Christmas Day links, 25 December 2017

An early taste for literature, Charles Conder, 1888, Art Gallery of Ballarat

Macro, Markets & Investing




Terra Incognita

…and furthermore…


    • Where is the best place to see it’s live price? It’s been up / down / up / down and up / down the last 48 hours. I don’t know where it is now..

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Well bugger me. You’re not haroldus?! And I had an epic poem of first herald done and ready to offer in tribute. Sigh… always next year I suppose…

      Merry Christmas peeps! And well done u Ortega.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        Unfortunately it was a Christmas based tribute, hence the heavy heart and melancholy. A lot of its gloss will be gone by then. I’ll save it for 2018’s xmas. He’ll be back on his game by then.

    • The issue is that for people to buy they need to load money into the exchanges which takes 1-2 business days but the cryptos trade 24/7/365. Holiday weekends you can sell but can’t buy unless you had money already loaded waiting on the sidelines within the exchanges. Quite the recipe for weakness and there’ll be a rush to BTFD on Thursday once people get their money in. I learned my lesson to have some money sitting there on the sidelines holiday weekends.

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Future? NuZalund? ROFL.

      Nice place to live. If you like freezing cold houses in winter, mold and no air-conditioning in summer. Beer’s good though. Montieths is your answer to everything. And the fush and chups… you can’t beat it. But you’ll miss the prawns.

      Best place to buy meat on the planet, so I hope you’re not vegetarian.

      Let me know if you need anything translated.

      Don’t forget your shots.

    • Dimethyltryptamine

      Good on you mate ! A wonderful country full of excellent people, and now with a promising government who seem to even have policies that go beyond the next election. And as for the poster who had a whinge about the cold and mould….the bloke is frying today 🙂

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        One of the most terrible aspects of trans-tasman migration from Australia is its deleterious effects on the average IQ of both countries. : )

        PS air-conditioning… may not be a thing in Nuzleand yet… fortunately​, we’re all over it at ours.

    • Amazon best sellers in Germany, Velcro gloves. For extra grip on those sheep. Ewwww….. hahaha.. I don’t know how I know this stuff but you can get some pretty horrid STI’s from doing things with Animals…perhaps blame it on a Vice article. They cover weird stuff like that..?

      • (shrugs) they’re called zoonoses, and honestly – you can get them whether you stick your doodle in, or just don’t maintain a modicum of hygiene standard. I guess that an article that tells about someone getting an infection the “dirty hands” way is not as titillating…

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        I don’t know what you’re doing with your todger Ino but mine never spontaneously develops anything like that! No matter what hygiene level’s been in play.

    • You might want to make note of the date… 2013, last updated in 2016… Hardly a burning issue of actuality, me thinks!

      • And in the article itself it states that the law making bestiality illegal expired in 1969. So it has been legal since then. So if anything, it’s up to the current legislature to re-consider and write new laws banning something that has been legal for nearly 50 years.

  1. Taking the Red or Blue Pill? by Yanis Varoufakis is a fantastic article. He touches on this from an academic perspective in his Foundations of Economics book.

  2. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Looks like we are in for a mild Christmas day, down here on Wallaga lake just north of Bermagui.

    The kids had all their presents from “Santa” opened by 6.30 am,( the daughters onto the truth, but the sons not sure, this will be his last year,…an 8 year old believing in Santa is just creepy),… wife’s gone back to bed and the kids and I are of riding our bikes to the beach to check the Surf.

    From this Strong Athiest, to my MB family I say,
    Merry Christmas y’all.

  3. Have a good day folks. Eat, drink and be merry while avoiding injuries during the backyard cricket match.

  4. The paper “Do Governments Drive Global Trade Imbalances?” illustrates how clueless economists are. They are going on about and observing what are symptoms and not really understanding the cause. Trade imbalances are generated by superior technology acquisition and increased ‘competitiveness’. Those nations that focus on debt/finance and ignore the importance of technology tend to be less competitive and have a worsening trade balance.

  5. For those who have had enough of Die Hard and the other standard Christmas fare SBS Ondemand has the Vietnam War doco series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. I’m not familar with these two so am not sure how they are viewed (quality, bias etc) but I’ve watched the first episode and am impressed so far.

