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  1. #181
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    I promise I dont bite

    I think everyone is going to come back from their christmas break to find a few pages of random banter to catch up with.

  2. #182
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    ...or rather ignore.

    A propos randomness, modern intelligence tests assess, among many other things, your ability to come up with as many different uses as possible for a pair of socks in 5 minutes.

  3. #183
    Rock Mod MoonRide*r*'s Avatar
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    Ignore? I think not!
    Speaking of sphericals.
    And I once caught Baby stuffing an unwashed pair of footies (she had just taken them off) into the suggestion box of an establishment where we had a rather NOT pleasant experience, product- and personnel-wise. I just kept walking and pretended I didn't know her. I govern not and choose to be equally not governed.
    There is no glamour in sudden death, and nobody ever wins a war.
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  4. #184
    Rock Mod MoonRide*r*'s Avatar
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    On a (rashly) topical note...

    http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/...o_code=1121C-1
    Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012 08:06 AM
    By John Morgan
    © 2012 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

    Volcker: Global Financial Reforms Are 'Incomplete'

    [Duh.]

    Former [U.S.] Fed[eral Reserve] Chairman Paul Volcker said global monetary reforms implemented so far fall short of being able to fix the international banking system, and he worries what will happen when inflation picks up.

    “Financial reform is still incomplete, in my judgment,” he said. “That’s not just a problem in the U.S., but it’s a problem elsewhere in the world, certainly Europe.”

    In an exclusive interview with the Japanese newspaper The Asashi Shimbun, Volcker hammered anew at the operating practices of big banks...

    Editor's Note:
    Volcker noted the full implementation in the United States of the Volcker Rule to separate banks’ proprietary trading from traditional lending and deposit business is not complete.

    [O]pposition comes from only a handful of big banks. Most banks in the United States are worried about how the regulation will be written, but basically it’s not important to them and many of them support the rule.

    Another area where reform still falls short is in the area of credit default swaps, Volcker said. “That’s one of the incomplete areas of reform, to bring ‘derivatives trading’ under more assured control and more protection when there are losses, so that the losses don’t ripple through the whole banking system.”

    Volcker told the newspaper that when potential compensation for bankers becomes too lucrative, the temptation for them to “cut corners” to boost their pay likewise becomes too great.

    Are we dreaming when we think that years ago, decades ago, there was more sense of fiduciary responsibility, concern about the customer, a different kind of ethical instinct, and not just in banking but in lawyers and auditors and accountants and elsewhere?” he asked.

    Volcker said the global financial crisis occurred because there was no force to counteract the excesses of banking systems.

    “People talk about more surveillance by the [International Monetary Fund], but you need some capacity at some point, not just to ‘surveil,’ but to do something, to have some restraining influence.”

    He called for international monetary cooperation to set “equilibrium” exchange rates to control currency movements within a fairly wide band.

    Volcker predicted a full economic recovery in the United States and Europe is still years away. When that time comes, he said, central bank policies will be tested.

    “Will they restore monetary discipline at the time when it becomes necessary? That’s what I worry about, because then, very rapidly, you could get excesses and speculation and new imbalances in the economy,” he said.

    “History tells us that real problems cannot be solved by promoting inflation deliberately.”

    Kaushik Basu, chief economist at the World Bank, told The Economic Times he believes the global economy will not recover until 2015.

    Basu said the injection of liquidity into the [E]urozone in particular buys time for reform, but is not in itself real reform.

    “The hope is that after this period, the global economy will steady up, with the emerging economies becoming the growth poles, while industrialized nations witness slower but steady growth,” he told the Indian newspaper.
    There is no glamour in sudden death, and nobody ever wins a war.
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  5. #185
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    And I once caught Baby stuffing an unwashed pair of footies (she had just taken them off) into the suggestion box of an establishment where we had a rather NOT pleasant experience, product- and personnel-wise. I just kept walking and pretended I didn't know her. I govern not and choose to be equally not governed.
    Certain proof of superb creativity

    Former [U.S.] Fed[eral Reserve] Chairman Paul Volcker said global monetary reforms implemented so far fall short of being able to fix the international banking system, and he worries what will happen when inflation picks up.
    I like playing Monopoly too, but I don't pretend that my Monopoly money is real.

  6. #186
    Senior Member Teshka's Avatar
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    before the year is out my whole life will be put on display on ATL
    Music is what feelings sound like
    Listen to the Love
    ~♥♥~

  7. #187
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teshka View Post

    before the year is out my whole life will be put on display on ATL
    You mean there is more?

