Counterintuitive

January 16th, 2017

WSJ:

The main Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 2.3% intraday, before suspected buying by state-backed funds known as the “national team” in the last half-hour of trading helped narrow the day’s loss to 0.3%.

The more lively and speculative Shenzhen market saw deeper losses, with its benchmark Shenzhen Composite Index and the Nasdaq-style ChiNext board both down 3.6%. The two indexes both slumped as much as over 6% in the last 30 to 40 minutes of trading. The Shenzhen index’ drop was its largest since it fell 4.9% on Dec. 12.

The apparent trigger was Leshi internet Information & Technology, which provides online video broadcasting services. The firm resumed trading Monday after a period of suspension. The stock initially rose at the open but started tumbling just after the lunch break. Selling soon spread wider on the ChiNext board, where the technology firm is a bellwether and a barometer of general sentiment.

This happened in a climate of nervousness following a Sunday article published by the official Xinhua News Agency that described the acceleration in initial public offering approvals in recent months as a normalization of that market, which has seen several IPO moratoriums over the past decade.

“We saw a crash-style slump during the last trading hour today as panic spread because sentiment was severely hurt by Xinhua’s rhetoric,” said Deng Wenyuan, an analyst at Soochow Securities.

China approved 227 IPOs last year, slightly more than 223 in 2015. But most of last year’s approvals came after July. The first half of 2016 saw few listings, as Chinese authorities were trying to stabilize the share market after a selloff that began in the summer of 2015.

The Chinese securities regulator has picked up the pace of IPO approvals since the start of this year, greenlighting 24 IPOs two weeks into the new year.

“Xinhua’s article sent a signal to the market that Beijing supports the acceleration of IPOs, which was a huge blow to market confidence,” said Amy Lin, senior analyst at Capital Securities, noting the deals will drain cash from previously listed shares.

We would have thought that a pickup in IPO’s was bullish, but then again, this is China. At PE’s of 51x, anything can happen.

Fire them all!

January 15th, 2017

If we’re going to reduce government spending and waste, as well as media corruption, there’s a very easy place to begin: fire the stupidest of the stupid. We have a suggestion in that regard, and it is not based on partisanship — anyone who advocated for the “dossier” or reported it on TV or in print (other than with winks and laughter) should be loudly dismissed from his job and ridiculed in public discourse. No, wait, they should also be displayed in stocks or pillories for a few weeks (possibly a good idea for the Cathedral of Global Warming nincompoops as well). We need only look at the most obvious of frauds to make this judgment.

According to a writer on the left, this group of idiots, imbeciles and morons includes many at the highest levels of the so-called intelligence community, another good reason for heads to roll. Why is it so obvious that mass firings are common sense? In the ancient days of 1987 it was 30 years after the book was published and 24 years after From Russia with Love the film that Roger Simon found himself at the Yalta Hotel, with cameras rolling. In the century since Mata Hari was executed, the story is all the same. Anyone who thinks that Trump was that stupid at the Ritz Carlton has pretty much forfeited his right to have an income. HT: Clarice

What a terrible thing to have lost one’s mind. Or not to have a mind at all.

January 14th, 2017

Every day more and more people enter the lunatic fringe. And Mr. Brawley is at it again. Ah yes, the media. The MEDIA — scream!!! Finally we’ll point to a serious VDH piece on the urban-rural divide, today and in history.

Bonus fun, at least for us: we’re watching In the Heat of the Night for the very first time on TCM. Very entertaining movie, but we can’t help thinking that the anti-Trump cohort imagines the USA is back in Sparta, Mississippi in 1967. To what extent this is projection, we can’t say. ‘Tis a pity though that nothing has improved, indeed has worsened, in the last 50 years.

