Friday, April 30, 2010

On Greek CDS

Under the efficient market theory the following trade should not be possible, yet you can put it on right now:

  • Buy 5-year Greek Government bonds (rated BB+) to yield 11.2% and,
  • Buy a 5-year CDS on the same Greek Government bonds at 620 bp (6.2% per year) from, say, Deutsche Bank (rated A+).
The net result is you make 500 bp (5%) net profit per year (11.2% - 6.2%) for up to five years and, at the same time, lower your credit risk very substantially, since Deutche Bank is rated six whole notches higher than the sovereign risk of Greece.   If Greece defaults you just deliver the bonds to Deutsche, get 100 cents on the euro and walk away.

Execution of the actual trade may result in somewhat different numbers since bid-offer spreads are very wide right now, but the arbitrage window is, nonetheless, enormous.

What gives?

Note: German Government 5-year bonds (schatz) yield 2% and those issued by Deutsche yield 3%.


  1. Depending on the form it takes, a debt restructuring may not constitute a default for the purpose of triggering the CDS contract.

  2. Quite. Anon makes the correct point.

    What losses have you insured against?

    If restructuring or partial default isn't in the list of protection you have purchased, you haven't got an arbitrage.

    ie. You need to think the other way round. Given the discrepancy is so large, the arbitragers would have jumped on it. They haven't. That means you've missed something.


  3. Lord Blagger, I responded to your comment two threads ago, and I'm going to pull up some of my answer here.
    When I was training to become a psychoanalyst, my mentor regularly warned us against going into "roue libre". Since I'm no mechanics person, I'll give you a general idea of what it means. I think it's what happens in the clutch car where you are shifting gears, and you go into neutral, THE POINT WHERE EVERYTHING IS DISCONNECTED, and the gears aren't actually working to pull the car..
    My mentor said that... if we weren't careful, we could do EXACTLY THAT with our symbolic systems, go into roue libre, the area where they are turning round and round on themselves FOR themselves, moreover, but... THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GEARS, OR PULLING THE CAR.
    And all of this is very unfortunate for US, AND for our symbolic systems.
    And what is even worse is that... our symbolic systems are structured in such a way that... WE DON'T EVEN SEE THIS CATASTROPHIC SITUATION when it occurs.
    Because they structure our world, give meaning to it, and.. where would we be without them ??
    That means that we act like ostriches as far as they're concerned.
    That means that presuming that there is any logic in the way we are resolving this crisis IS A DANGEROUS ASSUMPTION in my book.
    It shows, in my book that perhaps you have.. MISPLACED FAITH/TRUST in these symbolic systems ?

  4. I DO have answers, but I'm waiting for readers to comment.

  5. "Under the efficient market theory". Yeh, this theory assumes all kinds of utter BS. But of course the more extend & pretend and delay & pray the better eh. To extract wealth from the people who have no clue and are directed to blame other people without a clue.
    "Default is bad for the euro." Honesty is bad, lies are good. Sickening.
    Euro countries sold their ability to devalue for low interest rates. But of course the risks stayed the same (or worse). Ergo the banks knew they could shift the risk over to the rest of Europe.
    Let's cut the cr*p. Bad loans should default, interest rates should rise and asset prices should fall back to show reality. When the lying and cheating stops, then come back with efficient market theories.

  6. I looked up the securities last week on my bloomie, so the figures must not be the same today. But basically the bid-offer spreads on greek CDS were in the couple hundred bps, and the rest, well don't forget you have to fund yourself. 5 year libor is what 3.5% or something. So the arbitrageurs have pretty much done their job. And the CDS market makers are eating cake like it's their birthday on new years eve.

  7. Psychoanalyst LOL!

  8. No, Greek 5 yr CDS bid-offer is more like 50-70 bp. and at this point it's much more liquid that Greek govt. bonds.

    In their infinite wisdom, Greek authorities have decided to effectively shut down the secondary market for their country's bonds during the last 3-4 days.

  9. You might be making 500bps per annum but you've outlayed €100 for the bonds, so you're ROE is lousy. Glad you're not running my arb desk.

  10. Sorry to not stay on topic... and I promise this will be the last I bring this up (...but I want to get a better understanding of what LB, and Thai mean?)

    Lord B…

    Your tenacity is great… I guess we just don’t see eye to eye. I fail to comprehend, even from your exhaustive scenarios, what makes it zero sum?

    You grow an apple. You sell it to me for an I.O.U. (we’ll call I.O.U. $1Blagger) I eat the apple, you have the $1blagger. (let’s forget whatever cost was associated with you producing that apple)

    Equal so far?

    Now let’s take a look at these scenarios.
    1. After eating that apple, I either repay that $1Blagger IOU, through good or service, -or- you pass that IOU on to someone else for a good or service and I perform that IOU for them. (The energy I perform the good or service is done with the strength that apple gave me.)

    Are we zero sum?

    2. After eating that apple, I expend all my energy running in circles. I exhaust the energy supply. I just chose to never pay you back that IOU. (or you passed the $1blagger along to someone else for a good or service and they don’t receive their good or service. …leading to potential cascade, especially if you exchanged it for something that exhausted too.)

    Are we zero sum?

    3. After a week, I decide I do not want your apple. I give you back your rotten apple, and tell you I no longer owe you.

    Are we zero sum?

    In all 3 scenarios… I was “up” for the useful life of the apple. For the 3 scenarios, you were “enriched”, cheated, or lost opportunity cost (or the value of the apple energy yourself) ….and all of this is minus the cost associated with producing the apple.

    How, when you get something or nothing are you net “zero sum” for both scenarios. It can’t be both ways.

    Maturity (repayment) and default are destruction of the I.O.U. Inflation and deflation take care of the value through maturity. Default, consumption, and cost are lost! Inflation and deflation becomes the exponent on “lost” portion of wealth.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong… I just can’t cognitively accept or get past this concept. You’ll have to forgive me for not understanding your theory.

    All the best,
    Miss America – Rich Hartmann

  11. Rich, I would be interested in hearing your comment on my piece in the Saloon called "My lilies".
    You'll have to go back to March, or February, but I think it's still there.
    Go click on SuddenDebt's Spawn Off.
    I THINK I understand why you don't understand Lord Blagger... but maybe not.
    We're approaching the world from a different angle, Rich.

  12. Re: why efficient market theory is wrong.

    Easy... I think ;-)

    PS- I have no idea on why this particular arbitrage should not exist according to EMT as this is not my area of expertise.

