Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Open Source non-lethal weaponry or Open Source Weapons



So I saw this article on slashdot.org today about how these peeps went to a Homeland Security conference, that demoed a $1M make someone seasick flashlight named the DAZZLER... They then decided to make a $250 DIY home made version called the BEDAZZLER.... check out the BeDazzler Open Source Non-Lethal weapon here.

They should TOTALLY mount these onto their weapons so that when the enemy tries to Target them, the enemy will just start projectile vomiting. So it would go something like this....

(bad guy thinking to himself) there goes that dude, i'm going to shoot him, aim....
(bad guy projectile vomiting after trying to target the dude) blarrgadsffgsdfsgh



This is interesting because they released the 'source code', the schematics, and the pcb files....

This makes me wonder when someone is going to make a DIY $1000 Solid State Death Ray.

Who is Tyler Durden? or The Rise of Zero Hedge

My friend kyle sent me to zerohedge.com a while ago, and since then it has exploded in popularity.

New York magazine did a piece on "The Rising Power of Financial Blog ZeroHedge" run by the shadowy figure with the Tag of Tyler Durden. 

It is a good read so you should check the article on NYMAG here.

Here is a link to TrueSlang on the NYMag article of Zero Hedge.

Here is Zero Hedges response to the NYMag Hagan Article

Excerpts from the NYMAG article:

Such is their power today that the Treasury and Federal Reserve both circulate “blog watch” e-mails, which are sent to the White House every day. (Speaking of the current popular financial blogs like zerohedge and seekingalpha.)
Last spring, in a far corner of the Internet, an unknown blogger began to piece together a conspiracy theory: The investment bank Goldman Sachs was using sophisticated, high-speed computers to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars in illegitimate trading profits from the New York Stock Exchange, invisibly undercutting the market and sidestepping the regulatory reach of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Only a few loyal readers paid attention to the blog called Zero Hedge, a no-frills site full of arcane analysis decipherable only by finance professionals. But when a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer was arrested for allegedly stealing software codes used for the firm’s electronic trading arm, and a federal prosecutor was quoted saying the codes could be used to “manipulate markets in unfair ways,” the once-obscure blog ignited a chain reaction. While on a golf outing, an editor at the New York Times learned from a friend who worked on Wall Street that the Zero Hedge allegation was the talk of the industry, and an assignment ensued. On July 24, the Times published a front-page article on so-called high-frequency trading and its potential abuses, which in turn prompted Chuck Schumer, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, to draft a letter to the SEC that same day. Twelve days later, the SEC signaled that it was considering a ban on the very computerized trading that Zero Hedge had attacked.

Excerpts from True/Slant:

One of the things that inevitably happens when someone like Zero Hedge causes as much damage as he has to very wealthy and connected people is that the media will start looking at who he is. In ZH’s case that’s among other things because he’s a great story, a kind of cyber-Zorro: beyond even his amazing ability to rock the mighty Goldman Sachs from a hitherto unknown blog site, his (formerly) mysterious identity made him an even better feature subject.

But when you shine a light on Zero Hedge, you’re taking the light off the people he’s focusing on. That’s the primary problem with this kind of activity, and one of the reasons you often see this tactic employed against an uncomfortable news-breaker. I’m not saying that was Hagan’s intention — in fact I don’t think it was — but this kind of story can immediately have the effect of shifting the geography of the conversation, from Goldman’s backyard to Zero Hedge’s. I’d expect that from other quarters, but coming from Hagan I’m a little confused by it.

Is SKYNET down on Wallstreet?


Tyler Durden from zerohedge.com had an article yesterday about how stocks are still high even though there is almost no volume.  I decided to check out the volume for the Dow Jones yesterday just to see. Perhaps Skynet is rebooting.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Awesome Sand Painting - The Ukraine's Got Talent Winner





I saw this linked on the interwebs and I thought I would share. A beautiful girl with fantastic talent.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Chthulu


I saw this awesome PSA on BoingBoing.net.  I read it and thought it was awesome. Here the original link. LOL

Friday, September 25, 2009

WOOT! I now have the top Google search for 'Facial Expression Tutorial'



Feel The Power!

