Sunday, April 26, 2015

Beats and more

A recent The Atlantic article asked something like this, can bankers behave? Well, no, given that we let them play the game in an unfair way (no wonder old Marx used "fictitious" capital); it was, at one time, the reality that the allowance for bankers was due to power; now, the computer (and applied mathematics) have muddied the waters beyond possible cleaning (not! - why else, truth engineering?).

Actually, research has shown that there are serious moral gaps within the characters of a whole lot of those who fill banker-type roles. That little glitch, plus the largess that they get (from the likes of Ben and Janet), compound the problem.

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Recently, though, I ran across a page where some from the Beat generation were shown with Mary Beach that reminded me of a proper viewpoint that is antithetical, somewhat, to that of the rapacious bankers. I need to pay a little more attention to her life.

My involvement with the counterculture goes way back, as I was, sort of, forced there by the system (long story). By the time that GEK III was my roomie at KU, I had met a few, knew of some aspects of the life, and, generally, looked at it in my own autodidact sense (extreme state of not having a mentor - long story too). GEK III and I had our moments (I ended up marrying a cousin which we joked about), but he was very much on the list of major characters that I have known.

A few days ago, on FB, George Laughhead, who has the Beats in Kansas (imagine) site, pushed out something that Charles Plymell wrote (a decade or so ago). Gosh, Charles' little thing spoke to me on many levels. The main point, apropos to this blog, is that these levels have to do with truth which is never simple (except under certain circumstances - to be discussed).

When you read Charles, note the mention of his ancestors. Also, recall that one model for the work here deals with the evolution (devolution, many times) of life and kind here (the beacon on a hill and dreams thereof) from those early days in the northeastern region (we have a tabla raza situation with which to ponder the true American citizen - and, where the hell did we go wrong?).

If it is not clear, many of the counterculture are more truth based than those of the major culture (at least, more so than those of the power set); too, though, we find good people everywhere. That is meant to imply that we all have dealt with all types over our years (however many). I mostly have applied the rule: when in Rome, do NOT, by any necessity, do as the Romans ;-). We all are responsible for our own selves (and those who depend upon us).

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If you bring Emerson to mind, you are partly right. Reading Charles of late struck me as did running across RWE in my very early days of trying to cope with the solitude of knowing one's own mind and to deal with the reality that we all face up to the music by ourselves.

Truth engineering has a core that is strictly scientific and mathematical; however, in the larger realm, we have to have humans in the loop (all sorts of discussion here); of human kind, we have a whole lot to learn from the Beats and their times (blip on that large evolutionary screen).

Remarks:   Modified: 04/26/2015

04/26/2015 -- What is it that the Beats represent? Lot of stuff has been said about this. Good art? Freedom? One of my interests would be the historical beginnings of the views. Plenty interest abounds nowadays, so no doubt there will be academic views and analysis. But, I'm after more. On this side of the pond, one of the first true-free societies might have been in Cape Ann, prior to Conant's arrival. In a brief moment in time (well, over a year), the people were friendly within their group, peaceful with the natives, well-stocked with supplies and tools, led by a capable male who really needs to have more known about him and his children, no church (they did not have any religious representative within the group - again, not until Conant arrived, dragging along Lyford), no state (England was a long way away; Standish tried to come up and muscle his way - not), they were healthy (did not lose a soul over their winter - that came with Endicott and too many bodies for the available resources), and a whole lot more. ... One of the things that Charles wrote about was of working; that rang a bell since I have been working (chores included) from an early age; did any of the Beats work (well, I did see GEK III with a hammer once)? Oh, perhaps, it's the Maynard character that I'm recalling. ... In short, it may be that the counterculture has a greater impact (we'll have to look at that) through time.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ben's new freedom

Since the start of the blog in 2007, there have been 70 posts in which Ben is mentioned. Ben? He of the new blog (former Chair of the FED). In 2009, we moved most of the finance posts to another blog where Ben has been mentioned in 207 posts. But, then the topic of that blog is the aeration that we see from the FED's injections (the benefit of which goes to only a few particular classes - in a very large way).

