Saturday, October 17, 2015

Life Metaphor

A Life Metaphor, is a meaningful metaphor for your life. It come up on the Slate CultureFest on Oct 13, 2015. Susan Krause Whitbourne wrote about them more intellectually in Psychology Today.  She liked metaphors like caterpillars & butterflies, or winding roads. 

I have a metaphor that I have carried with me from adolescence, and I thought of it when I was ten. It has evolved though. It is about defending myself, with originally, an anti-aircraft gun. I thought of it when a neighbor parent was at my house, and accusing my brother of some misdeed. The anti-aircraft equipment was impossibly complicated and always breaking.

As I grew older, I favored jet fighters over anti-aircraft guns, perhaps after I had gotten a car. Similarly the plane was impossibly complicated and always breaking; Just like my old cars. I also felt insecure in my early adulthood, like I was one auto wreck from homelessness.

When I got a job at a large company in a fancy research center, I imagined super-modern fighters, and while impossibly complicated like my conception of the adult world, they didn't break as much.

Later, I worked at an industrial site, and they were stripped-down and rusting. Competent, but with missing rivets, parts that I didn't understand, and always need repair.

Time marched on I got a bigger house, and I found it too dangerous to be flying around, I decided to shoot baddies down like Ronald Reagan with ground-based lasers. This isn't so crazy because my thesis work involved focusing and tuning big lasers. This fit my more sedentary life, and my unwillingness to get hurt. The lasers always needed fiddling with.

When I became a manager, I became way too busy, and I want to tear down the machines and build something that doesn't need fixing. Gleaming new machines with good software that I can fix and forget. Just turn it on, and the computer does it. I don't have time to fiddle with it. On the other hand, they kept needing upgrades just like my Mac.

Today, we are empty nesters, and I am looking for connection. I am interested in a network.  "It takes a village" to be okay. The neighbors and I each have 2-3 drones that work together, and our autonomous network of thousands provides safety for all.

So there is my life metaphor.

Post-Financial Economy

Can a country have so much capital that it can build all the factories and infrastructure that it wants, and still have extra capital? In such a situation, demand would be served, and still there would be un-invested dollars sloshing around and interest rates would stay low.

In twenty-teens economy, the scarcity is of demand. If there were demand, then capital would chase it.

Right now, the real interest rate is 0.14% on ten year debt -- the ten year T-bill is at 2.04% and the core rate of inflation is 1.9% and 2.04-1.90 = 0.14%. This means a bond paying an inflation adjusted $1 per year, would be worth $714, which is crazy. Historically, should be closer to $20 or $25.

What about all the poor people would love to have a new iPhone, a bigger TV, a new X-Box, and a vacation in Maui? Isn't there unlimited demand?

There does not seem to be. The people with money are sated, and the people without money are without money. Transfer mechanisms between the Haves and the Have-Nots are too small to create demand.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Running Shoe Update

 Here are my Adidas Supernova shoes with the Boost expanded thermoplastic urethane ETPU soles. These soles have great resilience or energy return so they are fun to run in. They weight 334 g per shoe which is 35 g or 10% more than my first generation Adidas Boost Shoes

I had worn these for about six weeks and you can see the discoloration of the ETPU from the sunlight.

The toebox on the new shoe is larger, and the shoe is more comfortable than my older Boost shoe.
I had a chance to visit Brooks in Portland and get a tour. I saw the treadmill lab where they test out the new shoes.

While I was there I got a discount a new pair of Ghost 8's. These are a similar design to the Ghost 6 & 7.

Notice that they went back to the black outsole. I wonder if that is for performance or for style.

This pair of Ghosts is the least homely pair. My Brook's shoes have been great to wear, but they are not so stylish.

These shoes are 345g. 10 g heavier per shoe than the Boost. 24 g heavier than the Ghost 7 and about the same as the Ghost 6.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Inspirational Ideas

I was at a talk, and the keynote speaker made a few points. Here are my thoughts on them.

Life is suffering,  but people are made to struggle

There are two fears: the fear of exposure and the fear of conflict

The fear of exposure is perfectionism, and courage is required to overcome it.

The fear of conflict comes from imbalance in two important values:  compassion and connection.

Compassion is kindness to others, and authentic connection is finding common cause with others.

We need to have strong enough connection to embrace conflict, and sufficient compassion to be in conflict with grace.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jeff Haden's 7 Habits of People with Remarkable Mental Toughness

Jeff Haden , who describes his profession as ghostwriter, wrote an article about how to be mentally tough. He wrote it with the internet meme of X things.

The article is on Inc.

The seven are

1. Always act as if you are in total control. (Meaning stop waiting for God to help)

2. Put aside things you have no ability to impact. (Easier said than done.)

3. See the past as valuable training... and nothing more. (That is, forget about Freudian analysis)

4. Celebrate the success of others. (Generosity of Spirit is good.)

5. Never allow yourself to whine or complain or criticize. (I don't agree. If you don't complain you are a marshmallow not tough.)

6. Focus only on impressing yourself. (Internal focus can be sick, but it is better than sycophantic.)

7. Count your blessings.  (It would make you happier.)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ghost 7 Running Shoe Review

Ghost 7
My last few pairs of shoes have been Brook's so this shoe blog has been getting dull. My lastest one is the Ghost 7. It is very similar to the Ghost  6 without the gel midsole in the heel, or if it is there you can't see it anymore.

I got this shoe because it protects my forefoot from stone bruises. That is damage to the foot from running on gravel on cement roads. I had an injury of that kind last summer, and it reoccurs if I don't take care of it.

The yellow outsole of the Ghost 7 stains easily. 
Ghost 7 weighs 321 grams, which is 24 grams less than the Ghost 6, or almost an ounce.  It has a four part sole with a two part mid-sole - the white and the orange additionally at the heel.

This shoe has a yellow outsole unlike the Ghost 6 which is black. You can see the staining on it in the picture. These shoes have 18 miles on them, and the blackness does not wipe off. It doesn't bother me, but I could see it bothering my DW if I would wear them inside.

Ghost 6

The Ghost 7 is a little less flamboyant than the Ghost 6. Less orange and more yellow with a lighter gray color. I don't find either shoe that attractive. When they wear out, and I can't use them as running shoes. The won't be cool looking casual shoes.

As mentioned I have 18 miles on these shoes, and I find this shoe very comfortable.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shoe Review: My running shoe update

I have purchased three pairs of shoes since the last review in 2012. These are the Adidas Boost, the Brooks Rivenna 4, and the Brooks Ghost 6.

The oldest shoe is the Adidas Boost. This is made from expanded TPU that my employer BASF makes.  This is a light shoe at 300 grams, and it is touted as having excellent "energy return." Meaning that the sole elastically returns energy to the running. When you are in the shoe it feels like it has a better grip on the street. It is a light weight shoe so the foot protection is not that great.

A pretty nice shoe, but I don't wear it much. I have had sore feet and need more protections.

On the bottom you can see the little balls that make up the shoe sole. I don't know why the sole n the bottom you can see the little balls that make up the shoe sole. I don't know why the sole is sn the bottom you can see the little balls that make up the shoe sole. I don't know why the sole staining yellow.
This is the Brook Ghost 6. It is 345 g (for one shoe) and has high foot protection. It is my newest show, and it does a nice job. 

 Here you can see the bottom, and the "gel" in the sole.


This is the Brook Rivenna 4. It is stiffer than the Ghost with less protection, and it is heavier at 407g per shoe.

It is an OK shoe, and I still wear it once in a while.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Computerized Trading on News Releases is Too Fast for Humans

People with high speed connections to news releases are reacting to news in much less than a second, 50 milliseconds, in one case. In this case, the selling started 50 milliseconds after the news release, and faster than normal news service (Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Yahoo Finance) had rebroadcast the information.

Wall Street Journal: link
This means that traders are downloading news releases and analyzing it automatically. Further, since company releases don't have info on expected returns, the computer was pre-conditioned with what the expectations were.  Based on the computer analysis hundreds of millions of dollars of trading was made.

Nothing illegal about this, but it shows that small time investors can't trade on market news. Unless perhaps they are trying to profit from the over-reactions of the automated trades.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Top Christmas Songs

Add caption
Favorite Christmas Songs

Every year I download different versions of Christmas songs from iTunes. Here are seven of my favorite Christmas Songs.  (Sorry about the commercials in the Youtube videos. Strange to hear a bank commercial before a Christmas song. ) I don't like novelty Christmas songs too much, with the exception of Must be Santa.

I am always looking for new versions.

Gaudete (Mediaeval Baebes)

Angels from the Realms of Glory (Annie Lennox)

Must be Santa (Bob Dylan)

Christmas Nights in Blue (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

Carol of the Bells (Harry Connick Jr)

Schedryk Carol of the Bells (Pink Martini)

We Need a Little Christmas (Kimberley Locke)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Will Power

Will power isn't a popular idea. In pop culture we go with the Flow, and if we practice will power, then -- no doubt -- we will become internally conflicted and lash out.

On the other hand, self-control is what makes the civilized world civil. What makes for self-control? In the abstract it is enlightened self-interest. In the short term, it can be your brain chemistry.

It turns out that weakness in your body can reduce your self-control, and cause you to over-eat, drink too much, lash out at someone, and so on. This can be caused by being hungry or tired, or intoxicated.

Another factor is mental tiredness or preoccupation with some pressing problem. Let's say you got a ticket on the way home from work, and then when you get home you kick the dog. One day I thought I lost my glasses, and I was rude to a guy at work. This is odd, since I usually am polite and politically correct. I was worried about getting my glasses back, and was unable to process the right response in this social situation.

Self-control has a limit too. People think of it as a muscle. If you skip a donut and go exercise, you may reward yourself with something later. I good antidote to that is routine. If you never eat donuts and always exercise, then practicing your routine takes little willpower. Being out of your routine, creates temptation and a little higher stress level, and that can lead to failure.

A good article on this is by Maia Szalavitz at Time.