    This is a classic epistemic problem, no different than what others face in medicine or parenting, or law, etc...

    As I understand it, efficient market theory assumes eveything is known- e.g. there are no unknown unknowns. You personally might not know everything, but someone else out there does know what you know.

    Assuming there is nothing outside what everyone knows, the theory applies a gaussian approach to reducing the market to something understandable and efficient.

    If we knew everything, risk would be Gaussian and efficient market theory might work.

    Yet unknown unknowns are everywhere in everything (e.g. the age old dilemma of the difference between risk and uncertaintiy)

    And since we don't know everything and never will, the world/market is most decidely non-gaussian.

    All new unknown unknows break this symmetry as more becomes different. ;-)

  13. Rich, Deb is correct, we are approaching the problem from different angles.

    Remember my comments on grammatical aspect?

    ... Remember how Clinton reminded us of the pitfalls of this issue?

    FWIW aspect is a very difficult problem because it even has the same... shall we call it scalability?... problem (I didn't use the "f" word) as everything else. ;-)

    The confusion is caused by the angle we are approaching this conversation from as you confuse zero-sum with value.

    So to answer your three scenarios in order: "yes" they are all zero-sum but the first scenario adds value and the other scenarios do not.

    1. "Yes" (I assume this is obvious to you) so I won't respond

    2. "Yes", zero-sum

    I will assume you are having trouble with this scenario and if you are the reason is your system boundaries are too small as LB has pointed out.

    Perhaps an illustration using the following symbols will help:

    LB= Lord Blagger
    RH= Rich Hartman
    A= Apple
    IOU = IOU
    E= Energy from the apple (or potential energy from the apple)
    W= Work performed with the energy from apple (or potential work can do if has apple's energy)

    - means lost
    + means gained

    Therefore, for scenario #2, let's add up what happens:

    LB has: -A, +IOU, -E , -W


    RH has: +A, -IOU, +E, +W

    Add these together and you are back to zeros-sum.

    However, in this instance, and unlike scenario 1, no VALUE was added to the system from the energy in the apple since greedy Rich Hartman wasted the apple's energy of the apple running in circles and the IOU that LB has is worthless.

    3. "Yes", again zero-sum

    Do the same exercise all over again and you will see it all balances out to zero-sum

    Again, no value is created as you let the temporal nature of the apple's energy expire from your procrastinating. In many ways it is the same as scenario #2 as no value is again added to the system.

    ... And next time you see a procrastinator or a jogger, give him/her a piece of mind for all of us in the collective. ;-)

    Be well

  14. @ Thai, Loose and free here... I got close to 10 beers in me right now and I can't believe I'm blogging... That's fatherhood!?!?!

    "LB has: -A, +IOU, -E , -W


    RH has: +A, -IOU, +E, +W"

    I'm failing to see how ths is any way correct? At the time of sale these parameters 4/6 of these 8 parameters would seem correct and 2/4 would be severly flawed (due to time)
    LB could not be out –A and out –E. That is having your cake and eating it to. Had he chose to keep the applke, and eat it himself, then he would be out the apple –A and up the energy +E. He cannot be out the apple, and ou the energy. The only way anyone is up the energy is once they are out the apple. Your double counting the asset. …and the debt. ..and not taking into consideration the expiration of its opportunity cost, and following depreciation.
    Likewise, I can’t have my apple and my energy. I have to lose my apple to have my energy.
    Now LB carries the +IOU on the market like it is an asset. I carry it not as –IOU… but as 0. Since I have no intention of repayment. It becomes zero sum for the IOU once LB recognizes that he has 0. …but the market won’t allow that!!! The market (from a cross pollinated fear of cascading defaults and a fear of finding who holds the “0” is instead funding 0 like it is there. )

    So would this be more accurate:
    "LB has: -A, +IOU/W, (remember… The IOU is not actually the asset. It is a debt. The “W” work, if performed is the asset) To treat the IOU as a separate asset is what e now do… bbut is is nothing but myth. Fiat!

    RH has: +A, -A, +E, -E
    RH is at 0. (IOU/W is nil… defaulted on)
    LB is at –A. He is only up the mythical IOU/W that is never coming. In addition, he is out the cost associated with producing the apple.

    Funny thing for me here… I am self educated on economics. I never read Keynes. Never read the Austrian school. Never read so much of what is considered the foundations. Instead, I’ve just always stuck with math/logic as I know it. (same approach I took to the rubics cube. THAT THING IS ZERO SUM!!! Every action is algorithmically equal and opposite in reaction… …and why it is comically easy to solve. I actually don’t understand why peope don’t see how easy it is. I’ve walked my wife through the logic. I think she got it.)
    I have since read up on so much of this folklore/foundation theory… …and find it equally amazing in forethought and general theory, as I find it inapplicable as a science due to the variables of change making any historic same inapplicable.
    Like I said. Cost, maturity, depreciation take away from zero sum.
    For the apple alone, ..lets say the IOU/W by LB is is eventually realized to be “0” since I’m not repayng it… LB is still out the cost of production. If I do choose to repay my debt, the depletion of my energy (which isn’t fixed, but a depreciating variable) has to match my IOU/W. these never pair up. Their difference is always mucking up zero sum…

    …why am I still going with this???
    You chose to disagree. I accept that I am OK with you conclusion for you. Just not for me and unfortunately reality.

    MA - RH

  15. So Rich:

    Are you saying that the Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't zero sum? Say it isn't so!

    Even Keynes said that on a long enough time scale, we are all dead.

  16. Rich, no. I'm not double counting and you very definitely decidedly are. Honest.

    Where you are 100% absolutely incorrect is in the following statement: "LB could not be out –A and out –E. That is having your cake and eating it to. Had he chose to keep the applke, and eat it himself, then he would be out the apple –A and up the energy +E. He cannot be out the apple, and ou the energy."

    And wrong with "Likewise, I can’t have my apple and my energy. I have to lose my apple to have my energy."

    Perhaps I have over simplified this too much for you?

    You are making the same Keynesian conservation of energy violations I often read in the paper that will get you tossed out of any room with a group of scientists.

    The conservation of energy is not to be confused with the possibility that there may be some Fermionic like superconducting properties to some aspects of economic society which will permit a little increase in aggregate demand to keep everyone's wheels spinning for a very long time, etc...

    Conservation of energy and superconducting properties are related to each other but are still entirely different things.

    Let's go over your you example one more time.

    ... And if I read you correctly, you are ignoring the concept of "potential energy" and where the potential energy resides AND I think you are getting your definition of energy confused (a VERY easy to do, believe me).

