I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember the early days of advertising, and this maybe goes back to the days when man was not yet fully immersed in online media, but in the early days of rock ‘n roll advertisers often used the “mystery promotion” which involved doing advertising related to a particular date or place.
“Stay tuned to the super – 610 because this weekend we’ll…” And there would be somebody interrupting preventing the message from being complete. Those kinds of promotions on radio increased average quarter hours and TSLs; time spent listening.
It’s a classic advertising ploy and one that can often be used in order to develop buzz around an upcoming event, especially if the event is a brand-new one and has no track record to otherwise attract interest.
If I told you “Be at the corner of Main Street and Willard Avenue at 10 o’clock Saturday because I’ll be giving away money…” You might be in being there.
A more complete disclosure about what my intent was, on the other hand, might keep you away. “Be at the corner of Main Street and Willard Avenue at 10 AM Saturday because I’ll be giving away three cents.” You see how some of the excitement, some of the mystery went away? Classic American hype.
So now what we’ll do, to kick off an otherwise boring Thursday summer workday, is we’re going to combine some good old-fashioned advertising hype with the shortwave radio mystery stations that broadcast nothing more than numbers.
What has come to our attention (courtesy of reader Ryan), is a most curious set of YouTube videos which begin with the phrase “how to pronounce…”
The first one I found was “How to pronounce 77.” all it says is that “something is going to happen and 77 days.” I have no doubt that it will, since the sun has a high statistical probability of coming up on that day.
In the exciting “how to pronounce 76” the assertion is made “I’ve been trying to tell you something for 11783 days. Something is going to happen in 76 days.“
“I’m awake now, things are clearing up I’m not saying the words now. something is going to happen and 75 days.“
Normally, I’d start up a report with something economic – like this morning’s consumer price report which we’ll get to in a second – but the first thing out of the hopper this morning is to note the report from the American Radio Relay League (the ham radio society I’ve told you about umpteen times) that the “HAARP Facility Shuts Down.“
According to the ARRL report, the Gakona Alaska facility has been shut down since early May and while a new contractor may come along for some finishing up research this fall and winter, the diesel generators on site no longer meet Clean Air Act requirements….
All of which leads to an intriguing question: What about all the reports on the net about supposed “HAARP signals” impacting the mainland of the USA which seem to still be out there being reported this morning? I’m not hearing HAARP on my ham rig…
It leads to some uncomfortable conjecture about the alternative reality called the Internet.
I guess we’ll need to find some other means of constructing a portal for alien reptiles to enter this dimension. Hey! Wait! Isn’t that was CERN is for? And what about using HAARP for mind control programs? Does that mean we’ve been running out of control for two months now?
Time to double up on the meds….
OK, they came out this morning and as one might expect the continue to show modest inflation at the retail/consumer level:
“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The gasoline index rose sharply in June and accounted for about two thirds of the seasonally adjusted all items change. Other energy indexes were mixed, with the electricity index rising, but the indexes for natural gas and fuel oil declining.
The food index increased in June as the index for food at home turned up after declining in May. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in June, the same increase as in May. Advances in the indexes for shelter, medical care, and apparel accounted for most of the rise, with increases in the indexes for new vehicles and household furnishings and operations also contributing.
The indexes for airline fares, used cars and trucks, and recreation all declined in June. The all items index increased 1.8 percent over the last 12 months, an increase from last month’s 1.4 percent figure.
I’ve been doing research since returning from our conference up in the Northeast about the details underlying Big Data. This is scarier stuff than I ever imagined and it has already led to a world where people can be targeted for either failure to report income or spending that is unusual – or both.
Yes, picture a world when a government near you can inspect literally every aspect of you income and spending to see if things are within “acceptable norms” and if not? Something serious to begin considering.
The prospect of living in a society where everyone is constantly under a real-time audit may seem absurd, but I can tell you how it’s being done and how to write the code to do it.
So that’s coming up for Peoplenomics subscribers and as a kind of lead-in to that we’ll do an update tomorrow on Digital Tulips – those upstart digital currencies.
A number of my acquaintances have in the past chided me (even called me a fool) for reporting every single dime of income I have and paying tax on it. Not even trying to use available tools to “structure” a low tax situation because those can become contentious and any tax money saved in the short-term can come around and bite in the long-term both in terms of tax counsel and then, if not successfully defended, back taxes and penalties.
All of which was proven more or less right yesterday when a source told me they data files exist on every American and now, as data is being linked in (even if in meta data form) that can begin to sketch out you personal cash flow statement.
