Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do I owe Ron Paul money?
Chapter 2: Their Finest Hour

So, as I have mentioned before, this summer I sublet to a Ron Paul nut. He said that the stock market is going to crash and everyone is going to buy gold to use when the economy collapses and we abandon paper money. That sounded nuts to me.

So we made a bet on whether or not the price of gold and the Dow Jones Industrial Average would converge. The gap in July was about 10,000, and I said if that closed to less than 5,000 in the next year or so then I would make a substantial to Ron Paul's congressional campaign. Or whatever.

So for the last five months, I have been watching both the price of gold and the Dow Jones. August and September were very good months for me. The gap remained at about 10,000 almost the whole time; there were only three days when Bob's predictions were ahead of the curve.

But it's been pretty ugly since then. Here are the numbers:

October 21, 2008
* Dow Jones = 9,265.43 points
* Price of Gold = $795.00
* Difference = 8,470.43

November 21, 2008
* Dow Jones = 7,552.29 points
* Price of Gold = $738.00
* Difference = 6,814.29

December 22, 2008 (no data for 12/21)
* Dow Jones = 8,579.11 points
* Price of Gold = $835.75
* Difference = 7,743.36

It's not been pretty. Bob's predictions were ahead of the curve for 33 of the 63 business days in these three months. But there are two bright spots. First, the price of gold has not risen at all. In fact, it's fallen about a hundred dollars an ounce since this summer. That's good. It means not everyone is a panicky nutjob with an irrational fear of paper money and equally irrational faith in the magical powers of gold.

Second, like the rescue of defeated Allied forces from total annihilation at Dunkirk, bailouts from the Fed have prevented a complete economic collapse and Wall Street has bravely rallied in December to save me from losing the bet and having to donate to Ron Paul.

As my good friend Winston once said:

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the American economy and its stock markets last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

So, chin up, lads. And until next time, cheerio!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Froeliche Weinacht!

Das Bluemelein, so kleine,
das duftet uns so suess;
mit seinem hellen Scheine
vertreibt's die Finsternis.
Wahr'r Mensch und wahrer Gott!
Hilft uns aus allem Leide,
rettet von Suend' und Tod.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's evolution, baby

I was taught that the sex of children is randomly determined. Since each sperm carries with it an X or a Y chromosome, whichever one happens to get to the egg first will determine whether the baby will be a boy or a girl. So each child has essentially a 50-50 chance either way.

But I've always thought that boys run in my family. I have more than twice as many boy cousins as girl cousins. I have one sister and four brothers, two nieces and six nephews. This never looked particularly random to me.

So this guy thinks he has proved that it's not random. In fact, it's an inherited trait passed down from father to son.

"The family tree study showed that whether you’re likely to have a boy or a girl is inherited. We now know that men are more likely to have sons if they have more brothers but are more likely to have daughters if they have more sisters . . . " Mr Gellatly explains.


The study suggests that an as-yet undiscovered gene controls whether a man’s sperm contains more X or more Y chromosomes, which affects the sex of his children. On a larger scale, the number of men with more X sperm compared to the number of men with more Y sperm affects the sex ratio of children born each year.

Interesting stuff. And it means that I was right all along. As usual.