    If I have an apple in my hand, I only have a apple, period.

    The apple on the other hand contains POTENTIAL energy within it which is stored in the form of complex carbohydrates which will create a still different currency of energy in anyone's body who eats the apple.

    This new energy (now in a new form or currency of energy in your body known as ATP but which originally came to your body the apple) allows any person who consumes the apple the ability to do work.

    The work they then do is different than either the apple, the apple's potential energy, the new form of energy (ATP) in their body, etc... and yet in their difference, there is clearly a relationship between all these things.

    So when LB trades away an apple, not only is he trading away the apple, he is also trading away the potential to have the energy from the apple AND he is also trading away the potential to do work from the potential energy which would convert to real energy. And he is trading away the potential to add value to you.

    Value is all up to what you do with the apple.

    The energy in the apple is related to the apple

    The work done from the energy in the apple is related to the apple

    Both the energy and the work follow the apple wherever the apple goes... Although I'm sure there are Wall Street working on even this ;-)

    And yet they are still all separate things.

    In math they are known as manifolds. The energy changes manifolds yet it is always there.

    Perhaps the following quote from Richard Feynman helps:

    "There is a fact, or if you wish, a law, governing natural phenomena that are known to date. There is no known exception to this law; it is exact, so far we know. The law is called conservation of energy; it states that there is a certain quantity, which we call energy, that does not change in manifold changes which nature undergoes. That is a most abstract idea, because it is a mathematical principle; it says that there is a numerical quantity, which does not change when something happens. It is not a description of a mechanism, or anything concrete; it is just a strange fact that we can calculate some number, and when we finish watching nature go through her tricks and calculate the number again, it is the same."

    Remember, the energy came from the apple.

    Are you following?

  17. Oops, lots of typos

    Bottom line, the energy started in the apple and it follows it wherever it goes.

    Think about it

  18. Rich, please don't become another minion of Wall Street's Magesterium and help them perform intercissions between apple and their energy (20 sec).

    The Magesterium already invented intercission techniques for just about everything else in all those layers of collateralize debt obligation.

    They took away our mortgages, then they took the risk from our mortgages, and now you want them to take the energy from our apples?

    I like the relationship between apples and their energy, honest.

    Not all change is good. ;-)

  19. Thai:

    You completely lost me. I think you are trying to apply too much "science" to economics. Science, as far as I know, does not deal in fraud.

    I think that Rich was trying to make the point that the energy in the apple (potential energy) was wasted. It whittled away without anyone using it.

    You said:

    So when LB trades away an apple, not only is he trading away the apple, he is also trading away the potential to have the energy from the apple AND he is also trading away the potential to do work from the potential energy which would convert to real energy. And he is trading away the potential to add value to you.

    I think you are making some point about opportunity costs, but I can't be sure because you have muddled the language.

    I also don't get how you can say that if Rich gets the apple and uses it, but does not pay for it that there is no loss anywhere.

  20. ... Leave it to me to butcher something as simple as zero-sum.

    Okie, Rich is double counting and why he does not see it is beyond me but apparently he does not. I was trying to point out where his double counting is originating from.

    Please understand that at some level (or certain viewpoints), everything is zero-sum.

    But this should not to be confused with either fraud, nor should it be confused with waste nor should it be confused with value. These are all separate things.

    Something can be zero-sum and still be fraudulent and still represent poor value, etc...

    As for your question: "I also don't get how you can say that if Rich gets the apple and uses it, but does not pay for it that there is no loss anywhere."

    Again, it is the issue of "from whose viewpoint are you referring to?" or as I like to call it "frame of reference" or what you often call "point of view", etc...

    1. Are you taking about LB's viewpoint?
    2. Are you talking about Rich's viewpoint?
    3. Are you talking about the viewpoint of a third person who is "outside the system" and cares neither more nor less for either LB or Rich but is looking at the two of them and making a pronouncement that entails them both?


    If Rich eats LB's apple but does not pay for it, then:
    1. From LB's viewpoint, there is a loss.
    2. From Rich's viewpoint there is a gain.
    3. From the viewpoint of the neutral "outside observer" who cares neither more nor less for either Rich or LB, the loss of LB is canceled by the gain to Rich and the whole transaction is net zero-sum.

    Zero-sum is ALWAYS perceived by a person who resides outside a system being observed.

    But individual participants who are within a system see things very differently.

    FWIW, I think this is why Rich is having a hard time seeing how the CDS industry is zero-sum. As Rich is inside his own system, he is have trouble seeing how outsiders look at his industry and profession so to speak.

    In theory LB should make the same error Rich is making but he seems better able to shift his point of view from that of someone in the industry to someone who is completely outside it (you and I) and rightfully points out what he does is zero-sum.

    PS- LB is still providing poor value on a personal level.

    ... Though I'm not so sure either the legal or medical profession can really throw stones at bankers regarding this truth as the same could be said of us as well.

    Also, I really wasn't thinking of opportunity costs at all. But now you suggest it, I do like the potential energy/opportunity cost analogy and may use it in the future if you don't mind.

