10-22 16:24 - 'To iterate: I don't buy your binary premise that there is only two options (either only the Europeans are to blame or only the Africans are to blame). I did not appeal to my authority, I did not say something was tr...' by /u/LateInTheAfternoon removed from /r/history within 99-109min
''' To iterate: I don't buy your binary premise that there is only two options (either only the Europeans are to blame or only the Africans are to blame). I did not appeal to my authority, I did not say something was true just because I said so. In fact, I only acknowledged a discrepancy between what the two of us know (a discrepancy which admittedly only might exist for that precise region and that precise time frame for all I know) and detailed why I had chosen those specific words and what I intended to convey by them. This is not appeal to authority! I have to conclude that you're a troll and that we're done here. If you want to quibble about literal meanings of words at the expense of the larger picture, refuse to answer questions when asked, and to assume everyone shares your binary way of looking on things then you'll have to find someone else to engage with. As for "my"
theory for why Africans (including warlords who reigned supreme while not ruling) didn't do anything to help slavery except when forced to by evil Europeans
this is the most inane mischaracterisation of my arguments I have ever seen, and I will as a reminder state my real theory opinion which I have argumented for in this whole thread:
There's plenty of blame to go around and both European agents and African leaders and collaborators will be the targets. However, generally speaking and over a long time, more blame is to be apportioned to Europeans and less blame is to be apportioned to Africans, because of the different situations these people could act as moral agents. When, for instance, you consider what motivated the different actors you'll find it is easier to criticize the Europeans because of the greed that drove them and their disrespect for local authority, costums and law, than it is to criticize the African elites and communities which found themselves in a situation of societies and trade networks crumbling around them and was motivated to a lesser extent by greed and more by self preservation, which in many cases (directly or indirectly) dictated the necessity of them to collaborate.
The pharmacy 2020 demographics survey results are here! There were 258 respondents this year. Please note that the numbers will not necessarily add up to 100%, since all questions were optional. Sorry in advance for the crappy Excel graphs. Location Most respondents hailed from the US (233; 90.3%), followed by Canada (10; 3.9%), United Kingdom (8; 3.1%), New Zealand (2; 0.8%), and 1 respondent each from Australia, Indonesia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Taiwan. Of the 233 Americans, the top 3 states were California (20; 8.6%), Pennsylvania (18; 7.7%), and Texas (18; 7.7%). The 10 Canadians were from Ontario (5; 50%), British Columbia (2; 20%), Alberta (1; 10%), Nova Scotia (1; 10%), and Quebec (1; 10%). Demographics Of the 258 respondents, 130 (50.4%) identified as female, 123 (47.7%) as male, and 3 (1.2%) as non-binary. Age distribution is shown in the below table. A few statistics: minimum 19, maximum 68, mean 29.0, median 28, mode 26. https://preview.redd.it/qxyxs2sj09c51.png?width=554&format=png&auto=webp&s=202bef88a53fa8596182435590ba9de8eb3646c9 In terms of race/ethnicity, the categories from most to least common were as follows: white (156; 60.5%), Asian (55; 21.3%), 2 or more races (11; 4.3%), black (9; 3.5%), Hispanic or Latino (8; 3.1%), Indian subcontinent (6; 2.3%), Arab (4; 1.6%), Native American or American Indian (2; 0.8%), and Armenian (1; 0.4%). General employment questions Of the 258 respondents, 169 (65.5%) were pharmacists, 55 (21.3%) were pharmacy students, 22 (8.5%) were non-pharmacist staff, and 8 (3.1%) were pre-pharmacy students. There were also 1 each of the following: corporate pharmacy compliance, pharmacy wholesaler, pharmacology student, and other healthcare professional. Most respondents (169; 65.5%) were employed full time (defined as > 30 hours/week), while 19 (7.4%) were employed part time. 49 respondents (19.0%) were full time students (not necessarily in pharmacy), 13 (5.0%) were unemployed, 4 (1.6%) worked outside of the field of pharmacy, 2 (0.8%) were self-employed, 1 (0.4%) was retired, and 1 (0.4%) was consulting/contracting. There was a nearly equal split between respondents working in suburban (99; 38.4%) vs. urban (97; 37.6%) locations, followed by 21 (8.1%) in rural locations and 15 (5.8%) working remotely (apologies - I should have made this question/response more clear, but based on a jump compared to last year's survey, I think people working from home temporarily due to COVID-19 may have chosen this option). A pie chart of primary place of employment is shown below, with the top 7 responses shown in the legend: community/retail (136; 52.7%), hospital including outpatient (48; 18.6%), pharmaceutical industry including CROs (11; 4.3%), mail ordespecialty/home infusion (9; 3.5%), unemployed (8; 3.1%), long-term care/hospice (8; 3.1%), and ambulatory care (5; 1.9%). Please note that the unemployed category includes non-working full time students. https://preview.redd.it/csyipt0hs9c51.png?width=297&format=png&auto=webp&s=3b91337feb634a61730ccfbdd09aa8a0fdda6d7a A small proportion (42; 16.3%) of respondents reported having a second job. Of these, the most common fields of employment were: hospital including outpatient (10; 23.8%), community/retail (8; 19.0%), and self employment/side hustle (7; 16.7%). Salary For the following charts, I only included those working full time. Below is a histogram for full time pharmacist salary worldwide, as well as a table showing some stats for global, US, and ex-US salaries. https://preview.redd.it/n16j31x1v9c51.png?width=447&format=png&auto=webp&s=624581f5b94c917c417ac39da92cf9eb4c77130c
Clinical Research & Development (including Clinical Operations)
Medical Science Liaison
The breakdown by level was as follows: PharmD Fellow (3; 27.3%), Associate/Specialist (6; 54.5%), ManageSupervisor (1; 9.1%), Director (1; 9.1%). Five respondents had completed or were currently completing a fellowship. Four of these 5 provided their salaries during their fellowships, with an average of $50,000. Pharmacy and pre-pharmacy students There were 63 respondents (24.4%) who reported being pharmacy or pre-pharmacy students. Of these, the top 3 desired fields upon graduation were: hospital including residencies (16; 25.4%), undecided (13; 20.6%), and community/retail (11; 17.5%). These 63 students attended (or planned to attend) 45 different schools worldwide. The 5 most common schools reported were as follows: University of Toronto (3; 4.8%), Feik School of Pharmacy (2; 3.2%), Ohio State University (2; 3.2%), Temple University (2; 3.2%), and University of Colorado (2; 3.2%). The breakdown by year was as follows: undergraduate/pre-pharmacy (8; 12.7%), PY1 (4; 6.3%), PY2 (18; 28.6%), PY3 (16; 25.4%), and PY4 (13; 20.6%). Of the 13 PY4 students, 2 reported having a job lined up after graduation, both in community/retail. Most students (45; 71.4%) were working in a pharmacy setting while in school. Stats for the number of hours worked weekly were as follows: minimum 3; maximum 34; mean 15.8; median 15. The most common duties interns were authorized to perform at their jobs were counseling patients (38; 84.4%), administering immunizations (24; 53.3%), and product verification (17; 37.8%). Note that interns could choose more than 1 option. Of the 63 students, 36 (57.1%) reported that they would choose to attend pharmacy school again if they could go back in time, knowing what they know now. Sixteen students (25.4%) reported that they would decide on a different career path, and 5 (7.9%) were unsure. Following pharmacy school, some students were considering pursuing the following degrees (top 3 listed): MPH (6; 9.5%), MD (4; 6.3%), and MBA (3; 4.8%). Results from additional questions are shown in chart form below. https://preview.redd.it/mls7e2139ac51.png?width=480&format=png&auto=webp&s=5db3ec80fd6e1934c787941278b7b755ad802a45 https://preview.redd.it/p9p44ifm9ac51.png?width=480&format=png&auto=webp&s=faf04b54ed228cc0cf110d06ed27bfd524ba894f https://preview.redd.it/8p7qq205aac51.png?width=464&format=png&auto=webp&s=ae5d53c284cd86ff787498dad58c4d625ae2afb1 Pharmacists There were 169 pharmacists, from 91 different pharmacy schools. The most common alma maters were Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy (RU RAH RAH!!) with 6 respondents (3.6%), University of Pittsburgh with 5 respondents (3.0%), and the following 5 schools with 4 respondents each: Northeastern University, Ohio Northern University, University of Colorado, University of Georgia, and University of Kansas. Most pharmacists (152; 89.9%) were currently practicing pharmacy. Five (3.0%) had practiced in the past but were no longer practicing, and 10 (5.9%) had never practiced after graduating. Of those currently practicing pharmacy, the statistics on the number of years in practice were as follows: minimum 0.1; maximum 35; mean 4.8; and median 3. Nearly half of pharmacists (75; 49.3%) said they would choose a different career path if they could go back in time, knowing what they know now, while 71 pharmacists (46.7%) said they would still choose to pursue pharmacy. Local practice standards About half of pharmacists (84; 55.3%) reported administering (or being allowed to administer) many types of immunizations, while 3 (2.0%) reported that pharmacists were not allowed in their location. A further 63 pharmacists (41.4%) did not administer immunizations simply because it was not part of their job description (eg, hospital inpatient). Regarding therapeutic interchange for non-controlled prescriptions, 63 pharmacists (41.4%) reporting being authorized to update a prescription only after consulting the prescriber. An additional 43 pharmacists (28.3%) were allowed to update a prescription as long as the prescriber was notified afterwards (ie, without prior permission), and 8 pharmacists (5.3%) were allowed per institutional protocol or collaborative