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The Big Casino

Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism looks at the market in an attempt to understand what is going in The Imagination Trade, or the Tinkerbell Market 2.0.

Based on the economic facts, the market is looking for the next fad or bubble hoping to rise to the top with latest version of the Pet Rock [there is actually a USB version currently available]. No attention is actually being paid to the fundamentals.

Why is anyone in politics doing anything “to restore confidence in the markets”? The markets aren’t acting rationally, they are gambling. Wall Street is the largest game of Liar’s Poker in the world, and trillions of dollars and millions of lives are being risked.

Yves is covering the same things that I covered in Investing In The Future And Jobs?, and Bruce Schneier covers in Attacking High-Frequency Trading Networks. This has nothing to do with investing, or funding the growth of the economy, it is raw gambling on the decisions made by other traders, not CEOs.


1 Suzan { 01.19.11 at 10:06 am }

Amen, friend!

I’ve been saying the exact same at my blog for years.

And no one is even budging from the gambler’s crouch.

Love ya,


2 Steve Bates { 01.19.11 at 12:01 pm }

Oops. That comment belonged on your post “Legal Lies”.

3 Bryan { 01.19.11 at 4:33 pm }

I moved it Steve, but I’m not going to do that again, because WordPress is really unhappy about that sort of thing and they really don’t want you doing it.

Next time I’m just going to put a link to the comment in the correct thread.

4 Bryan { 01.19.11 at 4:40 pm }

Suzan, if they admit the truth, then there is no justification for most of what the government does in the economic arena, Imagine a “family values” Congresscritter sponsoring legislation to bail out a casino, or to assist a poker player. Some of the value voters have a fixed belief that gamblers are spawns of the devil, and they are more than a bit rigid about it.

5 Steve Bates { 01.19.11 at 6:09 pm }

Fair enough, Bryan. Apologies.

6 Bryan { 01.19.11 at 7:49 pm }

Not necessary, Steve, as the comment about not doing it again wasn’t directed at you. It was a learning experience that showed me that it was not something that occurs by accident, so if it happens on another WordPress blog, you’ll know it was definitely intentional. I did it to figure out how, if I needed to do it again. It was my decision, not yours. You didn’t ask me to move it.

The problem is the existence of what amounts to an indexing table that is automatically created for searching comments. If you change the main entry, you have to use SQL to patch the secondary indexing table or things seize up.

Fortunately I found a work-around before I mucked things up. It was a grim tale of disaster told by the guy who supplied the work-around, starting with his original belief that “back-ups are for sissies” and going down hill from there. He spent a weekend fixing things that were recoverable.

Apparently it was easy to do in early versions of WordPress, but as features were added simplicity was lost.

Data bases are wonderful things – until they crash.

7 Badtux { 01.20.11 at 10:09 am }

Heh. And people wondered why I used XML flat files in a directory for the “database” of my last product rather than a “real” database. “You can’t search XML!” “Sure you can, just suck the whole thing into memory and hash or sort it on the fields you’re interested in.” “What about transaction integrity?” “Just protect the thing with a flock and get on with it.” Of course, this approach only works if you’re dealing with a couple hundred entities max, and some of the popular WordPress blogs get thousands of comments on a *single* post, but I decidedly feel your pain on the database thing :).

For extra fun, use one of the Open Source relational databases in a multi-threaded clustered environment, and watch the fireworks start :twisted:. I’m glad that’s not my job at my current employer…

– Badtux the Geeky Penguin

8 Bryan { 01.20.11 at 9:45 pm }

You really need to over-design data bases before you use them, or they will bite you hard.

People who are only users, have no idea how badly they can muck things up when they make changes. There are a lot of “plug-ins” available that permit you to do very dangerous things to the data base, especially if they aren’t constantly updated, because they do occasionally alter the data base when there is a software update. Fortunately the table names are descriptive enough that I checked before I got myself into deep yogurt.

There are a lot of very fast search algorithms that make flat files workable, avoiding the complexity of a data base. It’s not like you have to do a sequential read off a 9 track tape, like the old days.

Even this place has over 30K comments on 7K+ posts, so a flat file would be a problem.

9 Badtux { 01.21.11 at 10:39 am }

Well, I wrote BBS/forum software in the late 80’s that used flat files for posts and their comment threads, it used one flat file per post that contained the actual post and its comments, the post “database” (and also the user database) was a dBase-style flat file database basically saying which flat file was which post in which forum (yes, my posts had comment threads on them, just like WordPress… it was very sophisticated for 1987!) . It was very fast for the day, other than when you were trying to delete comments, at which point it’d have to do a sequential search through the post’s file to find the comment you were deleting and change its status flag to “deleted”. Given the limits of the hardware of the day, that was a tradeoff that I was willing to accept. And with today’s hardware, it’d be even simpler.

Of course, this was in the days when dBase was the state of the art in PC databases, when SQL was something that only ran on IBM mainframes, and so a relational database would not have been possible even if I’d wanted one. My real point is that I know from personal experience that even WordPress could be mostly implemented without a relational database. Relational databases too often are being used because that’s what people get taught in college nowadays, not because they’re necessarily the right tool for a particular job. In a way I’m glad XML has come along, because it sounds just trendy enough that I can get away with avoiding the complexities of feeding a SQL database for most of what I do nowadays (which, granted, is not managing massive amounts of infinitely-searchable data).

MySQL is why my posts from the pre-2004 era aren’t online anymore. I got tired of fighting it and thus let it quietly die when I migrated to Blogger.

– Badtux the Geeky Penguin