    Be well

  21. What kind of accounting is that???
    “So when LB trades away an apple, not only is he trading away the apple, he is also trading away the potential to have the energy from the apple AND he is also trading away the potential to do work from the potential energy which would convert to real energy. And he is trading away the potential to add value to you.”
    That’s like saying… I traded a dollar for a cigarette.
    Now when I trade the dollar away, I am also trading away the bubble gum I could’ve bought. So I’d be out the dollar and potential bubbles. Or lotto ticket (that could’ve been worth millios)? Or a dollars worth of gas (that could’ve taken me somewhere…)
    We’re filling up the balance sheet on $1.
    What do the accountants do when we have $200. …buy more paper?
    I still disagree. …and your “potential energy” is what I called opportunity cost. Which I acknowledged.
    At best, LB is not out the apple and its potential energy. He is just out 1 or the other. If this suits you better, LB is “either” –A -or- -A, +A, - potential Energy. ThThe energy or it’s potential are always locked in exchange for the apple.
    As for me double counting… huh? I used your scenario… and stated that it should really only be 4 of the 8. (double counted on both sides.)
    In your last piece you said:
    1. From LB's viewpoint, there is a loss.
    2. From Rich's viewpoint there is a gain.
    3. From the viewpoint of the neutral "outside observer" who cares neither more nor less for either Rich or LB, the loss of LB is canceled by the gain to Rich and the whole transaction is net zero-sum.
    Rich is 0. Was up the apple. (and its energy, potential) wasted it. He was only up the apple during it, or its energy’s life. Consumption(minus replenishment) cost and depreciation kill zero sum!!!!!!!!!!
    LB is at +1, but not letting his IOU die. Even if he let it go to 0, he’d be out his COST.
    The 3rdperson is out too. Not only do they have stolen from them the value of that applenot being somewhere, but they are unwilling bystanders in the overall freeze. The freeze being… if the true loss is ever finally acknowledged… the market would have to die. …and 3rd person or not… that means a complete system failure.
    @ Okie
    Funny you brought up Keynes… (and this is the reason I checked back in tonight) While showering this morning I put together something I thought would best explain from a basic theory standpoint.
    I was pondering the LB theories (and other philosophies that have been stated here that circle back on zero sum in either such a complex way (or even at the most rudimentary) that “ultimately” all the interconnectivity essentially comes back to zero sum much the same way every person dies.
    Which is why I laughed when I saw you bring up the “on a long enough time scale, we are all dead.”
    Ultimately, that is true. …but for the time in between, we are not zero sum until we die, Our death is that equal and opposite reaction to our birth. The damage we do is our cost, which I said is not zero sum, …and time, is always the factor that allows us to put off the reckoning of becoming zero sum.
    Well with that said…The market is a living, breathing, function. It does not have flesh, but it is alive. Its ultimate end (collapse) is when it, and its functions finally “truly” become zero sum. So if there is a complete and total collapse… Then CDS, CDO, bonds, dollars, trading, etc are zero sum. …and I would then concede. …but without collapse/death, the function continues to live and breath… it is not zero sum. It is like a human living forever.
    Finance’s life is defying Keynes logic.
    MA – RH
    p.s. don’t I get the credit on the “opportunity cost”. I kinda thought OKie mentioned it because that’s what I clearly stated last night at 3am???

  22. LOL!!!

    Sorry, you get credit, my bad.

    I think I'll try 10 beers next time as well to see if helps my own writing clarity. ;-)

    Conversations like this are like holding water in one's hand.

    OK, we are sort of agreeing and sort of not agreeing

    As far as we know, nothing starts in a vacuum.

    There may have been a big bang but the fact that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate suggests even more energy is being shoved into our universe daily much like a water balloon expands when you attach it to the water faucet and turn the water on.

    But is it awfully hard for us to look outside of the system we call our universe to see what is shoving energy into our universe system so we are simply stuck theorizing for right now...

    Everything needs a template, or a kernel, from which everything else forms (so far as we know).

    Even your mind/the human brain is not a blank slate.

    So in order for Rich to be born, the "system" had to have enough energy in it for Rich to be born. And as you were born, you took energy from somewhere else in the system.

    For this to happen, either more energy had to enter the human system from somewhere outside the human system (like the "external" system of dead plants and dead bacterial that formed oil millions of years ago) OR something else in the human system had to change to free up energy to allow Rich to exist and grow. And all this occurred over time.

    So if Rich wants either to personally live longer, or wants his kids to live longer, AND the amount of energy in the system is fixed, then either other people in it need to die sooner (The Paul Krugman approach to our medical dilemma), or birth rates need to drop, or the energy lost to "friction" within the system needs to drop, or people need to consume less energy in other ways, etc... Or any permutation of any/all of the above needs to occur.

    This is not controversial

    We all agree PEAK OILer are going bonkers over this... (And as I said before, I am not a PEAK OIKLer)

    And we have all been reading forever how Hell wants us to focus on energy as it is the only thing which really keeps us and the system propped up/prevents war/etc...

    And I think we all agree there are the myriad bugaboos over where to get this energy, etc... and what the consequences of getting the energy are, etc...

    These are not controversial (at least I think they are not)


    And "yes" I agree, all of us loose when something is wasted.

    But the fact that the system started with energy before you entered it and that you have the ability to destroy the human system does not change the zero-sum nature of the system we both reside it.

    It does require we cooperate.

    Why do you think my 1 punch line message is always the same: cooperation.

    And yes, everything is connected to everything else. ;-)

    Be well

  23. @ Rich re: "The market is a living, breathing, function. It does not have flesh, but it is alive. Its ultimate end (collapse) is when it, and its functions finally “truly” become zero sum. So if there is a complete and total collapse… Then CDS, CDO, bonds, dollars, trading, etc are zero sum. …and I would then concede. …but without collapse/death, the function continues to live and breath… it is not zero sum. It is like a human living forever."

    I hope you see that while it seems like we are having the same conversation, you are on the 7th floor while I am on the 3rd. The floors may look similar but they are also different.

    For in talking about the idea of living forever, it is clear we are talking about something different entirely.

    If you define the boundaries of the system you call "the market" as being all human economic activity, then you are having a multi-level conversation. And while it is zero-sum for all levels, a kind of immortality can exist from some viewpoints within the system. Further "the market" can grow as energy move into it from another system outside it. And as this energy moves in, the boundaries of the market or system grow at the expense of another market or system outside our market/system.

    E.g. person person activity balances to zero-sum within a market, system system activity balances to zero outside these two markets but individual viewpoints may or may not look like zero-sum while all this happens.

    Energy is always conserved.

    If it is not zero-sum ( is less than zero-sum) from (say) the development of a giant financial services black hole in our economy, then conservation laws have been violated.

    There are no known instances where this is true. I mean none.

    If you find one, all science we know needs to be thrown out.

    And FWIW, some people once thought black holes violated conservation laws (ala Hawking's famous information paradox bet which I recommend you read as you seem to be making some of his same mistakes)

    But even Hawkings concedes black holes do not violate conservation laws as he once thought.

    ... Though since you keep referring to Keynes, you might be interested in reading the following Wiki.

    For at least to me, Bose-Einstein condensates, and their closely related Fermionic brethren (e.g. low temperature superfluity superconductors), make very compelling models of Keynesian theory (again, in my opinion).

    And just like we are witnessing black holes in the financial services sector today, so too can B-E/Fermioninc condensates form their own black holes.

    ... Indeed (and this is really way cool!!!) super-fluidity condensates can even go supernova or "Bosenove".

    Fractal indeed ;-)

    Be well

  24. Thai:

    I am starting to conclude that this fractal thing is more like a religion to you. Furthermore, I think you may be making a mistake that is akin to equivocation in logic.

