Monthly Archives: June 2011

Point/Counterpoint

” Be Wary in an Economy Controlled by a Single Player”

September 18, 2081

The New York Times

Business Editorial Section

There is much excitement surrounding the impending opening of the International Lunar Market, but putting money into Lunar stocks has more layers of risk than some people realize.  Whereas securities on earth have the benefit of being convertible into the currency of a country founded on habitable land, moon currency has a much shakier value.  Moon colonization has been implemented in such a way that it requires a thriving economy.  Its energy needs are of an amount that is a large magnification of those of earth.  Not only are there the difficulties of harvesting moon dust and refining it into usable energy, but the International Moon Colony’s sustenance requires intense recycling, with the delicate system of air and water maintenance requiring 78% of refined moon dust energy for continued propagation.  It is this hunger for energy that will be the driving force behind the Lunar market.

It is theorized by optimists that the economy will scale to the point where Shell-Beignet Lunar Dust (ILM: BDST ), the lone player in the moon dust business,  will be netting more revenue than any other company on the moon or on earth. However, it currently is heavily margined on the moon’s future success, and is operating on a loss through financing by Everline-ilk Financial.  It is unknown how long this will continue, because it depends how many people are willing to immigrate to the Moon.

Much has been written about the “snowball or no-ball” concept of the moon; the idea that, as the moon grows, more people will be attracted to it, but also that few people are willing to make the intense commitment of moving from their home country to the Moon.  Moreover, it isn’t like Christopher Columbus leading desperate commonfolk from their poverty-stricken existence to a land of opportunity.  The only people who are welcome on the developing moon in accordance with its strict UN-delegated screening process are the best and the brightest, the healthiest in mind, body, and spirit.  These are people with a lot to lose.  At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, this fact can be expounded upon to illustrate a subtle sign that Everline-ilk, the supposed backbone of the Lunar economy, is not as interested in Lunar expansion as it may seem.

Seven months ago, in the midst of the UN’s monopoly-sanctioning negotiations with Wal-Mark and Everline-ilk, the London School of Economics submitted an unsolicited report to the UN suggesting a number of ways to hold Everline-ilk(ILM: EVIL ) more accountable for the security of the Lunar economy.  Perhaps the most salient proposal was to require Everline-ilk to provide heavy incentives for citizens and their families to be brought to the moon for long-term settlement.  These incentive packages would include generous insurance against a Lunar economic collapse.  If the Moon thrives, Everline-ilk benefits from a growing economy, but never has to pay out the collapse insurance money; a seemingly utilitarian proposal.

Three months later, a memo between higher-ups within Everline-ilk was leaked.  It dismissed the report’s economic proposals with the usual investment bank bravado.  Why would they offer insurance?  To offer colonists insurance would erode the insurance Everline-ilk has against the Moon’s highly probable economic instability.  Perhaps the most chilling element of the memo was the mention of a projected “expiration date” on the International Lunar Colony.

To understand the value of Everline-ilk’s set-up requires an understanding of the reactive nature of a successful financial institution.  Diversification, hedging, liquid coffers–these are all allowances to creatively benefit from any errant economy.  And in addition to this resilience, Everline-ilk is poised to be able to tactically swirl the currents of the entire ocean of the economy through its investment in the only other two members of the economy, Shell-Beignet Dust and Wal-Mark (ILM: WMC ).  Everline-ilk could be thought of as having a series of filters or collective devices positioned throughout this ocean, such that the more the economy swirls with semi-predictable entropy, the more they can collect the financial sediment that floats within the current.  By this same token, Everline-ilk benefits from as many laymen being in the market as possible, with increased market volume reducing slippage for Everline-ilk’s inevitable massive, market-shifting trades.

Colleagues have called me unpatriotic.  The prince of England took this one step further, calling me “antiglobalistic” and defriending me on Facebook.  To soften this blow, I offer a piece of middle-ground advice to prospective investors.  The best way to go long on the moon is to go long on the globus.  It is more liquidable (in terms of Earth currencies) than any individual stock within the market will be when the market opens next year.

For more evidence of the moon’s unsure future, look no further than the fluctuations of proxy lunar markets; you can already convert Earth currencies to globus, and trade moon-dust futures.  Once again, I urge you to heed my warning–look, but don’t touch!

***About the author****

Randy Wager holds a PhD in both Astrophysics and Economics from MIT and Harvard, respectively.  He is the assistant director of the Theoretical Economics Department at the Harvard-Yale Institute for Cognoscenti.