practice agreement. Twenty-four pharmacists (15.8%) reported that a new prescription would be required and that no updates by the pharmacist were allowed. For controlled prescriptions, 24 pharmacists (15.8%) reported being allowed to change any/all elements of the prescription following consultation with the prescriber, and 4 pharmacists (2.6%) were allowed per institutional protocol or collaborative practice agreement. Sixty-six pharmacists (43.4%) were allowed to change certain (but not all) elements, while 40 (26.3%) could not change any part of a controlled prescription and required the prescriber to issue a new one. Regarding pharmacist prescribing, most pharmacists (110; 72.4%) were not allowed to prescribe medications. Nineteen pharmacists (12.5%) could prescribe for certain health conditions, 3 (2.0%) could prescribe for any health condition, and 2 (1.3%) could prescribe per institutional protocol or collaborative practice agreement. Results from additional questions are shown in chart form below. https://preview.redd.it/9q4wjmmg3bc51.png?width=281&format=png&auto=webp&s=cf2ec43db13f3fcbe4cb398b1c39808389f54572 https://preview.redd.it/945u7beklac51.png?width=480&format=png&auto=webp&s=e74267ca8c2d56dd0c7fc42497df2f0d42f14a3a https://preview.redd.it/yyd7su4tlac51.png?width=480&format=png&auto=webp&s=86e12e31c5de3b91a615add5dd28055f881beddc https://preview.redd.it/tk2msh41mac51.png?width=480&format=png&auto=webp&s=c091747118370117d3ecf35a8e9bffd54ac02805 https://preview.redd.it/9njkd9vemac51.png?width=346&format=png&auto=webp&s=ffe54bfc9ae206295f7e81685a361357c14a625a https://preview.redd.it/mywjx5nwmac51.png?width=444&format=png&auto=webp&s=1eb695e764c2bf7c1ffbfddd947fc297eed4f8ea Pharmacy residents Of the 169 pharmacists, 31 (18.3%) had completed or were currently completing a pharmacy residency. Of those, there were 6 current PGY-1 residents and 1 current PGY-2 resident. Of the 24 pharmacists who had completed their PGY-1 residencies, most (18; 75%) did rotational programs without a specific focus. The remaining 6 pharmacists specialized in the following areas during their PGY-1: ambulatory care (2; 8.3%), community pharmacy (1; 4.2%), managed care (1; 4.2%), pediatrics (1; 4.2%), and pharmacotherapy (1; 4.2%). Stats on their PGY-1 salaries were as follows: minimum $33,000; maximum $60,000; mean $44,325; median $45,000. These PGY-1 residencies were done primarily in an urban setting (18; 75%), followed by suburban (3; 12.5%) and rural (2; 8.3%). Of the 11 pharmacists who had completed their PGY-2 residencies, the specialties included: ambulatory care (3; 27.3%), psychiatry (2; 18.2%), and 1 each of administration, critical care, emergency medicine, infectious disease, oncology, and pharmacotherapy (9.1% each). Stats on their PGY-2 salaries were as follows: minimum $35,000; maximum $51,000; mean $45,625; median $46,500. These PGY-2 residencies were done almost equally in urban (6; 54.5%) and suburban (5; 45.5%) settings. The 6 current PGY-1 residents had the following plans immediately following their PGY-1: inpatient staff pharmacist (2; 33.3%), PGY-2 residency (2; 33.3%), inpatient clinical specialty pharmacist (1; 16.7%), and non-practicing pharmacist (1; 16.7%). Of those who had completed their residencies, their roles immediately afterward are listed in the table below.
Number of Respondents
Inpatient staff pharmacist
Inpatient clinical specialty pharmacist
Ambulatory care pharmacist
Outpatient pharmacist (eg, retail, mail order, long term care)
Stopped practicing but remained in the field of pharmacy (eg, industry)
Drug information pharmacist
Pharmacy organizations This question was directed toward American respondents. There were 96 respondents who reported being currently active members of an association, the most common of which were ASHP (39; 40.6%), APhA (38; 39.6%), and a local/state pharmacy association (29; 30.2%). There were 35 respondents who reported previously being members of an association, the most common of which were APhA (25; 71.4%), ASHP (15; 42.9%), and a local/state pharmacy association (13; 37.1%). Final comments Thanks again to everyone who took the survey, and especially those who provided feedback! I totally acknowledge that the survey is very US-centric, and for that I apologize. I did take some feedback from some people in this subreddit, but if anyone ex-US wants to provide feedback for any future surveys, I'm happy to speak with you offline about it. The same also goes for anyone in a "niche" field such as long-term care, ambulatory care, managed care, etc. I'm happy to add in new sections or questions for those fields - it's just that I have no idea what to ask, having no experience in those areas. There are probably a few questions whose answers aren't reflected here mainly because this is long enough already, but if you have any questions (eg, what's the average salary for a hospital pharmacist in a suburban area?), please feel free to ask! Thanks again!
How would you rate the Galactic Prisoner arc of the Dragon Ball Super manga? (1 to 5)
1: 1.7% (8 votes)
2: 3.7% (17 votes)
3: 22.5% (104 votes)
4: 49.6% (229 votes)
5: 22.5% (104 votes)
Do you keep up with the Super Dragon Ball Heroes promotional anime?
Yes: 41.3% (206 votes)
No: 58.7% (293 votes)
Do you keep up with the Super Dragon Ball Heroes manga?
Yes: 5.8% (29 votes)
No: 94.2% (467 votes)
Did you watch Dragon Ball Z Dubbed or Subbed?
Dubbed: 84% (419 votes)
Subbed: 45.7% (228 votes)
-Note: This question allowed users to select both options Did you watch Dragon Ball Super Dubbed or Subbed?
Dubbed: 51.1% (254 votes)
Subbed: 87.7% (436 votes)
Who is your favorite Dragon Ball character?
Vegeta: 138 votes
Goku: 95 votes
Gohan: 61 votes
Piccolo: 29 votes
Trunks: 20 votes
Krillin: 13 votes
-Note: As opposed to last year where we asked for your favorite 3, users were asked to enter only one character. Did you play Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot?
Yes: 34.8% (173 votes)
No: 65.2% (324 votes)
Do you play any of these mobile games?
Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle: 121 votes
Dragon Ball Legends: 104 votes
What's your favorite non-Dragon Ball related anime or manga that you've consumed in the past year?
31 responses mentioned My Hero Academia
28 responses mentioned JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
26 responses mentioned Attack on Titan
19 responses mentioned One Piece
18 responses mentioned One Punch Man
14 responses mentioned Demon Slayer
13 responses mentioned Naruto
In regards to your feedback on the subreddit, we've read all of your suggestions, and we should be making a thread soon about our plans to address those. Thank you for your patience. 2019 Results 2017 Results 2016 Results
There's been this whole debate on dress code and double-standards for girls, all of which I completely agree with. If someone is sexually attracted to some chick's shoulder they're a creep, and schools shouldn't be making it a girl's responsibility to control a guy's reaction to an outfit. But honestly, as a high schooler, I think we should all be wearing uniforms. First of all, there is no pressure to dress a certain way, and the divide between rich and poor becomes more narrow (obviously, yes the rich kid will come in a sports car and the poor kid on a bike or something, but there are less visual indicators of wealth). In addition to this, school is like work, it's supposed to be a professional learning environment, yet now it's literally all about how cool you look, and on top of that, wearing a nike hoodie and stained sweatpants doesn't really convey much professionalism. Plus, choosing a nice outfit can take a lot of time, and a uniform can easily cut out like 5-10 mins of deciding on what to wear. We see this example now, we're all in lockdown, and I think a lot of us can relate to feeling a whole lot less motivated when all we're doing is sitting around in our pajamas. Another way I see uniforms being helpful is cost effectiveness. Schools can reduce costs for poorer students, but seriously, how many uniforms do you need to buy for a school year? Let's say you have 5 shirts, 5 pants/skirts/shorts, 2 jackets, 2 pairs of shoes, and an extra $30 in expenses, just for good measures. That would be: 5(30) + 5(35) + 2(60) + 2(70)+ 30 = 615 $615 really isn't that much for something you wear every single day for a whole school year. Assuming there are 180 days in a school year, that's $3.41 per day for a whole outfit, which is significantly less cost per use than owning lots of shirts, pants, hoodies, shoes, etc, which would be needed to make complete outfits. Also people could choose what they want in the school's uniform options, ex. a gender non-binary student or just a dude who likes some air in between his legs can wear skirts. And people shouldn't be punished a lot if they break the dress code or wear something else, the school should just tell them not to do it and move on. I get freedom of speech and stuff, but I think letting kids express themselves with other things (hairstyles, nail polish, jewelry, backpacks, coats), can actually be fun. I think if we reframe the whole uniform argument from "we want you all to fall in line exactly the way we want" to "this is just a way for us to reduce decision fatigue and help create a more level social playing field," people would be more on board. Edit: This is unpopularopinion. The reason why the recommendations on this community are things 99% of the population agrees on is because everyone upvotes what they agree with. I get you disagree, that's why this is unpopular. Downvoting if you disagree or upvoting because you agree kinda ruins the purpose of the community. Edit 2: I know that $615 is a lot for school uniforms, I'm saying it's not a lot if you're purchasing a lot of outfits (see my calculation). People could probably get away with less tops, skirts, etc. Also, as I said above, schools could cover the cost of uniforms for the kids who need that assistance. There's no way on earth I'd expect a family living paycheck to paycheck to suddenly pull out $615.
Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning June 29th, 2020
Good Saturday afternoon to all of you here on StockMarket. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning June 29th, 2020.