    One thing I think they did not emphasise enough was the strategic pivot the US made at the end of 1949, beginning of 1950 when the Soviets showed they had nukes and Mao’s China announced that they were moving from a non-aligned position to being firmly in the camp of the USSR. I’ve seen it argued that those two developments set in motion so much that happened in the subsequent decades. Plenty of people on mb and elsewhere have a go at the yanks for having some grand plan for world domination but to me a lot of the time they were just reacting to what they saw happening in front of them (and that’s a negative thing).

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      SBS demand always fails on me. Wondering if it’s the dodgy internet or a common problem.

      • Works fine for me, and SBS ondemand kills auntie for free online content (eg how the helll did SBS, and not ABC, get dibs on this series). Maybe a defacto net neutrality thing? I’m with iinet, maybe your isp wants you to watch Netflix or Stan or something…

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Westnet. They like me watching Netflix.

        It works well until the first commercial break then freezes up. Stop/starting or any other try at kicking it off again takes whatever I’m watching back to the start.

        Kinda given up on it which is a pity because they’ve got lots of things worth watching on it.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Watch the Mupper Christmas Carol while the kids are up. Once they’re in their sugar induced coma Die Hard…the perfect xmas movie…is on then Bad Santa for those still up and drinkin’ hard.

        The winning xmas movie trifecta.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        A few hours ago I was out on a run thinking about uploading dubbed Stadler and Waldorf balcony scenes and referencing them in various MB, and possibly M.B., related comment replies. Obviously then I clearly agree wholeheartedly with 2 of your 3 picks.

        Must try finishing Bad Santa again sometime; that’s become a real meme this year – Twitter, radio, TV and MB included. I have possibly missed something there. After all Raising Arizona was actually a good film, so perhaps Bad Santa too.

    • Thanks for the reminder.
      Ken Burns has made a number of quality doco’s over the years. He and his brother Ric made the “The Civil War” in the late 80’s/early 90’s…an absolute tour de force in my opinion.

    • Before the war with Germany was complete and before the Nuremberg trials were finalised, Gen Patton said that the US had fought the wrong mob, that the real threat was from Russia.
      Thus, german military and civilian specialists were squirreled away, no charges laid, to military and industrial use in both the UK and the USA. the ole fog of war story
      And you muppets still believe the GW hoax/ Baa

    • Maybe people haven’t picked up that everything is on discount somewhere all the time as retail collapses in Australia.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Geez, everything was on 20-40% discount before xmas. They’ll have to start giving stuff away tomorrow.

        In other news, I’ve never had so many emails trying to flog stuff. Methinks Mr Retail is just putting on a brave face.

    • Buying stuff “on sale” that one doesn’t really need, with money one doesn’t have, to impress people that one doesn’t even like is one of the fundamental modern Australian pastimes.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      I was in Westfield and Waurn Ponds Geetroit yesterday and was simply amazed at how many shops were touting some form of ‘buy now pay later’ setup – which is essentially a form of microfinance. In the national geographic shop in Westfield I asked on of the service types how big the buy now pay later thing was and he replied that his experience was that it was more than half.

      • The Traveling Wilbur

        Only if they can find you! A smart up and coming property investor would have their purchases shipped to one of their tennants (surprise for the Mrs, etc. etc.).

        Not that I’d ever endorse such unethical and possibly illegal behaviour. Of course.

      • Pretty horrific stuff isn’t it? Its starting to be more common online also, with discretionary retailers that target millennials reporting it helps them grow sales volumes. Workmate pointed it out to me – reckons it’s the only way to manage birthdays – Christmas and school holidays. Looked into it briefly one arvo and was shocked that Jetstar take payment using it. Disturbed as they see it as a way of overcoming the credit card limit each month, rather than a financial derivative that effectively decreases spending power.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      I’ve linked to a few of the pieces reporting on the US life expectancy retracement recently….

      Today (being Christmas) I have had contact with relatives in the US who have noted what they see as a major rise in drug related middle aged deaths around where they are (Michigan) and another batch (Calgary Canada) are seeing something similar there too.

      My take is that it is related to a prevailing sense of despair. I have seen the same thing in remote aboriginal communities here in Australia and in some ex-industrial towns in Russia. Eventually economic malaise reaches a point where quite intelligent and educated people (who have generally chosen to remain) sort of slip into a ‘stuff it. what is the point of being nice anymore’ mode of thinking and fry themselves away with drugs or booze – and invariably frying whole families along the way.

