mapsofsandyisland
Maps Of Sandy Island:
British map, 1922. Sandy Island is a non-existent island near New Caledonia (Nouvelle Caledonie). Scientists have recently confirmed that it does not exist. Notwithstanding this, Sandy Island has been featured on many maps throughout history, including presently on Google Earth. On the other hand, many maps have not featured this non-existent island. With thanks to the awesome David Rumsey Map Collection.
British cartographers, in 1922, did excellent work, far better than the Italians and Soviets that followed over the next 50 years. David Rumsey is indeed awesome! He won a nice award from Stanford University recently, which I posted as a link on Reddit. Or perhaps his foundation sponsored an award to a cartographer-librarian at Stanford? I need to double check, as the foundation was associated with an estate i.e. someone deceased. Exceptional Map #2 coming up next.This is an all-around exceptional news story, which Maps of Sandy Island tumblr is covering admirably well!

Maps Of Sandy Island:

British map, 1922. Sandy Island is a non-existent island near New Caledonia (Nouvelle Caledonie). Scientists have recently confirmed that it does not exist. Notwithstanding this, Sandy Island has been featured on many maps throughout history, including presently on Google Earth. On the other hand, many maps have not featured this non-existent island.
With thanks to the awesome David Rumsey Map Collection.

British cartographers, in 1922, did excellent work, far better than the Italians and Soviets that followed over the next 50 years. David Rumsey is indeed awesome! He won a nice award from Stanford University recently, which I posted as a link on Reddit. Or perhaps his foundation sponsored an award to a cartographer-librarian at Stanford? I need to double check, as the foundation was associated with an estate i.e. someone deceased. Exceptional Map #2 coming up next.

This is an all-around exceptional news story, which Maps of Sandy Island tumblr is covering admirably well!

simplystatistics

simplystatistics:

… the most recent batch of Y Combinator startups included a bunch of data-focused companies. One of these companies, StatWing, is a web-based tool for data analysis that looks like an improvement on SPSS with more plain text, more visualization, and…

SimplyStatistics conceives of a way to keep would-be data analysts honest, despite increasingly easy-to-use (and abuse) statistical software applications.

wka
When public data is actually public, the investigative side of being an investigative journalist gets a lot easier, or at least it gets more easily crowdsourced by a large group of amateurs and hobbyists who want to help out.

Steven Johnson, Searching for John Snows via wka

True, but that doesn’t diminish the value of the investigative journalist. Crowd sourcing sometimes helps, sometimes not. I have been thinking that crowd sourcing is over-rated. Maybe I’m stating that too harshly. Better: It is not consistently useful.

Good journalists shine through 

I’m not biased, as I am not a journalist.  I’m just rather yacky-locquacious.

Using YNET as a source… against Palestinians gives an impression that you don’t think. YNET is a ZIONIST owned news source, so they NEVER TELL THE TRUTH.

via the-gulf-is-persian

Zionist sources never tell the truth?

So any source that believes that Israel shouldn’t be eradicated is lying about everything?

Now I’m sure you believe that anti-Zionist sources provide the most honest and unbiased information possible. Essentially, anyone who says something that you don’t like must be lying. Truly, who could argue with that?

One quick note though: YNet actually leans a bit left, even if it’s not as far as Haaretz. Even so, it does a pretty good job (in my opinion) of providing accurate news, though others might disagree with me.

But anyway, if you would like to use some proof to back up your assertions, I’d be more inclined to take them more seriously.

via eretzyisrael

One way to prove whether YNet is deceptive would be to refute the news stories they report as factual. That’s the best approach, and won’t necessarily be perceived antagonistically either.

Everyone on the internet enjoys unearthing the REAL story!

  • Sometimes it is impossible, as there are insufficient facts available.
  • Sometimes the facts are not palatable to all. 

Generally, a challenge to a specific instance, backed with factual counter evidence is the best way of establishing a better rapport. This is the case, even if one party, either one, turns out to be incorrect.

Respect grows, for the future.

impoftheherpderps

impoftheherpderps:

verbalresistance:

anti-propaganda:

Iceland forgives mortgage debt of its population. (May 8, 2012) Total Media Blackout

Not true, unfortunately; a simple Google search/fact check, found the story to be exaggerated/untrue - as I suspected, given this footage being the only mention of it (the standard of cross-checking on here, really does leave much to be desired sometimes).

See here and here… as for what really happened…

IMF says targeted debt reduction policies can work:

… The government and the newly constructed Icelandic banks developed a template to be used in case by case restructuring discussions between borrowers and lenders. The templates facilitated substantial debt write-downs designed to align secured debt with the supporting collateral (i.e bring the loan into line with the value of the house) and align debt service with the ability to repay.

