In 2009, I remember reading a resignation later by a guy who made his "F* you money" betting for a housing collapse. He blasted the big banks, ivy leaguers, and old boys network.
I bought complex derivatives (SRS, SKF) but lost betting against the market.
I read http://calculatedriskblog.com for a while and educated myself about the macro factors in the markets.
Through "calculated risk", I learned of Jim the Realtor http://www.bubbleinfo.com/ who videos (vacant) casualties of the housing collapse. Seeing it made it real for me.
Over time, I've realized that the further from reality that decisions are being made, the more likely we are to make destructive decisions.
When soldiers kill people with drone aircraft in video game-like conditions, it removes the reality from something that would be extremely traumatizing when done with bare hands.
In our wonderfully complex world, we sow complexity, and reap disaster. Im not sure what the answer is, but there is something terribly wrong when destruction is more profitable than creation.
The military acknowledges how traumatizing this could be.
From section 7.4 in this doc (http://library.enlisted.info/field-manuals/series-2/FM21_150...):
Killing a sentry is completely different than killing an enemy soldier while
engaged in a firefight. It is a cold and calculated attack on a specific target.
After observing a sentry for hours, watching him eat or look at his wife’s photo,
an attachment is made between the stalker and the sentry. Nonetheless, the
stalker must accomplish his task efficiently and brutally. At such close
quarters, the soldier literally feels the sentry fight for his life. The sights,
sounds, and smells of this act are imprinted in the soldier’s mind; it is an
intensely personal experience. A soldier who has removed a sentry should be
observed for signs of unusual behavior for four to seven days after the act.
> However, it is important not to stare at the enemy
> because he may sense the stalker's presence
> through a sixth sense.
So yes, it's poorly written and superstitious (although the 'sixth sense' thing isn't completely bogus - although there's nothing mystical about it, it's more about the state of mind of the attacker and the avoidance of tunnel vision than a true sixth sense in the mark). But also remember that field manuals have to be written in a way to be easy to teach, to the lowest common denominator (soldiers, aka cannon fodder) who usually, and especially at that time, came from lower socio-economic backgrounds and had little critical thinking or analytical skills.
You can try an experiment, look at somebody intently for a while -- see if they don't look back at you.
I'd love more information on that myself.
A very good read. Andrew Lahde bet against the "too big to fail" financial institutions. He was an outsider. And he only closed his operations because he considered those institutions wouldn't be able to pay back [further] bets.
> Andrew Lahde (born 1971) was a California-based hedge fund manager
> who in 2007 earned some fame for achieving return rates in the vicinity
> of 1000% with his Lahde Capital, based in Santa Monica,
> California. The fund speculated on increases of U.S. subprime
> mortgage defaults.
For most investors there really wasn't an optimal way to do this, using ultra-short ETFs carried a lot of drawbacks. The best way (which I found and put 50% of my PA into) was to go long a Canadian insurer which had a ton of credit default swaps on most of the levered investment banks.
The other thing I would say is that, unless you are somehow exacerbating a problem (e.g.: somehow creating rumors to cause bank runs) then picking up cheap insurance isn't the same as being the guy controlling the predator drone in a strike. You'd instead be simply offsetting someone else's risk.
This type of physical disconnect is discussed in a radiolab episode on morality (http://www.radiolab.org/2007/aug/13/). They discuss two scenarios: (these versions are a bit different, copypasta'd from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem)
A trolley (i.e. in British English a train) is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?
As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you - your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you proceed?
In short, more people will flip the switch in scenario 1, but will not push the man off the bridge in the second scenario. From this result, they (researchers) hypothesize that an entirely different part of the brain handles more abstract (i.e. non-physical) decisions; while the more basic, physical decisions may be made elsewhere.
Really cool thought experiment, and a good listen overall. Then again, that's par for the course when it comes to radiolab.
(These people are the cleanup crew, in the "broken window fallacy" story they are the ones making the new windows and installing them. They aren't the ones who broke the window.)
Subscribe to sub-reddits of your interest and you will only see stories from those sub-reddits on your front page. Stick with the default options and you only see the top stories from default selected sub-reddits.
In a way its like twitter and facebook, the quality of tweets and wall posts you will see are only as good as the people you decide to follow.
Did anyone not really understand that it's rough for people to lose their houses?
To fix things, you first need to hear about the process, to learn intricate details about it, how people end up in these situations and what's at stake. Only then you can become passionate about solving issues that don't involve screens, keyboards and mouses. Do we know it's rough? Yes. Do we understand their issues and have ideas how to fix this? I doubt many of us do.
In my country, if you're late for 90 days with your mortgage payment, one specific bank transfers your debt to another entity which sends you a letter requiring you to pay the entire debt within 1 year or they'll foreclosure on you. I wouldn't have found this today if it weren't for this article. And maybe in the future, the dots will connect and this information will help me improve the lives of such people in distress.
What happens if you become unemployed during this time?
If you become unemployed and no longer have any assets, I suspect the debt still exists awaiting you to become employed again, but I'm not a lawyer.
If you haven't noticed foreclosure rates and done some thinking about what that meant in human terms, you were simply not paying attention, to put it very directly. (And maybe you have good reasons; you live in Singapore or something and don't care much about the US housing market)
Id rather consume news via sites like HN where I get interesting stories all the time and get to chat about it with the community.
Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. ... If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.
Entrepreneurship is the main way to hack society and its systems (I put most politicians in the "those that cannot do, teach" department). But the first step in fixing a system is to find out about its issues. From this perspective, this is very much an on-topic story on HN.
See also the meaning of "hacker" written by pg: http://www.paulgraham.com/gba.html .
"On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity." http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html
Stories don't have to be about hacking. In fact, the Hacker News guidelines used to explicitly mention that good hackers were interested in things other than hacking.
I am upset at the trend in HN to increasingly post only technology-related posts. A news submission with no intellectual undertones can be voted up dozens of times as long as it's related to Apple, Android, or something similar. Posting shallow content just because it's tech is the quickest route to becoming Reddit. And that's not a bash on Reddit, I enjoy reddit--but it's not where I normally go for "deeply interesting" content.