The moaning and kvetching on some of the trader blogs after the 1000 point Dow drop glitch last week is very confusing. Apparently some people with stop loss sell orders took a huge bath. One guy wrote about a colleague who had a portfolio on Monday worth 250 000 who lost 400 000 dollars in one afternoon. Aye aye aye aye aye. There is value at risk us mortal humans deal with and then there is playing with fire the hubris filled allow themselves to go bonkers with.
There was a Themis Trading blog outraged at the High Frequency Trading firms. The powers that be and conspiratorial interpretations never cease to amaze me. Things look to me to be very rough before the regulators catch up with these guys who are betting as big as they can with other people's (yours and mine) money. I have a scheme to take down these hot shots which I have divulged to three people on earth. I have a letter in the mail to one of them right now and am eagerly anticipating her reply. The recipe is in Laura Nader's book The Life of the Law.
Another book I have gotten much out of lately is Amihai Mazar's Archaeology of the Land of the Bible 10 000 -- 586 B.C.E. He reports some astonishing findings if you are innocent of the subject of Archaeology which I clearly was because I was astonished. There is no historical record of King Solomon. But the land midway between Mesopotamia and Egypt was continuously occupied by satellite civilizations which were every bit as sophisticated as the great civilizations during good times. They did not live in huts. They lived in walled cities and the wealthier families had nice houses and consumer goods which would satisfy many of us moderns. They have found in the diggings (at places like Jericho) olives, grapes, garlic, onions, chickpeas, art and weaponry which were the equivalent of anything in Egypt or Mesopotamia. It appears perfectly plausible that there was once a wealthy King named Solomon who built a magnificent temple such as presented in scripture and legend and myth.
The most important finding is the writing. They had an alphabet which is contemporaneous to the other first known alphabet of the Phoenicians. If there was a real Solomon he did not write Hebrew. There was a proto-Hebrew proto-Aramaic script and Mazar has a photo of a relic which they interpret as the Priestly Benediction which found its way ultimately into Numbers 6:24-25. The last time I looked into this stuff I understood the conventional wisdom to be Ezra's scribes had compiled the Torah entirely from oral tradition when they got back from the Babylon exile.
There is also some real data which anybody can use. I purchased the book for 20.00 in 1992. It is still in print, although it is 45.00. The price has gone up 2.25X in 18 years. So if you calculate your own inflation consumer price index there is a data point for you! Also I suppose there is a message about my own impulse purchasing habit or procrastination level, because I bought the book, carried it home, and moved it four times before I got around to reading it.
The upper middle class standard dwelling is all over the place in the diggings. The professionals refer to it as "the four room house" and it is about the same square feet as the apartment I am living in right now. I am confused when I ponder the question of whether I would have enjoyed this book nearly so much if I had read it in 1992 when I bought it. A human can undergo a lot of change in 18 years.
Remember how many people voted for Ross Perot? I was thinking about doing so as late as July or whenever it was the press coverage really started getting kooky. I ended up voting for Clinton. I decided I hated Bush the moment he got on television and explained the new world order was going to undo Saddam Hussein's invasion and restore "freedom in Kuwait". Who would ever think we would live to look on that as the good old days?