More Amazon news

January 13th, 2017

NYT:

with Amazon’s announcement Thursday that it plans to hire 100,000 new employees in the next 18 months, the Baltimore facility and at least 70 other Amazon fulfillment centers across the country stand to be among the biggest beneficiaries. Fifteen miles away in the suburbs, all that is left of Owings Mills Mall is rubble, demolition having started in the fall, after the last anchor stores, Macy’s and J. C. Penney, closed within months of each other.

Productivity in the retail sector, online and offline, jumped 3 percent in 2015 compared with a measly 0.8 percentage point for business over all, he said. The typical online retailer generates $1,267,000 in sales per employee versus $279,000 at bricks-and-mortar stores. In the last four years, traditional retailers have cut more than 200,000 jobs, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The 100,000 hires it plans for the next 18 months represent a 56 percent increase in the 180,000 full-time United States employees it had at the end of 2016. Amazon has more than 300,000 full- and part-time employees globally.

On January 1, 1996 Amazon had 11 employees.

All the horses’ patoots

January 12th, 2017

Interesting exchange regarding the incoming CIA chief, with Warren citing John Brennan and his concerns about global warming. There are so many people who need firing, and anyone employed by the CIA who spends his time writing about the weather is a good place to start. (BTW, this Brennan really is an idiot or a toady, to judge by the outrageous things he is very comfortable asserting.)

Compare and Contrast

January 11th, 2017

A paper by this fellow and some others:

Changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) are moderate in most climate model projections under increasing greenhouse gas forcing. This intermodel consensus may be an artifact of common model biases that favor a stable AMOC. Observationally based freshwater budget analyses suggest that the AMOC is in an unstable regime susceptible for large changes in response to perturbations. By correcting the model biases, we show that the AMOC collapses 300 years after the atmospheric CO2 concentration is abruptly doubled from the 1990 level. Compared to an uncorrected model, the AMOC collapse brings about large, markedly different climate responses: a prominent cooling over the northern North Atlantic and neighboring areas, sea ice increases over the Greenland-Iceland-Norwegian seas and to the south of Greenland, and a significant southward rain-belt migration over the tropical Atlantic. Our results highlight the need to develop dynamical metrics to constrain models and the importance of reducing model biases in long-term climate projection.

We’re sure this paper is more reliable than this other paper, which defies common sense in a particularly egregious way. An updated version of Rathergate, which we have no interest in deconstructing. BTW, CNN got its knickers in a twist, which was quite funny.

Bonus: also funny was Lindsey Graham’s appearance on O’Reilly, which he had ducked over the last year. He clearly was unhappy being there, but this was a weak attempt to recognize the new state of things. BTW, he and McCain coordinated or discussed the turning over of the coo coo dossier to the FBI. Very unhappy guys.

What did you learn in school today, son?

January 10th, 2017

Upcoming lectures at University of Maryland, 2/13/17 — don’t miss them! Here is Professor 1, with a PhD from UVa:

From one perspective, the twists and turns of the American Odyssey of race and racism appear paradoxical and hypocritical. Practices of racial discrimination collide with high-minded Enlightenment idealism, whether in consideration of Supreme Court cases, the cultural mores of national belonging, school admission policies, or even presidential elections. For many, the American racial landscape appears full of pitfalls and puzzles and is anything but consistent or uniform. However, a sociological evaluation of “race” as a practice of social domination reveals a robust and consistent national logic.

The pillars of that “Racial Reasoning” are: (1) beliefs in nonwhite dysfunction and pathology; (2) a white patriotism that loves “America” and hates “the state;” (3) a sense of whiteness as Messianic paternalism; and (4) a palpable commitment to the nation that whiteness is under attack. By tracing the growth and seduction of these principles, Dr. Hughey demonstrates how one of the most recent incarnations of this logic —- the rise, popularity, and election of Donald Trump —- was neither coincidence nor fluke accident, but a natural and purposeful consequence of a social, political, and economic commitment to white supremacy.

Professor 2, with a PhD from UC Santa Cruz:

White American investments in racism produce a devastating cost to people of color; but they also produce visibly degrading symptoms in white Americans and the larger national body. This talk will focus on the spiritual depravity, deadening, and social alienation of white America in the age of Trumpism.