Fragile economic recovery faces first big test with June jobs report in the week ahead - (Source)
The second half of 2020 is nearly here, and now it’s up to the economy to prove that the stock market was right about a sharp comeback in growth. The first big test will be the June jobs report, out on Thursday instead of its usual Friday release due to the July 4 holiday. According to Refinitiv, economists expect 3 million jobs were created, after May’s surprise gain of 2.5 million payrolls beat forecasts by a whopping 10 million jobs. “If it’s stronger, it will suggest that the improvement is quicker, and that’s kind of what we saw in May with better retail sales, confidence was coming back a little and auto sales were better,” said Kevin Cummins, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets. The second quarter winds down in the week ahead as investors are hopeful about the recovery but warily eyeing rising cases of Covid-19 in a number of states. Stocks were lower for the week, as markets reacted to rising cases in Texas, Florida and other states. Investors worry about the threat to the economic rebound as those states move to curb some activities. The S&P 500 is up more than 16% so far for the second quarter, and it is down nearly 7% for the year. Friday’s losses wiped out the last of the index’s June gains. “I think the stock market is looking beyond the valley. It is expecting a V-shaped economic recovery and a solid 2021 earnings picture,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. He expects large-cap company earnings to be up 30% next year, and small-cap profits to bounce back by 140%. “I think the second half needs to be a ‘show me’ period, proving that our optimism was justified, and we’ll need to see continued improvement in the economic data, and I think we need to see upward revisions to earnings estimates,” Stovall said. Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said she expects the recovery will not be as smooth as some expect, particularly considering the resurgence of virus outbreaks in sunbelt states and California. “Now as I watch what’s happening I think it’s more likely to be rolling Ws,” rather than a V, she said. “It’s not just predicated on a second wave. I’m not sure we ever exited the first wave.” Even without actual state shutdowns, the virus could slow economic activity. “That doesn’t mean businesses won’t shut themselves down, or consumers won’t back down more,” she said.
In the second half of the year, the market should turn its attention to the election, but Sonders does not expect much reaction to it until after Labor Day. RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 10 percentage points, and the odds of a Democratic sweep have been rising. Biden has said he would raise corporate taxes, and some strategists say a sweep would be bad for business, due to increased regulation and higher taxes. Trump is expected to continue using tariffs, which unsettles the market, though both candidates are expected to take a tough stance on China. “If it looks like the Senate stays Republican than there’s less to worry about in terms of policy changes,” Sonders said. “I don’t think it’s ever as binary as some people think.” Stovall said a quick study shows that in the four presidential election years back to 1960, where the first quarter was negative, and the second quarter positive, stocks made gains in the second half. Those were 1960 when John Kennedy took office, 1968, when Richard Nixon won; 1980 when Ronald Reagan’s was elected to his first term; and 1992, the first win by Bill Clinton. Coincidentally, in all of those years, the opposing party gained control of the White House.
The stocks market’s strong second-quarter showing came after the Fed and Congress moved quickly to inject the economy with trillions in stimulus. That unlocked credit markets and triggered a stampede by companies to restructure or issue debt. About $2 trillion in fiscal spending was aimed at consumers and businesses, who were in sudden need of cash after the abrupt shutdown of the economy. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both testify before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday on the response to the virus. That will be important as markets look ahead to another fiscal package from Congress this summer, which is expected to provide aid to states and local governments; extend some enhanced benefits for unemployment, and provide more support for businesses. “So much of it is still so fluid. There are a bunch of fiscal items that are rolling off. There’s talk about another fiscal stimulus payment like they did last time with a $1,200 check,” said Cummins. Strategists expect Congress to bicker about the size and content of the stimulus package but ultimately come to an agreement before enhanced unemployment benefits run out at the end of July. Cummins said state budgets begin a new year July 1, and states with a critical need for funds may have to start letting workers go, as they cut expenses. The Trump administration has indicated the jobs report Thursday could help shape the fiscal package, depending on what it shows. The federal supplement to state unemployment benefits has been $600 a week, but there is opposition to extending that, and strategists expect it to be at least cut in half. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 12.2% from 13.3% in May. Cummins said he had expected 7.2 million jobs, well above the consensus, and an unemployment rate of 11.8%. As of last week, nearly 20 million people were collecting state unemployment benefits, and millions more were collecting under a federal pandemic aid program. “The magnitude here and whether it’s 3 million or 7 million is kind of hard to handicap to begin with,” Cummins said. Economists have preferred to look at unemployment claims as a better real time read of employment, but they now say those numbers could be impacted by slow reporting or double filing. “There’s no clarity on how you define the unemployed in the Covid 19 environment,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. “If there’s 30 million people receiving insurance, unemployment should be above 20%.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
The economy is moving in the right direction, as many economic data points are coming in substantially better than what the economists expected. From May job gains coming in more than 10 million higher than expected and retail sales soaring a record 18%, how quickly the economy is bouncing back has surprised nearly everyone. “As good as the recent economic data has been, we want to make it clear, it could still take years for the economy to fully come back,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Think of it like building a house. You get all the big stuff done early, then some of the small things take so much longer to finish; I’m looking at you crown molding.” Here’s the hard truth; it might take years for all of the jobs that were lost to fully recover. In fact, during the 10 recessions since 1950, it took an average of 30 months for lost jobs to finally come back. As the LPL Chart of the Day shows, recoveries have taken much longer lately. In fact, it took four years for the jobs lost during the tech bubble recession of the early 2000s to come back and more than six years for all the jobs lost to come back after the Great Recession. Given many more jobs were lost during this recession, it could takes many years before all of them indeed come back.
The economy is going the right direction, and if there is no major second wave outbreak it could surprise to the upside. Importantly, this economic recovery will still be a long and bumpy road.
Nasdaq - Russell Spread Pulling the Rubber Band Tight
The Nasdaq has been outperforming every other US-based equity index over the last year, and nowhere has the disparity been wider than with small caps. The chart below compares the performance of the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 over the last 12 months. While the performance disparity is wide now, through last summer, the two indices were tracking each other nearly step for step. Then last fall, the Nasdaq started to steadily pull ahead before really separating itself in the bounce off the March lows. Just to illustrate how wide the gap between the two indices has become, over the last six months, the Nasdaq is up 11.9% compared to a decline of 15.8% for the Russell 2000. That's wide!
In order to put the recent performance disparity between the two indices into perspective, the chart below shows the rolling six-month performance spread between the two indices going back to 1980. With a current spread of 27.7 percentage points, the gap between the two indices hasn't been this wide since the days of the dot-com boom. Back in February 2000, the spread between the two indices widened out to more than 50 percentage points. Not only was that period extreme, but ten months before that extreme reading, the spread also widened out to more than 51 percentage points. The current spread is wide, but with two separate periods in 1999 and 2000 where the performance gap between the two indices was nearly double the current level, that was a period where the Nasdaq REALLY outperformed small caps.
To illustrate the magnitude of the Nasdaq's outperformance over the Russell 2000 from late 1998 through early 2000, the chart below shows the performance of the two indices beginning in October 1998. From that point right on through March of 2000 when the Nasdaq peaked, the Nasdaq rallied more than 200% compared to the Russell 2000 which was up a relatively meager 64%. In any other environment, a 64% gain in less than a year and a half would be excellent, but when it was under the shadow of the surging Nasdaq, it seemed like a pittance.
The US equity market made its most recent peak on June 8th. From the March 23rd low through June 8th, the average stock in the large-cap Russell 1,000 was up more than 65%! Since June 8th, the average stock in the index is down more than 11%. Below we have broken the index into deciles (10 groups of 100 stocks each) based on simple share price as of June 8th. Decile 1 (marked "Highest" in the chart) contains the 10% of stocks with the highest share prices. Decile 10 (marked "Lowest" in the chart) contains the 10% of stocks with the lowest share prices. As shown, the highest priced decile of stocks are down an average of just 4.8% since June 8th, while the lowest priced decile of stocks are down an average of 21.5%. It's pretty remarkable how performance gets weaker and weaker the lower the share price gets.
It's hard to believe that sentiment can change so fast in the market that one day investors and traders are bidding up stocks to record highs, but then the next day sell them so much that it takes the market down over 2%. That's exactly what happened not only in the last two days but also two weeks ago. While the 5% pullback from a record high back on June 10th took the Nasdaq back below its February high, this time around, the Nasdaq has been able to hold above those February highs.
In the entire history of the Nasdaq, there have only been 12 periods prior to this week where the Nasdaq closed at an all-time high on one day but dropped more than 2% the next day. Those occurrences are highlighted in the table below along with the index's performance over the following week, month, three months, six months, and one year. We have also highlighted each occurrence that followed a prior one by less than three months in gray. What immediately stands out in the table is how much gray shading there is. In other words, these types of events tend to happen in bunches, and if you count the original occurrence in each of the bunches, the only two occurrences that didn't come within three months of another occurrence (either before or after) were July 1986 and May 2017. In terms of market performance following prior occurrences, the Nasdaq's average and median returns were generally below average, but there is a pretty big caveat. While the average one-year performance was a gain of 1.0% and a decline of 23.6% on a median basis, the six occurrences that came between December 1999 and March 2000 all essentially cover the same period (which was very bad) and skew the results. Likewise, the three occurrences in the two-month stretch from late November 1998 through January 1999 where the Nasdaq saw strong gains also involves a degree of double-counting. As a result of these performances at either end of the extreme, it's hard to draw any trends from the prior occurrences except to say that they are typically followed by big moves in either direction. The only time the Nasdaq wasn't either 20% higher or lower one year later was in 1986.
