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Friday, August 26, 2016

The AI machine is making mistakes on TASE

The FDA voided two Copaxon patents, causing severe harm to TEVA. The stock fell yesterday 3.31%. OK. that I understand. But also all pharma stocks fell in tandem: Mylan 4.4%, Perrigo 2.3%, Compugen 4.17%, Mankind 5.26%, etc. Why? Mylan had a problem with EpiPen that was already solved. Why should Perrigo loss value if TEVA or Mylan are in trouble? The AI machine that trades on TASE the uses correlation coefficients to make predictions about how a stock will behave. AI had noticed that pharma stocks move together, but did not understand that in this case, TEVA's loss does not affect Perrigo. Perrrigo, I think, is now cheap and in the next session (Sunday morning) it should rise. AI has much to learn. Let see if I am right.

African President Roasted

I knew this was going to happen one day. And it did. Zuma was roasted. I just read it in The Times, the most reliable media in Botswana.

Before the feast, VicePresident Sipho Pityana said, "I asked him as my leader, begged him, pleaded with him, and said: 'My big brother, hand over the reins, it is critical'."

The decision was not unanimous. Minister Oupa Magashule wanted to grill him. Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos warned that the president's hands were not tied.

In the end, everybody cried (Pic left).

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Alt-Right Ideas Catch Fire

Stephen Bannon from Breitbart replaced Manafort as Trump's media manager. And I thought that I was the only reader of Alt-Right sites, but somebody else must have been reading and agreeing with them. I feel that the tone of the American media has changed and it is less politically correct and sometimes even tells the truth. As Fred Reed writes, "In the age of cell phones, the media can hide only so much." Trump's people are active in Yehuda and Samaria, "the settlements". I hope they know what they are doing, I have confidence in our people's political instincts. It is possible that this turn to the right will be good for the Jews, because Alt-Right is honest and like Steve Sailer, admire Netaniyahu's policy. The Left, with its Black voter base, is increasingly antisemite and indigestible for my stomach.

Update after Hillary's speech:  (1) She looked healthy and delivered her speech faultlessly.  (2) She described Trump as unstable and dangerous, following a dark esoteric ideology. (3) Apparently she was trying to scare decent Republican voters who are uneasy with unknown, mysterious conspiracies.  (4) If she is elected, alt-right writers may be outlawed. (5) With her, the antisemitic left-wing will rule and she will be unable to moderate the popular BDS movement. With her, it will be uncomfortable to be a Zionist Jew in America, specially in the academia.

From Flint to Eternity

We are permitted to comment satirically on the Flint Leaden Water Crisis that was or wasn't, but when something becomes the subject of artists that trans-mutate an ordinary happening into ART, into MYTH, into the collective consciousness, then we have to stand up and wonder. Because art is SERIOUS; art is FOREVER, eternal. Two thousand five hundred years from now, people will marvel at Flint art (pic) just as we marvel at Myron's Discobolus. Quote:

UM-Flint and community artists are tackling the Flint water crisis through expression in a new exhibit on campus. “Artists Treading Water”, which features artwork by faculty, students, alumni, and community members, is being displayed at the University Center (UCEN) Art Gallery.  Gale Glover, a graduate student, has written a book, “Flint: The Death and Rebirth of the City”, which includes the artists featured in the exhibit.

Solving South Africa's Drought

South Africa's Dams are half empty and the country is enduring severe water shortage. There are solutions, such as inviting the Israeli water engineer (which they will not do), or, alternatively, hire a native rainmaker. Pic. The Incwala (Rainmaking) Ceremony.

Now, Jew, don't be so arrogant. Do you prefer to watch Honie HaMeagel (who made a circle around himself and would not move till God made it rain) or attend a happy Incwala in Lobamba? They produce about the same amount of rainfall.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mass Murder as Phalanx Effect

The greatest problem of a military leader is to make his soldiers to fight. People has an enormous resistance to move forward and engage the enemy. The Ancient Greek στρατηγός ‎(stratēgós = generals) devised the phalanx formation, where each soldier was enclosed by others in a packed mass, for its advantage that the individual soldier could not see anything but the back of the soldier ahead, and had no chance of running away as his instinct demanded.

The German Army in WWII devised the modern equivalent of the phalanx effect to force its soldiers to move ahead risking their lives. In the first year of the war against the Soviet Union, some 6-7 million soldiers were captured. These Soviet POWs were killed by the German Army. In fact, Soviet POWs built Auschwitz and were its first victims.

The German Army followed up this cruel strategy in the Eastern conquered territories by systematically killing off the population. They started with most disliked, the Gypsies and the Jews, achieving zero resistance and even active assistance of the natives. They proceeded with other groups whose killing would find less opposition, such as Communist party members and their families. They also adopted the Mongol tactic of punishment mass killings, limiting the action to a definite number of Poles, say 800, for the sabotage of a train (the example is from Hitler's Willing Executioners"). It is estimated that between 15 to 20% of the conquered population had been killed by 1945.

Why Phalanx Effect? Because of this criminal activity by the German Army had the effect of increasing tremendously the cohesiveness and fighting will of the soldiers. They had no way of escaping nor surrendering. In the month of January 1945, near the end of the war, the German Army had 450 thousand killed, which is more than the losses of the AngloSaxon armies during all the war. Hitler had purposefully led his nation into a criminal extermination war, and the German soldiers actually did expect the same treatment if they lost the war.

In the end, also the Greek phalanx and the Nazi army lost.

Chinese Cultural Revolution

Please take notice that a lot of innovative fiction is coming out of China. Example. Pic. Hao Jingfang.

It is interesting that her fiction-world is organized just like the bureaucratic Classical China, each person living according his rank in the hierarchy of the State. But also Huxley's utopia with its alpha, beta, etc. classes, and 1984, are rigid hierarchical worlds.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Prosperity in Israel

I am winding down my engineering practice, all the while work orders and requests for proposals are coming in as never before. I just rejected a project: A student of mine has a startup in the rainfall drainage field, I wanted to help him but I see I have no time to teach him. It hurt me to say "Find another engineer!"

Minister Kahalon is building like crazy, may be 80 thousand building starts this year. Each new neighborhood comes with a mall and hundred shops. Each industrial park houses dozens of new factories. All need planning and permitting. The substitution of local low-tech production by imports is accelerating. Israel is swarming like an anthill. Just now that I want to quit, honorariums are doubling.

Following Bank of Israel's nudging, many investment houses and private investors bought foreign assets. Psagot Investments is now liquidating its assets on the S&P and the NASDAQ, although they are rising nicely, and bringing them back to Israel. This is surprising because by any index, the sheqel is overvalued. For me Zionism means also to keep all my "eggs" in Israel. I can't complain.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Möbius strip of endless validation.

It is Der Spiegel, that Werwolf leftover, writing in its devious way about Möbius aka Donald Trump.

"The catastrophe can't be stopped. Even if -- especially if -- Trump loses the elections, he will smash his toys like a sulking toddler. He's already poisoned US society and destroyed the party which created him, and now he has the ultimate goal of destroying America's democratic institutions. His angry disciples won't surrender in peace either."  The headline:

It's Time To Act

By Höðr, what does it mean? 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Self Criticism Session

Now that I know that the whole Flint Water Poisoning Crisis had been a mass hysteria episode without factual basis, it behooves me (as an experienced water engineer who has been following Flint in this blog for the last two years) to criticize myself and extract conclusions.

(1) I accepted without any water analysis data as a fact that Flint River water was highly corrosive. Was the pH high or low? Did it contain corrosive compounds?

(2) I, like everybody else, accepted the hypothesis that the high level of lead found in the blood of one child had been caused by the water. Every year there are hundreds of child lead poisoning episodes in the US, generally caused by old white paint. There have been - as far as I know - no lead poisoning episodes caused by water anywhere.

(3) I accepted as a fact that the change of water source caused the old lead pipes to leach lead into the water. Lead water pipes have been in use since Roman times, and they never leach lead because of lead oxide protection. Thousands of cities have lead pipes and their water is safe. Lead pipes feel extremely worrying but I know of no city with mass water poisoning because of the pipes. Moreover, no one mentioned it and I did not research it, Flint had been using river water for decades, even at the peak of its industrial glory.

(4) Flint water supply was being monitored by the State EPA, manned by competent professionals. With first hand data in their possession, they never alerted about water poisoning, on the contrary, discounted some outlying data points (They are paying for that through criminal charges).  EPA professionals have no incentive to falsify data, I should have given more weight to their opinion.

(5) The "poisoning" was immediately taken up by the media and the political establishment (Flint Mayor) and transmuted into a money extortion maneuver. I should have been extremely suspicious of the whole issue from the beginning.

In two years, no one raised these points. Even I - an experienced water engineer - was misled. Bottom line: It is incredibly difficult to free oneself from the generally accepted narrative.

This is a Learning Blog. Its very title implies that I have faults and commit mistakes. I am willing to criticize myself and to learn. The fact that not even one voice argued that there was no factual basis for the panic (not even those accused of evildoing), that everybody accepted the water poisoning as a fact, just as I did, is encouraging (or discouraging?). A retrospective analysis like this one will never be published by the American media.

Flint sobering up

The State of Michigan has restored full pay to six employees who are suspended from their jobs while they await trial on state criminal charges filed in connection with the Flint drinking water crisis.  Now it looks as the charges will fade away and all will be forgotten.

Except that the emergency money received by Flint will not be returned. And in the minds of the people, the stereotype of racist poisoners has been reinforced. Flint will solidly vote Hillary.