I argue that these collective symptoms are fundamentally rooted in white Americans’ investments in gendered racism, which teach whites not only to deaden themselves to the suffering of others but to their own humanity. I show how white America’s spiritual depravity, deadening, and social alienation drives not only interracial racist violence, but also white-on-white mass shootings, intra-racial violence in the families of police officers, prison guards, and soldiers, intimate partner violence, and environmental devastation. Thus, white America will either reckon with and remedy its collective spiritual degradation or the chickens will come home to roost.

The bad news, from Mark Steyn: “In Malmö as in Chicago, the gulf between reality and the Official Lie will only widen in the years ahead.” The good news, via Instapundit: “it’s inevitable that the truth will emerge.” But getting there won’t be half the fun. Or will it? (HT: PJ)

Bonus: to see the opposite of the blathering clowns above, consider this VDH piece.

Where will it all end?

January 9th, 2017

Every day it seems, we have a new low: great picture though, of a fellow who “shared a stage at a climate event with Gov. Jerry Brown, billionaire climate change activist Tom Steyer and University of California system president Janet Napolitano.” HMD comments about a depraved culture: “Chicago cops shot 25 people, virtually all armed and dangerous, or 0.6% of the total.” Where’s a bold act of defiance when you really need it? We Kant hear you, comrade. Here’s one way it could end, some new Pearl Harbor moment. How far above 0% is the probability of the snowflakes enlisting in the Army on a new December 8?

Miscellany

January 8th, 2017

High school dropout and guy with postgrad degree together at the UN: “climate change is the most important issue facing not only this generation but all future generations.” Great argument for turning that place into an apartment building.

Nice, if sad, story. BTW, there’s fun in the future. Oh yes, more fun. Mr. Teaparty spreads angst. Messrs. Klavan and Lifson on the ongoing meltdown in the media.

Since at least 7% believe the moon landing was faked, or that Elvis is alive, or that 9-11 was an inside job, there’s a certain amount of nuts and deplorables for every occasion. But when someone, we forget who, said that half of some mainstream group were deplorable, the interesting part of that comment is that it reflected a genuine belief, one that is believed by the media even more, if it were possible, than they believe in global warming. Their moral superiority is a big chunk of their identity. Question: are you a biased person if you reject insanity?

Super fun bonuses: Hooray for Hollywood! More fantastic statements here from the cognoscienti whose professional lives consist of pretending to be other people. There is such wisdom in our midst! We wonder what they think about Global Warming (snark). Have a nice day!!

A third of a century ago

January 7th, 2017

From a link at Powerline:

We know that wars have occurred, will occur, are occurring, but bringing such experience down into our hearts, and taking continual, tangible steps to prevent war, becomes a difficult task. Two groups on campus, Arms Race Alternatives (ARA) and Students Against Militarism (SAM) work within these mental limits to foster awareness and practical action necessary to counter the growing threat of war. Though the emphasis of the two groups differ, they share an aversion to current government policy. These groups, visualizing the possibility of destruction and grasping the tendencies of distorted national priorities, are throwing their weight into shifting America off the dead-end track…The belief that moribund institutions, rather than individuals are at the root of the problem, keep SAM’s energies alive…

Indeed, the most pervasive malady of the collegiate system specifically, and the American experience generally, is that elaborate patterns of knowledge and theory have been disembodied from individual choices and government policy. What the members of ARA and SAM try to do is infuse what they have learned about the current situation, bring the words of that formidable roster on the names of Butler Library, names like Thoreau, Jefferson, and Whitman, to bear on the twisted logic of which we are today a part. By adding their energy and effort in order to enhance the possibility of a decent world, they may help deprive us of a spectacular experience – that of war. But then, there are some things we shouldn’t have to live through in order to want to avoid the experience.

Sounds a lot like Jack Handey, but it’s not.