In the mid-1980s the market began to evolve into a tech-driven market and the market’s focus in early summer shifted to the outlook for second quarter earnings of technology companies. Over the last three trading days of June and the first nine trading days in July, NASDAQ typically enjoys a rally. This 12-day run has been up 27 of the past 35 years with an average historical gain of 2.5%. This year the rally may have begun a day early, today and could last until on or around July 14. After the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, NASDAQ’s mid-year rally had a spotty track record from 2002 until 2009 with three appearances and five no-shows in those years. However, it has been quite solid over the last ten years, up nine times with a single mild 0.1% loss in 2015. Last year, NASDAQ advanced a solid 4.6% during the 12-day span.
Tech Historically Leads Market Higher Until Q3 of Election Years
As of yesterday’s close DJIA was down 8.8% year-to-date. S&P 500 was down 3.5% and NASDAQ was up 12.1%. Compared to the typical election year, DJIA and S&P 500 are below historical average performance while NASDAQ is above average. However this year has not been a typical election year. Due to the covid-19, the market suffered the damage of the shortest bear market on record and a new bull market all before the first half of the year has come to an end. In the surrounding Seasonal Patten Charts of DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ, we compare 2020 (as of yesterday’s close) to All Years and Election Years. This year’s performance has been plotted on the right vertical axis in each chart. This year certainly has been unlike any other however some notable observations can be made. For DJIA and S&P 500, January, February and approximately half of March have historically been weak, on average, in election years. This year the bear market ended on March 23. Following those past weak starts, DJIA and S&P 500 historically enjoyed strength lasting into September before experiencing any significant pullback followed by a nice yearend rally. NASDAQ’s election year pattern differs somewhat with six fewer years of data, but it does hint to a possible late Q3 peak.
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Micron Technology, Inc. $48.49
Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, June 29, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.71 per share on revenue of $5.27 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.70 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 71% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.40 to $0.70 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 29.00% with revenue increasing by 10.07%. Short interest has increased by 7.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 8.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 0.9% below its 200 day moving average of $48.94. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 11, 2020 there was some notable buying of 46,037 contracts of the $60.00 call expiring on Friday, July 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.4% move in recent quarters.
General Mills, Inc. (GIS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.04 per share on revenue of $4.89 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 25.30% with revenue increasing by 17.50%. Short interest has decreased by 9.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.8% above its 200 day moving average of $54.91. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, June 24, 2020 there was some notable buying of 8,573 contracts of the $60.00 call expiring on Friday, July 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 6.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.0% move in recent quarters.
FedEx Corp. (FDX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.42 per share on revenue of $16.31 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.65 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 61% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 71.66% with revenue decreasing by 8.41%. Short interest has increased by 10.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 43.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.6% below its 200 day moving average of $140.75. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 25, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,768 contracts of the $145.00 call expiring on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.7% move in recent quarters.
Conagra Brands, Inc. (CAG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.66 per share on revenue of $3.24 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.69 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 66% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 83.33% with revenue increasing by 23.99%. Short interest has decreased by 38.3% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 6.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 6.4% above its 200 day moving average of $30.68. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 11, 2020 there was some notable buying of 3,239 contracts of the $29.00 put expiring on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.8% move in recent quarters.
Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.91 per share on revenue of $1.97 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.12 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 53% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 13.57% with revenue decreasing by 13.69%. Short interest has increased by 20.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 25.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.2% below its 200 day moving average of $178.34. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, June 9, 2020 there was some notable buying of 888 contracts of the $195.00 call expiring on Friday, October 16, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 3.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.7% move in recent quarters.
Capri Holdings Limited (CPRI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:30 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.32 per share on revenue of $1.18 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.34 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 39% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.68 to $0.73 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 49.21% with revenue decreasing by 12.20%. Short interest has increased by 35.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 56.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 44.0% below its 200 day moving average of $25.67. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 4, 2020 there was some notable buying of 11,042 contracts of the $17.50 put expiring on Friday, August 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 10.8% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.7% move in recent quarters.
X Financial (XYF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 5:00 PM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 25% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 55.00% with revenue increasing by 763.52%. Short interest has increased by 1.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 1.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 37.7% below its 200 day moving average of $1.47. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 4.9% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Acuity Brands, Inc. (AYI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:40 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.14 per share on revenue of $809.25 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 42% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 51.90% with revenue decreasing by 14.60%. Short interest has increased by 48.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 23.4% below its 200 day moving average of $110.25. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 9.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.2% move in recent quarters.
Methode Electronics, Inc. (MEI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.77 per share on revenue of $211.39 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 45% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 24.19% with revenue decreasing by 20.53%. Short interest has increased by 6.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 1.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.0% below its 200 day moving average of $32.97. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 18.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.
UniFirst Corporation (UNF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.17 per share on revenue of $378.28 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.25 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 44% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 52.44% with revenue decreasing by 16.63%. Short interest has decreased by 2.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 14.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.4% below its 200 day moving average of $186.14. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 7.0% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Gravity's Rainbow Group Read | Sections 13-16 | Week 5
Well folks, this was a doozy of a week, wasn’t it? Some of these sections are quite challenging, for a variety of reasons. But we also see some pretty critical plot developments, and some genuine hilarity at poor Slothrop’s expense, too. Gotta love that cubeb. This is also where the book really takes off in terms of it’s story arc (especially Slothrop’s origin story), as well as its embrace of sexual deviancy in all its forms, so I’m very curious to see the reactions from the first-timers. It’s a lot to take in. Anyhoo, I’ll start this with a broader summary of themes, then break the summary and analysis down by section, and include some discussion prompts at the end. There’s a lot to work with this week - this section was twice as long as previous weeks. This analysis is going to be lengthy, but I’ll try to keep as focused as I can. Several broad themes start to crystallize by this point in the narrative, especially opposition, which takes a multitude of forms: 1-0, white-black, death-life, social control-anarchy, Capitalism-black market, division-unification, colonizer-colonized, domination-submission, Elect-Preterite. My ordering of items in those pairings is intentional. This book (and Pynchon) sees white, Euro-American colonial culture as intimately tied to a need for control, domination, and a belief in salvation (everyone likes to think they’re part of the Elect, nicht wahr?), which results in a culture of death and division. The War is the embodiment of this. Pynchon repeatedly takes the side of the Preterite - the anarchist, the minority, the colonized. Pigs, which Pynch clearly loves, seem to be emblematic of this noble-yet-humble Preterite. Related to that is the idea of resisting baser desires and human nature vs accepting them vs sublimating them into full-blown pathologies (e.g. colonialism, Crutchfield the Westwardman). Many of the worst symptoms of society stem from our artificial divisions and denial of the natural order. So, if we have deadly, pervasive, controlling systems, what are us poor folks stuck inside them to do? How do we free ourselves from the System? From Them? Pynchon brings up at least three options in this week’s reading: 1.Escape (Katje leaving, vs Gottfried’s passive waiting for salvation) 2.Enjoy the good and ignore the negative (Jessica trying to live in her bubble with Roger, vs. Roger’s unhappy focus on the negatives without being able to change them) 3.Blow it all up (Katje’s option for Schußstelle 3, which she decides against, vs what? Death, perhaps?) Finally, I’d like to discuss an underlying theme based on a separate work that has strongly influenced Pynchon, and Gravity’s Rainbow: T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. I never realized this before, but I’ve read the poem probably 75 times since I last read GR, so I’m pretty familiar with it by this point. I highly recommend reading it, but it’s primarily about the decline of Europe after WWI into a wasteland and the death-and-rebirth cycle. A central theme relates to the ancient belief that the harvest god (or later, the king, such as in Arthurian legend) was fundamentally tied to the land. If the king was young and vibrant, the land would be fertile. As the king became old or fell ill, the land would become barren. Thus the king (or harvest god - see the Hanged Man of the tarot) would be sacrificed, either literally or symbolically, so he could be reborn and the land could be restored. “Death is a debt to nature due…” as ol’ Constant Slothrop’s epitaph read. We see this concept explicitly addressed in section 16 (p. 131):
If he’s not in fact the War then he’s its child-surrogate, living high for a certain term but come the ceremonial day, look out. The true king only dies a mock death. Remember. Any number of young men may be selected to die in his place while the real king, foxy old bastard, goes on.
The king is dead. Long live the king. So how does this connect to our broader themes? Remember earlier when we discussed the invisible hand of the market, and how the economy and even social order are now hidden, directionless systems with no ruler? If the king is the land and the land is the king, what do we think would happen to the land, to society, if we replaced the king with an invisible, incomprehensible force that operated under its own rules, outside human control? The chaos of WWII? The mass death without clear cause? The markets taking on a life of their own? I think that’s what Pynchon’s getting at here. Would love your take. On to our section summaries… Section 13 YouTube Recording by u/ShisusBolton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69MV1vafocs Here we delve further into formal psychology and it’s specific application not just on dogs, but humans. We are finally shown the origin of Slothrop’s unique ability - psychological conditioning by Professor Jampf on poor “Infant Tyrone,” in an experiment that echoes the very real “Little Albert” experiment. We also learn why the connection is sexual - a simple matter of binary practicality to make it easier for lab assistants to measure the response to stimulus x. But what IS this mysterious stimulus? More importantly, was Infant Tyrone properly de-conditioned? It would appear not. Here we get a direct quote from Pavlov, the source for this part’s title. The concept of a “silent extinction beyond the zero,” the failure of which is the source of Slothrop’s rather intimate connection to the V2. Slothrop is part of the psychological Preterite - a poor sap doomed from the beginning to be abnormal, no chance for salvation here. Controlled entirely by outside forces he’s not even aware of. Apparently Slothrop’s “talent” is pretty damn precise, since his stars line up perfectly with the rocket strikes. We see some competing explanations for how this could be - from psychokinesis to some echo back through time of the rocket’s blast. We see characters all desperate to figure out why so they can predict where next? Maybe find out if they’re part of the Elect or not. The one possibility none of them consider, cannot consider: what if it’s all random? That’s too terrifying to contemplate for people who believe in predestination. Of course, only Jessica has the empathy to wonder if the women have all died or not. As a slight aside, on p. 85 we get a linguistic exploration of the concept of “beyond the zero” by Mexico that I really loved:
Odd, odd, odd - think of the word: such white finality in its closing clap of the tongue. It implies moving past the tongue-stop - beyond the zero - and into the other realm. Of course, you don’t move past. But you do realize, intellectually, that’s how you ought to be moving.
