• Pivotfarm
    08/03/2015 - 15:25
    The quest for perfection is man’s unattainable goal. Man can never be perfect if we are to believe the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Man is man’s wolf and all of that.

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The Population Bomb

Each person you add has to be fed from poorer land, drink water that has to be pumped from deeper wells or transported further or purified more, and have their materials sourced from other depleting resources. And so there is a disproportion there. When you figure that we are going to have to try and feed several billion more people and that the agricultural system itself, the food system supplies something like 30% of the greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere. Those greenhouse gases are changing the climate rapidly, yet rapid climate change is the big enemy of agriculture -- you can see that we are heading down a road that leads to a bridge that’s out. And we are not paying any attention to trying to apply the brakes



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Citadel Barred From Trading In China After Regulator Accuses "Automated Trading" Unit Of Manipulation

Define irony: for the past 7 years, Wall Street's worst kept secret is that Citadel, the world's most levered hedge fund, has been the NY Fed's just slightly more than arms-length enforcer of market stability, by which we mean spoofer, buyer and otherwise "plunge protector" in the equity and E-mini futures markets. Which is why Citadel must have been shocked to learn late last week that China had suspended trading at a brokerage account used by Citadel in China.



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The Politicians’ War On Uber

Hillary Clinton gave a speech warning that the new “sharing economy” of businesses such as the ride-hailing company Uber is “raising hard questions about workplace protections.” Democrats hate what labor unions hate, and a taxi drivers’ union hates Uber, too. Its NYC website proclaims, “Uber has the money. But we are the PEOPLE!” Lawsuits and politicians’ attacks against one company have a chilling effect on others. The “independent contractor” assault will destroy all sorts of companies we’ll never even know about because now they won’t come into existence. Some of the entrepreneurs who dreamed of starting them will look at the additional costs, crunch the numbers and decide there’s not enough profit potential to risk investing their money. Who knows what odd but popular sharing-economy innovations aren’t happening even now—ones we’d use and love—because businesspeople with great ideas are frightened by the Clintons, deBlasios and lawyers?



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Is This The Most Successful Trade Of The Last Decade?

If the longs use VIX products as hedging instruments, then why would anyone take the other side? Because, being short volatility can be very profitable, according to Goldman. Year-to-date this short vol index is up 56%, and selling the front-month VIX has earned a massive 114 vol points... The introduction of weekly VIX futures (and the exponential decay implied by these volatility-inducing instruments) offers, according to Goldman Sachs, even more opportunity for active risk takers to sell vol, scrape premium, and face unlimited downside risk... playing the contango collapse game until there are no more musical chairs left.



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If Price Insensitive Buyers Become Sellers, Will The Entire Market Collapse?

"If circumstances cause these price-insensitive buyers to turn around and become price-insensitive sellers, there are not a lot of candidates to take the other side. Be prepared for the possibility that some of the same assets that have again and again risen to prices that many investors said were impossible show more downside volatility than investors have bargained for."



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To Social Media's Horror - It 'Is' Different This Time

The world of everything Social has been the undisputed benefactor of all this “free money.” After all, wasn’t the term “Unicorn” applied and accepted with all its connotations as being a mythical creature that lived and breathed in the land of make-believe? It is incontrovertible that if not for the “free money” provided by QE, many, if not most of what currently falls under the social media umbrella would not only never had come into existence (let alone with Billion dollar price tags), but the perceived “hands off – unquestioning” attitude by Wall Street itself wound not be allowed. This in my opinion is an absolute wanton abandonment of business fundamentals and principles. However, it seems there is a change of mood (or realization the jig is truly up) on Wall Street.



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Dramatic Footage: How Venezuelans Get Milk Powder

It's been a sad week for Venezuela. First, on Wednesday we showed what happens to local supermarkets when formerly Latin American paradises run out of other people's money. Then, the next day we showed what happens when in the aftermath of scenes such as the one above the social mood turns violent, and how what was once supposed to be a socialist utopia paradise ends uplooking like a warzone. Today we show how the local population is forced to act like stampeding animals when it comes to obtaining even the most basic of staples, in this case milk powder.



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The Surveillance State Goes Mainstream: Windows 10 Is Watching (& Logging) Everything

If Edward Snowden's patriotic exposure of all things 'super secret surveillance state' in America were not enough, Newsweek reports that, as 10s of millions of hungry PC users download the free upgrade, Windows 10 is watching - and logging and sharing - everything users do... and we mean everything.



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The Fed's Circular Logic Exposed In 1 Simple Chart

Hope, quite simply, just isn’t close to enough for a real recovery. There is an undeniable element of troubling prevarication in the whole attempt to coax unearned optimism, as taken to the extreme it means that policymakers will never quite be honest about especially realistic downsides. That may even mean, in their zeal to “fool” consumers, they fool themselves on the circular logic.



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US Police Kill 118 People In July, Highest Monthly Total Of 2015

Despite a notable spike in violence across Baltimore in the months since the riots and the persistence of violent crime in Chicago, the number of people killed by police across the country posted M/M declines in April, May, and June. In July, the trend was broken.



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The 2016 "Dream" Ticket

Who needs bread and circuses...



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Here's The Bad News That Nobody Is Telling You About The Record Lows In Initial Jobless Claims

It is absolutely normal for employers to completely miss the signs of impending doom. The 2007 extreme occurred just before the carnage of mass layoffs that was to begin a couple of months later. Employers were still clueless that the end of the housing bubble would have devastating effects. If they were clueless then, they are in an advanced state of delirium and delusion now. The devastating 1973-74 bear market, which cut the value of stocks by 50%, was in its early stages. This was an early example of employers being late to the funeral. Similar employer hoarding of workers has been associated with bubbles in the more recent past and has led to massive retrenchment, usually within 18 months or so.



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Russian Military Helicopter Crashes During Air Show Celebrating Airborne Forces Day, One Pilot Dead

August 2 is the day when Russia celebrates its Airborne Forces, only this year something went very wrong, and it was all caught on tape.



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As China Admits It Lied About Its Local Debt Levels, Local Billionaires Are Quietly Liquidating Their Assets

Overnight something unexpected happened: Sheng Songcheng, the director of the statistics division of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), was quoted by the National Business Daily on Saturday whereby he essentially admitted China had been lying about not only its local debt exposure but the level of NPLs across the economy.  The punchline: Sheng warned about the risks of local government debt, saying that 2 trillion yuan in bond swaps may not be able to fully cover maturing debt, according to the report. What he really said, as paraphrased by Bloomberg, is that "local govt's tended to not report all their debts when audited in June 2013, thus the 2 trillion yuan debt swap plan arranged this year may not cover all debts due, Sheng cited as saying."

Oops.



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We're Not All Gordon Gecko - Dan Loeb Defends 'The Activist' Investor

Lately, a varied chorus of powerful union bosses, politicians and candidates, an asset management company executive, and a few ivory tower types have asserted that activism is short term in nature, engaged in by “hit and run”  investors who care only about making a quick buck while leaving a company and its employees in ruins. It might surprise people to hear that we agree completely that the sort of activism they describe is abominable.  Luckily, it does not really exist, and certainly not at Third Point.  Activists today are very different from corporate raiders of the ‘80’s (about whom these criticisms might have been leveled fairly).



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