Author Archives: peakfuture

Death

 

Someone close died last week, after a long and difficult illness.  What can one say?   It happens to all of us, but the reality of it is not just some abstract concept.  One day, you can talk to someone, and the next day they are gone.

One day, our shiny civilization is humming along, and one day, it may not be so shiny.  One day you can talk to people around the world in an instant, and one day, you may not. The bit from Ecclesiastes mentioned a while ago still rings true.

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

Still, we eat, we drink, we make merry.   We are an odd species, to say the least.   Curious to know how the future will look upon all of this, just as many of us wonder how people will look upon us when we are gone (individually).

 

 

 

 

Skin in the game

Paddy_Power_logo.png

(Folks with skin in the game; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Power#/media/File:Paddy_Power_logo.png)

One of the points that Taleb makes that is of great import is that unless you have skin in the game, you should shut up. The folks who have the ultimate skin in the game, besides those who are “in the line of fire” or the equivalent are those who put their money where their mouth is, and bet real money on real events.   The folks at PaddyPower, as silly as the name might sound, are at least those who are doing just that.

Like it or not, it is going to be an interesting four years, if the odds makers are at least somewhat correct.

Questions:

  • Is betting on events a good way to predict the future?   These folks certainly aren’t going out of business, so they must be doing something correct.
  • They have been wrong before, of course.   Do you think they are wrong here?

 

Null 2

A hectic week in peakfuture world.  Nothing drastically new or compelling to comment on.

The world of Washington DC may need to commentary soon, however.  Things seem to be heating up.

 

The latest snafu

(Wannacry)

This just in:

NHS left reeling by cyber-attack: ‘We are literally unable to do any x-rays’

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/13/nhs-cyber-attack-patients-ransomware

Ah, the magic of computers and technology rears its ugly head once again.   This time, it isn’t just business documents and pictures of your vacation.  This time, entire systems that can mean life or death for people are being compromised.   While this may have been another technological tour-de-force, at one point, someone who is responsible for these tools, or those who use them, might be faced with a Twilight Zone/karmic retribution of some sort.  Imagine those who built these tools for ‘good’ having their family members not be able to get an X-ray (see above), because the very computers their tool infected were disabled.

There’s a great Buddhist story (the details are forgotten) about someone watching a cruel person do nasty things to another.  In the story, the Buddhist weeps, not for the person receiving the blows, but the one who is giving them, since they know the karmic effects on the person who is committing those acts.

Things have a way of biting back.  It is very hard to put the ‘genie back in the bottle’, as we discovered with other weapons of mass destruction.

Questions:

  • Anybody taking more action to backup their data/update their machines because of this?
  • When do you think this stuff will really start to kill people in larger numbers?
  • The Internet of Things is going to magnify this than we might possibly ever imagine.  Anyone having second thoughts?

 

 

The unknown price

$?

While having a discussion with a younger colleague, they asked me about investing.   As mentioned by a few others, my take on the financial markets is the same – they are essentially broken, in a fundamental way.   We can’t determine what anything is worth, so “investing” isn’t investing, it is gambling – the worst kind.   Not that gambling is inherently bad; people do it all the time, but they know it is gambling – taking a measured risk for a measured reward.   What is so bad about the way the system is constructed now is that people think they are investing, but they actually are gambling without knowing they are gambling.

We can blame the Fed for the mechanics of this, of course – they artificially set the actual interest rate, which is the most critical factor in determining whether an investment of any kind is financially viable.  Since this is artificially set (and has been set close to zero for a long time), things are so out of whack, it’s difficult to tell where to even know where a price for anything might be.

Questions:

  • How do we get back to reality, in any human endeavour, even one as “simple” as finance?
  • Will only a crash bring us back?

It’s been about two years now, since this blog was started on a weekly basis.  No particularly grand ideas or overarching themes; just a variety of observations on a few interesting topics.  A few times, a muse has struck and a longer essay has been written, maps are drawn, or flags sketched, but commentary has been relatively light. The basic tenets haven’t changed much, for sure.

Much needs to be done, and perhaps writing here isn’t the best use our resources.  Yes, something strikes, a note will be written, but perhaps the well has run dry.  Time to muse on future directions, and what should be done with our time.