From The Painfully Obvious To The Utterly Ridiculous - Your Taxpayer Dollars At Work

Tyler Durden's picture

Until now it has been up to the San Francisco Fed to carry the torch for digging-holes-and-filling-them-back-in style research but the Boston Fed may just have trumped them. In the past the SF Fed has found the painfully obvious such as: it is Bernanke's fault that unemployment duration is so long, that 'this time it really is different', and asked what effect QE3 will have on the US economy. But this research article on the effect of sunspots by the Boston Fed takes the proverbial biscuit. The conclusion, which is perhaps useful for the propagandists-in-chief, is that during sunspot activity, people act less rationally. What next? Do Sagittarians make better lovers economists? We are sure all of these discussions are well researched and will be helpful for tenure and possibly the next Nobel prize.


Boston Fed - Sunspots

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redpill's picture

The average person still beats central planners, who never act rationally.

strongband's picture

Section 3 looks like so much fun!!!

idea_hamster's picture

Since Keynes (1936) compared investor behavior in stock markets to a beauty contest, the question has been asked whether extrinsic information may affect agents’ behavior.”

LMAO – what a bunch of pratts to assume that oh, just everything starts and ends with Keynes!

People have been trying to understand and control agents’ behavior since … gee … Rothschild and the semaphores?  since the Roman Senate and Julius Caesar?  since Ankhenatan and the Amun priests?  since cavemen teamed up to hunt mammoths?

Too stupid.

Fukushima Sam's picture

Folks, (Tylers), I don't think they are talking about real sunspots here:

"The term sunspot originated in the work of William Jevons (1884), who proposed a relationship between the number of sunspots and the business cycle. In the theoretical literature, the term“sunspot” is a synonym for extrinsic random variables, i.e., variables that may influence economic behavior, but are unrelated to fundamentals such as payoffs, preferences, technologies, orendowments."

easypoints's picture

Correct. Poorly titled. It certainly has nothing to do with the big, hot yellow thing in the sky, or spots it may or may not have. I only scanned the first few pages, but my title recommendation would have been "Black Swans and Extrinsic Gibberish".

The Alarmist's picture

Makes one wonder how they corrected for potential bias arising from the researchers observing irrationally during periods of increased sunspot activity.

mkhs's picture


Therefore, agent i maximizes her payoff when she matches agent j’s action. An agent is penalized for a deviation from her partner’s pick by the concave payoff function f;

I sure hope they allowed for her menstrual cycle.

akak's picture

Actually, you should know that the word "sunspot" is no longer permitted in polite company, and is not politically correct.

They are now known as "luminosity-challenged solar locations".

Although "areas of alternate magneto-plasmo-dynamic-differently-abled solar flux" is also acceptable.

gjp's picture

Perhaps they are rational after all, though undoubtedly without compassion.

`Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger

David Hume

insanelysane's picture

I think it is a great study and it shows how O got elected again.

El Oregonian's picture

I wonder how much it costs to do a study (other than going blind) at staring at those same sunspots?

HINT: Just as idiotic

PUD's picture


RafterManFMJ's picture

Take her to 60 meters! Up Helioscope!

Akira.'s picture

I wonder if the fellows over at the Boston Fed have opened up there ass chakras (located deep in the rectum). I moonlight as a spiritual advisor and would love to give them a free session.

Jonas Parker's picture

"... during sunspot activity, people act less rationally..."


Especially amateur radio operators...  ;-)

knukles's picture

Talking about SW and LW radio, most folks are unaware that the planets... the conjunctions relative to the earth and sun also impact radio reception.  By and large it seems that this has been all but forgotten what with the digital internet based age, etc.
In fact, during WWII the Navy had tables used to "forecast" reception conditions which were in part, based upon planetary alignment

Just a little trivial crap that most people won't care a hoot about.
Not many folks interested in the radio waves anymore....
Back in the 50s and 60s SW radio was a hoot!
Or I'm just dating myself
Or both

Parrotile's picture

Radio (the "wireless" variety rather than the Internet variety) still is very interesting, particularly the AM bands with the potential of Worldwide reception (providing "the skip" is working fine!).

Quite a few decent and affordable small sets ot there too - Sangean used to be the best, but their quality vs. price has dropped (reliability issues). Worth looking at Tecsun (marketed as Grundig in the US). Their all-bands PL 660 is "large pocket size" and comes with a 20ft long line antenna. Works well too (and is small enough to keep in a "grab bag" in case of emergency!)

The bigger Grundig has the added advantage of an output suitable for weatherfax (for those who find this useful), as well as the usual radio features. No internal fan (easily remedied of course), but OK sensitivity and selectivity. Definitely not a full-fledged Communications Receiver, but useful, and pretty good value for the money.

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

An analysis we'll never see from any Fed branch:

The price of electricity per kilowatt hour, vs. real GDP, and what this means for standard economic growth models.

I'll even get them started:

Over the last ten years, electricity prices have gone up 44%.

Over the last ten years, real GDP has gone up 13.5%


Yen Cross's picture

     Ahhh I see. That explains all the central bank printing as of late.  (Sun Spots)

CvlDobd's picture

This song sums up our world and nation quite nicely.

SheepDog-One's picture

The title is good, I can't stand that type of music though....what is it 'College Emo' or something I don't know.

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Very big fan of this song, interesting that the album was released in May 2007.  Prophets come in quite a few forms.

williambanzai7's picture

I want to know how this is funded.  

insanelysane's picture

Kevin just tranfers bits into the researchers' bank accounts.  Really simple process if you have the right access.

prains's picture

I want to know how this is funded.  