  8. #188
    Senior Member Teshka's Avatar
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    With M i just never know what will come up next
    Music is what feelings sound like
    Listen to the Love
    ~♥♥~

  9. #189
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    Interesting poem

  10. #190
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    It's a very American idea... I can't say it's completely wrong, but I can say I'm terribly glad we simply don't need to think along those lines in Western Europe.

  11. #191
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    My sentiments exactly.

  12. #192
    Senior Member Teshka's Avatar
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    ,.......its not as if you guys "never" have shootings in Europe......a summer camp in Oslo Norway last year for ex, about 80 were killed.
    Music is what feelings sound like
    Listen to the Love
    ~♥♥~

  13. #193
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    True, they happen. Breivik was unique though, so far at least; nothing like him has happened in Scandinavia in modern times. Finland is a slightly different story, but they're a bunch of depressed lunatics anyway (I'm from there, I ought to know), and more into weapons (and killing) - and the gun laws have been tightened after the recent school shootings there.

  14. #194
    Rock Mod MoonRide*r*'s Avatar
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    Two days in a row I'm "interrupting" with trivial junk


    LIBOR = London InterBank Offered Rate = the world's primary interest-rate benchmark for commercial and government borrowing.
    (In the USA, about 80% of large-scale borrowing is tied to the Libor rate.)


    UBS Admits Fraud in $1.5B LIBOR Rigging Deal
    http://www.moneynews.com/FinanceNews...o_code=11252-1
    Wednesday, 19 Dec 2012 07:05 AM
    © 2012 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

    Swiss bank UBS agreed to a $1.5 billion fine on Wednesday after admitting to fraud and bribery in a deepening scandal over the rigging of global benchmark interest rates.

    Dozens of UBS staff manipulated the Libor rate, which is used to price trillions of dollars worth of loans across three continents, in collusion with brokers and traders at other banks, according to an international investigation.

    U.S. prosecutors also lodged criminal charges on Wednesday against two former UBS senior traders for the Libor manipulation, the first individuals to be charged in the wide-ranging investigation that involves more than a dozen big banks.

    The controversy is expected to ensnare other big lenders and spark civil lawsuits as well as other criminal proceedings against individuals involved.

    The UBS penalty, issued by U.S., UK and Swiss authorities, far exceeds the $450 million levied on Britain's Barclays in June, also for rigging Libor, and is the second largest ever imposed on a bank.

    "We deeply regret this inappropriate and unethical behavior. No amount of profit is more important than the reputation of this firm," said UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti.

    The Libor benchmarks are used to set trillions of dollars worth of loans around the world, ranging from home loans to credit cards to complex derivatives.

    Tiny shifts in the rate, compiled from daily polls of bankers, could benefit banks by millions of dollars. But every dollar benefiting one bank meant an equal loss by a bank, hedge fund or other investor on the other side of the trade - raising the threat of a raft of civil lawsuits.

    "The big unknown factor is the civil litigation that could follow on as a result of this," said Paras Anand, European equities head at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, one of UBS' biggest investors. "The issue for shareholders is the challenge of pricing that risk in."

    A UBS unit in Japan has pleaded guilty to one count of fraud relating to manipulation of benchmark rates, including the yen Libor. The probe highlighted the important role played by one UBS banker, identified as Trader A, who "embarked on a coordinated campaign" to influence the yen Libor rate.

    Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) said UBS staff made "corrupt" payments to reward brokers for helping to manipulate rates - expanding the scandal to include bribery.

    In the United States, the Justice Department charged former UBS traders Tom Hayes and Roger Darin with conspiracy, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday. Hayes was also charged with wire fraud and an antitrust violation.

    The two men were both believed to be in Europe, according to a U.S. official.

    Last week, British police arrested three men, including Hayes, in connection with the Libor probe, the first such arrests. The two others were Terry Farr and James Gilmour, who both worked at interdealer broker RP Martin.

    Separately, an Italian court found UBS guilty of aggravated fraud in connection with the sale of derivatives to the city of Milan. Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Co and Depfa Bank were also found guilty.

    'UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR'

    The UBS fine comes a week after Britain's HSBC agreed to pay a record $1.92 billion to settle a probe in the United States into laundering money for drug cartels.

    UBS shares were off 0.3 percent after earlier hitting a 17-month high.

    "You can see from the stock movement that the fine is already baked in," said Markus Jordi, principal at Zurich-based investment manager Cosmos Capital.

    The Libor settlement caps a tumultuous 18 months for UBS during which it lost $2.3 billion in a rogue trading scandal, underwent a management upheaval and cut thousands of job.

    "We have to acknowledge that the behavior of certain of our employees who were disciplined during this investigation ... is and was unacceptable," UBS' Ermotti told reporters, adding that about 40 people had left UBS or asked to leave.