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“Shoot for the Moon”

Business Editorial Section

The Wall Street Journal

September 23, 2081

Trepidation is today’s buzzword when it comes to predictions of the soon-to-burgeon International Lunar Market.  Every financial publication I read sounds like an overbearing mother.  They ask, “how will you hedge your portfolio with respect to the creation of an entirely new market?”  And this is a fair question–it is true that there are risks to investing in the hasty colonization of our planet’s natural satellite.  After all, if the great experiment of moon colonization failed, the globus would lose all value, and the conversion rate for getting your money into globus in the first place is $3.72 : 1g, meaning that if the market were shriveling, pulling out would not only require liquidating stock, but also liquidating your globus. But this economy’s warts of worry will soon be hidden by the flattering explosive growth of individual stocks!  Don’t you want to be there for the century’s greatest opportunity to multiply an investment times 100, times 1000, or times any arbitrarily large number you can think of? The main risk I see is one of underinvestment!

I want to dispute points made by a certain overly conservative economist who recently appeared in the New York Times.  He argued that Everline-ilk Financial Group’s benevolent investment in the lunar economy was compelled by motives ulterior to the economic growth of people across the world who are astute enough to put their own stake in the development of the Moon.  Strangely, while this economist acknowledged Everline-ilk’s significant investment in Shell-Beignet Moon Dust Collection/Refinement/Energy Distribution company, and Everline-ilk’s purchase of bonds from Wal-Mark, this same economist also argued that Everline-ilk (ILM: EVIL ) could somehow manage to hedge itself against the collapse of the moon.  In fact, he went so far as to say that Everline-ilk could be incentivized to allow or encourage the moon’s very collapse.

The world economy is currently growing at a rate that is, in a month-long or year-long time frame, more steady and explosive than in the seven decades prior to the 2080s.  However, in a shorter time frame (a day or week), individual companies and their stocks bounce dramatically and unpredictably, and those who are not big enough to weather the storm of daily flash crashes must be absorbed by large, variance-resilient blue-chip companies in order to survive intense devaluation.  This is due to the fact that the quantum computing revolution allowed self-teaching or “heuristic” trading algorithms to seize control of the market.  At this point, flash crashes happen as often as a heart beat on an EKG.  These heuristic algorithms are nondeterministic, and advocates for government intervention of computerized trading argue that it is Capitalism’s luck that the addition of these powerful trading bots has, so far, perpetuated economic growth instead of collapse.

Anti-business, big-government propagandists that have no faith in the algorithms’ continued benefits to our economy.  They argue that, some day, a flash crash will cause a dip that does not rebound.  That’s why restrictions against trading programs have been put on the International Lunar Market.  On the bright side, this further opens up the moon’s market to you, the individual trader!  No longer will you have to compete with quantum-powered investment banks making millions of trades every microsecond.

The New York Times economist suggested going long on the globus as a middle ground for the trepidatious investor who is sideways on the market.  I would argue that this is an anticapitalistic sin.  Every time an amount of Earth currency is converted to globus, the increase in liquid globus will be logged in computer databases around the world, and the more uncommitted globus floating in the marketplace, the more unsure the general market atmosphere will become, discouraging all Lunar investment.  On the contrary, a globus magnanimously committed to tangible growth will buy you a stock that pays dividends in feelings of fulfilled consumer responsibility and contribution to the international Lunar community–not to mention profits!

To go long on the globus at a higher velocity, why not invest in Everline-ilk?  Rather than being subject to the whims of an entire currency, let yourself be cradled in the arms of the largest financial institution in the world, which is doing its best to promote the growth of the moon through its generous investment in lunar colonial growth.  Don’t limit yourself to stifled profits of this emerging market.  Have your dollars, Euros, and yen converted to globus and ready to trade on July 4th, 2082!

****About the author****

Ken Livelier is a public relations consultant specializing in finance.  He currently works at Citizens for Abundant Profits.

Metanote: I would like to point out that, judging by a Google search for “sci financial” || “sci-financial”,  I am a genre pioneer.

Sample Query from MoonStocks Alpha

Welcome to the Lunar Market! Enter the month.

July

Enter the day of the month.

4

Enter the year.

2082

Enter the hour of day (9 – 16).

12

What type of data are you interested in today?

1. General market data

2. Data on a specific company

1

Information about the general market:

Market average: 283.3333333333333

**********Press 0 to start over.**********

0

What type of data are you interested in today?

1. General market data

2. Data on a specific company

2

Enter a ticker symbol for information about a company.

EVIL

What information about this company are you looking for?

1. Most recent price and volume.

2. Most recent piece of news.

1

Average price for EVIL is 271 globus.

Volume for EVIL over the prior hour is 63531 trades.