    For instance, you keep taking certain scientific laws or theories and applying them to economics (the equivocation problem coming in here in that they both use mathematics to some extent). The problem with your analysis, as far as I can see it, is that the "law of gravity" cannot be defrauded.

    I hate to bring it up, but we are going to have to talk about it at some point: the oil that is spilling into the Gulf of Mexico is just wasted energy. In addition, it will kill a lot of wildlife and food sources. How is that "conservation of energy?" Isn't that just plain loss?

    What about negative externalities? How do they factor into your "zero-sum" scenarios? One the one hand, we say that in the oil spill, that BP -- in theory, at least -- will have to pay damages (assuming that the Supreme Court does not overturn it, like they did with the Exxon Valdez). But will they really pay all the damages given the negative externalities of dead wildlife, habitat destruction, loss of property values from oil on the beaches, etc. I mean, the losses are just going to be staggering.

    If I keep this up, I am going to get all doomerish on everyone. I am already depressed enough. And this incident is probably not going to help in getting me back to work.

    Doesn't the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics violate your "zero-sum" argument? Since energy is always destroyed, that is always a loss, not zero-sum.

  25. Okie, nonsense

    If you know of ANY instance where gravity is violated, I'm all ears. If you are saying there are times when its effects are swamped by other forces, I wouldn't disagree.

    No, the second law of thermodynamics is not voilated. There are no instances where it has ever been found to be violated. And I mean none.

    And "yes", from some viewpoints (in this case the people who want to use the oil to power their cars), the oil spilled in the gulf is wasted and to them is not zero-sum. However the second law of thermodynamics is not violated for every oil spill.

    From other viewpoints, the spill is still zero-sum as the oil (and the energy it represents) simply goes back to where it came from (the earth).

    And "yes" again, negative externalities are still zero-sum. They do not violate thermodynamics in any way shape or form. IN fact, they occur because someone is pushing the problems of their system onto someone else's system (such as what most liberals do with their own personal problems when they push them onto government to solve and therefore give them to everyone else, etc...)

    The reason they are even called "externalities" is the person who is causing the problem is not including someone/something else in his/her system as he causes harm to others in another system, etc...

    If the offender saw the problems and the other people as part of his/her own system, they would not even be called externalities, they would be internalities.

    Don't confuse zero-sum with the boundaries you define for your system.

    And there is no reason to get all doomer unless you simply cannot think non-linearly. In which case you have bigger problems anyway.

    We do not live in a linear world.

    Why is this so hard to see?

    It is like telling everyone the emperor has no clothes and being accused of religion, bizarre.

    I think the better question is: "if you think human/economic systems are linear, please give an example of where?"

    Or better yet...

    Please share a single real world economic example where the conservation of energy is violated?

    And I mean even 1 example.

    I guarantee that if you think you have found an example, you simply defined your boundaries too small and there is an "externality" (either positive or negative) created as you leave someone or something out of your example.

    What is the oldest law on the books for economics?

    "There is no free lunch"

    This is the same as the conservation of energy which is the same as zero-sum.

    PS- I din't even come close to making this stuff up. I simply read other people. Google it yourself if you do not believe me.

    What is bizarre or controversial or religious about this?

    @Hell, I know you want to stay 10' away from this conversation but to be fair, if you are really saying CDS violate the second law of thermodynamics and therefore are less that zero-sum, I suggest you defend yourself as there is a world of people that will quickly label you a quack.

    ... Okie, FWIW, this is an example of an externalitiy as I move the problem from you and I to Hell. ;-)

  26. I think I'm better labelled as a quaRk.


  27. :-)

    ... Of course it is probably fair to note that some have charming flavors, while others do taste a little strange.

    PS- Okie, I think you have your answer, or at least as close to an answer as you are ever going to publicly get.

    Hell is one of us.

  28. This is a really interesting discussion...
    But what i'm interested in is not so much the CONTENT of it, as the... point of view of its participants.
    Rich, as far as I can tell, Thai changes hats when he wishes. (Why not, I say ?...)
    At certain times he is WITHIN the system, but at others, he moves outside it.
    Only FROM THE OUTSIDE, i.e. FROM THE SO CALLED OBJECTIVE viewpoint can we talk about zero sums.
    But... life looks pretty dry and dusty from the objective viewpoint, doesn't it ?
    Those apples don't have any... TASTE from the objective viewpoint.
    They are JUST concepts.
    Most of my shrink friends have figured out that the "objective" viewpoint actually arose as a magisterial defense mecanism against... subjectivity.
    Objectifying has some DEFINITE drawbacks.
    We have been seeing them in the modern world for quite some time now.
    And it is NOT because the scientists have reinjected subjectivity into the game in partitioned ways that the effects of the objectivation viewpoint are not making themselves felt, still.

  29. Thai:

    You totally missed what I was saying. Let's try this again.

    I said: "force of gravity" cannot be defrauded.

    You said: If you know of ANY instance where gravity is violated, I'm all ears.

    You apparently missed the QUOTATION MARKS. I put gravity in quotations because I did not want you to focus on that, but rather that "gravity" (scientific law) and "fraud" (crime) are not related. But you are applying scientific principles (scientific laws) to economic principles or judicial laws, which are not the same thing, you committed the fallacy of equivocation.

    I just saw this article: 10 Ways the American Economy is Built on Fraud. You ought to read it, Thai, because one of the parts involves fraud and abuse in the medical field.

    I said:

    Doesn't the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics violate your "zero-sum" argument? Since energy is always destroyed, that is always a loss, not zero-sum.

    You said:

    No, the second law of thermodynamics is not [violated]. There are no instances where it has ever been found to be violated. And I mean none.

    That didn't answer my question. I am arguing that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is right and your "zero-sum" is wrong.

  30. Okie, I give up

    As for energy being used up when we consume something, this is not the same as zero-sum...

    Energy is never destroyed, it simply changes form

    Of course some forms are less valuable to you and I

    As for fraud, we agree. There is lots and lots of fraud. And while I'm sure it is out there in medicine, I honestly do not see very much of it (at least to the best of my knowledge). What I see is lots of low value work being performed.

    And fraud does not change the zero-sum nature of things but it does change other things.

    And I am not condoning fraud one bit. Stamp it out, prosecute, punish, etc... we agree

    And "science" has already said it cannot answer things like fraud which are fundamentally moral decisions. Although once you have decided what fraud is, profiling can sometimes help spot fraud when it is as difficult to find as a needle in a haystack.

    And profiling has its own drawbacks as well.