In his blog, Ben has touted his choices as being correct. Of course, we expect him to believe in what he is doing. Too, he is arguing for how monetary policy ought to play out in the future. Again, that is his focus, so great.

One thing that Ben has claimed, blog wise, is that he did not throw the elderly under the bus. But, there has been some type of financial change since 2008 that is palpable in which the many suffer and the few rake (take their baths in, ala scrooge of the comic strips) in the dough.

Somehow, one gets the idea that truth is of essence here in the different worldviews. So, we will have to continue with the theme.

While we look at things with the light of truth, we will continue to track Ben's comments. He and Janet seem to be on a similar page. She is now talking secular stagnation which Ben mentioned in one of his posts (where he and Larry had a pi**ing contest).

Remarks:   Modified: 04/16/2015

04/16/2015 -- So, moral hazards, hubris, and a whole lot more. Well, money flows from the FEDs through the system. That those who run the system siphon off (largely) may be considered to be part of the reality of modern economics. Hah. Ben cannot see the reality of the situation from his perch up top of the heights. But, then, most being enslaved has been the reality of humankind since the beginning. However, at some point, economic freedom will get its attention (some dude CEO made 200M+ the past year - must be nice - not, though, as a true look at near zero will show).


Sunday, March 22, 2015

FED gives Wall Street its wishes

I ran across this article, today.
Gosh, what a title. Then, it tells us that the funds did so for 87 years. Hyperbole? Well, finance seems to have a lot of that. How do we get more science and engineering into the discipline (as opposed to pocket picking)?

So, the response might be, the S&P has been here for 60 years. Yes, close enough. But, the other funds were not around.

What gives? Well, looking at one comment, and the response of the author, tells us the story. And, there was one bit of truthfulness, so I had to put it here. Notice the caveat (buried in a comment).


Of late, I have been doing a series to help answer questions. Now, how well I am doing is open to opinion, however, give me a little more time.

Too, if I am being hypothetical, I will say so up front. Too many financial pieces are fictional (again); yet, they have brought over physics experts. Why? To make the pocket picking more sophisticated might be one answer.

Note: These types bewail that humans are not particle, so their mathematics/modeling can get twisted. Sheesh, the topsy-turvy (from Chaitin) nature with which we have to deal is a fact (however, people are the focus and not just those whose pockets are heavily laden with their wealth).

Here are some questions and issues that bear a new look and further discussion:
    Why are there such wild upswings? Ah, 'tis magic, indeed (for the takers, anyway). 
    Why do things drop so quickly? Aerated underpinnings, essentially (too, loses are exacerbated by the fact that the game players suck off the cream; and, much worse, the big boys are allowed shenanigans, almost legally).
What are the poor people to do? Well, it is true that only a handful (comparatively) can take advantage of this gaming based upon fiction. But, we intend to show that that extreme is not necessary. In fact, much of it could (ought to be) pushed to a sandbox situation where the boys/girls can play at their own will (the rest of us would be protected).

But, look, folks. This guy is talking 87 years. Marx (not a follower, so no need to go there) talked of "fictitious capital."  We have a whole slew of laws and of expectations of good behavior that have been in affect, over the years (say, fiscal responsibility, etc.).

Yet, we're in this state of being in which players trashed the economy, got helped, are continuing to get help, things from the common view are crap - worse than ever, the golden teat has not been withdrawn, and more.

Hopeless? No, we intend to define the necessity for conservative methods and sustainable ways. For now, let's use stable value.

Context: Talking to a friend who was puzzled why some financial expert was saying that most will not get what their 401K shows, I got into the "cheshire multiple" spiel (look at the magical multiplier, above). But, too, we need to find the number where people are guaranteed losers. ... Put it this way, I said to the friend. If you went to the bank to get your CD money as it had matured, and you were expecting $1000 (we can figure, based upon the rate, what principle would attain that value), would you like it if you got $500? What about $750? ... No, said the friend, even a $1 off would cause some grief. ... That, folks, is the story of the esteemed market approach being pushed by Janet, the Street (not Main), and many others. ... We must not let the stories of those who pull in millions (billions) fool us and detract from the truth (under that scheme of things, most are losers).