Example: If the sum of your checking account checks plus your credit card charges equals more than the reported income on your most recent tax filing, you might become “interesting” in the world of Big Data since such arithmetic is trivial and instant.
I’m sure one of our readers down in Ecuador (yes, you, Bruce) will send me a “Ha! Told you so, Ure!” but I’m not yet prepared to abandon America yet, although living in a country where cash flow outlier people can be targeted is, admittedly, a whole other kind of “police state.”
And maybe even that label isn’t quite right. After all, tax laws are on the books, incomes are easily tracked, expenses are easily tallied…but what becomes interesting is how government approaches the problem of squeezing money out of us turnips.
To be sure, such a system could just automatically, once per month deduct taxes due, but that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?
In a world where there are no jobs (negative job growth in actual goods production/manufacturing) we need jobs, even if they are government jobs.
Consequently, as the new data tools arise, rather than automate the taking of a government cut of our labors directly, a system of bureaucracy and – for extreme cases, jurisprudence and prison, can be maintained as well – ensuring almost unlimited employment opportunities in government.
Well, like I said….digital tulips tomorrow and deeper discussion of the mechanics of how this works on Saturday but even if you don’t like paying taxes (*and I don’t particularly enjoy giving away 30% either) the systems are being cobbled up now that will facilitate real-time financial monitoring of all Americans.
You know all those “FEMA camps” being supposedly built in America? What IF such camps were where people who lied about their incomes (as outed by their spending records) were going to be put which the big switch is turned on and enforcement using the computers begins on a massive level?
I’m starting to idly think about converting myself into a corporation and offshoring myself. Maybe have a corporate development center in East Texas, but move all banking and hard assets out. But, of course, even that doesn’t work.
Remember Cyprus? Offshore banks seem to be worse than our own. And besides, the US authorities claim 10-years of authority to collect taxes from expats even if you make it out the exits. Not to mention there goes Medicare and Social Security income, too.
So how to play it? I’ve thought about moving back onto a serious offshore sailboat, but DHS marine patrols have gone nuts…and in states like Washington which have decriminalized marijuana use, the feds are still enforcing draconian weed laws which (Whoa! is that a roach?) allows for confiscation of boats or whatever.
Government confiscations of cash almost never work out for the little guy, either. It’s a very asymmetric relationship.
In the end, we may all be forced into a kind of governmental “honesty” by the evolution of Big Data. But what’s scary is the logic which says it’s all “legal” because tax laws and such are on the books already.
As my source pointed out: ” ‘Bout the only thing you can do is move further back in the woods.” We only have a block to go before services end already…not even cell phone coverage…
The haunting question from all this?
Can a government-run surveillance society – where “honesty” is computer-monitored really be considered a “free” society?
Proponents of Big Data answer “Of course!” They wrap it up in a flag and with a side order of anti-terrorism.
Proponents of a Constitutionally protected right to privacy, unreasonable search and seizure, and other antiquated notions (including me) disagree.
Social maps, cross references to all major purchases, and a real-time view of everything you spend: The fact is you’ve already been digitized. Right down to keying in what food you eat in those grocery store discount card programs.
All that remains to be seen is how “Honesty enforcement” is rolled out. Just a little more CAT-6 cable and a terrorism event is all that’s needed and almost sure to come.
Maybe this is related to HAARP being off the air, or maybe it’s just how the stars have lined up this week… But whatever the cause a number of readers have been reporting trolls, outbursts among former sane people, and all kinds of odd behaviors of late. Like since Saturday.
Seems like something may have slipped but not sure what. If you notice an uptick in people acting crazy, though, please let me know.
(Spouses don’t count…looking more at the general weirdness levels.)
Eight Second Ride, Dept.
A sure sign of my aging is that I have no interest in jumping out of an airplane in what skydivers call the “Horny Gorilla Exit” and then trying to ride the back of a partner in free-fall like a cowboy on a bull in the arena.
I will admit, I was impresses to see the clenched fist/open hands being used for fine vertical speed adjustments…and his break-away and landing (at the end) was good.
He’s coming up on 50-jumps now, packs his own gear, and is quite accomplished for how long he’s been at this.
I just wish he’d taken up something just a bit more sane: Tightrope-walking the Grand Canyon or catching bullets in his teeth…
The Inventive Cat & Product Engineering Course
Our friend Bill (who sends in lots of cool observations about Life) noticed the reaction of Zeus the chicken/cat to the Roomba yesterday:
“FYI I snipped your little piece about the Robot Vacuum, with flowery credit added too I may say, and sent it around to some of my friends who have cats. All agreed, the idea of a Robot Cat Stalking Toy is a big winner. A million dollar idea. Now if I only had some financial backing and the know how to start a business I would be rich, and so would you…. “
Well, holder, Newt: Let’s run the numbers on this: Traditionally the inventor’s piece of the action is 2% of sales price. The rest goes into manufacturing.
