Wednesday, May 27, 2015

JFN, Jr.

John Nash died this past weekend. He and his wife were in a taxi that crashed. Both, unfortunately, were fatally injured.

John is famous for several things. In terms of game theory, one of these is the notion of equilibrium in a multi-person, non-cooperative game. To that end, he proved existence.

For a long while, in this blog, we have mentioned that the modern "game" focus is not good (in many ways) for us. Yet, the whole of the intellectual set has run off in that direction. Now, that turn of fate has taken a long time to come about. John von Neumann did his part; John Nash gave it more of a push.

Along with the interest in applying this type of mathematics, we have seen an increase in computational power which then has kept the movement going. One could say, if there were no computer, it would be no big deal with game theory. But, they go hand in hand (just like bilking the markets are enabled by algorithms and by the general lack of understanding).

The net effect of these changes has been a cutting free of the human mind from the proper tethers. What? Yes. What might these be? Ah, much to discuss there. But, I did say a little earlier that I would be taking a different direction.

John's passing opens the door for me to revisit this whole deal; at the same time, I'll be able to argue more coherently. You see, the fumble-butt mode comes from seeing idiocy all around. How did this come to be?

However, I have seen, too, that there are islands of sanity here and there. Thank God for that. Oops, that type of thing was alluded to earlier.

Somewhere, recently, I mentioned that we need a "sucker" (sucker quoted since the connotationswill be other than used so far) game. Actually, to rephrase, a lot of games are incompletely described, even the prisoner dilemma. Why (just look at the abstract'd accumulation on that one theme)? I don't know why the intellectual bigots have allowed themselves to devolve to such a low level. Say what? Yes.

That mathematics (which is discovered more than not) has been the enabler for the emergence of stupidity is very sad. The big-mind-set, if they were only impacting themselves, would not be such a problem; however, these jerks, collectively, get themselves into the way of power and thereby get, in their minds, carte blanche to spoil the earth and its little chilluns (meaning, of course, all of those who are not of the power set). Gosh, so much to do to get the situation properly described.

So, "sucker" brought in (in other than the so-long sucker idiocy, and such)? Yes, if you would, please, conscience (a reality, from the proper point of consideration) as a part of the puzzle. Where the hell has that virtue (or, any of the other virtues) gone in the flim-flam modernity that we stumble under now?

Remarks:   Modified: 05/28/2015

05/28/2015 -- Again, again. There are a whole (larger?) bit of phenomena (however you want to characterize the wider scope) that is not brought into game theory (that I can see - I'll continue looking). Assuming that I have time, I will attempt to define some (perhaps, using situational means).


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Unplanned house?

What was that about the monkeys (thousands, millons)? They could write a book? Of course, I could have google'd the answer; the point is that "monkey" appears in a whole lot of memes.

Now, we are talking "truth" in all of its possible aspects; in computing, we deal with whether things are done as they ought (as in, expected to or specified so as to). The whole of tru'eng deals with these issues, some of which are not of practical interest, at the moment (but will be, in time). Besides, the issues of computability, we have things like goodness of systems (methods to predict (insure) such) or their soundiness.

A key issue is addressed by Leslie Lamport: Who Builds a House without Drawing Blueprints? (ACM, Comm, Vol. 48, No. 4). Leslie describes some of the motivations for his work, namely TLA - Temporal Logic of actions. It is not that doing systems is strictly like construction, after all, we do not see flow charts being used nowadays. However, nothing good comes about, except by extreme luck, from lack of planning. Agile methods (more below) seem to be like that; from where I sit, the users are expected to adapt with whatever the developers come up with, especially in the freebie systems that are so prevalent nowadays.

But, trust your life on some of this software? Earlier, we pointed to some discussion of the bazaar / cathedral theme (yes, juxtaposed, for obvious reasons). Test/code/review does not allow one to lift (to be discussed).

Now, about TLA, in the same issue of the Communications of the ACM, Amazon allowed their workers to present some comments on its use.

---

Aside: I fell out of my chair; for many reasons, one of which is that I have not dealt (by purpose) with the company ever (except from 10 yards away). So, I'm impressed and will look more closely at this. ... In actuality, the company has done very well in handling technical problems (I just hope that the owner doesn't diddle with the Washington's Post editoral nature - too much) that are not simple. They, like others, are facing problems daily for which there is no known solution (except that we can do types of approximations, adequately enough, so as to be practical - stacking up what karma that will bite us later? - that is, many (of the hapless) get pulled into the troubles without their knowledge and against their wishes - to wit, the idiocy of 2008 til now for which we are still paying and have a ways to go yet - world-class moron-hood, Jamie, et al). Now, I need to look at AWS for another project.

---

TLA has some add-ons, one of which is mentioned in the Amazon article (actually, other companies are mentioned - including Oracle): PlusCal.