Remarks:   Modified: 04/24/2015

03/22/2015 -- Jealous? No way, Jose. FED gives Wall Street what it wishes. -- By the way, I know that the article was topical. Yet, it is arguing a point that is wrong on so many accounts. The fact that it is offered within the context of the game that is now the only one in town does not change the nature of the faults. ... I'm not arguing for data-driven (purgatory), either. ... Perhaps, the air will clear when the FED gets its head out of the cloud'd smoke being pushed its way by those who are enjoying their easy takes.

03/23/2015 -- Moral hazard? Remember that? Anyone? By going with big-data's emergence (leading to studies such as the article provided), normative views have gone to hell. Or, the hellish nature that was there has become visible. Hazard? Again, bailing out those who game the system (including the house) leads them to be continue their dependence (while at the same time spouting capitalism, Smith - poor guy, and their smarts). Now, the mania is worldwide, as in, others see the U.S. taking the easy route and want it for themselves. ... On multipliers? Of course, economics/finance has these as integral to the basis; yet, we can smell test (better than stress test) the ways and means.

03/23/2015 -- Pew Research's reports will be useful: Only upper-income families have made wealth gains in recent decades. In some of the responses to comments, one author expresses disbelief in the Fed's influence. Well, we can work on helping clarify that (by more than griping about the addicts). Our research deals, in part, with how many simple folk get to experience, and enjoy, the book-based wealth that their financial reports offer them. That is, that which is beyond Social Security (but, being sensitive to take-backs as we see, recently, happening with retirees being informed that their pension is being cut). From my experience, it is a small percentage (comparatively). The one fact of the upper crust? They have more protection which we can enumerate and illustrate.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lifting and its tides

In the interest of illustrating truth engineering's facility, we will be looking at valuations. Recall that we started by touting the hardness of the problem - actually, equivalence is not a trivial concept - see, very early posts here (Intelligence, value, and truth) and there (Establishing value).

But, the realm is finance and economics. Here are pointers to a series. The last shows that a whole lot of loose stuff is there and exploited. Why this happens will be part of the discussion.
  1. Magical multiplier -- this is to bring attention to the issue; some (many) know of this but see it as the way of the world. We need to bring the discussion up so that everyone understands. Then, things (such as, the bifurcation that you see now between the less than 1% and the rest) become more into focus. Essentially, computational prowess has been used to cloak malfeasance (perhaps too strong in that those who are of the upper realm see their lot as indicative of their better selves - who is to argue otherwise?) that leads to inequities that have been glossed over with misguided theoretical stances.  
  2. Let them eat cake -- So, malfeasance? Well, the dark pools, for one. Basically, those who run the game and get rewards with the big money accumulation see it as their right to make things go their way (like the house and its odds). So, natural right, let's say? However, did not the American Revolution's outcome have behind it belief in something more? Let me remind you that a whole lot of folk are gaga (pardon me, Lady) over the Magna Carta's 800th celebration; yet, today do we not see some of the same things going on as were there those centuries ago? Much to discuss.    
  3. Beyond your wildest dream -- Now, taking that little example, we can compute, Then, we can do various permutations. The next step will be to start the proper adjustments. What? Yes, in the longer term, we would argue that computing advances have gone more into gaming the system than into making the economy more sustainable. Yes. 
As said, it's not simple. Yes, that which is behind truth engineering's thrust goes to the core. We have the time and interest; we are not after exploiting the situation to fill our pockets. Where are the good people who are interested?

Remarks:   Modified: 04/24/2015

03/22/2015 -- Jealous? No way, Jose. FED gives Wall Street what it wishes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Soundiness

An article in the current issue of ACM's Communications really struck me -- In Defense of Soundiness: A Manifesto. For one thing, I had to retreat nine years to reconsider something. I put this comment on the article.
    The use of the "soundiness" resonated with me for several reasons. First of all, Colbert's use of "truthiness" came to mind. He, of course, was talking opinion ruling over fact.