 

Lunar Market Opens for Business

Bloomberg Business News
July 4, 2082
7:42 PM

Today marked the opening day for the International Lunar Market (ILM), with the only three agents of commerce on the moon who were big enough to enter the market all announcing their IPOs in units of globus, the global currency created specifically for the new market ($3.72 : 1g). Though each of these companies have Earth-based market presence, the moon market has a unique set of rules, such that preexisting companies that want to have a moon IPO are required to splinter off an amount of their Earth company to represent that of their lunar presence.

The IPOs were presented as follows:

Wal-Mark Comestibles: 1,000,000 shares at a cost of 280g/share
Shell-Beignet Dust: 5,000,000 shares at a cost of 300g/share
Everline-ilk Financial: 8,000,000 shares at a cost of 330g/share

The groundbreaking day evoked a timid start, with investors still unsure how to approach the market despite three years of preparation since its planning was announced in early 2079. However, the market received a jolt of activity in the afternoon, when price fluctuations were triggered by incriminating news of France-founded moon-dust harvesting and energy distribution company Shell-Beignet Dust (ILM: BDST). In statements that were mandatorily disclosed by Shell-Beignet upon going public, the company claimed to have access to more dust-rich craters than SEC-sponsored lunar analysts could confirm, a fact which the SEC publicized at 1:20 PM EST, much to the chagrin of French Parliament, who were not consulted before the SEC’s report was released.

BDST dropped forty points of globus from 310 to 270 between 1 PM and 2 PM EST trading on heavy volume, and creating a dampened, similar effect on Everline-ilk Financial (ILM: EVIL) which dropped from 333 to 319 due in part to EVIL’s heavy investment in BDST.

EVIL also owns billions of globus of low-interest, highly liquidable bonds sold to it by Wal-Mark Comestibles(ILM: WMC), which needed funding for its ambitious plan to have a ten-year monopoly on food provision for the moon. The permission for this temporary monopoly took aggressive international lobbying to acquire, and the eventual UN stipulations allowing Wal-Mark to proceed with its monopoly overlapped with the stipulations that allow EVIL to have a similar monopoly on the moon’s financial nascence.

In an unprecedented arrangement, EVIL was given financial dominion over the first decade of lunar settlement on the condition that it bought several billion dollars worth of highly liquidable bonds from WMC, the liquidity of which was something EVIL lobbied heavily for. Under the negotiation, should WMC begin to show certain calculable signs of corporate crumbling, EVIL has a right to cash in its bonds. Of course, this cashing in would threaten to cause a certain amount of moon-wide financial instability, making EVIL seemingly disincentivized to aggressively cash in those bonds for fear of collapsing the very financial market it has a monopoly over.

Nonetheless, BDST’s and EVIL’s afternoon stock dips caused investor concern that the moon wasn’t quite prepared for capitalism. Bloomberg sent an e-mail to the computer that houses Warren Buffett’s brain to get its opinions on the tumultuous first day of trading. Seconds later, a response was received:

“Berkshire-Hathaway has been short on the International Lunar Market since the beginning. A trio of interdependent sector monopolies is simply too small to function as a balanced capitalist market. Just as diversity is an axiom of success and resilience, uniformity is one of failure and instability. And the worst part of this economy is that you have the notoriously cagey EVIL having everyone in checkmate. BDST and WMC have tangible stake in the moon, having created buildings, factories, and infrastructure, whereas EVIL has nothing but ATMs and a monolithic skyscraper. In other words, EVIL is keeping a very light stake in the moon, while at the same time leveraging the stranglehold it has on lunar development to dole out high-interest loans to private businesses and real estate developers–loans which will be very difficult to pay off should the moon’s colonization fail. EVIL is very good at maintaining an image of having a large stake in the moon (you will see its stock generally rise and fall with the rest of the market) but the truth is that it is becoming hedged to the point of immunity. This means that if the market swings (or is swung by EVIL) in a certain direction, it could be in EVIL’s perceived best interest to collapse the moon’s economy.”

By the end of the day, the market had rebounded slightly. Bloomberg waits with bated breath for more news on this strange new economy.

A Retrospective of Several Hands of High Stakes Poker

Here is a song I made using only noises from the PokerStars user interface:

You Are a Star

I used to play poker online a lot.  I was on the Two Plus Two poker forums earlier today for the first time in a long time, when I noticed that my post count was above 3,000.  Many of those posts are from threads which I started, about hands I had played. I am always in the mood to think about high stakes poker, but long ago lost the desire to build my career on its roller coaster of emotions, so I am going to go back through and rethink the hands from the perspective of someone not at all in practice.  Maybe this will get me some followers from the poker community.  The preface to each hand is exactly what I posted on the forum.

Villain makes a lot of dumb, nonsensical bets. He triple barreled FWF (another player at the table) with 2nd pair good kicker, bet 3k into 1k pot, etc. Nonetheless, he hasn’t shown down many times and when he has, it is with a hand.

