The Pleasingly Unquantified Self
This is also by Daniel Calderwood. I found it in his Twitter stream. The caption is borrowed from one of Daniel’s other works, linked in the image above.
Myscelia cyaniris #1 on Flickr.
Pretty butterfly in my favorite colors, blue and white
“Let markets work, you say, so that capital and labor can rapidly reallocate to create new fields and jobs. Well, we’re three decades into an era of systemic deregulation and financialization. The result? Global recession, lingering structural unemployment, and an accumulation of capital at the top of the economic pyramid.”
via Danger: Markets at work
In this climate, capital has indeed “rapidly reallocated” into hard-to-tax, hard-to-regulate asset classes like fine art. Small business loans are still crunched and austerity reigns while tens of billions in corporate profits sit in off-shore tax shelters.
— Alex Payne’s open letter to Marc Andreesen
This is not capitalism. Rather, it is deception, avarice and feasting on the Commons by those who can.
I know something is very wrong when people like Dinesh D’Souza, a supposedly arch conservative and laissez faire fan, is more concerned about market inefficiency and structurally embedded unfairness for labor than economists at the University of California at Berkeley. D’Souza described the current situation, with no end in sight, as the casino economy.
Rewards today seem completely detached from any defensible notion of merit; ours feels like a casino economy.
Due to a variety of factors, not solely political, the incentives required for a functional economy, and society, are vanishing. It is no longer possible to work hard, save money, be responsible and thus afford a home, healthcare, support a family etc. Unexpectedly, searching for fair value has become more, not less difficult in the Age of Techno Affluence.
The scale of inequality in today’s economy seems to call this whole concept of fair play into question. Think about the old notion of reward in America: you start at the bottom and work your way up, and over a lifetime you hope to build up wealth as a due reward for your efforts. But now if you adopt this approach there is a name for you: sucker. The new formula is one of instant wealth: set up a new company, take it public, and pocket half a billion dollars in two and a half years.
End run on small business?
D’Souza isn’t complaining about taxes being too high, thus disincentivizing the “job creators” and innovators. He isn’t referring to taxes at all. No, he’s referring to the dismal prospects for most Americans without inherited wealth. He’s saying that it won’t make a difference how hard they work, that without wealth and privilege (necessary for access to the tax evasion methods that Alex Payne described) or accidentally blundering into something lucrative, the majority will remain an entrenched underclass.
Three more months of bulk telephone surveillance
Consistent with prior declassification decisions, in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has declassified the fact that the government’s application to renew the program was approved yesterday by the FISC. The order issued yesterday expires on September 12, 2014.
I read about the extension in a news report via Politico, see too the Twitter update below. That was sourced from ICONTHERECORD, to my surprise.
Is Tumblr now being used as the Intelligence Community’s official channel for statements to the press?
Adding to the confusion is the greater media coverage of government initiatives to end warrantless surveillance of the public, that is, us. Three amendments to the annual DoD Appropriations Act 4870 sailed through the House of Representatives, initiated by former Swarthmore College physics lecturer Rush Holt a.k.a. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12):
- funding to expand the Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection Directorate
- prohibiting funds from being used to subvert or interfere with the integrity of NIST cryptographic standards
- "prohibiting any warrantless search of the 702 databases – the massive government databases, created by the NSA and first disclosed by Edward Snowden, that contain records of the emails and phone calls of millions of innocent U.S. citizens" AND "prohibiting the NSA and CIA from compelling companies to install backdoors – such as vulnerable software or hardware – into their products.”
The amendment activity took place yesterday, along with the the Clapper announcement. The Clapper announcement is fait accompli whereas the three measures introduced by Rep. Holt have a long haul ahead, with Senate and presidential approval needed before becoming a reality.
CIA FOIA down
For additional drama, the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) web site was hacked and offline for an hour yesterday morning. There was no defacement. Oddly, no one other than diligent investigator Jason Leopold, me and ungovrnd (my Twitter friend) seemed to notice or care. Jason called the CIA by telephone, and they regained control of foia.cia.gov quickly enough.
I cannot imagine a more inane h4x0r target!
CIA FOIA is unequivocally good! Why undermine and interfere with their good work?! I have screen shots, if any Intelligence Community On The Record minions are curious.
You might have looked at the above picture and thought, “Oh, a family of normal distributions!” And… you would be wrong. The distributions above are forms of the Cauchy distribution which has a wider peak and fatter tails than the normal distribution.
The Cauchy distribution
Although it is a bell-shaped curve its mean and variance are undefined. Due to the equation through which the probability distribution function is defined, it is not possible to calculate the moments needed to get the mean or variance, nor is it possible to calculate any other finite moments. The Cauchy distribution has many uses, e.g. being part of the solution to Laplace’s Equation on the upper half plane…though it stands as a classic pathological example in probability and statistics.
A classic pathological example in probability and statistics
It is generally recognized that creating a profitable quantitative trading strategy is difficult. Most putative strategies are likely not profitable even without considering trading costs. Writing buggy code, conducting questionable simulations, or performing faulty statistical tests, on the other…
End of the world in movies