    But, this current usage bears directly on the issue of truthfulness in many ways but on these two, in particular: 1) if a computational system is not sound, when do we know if it is reliable (ignore, please, for the moment, the multitude of issues being raised - but be cognizant that many system developers think that they have no problem in this regard due to the numerical nature of their domain processing) operationally; 2) how do we increase awareness of lurking problems in a climate where hot-dogging via code (encouraged by the companies involved) throws out systems continually, and seemingly on the fly, and how do we try to alter the willy-nilly patterns that seem so prevalent the past decade or so?

    In short, everywhere "älmost" true is our norm? Just as "soundiness" is something to engineer, so too is "truth" itself. Hence, my focus: truth engineering.
"Truthiness" came from Stephen Colbert. I wrote that truth engineering was not such (see image) as it was not a lot of other things. But, as we know, such a list would be unending.

You know what? Trying to enumerate definitions would be as lengthy. So, is that an issue beyond resolution?

Ah, such is the nature of the issues involved here that we will have to say that the answer will depend upon a lot of things, including one's worldview.

Sheesh, is it that hopeless? Well, categorically? No. We will, in time, explain why.

In the meantime, we will write a review of this article on soundness on Wikipedia and link it to the one about Colbert's little joke.

In the meantime, here is the Wikipedia page on Soundness.

Remarks:   Modified: 03/20/2015

03/20/2015 -- "Can you trust your fridge?" is the head-line in the print version.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trojan hardware

With so many things and events being reliant upon computers now, and with more dependencies being built (and added on) all the time, one has to wonder if anyone has really looked at how good the basis might be.

I know. Several have stuffed their pockets with money (almost beyond calculation) through offerings in these realms. But, we hear the horror stories all the time (genies let out of the bottle?).

On the other hand, there is a seemingly never-ending demand for more and more. How far can we go before we find ourselves entrapped so as to not be able to extricate ourselves?

A recent IEEE Spectrum article looks at one potential area of concern. How much trust can we place in the current methods and the products?

Mitra, S, Wong, H-S, Wong, S. "Stopping Hardware Trojans in Their Tracks" (February 2015)

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Concern about obtaining compromised hardware has received some attention (see Wikipedia, for example). The IEEE Spectrum article describes some methods for proving that hardware is not problematic and, at the same time, itemizes limitations.

Questions remain: How can we place such unquestioning trust? Who is involved in helping to tackle the problem?

Well, truth engineering has had this focus from the beginning, albeit from a broader scope.

It is nice to see that the NSF has their trust-HUB effort. As well, advanced research (IARPA) under the auspices of national intelligence has been working on ways and means to handle the related problems.

Remarks:   Modified: 03/20/2015

03/20/2015 -- "Can you trust your fridge?" is the head-line in the print version.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Noether-isms

Not being disrespectful, here. Rather, I think that this family ought to have the stature as do those Bernoulli people. Why don't they? Perhaps, it's because abstract algebra can be seen as more of a nerdy thing. The Bernoullis help us fly (as does the underlying framework) and more.

In particular, Emmy was going to be one of our foci. And, specifically, the work that relates to conservation principles was to be recognized. For one, quasi-empirical arguments, it seemed to me, could revolve around this notion and its demonstration. Too, either/or issues may settle, a little.

I have seen Noether's work mentioned, in many places along the way, but, finally, have gotten into a deeper look. Her influence is very broad. But, I was taking my time getting around to the synthesis issues.

And, ran across this today: Ontology after Quine (Where? UHamburg's site.) sponsored by the Emmy Noether Programme. In the sense of the hierarchy of needs, we would expect "meta" issues to come to fore with the maturity of ideas.

Enough said, for now, as we have danced around the subject long enough.

Remarks:   Modified: 02/03/2015

02/03/2015 --