The play on “ought” as the extension of “odd” beyond the zero is delightful. Here we also see “white” (remember our many examples of opposition?) being tied to finality. No death-rebirth cycle here. We are then witness to a discussion between Pointsman and Mexico where the opposition of their personalities comes into sharp relief. Pointsman seeks binary cause/effect, Mexico seeks alternative between the 1 and the 0 - he proposes to “strike off at some other angle.” That scares Pointsman - it undermines not just his science but his fundamental worldview. His is one of predestination. This also ties into the broader idea of how everyone’s actions and beliefs are consistently shaped by their (often unconscious) fundamental view of the nature of reality and how the world works. Thus, every character’s actions reflect not just their personalities, but distinct assumptions about the nature of causality, of human behavior, of society, of life and death. Misc. notes: The abbey near the White Visitation is described as a ruin on a cliff (p. 86) - it brings to mind the Tower from the Tarot and the related imagery of the Castle Perilous (both referenced in The Waste Land). On p. 90-91 - I’m not positive, but this jumped out to me as an allusion to the play Waiting for Godot. The phrasing and pace of the segment starting “Why do you need me” and ending on the next page with “Help me” sounds very similar to an early scene in Godot, and the works share the themes of purposelessness, meaningless, invisible control, and the question of salvation. Section 14 YouTube Recording by u/BodinethePig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6RFKZPX8rQ Back to the mansion of the opening scene’s banana breakfast. An anonymous cameraman (is it us, the reader?) lends an element of voyeurism, as Katje models for the camera - but why? Meanwhile, Osbie Feel is busy making psychedelic cigarettes from mushrooms grown on the roof. Pynchon notes Katje’s dress, and I suspect the focus on the name used for that particular cocoa shade is a subtle example of England’s casual racism and colonial past. A derogatory term repurposed for a product. A view of Osbie’s oven triggers a flashback for Katje, to her time as a double-agent reporting to Pirate on the rocket battery Schußstelle 3, under the command of the sadistic Captain Blicero. We first heard of him back during the seance. His true name is Weissmann (literally white man), and his code name, Blicero, is the Teutonic name for death. I mentioned the theme of opposition at the beginning of this increasingly-lengthy post, and Blicero is emblematic of one pole - literally white, male, colonizing death. But his teeth reveal hidden decay behind the white exterior. If Blicero is the personification of white Euro-American colonial culture, Pynchon’s saying there’s rot there, and it ain’t pretty. Here’s where S&M comes into the narrative, in a darkly graphic way. Pynchon is fully willing to make the reader uncomfortable by confronting the parts of life that we normally avoid talking about or acknowledging, including those on the fringe. On top of that, we get the image of Der Kinderofen, echoing both Grimm’s fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel as well as the ovens of the concentration camps. The house that Blicero, Katje, and Gottfried inhabit is a microcosm of colonialism and/or modern society. It’s literally referred to as “their Little State.” If that’s the case, Katje and Gottfried represent two responses to such a scenario: Katje decides that quitting the game is only way out, whereas Gottfried waits for salvation. Gottfried is confident he’s part of the Elect, but Katje isn’t so sure, and takes matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, the oven looms in the background - both the base of the State, and its ultimate destruction (p. 99). Is Pynchon implying that the modern state is fundamentally self-destructive? It would seem so. We also get our first look at the other end of the arc: the rockets being fired. Interestingly, we realize they’re not as all-powerful and precise as they first appear. Deadly, sure, but many are exploding right after launch, even on the launchpad, killing the operators. The flashback to Blicero’s history in colonial Africa introduces us to the Herero people, including Blicero’s lover, Enzian. Enzian represents an entirely different worldview from Blicero - a non-European, non-binary, non-Christian perspective. One of his gods, Ndjambi Karunga, represents the merging of the opposing forces that are so disconnected in the European’s worldview. Back to the house, and we get more insight into Gottfried’s character. He’s clearly a passive participant, submissive, willing to do as he’s told. “If you cannot sing Siegfried at least you can carry a spear.” (p. 103). He accepts the suffering he endures as part of the system, a normal stage in life before moving on to some career of his own, some form of autonomy. But he doesn’t see any action required on his part to make this happen. After all, “He knows, like everyone, that captive children are always freed in the moment of maximum danger.” (p. 103). That’s the faith of one convinced he’s part of the Elect. Here we see one of the most well-known quotes from the book - “Don’t forget the real business of the War is buying and selling…. The true war is a celebration of markets.” (p. 105). In the interest of brevity, I’ll leave it to y’all to delve more into this critical section, but at least on the surface, it gives one of Pynchon’s more direct statements on the nature of war, its function, and its objectification of human life. We also get a fascinating aside on Katje’s ancestor committing avian genocide against the dodoes, that most unfortunate of birds. Yet again, we’re examining the conflict of Preterite vs Elect, and how the fantasy of salvation is is a way to pacify those who are doomed in their current lives. If not that, then all is chance and the dodoes are “only our prey. God could not be that cruel.” (p. 111). But couldn’t he? The evidence doesn’t appear in god’s favor, does it? Last but not least, we see Katje’s film being put to use to condition good ol’ octopus Grigori. But again, to what end? Section 15 YouTube Recording (by yours truly): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPgiptRr-W0 Mrs. Quoad! One of the funniest scenes in the book, and one of my favorites. It showcases both Pynchon’s visceral descriptive abilities as well as the insanity of prewar British candy. Before the Disgusting English Candy Drill, we see Slothrop’s exit from a controlled, laboratory setting and instead being released “into the wild” for observation. He is moving toward Pointsman’s Rorschach-esque experiment, the nature of which is as-yet unknown, but which occupies much of Book 2. This also marks the beginning of Slothrop’s (fully justified) paranoia. In the words of my father, “it’s not paranoia if they’re actually watching you.” Slothrop senses he’s being followed, observed, and starts to get a bit jumpy. Wouldn’t you? My analysis is already far too long, so I’m grateful for this mercifully short and simple section. I think we all needed some levity after Blicero, no? Something tells me Pynchon was thinking the same thing in granting the reader this reprieve. Section 16 YouTube Recording by u/DanteNathanael: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NapZnTK3TRU In this section, we see more of Roger and Jessica’s history together, and the contrast between his more fearful, negative recognition of the System in which they live, and Jessica’s more carefree willingness to focus on the moments of joy she can find. But even nihilistic Roger finds some beauty on this Christmas eve walk. An aside: the line, “who are all these people…. Freaks! Freeeeaks!” absolutely cracks me up. The rest of this section alludes heavily to another poem by our friend T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi. It’s fairly short and accessible, and a truly beautiful work. It’s told from the point of view of one of the magi, looking back on his journey:
All this was a long time ago, I remember, / And I would do it again, but set down / This set down / This: were we led all that way for / Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly / We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, / But had thought they were different; this Birth was / Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We get glimpses into how the War has worn down the population, drained them, recycled even the most mundane objects (e.g. toothpaste tubes) into material for the war. But we also see a reversal of this, with Spam tins recycled into toys for children. An echo of the death/rebirth cycle we previously saw with the king and the land, and in the poem above. A glimmer of hope? Pynchon discusses how the War relies on the illusion of unity but in fact is founded on disunity, on division. Society and the System depend on broad perception of rational, ordered, mechanistic system. Surrealism, the removal of this illusion of borders, en masse is societal suicide. But also an inextricable part of it. As with the microcosm of Blicero’s oven, the end is baked into the origin. The ordered reality of the System is a facade - even time’s sped up thanks to the War. In fact, Roger’s first moment of optimism, of faith, comes after the choir’s act of “minor surrealism” - the removal of artificial boundaries between race, culture, language (p. 129). The War destroys the death/rebirth cycle: its death is a finality, with just a gold start as a consolation prize for the dead who lay buried under the snow in a bomb crater, and humans subdivided to the point of being individually numbered. But for a second, for just a second on Christmas eve, people can forget that - even Roger, who enters the ultraparadoxical phase when sound of the choir overcomes his knee-jerk nihilism and actually brings him back around to hope, if just for that night. Questions
What are your thoughts on Professor Jampf’s experiment on poor Infant Tyrone? What might be variable “x”? Does that even matter?
Is Slothrop “sensing” the rockets before they are launched? Are the rockets somehow drawn to the locations of his sexual forays? Is he reading the minds of the rocket operators? Or worse, and most terrifyingly, is it all somehow coincidence?
What was your initial reaction to the section with Blicero, Katje, and Gottfried? Did your perspective change after you finished the entire section?
Why didn’t Katja give up location of Schußstelle 3?
How does “the Change” that Blicero is fixated on play into our larger themes? There’s an allusion here to both Ovid’s Metamorphoses and several Romantic poets. How would you define Blicero’s desires?