      • In the absence of any effort on behalf of anyone to reverse the sense of despair, it seems like further similar falls are inevitable for the next few years at least. It also seems that the consequences (good and bad, with winners and losers) of the USA having substantially lower population growth than expected in the near term due to a combination of life expetancy falling when rising life expectancy and the probable effects of Trump immigration policies should be far bigger news than they currently are.

      • Also, lot of regional towns in Australia are on the brink of collapse for the same. Welcome to globalisation.

      • Darwinism at work. Drug abuse is ripping through all segments of society, it’s not just about poor to middle class societies. I reckon the economic and societal impacts are greatly underestimated for political purposes and will bite uscon the ass a lot sooner than they think.

    • A couple hours ago I watched this interview/discussion between Kyle Bass and Mark Cuban. One topic they discuss is the US opioid epidemic caused by automation/offshoring of jobs. Mark Cuban then mentions AI automation will take us further down this dark path with an escalation of civil unrest eventually forcing a truce with a partial wealth redistribution:

      IMO Mark Cuban underestimating the greed of the mega-rich. These people genuinely believe their life is worth more than millions of civilians and will not give it up without a fight that they will inevitably lose. French Revolution V2.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “an escalation of civil unrest eventually forcing a truce with a partial wealth redistribution: ”

        This “truce” you speak of has been on going for Centuries in the Democratic West and is the only reason Capitalism has survived as long as it has.
        Notice how the LNP never mention Medicare, during their Socialism/Welfare rants.

        How long do you think those Keating and Howard inspired, tax exempt Superfund balances would last,…if the retired were “User Paying'” for all their Medical Scans, Cancer treatements and Cardio vascular surgeries, etc etc,…mmm?
        Private health insurance doesn’t even come close to covering the full costs of the health care of its “Customers”,… requiring massive state subsidies and medical infrastructure support. All so a “Better” class of people, can get superior medical treatment to fellow citizens,… disgusting.

        My concern is that an overwhelmingly sophisticated propaganda machine is being deployed by Global Plutocracy with the goal of breaking down the traditional Democratic Left/Right ECONOMIC dichotomy, that delt working people into the game.

        People have been beguiled into thinking their involvement and Participation in the political process is a waste of time and unlikely to achieve results,… this is by design in my view, and partly the result relentless indoctrination and propaganda designed to promote and encourage “Successful” self centred, individualistic Consumerism as one’s highest possible goal.
        Solidarity takes the second seat to Meritocratic conspicuous consumption.
        The winners get what they deserve and the losers be damned,…It’s the way of a Plutocratic world order.
        There are alternatives,

        Before we start talking about polishing up the guillotines though,…maybe we should investigate the possibles reform first,

        Wide spread Involvement and Participation within the “people’s parties” (Labor here) is the only way to take back the control of these parties, from a Virtue Signalling Professional class of Apparatchiks that have clearly thrown in their lot with Plutocrats for their own Careerist objectives over representation of the vast majority of the population,…working people.

        The whole reason people from all over the world want to immigrate here, is because of the, over a century of struggle for redistributive compromises between Capital and Labor.

      • EP, the right wing have always been a bunch of a*sholes. The only thing that has changed in the last thirty years is the “people’s party” have stopped representing the people. We now have the right-wing representing the rich minority, and the left representing the poor minority. Nearly every single new policy involves the masses getting f*cked over by the rich, followed up by the masses having to further subsidise the poor.

        As Cameron Murray pointed out, no easy fix once corruption set in. You join Labor and they will just take your money and string you along. Same deal now for all establishment parties including the Greens. Better to give your money to a new party and force the establishment parties into change or oblivion.

      • Notice how the LNP never mention Medicare, during their Socialism/Welfare rants.

        Not sure I agree with that. The Coalition haven’t exactly been shy about attacking medicare.

  6. TailorTrashMEMBER

    What’s a little funny and a little disturbing is that this story on the Beeb is preceded for Strayan audiences by our wonderful government advertisments
    for ” careers in defence industries ” …………so while china makes amphibious planes ….we close our oil refineries and car plants and make advertisements ………
    ………mmmmmmmm?? …………..