Elaine’s figured that there are about 80-million cats in the USA, but as a marker, unless it’s as good as a pet rock, you’re only talking about 5% of the market buying…so that would be 4-million units.
Since both Bill and I want to make $2-million each on this, that means we need $4-million in royalties at 2%…which means a top line of $200-million.
Which means our price point needs to be (200-mil/4-mil units) or $50.
Now, if you haven’t done business with Big Box stories, you need to know that the BOM (bill of materials) for a product needs to be less than 33% or the retail price and 30% is even better. That way, the retailer can mark up 40% (or more) and make money to cover their costs (shelf space and inventory and portion of SG&A on their side).
Which means our price out of China (delivered here) needs to be $16.66 and then we only have a 1-2 year window. Set aside $50K for plastic mold costs…yikes!
Seems like too much work to me. How about instead I reveal that when Elaine’s not roboting, I use one of these to keep Zeus entertained:
Make sure you have the external load endorsement for rotorcraft in your logbook.
Yes, I may be an idiot when it comes to deer control, figures reader Dave:
“George, on the height of your deer fence – be aware that a standing deer can jump 6′ and a running one can clear a 10′ fence. Hope that 18” addition is enough!
Hmmm…another reader (Roberta) offers this:
“I built my new deer fence last year and it seems to be working- thanks to a guy on YouTube. He stated that deer can jump upwards, but can’t jump outward at the same time. So what he built would probably be only 5 feet tall if it were vertical, but since it is angled outwards it freaks the deer out. It has worked great for me so far. But I’ll still be replacing the dwarf orchard it protects, due to Japanese beetles. Back to the drawing board…”
Bill in California has an electrifying idea:
“Deer fences need to be at least 8’ tall to keep out the deer and other 4 legged critters or just to keep out the deer, electric fence with strips of aluminum foil with peanut butter on the alu foil. Deer lick the peanut butter, get shocked leave fence alone and the garden. This was told to me by an ag agent in TN as being the best way to deer proof a garden after the deer thanked my for their garden smorgasbord of over 100 x100 in size and all were 6” plus in height peas, corn and the list goes on….”
Someone else mentioned “blood packets” which some county ag offices have. They leave a smell of blood which the deer think is a predator kill, and so they won’t come near.
And says another Bill, t’ain’t just deer you will have problems with. Raccoons are a nightmare, too:
“George, In view of Weatherford’s “Parker County Peach Festival” last weekend, here’s my collision with Mother Nature..
Score: 8 to 1
In view of Weatherford’s “Parker County Peach Festival” this weekend, the late frost caught most peach trees in bloom….
If you’re looking for excitement, this week has some good potential with the Consumer Prices report due tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see how the soaring food prices get understated this time.
In the meanwhile, we have the retail prices report to digest along with the vitamin pill and toast:
“The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $422.8 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, and 5.7 percent (±0.7%) above June 2012. Total sales for the April through June 2013 period were up 4.6 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The April to May 2013 percent change was revised from +0.6 percent (±0.5%) to +0.5 percent (±0.4%).
Retail trade sales were up 0.6 percent (±0.5%) from May 2013 and 6.0 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 13.8 percent (±2.1%) from June 2012 and auto and other motor vehicle dealers were up 12.9 percent (±2.1%) from last year.
So, overall, we see general merchandise is down, auto sales are the main thing keeping the economy afloat, and we have to wonder if the government had modeled that out years in advance, which is why the bailouts of Detroit were so important…because without them, we’d be in a Second Depression, marches in the streets by now instead, and worse?
Earlier, stocks looked about flat, but since we’ve just put in recent new highs in the indices, we should continue higher from here for a ways, even though we might get some sideways action for a while.
Our trading model is presently long so being bullish seems a reasonable thing to do as the summer rally seems to be here.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but with the acquital of George Zimmerman on both the murder rap and manslaughter charge, I think it’s time to roll out what I wrote you Thursday again:
“Looking ahead? I’d wager that in the event a jury finds George Zimmerman innocent, I expect that the US Department of Justice (at Holder’s direction) will proceed with civil rights charges against Zimmerman against which he can’t possibly defend. ”
With a little thought about the future and some understanding of process and politics, we were able to “forecast” this week’s future….no magic or software involved. Just an understanding of social, legal, and political dynamics.
