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June 30, 2005

Single point accountability

Bush believes in what is known in business as single-point
accountability. "He does not want to know that a committee or a
consortium is working together to coordinate a solution," Daniels
says. "He wants one organization, or one person, to have
responsibility; he wants to know who he can call. I can't tell you how
alien this is to the federal government, which is marvelous at evading

To monitor the people or organizations responsible, Bush keeps track
of certain details—ideally, not so many that he becomes a
micro-manager, but enough to keep those he is managing alert. From
9/11 until January of 2002 many officials who had no direct connection
to the war on terror lost contact with Bush. When he began meeting
with them again, he had "a stream of informed questions about the
innards of their departments," Daniels recalls. "He makes it his
business to know a little bit about everything."

Bush knows that following through can require patience. This is new
for him: when he was with the Rangers, and in his father's White
House, he was just learning patience. Though he may still see the
fundamental issues in black and white, he can now wait to achieve his
goals. "He gives things time to work," Rice says. "He understands,
probably better than his advisers, that there is a rhythm to things."


June 29, 2005


Mexoryl SX is one of the few sure and stable UVA sun filters. It
provides long-lasting, effective protection due to the virtually
impervious nature of the molecule to the action of solar energy. In the
key field of sun-protection research, Mexoryl SX has been patented by
L'Oréal, and has been used in the Group's sunscreen formulations in
Europe since 1993. Research activities are underway to develop products
that can be introduced to the US market.

When they prescribe sunscreens to patients, dermatologists should
be aware both of the SPF and UVA protection ... that is the main
issue. Americans are probably the worst who are not protected
from the sun and particularly from UVA radiations.

Dermatologist Rougier red-faced about sunburn

-- André Rougier, Ph.D., Dermatology Times.

June 28, 2005

STL Downtown Defense Fund

Downtown Defense Fund

The National Register-listed Century Building in downtown St. Louis
was recently demolished to make way for a parking garage. We thought
this tragic demolition was the end of an ugly chapter in St. Louis'
history. Now, it's gotten uglier.

Before the demolition, two Downtown residents, Marcia Behrendt and
Roger Plackemeier, took principled action to try to save the Century
Building. They were plaintiffs in two legal cases that sought to keep
this historic building as part of our architectural heritage. But the
buildings came down anyway.

Now, the City of St. Louis, the State of Missouri and the project
developers have filed a lawsuit against them, alleging malicious
prosecution — and seeking actual damages exceeding $1.5 million, plus
punitive damages "in an amount sufficient to deter said defendants and
others from like conduct."

Should the City, State and developers prevail, Marcia and Roger could
lose all of their assets. Just to defend themselves will cost tens of
thousands of dollars in legal costs, even if lawyers donate some

Marcia and Roger stood up for us and for our community. Now, it's up
to us to stand with them.

You can help in one of two ways:

* Write a check for any amount to help with legal costs.
Make it payable to Downtown Defense Fund, and mail it to:

Downtown Defense Fund
c/o Scott Kluesner, Treasurer
7480 Cornell Avenue
St. Louis MO 63130

June 27, 2005

Norm Brodsky, Inc

Norm Brodsky has writen so great pieces about investing and management,
but his Inc column, street smarts, is as one-note as an upbeat inflight
magazine, but better illustrated by example.

June 26, 2005

Google tutor

Google Tutor and Google Guide's advanced operators reference are full
of search optimization advice for Google's end users.

June 25, 2005

Deep Throat unknown to Big Mouth

Essay:The Secret That Didn't Reach Washington's Lips
By Sally Quinn

No. I did not know who Deep Throat was. And no. I never asked
my husband, Ben Bradlee. Why not? For several reasons. I have too much
pride, to begin with. I knew perfectly well Ben wouldn't tell me and I
didn't want to be refused. Secondly, I . . . how shall I say this? ...
have a big mouth. It would have been a huge responsibility to know.
It was also clear that if somebody else spilled the beans, fingers
would be pointed at me.

[Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, June 3, 2005; Page C01]

June 24, 2005

Riander, reDUX

Riander, travails of a user experience and user-centred desisgn
consultant. Who better to run DUX, aka Design for User Experience ?

June 23, 2005

Mathematica users' wiki

Mathematica users' wiki demonstrates many tasks,
such as simulating diffusion.

June 22, 2005

Good software documentation requires code formatting

Higher Order JavaScript has a decent sample of code formating
for documentation.


pre {
background-color: #e4f0e4;
margin-left: 1em;
border-top: 1px #d0d0d0 solid;
border-left: 1px #d0d0d0 solid;
padding: .6em 0;

What's the best way to represent SAS code ?

