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Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-06-27 09:05 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 135 references
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Just..... read it.

Oh, and watch the video.

Damn, there are days...... (good days.)

Today is one of them.

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2017-06-27 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Market Musings , 96 references
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You know you're in a bubble when...... smiley

Seriously folks, true "automatic" cars are five, ten, maybe 20 years off.

The issue isn't so much processing power, it's visualization and the speed with which rules systems must operate.  This is where the so-called "machine learning" reality hits the asphalt, so to speak.

Over a relatively short (~40 hours in most states) period of time behind the wheel and operating the controls a human acquires enough ability to process their environment and interaction with the controls of a vehicle to be considered "minimally competent" to safely operate said thing.  We then call them "licensed" (which is bull****, by the way; if travel is a  right then so is the use of machines common to the day for that purpose whether they be carriages or cars.)

So-called machine learning (ha!) has ingested millions of miles of vehicle operation via their various "sensor systems" and yet are incapable of fully autonomous operation.  Simply put a machine is not capable of synthesizing "out of scope" of whatever it started with and the parameters it began with.

As I have repeatedly noted so-called "artificial intelligence" is no such thing in reality.  I challenge anyone to show me just one instance of "out-of-scope" (that is, demonstrating true synthesis and thought) output from a so-called "learning machine."

Given enough data and a fast enough sieve you can probably produce a vehicle that is materially safer than humans -- 99% of the time.  The other 1% they can probably pull off the road and stop, so you wind up with a "five nines" reliability -- in other words, materially better than we have with people, and definitely "good enough."

However, this isn't going to happen tomorrow.  Or next year.  Or three years hence.

20 years hence, sure.  Will the first units be (well) before then?  Yes, but they'll be $200,000 devices, and nobody will be able to afford them.  This makes them engineering curiosity pieces and it won't be until the price comes down by a factor of 100 that you'll see them in what were formerly "rental" fleets.

Do I look forward to "hailing" what amounts to a robot cab, or renting one that I can get in the back of with a full bottle of scotch and drink it while it takes me "wherever"?  Yeah, that sounds kinda nice.  But until that vehicle is $20,000 it will not find mass acceptance nor does it work for "fleets" and that means the machine's cost has to be in the hundreds of dollars including sensors, not tens of thousands.

In other words you have to be able to buy the computer for $100 and the sensors for $500 -- and we're a hell of a long way from there.  Like a factor of 100 away.

Yes, it will happen.  Look at computer hardware from the 1990s to today.  But we're talking about the same sort of time and expansion of capability-for-dollar-spent before it happens, and anyone who thinks that these companies entering into "deals" today will mean anything 20 years from now has rocks in their head.

Or helium in their "investment" thesis.......

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2017-06-26 14:03 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 241 references
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If you do and you have not verified that your vendor has patched this through a BIOS microcode update (you would have had to load said update) go into the BIOS and turn off hyperthreading immediately.

Yes, this will cost you some performance.

If you don't you are running a small but real risk of likely random but possibly malicious data corruption/destruction.

The problem will only occur under certain heavy-load situations but you cannot predict those and if you get bit by it the results are undefined -- which means possible random data destruction that then gets written to your disk(s).

I'm unaware of a realistic means of using this to break into your machine but crafting a malicious executable that attempts to run the instructions that cause the problem in a tight loop would not be all that difficult and the possible consequences include a system crash or, much worse, silent corruption of data that winds up being written back to disk.

This is not a joke folks -- it's a serious microcode bug, arguably far more serious than the infamous Pentium "floating point" problem in that it can impact anyone, at any time, in any workload whenever the CPU gets busy.  In addition since it cannot be accurately predicted or mitigated by user code (e.g. an operating system, etc) there is no fix other than to shut off the hyperthreading capability until your system vendor provides a microcode fix.

You've been warned.

BTW, these are the latest two revisions of Intel chips so if you have a new(ish) machine you are probably at risk.

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2017-06-26 09:39 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 352 references
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You'll have to look to find it, and the articles are behind paywalls.

They're not being trumpeted all over financial media -- but they should be.

