective and individual psyche. Apart from homophobia and Islamophobia, xenophobia is another psychiatric condition that needs to undergo therapy…hormonal therapy.
    Throughout history, the world has been torn by two opposing factors that face each other with daggers drawn. These are natural biological, and unnatural forces, or reality and dystopia. It is natural for a human being to want to possess things and work as little as possible; to counter it, dystopian socialists, communists or Christian heretics came up with an idea of a society governed by the principle: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
    It was supposed to work. And it failed miserably everywhere it was installed and implemented, from Cuba to East Germany, to the Soviet Union, to North Korea.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 3, 2017.


  • HUMANS HAVE MORE EMPATHY FOR DOGS THAN THEY DO FOR OTHER HUMANS

    A new study confirms that humans love dogs more than they love their fellow humans. According to science, it’s because people see dogs as helpless.
    According to two new studies, we’re more likely to empathize with struggling dogs than with struggling people. Medical research charity Harrison’s Fund conducted an experiment two years ago to test whether people were more likely to donate money to help dogs or humans, and they concluded it’s the former.
    This idea was conjured up and backed up by another recent study into human-dog empathy, which concluded that we get more upset by stories of dogs being beaten up or hurt than humans going through the exact same treatment.
    The researchers’ experiment was actually quite simple. They printed two advertisements, both of which posed the question: ‘Would you give 5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?’ The only difference between the ads was the picture. One featured Harrison as a little boy, the other featured Harrison as a dog. And it was Harrison the dog who received the most donations.

    This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 2, 2017.


  • Yes, But….

    Oh boy, lookie here, we have something new to screw with your brain!
    People have been losing weight by counting calories for years. But some recent medical studies are trying to prove that if you want the ultimate benefit of better dietary habits – less diseases and a longer life – your body may need to think you’re eating less often, too.
    Longevity scientists are studying food fasting to find out if regular periods of going without any food, or making your body think you are going without food, could be a key to lengthening the human lifespan.
    There’s almost-certainly some validity to this.
    For most predatory animals food is not a given. Not only must said animal work for it but they fail a decent part of the time too. Energy expended during a hunt tends to be high, and success rates vary, so there are plenty of instances where said animal hunts but doesn’t eat.

    This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-11-01.


  • “More Than 200” Dead After Tunnel Collapses At North Korean Nuclear Test Site

    North Korean nuclear scientists apparently ignored warnings from a group of Chinese colleaugues who briefed them back in September that the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site was slowly imploding following the country’s sixth nuclear test, which involved a 100-kiloton hydrogen bomb roughly seven times more powerful than the weapon dropped by the US on Hiroshima in 1945.
    As Japanese TV station Asahi TV reported Tuesday, more than 200 North Koreans were killed earlier this month when several tunnels in the underground complex collapsed, killing more a crew of laborers and a crew of rescue workers sent to save them. As we’ve reported previously, scientists in the US, China and South Korea have warned that further tests at the site could blow the top off the mountain, causing it to collapse. Meanwhile, it could send a plume of radioactive particles into the atmosphere that could deleteriously impact population centers in Northern China and across the region.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.


  • Hyperinflation Chronicles, Part 1: Einstein’s Scribble, Newman’s Watch, And Dot-Blockchain

    When governments create insane amounts of money, the recipients of that money tend to behave accordingly. Consider:
    Einstein scribbled his theory of happiness in place of a tip. It just sold for more than $1 million.
    (Washington Post) – He is known as one of the great minds in 20th-century science. But this week, Albert Einstein is making headlines for his advice on how to live a happy life – and a tip that paid off.
    In November 1922, Einstein was traveling from Europe to Japan for a lecture series for which he was paid 2,000 pounds by his Japanese publisher and hosts, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography, ‘Einstein: His Life and Universe.’ During the journey, the 43-year-old learned he’d been awarded his field’s highest prize: the Nobel Prize in physics. The award recognized his contributions to theoretical physics.
    News of Einstein’s arrival spread quickly through Japan, and thousands of people flocked to catch a glimpse of the Nobel laureate. Impressed but also embarrassed by the publicity, Einstein tried to write down his thoughts and feelings from his secluded room at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on OCTOBER 27, 2017.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – After the Bell – A Cross of Iron

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people…
    This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 16 April 1953
    The big tickle today was the strength in the Dollar index based on Euro weakness, thanks to Monsieur Draghi.
    There was a minor option expiration for gold on the Comex today. I do not think that drove the action in the metals, compared to the big spike in the Dollar.
    After the bell we will be seeing some big earnings announcements including Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Intel.
    CVS Health is in talks to buy Aetna. More consolidation in the health/insurance sector, under the title of ‘vertical integration’ which is a finer sounding title for ‘monopolization.’

