Tater’s Takes – Sad Panda

March 6th, 2011 by Potato

Thesis progress was once again abysmal this week. In fact, yesterday featured negative progress as I got into a discussion with my supervisor about some previous prose that I may now have to rewrite… Can’t wait to be finished this thing. Weight was down: only one pound, so it could just be measurement error, but at least it wasn’t up again!

Patrick of A Loonie Saved has finally put a post up, discussing the P/E-10, which right now is suggesting that the market is over-valued, in contrast to my earlier ambivalence. In the comments, Patrick links to another blog by Saj Karsan that suggests the P/E-10 may be skewed a bit by a large number of share buybacks over the years, and by the effect of two recessions (the -10 part of P/E-10 is supposed to give an idea of P/E over a full business cycle, but the last 10 years catches two bottoms instead of just one).

Harper once again shows he’s a class act.

Now even Paul Krugman is very worried about a Canadian housing bubble. The Economist has an article titled “Bricks and Slaughter”. “An even bigger reason to beware of property is the amount of debt it involves. Most people do not borrow to buy shares and bonds, and if they do, the degree of leverage usually hovers around half the value of the investment. Moreover, when stock prices fall, borrowers can usually get their loan-to-value ratios back into balance by selling some of the shares. By contrast, in many pre-crisis housing markets buyers routinely took on loans worth 90% or more of the value of the property. Most had no way of bringing down their debt short of selling the whole house.”

Michael James has some very sensible advice on looking beyond the next 5 years in the eternal fixed vs variable debate.

There have been a couple good reports on the fox domestication program in Siberia (watching that Nova episode was the source of the current tagline in the masthead: “50 years ago, Soviet scientists set out to…” “That’s how all the best stories start.”), but I haven’t tracked them down on the web to link to them. Here’s National Geographic, Nova Science Now, and Nova: Dogs Decoded.

Wired has a nice article up on why trivial decisions can sometimes seem hard when there’s an abundance of choice. I seem to recall another article from a few years ago on choice paralysis in investing, and that company pension plans were much better utilized when fewer options were presented.

I was feeling a bit down as my thesis progress has been so slow, and what has progressed has seemed to be won at such a high cost. So I took the Sad Panda meme image and made it my avatar on various social networking sites, but then realized it wasn’t sad enough for the PhD thesis woes. So I made it even sadder by turning it greyscale and adding a watercolour painting effect:

The original sad panda image, currently a popular internet meme.
Greyscale and watercolours are both sad on their own. Combined with Sad Panda, and it's now super sad!
Since I don’t know who to credit for the original image, I can’t presume to claim any rights on the derivative, so have at it.

3 Responses to “Tater’s Takes – Sad Panda”

  1. Michael James Says:

    My wife is going to school now and I see her avoiding school work with her equivalent of playing with panda pictures. Over the years I’ve found that the best way to reinvigorate myself for school and work projects is to get some exercise. Thanks for the mention.

  2. Netbug Says:

    Nova clip on Silver Fox domestication: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enrLSfxTqZ0

  3. Potato Says:

    EeeEEEeeeexercise?! ;)