The rather formidable downside is that gravity still sucks – the orbital decay factor equates to a limited lifespan of several months that IMHO doesn’t yet justify the ‘more affordable’ cost of $300K/per. But in due time, we could quite literally have thousands of CubeSat in low earth orbit. And we think there’s a lot of space junk orbiting up there now…”
Wait! Here’s a bazillion-dollar idea: Set up a burial company that will take people’s remains and blast them off for an after-life in space.
Forget “Dust to dust.” It would be Dust to Andromeda…and beyond!
I didn’t think anthropoligists listed humans as herd animals, but when I read stories like this one, see the kind of crap people read about Hollywood, and then look at who wins political office….is it possible the anthros missed something?
A right-wing delight would be a Perry-Cruz ticket, I think.
Always Paying Government
A move is afoot in Denver to have groups which assemble for things like exercise classes to have to pay the city for park use. Apparently not casual exercise partners and such...just commercial ventures.
But this is how big, ugly trends get started. Charge groups over XXX and then over time move it down to where even two people have to pay. You watch…let’s talk about it in five years. 10 to be safe.
Time for a thought problem: I’ve been ponder the nature of predictive systems a good bit lately because it occurs to me that if indeed, as some have claimed, only a very few (and maybe only one) can use a predictive system at a time, then much of modern economics should have fallen by now.
I’ll give you an example: Suppose I were to present you this morning with a system of predicting market performance based on predicting future events…and further suppose that I had run some tests and it seemed to work.
Being an enterprising fellow, one might package up this way of looking at how a particular stock price could/should evolve and take it to market.
The question is: Is there a point where the very act of prediction lessens the value of a predictive system? (Hint: the answer is yes.)
I mention this because in my pursuit of perfect trading algorithms, I’ve looked innumerable ways to predict the future.
Let’s define this as our “universe” for our thought-work this morning.
Let’s suppose that a new party arrives on scene and introduces a new way of trading. We’ll call this system “Challenger” and its working are kept totally secret with the developer never revealing specific code, never sharing so much as a single screenshot, and holding tightly to the specifics of how this system works beyond flowery descriptions.
Where there is only one user of such a new trading system, it may appear to work for a some period of time. However, if the system works well enough, it will over time average down its results because more and more people will adopt it and begin trading accordingly.
Carefully note that the introduction of this new system does not end the existence of the other systems….it merely changes their behavior slightly in the short-term.
As more people adopt “Challenger” the results of other systems may even rise as followers leave them: the future is disinclined to change the total number of “winners.”
Statistically, among all predictive trading approaches, there seems to be a bounded number of winners. Only the distribution among systems changes. new systems may win early, but as traders adopt the most successful models they can find, their results suffer because of the “bounded winners” limit implicit in markets.
Let’s take this a step further: Soppose the creator of such a “new system” claims it is the only true trading system. Can such a claim be valid?
Especially because of a) the “bounded winners” limit and the pre-existence of other trading systems and b) the other pre-existing tecniques?
Obviously, multiple approaches may be used to predict the future and based on their successes, they rise or fall over time on their own merit.
What he doesn’t get into the underlying principle of air. It’s the underlying variable, however.
In the analysis of trading systems, it becomes apparent (after some work) that the future does indeed seem to have a boundary to it: Although, it’s more obvious in dealing with stock market predictions than perhaps a more generalized study of future, perhaps, but a bounded future nevertheless. It suggests the future generally has these bounds.
If a new system’s results begin strong, but declaine in accuracy over time, traders will abandon it as the investor’s constant quest to optimize returns drives exploration.
That a system of divining future events claims exclusivity when dealing with something as widespread as “the future” is absurd. As they say in Las Vegas “everyone’s got a system.”
There is not a class of investors who stand head and shoulders above all called “Remote Viewers” at least which I’ve found yet. This hints to me that remote viewing may have limited application to investments.
Yet, can you think of any more demanding metric than returns?
Thus, the test of any future prediction system is the accuracy of the numbers it delivers.
Whatshould the sincere researcher do when faced with a future predicting system that steadfastly refuses to make tradable predictions?
One wonders which of three reasons exist: Sincere moral objection? Inability to be specific? Or, that numeric results and standard deviations really matter?
Since our Nostracodeus software has not been sold, is not yet for sale, is not deployed, etc., any failing of other predictive systems is self-arising and not related to Nostracodeus research. Any assertion otherwise is crap.
There is no blaming Nostracodeus for any “effect.” It was NOT out there and IS not out there.
In fact, Nostracodeus continues in pre-release hold.
On Wednesday, we’ll discuss further implications of the emerging Big Data paradigm world for subscribers to Peoplenomics.com.
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