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 26 OCTOBER 2017.


  • Stocks Slide On Report House Considering Capping 401(k) Plans Despite Trump Vow

    After a NYT report last Friday that as part of Trump tax reform, 401(k) plan contributions could be capped at $2,400 annually, Trump was quick to deny tweeting on Monday that “There will be NO change to your 401(k). This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!”
    There will be NO change to your 401(k). This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!
    – Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2017
    That, however, appears not to be the case because as NBC and the WSJ report, Republicans are still weighing adjustments the 401(k) program, according to the chief of the House tax writing committee, contradicting Trump’s statement this week that it would be unchanged in the forthcoming tax overhaul proposal.
    Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, declined to rule out changes when asked whether Trump’s position had killed the idea. “We think in tax reform we can create incentives for Americans to save more and save sooner which can help,” Brady said. “We are exploring a number of ideas in those areas.” While he did not offer details, Brady said there were “continuing discussions with the president” on the topic.
    That could be a signal that Republicans might pinch pretax savings for high-income households and use the money to beef up an underused tax break known as the saver’s credit, which acts like a government matching contribution to retirement accounts for low-and middle-income Americans.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 25, 2017.


  • Gold Is Valuable Due to ‘Extreme Rarity’ – Must See CNN Video

    – Gold’s value is due to exceptional rarity: Only 0.00000002% of earth’s crust is gold
    – Gold’s allure and psychology behind it are steeped in history and human psychology
    – Gold’s colour and texture appeals to basic human survival instincts
    – Gold’s sheen resembles water and ‘humans need water in order to survive’
    – Gold remains a sign of wealth but today is also a sign of prudence
    Editor Mark O’Byrne
    Why do we love gold?
    There are so many given reasons. From its presence throughout history, to its role as money, to its status as a symbol of wealth. But what is the psychology behind the human race’s ever-present love for gold? How did it begin, why has it survived for so long?
    CNN’s Colourscope series has recently addressed this question in ‘The psychology of gold and why it has that allure’ video which is well worth a watch.

    This post was published at Gold Core on October 25, 2017.


  • What Makes a Good Economic Model?

    In order to make the data “talk,” economists utilize a range of statistical methods that vary from highly complex models to a simple display of historical data. It is generally held that by means of statistical correlations one can organize historical data into a useful body of information, which in turn can serve as the basis for assessments of the state of the economy. It is held that through the application of statistical methods on historical data, one can extract the facts of reality regarding the state of the economy.
    Unfortunately, things are not as straightforward as they seem to be. For instance, it has been observed that declines in the unemployment rate are associated with a general rise in the prices of goods and services. Should we then conclude that declines in unemployment are a major trigger of price inflation? To confuse the issue further, it has also been observed that price inflation is well correlated with changes in money supply. Also, it has been established that changes in wages display a very high correlation with price inflation.
    So what are we to make out of all this? We are confronted here not with one, but with three competing “theories” of inflation. How are we to decide which is the right theory? According to the popular way of thinking, the criterion for the selection of a theory should be its predictive power. On this Milton Friedman wrote,
    The ultimate goal of a positive science is the development of a theory or hypothesis that yields valid and meaningful (i.e., not truistic) predictions about phenomena not yet observed.1

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 24, 2017.