SheepDog-One's picture

The Fed eggheads are trying to say they're doing right, but for some reason the general public is having some kind of 'behavioral anomaly' which they liken to full-moon or sun spot manias. 

"We're doing it right, you bitchez be crazy!' 

And what does it matter anyway....all U.S. stawks pumped back to full-euphoria GREEN so carry on buying stawks! (as good normaly functioning people do)

Stockmonger's picture

You didn't read the paper.  They aren't talking literally about sunspots.  They are talking about random extrinsic variables, whimsically called sunspots. 


I suggest you take this post down before the entire world laughs at Tyler Durden for shooting before aiming.


The name is a whimsical reference to 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons, who attempted to correlate business cycle patterns with sunspot counts (on the actual sun) on the grounds that they might cause variations in weather and thus agricultural output.[8] Subsequent studies have found no evidence for the hypothesis that the sun influences the business cycle. On the other hand, sunny weather has a small but significant positive impact on stock returns, probably due to its impact on traders' moods.[9]

Downtoolong's picture

Nonetheless, every branch of the Fed now appears to be looking for something other than themselves to blame it all on.

Job Opportunity

The Federal Reserve Bank is seeking a unique individual for a new middle management position in economic analysis, reporting, and open market operations. Job duties are essentially nothing except taking the fall for about $4Trillion of failed stimulus policies, inflationary counterfeiting of money, excessive monetization of the Federal Deficit, and leaking inside information to Wall Street banks and financial firms.  Less than stellar credentials preferred. Prior experience as a Congressional Staff Advisor, Lobbyist, Chicago BLS employee, or Rogue Trader a plus. In this position you will be required to attend hearings and participate in criminal investigations. However, you will not do any jail time, GUARANTEED. Send resume or CV to Mr. Jones, Marriner Eccles Building, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20551

Stockmonger's picture

That may be the case but it's no excuse for looking foolish due to reading miscomprehension.

NotApplicable's picture

Maybe Tyler is using this as bait for the MSM? If so, it'd be hilarious.

Step 1: Post "Emily Littela" style article.

Step 2: MSM decides now is the perfect time to shine the spotlight on ZH.

Step 3: Tyler posts a "never mind" then proceeds to launch into the ZH magnum opus, exposing the rotten core to the ALL of the masses that appear.

lotsoffun's picture

i bought the friday dip.  now what do i do?  do i buy the monday 'rise'?  in reality - yes.  because we were down x and up a tiny percent of that - and the overall trend has to be up.  so tomorrow i buy the tiny rise?  this bennie is a genius.  and obama also.  what will we do with out bernake?



NoDebt's picture

The S&P turned green for the day exactly as this article was posted up.  That HAS TO mean something.  It's like written in the stars that we're destined to close green.

LEAVE THE ARTICLE UP.  I don't care if Tyler's right or wrong.  I only care about closing green.  And this article clearly made that happen.  So leave it up.  I don't want to take any chances here and get on the wrong side of the fates.

Catullus's picture

Empirically testing "rationality" is its own hilarity when you don't know the individual's rationale for doing something.

digalert's picture

Okay, maybe I'll consider AGW. Look, these peoples brains are obviously fried.

InTheLandOfTheBlind's picture

Add an hour or so of day time tv ala springer and we have ourselves a party

Inthemix96's picture

You call that a waste of money?

Talk fucking sense.  Over the pond here, and I can once again testify for this bacause I own a fucking window cleaning business, we are not allowed to use ladders or more than three step folding ones without training and permission from the building owner.

And you think you lot can beat us on lunacy?  Can you fuck.  Try again bitchez.

And dont get me started on the smoking ban, I will run fucking rings round you lot on laughable and un-fucking-believable behaviour and regulations.

Fuck me, we even pay immigrants rent, sometimes as much as £2 million a year to live in a fucking London palace while the natives starve.

Skin666's picture

Logical Positivism Bitchez!!!!

We need to empirically test everything!





Catullus's picture

My wife acts more pregnantly during my naps on the couch.

adr's picture

So now all we need to do is get rid of the Sun and our economic and social problems will be over.

Quick, get Elon Musk on it. We'll have him build a new rocket, and get the 101 million unemployed Americans to build it.

It will be christened the Krugman V, and will be loaded with all our nuclear waste and warheads. Hopefully the blast wave will be enough to destabilize the sun and rid us of the nuissance once and for all.

When leading scientists question the plan and claim it won't work, we'll just release racy beach photos of them, and their words will be forgotten once the scandal erupts.

Krugman was reached and said he was honored that his namesake would bring peace and economic prosperity to all. His nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize was icing on the cake. A Nobel Prize for economics should walk hand in hand with one of Peace.

frenchie's picture

me thinks lunar cycles, islamic finance and retail investor behavior are hot topics

Yen Cross's picture

    O/T, but some good sarc/ Today is [POMO TIPS purchases $1-1.5bb] not [Outright Treasury Coupon Purchases].

 All your 'Inflation Protected Securities' are belong to us.

Inthemix96's picture

Heres another mental one.

We pay, believe this or not, google is your friend, we pay folk to go into schools and advise children and the teachers to eat 'Five A Day' fruit and veg.

Seriously, we even pay 'Smoking Cesation' groupies to tell you stop smoking wether you like it or not.  And dear God himself would hang the 'Health And Saftey' officials here, its a fucking wonder owt gets done in England nowerdays, and if its happened here, mark my words, you lot are only two years behind us.

Welcome to the new world order folks.  Its a fucking maniacs dream.

Mototard at Large's picture

I behave less rationally after reading Fed reports....

Frank N. Beans's picture


Please don't confuse the science of astronomy (ref. sunspots) with the nonsense of astrology (ref. Sagittarians) in your introductory paragraph.

Thank you.