The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets

Some time ago I commented on a pattern that was quite disturbing, when you looked at it analytically -- what articles got the most views, and thus "clicks."

Put bluntly, it was never the articles on my catching Bernanke pulling system liquidity into the maw of the collapse in 2008, while he maintained to Congress he had done the opposite.  Nor was it such articles like my recent piece on Harbor Mobile, which for anyone with a small business outlined a very simple way to take a $75 monthly cell bill and cut it in half for what amounts to the same service, which winds up saving you over $400 a year -- every year.

Nor is it articles detailing how a state decided to literally kidnap and medically experiment on a person slightly under the age of 18 -- against her express wishes.  Oh, and the experiments failed too.

No, the biggest click-gainers over the years have been quite interesting really, when one thinks about content and "what sells."  Frankly, media always does. If an article takes a certain amount of time to write, go through and edit, proof a couple of times, check and make sure the links and references are ok, and then post, why wouldn't you write that which garners the most readers and eschew that which garners the fewest?

There is an old saw in the media world that goes, roughly: If it bleeds it leads.

It's no less true in the digital media age.

So it was with little surprise that I saw the piece on Bloomberg claiming to "out" Zerohedge yesterday, or the claims of "editorial slant" that came with it.

I won't bother citing any of the riposte that was posted by them in response to Bloomberg's story, other than to note that if you want to play "let's drag people through the mud" you sure could go there.  Nor will I allow it to be linked here in the comment section; there's a certain level of decorum that IMHO applies to situations like this, including when someone who worked for or with you runs to someone like Bloomberg and starts vomiting up a stream of allegations.

I will note, however, that it's pretty easy these days to garner up a bunch of clicks and thus ad serves and revenue by writing pieces like that -- on both sides.  Never mind the blatantly-misleading headline on Bloomberg itself; the primary protagonist on Zerohedge has been known for a long time, so to call such a piece "unmasking" is more than a bit disingenuous.

Around here I do my level best to write content on subjects that I believe are worthy of expounding upon and, hopefully, garnering thoughtful debate. The latter fails more often than I'd like given what I consider to be the general intelligence level of the readership, but that goal tends to conflict directly with maximizing revenue in the ad-driven world of today.

That leads to a situation that is difficult to resolve: How do you both earn revenue and not spiral into ground of publishing more and more bull**** along with less and less worthy material if the bull**** garners the most views and thus revenue by far?

In any event I'm fairly glad to be on the back side of this sort of thing.  Frankly, it bothered me more than a few times when I looked at the detailed analytics and what was making the money.  It's nice to not look so much, and care even less.

This is certainly not a new problem but it is one that all ad-driven properties in the media market eventually wind up either dealing with or being buried by, and while it certainly isn't "investable" in the context of what Bloomberg is talking about it sure is in the public company space.

Now there's something to think about on your Sunday....

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

This sort of article, which you can find all over the net written by dozens of "pundits",*****es me off on two levels.

First, it casts blame other than where it belongs -- on the handle end of your fork, and instead blames "big business."  Second, it ignores the fact that virtually all of the monetary outcome of not being intelligent on the handle end of your fork is addressable through nothing more than application of existing law.

Since the early 1960s, the prevalence of obesity among adults more than doubled, increasing from 13.4 to 35.7 percent in U.S. adults age 20 and older.  (Source)

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported in 2015 that roughly half of all adult Americans are diabetic or prediabetic (also called metabolic syndrome).

If we add up everyone in America who is either suffering from or at risk of lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and lifestyle-related types of cancer, it’s clear this is an unprecedented national health crisis that has no easy or cheap medical fix.

So far, so good.