    Also, I completely disagree with you that you cannot apply scientific principles to economics. By definition, economics is the branch of social science that deals with the production and distribution and consumption of goods, services and their management.

    Where I do agree with you is that we cannot apply scientific and economic principles to law or psychology.

    Lawyers (and psychologists) are way too smart for that ;-)

  31. PS- I noticed your fraud piece missed the Social Security fraud. I.e. how 20% of all Social Security dollars now go to disability payments despite significant reductions in things like accidents and injuries in the work place, etc... As lawyers have effectively changed the definition of disability in this country (to the personal benefit in a classic tragedy of the commons event) over the last 30 years.

    I guess the only think to

  32. @Hell (and Rich), since Keynes keeps coming up, I'm curious to get your opinions on this Wiki link? You may have missed it in all this other "stuff" (I have already formed my own opinion for it as relates to other subjects).

    It would suggest that Keynes was not so far off the mark after all.

  33. Deb, re: "But... life looks pretty dry and dusty from the objective viewpoint, doesn't it ?
    Those apples don't have any... TASTE from the objective viewpoint."

    How about this song for sticking with a viewpoint within the system?

    Be well

  34. Thai, Okie, Debra, LB (and of course hell.)

    This was the most fun I've had blogging in the last year.

    Thank you.

    Once again... I think I'm right... but I am now aware of other views, and have that I would not dare call wrong. (even though I think I am right)

    Good times...

    All the best,
    MA - RH

    p.s. Hell This is gonna be a fun week. Another bandaid will be applied to another burst artery in the world. Greece, like the black night, will procaim "tis just a flesh wound"

    Goldman will say I'm rubber, you glue, everything we do is making markets, so just say thank you."

    ...and Cali will say... No problem dude. (or should I say "no problemo muchacho"?)

    The shrimp in the gulf will say. mmmm mmmm mmmmmm Lite and sweet.

    Gordon Brown will say something... that won't be good!

    While an Arizona cop will say something that might be bigoted. Hmmmm ironic.

    Debra will say "read this at the saloon" hahaha.. Deb I'll read your piece... but would greatly appreciate a link. YES!!! I am that lazy sometimes.

    ...and finally for 19.99 Billy Mays will not say anything. ...but if you act right now he will throw something else in!!! (yes... just saw an infomertial with a dead pitchan! ...and he said "if you act now" Oh billy!!! If I could only.

  35. if greece blows up there is a chance that the german banks too will blow up. The ratings do not reflect reality.

    Just guessing.

  36. Thank you Thai, for that admission.
    "We cannot apply scientific and economic principles to law or psychology".
    From my point of view (!!...) this discussion is about the status of subjectivity, and subjectivity is at stake.
    Which takes us WAY BEYOND the delimited terrains of the law or psychology.
    Okie, what is behind your statement that fractals are a kind of religion for Thai, and the quotation marks that you stuck around "science" further up ?
    Doesn't statement number 1 IMPLY an implicit... judgment on the quality of Thai's arguments ?
    Doesn't that statement implicitely but subtley DISQUALIFY Thai's theory, by attaching the label "religion" to it ?
    (Please, Okie, I'm not attacking YOU, I'm looking at what you're saying to try to understand your.. viewpoint, if you like...)
    In any case, this is the way it LOOKS and SOUNDS to me. And... if this is the case, I consider that "we" are once again confronted with the effects of the scientific materialism mindset which has OPPOSED religion and science in order to disqualify religion, and establish science as the UNIQUE ideology capable of delivering.. "the truth". (Dig those quotation marks...)
    It takes A VERY LONG TIME for our ideas to change.
    And, THIS IDEA, that science is TRUTH, and that religion is a... LIE, is under attack, once again.
    And I, for one, am very happy that it is under attack.
    Because.. I don't like DOGMA wherever it is.
    Thai, I have one MISE EN GARDE to make to you :

    One of the reasons I read Freud with a fine toothed comb (but then I TRY to read everybody with a fine toothed comb, when/where I can understand), is that Freud had some excellent ideas, he patiently, over the course of a lifetime built them into a coherent theory of the human psyche (but he CHANGED his ideas over the course of time, you can't read Freud and find a full blown, non contradictory evolution of his thought, he was, after all.. HUMAN). And, as he gained notoriety, and grew older and more conservative, he took to... integrating his observations into the ALREADY EXISTING THEORY, instead of regularly questioning his theory to fit IT to his observations.
    Two different angles for approaching theory : you cut and paste observation to make it fit your theory, OR, you cut and paste your theory.
    Gotta be careful which option you choose. The temptations are colossal...

  37. Thanks for the nice link, Thai.
    Funny you chose that song...
    I hope that Johnny didn't finish his earthly life in that particular viewpoint, for his sake.
    Pretty lonely (and alienated) for him.
    Once you get to that place, you really don't HAVE to stay there. You.. HAVE A CHOICE.
    We are much more alike than you may think, my friend Thai.
    Much more alike... (but you probably know this already).
    Bless you.

  38. Rich, here is a..pseudo link to my piece on streetratcrazy...

  39. Anonymous guessed right, IMO, on the original topic of the post (why the wide arbi). He said:

    "if greece blows up there is a chance that the german banks too will blow up. The ratings do not reflect reality. Just guessing"

    Essentially, speculators are "haircutting" the CDS.

  40. Party pooper... Focus is so over rated.

    The NYT had a great piece yesterday on the interrelated financial links with a great interactive as I'm sure you all noticed.

    Plus, are we saying the market is efficient after all now? ;-)

    @Rich, have a great week. I hope you have lots of great news this week.

    Alas, mine is more of this variety of late... And I had a great near decapitation from yet another ATV accident this past Friday.

    Lot's of job security in those ATVs in this recession. :-(

    Re: Greek default, it's only my perspective but it is hard to feel all that sorry for people protesting an increase in their retirement age from 53 to 67.

    Nor do I see how protests even help the situation.

    But as long as Germans want to throw good money after bad, it's their money.

    Although Rich did correctly work out that if anyone wastes, the waste is really felt by all.

    Simply a matter of how you want to split the atom so to speak.

  41. I love it…

    Greece isn’t just pushing on a string! They are pushing on a string, that’s lit on fire , and attached to dynamite!!!

    Agree to wage/pension freeze & cuts. …when you’re already in a shortfall economy. (contracting) …jobs/production falling…

    It’s almost like agreeing to deflation.

    …and then the greatest worldwide factor on cost of living (cost of oil) will simultaneously go up, as these measures (and other EU / Port, Sp, IT…) that are needed, will devalue the EURO. …thus pushing the price of oil up in EURO denominations.

