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  1. Thank you! This is very informative analysis from Kevin Rudd - not that we did not know pieces of individual details, but to put it all together into a coherent framework (latticework of models shall we say) is frankly excellent. I think #1 and #3 are now easy to understand from Kevin's framework and my speculation is that these will be hard to stop even after election (particularly #3 which may have direct effect on US investors and their ownership of China's private companies). I am really curious about #2 (demographics) as lot's of countries have tried and failed to lift birth rates with generous child care policies. For example if you look at countries with most generous child care vs their birth rate (not shown in the fig attached below) there is no correlation. E.g South Korea, Italy, Greece, Spain, Japan etc have some of the lowest birth rates. It is incredibly hard to break downward trend in fertility rate as its a very complex set of factors that determine that. https://www.norden.org/en/news/record-low-birth-rates-three-nordic-countries "Parental leave of little effect Karlsdóttir is surprised that the generous provisions for parental leave and childcare in the Nordic countries have not had a greater impact on birth rates." The question is - despite trying in a china specific heavy handed way, will the demographic destiny change? Plus this process will cause collateral damage to private sector, i.e investors, especially foreign ones.
  2. +10 Anecdotally: 3 of my friends / acquaintances have gone from both spouses working to now only the husband working and wife leaving the work force for now. All of them are well to do and have gotten even better off financially as husband's worked in tech companies that did much better than other companies due to Covid. Also kids are in middle / high school and need helicopter parenting to aim for ivy leagues / good colleges. So mom's decided to focus on kids education needs, at least for a few years until they are off to college. My suspicion is that lots of different stories like that, different motivations and even financially not in the same boat but end result is the same.
  3. 1. I think we are agreeing that limiting amount of money as a handout from either the govt or parents should not limit once's ability to live a decent and happy life. 2. Someone has to pay for nearly a 750B dollar in defence spending even if everything else is cut immediately to zero. As TwoCitiesCapital said - let the dead pay and lower other taxes for everyone else. Sets right incentives. 3. As for Churchill, I would say follow what a man does, not what he says - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/People's_Budget "The 1909/1910 People's Budget was a proposal of the Liberal government that introduced unprecedented taxes on the lands and incomes of Britain's wealthy to fund new social welfare programmes......It was championed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, and his young ally Winston Churchill..... it was the first budget in British history with the expressed intent of redistributing wealth equally amongst the British population"
  4. Shouldn't the descendants be able to look after themselves with the $3.5 million (or current 11M) that they can get tax free (plus the after tax portion of the rest of the amount)? And this is usually after all the education expense have been paid for already which by the way is absolutely fine by me. But if they can't look after themselves even with all this amount post education, then they are neither ambitious nor skilled in money making. In olden days one could get power or grab land by hook or by crook, become king (or feudal lord) and then their descendants lived rich ever after while the large section of populace just suffered.
  5. +10 I think most of the sovereigns (Uncle Sam and all other Uncles out there) like control over something as fundamental as currency. Even if say US govt allows for broader adoption of any crypto (pick your favorite here) it will want to control the generation and distribution of that specific one (just like the dollar) and make all others as irrelavant as possible. At that point, its just another govt backed currency. It so happens that it is driven by crypto tech and has some other nice properties including, if its even possible, "green tech crypto". But (pseudo) anonymous will not be one of them.
  6. ok - let me rephrase. If there was a simplified 2x2 matrix with rows as "ease of use" and columns as "non-traceability and anonymity" for large money transfers / laundering here is what is it will look - Cash: ease of use - low (particularly with large sums and trans national transfers) non-traceability and anonymity - mid to high (you could in theory trace using serial numbers) Traditional bank / wire transfer ease of use - mid to high non-traceability and anonymity - low to non-existent Crypto ease of use - mid to high (depends on acceptance by various organizations and is dynamically changing and increasing) non-traceability and anonymity - mid to high (less anonymous than cash in theory but in practice requires equal or more resources to catch bad actors due to ease of use) There is already govt movement towards cash less society prior to crypto arriving on the scene in a big way. The combination of high ease of use + non-traceability and anonymity will make it prime target of govt regulators/law enforcement. I am not making philosophical point and right or wrong at this time. This is just the way it is.