June 21, 2005

Tom Peters

The excellent Tom Peters offers pithy business advice for the post-modern
economy. Well organized site.

June 20, 2005

Hayek's theory of business cycle

Hayek's theory of depressions was that they started when, for some
reason, interest rates got too low--below fundamentals. If
interest rates are low, asset prices are high--above their
fundamentals. Because financial markets are sending false signals that
capital--whether in the form of machines, business organizations,
commercial buildings, or housing--is very valuable, the market shift
resources into capital-producing sectors and adds to its capital

Someday, however, interest rates return to their fundamentals. When
they do, asset prices fall sharply: it becomes clear that there are a
lot of business organizations, machines, commercial structures, and
houses that do not produce value to cover their costs. The last thing
needed is more investment. Workers, entrepreneurial energy, and
capital have to be shifted out of capital-goods production and into
the production of consumer goods and services. And, said Hayek, it is
that painful, lengthy, but necessary process of shifting resources out
of capital-goods production that we call a "depression."

In Hayek's monetary overinvestment theory of the business cycle, the
magnitude of the depression depended on the magnitude of the required
structural shift, which depended on (a) how much interest rates had
been pushed below fundamentals, (b) how long they had been pushed
there, and (c) how much damage--in terms of capital investments that
should not have been made given fundamental values--the false prices
fed to the real economy by the financial sector had done.

See also Interest rate modelling.

[As recalled by Brad DeLong.]

June 19, 2005

Google Scholar

Research citations

Google Scholar

Galegroups's review.

June 18, 2005

Infectious Greed

Paul Kedrosky / Infectious Greed
Technology aware musings on money culture, with a keen eye
for interesting or jarring research. Great weekend reading.

y the executive director of the William J. von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism
and Technology Advancement at the University of California, San Diego.

Recommended by Barry Ritholtz.

June 17, 2005

state of stats

What have we learnt ? State of stats: PDF, Antony Unwin on Statistical Learning.
Global criteria: – AIC, BIC, deviance, test error,...
Local criteria: – residuals, diagnostics


June 16, 2005

Support Vector Machine

An SVM corresponds to a linear method in a very high dimensional feature
space which is nonlinearly related to the input space. It does not
involve any computations in that high dimensional space. By the use of
kernels, all necessary computations are performed directly in input space.

are a method for creating functions from a set of labeled training
data. The function can be a classification function (the output is
binary: is the input in a category) or the function can be a general
regression function.

For classification, SVMs operate by finding a hypersurface in the
space of possible inputs. This hypersurface will attempt to split the
positive examples from the negative examples. The split will be chosen
to have the largest distance from the hypersurface to the nearest of
the positive and negative examples. Intuitively, this makes the
classification correct for testing data that is near, but not
identical to the training data.

r (with module e1071):
estimate, predict, example, example2.

Kernel Methods for Pattern Analysis
John Shawe-Taylor & Nello Cristianini
Cambridge University Press, 2004
Detailed contents, inventory of algorithms and kernels, and matlab code.


SVM Light is a Support Vector Machine.

More reading:

NUS with article abstracts.


Support vector extended bibliography and software

Recursive SVM, 2, 3.

Classification by Support Vector Machines (Florian Markowetz, Berlin) See part 3 in PDF

Statistical Modelling in R (Thomas Lumley) -- see last section PDF

June 15, 2005

Spectral Graph Transducer, SGTlight

SGTlight is an implementation of a Spectral Graph Transducer (SGT)
[Joachims, 2003] in C using Matlab libraries. The SGT is a method for
transductive learning. It solves a normalized-cut (or ratio-cut) problem
with additional constraints for the labeled examples using spectral
methods. The approach is efficient enough to handle datasets with
several ten-thousands of examples.

June 14, 2005

Analysis of patterns

Analysis of patterns

Automatic pattern analysis of data is a pillar of modern science,
technology and business, with deep roots in statistics, machine
learning, pattern recognition, theoretical computer science, and many
other fields. A unified conceptual understanding of this strategic
field is of utmost importance for researchers as well as for users of
this technology.

This workshop - course will emphasizes the common principles and roots
of modern pattern analysis technology, developed independently by many
different scientific communities over the past 30 years, and their
impact on modern science and technology.