    So it’s deflation on the things you have, inflation on the things you need.


    …when the cost at the pump has a societal trickle up, not only in Greece, but the rest of the EU region, there will be hellasious to pay!

    All the best,
    MA - RH

  42. Well well well

    Hell, I have to leave it to crafty Greek and European foxes.

    30% of Greek bailout will be financed by the IMF where 40% of IMF funding comes from US taxpayers and this debt will be junior to current debt-holders?

    So we fund 12% of the Greek bailout and take a junior position in the collection line?

    Interesting times indeed

  43. I get REALLY TIRED of hearing all the hype about retirement age in European countries, AS THOUGH EVERYBODY WANTED TO RETIRE at those ages, for example.
    For at least ten years now our government has been telling us... THAT THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH, and that we are all going to have to work longer for our diminishing pensions (next to zero for me anyway...) WHEN THERE IS NO WORK !!!
    Great to tell people that they have to work longer when nobody is hiring seniors or wants to, and work is being destroyed (particularly salaried work, you guys...) at the speed of light !!! (And besides, can you see me (or other people my age...) doing roadwork, or working in the fields ??)
    Talk about "mauvaise foi", anyone ?
    This is another instance of Americans feeling all put out and envious about the SO CALLED social protection in European countries...
    If YOU want it, get your butts out and do something about it, instead of self righteously proclaiming that it's bringing us ALL down, social protection. OR that it's destroying the planet... (fat chance)
    I will admit to see sawing on this issue.
    The French people are getting out in droves these days to protest against the decline in our standard of living WHICH NEVERTHELESS IS STILL LIGHT YEARS AWAY from the incredible WASTE I saw going on in the States two years ago.
    After a very short period of questioning the tendancy of social protection to value security and status quo above innovation, I return to my initial position, and notice that the world is STILL looking towards the reaction of French workers, as France WAS the birthplace of the IDEAS and one of the most recent revolutions that impacted our minds, and changed our ideas, and lives as a result.
    What changes our ideas ? Can demonstrations change our ideas ?
    Why not ?
    We're pretty complex animals, after all.
    And we SURE VALUE our symbolic systems...
    Am I being nationalistic here ? Maybe.
    So what ?
    What I find REALLY SAD is how the American hype about the joys of neoliberland has managed to corrode our "national" pride in OUR traditions, and make us lose faith in OUR EUROPEAN (FRENCH) way of doing things. Really sad. Tragic, even.
    As for the IMF loan...
    Believe you me, I am as unhappy about it from my viewpoint as the American "taxpayer" (what an entitlement word...) is.
    Being beholden to an institution that is owned, lock stock and barrel, by the American cartel does not tickle the cockles of my heart.
    But this development certainly shows that the international business world is.. "realistic" to the extent it is looking out for its own REGARDLESS OF SUCH LITTLE DETAILS AS NATIONAL BOUNDARIES..
    Extremely logical, in my book.
    Capital is its OWN country...

  44. Ah, that old viewpoint issue again.

    The French (nay European) notion of work as a fixed pie.

    How quaint

    I'm not sure my own definition of work is "that which other people must package on a silver platter".

    Sometimes "work" is something an employer will actually pay for in addition to what an employee wants to do.

    There is more work on this planet to be done (that others will pay for) than can possibly be done in a million million lifetimes. The much bigger problem seems to be that most people just don't want to do it.

    Most people want to play.

    And while I'm all in favor of mixing the two. At some point they do require mixing.

    Last time I checked, we did not have a cure for Glioblastoma and believe me, I know many people who will give up their life's savings in a heartbeat for such a cure and restart the old work process all over again.

    Last time I checked, there were still all kinds of very real issues people will personally pay good money for to have solved.

    But sometimes old dogs must learn new tricks (or languages) even when they don't want to and even when it is very difficult.

    I think it fair to say that only a fringe minority of the 50% of the people on this planet who are doing better than the average actually want to leave others behind.

    But this is always a relationship and the 50% who are doing worse than average must still move/change as well.

    I understand that no one likes change but it is what it is.

    Whose viewpoint is more "right"?

  45. But Thai... you are NOT watching the way it plays out over here (and possibly in the States, too).
    Your PREJUDICE seems to dictate that (most) people are shirking.
    This prejudice is shared by.. ALMOST ALL the bourgeois middle class professional people HERE (and in the U.S.), the SELF EMPLOYED, for example.., who seem to feel that because they are working long and hard hours, everybody who is NOT working is shirking. And they have good reason to be bitching, some of them, because they get the short end of the stick in MANY cases.
    But.... LOOK WHAT ELSE THEY GET... THEY ARE THEIR OWN BOSSES !!! NO EMPLOYER telling them what to do !! How much is THAT WORTH, prithee ??
    You are as blind on THIS issue as you think Rich is on zero sums, aren't you ?
    Lots of people would like to work here.
    Lots of people who don't necessarily have the skills to do the work that is offered because THE SYSTEM says that you have to have a piece of paper to be hired. And the training they are getting is insufficient for the new jobs that SHOULD be created, granted.
    The SYSTEM says that you have to KNOW how to do things, rather than LEARN how to do them on the job (which EVERYBODY has to do to some extent...).
    And the SYSTEM puts incredible barriers in place to KEEP YOU FROM WORKING, Thai.
    Because these days, the system is ALL ABOUT PUNISHING THE "SHIRKERS".
    That is an incredibly UNGENEROUS mindset, that you seem to share with all too many people.
    It is counterproductive, because it creates a general atmosphere of... SUSPICION, of MISTRUST that just keeps taking us further and further DOWN. As though we needed that... (Dixit Rich, and his comment this morning.)
    If you don't want to see this, I can't force you.
    But, don't tell me you have an open mind about it, because you don't.
    Unfortunately our social protection system has been funded by employment, work revenues and STILL IS.
    It is going down in the global shifting of "value" AWAY from work and towards finance.
    We SHOULD be financing our social protection through TAXATION OF THE FINANCE EDIFICE.
    But... everybody is too dip shit scared to rock THAT boat, and it's not the most recent "rescue" that is going to prove me wrong on that count, either...
    So, tell me, how long do you think that YOU'RE going to hold out under the global pressure to turn us ALL into rice farmers on the Bangladeshi coast, unwilling sacrifices to our all powerful idol... MONEY ??

  46. Deb, we are definitely talking about different things.

    I have no idea how you can interpret what I'm saying as defending the system's use of things like certification as a means of proving competency AND at the same time protecting jobs.