Interesting graphs on the F-35

January 6th, 2017

Here and here on the F-35. More negativity here. The guy who spends an awful lot of time thinking about this just published a book. We want to say something clever, like it’s the perfect aircraft for skiing, swimming and deep sea diving, but we can’t think of anything clever at the moment. At least they haven’t spent the entire $1.5 trillion yet. Whew!

Super unfun bonus: we think there’s at least a 50/50 chance that today’s nut has a version of the typical backstory. If he does, the story will get the usual downplay.

In brief

January 5th, 2017

Very interesting commentary from an insider at the CIA. We won’t be surprised if the story has legs. Wait and see. We’re not going to comment on the most discussed story of the day, except to agree with Scrooge on this one. Double bonus points for posting the video on the internet. A trend worth encouraging.

Some humor, some serious unhumor

January 4th, 2017

This video is kind of funny. We haven’t looked for many reactions, but the ones we’ve seen have been fairly civil or at least not outraged for the most part. Quite surprising. Oh yes, everyone is quite tolerant these days. We live in charming times. Finally, Omaha Beach, Iwo Jima, Antietam update: “I know that women are at least as strong as men.” More idiocy. Someday in the future, the US may return to rationality over PC gibberish. We just hope it’s not too late.

From bicycle to tin lizzie and so forth

January 3rd, 2017

WSJ:

developers went overboard in areas like Chongqing, a city of some 30 million people, perched on the Yangtze River. Chongqing’s shopping mall stock per urban consumer was more than 2 square meters in 2015, according to real-estate broker Jones Lang LaSalle. That compares with roughly 0.5 square meter for China’s four so-called first-tier cities, which include Beijing and Shanghai.

Moreover, new demand hasn’t been as strong as anticipated because many Chinese shoppers are leapfrogging stores and going directly online. China’s online sales market eclipsed the U.S. about two years ago, and is expected to reach $899 billion in 2016, which would amount to almost half of the world’s digital retail sales, according to a forecast by research firm eMarketer.

Online sales made up 12% to 13% of total retail spending in 2015 in China and were expected to hit 18.5% in 2016. If it hits that figure, China will have the largest percentage of internet shoppers in the world.

Same story in the US. Meanwhile, Amazon grows at 25-30% a year or so. BTW, the bicycle was said to be the greatest invention of the 19th century. Time marches on.

TIME to go

January 2nd, 2017

An editor of TIME, via PJ:

Global warming is an established fact. It’s immutable, it’s non-negotiable, it’s not subject to politics. Global warming doesn’t read tweets. It doesn’t care about who won the Electoral College vote. It’s an immutable bit of science. Listen to the scientists, 97% of whom say that Global Warming is real, it’s happening and it’s a deadly threat.

It is perhaps no coincidence that he’s the author of this. Air has 1 molecule of CO2 in every 2500 molecules of air. CO2 is the most magic thing ever!!! Except maybe for the sun and water vapor, they’re pretty magic as well, save that for some people they don’t count too much.

Super Super fun bonus: this would be a great destruction if CAGW were actually real. BTW, check out the links and footnotes. They’re even funnier than the main text.

Ring out the New, Ring in the Old

January 1st, 2017

Here and Here are our world today. You can have them. Here, by contrast was the music in Times Square just after midnight. First was NY NY, then America the Beautiful, then Wonderful World, and finally Somewhere over the Rainbow. Compare and contrast the old and new.

