Source: Cleveland Scene Magazine
Baseball is a game of skills and probabilities. Baseball is also “six minutes of action crammed into two-and-one-half hours,” as Boston Globe’s Ray Fitzgerald describes it.
So, if you like geeky analysis, economics, or baseball, then you might like the article titled Baseball’s Fiscal Cliff
by Pete Kotz of Cleveland Scene Magazine.*....................................* The story was reprinted with permission of Voice Media Group in this week's issue.
Star Trek (Next Gen): Jean-Luc Picard
A growing number of folks are becoming aware that the performance of most mutual fund managers over an extended period does not exceed that of benchmark indexes such as the S&P 500. More specifically, 99.6% of all mutual fund managers failed to beat (i.e., only 71 funds out of 17,785 matched or beat) the performance of the S&P, net of fees, over a ten year period according to data compiled from the Mutual Fund Screener of The Wall Street Journal. Please reference the entire article titled “Wall Street Is a Rentier Rip-Off: Index Funds Beat 99.6% of Managers Over Ten Years
” at the blog Of Two Minds
Talented investors are often not managing formal, traditional funds but rather managing one’s own accounts or a small number of accounts (e.g., friends and family). These individuals are more likely to fit the mold of idiosyncratic entrepreneurs or founders of technology start-ups.
Nevertheless, one of several takeaways is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” In other words, just because a money manager is nicely dressed, displays stereotypical good credentials, and has friends in high places (partly enables said manager to either procure capital or secure the fund management role), shouldn’t imply an above average talent for investing. One can present a similar case against most (not all, of course) hedge fund and venture capital fund managers, as highlighted in two Zero Hedge
articles titled “Most Hedge Funds Underperforming The S&P 500 For Fifth Year In A Row - Full YTD Performance
” and “Venture C(r)apital: Myth And Reality
According to Thomson Reuters and the DealBook
, edited by Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times, the pace of worldwide M&A during the first quarter of 2013 was relatively slow. The summary, highlighted below, reflects announced transactions and ranks them by value. Goldman Sachs is on top of Thomson’s League Tables in both number and value of announced deals in the quarter.
For those who want a free, interactive graphic regarding investment banking activity, then reference the Investment Banking Scorecard
compiled by Dealogic and the Wall Street Journal.
And, lastly, for a comical perspective on League Tables, spend a few minutes to read The iBanker’s blog titled “Lies, Damned Lies and League Tables.
” The art of presentation, however, is nothing new to bankers and the most discerning clients.
Yankees, Retired #8
As Yogi Berra
once quipped, "a nickel ain't worth a dime anymore." Below is a chart from the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News depicting the purchasing power of a dollar using a Starbucks Latte. It's probably easier to find the source link from a related post by ZeroHedge titled The Starbucks Index - Coffee Price Parity
(27 Feb 2013).
Cover of Issue 9; Published 2002
You can find the comical article titled The Middle Manager’s Oath
written by Christopher Mah at McSweeney's
, a magazine founded by editor Dave Eggers
, the Bay Area Bard.
For those who are not aware of Eggers, he wrote the popular book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
, among others. He also founded a couple of nonprofit organizations based in San Francisco: 826 Valencia
, a tutoring and literacy organization in the Mission District neighborhood; and, ScholarMatch
, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition.
Below are a few extracts from the article:
"I will challenge my team to solve the problems I unnecessarily created for them."
"Jargon is not meaningless as long as it is strategic, measurable, and scalable."
"I will become diabolically drunk with the slightest sip of power."
Yuan Dynasty Banknotes (circa 14th century)
Let's end the year with some humor from The Daily Capitalist and its recent post titled “Top Ten Reasons Why Fiat Currency
Is Superior To Gold (Or Silver) Money.”
The Top 10 Reasons are below; the commentary can be found at The Daily Capitalist
Number 10: There Is Not Enough Gold (Or Silver) In The World To Serve As Money
Number 9: Gold And Silver Are Old-Fashioned, Cumbersome Money
Number 8: Gold Restrains Growth
Number 7: The Gold Standard Caused The Great Depression
Number 6: Rules Can Be Broken
Number 5: Gold-Backed Money Favours The US Versus The Rest Of The World
Number 4: Gold Favours Gold-Mining Countries Over Others
Number 3: Gold Favours The Rich
Number 2: PhDs Know What’s Good For Us
Number 1: If Given A Choice, We Would All Prefer Fiat Over Gold-Backed Money
Samuel L. Clemens stamp, 1940
November 30th is Mark Twain
's birthday, which makes me think of some of his witty quotes
such as this one:
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
Keeping that quote in mind, the webcomic xkcd
has a fine infographic cheat sheet of the economic vortex appropriately titled “Money Chart
.” It's available in a wall poster, which could make for a unique holiday gift for any finance geeks
among you. Also, Chris Turner, a sustainability blogger and author wrote a short article
referencing a few interesting sections of the diagram such as cost externalities of electricity (upper right corner; coal).
Amsterdam's popular mode of transportation
In today’s blog post titled “California Wakes Up To Another Record High Gas Price
,” Zero Hedge writes that “gas stations across the country are seeing increasing price-sensitivity by drivers with lines at the 'cheapest' and empty lots at the priciest. It seems yet another weekend of hyper-inflating gas prices has pushed the until-now seemingly uncaring-at-the-margin gasoline-'user' to seek out rationally lowest prices.”
Souce: ZeroHedge.com 08 October 2012
Nevertheless, if you are seeking consolation, then note that gas prices are much higher in Europe
. In Amsterdam, for comparison, it costs roughly 1.90 euros
per liter (that’s approximately $9.30 per gallon
So, what are some of the best bike friendly cities? Well, Copenhagenize Consulting is glad you asked. Last year it created an index based on 13 criteria. The inaugural ranking assessed 80 major cities worldwide and ranked the top 20
. Below is the top 20 list along with corresponding city data such as population, land area, and density compiled by Coventry League using Wikipedia (each city's page) and web research. You may download a PDF version for free
Wikipedia: Small is Beautiful, 1973.
I read Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered
by E. F. Schumacher a couple of years after college. As for much of what I have learned about finance, economics, and other subjects, it came from outside of a formal classroom environment.
You can find original and updated editions of this book at Powell’s Books
, download (legally) a PDF copy
, or read an embedded version below.
Also, last November the Guardian published a short (12 minutes) audio
about this book on its Big Ideas
Land area used for GM crops by country ('96-'09)
Form your own opinion regarding the reasoning behind why some companies prefer transparency in food labeling and others do not.