    Where you read that I am a voice for this is beyond me.

    Didn't I say I love mid-level providers (e.g physician assistant's and nurse practitioners)?

    Which studies say are every bit as effective as family physicians in long term patient outcomes?

    You'll have to find someone else to defend this practice.

    Nor am I saying people need to slave away spinning their wheels to somehow prove themselves, indeed far from it.

    As for somehow wanting to "punish" anyone including "shirkers", nothing could be further from the truth.

    Punishing people uses resources which I don't want wasted and which seem to have far better purposes imo.

    I would simply rather stop throwing good money after bad on shirkers in the first place (which I think would happen if people were not spending other people's money).

    Let the shirkers figure out how they want to make themselves useful to the collective. But I in no way condone artificial barriers created by some in the collective to allow them to work.

    Where would you get the opinion that I would?

    PS- this issue will resolve itself whether we want it to or not as Social Security pays more this year than it takes in. There is simply no way to make the numbers work without addressing the 20% of all monies which now go to the small but growing number of "disabled" as a result of endless changes to the definition of disability.

    You read Dr John's article

    As for collective financing...

    All I can say is the collective is not of one mind.

  47. I keep saying that we are under a collective and individual illusion that we are not influenced by the ideology that is being spewed out around us.
    What SOME PEOPLE (maybe not you, Thai...) consider artificial barriers to allow OTHERS to work COULD be considered a REASONABLE way to approach work.
    Like...shorter hours. Time to.. THINK, to enjoy life. To raise children. To... share housework, the work of the household. Time to do a garden, for example.
    Time to do leisure activity that is not simply a decompressive reaction to the stressful pace of "work". Time to recreate "work" that is not a separate, disconnected activity in our minds.
    I think that you agree with me here, Thai, BUT THAT YOU DO NOT THINK THAT IT IS POSSIBLE.
    Why not ? Thinking that it is not possible is... WHAT ? How do you KNOW it's not possible ? How CAN you know this ? Is it because you, and so many others, have lost FAITH ?
    I STILL maintain that our collective prejudices about what money is worth are getting in our way. And our collective MELANCHOLY about who we are, even more.
    And we have massively devalued work, and almost everything these days, through our incapacity to have... faith.)
    I am working HARD to change those prejudices, and make people feel better about themselves, and to change our negative ideas about who we are, and what WE'RE worth.
    A word of advice to you, Thai.
    The "outside the system" viewpoint has some VERY DEFINITE DISADVANTAGES that I don't think you have really perceived yet. Like being... nowhere in the final analysis. Not a good place to be, nowhere...Being everywhere, and being nowhere IS THE SAME PLACE.
    This debate is about "objectivity".
    It is NOT a neutral viewpoint.
    There IS NO neutral viewpoint...
    Why is there so much resistance to social change IN OUR MINDS ?
    I think that WE ARE VERY WRONG to insist so much on improving the lot of the poor and disadvantaged.
    Because I think that we need to insist on improving the lot of EVERYONE, RICH AND POOR together.
    I think that we need to be showing THE RICH just HOW MUCH they receive out of NOT CHARITY, but generosity. GIVING.
    In all of our debates on this blog, the idea of GIVING NEVER comes up. Or only in an extremely cynical way.
    Have we forgotten HOW MUCH we can RECEIVE through giving ? TRUE GIVING ? (Not charity to make oneself feel good about oneself.)
    Your last comment demonstrates how we are reducing an increasing number of our human exchanges and relations to MERCANTILE ones.
    As I've already said, getting rid of differences destroys meaning.
    So... we are engaged in a process that is destroying money and work AT THE SAME TIME. We are in the midst of a.. revolution, already.
    How far will this destruction go ?
    I don't know. But it's happening in front of our eyes, for those who can, and want to see it.
    I am not competent to discuss the intricacies of the health care debate with you, and I am not willing to take the time to research to be able to do so.
    So.. our exchanges will have to take place at a more general level, from my point of view.
    I am not accusing YOU personally of anything that I don't think many many others in the U.S. (and in France...) are thinking, indeed, I keep saying that it is an ideological mindset that I see at work here.
    That's what prejudice is all about. It's not really conscious, or a product of individual consciousness either.
    But I AM saying that I see evidence of this ideological mindset in your comments.
    We are not coherent, anyway. Our perception of our own continuity and unity is an illusion..
    That holds for me too, of course...

  48. Deb, nonsense again

    Every time you go to the market and make a decision on whether to purchase an apples, you are using a form of thee objective viewpoint.

    Every time you look at a train schedule and choose which train to take, you are using the objective viewpoint.

    Are we going to tax finance to create a class of people who will show us when we can and when we cannot see the objective viewpoint.

    And what happens when these "priests" can't agree?

    Utter nonsense.

  49. ??????
    Explain yourself in detail, Thai.
    I'm NOT following you here.
    On YOUR definition of objectivity...

  50. How does taxing finance create a different caste of people, Thai ?
    These people already exist. And THEY at least, are NOT PRIESTS... And they are not... REGULATORS either. Regulation, as you will agree with me is NOT where it's at.
    Rich will tell you that.
    There's NO NEED to invent them. They're already with us.
    THE GOVERNMENT TAXES. It's in charge of deciding who will be taxed, and what. And it just has to.. write and print those little forms. It's as easy as that (but a political bombshell, granted...).
    In the best case scenario, granted.
    And the way people perceive taxation and WHO is taxed IS EVERY BIT AS IMPORTANT as those $$$$$ that are getting shuffled around in your scenario.
    Not taking THAT into account sets you up for revolution, Thai.
    The way things COULD STILL go down in Greece.
    The way things went down... in Weimar Germany, by the way.
    If you keep your eyes too glued on the plusses and the minuses, you can neglect some pretty important... details.

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. Deb, let is go

    Re: "Our perception of our own continuity and unity is an illusion..
    That holds for me too, of course..."


  54. Thai, I think I'm going to give up here and bow out, regardless of Hell's invite.
    I'm tired of the competition between us.
    It's not... fun any more.
    It's got OLD, stale, and counterproductive.
    It's bringing me down, and it's not worth it.
    So.... I'll let you take back the controls of BOTH ships, and get the erector gig back on course, buddy.
    Have fun.
    By the way... Desdemona's NOT DEAD.
    Desdemona is passing on into another universe.
    I don't know if you can see my POINT OF VIEW on this one.
    But I'm past caring any more.