What article?  That Unilever is threatening to pull online ad campaigns stating that they believe half or more of the "clicks" are fraud. It was in the UK media -- quietly -- this weekend.

In other words, robots click them -- not humans, who actually watch the ads.

This story ought to be front-page news.  It's not, and the financial media will not cover it the way it should.

Here's why it should be:

1. This is not new.  These issues have been known and talked about for more than a year.  It was news last year, and then it quietly "went away."  Gee, you don't think Zuckerpig laid into the financial media, do you?  Naw, nobody would ever to do that when if their little ad game blew up in their face the stock price of Facepig would be zero.  Consider that if half of the online advertising revenue is false then the actual value of said platforms is nil since their cost of operation exceeds the true human-generated revenue.  That makes all of these so-called "businesses" worthless.

2. Nobody has an incentive on a platform like Facebook, where posters do not get a cut of the revenue, to stick an army of robots out there and click the ads, except for Facebook itself.  This is decidedly not true for Google's "Adsense" platform of course, or Youtubes, or whoever else where publishers get a piece of pie.  There, if your traffic is high enough, there's an economic incentive to cheat.  For someone like me it's not because the amount of money involved is too small, but for someone with a site that's garnering tens or hundreds of thousands a month in payouts you can easily cover the cost of a robot or three (hundred) to generate some false traffic.

The problem of course is that there aren't that many people with a big enough take to be worth employing robots, other than those who deliberately set up sites to do this and have no organic traffic at all.  Those people ought to be easily identified and shut down within days, making such a strategy worthless since you won't get paid, if the sites in question cared to do so.

The problem is that all the incentives run the wrong way for the so-called "online advertising industry", unless they get caught and all of their businesses are destroyed.  Otherwise the incentive is to cheat or at least look the other way on purpose while others cheat especially if, as is being alleged and has been alleged for over a year the "cheats" are half or more of all of the clicks.

In that case the incentive to cheat is not just clear it's an imperative because without the "false" clicks none of these firms have a viable business at all, except for possibly Google, and even Google is selling at 3x any sort of rational valuation.

The others, if there's any truth to this, are literal zeros.

ALL OF THEM.

Ask your friends -- how many "real" ads do they view and click on any of these sites?  Can you find one person among your friends who actually does so and finds value in these ads?  Tell me folks -- isn't it true that essentially all of the ads you see are for things you already bought and thus don't need again?

"Machine learning" my ass.

You know what the truth is, but by God the "industry" and media will do their level damndest best to hide it, especially given the bubble valuations of everyone in this "business."

Before you say "oh, you can't be right about this; it would never go on that long" let me remind you about the late 1990s.  In 1997 multiple "DSL" providers were leasing "dry loops" from the telcos, putting in DSLAMs, and pulling backhauls from there to enable DSL to companies and homes.  Every single one of them wanted to "partner" with us, of course, with my company getting a cut of the revenue and providing the Internet service.  They all came in and made their pitches and I threw every one of them out after examining the numbers.  Why?  Because every single one of them had no prayer in Hell of ever making a profit and when they blew up it was going to blow back on my company since the customer would associate their loss of service with us, not them.  Every one of them, a few years later, blew up.  Every. Single. One.  It was instantly obvious on any sort of analysis of their businesses and cash flow that it was impossible for them to make a profit.  Yet not one was called out in the financial media or anywhere else and all were "strong buys" in the stock market.

And gee, look at the "online ad revenue based" stocks this morning -- all up, as is the market.  Isn't that fancy..... I wonder how they'd be doing this morning if CentralNevertruthBullCrap was to run a quick pencil-and-whiteboard analysis on the fact that if you cancel half the ad revenue all these so-called "ad revenue driven businesses" have negative operating cash flow and thus are zeros?

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2017-06-26 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 216 references
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C'mon Marc, cut the crap.

Over the past decade, health care delivery has deteriorated – under the watchful eye of insurers and legislators – to the point where it can no longer be managed effectively or efficiently without enormous staffs who spend their days negotiating on behalf of patients while working for doctors and hospitals. Insurance premiums have skyrocketed while reimbursements to doctors have decreased.