But then it all goes to hell:

To understand why this is so, we must start with the fact that we live in a highly centralized government/private-sector system that limits our choices to maximize the profits of corporate cartels: Big Agriculture, Big Oil/Ag Chemicals, Big GMO seeds (Monsanto et al.), Big Processed Foods, Big Supermarkets, Big Fast Food, Big Healthcare (what I have called sickcare for many years, because profits flow not from keeping us healthy via prevention but from keeping us alive when we’re suffering from chronic lifestyle illnesses) and last but not least Big Pharma, which is happy to provide medications that costs tens of thousands of dollars per patient per year to address the symptoms of lifestyle diseases rather than the causes, which trace back to what we eat and how we live.

Blah-blah-blah-there's nothing in the supermarket you can buy that will help, we have to burn the village down and lock up the Monsanto crowd to fix it, and we won't so we're ****ed.

In a single word: Horse****.

Want the picture again?  Here it is:

That's over an eight month period in 2011ish.  Want the current one so you know I'm not funning you?

From a race about a month ago.

Want to know how much attention I've paid to "not eating" GMOish things, or buying "organic" this or that, or exactly how much I have in square footage of my own garden?  Zero.

My A1c is normal, my fasting blood glucose is under 90, I run half-marathons regularly and often do 10ish mile runs for fun and in 2011 when I made this change I could not run a single half-mile without having to stop, was fat and getting fatter (as are most Americans) and I'm willing to bet that I was well on my way to metabolic-related disease and morbidity.

What's even better is that because I instrumented all of my exercise during the 2011 time period (and continue to, for performance-related reasons) I can tell you exactly how much of the ~60ish lbs I lost was due to exercise: 20.

Why?  Because it's math, that's why, and I know how many calories I burned exercising during that time.

All of the rest came through changing what I ate, with exactly zero attention paid to things like "organic", "grass-fed", "no GMOs", "no agribusiness sourced food" and similar.

Oh yes, you can do that if you want, but it will double your cost of food -- if not more.

I also never counted a single calorie.

Might there be an incremental benefit to doing the no-GMO, all-organic, all-grass-etc thing over what I actually did?  Maybe.  But there's an old adage that is very true in this case, I suspect, as with most others: 80% of any problem is resolvable at low cost and easily.  The last 20% requires exponentially more difficulty and cost to achieve and is of increasingly-dubious value.

Then, to confound it all, you have this horse**** in the linked article:

The full consequences of the food/illness/healthcare system take decades to manifest. Humans respond to price (buy what’s cheapest) and what triggers the reward centers of the brain (consume sugar, fat, salt). It’s remarkably easy to exploit these short-term factors to sell unhealthy food and meals whose lifetime costs are still years or decades in the future.

This sort of crap is only 1/3rd true and the rest is dangerously wrong because one of the claims is flat-out false for nearly all people (salt) and the other is by implication half wrong and thus wholly false (that is, saturated fat is what is maligned yet it is not only ok it is an excellent fuel; it is vegetable oils which never exist in nature in any material edible quantity that are the problem.)

Again, go read this article.  This is how I went from the left to the right and how I've stayed "at the right" for the last five years.

It is also how, at age 52, I have none of the markers for metabolic disease; I am not overweight or obese, I have a normal A1c and both a normal fasting blood sugar along with tolerance to glucose intake.

And finally, it is how I am able to run faster now than I was able to when I was 16 and running cross-country in High School.  I was never able to break 22 minutes for a three mile run (I required roughly 30 minutes for that distance) yet I did it right here, last year, in a race with independent timing confirmation.  That race was run on a stomach containing only two espressos in the morning, exactly as are my other races these days -- yes, including the half-marathons, of which there's one right here (Rock-n-Fly about a month ago) if you'd like to look.

If you want to be into the whole Save the Planet, agribusiness is bad, must-grow-local, must-eat-organic, etc thing be my guest.  You are of course free to do that, but the problem with promoting it as more than what it is, which is a zealotry-driven agenda that has little or no connection to health is flat-out wrong and harmful because the time, effort and monetary investment required to live that way is wildly off the charts compared against what you need to do in order to obtain 80% or better of the benefit by simply changing what goes in your damn pie hole, all of which is available at any supermarket in the United States.