Oh yes, the article: How Amazon Web Services Uses Formal Methods. There were several authors. But, this quote needs attention: A precise, testable description of a system becomes a what-if tool for designs, analogous to how spreadsheets are a what-if tool for financial models.

Of course, there is this, too: Formal methods deal with models of systems, not the systems themselves, so the adage "All models are wrong, some are useful" applies. As in, using our terms: territory-map.

One author, Marc Brooker, has blogged about his experiences (post on TLA+). Notice that the domain is fairly particular. As one travels out the abstraction chain, things get further from the machine (even if everything has to still funnel through the execution stream) into realms of creativity.

Which, then, brings up one issue. The more formal (too, the real sciences bigots who bewail that humans are so unpredictable - wake up, folks) like to think that they can compress being (whatever it is and however we might know it) into a box (actually, enmeshing our glorious selves in a trap that is onerous to the extreme) and, thereby, get risk (and all related ilk) under its thumb (hah). In actuality, we can (not the cathedral, by necessity, but with a bazaar with some bit of decorum) find our ways through to a safe and healthful experience (virtual and otherwise).

Remarks:   Modified: 05/14/2015

05/14/2015 -- If you cannot read the ACM articles, please send a note. I can pull out public links from the references which would be equivalent in concept and close in content.

05/14/2015 -- And so, after the post and content has been digested (does not imply absence of forethought), then epilog bits come to fore. The first half of that letter is what resonates. Then, Ben&Steve talking "incredible returns" in the stock market grates (harshly). For one, the thing, as run now, is a ca-pital-sino and very much can be characterized by near-zero (both terms have links in the text). Too, though, is the whole thing of the magical multiplier (wild expansion of value), of returns mainly for the early birds (connivers), and of enormous grabs (by some) that desires serious analysis (again, foreclosure - not in any way now profiting, nor in the past profited, from the gaming - whose main thing is to impoverish the masses). ... There will be a change in tone, thanks to Canfield (yes, he of the chicken soup thing). --- So, the diatribe series will stand as an example: so-called constructive looks, No. 1No. 2No. 3.



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.

---

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.
GEK III 

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).

---

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: 05/10/2015

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.

04/29/2015 -- Added a knowledge map for GEK III which links to CP. We can use the Gaslight Tavern which was next to the Abington Book Shop as a analytic loci. ... About older sisters, my family had five girls in a row; then a boy was born, my older brother. I have, then, more male siblings, after that (the proverbial middle, pivot position, ...). But, there are many more (other) simpatico themes.

04/30/2015 -- While writing of his "belief" systematic and adopted position, CP uses belonging and joining as typical human modes in which he does not chose to partake. I can relate to that, several ways. This is not a re-phrase, but the same issue can be discussed in terms of neither a leader or follower be (mis-use of lender or borrower?). The latter? Well, the sheepish people that we see everywhere are indicative of the pervasiveness of the problem (problem or just a human characteristic?). The former? Ah, so many of those Type-A (such big idiots) jerks with which any insightful person has to cope, daily (everywhere dense, again; both uncountable?). ... The slow (well, quick scan) reader, me, just realized that Pam (CP does mention this twice) is Mary's daughter.

05/01/2015 -- Just did a knowledge map for the Maypole work of Hawthorne (cousin-in-law) with this note: the best example of an early representation of what America could be (still is not - no religious, or other, bigotry, peaceful relations, resourceful people, respect for the environment, ...) was the experience at Cape Ann, pre-Conant. But, it, somewhat, continued untll Endicott had the great house moved to Salem. Now, having said that, I went through parts of the 50s section by CP, which motivated the NH reference. Too, though, I want to thread through that whole bit of retrospective by CP by decade (time to call the chillun home?). For instance, CP was at SFS. On that same Hayakawan day, I was working my shift at Zim's (at the time, janitor, busboy, dish washer) just a few blocks away. Too, I was collecting more credits at SFCC, all of which I transferred (with accumulations from UCLA, KU, too) to UA (Tucson) a little later. Of note, though, post the madness, I knuckled under and graduated magna cum laude (Phi Kappa Phi). Yet, CP's view resonates (to be explained; has to do with a lesson that we did not learn from Albert - our wild-haired friend). Later, I worked two blocks from the Capitol (Maryland SW) in a white collar position; I can claim to have seen the American belly from about any angle that is possible (want to know what I think? the childishness of the beats, hippies is much to be preferred to that of the modern CEO - yeah, Jamie - and others of the ilk that think that we ought to love their leadership - see yesterday's Remark).

05/03/2015 -- ... which way does the beard point tonight? ..., AG, of course. ... From this Wiki page, I found a modern (somewhat) link, Cherry Valley.

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.