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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Price to Earnings Ratio

I happened to see the following chart of the Price to Earnings ratio of the S&P 500 and thought it was interesting (click on it to enlarge):

After each of the previous periods with poor economic performance, the P-E ratio had to get down into the neighborhood of 10 for an extended period of time before rapid economic growth resumed. I sure hope that's not the case this time or we have a long, long ways to go before growth resumes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


There are lots of ways to describe the relationships between words. They can be synonyms, antonyms (I've always enjoyed the fact that "synonym" and "antonym" are antonyms), homonyms, and oxymorons. There's words to describe how words sound together or by themselves such as alliteration and onomatopoeia.

But what I think is missing is a word that describes when a word looks and/or sounds completely different than its meaning.

For example, it's always bothered me that "pulchritudinous" means "physically beautiful" because it's such an ugly word; it looks ugly on paper and it sounds harsh and ugly to hear it. It almost gags me to say it with the "pul" opening and stretching my mouth and tongue which then slams into the hard "ch" causing a bit of nausea and the rest of the syllables aren't much better.

And a related word, "pretty", isn't very pleasant to hear either, though I do find the word "pleasant" to be rather pretty; and "lovely" is simply lovely to see, say, and hear.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Greek Edition of Don't Worry, Be Happy

I think they're singing the following (to McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" tune) in Greece right now...

Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy
You know in Greece they have some trouble
Their interest rates are gonna double
Don't worry, be happy

The problem will soon come to a head
Hide your Euros in your bed
Don't worry, be happy
The Germans say your payment's late
They will own your welfare state
Don't worry, be happy

Look at me I am happy
Don't worry, be happy

Here, I give you Sarkozy's phone number
When you worry call him
His wife will make you happy
Don't worry, be happy

Ain't got no Euros, ain't got no style
Ain't got a future to make you smile
But don't worry, be happy
Cause when you worry
Your face will frown
And that will bring the Euro down
So don't worry, be happy.....

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

We All Agree

Scientists continue to be surprised at the "denialism" of "non-scientists" regarding global warming: "I am surprised at the way some of the scientific findings have been rejected in an unscientific manner."

I'm surprised they're surprised (why are they such slow learners?), but I've given it some thought and I've formulated the problem in a way we can all agree:
The world has warmed by some amount, human activity is responsible for some part of that warming, human emissions are responsible for some portion of the human related warming, human emissions of CO2 in particular are responsible for part of the warming due to human emissions in general, and since humans will continue to release CO2 into the atmosphere and there is some amount of warming "in the pipeline", some amount of warming will occur in the future.
Without assigning specific numbers to each bit, this view does not in any way contradict the "scientific consensus". In fact, this covers everybody from those who deny any sort of warming (just fill in zeros for everything) all the way to the most rabid warmenist who is certain that the seas will rise 100 meters and boil us all to death.

Isn't it wonderful that we can all agree? Oh sure, the devil's in the details, and we still have to argue about those pesky percentages and amounts of warming. But the other fun thing is that if you ask any two scientists to independently pick numbers, they'll most likely pick somewhat different numbers.

Therefore, we have an overall general agreement of everybody and a specific consensus of nobody. Perfect! Science can progress once again.