The Mrs. Quoad scene seems to largely be a light aside to break up some pretty heavy material. But is there anything more to it? Any other insights to be pulled from the candy jar?
Well, if you made it all the way to the end of this, thank you. I think I put more energy into this than several college essays I turned in, but it was a lot of fun, and I’m blown away by how much I gained from this exercise. I’m excited to see what insights you have! Addendum: great discussion so far! Thanks for the excellent insights and observations!
After 2 weeks the result of our sub census are here! We got over 150 responses, which is roughly 10% of readership. You can view the full results here. Here are some highlights: Biographical:
5 people who responded are not subscribed to Zillennials nor do they identify as Zillennials, so not quite sure why they filled out the survey but hope you enjoyed it
The average birth year is 1996.5, which makes us on average 24
69% of us are white, 15% Black/African American, 9% East/South-East Asian, and 6% Mestizo
There are more guys than girls (54% vs. 44%) and a small number of non-binary users (2%)
40% identify as LGBTQ (including questioning)
Most of us are American but we have representatives from all 6 continents
We're pretty varied in our birth order. I had a little hypothesis that Zillennials would be more likely to be middle children, but realized after that middle children are probably pretty rare amongst our generation since most families have about 2 children on average
Most of us are single, and only 2% are married (Zillennial speed dating, anyone??)
2% have children, with a total of 4 children
60% of us are still in school, mostly undergrad
56% of us are currently employed and 21% are only temporarily laid off (so 67% of us would normally be working)
57% of us are living at home with family
2% of us own our own home (cue the memes about Millennials Zillennials not owning homes)
The most common sectors to work in are retail, hospitality/food service, and IT
Only 33% of us think we're better off than our parents at the same age
Values and Beliefs:
Politically, we lean left-of-centre, averaging 2 on a 1-5 scale, where 1 is far left and 5 is far right. 5% identified as right-of-centre or far right
We are not super religious, again averaging 2 on a scale of 1 (not at all religious) to 5 (very religious)
We have a slightly positive association with socialism (average 3.5/5)
We have a generally positive association with Black Lives Matter (average 4/5)
We don't really agree that if someone works hard enough, they can become rich (average 2.4/5)
We believe that climate change is caused primarily by human actions (average 4.4/5)
We generally support social programs for people who cannot help themselves (average 4.1/5) and labour unions (average 4.1/5)
We do not think that business owners should be able to discriminate against gay people (average 1.7/5)
While we tend to agree on most things in the values and beliefs section, our opinion about freedom is much more varied. On average, we are neutral to whether freedom of speech should be extended to those who support hate organizations (2.8/5), but the standard deviation was 1.4, the highest among all these questions, which shows how much more controversial this topic is.
41% of us know someone who tested positive for COVID-19
9.2% know someone who has died from COVID-19
We are pretty good about following COVID safety guidelines, but only 80% of us say they practice social distancing–I wasn't going to insert my own opinion into these results, but seriously guys, do your part!!!! Many surges in cases are because of our age group.
84% of us think that the deaths of African Americans during encounters with police are signs of a broader problem
45% of us think COVID-19 is the biggest problem facing the world right now, with extremist politics in second place (21%). Also I forgot to include climate change as an option, but 10% wrote it in
Most of us have had Internet since birth or young childhood (average age 4)
Most of us got our first cellphone in our preteen or early teen years (average age 12)
Things we remember, in order from most to least: physical CDs (99%), VHS (95%), H1N1 (93%), 2008 market crash (86%), film photography (82%), dial-up Internet (63%), 9/11 (47%). Sort of fittingly, about half of us remember 9/11, which is often said to be the dividing line between Millennials and Gen Z
86% get our music from streaming, but only 76% get our movies from streaming
Our most popular social media site is Reddit (probably selection bias), and all others are only used by less than half of us. The least popular was Tumblr at 10%
55% dress "casual" but the rest was pretty varied
52% of us spend our Friday nights in alone these days, whereas only 3% are going to bars
Music tastes were really varied, with a lot of pop and rap, and some indie rock and older musicians. The artist mentioned most was Ariana Grande (3 times)
TV was less varied, and shows that were mentioned frequently include Avatar: The Last Airbender, Black Mirror, Community, Dark, Grey's Anatomy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Parks and Recreation, and The Office. Apparently we like sitcoms.
We prefer Nickelodeon to Disney
We were varied in what we considered "our era", but the most common eras were the early 2010s (our teen years) and the early 2000s (our young childhoods)
We think that being a Zillennials is more about sharing qualities with both Millennials and Gen Z, as opposed to forming our own unique qualities
We like the name Zillennials
37% of us lean toward Millennials, and just 22% lean toward Gen Z
Most of us think that technological innovations define our generation
Compared to both Millennials and Gen Z, we think that we differ first in life stage and then in pop culture references
Things we remember: Hurricane Katrina (96%), Bush as president (92%), the invasion of Iraq (69%), Clinton as president (11%), Columbine (6%)
Only 11% voted for Biden in the primaries, but 61% plan to vote for him in the general election. More people plan to vote for a third-party candidate than for Trump
89% disapprove of Trump's job as president
I hope you guys all enjoyed this and it will be fun to see how the results change the next time we do this! Feel free to discuss any of these results in the comments.
Practicing SR since July 2017; currently have a 3+ month streak
2 accounts got shadowbanned for uploading this post. Spam filter kept on removing it this post. Messaged the moderators, but received no answer. Removed many links, so check post history for full version. First time making a Reddit post. Estimated Reading Time: 15 minutes Brief summary of post:
History of Journey
Using Subliminals (affirmations converted into audio) to reprogram the subconscious, overcome nocturnal emissions, and turbo-charge the Law of Attraction
Experience from meditation retreats
Massive booklist covering psychotherapy, spirituality, and general books such as negotiating and advanced social skills
Fundamental shifts that occurred
Experiences with semen-retention benefits
How I overcame and conquered negative entities
Tantric meditation method that actually works with zero side effects
Experience on speaking Japanese for 1 full hour with native speakers without notes after 3 months of learning
Terminology: Wet dream/WD – sexual dream causing semen emission while sleeping Nocturnal Emission/NE – semen emission occurring while sleeping even without dreaming Semen-retention/SR streak – avoiding porn, masturbation, and ejaculation whether conscious or unconscious Nofap Hardmode – avoiding porn, masturbation, and conscious ejaculation. Unconscious ejaculation/WD is considered fine. As the title suggests, my current streak started in the middle of June 2017. Haven’t watched any porn or masturbated in 3 years. Experienced almost all the benefits such as massive attraction (men, women, children), an aura/energy surrounding me, enhanced charisma, less need for sleep, insane levels of energy, drive, and motivation, zero anxiety or fear, massive confidence occasionally bordering on arrogance, increased manifestation/LOA, people admiring/respecting me for no reason, online attraction, less procrastination, better athletic performance, greater creativity/intelligence, the desire to live a purposeful life, greater emphasis on spirituality, and much much more. Could probably write several posts just on the benefits themselves. Only thing that didn’t improve was my skin, which was later fixed using subliminals. It’s been a long journey, so I’ll start with background information, and later elaborate on how I managed to go from nocturnal emissions every 5 days (avg) to having a perfect SR streak for 3 months. Used to watch anime which led to hentai (2013), and eventually western/japanese porn. Don’t even bother to search these terms on Google. It’s not worth it. Thankfully, those days are long behind me. As a side-note, I discovered the nofap/semen-retention subreddit in November 2017. Didn’t even know about SR before that. I was raised a Catholic in a fairly religious family. Always started various streaks, and eventually broke them due to boredom/emotional coping/curiosity about new videos. Thankfully, I got good grades, read books, and was interested in self-development, but all that time spent on porn was a complete waste. Assuming I spent at least 2 hours everyday for 4 years (1460 days), it amounts to 122 complete days or around 4 months in total. It’s pretty sad on reflection, but at least the experience is now absorbed, and I can write this post. On June 2017, after summer break started and final exams were over, I decided to permanently quit this habit. Downloaded an application called Cold Turkey and completely blocked all websites I used to visit. Now use Leechblock, which is available on most browsers (also use it to block/restrict access to non-NSFW websites which impair productivity like ESPN). Started 30 minutes of daily meditation (mindfulness + metta). Still continue the habits to this day, although the length is increased to 1 hour. Read Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana and Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg for instructions. Have re-read these books multiple times. Mindfulness will allow you to be self-aware of your mental conditioning, while metta (feeling compassion for yourself, a friend, neutral person, and enemy) can remove thoughts of lust and fundamentally alter your mental programming. Compassion is a very powerful exercise. Read “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer” while you’re at it and learn tonglen. All of these books contain zero fluff, and are invaluable reads. Started drinking 16 glasses of water (thought it would help skin, but helped in other ways), and doing 100 pushups + 100 sit-ups everyday. Increased it to 200 pushups + 200 sit-ups after 1 month. After 2 months, I made a decent amount of gains (SR helps), and people started asking me workout tips and what gym I go to. Had a Kindle Paperwhite, which is frankly one of my most valued possessions. Still works perfectly fine after 5 years, and costs only $130. Buy one now. Read a lot of books mostly consisting of biographies/spirituality/practical social skills/800+ page novels for around 6 hours per day. Still try to read for at least 15 minutes/1 chapter even when extremely busy. Will post a small booklist at the end of this post. You can upload books to it for free if you lack money. Visit (gen.lib.rus.ec), download the ebook in epub/mobi format, open it with Calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/), and send it to Kindle using USB. Knowledge is an investment that produces continuous returns. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his time just reading! and takes action based on that knowledge. Even managed to have the motivation to learn Japanese by joining a foreign language exchange website. People, especially women, accepted and sent a lot of invitations to have a conversation; didn’t realize online attraction was due to SR back then. None of us showed our faces, so my physical appearance had nothing to do with it. From experience, the best way to learn a language was to make a phrase sheet with the most common phrases/questions, such as “okay”, “that’s awesome”, “what is that word in English/Japanese?” Basically a human AI bot. Don’t waste time trying to learn how to write the alphabet, although my primary purpose was to learn how to speak. Google Translate is good enough to understand the pronunciation. I learned Japanese primarily by watching Terrace House. First watched the episode with subtitles, then re-watched it without, while simultaneously writing all the connectives/conversational phrases. You can try unique methods to remember, but brute-force memorization/review worked the best. Never tried Anki since it was cumbersome to use. For the accent, the best way is to watch Japanese people trying to speak English, and try to mirror their accent as much as possible. It honestly helps. After 3 months, I could have a full 1 hour conversation in Japanese with a native speaker without looking at any notes. I wasn’t “fluent” (still stuttered and made mistakes), but it was a huge amount of progress for starting from scratch. Eventually after 6 months, I gave up practicing/speaking the language. I was mainly trying to fulfill a childhood fantasy, and I’m glad I tried since I learned a lot from it and got to talk with interesting people. But in reality, I stopped watching anime, and honestly never needed to speak Japanese in real-life. Now I barely remember any of the words, except a few basic phrases. Could probably last 30 seconds of full conversation at best. So, everything was going great until December 2017. During this time period, I probably had wet dreams/nocturnal emissions every 1 – 2 months. Barely felt much difference since there was a decent time interval between emissions. Drank 2 glasses of water everyday before bed, slept on my stomach, and ate spicy food (practices that cause nocturnal emissions), but was perfectly fine. However in December I started having emissions every 2 weeks. Initially didn’t care about it. In January it started happening every 1 week. Nothing really changed in my life during this time to cause emissions to increase. Then it started happening every 5 days, every 3 days, sometimes even 2 days in a row! Most of you will have no idea how terrible it feels to be on top of the world, and then suddenly crash down. The difference between living life with/without SR benefits is night and day. Even after sleeping 10 hours, I used to feel completely exhausted. People ignored me, or worse started “joking” around me. Complete disrespect by friends, family, and acquaintances. No energy/motivation to do anything. Constant brain fog, could barely concentrate. Felt even worse than my porn days when I ejaculated everyday. Voice completely shot, started feeling anxious about oral presentations for no reason, when I always excelled. Felt like my soul was dying. Those were really dark times. People started saying I “changed”, and started pointing out and constantly magnifying my flaws. It’s strange how people exaggerate our skills/talents on SR, while they completely ignore them post WD/ejaculation, and focus only on your flaws/mistakes. It makes you lose trust in everyone around you, as if all of them are energy vampires who only like you due to SR. I grew desperate. During this whole time I meditated, practiced no lust/no arousal as best as possible since July 2017, yet emissions increased massively in frequency. Some occurred due to sexual dreams, but most were nocturnal emissions. Thought I had a UTI at first, and went to a general practitioner. He didn’t seem very reliable, so I went to a prominent urologist. Did all sorts of tests, paid a good amount of money, and the doctor said everything was fine. Having nocturnal emissions every 5 days was perfectly normal at my age. Encouraged me to masturbate regularly if it became an inconvenience :) So medical science obviously failed. Started following all the tips/methods in this subreddit, and believe me I tried almost everything no matter how uncomfortable or time-consuming. Omad, avoid food/water before bed, vegetarianism, tantric meditation, different diets, various sleeping positions, no/increased meditation before bed, no/more exercise, yogic exercises, qigong, some tips mentioned by Soaring Eagle, prayed to God. None of them worked. The only method I didn’t try extensively were kegels. Initially tried a normal + reverse kegel routine, then found an article by coincidence on this subreddit about someone who permanently damaged their penis from doing kegels. Immediately stopped, thank you to that person for sharing your experience. It’s as if the universe was looking out for me. Best to avoid such risky methods even if you’re desperate. Currently sleep on my back since it avoids any "accidental physical stimulation" from occurring. So this nocturnal emission phenomena continued for over a year. Some methods worked better than others, while for some, I wasn’t sure if it was merely the placebo effect. In mid-2019 I came across subliminal videos (finally the good part!) on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0W5AB1sGr0) This video explains it more thoroughly, but basically you convert affirmations (sentences like “I am happy/smart/handsome”) into audio using text-to-speech software and reprogram your subconscious mind. Tried a beauty subliminal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEXaAsm-Iys) as a joke, but the next day I noticed changes in my facial structure. Listened for an hour the first day, which was easy given the music. You have no idea how amazing it feels to know that you can control your reality just by using your mind. Completely magical. Supposedly it works due to the Law of Attraction; you can find out more by reading/watching “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, and later reading all the books by Neville Goddard. Started using a skin subliminal as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqi8Q80pspk and later moved onto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COxz8hvl14Y ), and now my skin is completely normal. Visited prominent US dermatologists, tried all sorts of acne medicine including Accutane, and even did SR, yet none of them worked. Skin was pretty terrible, and I was glad it got fixed. Took around 4 months of daily listening although it can be shortelonger depending on your belief, blockages, and levels of positivity. There’s a CIA document on holographic universes, astral projection, time travel, and psychic powers if you need scientific validation: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210016-5.pdf Disclaimer: Although there can be bad subliminal makers, they are very rare, and there has been only 2 of them in the history of the community. Someone named MindPower and Rose subliminals. The vast majority (99%) put positive affirmations. It’s best that you verify by checking all the comments, seeing their subscriber count, general personality, etc, but ultimately there’s no guarantee. The only way to make sure the affirmations are 100% positive and safe are to make them yourself or use a subliminal that blocks negative affirmations. One thing to note is that physical change (biokinesis; search that term)/spiritual subliminals utilize the prana in your body to a certain extent to make changes. It makes sense since physical change is essentially a psychic poweenergy work. So your SR benefits/aura might temporarily decrease. Hydration is also recommended, and you will notice feeling thirsty. Personally drink 20 glasses of water everyday. Obviously, my interest now turned towards using subliminals to cure nocturnal emissions. Unfortunately there’s a huge lack of subliminals regarding semen-retention or those targeted towards nocturnal emissions. Initially bought a subliminal using a paid request (you pay a subliminal maker for a specialized subliminal), but it didn’t work that well. Desired to be permanently free of nocturnal emissions, or at least reduce the frequency to once a month. So I decided to make my own subliminal. The affirmations will be posted below, and this is how I eventually cured my nocturnal emissions. Steps on how to make your own subliminal:
Write all the affirmations in a word document and save it.
Download text-to-speech software like Balabolka and output the audio file in wav format (you want both uncompressed + lossless)
Optional but recommended; download an audio editor like Audacity, and fast-forward the audio as much as possible using the “Change Tempo” effect. Personally I speed the audio to one second and then loop it 1000x. Continue the process as much as possible, but never make the audio length less than 1 second. Some subliminal makers make their subliminals even more powerful by creating multiple audio streams of their affirmations using different voices, merging all the voices together, and speeding them up. It’s called layering. Why super-sped affirmations work better can be somewhat explained by this article (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sensorium/201812/experiments-suggest-humans-can-directly-observe-the-quantum), but science still doesn’t have all the answers. Will take time.