    The reputational impact of the controversy may only emerge next year.

    "The only thing shareholders can do is keep a very close eye on the money flows on the wealth management side," said Neil Wilkinson, portfolio manager at Royal London Asset Management.

    "We may not see until the first quarter of next year whether they have lost any clients as a result of this."

    The bank will pay $1.2 billion to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 160 million pounds to the UK's FSA, and 59 million Swiss francs from its estimated profit to Swiss regulator Finma.

    The UK penalty is the largest in the history of the FSA and more than double the 59 million pounds paid by Barclays.

    UBS said the fines would widen its fourth-quarter net loss but it would not need to raise new capital.

    'NORMAL BUSINESS PRACTICE'

    Britain's FSA said attempts to manipulate Libor and Euribor, its European equivalent, were so widespread that every submission UBS made over a six-year period from 2005 to 2010 was suspect.

    At least 45 people at UBS were involved in the rigging, which was discussed in internal chat forums and group emails but never detected by compliance staff, despite five audits.

    The FSA said the manipulation was considered to be "normal business practice" by a wide pool of people within UBS.

    In addition to traders trying to move the Libor rate up or down to make money for themselves, senior managers at the Swiss bank directed dealers to keep Libor submissions low during the financial crisis to make the bank look stronger.

    The extent of the wrongdoing was highlighted in a series of emails released by the FSA. The exchanges may indicate how traders and brokers conspired to rig the rate while adopting nicknames such as "Captain Caos," (sic) and calling each other "superman," "hero" or "the three muscateers (sic)."

    In one email, Trader A wrote to broker A, urging him to keep the six-month yen Libor rate unchanged on the day.

    "I need you to keep it as low as possible ... if you do that ... I'll pay you, you know, 50,000 dollars, 100,000 dollars... whatever you want... I'm a man of my word," Trader A wrote.

    Traders paid brokers as much as 15,000 pounds a quarter for their help in rigging the rates.

    It is the first time that brokers have been accused of taking bribes to aid the manipulation. ICAP, the world's largest interdealer broker, and rival RP Martin have suspended employees in connection with the probe.

    Until the rate-rigging scandal broke, Libor had been ignored by regulators and left to the banks to police. From next year, Britain's FSA will oversee it as part of a major overhaul.

    The steep fine for UBS comes even as the bank has cooperated with law-enforcement agencies. The bank said it received conditional immunity from some regulators.

    A similar admission by Barclays in June touched off a political fire storm that forced its chairman and CEO to quit.
    There is no glamour in sudden death, and nobody ever wins a war.
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  15. #195
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    You know Moon, as far back as I can remember, already as a kid there was one thing I could not understand. How can anyone very intelligent and genuinely gifted choose to work in the financial sector? Surely they must realise the existential pointlessness of money? Later, I thought that surely they must also understand the innate parasitic nature of the financial sector? I mean, how can you not understand that it is impossible to pull money out of thin air and consume real resources with it?

    These days, I think that they are lured into it in spite of their intellect because it is highly attractive, and once they spend some time in there, most of them realise the above but simply don't give a damn. I'm not sure how they do it; the atmosphere of that place probably simply corrupts you, the ease with which "riches" can be made and the greed with which everyone does it. It's like Germans fighting for Hitler in WWII - everyone does it so you simply go with the flow, with a few probably enjoying it.

    Anyhoo. I spent last night watching a few videos which brought in fresh, new perspectives. This one was an interesting take on how agriculture by its very nature "converts resources into people". An interesting perspective, and although he didn't go too much into how you can revert that on a global scale, there was much truth to what he said. Agriculture produces more food which in all of nature leads to more procreation which leads to more food demand which leads to more food creation which leads to more procreation. The only known means of reducing population in nature is lack of food and predators (of which we have none). Mankind might be able to eclipse that using birth control, but we haven't done it yet, and unless we find some ingenious ways around it, it's more likely that we're heading into a lemmings-like scenario of lethal overpopulation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nLKHYHmPbo

    Then I watched a couple of videos with Michio Kaku on several topics, the most interesting ones (to me) on the topic of the "birth pains of a type I civilisation". He is a techno-optimist and chooses to believe it most likely that technology will solve all of our problems, and that at the end of this century, mankind will have evolved into a type I civilisation, in full control of all the resources of the planet. He does acknowledge that there is a parallel development towards global destruction, but chooses to believe in the victory of technology. If he is anywhere near correct, I should see some interesting stuff in the ~40-50 or so years I ought to have left, including fusion reactors.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnmmnpj_pX8

    I find it interesting to study the opinions of highly-regarded scientists on more existential matters. Theoretical physicists in particular deal a lot with existential questions. It's interesting how thin their understanding often is - deep as far as it goes, but not particularly broad most of the time. Stephen Hawkins, for instance, has several times stated that mankind must spread into space if we are to survive, and Michio Kaku goes along similar lines. Neither seem to have paid much thought to whether or not it would be worth the trouble in the first place; they seem to take it for granted that mankind must survive using whatever means we are capable of.