Students and researchers from many disciplienes dealing with automatic
pattern analysis form the intended audience. These include (but are
not limited to) statistics, pattern recognition, data mining, machine
learning, information theory, sequence analysis, bioinformatics,
adaptive systems, etc.

Italy, October 28 - November 6, 2005

Sarong Party Girl

Sarong Party Girl, sarongpartygirl.

Update 2009: moved to Babelogic and learned to draw.

Related: Isabella 'Izzy' Chen. 1, 2.

June 13, 2005

Data mining competition

Fair Isaac and UCSD data mining competition lets you test your predictive power.

June 12, 2005

Big Picture / Barry Ritholtz

New Yorker, car fan, and economist Barry Ritholtz's Big Picture, a well presented
peresonal economic journal. Sample article, Homeowners Go Deep in Debt to Buy
Real Estate

Also writes as Amateur Investor columnist at The Street / Real Money.

Update 2008 Noverber: Now at Ritholtz.com: example.

WSJ Bio:
Barry Ritholtz is chief market strategist for Maxim Group, a New York
investment bank. At Maxim, he maintains a market-timing model to
determine risk using a combination of trend, market internals, sentiment
measures and monetary issues within a broader macroeconomic framework.

He received his bachelor's in political science from Stony Brook
University, and his graduate degree at Yeshiva University's Benjamin N.
Cardozo School of Law, focusing on economics and corporate law. He
presents his macro perspectives on capital markets, the economy and
geopolitics, along with some discussions of music and film at The Big

Alternate URL.

June 11, 2005

Tag Soup

Clay Shirky on tagsonomy: tags are cheap reader (not author/editor)
supplied metadata, having (at least) these characteristics:

1. It’s made by someone else
2. Its creation requires very few learned rules
3. It’s produced out of self-interest (Corrolary: it is guilt-free)
4. Its value grows with aggregation
5. It does not break when there is incomplete or degenerate data

And this is what’s special about tagging. Lots of people tag links on

June 10, 2005

Radar O'Reilly buzzes software

Radar O'Reilly buzzes social and open source software, with a
smattering of user empathy.

Another group blog.

June 9, 2005

Charlene Li / Forrester

Forrester's Charlene Li (the short, Asian woman carrying a large red tote bag)
tracks technology growth and deployment strategy and trends.
Often cited for her opinions on Google.

June 8, 2005

traffic in disenfranchisement

It's not that writers in this country don't have their work
judged on literary merit; it's that we are not judged exclusively on
these grounds. The writer's biography is also examined, his or her
stats plugged into an authenticity equation to determine, once and for
all, how real the work is. There are many reasons why this is
self-defeating, and many reasons why we should not play along. When we
should be judged on the basis of our ability to imagine worlds and
empathize with our characters, we are instead reduced to merely
representing that which we must surely know firsthand. When we allow
ourselves to be praised for "being authentic," when we traffic in
biography, we are complicit in our own disenfranchisement: Suddenly we
are dismissed as serious artists. It's no longer art; it's reportage
and facsimile. It's real.
-- Peruvian guy

[via Salon, aka Daniel Alarcón]

June 7, 2005

Kay Giesecke Credit Modeller at Cornell OR

Kay Giesecke (of Cornell's School of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering)
research interests (Credit Risk, Default Correlation, Credit Derivatives, Systemic Risk)
match his research.

June 6, 2005


Tagsonomy by del.icio.us offers well-categorized ontology of topic links.

June 5, 2005

behavioural finance at capuchinomics

Capuchinomics: *.

Behavioural finance analysis of market trends, especially housing bubble.

Yet, efficient market theory cannot answer these questions:

-Why do companies with stable cashflows, earnings, sales and profit
margins have such volatile stocks?

-If the financials are stable, why is there so much trading?

-Why do prices change so much from day to day or month to month?

-Is that much value created and destroyed in such small time frames?

-Why do stocks increase or decrease by large amounts when often the
underlying financials only change by incremental amounts?

Nicely designed and presented, looks to be well optimized for Google adsense.

Update 2005 October 16: demoted from blogroll2 to blogroll4 becasue
of login required to read.

June 4, 2005


Bruce Gilsen, Federal Reserve Board, offers advice on how
to program SAS efficiently.


June 3, 2005

Handbook of Fixed Income Securities (Fabozzi)

The Handbook of Fixed Income Securities
Edited by Frank Fabozzi

Hardcover: 1500 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 7 edition (April 1, 2005)
ISBN: 0071440992

Part 1. Background.
1. Overview of the Types and Features of Fixed Income Securities.
2. Risks Associated with Investing in Fixed Income Securities.
3. A Review of the Time Value of Money.
4. Bond Pricing and Return Measures.
5. Measuring Interest Rate Risk.
6. The Sturcture of Interest Rates.
7. Bond Market Indexes.