The IMF found that such case by case negotiations safeguard property rights and reduce moral hazard, but they take time. As of January of this year, only 35% of the case by case restructuring applications had been processed. To speed things up, Iceland has introduced a debt forgiveness plan which writes down deeply underwater mortgages to 110% of the households’ pledgeable assets.

It noted that only when a comprehensive framework was put in place and a clear expiration date for relief measures announced that debt write-downs finally took off. As of January 2012, 15 to 20% of all Icelandic mortgages have been or are in the process of being written down.

However, it said the jury is still out on Iceland’s plans, and said the extent to which Iceland can put its citizens back on their feet and minimise moral hazard remains to be seen. [via RTE]

Note the difference: written down, not written off.

A step in the right direction nonetheless, but not quite what this incorrect report makes it out to be.

Mind you, Iceland and it’s people have indeed put the rest of our ‘democracies’ to shame on occasion.

Az “Izland elengedte a lakosság ingatlanhiteleit” hír margójára. Mondjuk így is fasza lépés.

ImpOfTheHerpDerps, the Imp formerly known as ImpOfThePerverse, forwards the truth to all.

As the post says, Iceland’s policy is definitely a step in the right direction! But it is important not to over-simplify or exaggerate the truth, either. I don’t think anyone needs a lecture from me about that…

Sigh…

Not bad, compared to the 10-year’s 2% yield.

Yes, that IS bad!

Why would I want to buy Exxon (XOM) common with a 2.6% annual return (via dividend) when I could earn the same from risk-free U.S. T-notes?

There’s more

The article, well, Wall Street Journal ”MarketBeat” blog post (April 25, 2012)  said that the S&P 500 “annual yield” was 2.21%, which is just as unappealing. And unlikely. I realize that there’s always growth, potentially, with equities, but I still don’t think these numbers make sense. 

Just to be perfectly clear about this

This isn’t evidence of a wild market anomaly. It isn’t symptomatic of a shocking revelation that the financial markets “are broken”. Rather, I think this WSJ blogger didn’t check his facts closely enough. Check out the other comments.

Can you say “death spiral” or even “fraud”?

Grumpy Old Accountants certainly can, and with relish!

Overstock has attracted analyst criticism for years…we just couldn’t resist taking a look ourselves, and the current vitals do not look good.

Inspection of the Overstock 2011 10-K provided ample evidence.

There’s been far too much non-GAAP (non-generally accepted accounting principles i.e. accepted standards with checks and balances) lately, be it pre-IPO S-1’s released by certain other companies (you know who I mean…) or similarly creative accounting by Overstock. Well, I feel this is true, in my not Certified Public Accountant-qualified opinion.

The grumpy accountants continue,

…we’re traditionalists, so the first thing we did was to compute the Altman Z-score.  After all, if you can’t find a pulse, there isn’t much use in testing for other signs of financial health. 

Fear not!

There is no slavish devotion to models here. Remember, these accountants are academicians. They probably need to toss in a statistical aside now and then. The single table of model results, 8 rows x 2 columns, is backed up as follows:

Driving these results are negative earnings before interest and taxes, as well as negative retained earnings. Additionally… values are driven by the erosion of shareholders’ equity. The debt/equity ratio rests at a staggering 12.56!

I’d keep my ears perked up for news from Overstock’s auditors. They should be blowing the whistle on this company, as it isn’t likely to continue as a going concern much longer.

usagov

Stock Scams Go Social

usagov:

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged a man with trying to sell $500 billion worth of fake securities on social network LinkedIn.

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited offers.
  • The old rule about too good to be true still stands. Compare promised returns with well-known stock indexes. [Beware] of guaranteed returns.
  • Tighten your privacy settings…. “Don’t you remember me from college?”
  • Affinity fraud… preys on what you have in common, like ethnicity or religion.

If you’re a personal investor who [uses] the Internet, you may want to read these PDFs from the SEC on avoiding fraud and understanding your accounts.

alea

Market value discount to face value of major UK banks

via alea 

Chart: Market value discount to face value of major UK banks’ loan books

UK bank history chart

Accounting for bank uncertainty [PDF] Excerpt from remarks given by Andrew G. Haldane, Bank of England:

So, historically, fair value accounting principles have gained ground when the going has been good, and lost it when it has got tough. From a financial stability perspective, this is a cause for concern. To see why, consider how banks’ balance sheets then appear to investors. During the asset upswing, fair value gains ground. Mark-to-market gains are booked as profits. To the extent that asset prices are over-inflated, so too are the recorded profits of the banks.