Stock Market Scam

Came across this wonderful true story about a stock market scam:

The rise and fall of stock market prices is notoriously difficult to predict. Playing the market can be a fast road to penury, so when one particular stock broker started to demonstrate an almost superhuman capacity to detect market trends, he found his services in great demand. Was it down to pure chance, coincidence — or something else?

In fact, in his particular case, it was something beyond conincidence… though nothing of a paranormal or supernatural order. This publisher of a stock newsletter would send out 64,000 letters extolling his state-of-the-art database, his inside contacts, and his sophisticated econometric models. In 32,000 of these letters he would predict a rise in some stock index for the following week — and in the other 32,000 he’d predict a decline.

Whatever happened to the stock market that week, he’d send a follow-up letter — but only to those 32,000-odd people to whom he’d made a correct ‘prediction’. To 16,000 a decline. Whatever happened he would have sent two consecutive correct predictions to 16,000 people. And so on. In this way he built the illusion that he knew what he was talking about.

His purpose was to boil the database down to the 1,000-or-so people who had recived six straight correct predictions (by coincidence) in a row. These would think they had a good reason to cough up the $1,000 the newsletter publisher requested for further ‘oracular’ tip-offs.

Relation of Height to Salary

Taken from the book, Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell:

“Overwhelmingly, the heads of big companies are… also almost all tall: in my sample, I found that on average, male CEOs [of the companies on the Fortune 500 list] were just a shade under six feet tall. Given that the average American male if five foot nine, that means that CEOs as a group have about three inches on the rest of their sex. But this statistic actually underestimates the matter. In the U.S. population, about 14.5 percent of all men are six feet or taller. Among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that number is 58 percent…

“…Not long ago, researchers who analysed the data from four large research studies that had followed thousands of people from birth to adulthood calculated that when corrected for such variables as age and gender and weight, an inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary.”

It pays to be tall.

Poems of the Self

And now I see the face of god and I raise
This god over the earth, this god for who men have
Sought since men came into being, this god who
Will grace them with joy and peace and pride.
This god, this one word: I.

— Ayn Rand

I came across the poem above in a book on the profiles of “great” people. After reading it, I was reminded of a poem I wrote four years back. Going through the archives of my old Geocities website, I managed to find it. Hope you enjoy it:

I can only stare in awe as you walk by me;
The beauty you exude tortures me!
I look at you and you invariably look at me.
I tilt my head to the left,
While you tilt yours to the right,
Your eyes glittering in the moonlight.
As I prepare to walk off so do you
And we bid each other goodnight.
Suddenly in the mirror I see light,
I turn around and there’s my friends,
Watching as I admired your every move!
But I’m not embarrassed and why should you?
I love you and you love me
We’ll love each other for eternity!
Oh I love myself!!!

How do I stand?

Taking the MRT today, I ran into a very serious problem — the problem of not knowing where to put my hands.

Leaning against the wall of the train, self-consciousness suddenly overwhelmed me. I started getting uncomfortable as I struggled to find the proper place for my hands.

Something I used to do unconsciously, my conscious mind simply could not figure out where my hands usually went.

Scanning the rest of the train, I looked out for models I might follow — other passengers of who were also standing, but whom showed no signs of the distress I was in.

Some were holding bags — I didn’t have a bag. Some were reading books or magazines — didn’t have those either. Some held on to the vertical bars for stability — where I stood had no bars. Some held their lover — I was alone.

In other words, there was no one I could really follow. People who had none of the above-mentioned were sitting down! So what did people standing without those things do?

I thought about how people stood in queues, but no picture came to mind — all I saw were people holding something, like bags or their children’s hands or anything really.

Just what is the proper way of standing in public empty-handed anyway?

See also Train of Thought, about a dilema one faces when a crowded train is suddenly almost empty.

Importance of an Ejaculation

Subject headers of questionable e-mails I have received regarding the interactions of a boy and girl in bed.