Full Tilt Poker, $25/$50 NL Hold’em Cash Game, 5 Players
LeggoPoker Hand History Converter

UTG: $1,047
CO: $5,000
BTN: $4,721
SB: $12,258
Hero (BB): $5,247

Pre-Flop: J A dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG folds, CO raises to $175, BTN calls $175, SB calls $150, Hero raises to $825, 2 folds, SB calls $650

Flop: ($2,000) 2 K 3 (2 Players)
SB checks, Hero checks

Turn: ($2,000) 3 (2 Players)
SB bets $2,000

AJo is not usually a great hand to squeeze with since it has such nebulous showdown value if you hit an ace.  However, given that my squeeze will swell the pot to a point where anyone with AK will undoubtedly shove all-in, I will be able to rule out AK postflop.  The real hazard is if one of the players calls with AQ and an ace flops.  The squeeze serves the purpose of trying to isolate the CO raiser, which is an argument for making it bigger, since with its present size, if the CO calls, the other players might overcall.  However, in that scenario, the overcalling players may be calling with connecting broadway cards which may include a weaker jack than me.

Postflop, a bet accomplishes little.  If he has a weaker hand, he will fold or check-raise me out of the pot.  If he has a stronger hand that is not AQ, he will call or raise.  The turn decision is difficult because he is an erratic player.  Though he would be gaining little by betting a mid pair, my erratic perception of him is that it is a large part of his range.  Unfortunately, he could also have a stone bluff.  Even more unfortunately, I have no clue how often he has a weak suited broadway with a king here, or if he is intelligent enough to realize that it would be in his best interest to bet smaller with a weaker king.

Since I’m assuming the times he has nothing are outliers and I don’t have any reliable outs, I hope I folded.

This hand is unconverted:

95% sure preflop was accidental. Whether he meant to raise more or fold or call, I don’t know, but he plays a lot of tables so anything is possible.

villain is very big winner, solid, doesn’t like to give up. I dunno what hands I can rule out here. Do ppl fold turn? What’s the worst hand you call with, on turn and river?
POKERSTARS GAME #13051003524: HOLD’EM NO LIMIT ($10/$20) – 2007/11/05 – 02:22:34 (ET)
Table ‘Arctica II’ 6-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: jaymac111 ($2007 in chips)
Seat 2: jmc2536 ($3450.50 in chips)
Seat 3: socutiesf ($548 in chips)
Seat 5: redargoe ($9750.45 in chips)
Seat 6: CrAbLaR ($2586 in chips)
jaymac111: posts small blind $10
jmc2536: posts big blind $20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to CrAbLaR [9d 8c]
socutiesf: folds
redargoe: folds
CrAbLaR: raises $40 to $60
jaymac111: raises $40 to $100
jmc2536: folds
CrAbLaR: calls $40
*** FLOP *** [Ts 4d 8s]
jaymac111: bets $150
CrAbLaR: calls $150
*** TURN *** [Ts 4d 8s] [2d]
jaymac111: bets $385
CrAbLaR: calls $385
*** RIVER *** [Ts 4d 8s 2d] [Jd]
jaymac111: bets $720

This hand summarizes how much jaymac111 brutalized me during my career.  He knows my wide preflop range, but it is an odd circumstance for me to be priced in to see a flop without the lead with such a weak hand.  At least I had position, right?

If I remember the UI buttons correctly, fold was to the left of call which was to the left of raise, so he either meant to reraise or call.  This filters out the utter chaff from his hand, but nothing else, as he is good at balancing his range.  The flop call is not really debatable, especially given my backdoor outs, but the turn is just too easy of a spot for him to double barrel turn and river for me to call.  He knows that if I have a good enough hand to try to go for value, I will usually repop him on the turn given the draws out there.  This means I have a bluffcatcher (which I have), a bluffcatcher with a diamond draw, a spade draw, 97, or J9.  Flatting the turn with a pure straight draw would be gross with two flush draws on the board, but that possibility could have been one reason why he bet a little more than half pot on the river. For the above reasons, the jack hurts me more than it hurts him and is a very safe card for him to follow through with the plan he probably had from the turn.

This was fun to write.  I want to do more of these in the future.

Loss

Until today, I have been lucky to have very little understanding of what true loss feels like.  I have previously been hit by the news of the deaths of two meaningful figures within my life as a musician, but neither was a blood relative.  I responded with a state of shock, followed by a deep sadness over the fact that, while I can objectively recognize the sadness of the situation, I don’t respond with the tears and hysteria that seem like normal human emotion.  In the past, I have dealt with this through music.  Pia was a dog of mine, and the second song is about JD Salinger.

Coping with Pia

jds