Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stocks - still cautious

The stock market's run-up has surprised me over the past month or so. I've been gradually raising cash along the way.

I recently cleared my largest position in CTSH Cognizant Tech - a company I'd been in for around 5 years. I've closed out a few other longer term holdings too, including HANS.

Today I closed out a short term swing trade in WalMart WMT. I was in for about 3 months, picked up a dividend along the way, and sold for about 7.5% net gain in total. So far I'm enjoying the opportunities to move in and out of positions in some of the big companies that just seem cheap to me.

While I'm still taking a very cautious stance on the economy and stock market, I still want to stay partially invested, so after looking over some options I'm thinking MSFT Microsoft will be on the buy list for tomorrow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swamp People

I don't watch much TV anymore, but I ran into the Swamp People series on the History Channel this morning. It's about Gator hunting with the Cajuns down in Louisiana. If you get a chance check it out. I can't turn it off.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Check out the story on the new dinosaur discovered in Utah, an apparent relative to Triceratops called Kosmoceratops that has 15 elaborate horns on it's head/shield. The picture is in the linked article.

Here's another article with a different picture from Utah's Salt Lake Tribune.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quote of the Day - Jimi Hendrix

"Just listen, and you'll hear" - Jimi Hendrix

I saw that quote in an NPR story about Jimi Hendrix earlier today. Here's the link to the story and the link to the podcast.

The 40th Anniversary of Hendrix's death is this weekend September 18th. He'd be 67 years old if he was still alive. I've never heard the song mentioned in the article... only problem is I can't find a copy of the song anywhere to download.

Over the past year or so I've gotten into Jimi Hendrix's playing in a very big way and now have a high level of admiration for what Hendrix was about. When I was younger I just didn't "get" Jimi, but I guess now that I've aged a little I have developed an unexpected level of admiration and respect. And most of the respect comes from listening to Hendrix's back-catalog - and the fine work on those songs that you'd never hear unless you searched them out. The popular rock songs that blanket the classic rock airwaves are O.K., but there's a whole different Hendrix out there that creates a whole new dimension - and without checking out his back-catalog via my emusic.com subscription I probably would've never heard most of it.

edit: after looking around here's a youtube video of the song that I came across. I guess the track was never officially released?

Monday, September 13, 2010


I saw this article by Douglas Coupland and laughed:

"BELL’S LAW OF TELEPHONY No matter what technology is used, your monthly phone bill magically remains about the same size."

How true.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering 9-11

My wife forwarded me a link from author Meg Cabot's website relating the author's experience of 9/11 in NYC. This is a powerful read and will likely have you recalling where you were and the confusion surrounding the day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Almost Famous

I just saw this. I participated in a stock investing board on the Silicon Investor website where Michael Burry used to post. It sounds like he went on to become a successful hedge fund manager with keen insights into the market bubbles of the last decade.

Anyhow, I saw the Bloomberg story and was just like "Hey - I remember that guy!"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Six Million Dollar Man

I just happened across this intro to the Six Million Dollar Man. This used to be one of my favorite shows when I was little.

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology"

"Better.... Stronger... Faster..."

Oh yeah, that's classic. I want to run around the house in my jump suit now.

And all that for only $6 million dollars. I guess that used to seem like a lot of money.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Interesting research on effective Study Habits

Here's the story.

1. Vary the location where you study. The associative nature of memory works better in more dynamic/changing environments.
1a. Break up the times when you study. 2-3 hours over several days are better than 2-3 hours in one sitting.
2. Study multiple but related material together (rather than intensely studying one topic)
3. Test yourself. Learning and Recalling seem to reinforce each other. Just looking at notes over and over isn't the same as studying notes and then forcing yourself to retrieve answers with quiz questions.

I found this particularly interesting - there's apparently very little support for the idea of "learning styles." Quote from article:

Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are “visual learners” and others are auditory; some are “left-brain” students, others “right-brain.” In a recent review of the relevant research, published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a team of psychologists found almost zero support for such ideas. “The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the researchers concluded.

One final thought: Have you noticed how sometimes it's very hard to accomplish a task on a given day no matter how hard you work at it (maybe something at work, or a guitar run, or a certain hurdle in a video game)? But if you take a break - maybe even sleep on it - then the next day it becomes much easier to do? Isn't that what they're suggesting above? Break up you study time - give your brain opportunity to digest what's learned - test yourself by trying again. (I personally find sleeping on an idea is very good for clarification - but they don't seem to outright suggest sleep between learning as a part of study schedule).