There is literally nobody who today is able to pay for their food who cannot implement a change in their eating habits that effectively mirrors what I did.  Nobody.

There are plenty of people who won't do it, plenty of people who don't want to do it and plenty of people who don't believe it works or will actually kill you but there's nobody in the United States today that is able to live independently who can't do it for want of resource without materially changing their expense profile when it comes to food.

I like Charles and in fact he wrote the forward for Leverage.  However, when you're wrong you're wrong, and liking someone doesn't make them right.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

smiley

Oh boy...

A John McCain fundraiser was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of drug charges after Maricopa County sheriff's deputies found an active meth lab and other illicit drugs while conducting a search warrant at her north-central Phoenix home.

Things that make you just crack up on a Wednesday night...

Oh wait... crack up eh? smiley

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Absolutely.  I've never claimed to be a physician, or to have a degree in anything -- nutrition, medicine or otherwise.

Nonetheless, I reproduce the following verbatim received this evening:

I previously wrote after 2 weeks following your eating lifestyle article on Feb 13 to share my astonishing results in such a short time. 62, sedentary, yada yada. Health marginally bad and getting worse.

Now at 9 weeks. Went for checkup this week. A1c down a full point; trigylcerides down 25 points, have lost 17 pounds (and never hungry), good cholesterol up 20%, bad down 20%, just like you said would happen. Aches and pains gone—it wasn’t old age, rather my ****ty lifestyle!

THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your wisdom and experiences. When you get tired or discouraged, remember that you are making a difference and are helping people greatly. Thank you.  Do you take contributions?  :o)

Hell, I’m thinking about exercising, since I don’t have to “outrun my mouth!”

Naw, no contributions needed, but if you're ever in my neck of the woods I'll accept an adult beverage and a nice chat.

To the douchebag vegan on Facefart in Michigan that went after me the other day on the basis of my previous article, playing "credentialist" with me (never mind that he is not a degreed doctor either!):  **** you with a rusty chainsaw.

The results speak for themselves, exactly as I have told multiple people after a race who have tried to push carb-laden crap at me with the riposte I lay on them having just run a sub-22 5k: ARGUE WITH THE CLOCK.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Before you rush out to play with the bulls in the name post-earnings you might consider this: Basically all of their ad revenue (82%!) is now from mobile.

Mobile is an incredibly difficult proposition over time.  Oh sure, you get away with a lot of ads (and thus money) right up front, but mobile users have a tiny little screen and they pay for the data they consume, sometimes by the byte and always have some sort of cap on it.

Further, there's a huge problem that is coming to the forefront: Granular permissions are now showing up on more and more devices in the Android space; "M" and beyond has it and will continue to.  "Take it or leave it", the former model for Android until Marshmallow was released, is gone forever in the mobile space when it comes to allowing applications to get access to data on your phone and Android is and has been on the vast majority of smartphone handsets.

As customers migrate off Lollipop and earlier Android releases which today are the majority of those handsets the ability to tell Facebook to go to hell on knowing where you are, to have access to your contacts and more becomes very real, very emergent and very relevant to anyone's ability to monetize that tiny little screen.

You're seeing the best it gets right here and now, I suspect, but you have a valuation that imputes indefinitely forward expansion at this rate.

It's not gonna happen and when the desktop ad density collapsed it wasn't slow or steady -- it came all at once and happened in THIS quarter, going from a decent percentage of revenue to an effective zero.

Don't be in the name when that happens on mobile -- because it will.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Main Navigation
MUST-READ Selection:
Our Impending Failure As A Nation

Full-Text Search & Archives
Archive Access
Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.

NO MATERIAL HERE CONSTITUTES "INVESTMENT ADVICE" NOR IS IT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO STOCKS, OPTIONS, BONDS OR FUTURES.

The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.

Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be reproduced or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media or for commercial use.

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.