Trader Kyle analyzes my the Taco-Bell technical signal

From my buddy Kyle (he's a real trader dude)

Here is his response to my Post on The Toxic Mexican Asset Class Technical Indicator

happened to see your blog post about toxic mexican asset pricing. i find the conclusion highly unlikely.
take your chicken chart back a bit (5yrs) and it's really not that dramatic. due to price stickiness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticky_(economics)) it's unlikely monthly variations in spot chicken prices would make it down to retail prices so soon and on such little volatility.
even if soybeans can be some kind of a proxy for pinto beans, last summers commodities orgy sure ski-jumped them, but the bean burrito has been $0.99 for at least the last few years so a rich beans hedge for YUM is probably not the cause.
ZS

Poultry Futures prices over 5 years

maybe it's to establish price parity with the undisputed king of fast food mexican - DEL TACO. as a recent consumer of a TB bean burrito i can assure you it is nothing close to the value of a DT 1/2lb bean and cheese.
or perhaps YUM is on board with the 'poor people are forced to eat less healthy' so they can die campaign

Nutritional Info on the Toxic Mexican Asset Class

regardless you can still thank bernanke and greenspan for propping up yet another toxic market driving the bean burrito from its childhood fondness of $0.69 to it's present $0.99. given the dollar's present death-march you can look forward to them all costing $10 within a couple of years anyway. as the menu so topically asks, 'why pay more?' perhaps HR1207 can satisfy the hunger of main st's inquisitions...
DXY trail of tears

The DXY US dollar index future spot price TRAIL OF TEARS

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus movie - EPIC CLIP

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken Prices... The Taco Bell Economic Indicator


So I was eating lunch today with my buddies at Taco Bell. I noticed they had this monster chicken combo thing for like $5.49. Then I thought holy shit that's a lot of stuff.... Then my friend Steve mentioned that the Penn Station down the street had all their chicken based items on sale too...
The next thing someone pointed out was that... somehow the Bean Burritos were MORE EXPENSIVE than the chicken burritos...

Thus being MBAs somehow I thought we could turn this into an economic indicator.  I'm guessing that there must be an oversupply or damping of demand for bok bok chicken. Anyhow the next step is to look at Chicken futures prices.... As you can see bok bok chicken's have been taking it in the face lately.  So I can imagine something to the effect of the Bean Burrito Index having a rally while the Chicken Taco Futures is experiencing new 52 week lows...

Thus I theorize that an important technical economic indicator should be based on when the price of chicken/pork/beef crosses the threshold of being cheaper than re-fried beans.  When the Taco Bell trigger event happens beef and chicken burritos become cheaper than bean burritos. This implies an odd divergence between consumer fast food demand and commodity pricing of feed grains.  Basically it implies that short term economic metrics during this time are completely decoupled from fundamentals... It also implies that times are totally sweet if you like Chicken Soft Tacos.

UPDATE:
Fernando Z speculates that the drop in chicken demand is related to this breaking news!
Rex T speculates that this is a market manipulation not unlike the Oil Futures action we saw last year.

Global Warming: Place your bets!


So the latest new hotness at inTrade is that you can bet on global warming... specifically... if this year's average temperature is going to be among the five warmest on record.  Here is the link to Intrade Global Warming trading. So if you are a believer in global warming and you want to make those global warming heretics pay, then game on! If you are a global warming hater now you can bet against ManBearPig, then game on!




Ok so if you are not familiar with inTrade, it is a prediction market where you can bet for or against certain events occuring. For instance you could have bet that Barak Obama would win or lose the presidential campaign.  The pricing system is worked out the same way the stock market is.... which is to say it's basically ebay.  You have the current going bid price (the current willingness to pay for buyers) and the ask price (the current willingness to pay for sellers). If you BUY and the event happens you get paid out, if it doesn't you have to pay out. The details can be found here at How Intrade Works.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Facial Expression Video Tutorial


A facial expression video tutorial I made for youtube.