    • Aussie defense is an absolute joke, filled with out dated equipment and outdated leadership.
      All they do is spend time writing white papers, then,…implement two 5th of f k all of it. in the clear light of day it needs a major shake up, major. We basically have no relative strength in any segment, relative to any of our neighbors, oh except for our ads.

      • AARC trusts that all leaders within Army will benefit from papers published in this series and that Army leadership may be enhanced through research such as this. In fact, they thought headquarters seemed tube unwieldy and beset by internal friction despite the best efforts of the headquarters staff. They agreed to continue to try to explain why an increase in the size and complexity of headquarters did not result in any observed improvement in their performance.
        WW and that is from the military itself, Us punters know the military couldn’t organise a drink in a brewery.
        and we wand to build submarines.???

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Odd. As Vice mayor he seemed like he was a natural fit for the role. Given the allegations. Allegedly.

      Tanduay, beer-na-beer, mabuhai and Merry Christmas.

  7. Mining BoganMEMBER


    Let’s just point at WA to dist…SQUIRREL…to distract from everywhere else. I like the bit where things can only get better just because.

    Disclaimer: Me and lovey went to the shops early this morning. A couple of things she desired which despite my protestations that when everything is always on special it’s going to be no cheaper today. I lost and went shopping.

    Carpark was surprisingly empty at 9.30. No hustle and bustle. Taking the leg rope off the board and tying it around the boy was totally unnecessary. Apparently.

    Results were two items purchased at much the same price as when we first checked them out months ago, even though there were 30% off signs on the windows, walls and dockets. So we didn’t overpay or get a bargain…kinda like a drawn grand final.

    Busy? Yes.
    Overwhelmingly I’m-going-postal busy? Nah.
    People buying? Yes.
    People fighting to buy like Dan v The Captain? No. All quite civilised. *warning. Graphic violence*

    It’ll be interesting to see the figures. No doubt they’ll be massaged but I saw more people in the food court than in the shops themselves.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      Daughters birthday today, we had a birthday party with lots of little girls – many of the parents dropped little girls off an raced off to the Geetroit variant of the boxing day thing (basically the same as Melbourne but there are loads more overweight heavily tattooed people in shorts, and increasing numbers of pouting babyboomers disgusted that such types would festoon their boxing day shopping experience).

      The post birthday vinofest with attending parents was that most of the action was simply to look, the prices werent really discounted much at all (after the handful of ‘headline’ items had gone), and that parking was a cinch.

    • Why attend the sales when all of the “bargains”, few as they are, get posted on Ozbargain and are mostly available online?

    • Mate of mine was dragged off to the Brisbane Airport DFO this morning and described it as bedlam, then later on departure as “horrifying scenes with traffic backed up for a kilometre or more in both directions on the M1 exit to the airport” (sure would suck if all you were trying to do was get to the airport to catch a plane). He can be a bit prone to exaggeration though.

      Mrs Smithy and I went down to Indooroopilly later in the afternoon (1600ish), mostly to let the kids have a run around in the little playground there for an hour and it just looked like a normal day’s foot traffic (that said, I’m probably only in there every couple of months).

      I couldn’t even muster the will to go looking for some stuff I “need”… Gawd I hate shopping for clothes. (Wife was much the same – very happy neither of our mothers dragged her out with them earlier in the day.)

      Lashed out on a new monitor and telly a couple of weeks back (neither have been even as cheap since, thankfully). Will probably buy a lens for the camera in the next week (and claim another 10% back when I head to Canadia in January). But that’s about it for my Christmas consumerism.

    • Anecdotes, anecdotes! My heart has so much joy. Alas I have none, as I was working in ye olde Emergency Department till the very last hours of the shopping period.

      All this talk of lesser numbers does have me worried that the pro immigration Green/Lib/Nat/ALP confederacy might infer that our migration levels are actually too LOW if we cannot have a bumper consumer spend at Christmas / Boxing day year on year. Wait a minute! What if the problem is really that we are importing people who not only earn a pittance, but what little extra cash they earn is wired promptly back to extended family overseas instead of being spent at Westfields????!!!!!!?!!!!!

      On another note, I cannot recommend highly enough ‘The Vietnam War (2017)’ series for summer viewing (SBS etc). Will be purchasing DVD set as soon as it is on shelf, that will be my consumer contribution. In the meantime, from Ep1, this is on high rotation at the d672 abode …