  • Increase the volume of your ejaculation.
  • Has your cum ever dribbled and you wish it had shot out?
  • Your girl will thank me for it 🙂

I thought I might come up with a few myself…

  • Problems obeying standing orders?
  • Awake the sleeping volcano in you
  • Shoot for the stars
  • Soft margarine is supposedly good for you. But this is ridiculous.
  • Make the red sea white

The Sleeping Volcano

“F*ck!” I shout at the top of my voice as I punched the cupboard with my closed fist. Adrenaline rushes through my body as my mind says “stop this rage! stop this rage! The others are not going to like what they see… you are not like this! You are normally the picture of calm, or tolerance. You are the cheerful one, the one that people know doesn’t get mad… the one that people turn to when things get mad!”

But my mind also says, at the very same time, “I have already started off on a rage. Stopping now wouldn’t help the situation. In fact, stopping now might put you in a bad light and not put the point across to these people that you cannot stand their behaviour. Since these people probably already know that you can lose your temper, you might as well go the whole way and make sure this situation doesn’t repeat itself.”

Have you experienced similar situations? When your mind cannot stop your own actions?

The Freedom of Choice

Freedom of choice. All of us have that. Everything we do, we can choose.

W asked, “take for example our birth. Did we have a choice whether or not we wanted to come into this world?”

The thing our parents gave us is called “life”. We can choose to live or die by the time we are able to move freely. Most of us choose to live.

“But how about our choice of coming into this world?”

When we were brought into this world, we were given the chance to make choices. The most basic one of which is life or death.

No birth, no life, no choice.

If we were never born, would we have a choice as to live or die?

Choice is like energy: always changing, but never destroyed.

The Millionaire Spouse

I read a wonderful chapter in the book The Millionaire Mind today on spouses and their relationship to millionaire-ism. The essence boils down to this:

The typical millionaire couple in America has been married for twenty-eight years. One in four have been married for thirty-eight or more years…

…There is a highly significant negative correlation between divorce and wealth, and, conversely, there is significant relationship between years of uninterrupted marriage and net worth…

…Future millionaires seem to be able to judge potential partners with respect to traits like sinceirty, cheerfulness, reliability, and affection.

One of the most important aspects of school and college that influenced millionaires in becoming economically productive adults? Learning how to make accurate judgements about people — and that is how they pick their spouses too.

Intelligence Clouding the Mind

Then I came across another paragraph that also struck me as a very interesting observation — that on intelligence and its effect on choosing your spouse.

Not all the intelligent people one meets in college have all the other important qualities. In fact, the quality of high intelligence can often act as camouflage. Some people are so taken with a suitor’s high level of intellect that the suitor’s deficiencies are concealed or overlooked, just as others are blinded by physical attractiveness. If one places to much emphasis on a quality like intelligence, then he may be insensitive to variations in sincerity, cheerfulness, reliability, and virtue, for example.

War and Business

This book features interviews of quite a number of millionaires. Several of the millionaires interviewed mentioned that experience in the military was vital to their economic successes later on — one of them even required that his son join the military for a couple of years before agreeing to hand over his business.

That has really bolstered my confidence in believing that the army hasn’t been such a waste of time after all. Sure, the amount of humble pie I have had to eat daily since conscripting has been considerable. But values such as discipline, humility, as well as experience of being away from home has been quite invaluable, especially if I plan to go overseas to study.

The Colours of the Wind

Most importantly though, has been the amount of interaction I have had to go through with people from all walks of life. Living in close spaces with people different from you and sharing completely different values has been difficult.

But over time, you realise that this — especially for me, as a business student — has been extremely helpful in helping me develop a knack of judging people more accurately, something mentioned by millionaires to be highly influential in helping them attain their millionaire status. It also teaches and condition’s one to keep one’s emotions in check, something essential in the fast-paced, and emotionally-draining business world.