Well, gee, let's think about this for a minute.

Who has cheered this on and allowed it?

Doctors.

Who has told people for decades to eat less saturated fat, which means to obtain caloric balance you must eat more carbs?  That would be doctors.  And what did medical science know 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago and in fact every farmer has known it for ages?  Carbs (especially grains) make that which eats them fat.

What comes with being fat?  More medical expense.

Diabetes.  Joint damage.  All sorts of other medical problems (back issues, hip replacements, heart attacks, etc.)

What does a farmer feed a cow -- or a pig -- to fatten it up?  Grains, in other words carbohydrates, which is exactly what all those doctors told people to eat.

How about nearly 1 in 4 Medicaid recipients being on opiates?  Those can't be bought over the counter, so who wrote the prescriptions?  Doctors.

Remember, though health insurance is falsely promoted and sold to you as though it is actual health care, it still relies on a business model which makes a greater profit by turning down your requests rather than approving them. I’m reminded of Franz Kafka’s The Castle, where paper pushing bureaucrats sit at desks in endless offices and spent their time keeping you from ever getting to your goal (The Castle) rather than enabling your passage there.

And where is your physician in all of this? These days you can probably find her squinting at a computer screen as she robotically documents your visit.

Voluntarily, you forgot to add.

What prevents a doctor from refusing to do that and instead telling the customer exactly what he or she will charge for the 5 minutes of time you get in the "average physical" with same, negotiating that in cash?  Do you really think it would be unaffordable -- if you fired all the paper pushers and then wanted to make, oh, what -- $200/hour?  Let's see, 5 minutes per patient and 5 more to "recover" from the incredible stress of seeing each one and you'd have to charge..... $33.33 each.

Unaffordable eh?  I think not.  Oh, and you could actually give everyone 10 minutes that way, if your incredibly-fragile psyche could handle going from one room to the next without a (smoke?) break.

Don’t get me wrong, we doctors continue to do our best to commit to the Hippocratic Oath – “Do no Harm” – as well as the more evocative Oath of Maimonides, the 12th century physician, philosopher and Torah scholar.

You're lying and so are the rest of your ilk.

You enable the sort of nonsense that goes on today.  You have an office full of paper pushers by choice, not force.  You've been willing and intentional co-conspirators in driving up the cost of medical care by 10 times what it should be here in the United States.  You prescribe opiods at a rate that kills 20,000 people a year through "accidental" overdoses, virtually all of which are traceable to one of your prescription pads.  You kill over 250,000 more people in the United States every year via "medical errors", the third leading cause of death in the country, exceeded only by heart disease (much of which you caused through your "recommendations" as well!) and cancer.

I certainly understand why you want to defect attention from this, since nearly 300,000 dead bodies properly charged to your so-called "profession" wouldn't look so good.  When you add in the human misery and disease that has come from the explosion of obesity and diabetes much of which is directly traceable to the  "recommendations" your profession makes along with the pill-pushing (statins, for example, which among otherwise-healthy people with elevated cholesterol are now known to double the risk of diabetes without any cardiac benefit) the true toll of the segment called "doctor" in our economy would rival that of Pol Pot or that old (and very dead) chap Adolf.  Whether you kill with a gun, knife, shovel or pill bottle dead is still dead and the financial asset-stripping the medical profession engages in today arguably exceeds that of the Nazis!

When this outrage detonates our nations finances (it's already starting and is going to get a lot worse) one has to wonder whether OpEds like this will be sufficient to keep the public from figuring out not only the toll in lives but in money as well.  It's not like the data isn't out there for anyone who cares to look.

We got outraged about 10,000 alcohol-related car crash deaths and made DUI a serious matter.

Maybe we should consider what we ought to do about a "profession" that through negligence and knowing bad advice kills 300,000 people a year -- every year -- or 30 times as many Americans, never mind ripping them off to the tune of over $3 trillion annually at the same time.

That's a debate you'd rather we not have, isn't it Marc?

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