Affirmations Link:https://www.reddit.com/pureretention/comments/hg0tjb/practicing_sr_since_july_2017_finally_conquered/ (same content; scroll down to the subliminal section and download the affirmations file from the mega link) Listened to this personal subliminal for 1 hour everyday for an entire month. Still listen just to be safe. Took months of testing and editing affirmations to make it perfect. Experienced massive sexual dreams on certain days, more than normal, and found out that entities could be responsible. Try to avoid this subreddit as well, since reading the posts can trigger memories. More energetically sensitive now, and sometimes there’s a lot of low-vibrational energy. On a side-note, porn cripples your aura and invites negative entities (https://www.awakeningstaryoga.com/blog/expanding-away-from-porn-aura). Non-subliminal solutions:
The entire channel is a gem; these were some of the best. Have used them for a few months and feel much lighter and peaceful; experienced only headaches due to subconscious absorbing the affirmations, but zero negative effects. Advice: Remember to immediately download any subliminal video you find that is useful in wav format (https://www.savethevideo.com/download). Subliminal channels are sometimes deleted by YouTube (spam filter) or the creators themselves. Waited 3 whole months before deciding to make a Reddit post to make sure the method was 100% foolproof. Remember many people offering solutions in the past, yet 1 month later they would have another wd/nocturnal emission. The first month there was a lot of fear. Will I have a wet dream/nocturnal emission tonight? Was so traumatized it was difficult getting to sleep every night. After the 2nd month, I experimented with sleeping on my stomach and eating/drinking before bed. Nothing happened. Stopped recently to stay careful. After 2 years of suffering, this is a method that has worked. Try and see for yourself. Present day: How do you feel now? Some days it’s meh (due to flatline) like today; on other days I feel divine. No idea why flatline still occurs. Have regained all the benefits, feel love and happiness all the time. Experience intense states of bliss in meditation more frequently, although it’s just a distraction. Religiously/Spiritually I’ve moved from Christianity to Buddhism/Advaita Vedanta/parts of New Age. Found them more practical and useful in life. Was inspired to aim for spiritual enlightenment after reading “The 3 pillars of Zen” by Philip Kapleau. Read it, it might change your life. Have attended a number of meditation retreats now, along with 10-day ones. Everyone reading this post should try it. Understood how much our mental programming defined us, and that we aren’t are thoughts. Our childhood traumas define so much of our habitual reactions. Realized its okay to feel bored rather than chasing after constant stimulation. Even attended a Jhana retreat, which is exclusive for people who have attended prior retreats. Entered intense states of meditative absorption, understood the permeability/impermanence of reality, and had all sorts of mystical experiences. Experienced past lives; can confirm my mind did not make it up, since it’s an experience you can constantly replicate using the same methods. Before attempting such methods, you need to have the ability to sit down and meditate continuously for at least 3 hours. If you live in the US, attend IMS (Insight Meditation Society) or any prominent Vipassana/Theravada related retreat. Zen is a valid form of enlightenment, but it personally felt unstructured. Gave up music, took time since I was convinced it was needed for creativity. Instead, it was just a substitute source of dopamine and a way to avoid my emotions. Have much less brain fog after quitting. Only communicate using regular phone calls these days, which no one uses, and Snapchat/WhatsApp for texting. Avoid stories, waste of time. Instagram/TwitteFacebook are a waste of time unless you are using it for business purposes. The only social media you really need is LinkedIn. Women: You’ll learn more about them by reading romantic novels, Korean mangas, and watching Kdramas then reading all that seduction/red pill stuff. Focus on general charisma (men and women) instead of a specific gender. Read “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane; it’s the most practical book on social skills I have ever read, and possibly the most life-changing as well. Teaches you self-awareness, applies Buddhist psychology to social interaction. Used to train executives in Google, read it now (and do all the exercises). The bibliography sent me on a rabbit hole that made me read ton of books on psychotherapy, meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism; this was before SR. Inspired me to practice meditation, although the habit only became regular after SR. Read books such as Crucial Conversations by Al Switzer, Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, How to Talk so Kids will Listen by Adele Faber (works very well in general since even adults have childhood programming, and can act like children), Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (FBI's chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator from 2003 to 2007), Getting More by Stuart Diamond (trains negotiators at Google), and Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff (more theoretical but useful). Also read The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan Pease and What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro. These are all books that will greatly improve your human interactions and contain limited fluff. Have re-read all of these books in difficult times, and they have never let me down. You should read it as well. Even if you become a monk, there’s lots of social infighting even in monasteries. Highly-developed social skills are invaluable whenever you are dealing with individuals. Read “How to make friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie once in a while, since most forget to apply his “basic” advice. Learned a lot about oral presentations by watching Alan Shore on Boston Legal (TV show). Current position in life? Studying for a bachelor’s degree. My family is financially well-off, and my father is paying for my college tuition and dorm. Scholarships aren’t available for all income levels. Although I come from “privilege”, the above information can help anyone regardless of their financial position. We live in an era where information is accessible to all social classes, so excuses aren’t that relevant. If you’re practicing SR, you are already 20 steps closer to success. The tips above can be applied for free as long as you have a computesmartphone. Read books starting from today, knowledge is a source of power. People spend so much time reading the news, scrolling social media feeds, reacting to comments, chatting about useless things with friends, binging shows on Netflix, browsing YouTube/Reddit, that time quietly passes by. Time is the most valuable commodity you have; don’t waste such a limited resource on things that will contribute nothing towards your purpose in life. Once it’s spent, you can never get it back. Personally, I schedule the next day before going to bed. Leisure, Reading, Schoolwork, Meditation, everything is mapped out perfectly. Try to eliminate habits that just waste time and stick to your schedule perfectly (working on it myself). If you feel tired after work/studying, take a nap or meditate instead of receiving even more stimulation from videogames, YouTube, or other artificial dopamine sources. Try NoSurf.
The End of Your World by Adyashanti (fantastic writer; must-read if you have had an awakening experience or believe you are "enlightened")
How to Attain Enlightenment -> The Essence of Enlightenment by James Swartz (best introduction to Advaita Vedanta I have read so far)
I am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (profound but advanced)
In the Buddha's Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi (best introduction to Buddhist scripture)
Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright (secular perspective but informative; his previous book The Moral Animal is a good introduction to evolutionary psychology. Read this first if you are non-spiritual)
Wisdom Wise and Deep by Shaila Catherine (comprehensive introduction by one of the best Jhana teachers in the US)
Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw
Emptiness: A Practical Guide by Guy Armstrong (good introduction to the Buddhist version of reality)
Books by Loch Kelly (practical guide to non-dual meditation practices within Buddhism; The Little Book of Being by Diana Winston may be a better introduction)
Seeing that Frees by Rob Burbea (really advanced but profound)
Books by Robert Bruce such as Psychic Self-Defence and Energy Work
Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn
Dream Yoga by Andrew Holecek (amazing/practical book on lucid dreaming -> dream yoga)
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa (Taiko is decent as well, but this one was a masterpiece)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms trans. Moss Roberts
The Dream of the Red Chamber trans. David Hawkes (read it in the summer of 2017, profound but not all may see the deeper meaning)
The Nine Cloud Dream trans. Heinz Insu Fenkl
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Inspirational for Entrepreneurs, however don’t start adopting this book as economic philosophy. It’s just a novel!)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (read now if you are experiencing an existential crisis)
Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment + The Brothers Karamazov (optional reading; prefer Pevear translation)
Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes Series (pleasure reading but not useless)
Psychotherapy (never visited a therapist, but found these useful):
Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro (by the founder of EMDR, best practical book on trauma and exercises to resolve it)
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving (another immensely practical book on recovering from trauma)
Breaking the Cycle by George Collins (best practical workbook on sexual addiction I have read; all should read)
Get out of your mind and into your life by Steven Hayes (Was mentioned in the charisma myth booklist; take control of your thoughts and mind by the founder of ACT)
Mindful Compassion by Paul Gilbert and Choden (prominent researcher on compassion applied to therapy; part one can be boring, but part two on practical exercises is invaluable)
Feeling Book by David Burns (rightfully a classic book on therapy and CBT; read if you are suffering from depression)
Healing Development Trauma by Laurence Heller (best book on the impact of childhood/development trauma but meant for therapists, might explain why we use addiction to cope from childhood memories; google ACE study as well)
The Boy who was raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry (stories about children experiencing trauma. Increases empathy for yourself and others; you realize how childhood trauma affects how a lot of people think and behave)
Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse by Jackson MacKenzie (fantastic book on recovering from relationship abuse. Many of us have emotional baggage that fuels coping and addiction loops. Read Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas as well.)
Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff (optional reading, but complimentary)
For biographies, read those of presidents and important leaders. Also about famous/successful individuals. Read all of Ron Chernow’s books. Abuse the Amazon Search Engine and look through their categories. Reading biographies can fundamentally enhance your worldview so you realize that real-life issues are much more nuanced and gray rather than black and white. Also shows how successful people deal with difficult crises and their perspective on life. Especially for public policy. If a President implements an economic policy that has short-term gains, but long-term loss, he has a greater chance of being re-elected. However, short-term loss in favor of long-term gain is the correct policy. Employ critical-thinking! Avoid cable news even if you need to stay informed. Don’t even have a television in my house. Unnecessary. Just read 2 – 3 reputable news sources for 20 minutes max. Sometimes I even avoid the news since there’s too much negativity. https://www.reddit.com/kundalini/comments/1unyph/a_tantric_perspective_on_the_use_of_sexual_energy/ (tantric meditation technique that actually works; you are supposed to do it for 1 hour. Optional.) https://www.reddit.com/kundalini/comments/2zn8ev/grounding_201_two_effective_quick_methods/ (energetic protection + grounding method after doing the tantric meditation) Avoid learning Mantak Chia’s techniques from a book, since some have suffered side-effects to their energetic/biological body. For NEO, Tibetan buddhists practice meditation for 13 years before attempting it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karmamudr%C4%81). Not easy. Not sure about women, since SR streak is more important. Don’t pick a partner to fulfill some kind of emotional void, or due to societal programming where women are held to be the ultimate goal. Spiritual Enlightenment is the ultimate goal now, but even enlightened people need money for food and shelter. Youtubers I follow are Graham Stephan, Ryan Serhant, Rupert Spira, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUX1V5UNWP1RUkhLewe77ZQ (cured women objectification for me; wholesome content) although mostly I avoid the website. Easy to loose track of time. Avoid smoking, alcohol, recreational drug use (https://www.elitedaily.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol-aura-damage/1743959), casual sex (https://mywakingpath.wordpress.com/tag/aura/; sensitive images but useful), and fast food. Budget your money, and learn how to save as much as possible. Hope everyone reading this post experiences their definition of success and leads a purposeful life. Will end it by stating two quotes that have inspired and guided me: “You yourself have to change first, or nothing will change for you!” ― Hideaki Sorachi “It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than you were yesterday.” ― Jigoro Kano (Founder of Judo) Update 1, 2, 3: Added a post summary and the audio as well in the affirmations link Update 4: https://starseedsunited.com/negative-entities-and-psychic-attacks (basic article on entities) Some solutions are posted above. Personal daily routine:
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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)
Hello, dummies It's your old pal, Fuzzy. As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great. What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. Idomybit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post. That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way. We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps. Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy. TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle. Ready? Let's get started. 1.The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows: Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself. Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part. You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus. That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it. Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets? 2. A Hedging Taxonomy The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now. (i) Swaps A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one. Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered. The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game. I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging. There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested. Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure). (ii) Forwards A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me. Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways. People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances. These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them. (iii) Collars No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray! To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts. (3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years. First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA. Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire. Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR