Links 7/27/09

Jupiter: Our Cosmic Protector? New York Times

Mourning the Death of Handwriting Time, This is great. I have terrible manual dexterity, always got Ds in penmanship no matter how hard I tried, so I am delighted to see that standards have fallen so much that my illegible scrawl is the new normal.

No Doubts: Women Are Better Managers New York Times. No doubt, I am sick of gender stereotypes. Did it occur to ANYONE the the prejudice against women in positions of authority is sufficiently strong that a woman would HAVE to be better to be put in charge? In other words, sample bias.

Spitzer: Federal Reserve is ‘a Ponzi scheme, an inside job’ Raw Story. No wonder they had to get the 5×7 glossies on Spitzer.

The Future of Universal Health Care, as of Now Robert Reich

Five Firms Hold 80% of Derivatives Risk, Fitch Report Finds CFO

Health-care reform is our moon shot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Star (hat tip reader John D)

Health Insurance “Innovation” James Kwak

Sichuan Expressway Rises 112.5% in Shanghai Debut Bloomberg. As DoctoRx put it, “Think there’s some excess liquidity there?”

Forget Aloof, Bernanke Goes Barnstorming New York Times and Bernanke takes his message to the heartland Reuters. In the Bush Administration, they called this sort of thing a “charm offensive.”

Citi ‘milestone’ as Washington takes 34% stake Financial Times. Reader John L detects an effort to work some subversive irony into the recounting of this singular achievement.

Killing of China steel plant boss halts sale Financial Times

Europe braced for rising credit card defaults Financial Times

Loans Shrink as Fear Lingers Wall Street Journal

The End Of The End Of The Recession Tyler Durden. Due to the late hour, I only read the first ten pages, but this looks very good. Draws on David Rosenberg’s work.

Oil: the Market is the Manipulation Chris Cook. The Oil Drum (hat tip reader Tim C)

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Anonymous

    So you are sick of gender stereotypes, yet there are "No Doubts: Women Are Better Managers?"

    Excuse me, but I need to leave. My irony meter just exploded.

  2. Anonymous

    Hey, dumbass anonymous at 7:36 a.m., maybe you didn't notice that that is simply a quote from the NYTimes article, and not an editorial comment from the blogger.

  3. "DoctoRx"


    I love your analogy of Bernanke's re-appointment tour to the charm offensives of recent yore.

  4. Peripheral Visionary

    The handwriting article was interesting. I gave up on cursive as a child, and wasn't forced by my teachers to learn it, and only learned print. I found, however, that print was too slow, and too ugly, so partway through my college career I retrained myself on cursive. One reason I gave up on cursive as a child was because the teaching system was too rigid; when I used a self-help book on my own, I could adapt and personalize my handwriting, and learned it much more readily.

    And the notion that handwriting is going away is total nonsense. Anybody who works in business at any kind of a serious position uses handwriting on a regular basis for note-taking. Print is too slow for notes, which is why cursive is so important. Laptops have not replaced taking notes by hand, both because of the annoying tapping noises and because of the vague suspicion that the typer is really texting friends rather than paying attention to the meeting. I spend as much time, or more, taking notes in my current business position than I did in college, and far more than I did in primary and secondary school.

    One other point: legibility of handwriting has traditionally been awful. Journals and personal letters from the 19th Century, not to mention the 18th Century and earlier, virtually require specialists to read them. Handwriting reached a high level of legibility only in the mid-20th Century, after it became a significant emphasis in schools, and after it became heavily standardized. Unfortunate that we're letting that go.

  5. fresno dan

    Really ?enjoyed?….Hmmmm,
    how about "found enlightening" the Zero Hedge article.
    I start my newshour perusing at CNN for any large events. I ignore the business section, because it is just insane BS. Today for instance an article about the increase in new home sales – not until the 3rd or 4th paragraph was any mention made of the YoY numbers – astounding!
    The Zero Hedge did a great job – but it didn't include ALL the bad news. Where is the money for Muni's going to come from? What will years of low returns do to pensions?

  6. Anonymous

    re: 9:19 comment

    "No doubt, I am sick of gender stereotypes. Did it occur to ANYONE the the prejudice against women in positions of authority is sufficiently strong that a woman would HAVE to be better to be put in charge? In other words, sample bias."

    This is not from the NYTimes article and it posits a sample bias due to gender stereotyping while simultaneously decrying gender stereotyping.

    In other words, all males are so biased against female managers that only "strong" women make management.

    How is assuming that all males are biased to such a degree that their group bias explains these results based on anything other than a stereotype?

  7. Anonymous Jones

    Anon @1:21 — Sometimes people should just learn to stop talking. Are you seriously trying to deny historical prejudice in management against women and people of color? What's next? Denying that Jim Crow laws existed in this country? Denying that women had to fight for the right to vote in this country? Noting historical prejudice is not the same as "assuming that all males are biased to such a degree that their group bias explains these results." Please… Yves was merely noting that sample bias should be considered in examining these results. If only we were so lucky that everyone in society was as skeptical of the results of supposedly scientific studies as Yves is…

  8. Hugh

    I wrote a post on another site deconstructing Roubini's recent endorsement of Bernanke for another term as Chairman. It was one of the weirdest endorsements I have come across and blew my opinion of Roubini.

    The article that I found most interesting is the one by Chris Cook from the Oil Drum. I have been writing about price manipulation in oil markets probably longer than almost anyone on the internet although a few like Michael Greenberger who was at the CFTC and is now at Maryland pre-date me by quite a bit.

    The Oil Drum is a great place to learn about the physical side of oil and energy in general, but it has always been weak in its understanding of oil markets, taking a supply-demand view even when such a view wasn't really tenable. Chris Cook's post hopefully will begin to change that. He gives a good history concentrating on the Brent (European/world) benchmark which he is more familiar with. He is correct that the Brent can be manipulated because the benchmark represents a relatively small amount of physical oil. He could have said much the same about the American benchmark (Cushing or West Texas Intermediate). But he is mistaken that this is what happened in the spike last year or this year. If you look at the actual prices, the futures are clearly leading the spot prices. Also while the Brent can on occasion be more volatile than the Cushing price, when you look at the trends it is the Cushing future which almost always leads the Brent future.

    Where Cook nails it is in his identification of Goldman as a major mover of the oil market. Unsurprisingly, most of Goldman's recent profits came from their commodities, principally oil, manipulations, not their stock scams.

    Most of Cook's experience comes from the 1990s. During most of this decade the price of oil was low and flat and only kicked up toward the end. I would like Cook to have looked more at the price data in the 2000s where most of the speculative action occurred, especially from 2004 onwards.

    I found his talk about inverted yield curves to be non-sense. Producers will not leave oil in the ground even if they can make even a marginal profit from pumping it out. The reason is that for most petro countries oil is the only game in town and the major source of their income. They would go broke or more likely be overthrown if they turned the spigots off. This is why most OPEC members, for example, routinely pump more than the OPEC limits.

    I suppose too I would have liked more of a discussion of paper barrels and how these more than physical barrels determine market price. Even so, I think this is great that a really solid site like the Oil Drum is finally coming to terms with the true players and drivers in the oil market.

  9. Anonymous

    If "health care reform is our moonshot", does that mean the government will abandon it after 4 years and limit discussion of it to the occasional Powerpoint slide for the next 35?

  10. Dave Raithel

    Re the Tyler Durden: While promising facts, page 57 is editorial. I have no idea what he means by "Reagan's lesson is now completely forgotten." Didn't learn shit from him and his numbnuts – it's from them that all this crap began. And if redistributing wealth is what it takes to provide medical coverage to those who can't get it, so be it – it's not like a reason has been invented as an argument for redistributing wealth.

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