Sunday, September 28, 2008

Funny Financial Quote

S.E.C. Concedes Oversight Flaws Fueled Collapse

From the NYTimes:

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down.

(and later on in the article - and what I find funny)

On one level, the commission’s decision to end the regulatory program was somewhat academic, because the five biggest independent Wall Street firms have all disappeared.

The Fed and Treasury Department forced Bear Stearns into a merger with JPMorgan Chase in March. And in the last month, Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was acquired by Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs changed their corporate structures to become bank holding companies, which the Federal Reserve regulates.

Anyhow, found it funny. Not all regulation is bad regulation - especially when insurance is behind the system - be it financial/banking system, or the healthcare system. Active players in a fully competitive free-market environment will find ways to game the system, and good regulations try to limit that. (Yes, I work in the risk management industry and see regularly ways people try to get around the intentions we put in place to minimize risk).

By the way, here's another good article in the NYTimes about Goldman Sach's close call - along with some interesting perspective on leverage.

EDIT: Adding another - a good op-ed by Ben Stein "In Financial Food Chains, Little Guys Can’t Win"

First, I am furious at what the traders, speculators, hedge funds and the government have done to everyone who is saving and investing for retirement and future security.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Earth and moon from a distance

Whoa. I was looking at images on the the Astronomy Picture of the Day's website over the past month or so (I used to check this almost daily but haven't been checking as closely recently), and I came upon this excellent series of photos from a probe from a distance of around 31 million miles looking back at the earth and moon.

The image apparently contains both visable and infrared data, but it's striking how small the earth and orbit of the moon look from this perspective. Very cool. I think we're looking at mostly Africa and the Atlantic ocean as they rotate in the images.

First picture of probably extrasolar planet

"Though over 300 extrasolar planets have been found using other techniques, this picture likely represents the first direct image of a planet belonging to a star similar to the Sun. " - Astronomy Picture of the Day

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oprah article

I don't really know much about Oprah or her show, but I find it interesting that Oprah has a huge following from the women in Saudi Arabia due to her story of overcoming adversity to achieve success. I think this story provides sine interesting insights.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dogs catch the yawns

Cool story on how dogs can "catch" the yawns from people.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brian Greene on the Large Hadron Collider

A NYTimes article by physicist Brian Greene regarding what scientists are hoping to find with the Large Hadron Collider that recently became operational.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Large Hadron Rap

A friend of mine who works on the space station linked me into this rap about the Large Hadron Collider. It's pretty funny but at the same time talks about what they're trying to discover and how they're doing it.