You can use this to help improve your (conscious) empathy skills and to better read the non-verbal sub-communication that people give off.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Best Slip up ever on FOX 5 NEWS



Yes he just said that.

Btw something I noticed when I saw this was how the female reporter flashed a massive FEAR expression for about half a second. When they slow it down you can see it clearly.



Notice how open her eyes are and how her lips are stretched horizontally across her face.
She had no idea that 'chicken F@#$king' comment was coming by a mile.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bullet Proof Carbon Nanotube Sheets


I saw this article on slashdot.org that reports that a company has manufactured the world's first sheet of carbon nanotubes that are stronger than steel yet lighter than plastic.  Check Cnn Money article here.

From the article:
Lashmore's company, Nanocomp Technologies, is the first in the world to make sheets of carbon nanotubes -- microscopic tubes stronger than steel but lighter than plastic. The Pentagon has financed much of the Concord, N.H., firm's work; stakes include the $500 million U.S. market for body and vehicle armor, which is currently dominated by DuPont's Kevlar.

Crazy 3d Holograms you can touch



So I saw this crazy article on BoingBoing about 3d holograms you can touch....  You guys can guess where this is will end up going LOL. I thought it was pretty awesome they've come this far.

From Reuters:
By using ultrasonic waves, the scientists have developed software that creates pressure when a user's hand "touches" a hologram that is projected.

In order to track a user's hand, the researchers use control sticks from Nintendo's popular Wii gaming system that are mounted above the hologram display area.

The technology has so far been tested with relatively simple objects, although the researchers have more practical plans, including virtual switches at hospitals, for example, and other places where contamination by touch is an issue.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

REAL LIFE TROGDOR


Thanks to my sister Caroline for pointing this one out LOL.... TROGDORRRRRRRR
Thus of course I had to cut a video of this 1 armed snake with the Trogdor song.  Don't hate on how nothing is timed right or makes sense, i did this a really late in about 10 minutes after beers.

Here is a REAL LIFE TROGDOR without Wings. Apparently they found a 1 armed snake in China..

For The original reference to Trogdor check this... StrongBad's Trogdor!!!

Office Hijinx


Well today in the great service of Morale, I launched a monthly happy hour every Thursday starting at noon.
Here is the pitch. I think sense of humor is an important part of any work environment. =)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Robot Overlords can play Violin

Kanye Vs Barak Obama

Human Resources: An evolutionary based approach

Over at my other blog (www.lazymba.com) I have written up a short primer on how one could use an Evolution Based Approach to attacking common Human Resources problems. Check it out here at Lazymba.com - Evolutionary Based Human Resources.  Btw the LAZYMBA.COM blog is for original content and I'll have some other people contributing as well. Neil B worked out some interesting Fantasy Football related stuff that I hope to see soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We need more cowbell. Best Buy Sells Cowbell


So today when I was at Best Buy I saw this gem. Yes that is a Cowbell instrument. The best part is the caption that says FREE! Cowbell Beater Inside....

Turn Any Surface Into a Speaker....LOL


Image from unpluggd.com

So I saw this totally insane video from Japan.... on the website unpluggd.com. Check out the super crazy Japanese IPod item everyone totally needs. It can turn a milk carton, a coke can, a 2 liter bottle, a door, etc... into a speaker

Here is a video linked from the site. It's in japanese but you'll totally get it once they start showing you how to use it. Enjoy

Sunday, September 13, 2009

T-Pain Iphone Auto-Tune App





The Best Marketing Video ever lol.

The first video is of normal people using it.
The second video is a bunch of different artists using it (Keri Hilson, Sean Kingston, Akon, etc.)

Nassim Taleb talks about VAR to Congress

Friday, September 11, 2009

My T-shirt design inspired by the Joe Wilson You Lie! Fiasco
























I cranked this out in about 5 minutes, because I thought it would be too funny. Too bad fair use doesn't really apply as easily when you sell stuff...

