Friday, 22 May 2015

The Daily Tele sends a message

This morning's email message from Sydney's Daily Telegraph:
And the real message is - we have taken another step down the Photoshop path to becoming a comic book. As our front page this morning shows, we are in the world of make believe rather than the news business.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Bankers who aren’t cheating aren’t trying

Some words of truth remembered by London’s Financial Times this morning in a report on six banks being fined $5.6bn over rigging of foreign exchange markets.
Repeated efforts by traders to manipulate daily fixings of currencies and interest rates as outlined by the regulatory actions announced on Wednesday illustrate the dark underbelly of many of the trading operations run by global banks.
Or in the words of one Barclays trader from 2010, who was quoted in a settlement document: “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”
The thread that runs through three solid years of benchmark rigging cases is the assured way in which traders pushed around the prices of a whole series of financial products. They all seem to have believed they were immune from being rumbled for abusive behaviour.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Conservatives favoured to win most seats

The opinion polls pretty much have it 50:50. The Owl Indicator has the Conservatives favourite to win most seats and to provide the Prime Minister.
2015-05-07_mostseats2015-05-07_overallmajority2015-05-07_pmafterelection

Attempts to debunk political rumors may only reinforce their strength

  • Rumors, Truths, and Reality: A Study of Political Misinformation – Bad news, fans of rational political discourse: A study by an MIT researcher shows that attempts to debunk political rumors may only reinforce their strength. “Rumors are sticky,” says Adam Berinsky, a professor of political science at MIT, and author of a paper detailing the study. “Corrections are difficult, and in some cases can even make the problem worse.” More specifically, Berinsky found in an experiment concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that rebuttals of political rumors about the supposed existence of “death panels” sometimes increased belief in the myth among the public.
  • Robert Fisk: Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It amazes me that all these warriors of the air don’t regularly crash into each other. … The sectarian and theological nature of this war seems perfectly clear to all who live in the Middle East – albeit not to our American chums. The Sunni Saudis are bombing the Shia Yemenis and the Shia Iranians are bombing the Sunni Iraqis. The Sunni Egyptians are bombing Sunni Libyans, it’s true, and the Jordanian Sunnis are bombing Iraqi Sunnis. But the Shia-supported Syrian government forces are bombing their Sunni Syrian enemies and the Lebanese Hezbollah – Shia to a man – are fighting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Sunni enemies, along with Iranian Revolutionary Guards and an ever-larger number of Afghan Shia men in Syrian uniforms.
  • Beyond Quid Pro Quo: What Counts As Political Corruption?
  • Why No One Wants The Rohingyas  – The spectacle of thousands of desperate Rohingya Muslim “boat people” being denied landfall in Southeast Asia has laid bare the region’s religious and ethnic prejudices as well as its fears of being swamped by an influx of migrants. … The Rohingya practice a blend of Sunni and Sufi Islam. At best, the migrants have been received with resignation — at worst with contempt — even by the region’s Muslim nations.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Rumors, Truths, and Reality: A Study of Political Misinformation

  • Rumors, Truths, and Reality: A Study of Political Misinformation - Bad news, fans of rational political discourse: A study by an MIT researcher shows that attempts to debunk political rumors may only reinforce their strength. "Rumors are sticky," says Adam Berinsky, a professor of political science at MIT, and author of a paper detailing the study. "Corrections are difficult, and in some cases can even make the problem worse." More specifically, Berinsky found in an experiment concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that rebuttals of political rumors about the supposed existence of "death panels" sometimes increased belief in the myth among the public.
  • Robert Fisk: Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It amazes me that all these warriors of the air don’t regularly crash into each other. ... The sectarian and theological nature of this war seems perfectly clear to all who live in the Middle East – albeit not to our American chums. The Sunni Saudis are bombing the Shia Yemenis and the Shia Iranians are bombing the Sunni Iraqis. The Sunni Egyptians are bombing Sunni Libyans, it’s true, and the Jordanian Sunnis are bombing Iraqi Sunnis. But the Shia-supported Syrian government forces are bombing their Sunni Syrian enemies and the Lebanese Hezbollah – Shia to a man – are fighting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Sunni enemies, along with Iranian Revolutionary Guards and an ever-larger number of Afghan Shia men in Syrian uniforms.
  • Tweets analysed for clues to UK general election result - Analysis of Twitter comments could provide an accurate forecast of the UK general election result, computer scientists from Warwick university said on Tuesday. The method, which includes negative as well as positive tweets, aggregates this information with the latest estimate of the parties’ share of the vote as measured by conventional opinion polls to produce a daily prediction of voting share. Tuesday’s prediction shows the Conservatives slightly ahead of Labour with 33.48 per cent of votes compared with the opposition’s 33.06 per cent.
  • Beyond Quid Pro Quo: What Counts As Political Corruption?
  • Warren Buffett versus the hedge funds - With three years to go, Warren Buffett is comfortably winning his charity bet that a low-cost index tracker would trounce a portfolio of hedge funds over ten years. Returns from the S&P 500 index fund is beating a portfolio of funds assembled by hedge fund manager Protégé Partners by 63.5 per cent to 19.6 per cent, according to a slide Mr Buffett presented at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this past weekend.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A prudent Reserve Bank would wait

The monthly official interest game is upon us. And those bank economists who make a living selling their snake-oil opinions think the Reserve Bank board will cut the official rate by 0.25 percentage points to 2%.
Well the market, one those bank economists tend to make, tends to agree with them. Here's The Owl's interest rate indicator:

Some how it does not seem right to me. Perhaps an interest rate cut will be necessary but if I was a Reserve Bank board member I would wait see what the government did in its budget before moving.
I'll be having a small wager on there being no change tomorrow. See The Political speculator's diary.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The doubts about Abbott remaining Liberal leader continue

Federal parliament has not been sitting for a few weeks so the parliamentary press gallery has laid off on its obsession about Liberal leadership challenges, But out in the world where people are prepared to put their money where their opinion is the belief remains that Prime Minister Tony Abbott will not be Prime Minister when the next election comes.
The Owl’s leadership indicator, based on the betting markets, puts Abbott’s chances of remaining in charge at only just over 33%. That’s an improvement from earlier this year hardly encouraging as the House of Representatives returns for the budget session.
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