    That is understandable in the sense that evolution makes sure all life must survive. Those who don't want to survive generally don't survive. However it does leave a "black hole" of understanding in terms of existential wisdom, since they focus so single-mindedly on the means rather than the purpose of survival. I for one tend to think that if we were equally capable of considering the existential purpose of survival, we would probably come to the conclusion that while exploring space and other planets is fun, we ought to find peace here and now and then maybe, if we still feel like it, see if we want to spread out into space.

    I see this as a consequence of human evolution. We evolved as a how-species, always looking for ways to overcome very real challenges in our immediate environment. How to defeat big cats, how to find more food, how to stay warm. It was much, much later that we needed to start asking why? And so why (existential intelligence) remains many, many generations behind how (tool-making intelligence), and we keep inventing trees without much understanding of what the forests look like. Man the toolmaker evolved to create tools, and this we have excelled in. We are helplessly behind when it comes to understanding why we should create tools, for what purpose. If those two were on a similar level, we would likely choose not to invent most of our tools.

    It's very interesting to me how extremely intelligent people such as physicists can be so lacking in existential understanding. I understand it as a consequence of our evolution, but it still feels like they should know better. I guess they shouldn't, I suppose it is entirely natural that they are so narrowly focused on how; otherwise it is unlikely that they would have made it to the position where they are today. Without the focus on how, we would have no weapons of mass destruction; without the focus on how, we would have much more limited ecosystem degradation; without the focus on how, we would understand ourselves much better; without the focus on how, we would probably spend most of our time dancing, enjoying music and engaging in lots and lots of love(making).

    Imagine if everyone took one day a week from how to contemplate why. One day a week from doing whatever it is we do most of the time, one day a week from our busy lives, imagine we sat down in silence, with nothing and no one to disturb us, and simply contemplated W.H.Y.?. Why do I do what I do? Why do we do what we do? With no clear goal in mind, no answers, no dogma, no certainty, simply a vast openness, a vast multitude of questions, simply allowing your mind to freely proble the whithers and wherefores of existence without trying to find absolute answers ("deity X told so").

    I'm pretty sure we would live our lives very differently if we did so.
    Last edited by Guest; 12-20-2012 at 06:33 AM.

  16. #196
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRide*r* View Post

    LIBOR = London InterBank Offered Rate = the world's primary interest-rate benchmark for commercial and government borrowing.
    Oh I had to study this. 0.5% something. Not sure what part of engineering degree says Business, Finance and Accounting in it, but there you go.

    Ola - they're filthy rich though. I'd go into dry dull boring banking to be filthy rich if interest was allowed in Islam

  17. #197
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    I'm glad I know you're teasing me, Noor - I might be tempted to re-assess your intellect otherwise

  18. #198
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchestraInside View Post

    Imagine if everyone took one day a week from how to contemplate why. One day a week from doing whatever it is we do most of the time, one day a week from our busy lives, imagine we sat down in silence, with nothing and no one to disturb us, and simply contemplated W.H.Y.?. Why do I do what I do? Why do we do what we do? With no clear goal in mind, no answers, no dogma, no certainty, simply a vast openness, a vast multitude of questions, simply allowing your mind to freely proble the whithers and wherefores of existence without trying to find absolute answers ("deity X told so").
    Religious people have this really cool thing where they relate everything back to deity X.

    I wake up in the morning to go to university, to get a good education to benefit the world and make it a better place because deity X told us we're responsible for this planet.

    I smile to neighbours and engage in friendly conversations because I am setting a good example and because deity X told us to love thy neighbour.

    I go to sleep so that I can rest my body which is a gift from deity X and we need to look after such gifts.

    Mayyn. We get rewarded for sleeping, isnt that cool? You guys should all convert to Islam.

  19. #199
    Moderator VivaPalestina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchestraInside View Post
    I'm glad I know you're teasing me, Noor - I might be tempted to re-assess your intellect otherwise
    Damn. What gave it away?

  20. #200
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    You did

    There is a problem in your previous post. I've been more religious than anyone I know, very probably more religious than you are (I was going to be a priest), and I learned it the hard way. I know you have the cognitive capacity to realise the problem, but I'm not sure you have the emotional readiness to face its consequences. I don't like teaching, so I'll leave it at that for now.

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