Exhibit A

December 31st, 2016

Slate:

2016 Was the Year White Liberals Realized How Unjust, Racist, and Sexist America Is. The sense of disillusionment white American liberals woke up with on Nov. 9 was powerful enough to taint the entire year with a sense of doom. So many illusions were shattered by the election of Donald Trump: about the media, polling, the Democrats’ vaunted ground game, the fundamental character of our fellow citizens, the viability of the American experiment. Even if the first 10 months and eight days of 2016 had been an era of unbounded inspiration and hope, the impact of Donald Trump’s election would have outweighed them, reducing our optimism to a historical footnote. Of course, the first 10 months and eight days of 2016 weren’t an era of unbounded inspiration and hope, even if the post-Nov. 8 world makes them look pretty good by comparison. Not even the most diehard, optimistic Hillary Clinton supporters could ignore the minor disillusionments that cropped up every few weeks—events that in hindsight seem like distant rumbles of thunder warning of the storm to come. Bernie Sanders supporters were disillusioned by the Democratic National Committee’s contempt for their chosen candidate. Moderate Republicans were disillusioned by Donald Trump’s unforeseen takeover of their party. Queer people who’d recently won the right to marry were disillusioned by the horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Women who thought they’d seen overt misogyny disappear from polite society were disillusioned by the cavalier way Trump described grabbing women “by the pussy.” To be disillusioned you have to have some faith—in institutions, in progress, in human decency—to begin with. There are plenty of Americans who never had such faith, or who lost it at an early age. Black people who have seen members of their community shot by police and imprisoned under flimsy pretenses, undocumented immigrants who faced more deportations under President Obama than under any prior president, trans people who feared using public restrooms long before North Carolina sought to criminalize them for doing so, Muslims who experienced fingerprinting and surveillance after Sept. 11, 2001—these are among the many groups who largely shrugged their shoulders at all the white liberal weeping and gnashing of teeth after the election and said, “Well, what did you expect?” This attitude doesn’t minimize the very real threats these and other marginalized groups have faced since the election and will face when Trump takes office. But it’s possible to be frightened and angry without being disillusioned. The only people who experienced disillusionment in 2016 were people who had distanced themselves from the ugliness in American society enough that they could convince themselves that we were making meaningful progress. After Trump’s election, it is more or less impossible to believe that we are making meaningful progress. White liberals who woke up horrified on Nov. 9 weren’t horrified because the world had suddenly changed—we were horrified because the scales had finally fallen from our eyes, and we could at least see our unjust, racist, sexist country for what it is. The next president will not be a woman, the makeup of the Supreme Court will not shift toward progressivism, and we are not jolly passengers on a cruise ship sailing toward an era of tolerance, justice, and respect for the dignity and rights of all.

Exhibit B followed directly below. What’s the point of commenting on such idiocy? HT: PL. Possibly related, via Steyn: “in the Fifties one in 20 members of the workforce needed government permission to do his job. Now it’s one in three.” Help!

Time out, perhaps

December 30th, 2016

You may remember a decade ago when that hysterical MIT professor got the vapors listening to Larry Summers. A hilarious bit illustrating an utter lack of self-awareness. Now such hysteria is given to us every single day and it won’t stop anytime soon. The thing is, from our point of view, it’s no longer any fun to laugh at these fools. You’re either on one side or the other of a yuuuuge dividing line, and there’s no bridging the gap. So we’re considering taking a break from commentary on all this. Maybe there will be notable developments in China’s economy that bear thinking and writing about. But who wants to comment on this, “the most noble man”, even to oppose an insane ideology?

Very strange

December 29th, 2016

The White House computers were hacked by Russia in October 2014, possibly even before that. Now, more than two years later, the US government has decided to impose sanctions on Russia. Then there’s that business of Steve Martin and Cinnabon we mentioned the other day. Maybe the strangeness of the world is why we hear this version when we think of Singing in the Rain.

Today’s common sense plus silliness, 0.0007 edition

December 28th, 2016

A Catholic writes about Islam, a matter we’ve touched on occasionally. Oil money and war; isn’t it time to take away the oil money? BTW, if you haven’t noticed, it’s cold out. Here’s an equation: Cinnabon + Steve Martin = SJW total outrage! In other news, WAAAAHHH!!! Yet another reason not to go to college (HT: RK). Regarding Israel, we addressed that question a long time ago. Finally, you get 0.0007 if you add two teeny tiny numbers.