  7. I think people are underestimating the risk posed by non-traceability of crypto. Its not just financial mania and stability. The ability of sovereign (countries) to respond to things like ransomware and other cyber crimes for money transfers is compromised. It will become untenable when it will start to be seen from the lens of national security (not just from regulation standpoint). At that point hammer will come down hard on crypto - https://fortune.com/2021/05/13/colonial-pipeline-paid-hackers-5-million-ransom-cryptocurrency-ransomware-attack/ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-12/crypto-s-anonymity-has-regulators-circling-after-colonial-ransomware-hack
  8. I think that statement is hopefully correct but not necessarily correct though that is the mainstream media opinion. https://www.timesofisrael.com/transmission-rate-nears-1-as-officials-warn-purim-parties-could-halt-reopening/ Israel’s virus transmission rate has continued to rise and is extremely close to showing expanded spread, data released by a military taskforce showed on Sunday. "In its latest report, the Military Intelligence taskforce said Israel’s coronavirus transmission rate was once again nearing 1, standing at 0.99. The rate had dipped to a low of 0.8 earlier this month." https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/weekly-hospital-admissions-covid-per-million?tab=chart&stackMode=absolute&time=2020-11-22..latest&country=USA~ISR The Israeli new hospitalizations are still very high...133 per million for Israel vs 42 for US as of February 21st. Unfortunately country to country comparisons are not a good metric to show effect of vaccination on respiratory illness unless we take into account many other factors such as population density (400 / sq km for Israel vs 36 for US), mobility in a given timeframe, cultural practices etc. In-fact I would posit that country to country comparison is fairly useless. It is much better for example to compare regions within each country with similar characteristics to draw any meaningful conclusions. That is why researchers from Israel used pre vaccination vs post vaccination data within the same regions in Israel and within a specific time frame as one of the comparisons to get a handle on effect of vaccination on spread. This also allowed them to control for other factors. One has to slice and dice this complex data in many ways to come to meaningful conclusion. This data may not be perfect but is far better than arbitrary but broad country based comparison. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.08.21251325v1 Please read methods section. Here is a snippet - "Third, we used data with a higher geographical-resolution termed geographical statistical areas(GSAs). The GSAs are small, relatively homogeneous intra-city units defined by the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, with an average of 3,000 residents, within cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants." Their conclusion (which I agree with) is that vaccination is effective in reducing hospitalizations / deaths in places where vaccination percentages are very high and is still following other covid guidelines.
  9. Maybe unlike around 1998-2000, the alternative right now is cash (at least healthy fraction of once's portfolio). Zero is still better than negative returns. Thankfully inflation is rather tame and if one does not have big discretionary spending left out (such as a house) for a foreseeable future, cash is not a bad option in the short to medium term (1-3 years). Pockets of value still exist in pharma/biotech.
  10. Covid-19 vaccine: First person receives Pfizer jab in UK https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55227325 "Second in line for the jab at University Hospital in Coventry was 81-year-old William Shakespeare from Warwickshire." Not sure if he was deliberately selected to make a splash. But it sure did.
  11. Although I would agree with Infoisone and LC on parts of it, for example many times what is branded as AI/ML is actually just "old" statistical techniques like KNN, I will disagree on other parts. Sure, machine learning started with its roots in statistics and borrows some concepts from it. However, on the theory itself it has long evolved to be distinct from how theoretical statistics has advanced (see statistical learning theory and PAC theory here http://www.econ.upf.edu/~lugosi/mlss_slt.pdf and deep neural network theory - https://www.pnas.org/content/117/48/30039). And many modern techniques are inspired from this new theoretical framework (SVM, Deep learning). Both on theoretical side as well as practical technique development side increasingly the practitioners are also diverging. They think of problems differently, attend different conferences, etc, etc. The goals/objectives of techniques coming out in these fields are also different. The AI/ML field reminds me of early days of statistics where a lot of practitioners came from varied fields (Fisher - was he a geneticist using statistics or other way round?) and helped grow it to become a mature and distinct field of its own. Statistics is an important component of AI/ML, but so is optimization, computational complexity, etc (http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~andrzeje/lmml.html).
  12. For a long list of reasons, the Ct-threshold result is much more qualitative than quantitative. Countries which have been highly effective at containment could certainly wonder if they did too much to contain by, for example, wondering if using a lower Ct-threshold value would have resulted in the same level of containment with less restrictive measures. It is ironic that the same question is being asked where spread (contagious transmission) has been so rampant. In areas of high and persistent spread (high and rising positive rates), the additional value of more robust standardization of Ct-threshold value is like having the possibility to drive a Ferrari in dirt track racing. First of thank you Cigarbutt for trying to shed some light on this. Actually its even more fundamental than that. Here is an excerpt from CDC but any biochemistry book covering PCR test will clarify - Question: Can Ct values from different RT-PCR tests be compared? "No. For a given RT-PCR diagnostic test, the genetic material from a patient sample must be processed using a specific series of steps to produce a valid test result. However, the steps used to process the genetic material, the specific genetic target being measured, and the amount of the patient sample used varies among RT-PCR tests. Because the nucleic acid target (the pathogen of interest), platform and format differ, Ct values from different RT-PCR tests cannot be compared." What that means is that a test deployed in Portugal may be the same amount of "amplified" viral genetic material as a test from some other country with a different Ct. Ct is just # of cycles. Even if you have different cycles but you start with different initial state you may end up with the same result. It gets even more complicated. Not every PCR test is equally "efficient" meaning they do not have the same exponential curves. They also don't start with the same amount of patient sample (the specification for that test) because of how tests are configured with different technologies. Yet another important factor is the end goal which also matters. If the goal is to catch every potential case then the test is "tuned" for more cycles. I mean this is an investment forum, I would have assumed some literacy and/or curiosity about these things instead of bias. So here is a very rough analogy and gross simplification of the PCR process - exponential process = compounding with a rate of return, initial state = amount of starting capital, number of cycles = # of years. ending capital = amount of viral dna after amplification Just talking about how may years it took for two different investors to reach the same amount of ending capital is useless in comparing them if one doesn't know starting capital, rate of returns, different strategies employed, the goal of each investor (capital preservation vs capital growth vs steady income), etc etc. If a biochemist came to an investment forum or conference and started talking about various investment strategies/options/metrics in an unsophisticated way, all "savvy" investors will eat him/her alive. And yet here we are, talking about an equally complex thing at the intersection of medicine/biochemistry/epidemiology, that needs expertise, in a casual way as if its so easy. The best (*sarcasm) articles come from zero hedge, with reference to truely original sources and insights from "JustTheNews".
  13. This is actually quite impressive. This is (err, was) a very hard problem. I had the fortune of being part of a group of some very bright minds when they were working on this protein folding problem back in the day and participating in CASP (the competition that AlphaFold won this year by a 2.5X margin to its nearest competitor). It is a crazy and stunning advance, the effect of which cannot be overstated. This could be as significant as human genome sequencing. Because if sequencing the genome was equivalent to translating a book of "unknown" language to english then this advance is equivalent to creating a play out of the characters of the book, understanding them and see in real life how they potentially function and play their part in the human body.
  14. Make sense though. Large city with many renters, large population of young and single people and high cost. But I bet Seattle suburbs are white hot. I'm throwing 700k cash offers at 3bed/1bath 1,000 sq ft houses in the east bay of San Francisco. I'm not even competitive apparently... Suburbs have largely lacked the price appreciating that Appartement or houses in the city areas had. I lived in Long Island and now in Boston area and in both cases, houses were still below ~2005 prices. I think RE in thr city core might have doubled with8b the same time frame. If this trend reverses, it could have a long way to go, but I somehow doubt that it will. Actually good bay area suburban housing has been on fire since a couple of years after the GFC. The suburban city of Burlingame (17 miles south of San Francisco) has seen a 2.5X price rise for single family homes in the last 10 years (Dec-2010 to now). That is annualized appreciation of nearly 10%. If you take last 25 years for this suburb that number comes to about 7.5% annualized which is rivaling S&P returns (without dividends reinvested of-course). https://www.zillow.com/burlingame-ca/home-values/ For comparison San Francisco (SF) has appreciated "only" 2X in the last 10 years for single family homes (7.5% annualized) and about 4X in the last 25 years (for a return of 6% annualized). SF Zillow: https://www.zillow.com/san-francisco-ca/home-values/ SF Case Shiller: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/SFXRSA
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