J. Zweig And Taleb on Investor behavior


I found this on TheGuruInvestor.com. 
This was interesting because the first guy talks about our cognitive handicap in seeing patterns (Taleb talks about this quite a bit in the black swan)  I did find it funny when he mentions that when we see two events in an upward or downward direction we cannot help but predict a trend. So perhaps our ability to subconsciously discern patterns is working against us. For instance our ability to predict the trajectory of a ball thrown in the air is a consequence of some form of pattern/prediction mechanism going on.  This same desire to see patterns may strongly drive other behaviors that this auto-prediction ability is not suited for.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

How Value At Risk Works: Penguin Edition

















































































By the way, my penguin example isn't that far off. During the crash of 1987... the stock market fell 22% in ONE DAY.

The Black Swan Visits Congress

Dave G. sent me this link today and I thought it was interesting. According to this article on the Huffington post. Congress is going to hold a hearing on the whether or not the usage of VAR (Value at Risk) is responsible for our current financial problems. 

I find this interesting because when I first learned about the concept of VAR, I was a bit troubled about the theoretical basis. The bread and butter of VAR is mean-variance. The region of interest in VAR is also the region that is the least well behaved (the tails).  In light of heavy tails, it seems awkward to use mean-variance methods to set multi std deviation confidence intervals.

From the article:

This Thursday September the 10th marks a historic development for both Washington and the financial markets. The US Congress' Committee on Science and Technology will hold a hearing on the responsibility of mathematical model Value at Risk for the credit crisis. As HuffPost readers know full well, I have long blamed VaR for the mayhem (remember: VaR allowed banks to build the toxic leverage that sunk them and the world). To my knowledge this is the first time that a financial theory is put on the spot like that, the inevitable consequence of having endured a theory-caused meltdown of biblical proportions.

My friend Nassim Taleb has been invited as expert witness by the Committee. That's a wise choice. Taleb has not only been a real derivatives trader for decades, but crucially has been warning about VaR's potential for destruction for at least 15 years. As I told HuffPost readers not long ago, he alone predicted what has just happened, including the term "bail out". Frankly, it was only a matter of time before VaR killed us.


Oversized Sunglasses - Simplicity is king in the age old battle of the sexes.


I generated these 3d renderings to show the artful illusion that Oversized Sunglasses can generate. My friend Ian M. came up with this theory over lunch that those Oversized Sunglasses can be damn deceptive. So I took up his thought and ran this imaging. The only difference is eye size and spacing. Sun Tzu would be proud of Oversized Sunglasses. LOL. Simplicity at it's best.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Canadian Caper or The coolest story you'll hear all day


A few years ago I read an article by Wired Magazine that outlined the ridiculously awesome story of how Canada and the CIA rescued six American diplomats who were stranded in Iran during the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran.

This REAL LIFE plotline involves the overthrow of Bavarian firedrill action, and of course Canadians...

Check this totally awesome story here (You need to scroll down a little bit to get to the article)

Here is the wikipedia entry on the so called "Canadian Caper"

Excerpt from the Wired article
To build his cover, Mendez put $10,000 into his briefcase and flew to Los Angeles. He called his friend John Chambers, the veteran makeup artist who had won a 1969 Academy Award for Planet of the Apes and also happened to be one of Mendez's longtime CIA collaborators. Chambers brought in a special effects colleague, Bob Sidell. They all met in mid-January and Mendez briefed the pair on the situation and his scheme. Chambers and Sidell thought about the hostages they were seeing each night on television and quickly declared they were in.

Mendez knew they had to plan the ruse down to the last detail. "If anyone checks," he said, "we need that foundation to be there." If they were exposed, it could embarrass the government, compromise the agency, and imperil their lives and the lives of the hostages in the embassy. The militants had said from the beginning that any attempted rescue would lead to executions.