  • Passive Should Never Laugh At Active

    I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time. As an ex-ETF trader, I have watched with bemusement as investors have both embraced and shuddered at the wide adoption of ETFs. But most pundits are missing the larger picture. ETFs are just a symptom of the bigger phenomenon. The true battle lies in the passive versus active debate.
    Let me get this out of the way right off the bat. I have no dog in this hunt. I see both the benefits and the negatives to each side. Yet as a trader, I definitely have a view on which end of the boat is leaning lopsided right now.
    Lessons from triple witching
    But first, let me tell you a story. I was lucky enough to have a ringside seat for the coming of age of equity index derivatives. Sure they existed before my time, but the true widespread global adoption occurred in the 1990’s. In Canada, when I first sat down on the institutional desk, clients had little interest in what the young kids with their fancy SUN workstations were doing. Yet as money flowed into the derivatives complex, what had first just been a strange little science experiment, suddenly started moving the underlying market. Our index arbitrage flows became significant, and regular plain vanilla clients began took notice.
    Along with the increased index arbitrage flows came this bizarre triple witching expiry. When open interest was small, these expiries were minor. But as the usage of derivatives expanded, one morning we experienced an imbalance that was uncomfortably large. Being index traders, we instantly understood what had happened. Someone was letting a whole bunch of exposure expire into the open, and therefore there was a very large, and very real, index sell basket to execute at the open.
    Many institutional clients were not used to trading on the open. Most often, they let retail orders and market makers set the price, and then after it settled down, they would give us their orders.
    Given that institutional clients were not interested in trading at the open, there was little liquidity for the large expiring sell basket. Sensing an opportunity, we bid spec for a decent portion of the sell imbalance, hoping to get a good fill which we could then offset in the futures market. The trouble was, not nearly enough market participants joined us, and the market gapped down huge. It was a terrific trade as the opening settlement was many hundreds of basis points below the previous close.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 24, 2017.


  • Machine Learning’s “Overhyped” Potential Is Headed Toward The “Trough Of Disillusionment”

    Bloomberg’s series on automation on Wall Street has certainly given the hundreds of thousands of highly educated individualsemployed in the US financial services industry a lot to think about, like, for example, ‘will my job be here in ten years when it’s time for my oldest to head to college?”
    However, Bloomberg’s latest installment in the series was apparently meant to provide some measure of relief to the legions of analysts, traders and salespeople worried about losing their jobs to a robot. While advances are being made in the field of artificial intelligence at an increasingly rapid clip, the truth is, efforts to automate an investor’s process have mostly fallen flat.
    Bloomberg cites several examples, including a push by Paul Tudor Jones to build an algorithm that would mimic his analytical process, of these types of efforts fizzling – though of course firms like Bridgewater have successfully automated many of their trading strategies. Renaissance Technologies, a quant fund founded by former military code-breaker Jim Simons, has been a pioneer in using machine-learning techniques for decades while building an enviable investing track record.
    Back in the 1990s, Paul Tudor Jones assigned a team of coders to a project dubbed ‘Paul in a Box.’ The effort sought to break down the DNA of the hedge fund manager’s trading – how he sizes up markets and generates ideas – to train a computer to do the same. The code created then was upgraded many times and is still used at his firm, Tudor Investment Corp. But it never took over.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 23, 2017.


  • Big Tech’s Dangerous Influence: “Coming Between Us And Reality”

    Author Franklin Foer reflects on the dangers of losing ourselves in a society dependent on a handful of tech firms.
    French philosopher Rene Descartes famously said ‘I think, therefore I am.’ But in the digital age, what we think and how we live are being influenced in a big way by just a handful of tech firms: We are informed by Google and entertained by Apple; we socialize on Facebook and shop on Amazon. It’s time to reclaim our identities and reassert our intellectual independence, according to Franklin Foer, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and former editor of The New Republic, in his book, World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.
    He recently joined the Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on SiriusXM channel 111, to explain why these firms’ hold on society is a cautionary tale for the future.
    An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Tech companies such as Amazon have truly transformed themselves over the last couple of decades [and become a big part of our lives].
    Franklin Foer: Amazon is really one of the most impressive specimens in the entire history of American business. It started off as a bookstore, then it morphed into becoming the ‘everything’ store. And it’s morphed beyond that. We know about Amazon Web Services and how it powers the cloud. We’ve seen how it just keeps expanding, culminating most recently in its decision to purchase Whole Foods. The same could be said for Google, which set out to organize knowledge but then became Alphabet, which has this massive portfolio, including a life-sciences company that aims to make us immortal.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 22, 2017.


  • ROBO Global Aims to Profit from AI Revolution

    As a technology and business concept, AI is beginning to feel very similar to the type of euphoria towards the internet in the mid to late ’90s. This time, however, AI has way more hype, promise, confusion, mystery, and even fear – depending on your view of it – than the internet ever did.
    Recently, Financial Sense Newshour discussed this topic with William Studebaker, President of ROBO Global, creator of the robotics and automation ETF, ROBO, on why this truly represents the next greatest revolution impacting the world economy.
    AI Is Already Here
    We’re already seeing AI applications taking form in smart appliances, online search algorithms, recession forecasting, autonomous weapons systems, and data collection and analysis. While many still think of AI in sci-fi terms, the reality is, AI is here and companies have embraced it, particularly in the financial industry.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/20/2017.