GME

ok so I just bought shares in GME (GameStop)
which seems like a bad idea, right? Amazon is eating all brick-and-mortar retailers alive
but here’s the deal, EVERYONE knows that Amazon is eating brick and mortar retailers
and what everyone knows, isn’t really worth knowing
GME’s share price has fallen 33% in a year
but it’s revenues have fallen none
actually grew slightly
so while long-long term gamestop will probably go out of business
currently, they pay 10% dividend
and their share price is very reasonable
my thesis is that the market over-corrected on GME due to fears of Amazon taking all the business
i could very well be wrong
so i didnt put a ton of money in it
GameStop also has a pretty active customer loyalty program that I think invested gamers will continue to use

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Disaster

Contraception and its effects have been a disaster for human society.

Our social institutions, rules, and instincts all developed in a world without widespread, effective contraception. Upon the rapid introduction of such, these social institutions, rules, and instincts all became dysfunctional. A society without functional social institutions, social rules, or social instincts, is a disaster of a society. Welcome to the wasteland.

Dead Institutions

Home, business, church, and government are the primary institutions which compose society, in order of most fundamental to least. Society without a functional family is barely a society at all. If society is the relationships between people, and family is the most basic, most important relationship people have, then a society without strong familial relationships, is a fundamentally weak society.

How has contraception affected the family? Well, obviously, made it smaller. Smaller is weaker, all other things equal. But it also drives a wedge between the parents, since they no longer fully give themselves to each other in sex (except for sometimes when they actually want kids) but rather giver everything but their fertility to each other. So contraception also weakens the relationship between parents, all other things equal. Contraception also enables (in the minds of those involved) a great many immoral sexual behaviors, like adultery, and fornication, which naturally serve to undermine the family as well. So contraception serves to weaken the home.

How has contraception affected business? Contraception divides cause from effect. What is a common complaint about our businesses nowadays? They ignore their “negative externalities” (or downstream effects) in pursuit of short-term profit. It’s almost like the people running these businesses have been conditioned to divorce cause from effect and see only the narrow portion of life that works in their favor. Plus as contraception serves to undermine the morality of people in general, the businesses that those people run will also tend to act in less moral ways. Contraception also causes women to spend more time working (instead of parenting/having kids), which is bad, since women disrupt the workforce substantially. So contraception is no help to business.

How has contraception affected the Church? Never (to my knowledge) has such a widespread segment of those calling themselves Christian also held heretical views about such a simple dogmatically defined teaching as the intrinsic immorality of contraception. This rift in the Church between what she says is right and wrong and what the people actually believe to be right, to say nothing of what they practice, serves to undermine the whole point of the Church’s right to teach on matters of morality at all. What is the point of being part of a church with defined dogmas if you’re just going to pick and choose which ones to actually believe in?

How has contraception affected government? It has swelled its intrusion into the other spheres of life. As contraception undermines the familial and traditional bonds that held society together, the only remaining bond is that of force. The government naturally steps in to try to fill the roles previously filled by families and church. As people ask the government to do more for them, it grows, and with that growth become less efficient. Government can help you in your old age with medical benefits and social security, since you don’t have any kids to take care of you, but it’ll do so poorly, impersonally, and at 10x the cost.

Contraception is bad news.

Marital Rape

What is this strange beast? la wik says:

Marital rape (or spousal rape) is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent. It is a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Well that doesn’t sound good. Not at all. But wait, what’s this? la wik goes on:

Although, historically, sexual intercourse within marriage was regarded as a right of spouses, engaging in the act without the spouse’s consent is now widely recognized by law and society as a wrong and as a crime.

Uh oh, so this is one of those new moral laws. So either all of recorded human history was wrong about morality on this point until now, or we moderns are inventing sins. Both are possible in theory. Want to do some Bayesian analysis? I tend to weight my priors in favor of the views of those who built civilization, rather than we who merely inherited it. But these are just priors. Maybe your priors weigh the other way, saying that people in the past tended to be wrong about morality all the time, so this is probably just another thing they got wrong. Let’s look at some actual evidence.

Lying

Lying is bad. Marriage vows are a solemn oath. Breaking the oath is lying, is bad. The oath includes a right to sex. Denying the right to sex is breaking the oath, is lying, is bad.

Teaching, purpose of marriage

Paul says to marry if you burn. He says to not deny each other. Marriage is partially for satisfying sexual urges. Partially, for stable environment of raising children. If one partner can refuse another sex, they violate Paul’s command not to deny each other, and violate one of the purposes of marriage. Violating commands of an apostle, and preventing the purpose of a thing from being fulfilled are both bad.

Consent

Consent is an agreement, a statement of the will. Some consent is temporary, as when I temporarily consent to allowing you on my property. Some consent is permanent, as when I consent to sell myself into slavery to you. Marriage is meant to be permanent. What do you consent to, in marriage? You consent to give the entirety of yourself to each other. Physical gift of self is part of gift of self. Thus marriage is a permanent consent to physical gift of self. Thus, martial rape is impossible in principle, for if two people are married they have consented, once for all, thus all sex between them has consent.

Concessions

But what about when one partner doesn’t want to, despite having previously consented to it? What about when one partner physically abuses the other via punching, scratching, throwing heavy metal pots, etc? Look, bad things are bad. Don’t do bad things. 99.999%, maybe more even, it’s a truly terrible idea to hold your spouse down while they are kicking and screaming and crying and trying to get away, and force them to have sex. But, it’s a bad thing for other reasons. It’s not rape. Rape is a word with a meaning. Don’t go making up meanings for words. Theft is not murder is not rape is not assault, but theft, murder, rape, and assault are all bad things. Don’t do bad things. Duh.

Buy low, sell high

“Buy low, sell high” is such obvious investing advice that it is taken as a joke, but really, it is what lies at the heart of fundamental analysis, and technical analysis, and even a lot of weird quant stuff.

We all know what “buy” and “sell” mean. But it gets tricky when you think about what “low” and “high” mean. Compared to 1850, everything is selling really high right now. Should we sell everything? Probably not. This gets at the “joke” part of the saying, since knowing what constitutes “high” and “low” is very hard, so telling someone “buy low, sell high” is just about as useless as telling them “invest in such a way as to make money.”

Each school of investing thought has its own understanding of what high and low mean. fundamental analysis defines high based on revenue, assets, and other accounting metrics. Technical analysis defines high based on past price history. Quant stuff mixes both and adds in a slew of other data that may-or-may-not contribute useful information to show high and low values. So who is right?

Every good economist answers a question with another question, so my answer is: Over what timeframe? Considering only a single day’s trading range, buying at the absolute top, right at the end of the day, is objectively the worst price you could get that day. But if your timeframe is 2 months, you may still be getting in low relative to where you expect it to end up. Etc. So for me, the question of timeframe, and relatedly, exit strategy, is the most important investing question that most people don’t spend much time thinking about.

Boom or Bust?

The world is coming to an end. The world is progressing to a wonderful singularity which will lead to an era of untold happiness and technological wonders. These seem mutually contradictory. Very smart people can write very convincing arguments for either scenario. But which is right?

I think I have a natural bias towards expecting the collapse. A la Sir John Glubb and The Fate of Empires, I see that all empires before the current Pax Americana have collapsed, and assume that the trend will not be broken and conclude that the American Empire will end.

However, we’ve (to my knowledge) never gotten this far technologically. The Roman empire was technologically comparable to some of the empires that preceded it. But following the industrial revolution, each successive major empire has been substantially more technologically advanced than the one previous to it. This technological distinction provides the basis for explanations that assume the cycle of collapse will break.

But people are still running the show. And the fate of empires is not due to their trinkets, but due to the character of their constituent peoples. So, given that technology requires societal support in order to advance, it seems to me that societal decay is as much a threat to the increase of technology as it is to the increase of an empire’s power and vigor. I don’t want society to collapse. If it does, I will not be around long enough to see the next power form and grow. My hope is a Rome-like restructuring from chaotic republic to a ruled monarchy. My hope is for renewal.

But, I’m not a very hopeful person.

DIA triangle breakout

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 9.33.09 AM
Standard disclaimer, be smart with your own money, blah blah blah.
I haven’t been putting that much time or energy into the market recently because I don’t care about money anymore.
However, ever since late January, the market has been more interesting than it has been in years, and the formation I’m seeing on the Dow Jones index is just so blindingly obvious that I felt I should point it out.
We have a symmetrical triangle here. Textbook explanation of such is:
  • they usually do not make it all the way to the apex (where the lines cross) before breaking out up or down
  • they can break either direction
  • they often go out of bounds for a day or three and then come back to the boundary (a re-test) before going on to continue the direction they broke out in.
  • volume usually decreases as the triangle forms
  • they come with a measuring stick/projected move. The height of the triangle on the left end is the distance you can expect it to move once it breaks out.
Given all that, this seems like it lines up to the textbook explanation perfectly, so it’s high probability, though certainly not guaranteed, that the upcoming week or three will see the price on this chart (DIA) come down to the 230-225 range, at least for a brief time.
I bought some out of the money puts on this yesterday. I might buy some more if/when the price re-tests the triangle boundary in a few days. Do with this information what you will.

Faith and Reason

Modern heathens like to view faith as irrational. They say people believe in God in spite of the evidence. They say we use “faith” as a dodge to avoid rational thought. But my experience is just the opposite.

You see, faith is hard, not easy.

And everyone who has ever struggled with laziness, gluttony, lust, or any other temptation to do something they know they shouldn’t do knows that being irrational is easy. It’s rationality that is the hard thing. It’s easy to be unfaithful. It’s hard to stay true.

We know, rationally, that God exists, that He loves us, and that we depend on Him for our very lives. But it takes faith to actually trust this; to act as if this is really true. In this way, faith is more like trust in reason than like some blind ignorance of facts. Faith is the strength to act out our rational beliefs. Faith is the ability to bring our body and our mind into accord. Without faith, we will say one thing and do another. Without faith, we are all made hypocrites.

But with faith “you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”