Thursday, January 25, 2007

Publish or Profit?

Whenever someone tells you that he or she knows how to beat the market consistently, please feel free to raise an incredulous eyebrow. When that person follows up such a claim with an offer to show you how to do it... for a fee, make sure you've still got your wallet as you move a safe distance away.

The reason why is a concept I have touched on before: competitive markets are very efficient at driving down "abnormal" profits.

The Unknown Professor agrees with me on this, and in this post he points out an interesting recent paper that is yet more evidence for the validity of the efficient markets hypothesis.

Colby Wright, the paper's author, wondered why a financial economics researcher who thinks he's found a legitimate exploitable anomaly would tell anyone about his discovery instead of simply keeping the information to himself and taking full advantage of the profit opportunity. Wright hypothesized that researchers without established track records and with fewer published papers would be more likely to write about market anomalies than those researchers with strong reputations and long publishing careers, because writing about an anomaly would help a newer researcher establish their reputation (and the veteran researcher would rather keep the opportunity to himself). The evidence, according to Wright, bears this out.

For more detail, see the post at Financial Rounds, or read the original paper.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rowing Stats

These are my current best rows for the Concept 2 indoor rower 2007 season. The rankings are as of today and will definitely change (and I will, hopefully, clock some better rows between now and the end of May). If you're lucky enough to have a Concept 2 rower and the absolutely awesome RowPro software for it, you can download my ranking rows from the Concept 2 ranking lists. Great Fun!

Time StandingDate
2000M 07:30.1 613 of 1125 54% 1/7/2007
5000M19:15.2 439 of 1164 38% 1/8/2007
6000M23:41.5 168 of 345 49% 5/14/2006
7445M30:00.0 406 of 891 46% 1/3/2007
10000M41:52.3 561 of 872 64% 12/24/2006

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Can anybody give me some pointers on how to fix the header code of my blog so that my Earthrise image is not obscured by that green block?


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What does God explain?

When guys like Will Wilkinson are writing brilliant stuff like this it really kills my desire to blog much at all, at least when it comes to the heavy philosophical topics. Given the law of comparative advantage, I should leave the philosophizing to Will (and others) and I'll stick to, uh..., something else I haven't quite figured out, yet.

Anyway, I particularly like Will's approach to the definition of an atheist, here:

...[I]f something plays a role in our best explanation of some phenomenon, you should believe it exists. Otherwise, not. God, for instance, is the best explanation for nothing. That’s why you shouldn’t believe in God, or the posits of string theory. (People...who hesitate to call themselves atheists because they cannot “prove” nonexistence are simply confused about ontological commitment. If [one's estimate of the probability] p for “God exists” is so low (”vanishingly unlikely”), then God must play no role in [one's] economy of explanation, which is all there is to being an atheist. You don’t just get to decide whether or not you are one.)
I see little to disagree with in any of the rest of the post, either (or the whole blog, for that matter).

I rarely find myself feeling envious of another man's genius, but Will Wilkinson is definitely one of the few exceptions. Perhaps in part it's because he's got a really hot girlfriend who seemed (at last check, anyway) to be totally nuts about him. Some guys have all the luck!