Part 2. Government and Private Debt Obligations.
8. U.S. Treasury and Agency Securities.
9. Municipal Bonds.
10. Private Money Market Instruments.
11. Corporate Bonds.
12. Medium-Term Notes.
13. Inflation-Indexed Bonds (Tips).
14. Floating-Rate Securities.
15. Nonconvertible Preferred Stock.
16. International Bond Markets and Instruments.
17. Brady Bonds.
18. Stable Value Investments.

Part 3. Credit Analysis.
19. Credit Analysis for Corporate Bonds.
20. Credit Considerations in Evaluating High-yield Bonds.
21. Investing in 11 and Other Distressed Companies.
22. Guidelines in the Credit Analysis of General Obligation and Revenue Municipal Bonds.
23. High-Yield Analysis of Emerging Markets Debt.

Part 4. Mortgage-Backed and Asset-Backed Securities.
24. Mortgages and Overview of Mortgage-Backed Securities.
25. Mortgage Pass-Throughs.
26. Collateralized Mortgage Obligations.
27. Nonagency CMOs.
28. Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities.
29. Securities Backed by Automobile Loans.
30. Securities Backed by Closed-End Home Equity Loans.
31. Securities Backed by Manufactured Housing Loans.
32. Securities Backed by Credit Card Receivables.

Part 5. Fixed Income Analytics and Modeling.
33. Characteristics of and Strategies with Callable Securities.
34. Valuation of Bonds with Embedded Options.
35. Valuation of CMOs.
36. Fixed Income Risk Modeling.
37. OAS and Effective Duration.
38. Evaluation Amortizing ABS. A Primer on Static Spread.

Part 6. Portfolio Management.
39. Bond Management. Past, Current, and Future.
40. The Active Decisions in the Selection of Passive Management and Performance Bogeys.
41. Managing Indexed and Enhanced Indexed Bond Portfolios.
42. Global Corporate Bond Portfolio Management.
43. Management of a High-Yield Bond Portfolio.
44. Bond Immunization. An Asset/Liability Optimization Strategy.
45. Dedicated Bond Portfolios.
46. Managing Market Risk Proactively at Long-Term Investment Funds.
47. Improving Insurance company Portfolio Returns.
48. International Bond Investing and Portfolio Management.
49. International Fixed Income Investing. Theory and Practice.

Part 7. Equity-Linked Securities and Their Valuation.
50. Convertible Securities and Their Investment Characterics.
51. Convertible Securities and Their Valuation.

Part 8. Derivative Instruments and Their Portfolio Management Applications.
52. Introduction to Interest-Rate Futures and Options Contracts.
53. Pricing Futures and Portfolio Applications.
54. Treasury Bond Futures Mechanics and Basis Valuation.
55. The Basics of Interest-Rate Options.
56. Controlling Interest Rate Risk and Futures and Options.
57. Interest-Rate Swaps.
58. Interest-Rate Caps and Floors and Compound Options.

June 2, 2005

Fixed Income Securities: Tools for Today's Markets (Tuckman)

Fixed Income Securities: Tools for Today's Markets,
Second Edition by Bruce Tuckman.

# Bond Prices, Discount Factors, and Arbitrage.
# Bond Prices, Spot Rates, and Forward Rates.
# Yield to Maturity.
# Generalizations and Curve Fitting.

# One-Factor Measures of Sensitivity.
# Measures of Price Sensitivity Based on Parallel Yield Shifts.
# Key Rate and Bucket Exposures.
# Regression-Based Hedging.

# The Science of Term Structure Models.
# The Short-Rate Process and the Shape of the Term Structure.
# The Art of Term Structure Models: Drift.
# The Art of Term Structure Models: Volatility and Distribution.
# Multi-Factor Term Structure Models.
# Trading with Term Structure Models.

# Repo.
# Forward Markets.
# Eurodollar and Fed Fund Futures.
# Interest Rate Swaps.
# Fixed Income Options.
# Note and Bond Futures.
# Mortgage-Backed Securities.

June 1, 2005

two models in one regression

In SAS, you can estimate two distinct models with one call to proc reg.

proc reg data=USPopulation outest=est tableout alpha=0.1;
m1: model Population=Year/noprint;
m2: model Population=Year YearSq/noprint;
proc print data=est;