In just four days, Mendez, Chambers, and Sidell created a fake Hollywood production company. They designed business cards and concocted identities for the six members of the location-scouting party, including all their former credits. The production company's offices would be set up in a suite at Sunset Gower Studios on what was formerly the Columbia lot, in a space vacated by Michael Douglas after he finished The China Syndrome.

All they needed now was a film — and Chambers had the perfect script. Months before, he had received a call from a would-be producer named Barry Geller. Geller had purchased the rights to Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, Lord of Light, written his own treatment, raised a few million dollars in starting capital from wealthy investors, and hired Jack Kirby, the famous comic book artist who cocreated X-Men, to do concept drawings. Along the way, Geller imagined a Colorado theme park based on Kirby's set designs that would be called Science Fiction Land; it would include a 300-foot-tall Ferris wheel, voice-operated mag-lev cars, a "planetary control room" staffed by robots, and a heated dome almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building. Geller had announced his grand plan in November at a press conference attended by Jack Kirby, former football star and prospective cast member Rosey Grier, and several people dressed like visitors from the future. Shortly thereafter, Geller's second-in-command was arrested for embezzling production funds, and the Lord of Light film project evaporated.


I have heard that George Clooney was working on a project called the "Escape from Tehran" that mimics this epic tale.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

GOOD BYE MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITIES, HELLO SECURITIZED LIFE INSURANCE



So I saw this on google news today and almost died laughing... Apparently the new hotness on wallstreet is going to be the SECURITIZATION of Life Insurance policies
Basically you buy a life insurance policy from someone who is ill or elderly for $400k-$1M. You keep making their payments, you hope they die early, and then you cash out. The idea is that if you can make a better prediction than the life insurance company, (the prediction factors into the premium that the life insurance company calculates), then you can possibly cash out if you think they are under charging for the life insurance premium.

From the article:

After the mortgage business imploded last year, Wall Street investment banks began searching for another big idea to make money. They think they may have found one.
The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die. The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.


This concept should remind you of the securitization of mortgages that brought the world to its knees recently.

However, from what I understand life expectancy tends to be more well behaved than distributions based on information (such as the stock market). Well except for people hiring assassins and starting pandemics to make $$$.

Enjoy... maybe in 10 years.. we will see the Hindenburg Omen AGAIN

When I blogged about this Market Crash prediction from seekingalpha.com back in early July, I didn't think it would actually be right... Next time i see a Hindenburg Omen I'm totally moving my 401k to bonds for 6 months and buying a ton of puts on the S&P500.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hotness is the mind killer

So I saw this article linked on slashdot.org today about how "Men lose their minds when speaking to pretty women". Of course this is somewhat obvious, it is still interesting to see some scientific experimentation supporting it. Here is a link to the article itself

Remember guys, hotness is the mind killer.

From the article:
The research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function than those who chat to someone they do not find attractive.

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or 'cognitive resources' trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks.


John Nash's character in A Beautiful Mind handles the hotness factor beautifully. Check the Nash Equilibrium Bar Scene here (this is actually completely wrong in describing the Nash Equilibrium, but the scene is still great)

This scene was shown to me for the first time in one of my MBA Marketing for Economic Feasibility classes during a discussion of Game Theory. The instructor guy (who was really cool) also brought up the game theory argument of "Go Ugly Early" as a strategic approach. LOL

Fear is the mind killer



My favorite litany against fear. I originally heard this when I was a kid watching the David Lynch's film version of Frank Herbert's Dune. It's a great mantra to think about before you go on stage to give a speech or when you have to chat up strangers.

BOW DOWN TO OUR FUTURE ROBOT OVERLORDS



All I have to say is hello Skynet....

Thanks to David P. for sending me this

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Samuelson vs Merton on the financial crisis



I thought this was pretty funny, considering the massive difference in opinion. I particularly liked Samuelson's take when he says something to the effect of... "people compare it to the great depression, but the Wallstreet shenanigans this time are much worse.... fiendish Frankenstein monsters of financial engineering had been created, alot of them at MIT some of them by people like me.."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009