Sunday, December 27, 2009

Watch the ball, move your feet

January 25, 2004
Andre Agassi

Q. What sorts of thoughts go through your head, what do you tell yourself when you're facing break points?
ANDRE AGASSI: "Watch the ball, move your feet." That's the first thing you learn; that's the last thing you learn.

Tennis is not about manipulations with racquet. Tennis is about manipulations with ball, like soccer, basketball or volleyball. This so much easier and natural way to develop player like Andre.

By the way, Andre's father "Agassi then went on to amass a collection of over 18,000 tennis balls (made up of rubbish bins filled with 300 tennis balls each). Agassi would hit 3,000 to 5,000 of these balls every day."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Darwin and the case for 'militant atheism'

CNN: What's the greatest remaining mystery about evolution?

Dawkins: How the evolution of the brain gave rise to the emergent property we call subjective consciousness.

What an idiot

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Andre Agassi
There can be no doubt that Andre’s father, former Iranian Olympic boxer Emmanuel ‘Mike’ Aghassian, had a huge influence upon his son’s sporting development. Despite appearing to be extremely domineering, Aghassian was confident that one day his son would win all four tennis Grand Slam tournaments.

He maintained a very organised and methodical approach to his coaching techniques. Such a will to succeed was exemplified when he famously called Agassi’s two older siblings “guinea pigs” in the development of his coaching techniques.

When Agassi was still in his cot, his father would hang tennis balls above him to perfect his eye-coordination. This obsessive behaviour continued when Agassi was in a high chair, as his father would arm him with paddles and balloons.

Agassi then went on to amass a collection of over 18,000 tennis balls (made up of rubbish bins filled with 300 tennis balls each). Agassi would hit 3,000 to 5,000 of these balls every day. By the time he had reached the age of five, he was already practising with the likes of Jimmy Connors and Roscoe Tanner. It became apparent that Agassi was destined for bigger and better things in the world of tennis.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jobs will return -- in 2012

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

George Soros lectures

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wilson [K] Pro Staff 88

Люди жалуются, что для Wilson [K] Pro Staff 88 требуется очень точная работа ног (см. Роджер Федерер)
Это потому, что эту ракетку нельзя дотянуть до мяча,
ее нужно донести до мяча.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Проблемы будут

Не стоит требовать от человека многого. Он сотворен из куска праха, он набит смертными грехами и плохо пахнет без дезодоранта. Есть, однако же, некоторый минимум.

Для мужчины это — способность отвечать за свои слова.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How the Mighty Fall

How the Mighty Fall: A Primer on the Warning Signs
Decision Driven Design: it's not about "big company", it's all about leadership.

Friday, May 15, 2009

(c) Kraftwerk

Computers always perform live


Warning: Dates on calendar are closer than they appear

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Duke Nukem Forever

Once upon the time 3DRealms added a new dimension to flat/trivial (2D) user experience - depth of story and character, depth of virtual world (interactivity). But adding yet another dimension to state of the art 3D-gaming universe turned out to be mission impossible.

Perhaps 3D is all that's available to human creativity. Humans can not grasp eternity, therefore completing 3DRealms' Duke Nukem 4D=Forever will be chasing after the wind.

And no, we don't need another Duke Nukem 3D from different developer. Adding dimensions is all that matters for hardcore Duke Nukem fans as much as for George Broussard and Scott Miller.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why Social Networks Are Bad Businesses

Investors assumed that any medium with such a large number of users has to become a huge business. Millions and millions of users must be worth something. They can't be worth nothing. That couldn't be possible. Because Facebook and MySpace are so pervasive and such a significant part of online culture, the press is endlessly fascinated by what goes on at the companies. Word got out that Facebook was raising money. Then it fired its chief financial officer. Analysts started to speculate that the company was low on cash. Facebook, of course, said that no such thing was true. (Read "25 Things I Didn't Want to Know About You.")

What is true is that social network sites have had trouble making money.

Marketers don't want want a collection of people with no common purpose other than to share with one another.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Reverse Black Swan, Part I

(Michael Mandel on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book) Because technological innovation really is fundamentally unpredictable, increasing the amount spent on R&D and innovation does not lead to diversification and a reduction of uncertainty. Taleb writes:

In spite of our progress and the growth in knowledge, or perhaps because of such progress and growth, the future will be increasingly less predictable.

This is especially true in the U.S. The way that the global economy developed in recent years, the U.S. has outsourced production to other countries, and kept the high-end task of design and innovation. As Taleb puts it:

The American economy has leveraged itself heavily on the idea generation.

This is precisely the point that I missed in my 2004 book, Rational Exuberance. In that book, I argued that a “hot” financial system—one with lots of highly mobile capital —would boost growth by seeking out and funding the development of the most promising innovations. I also argued that this growth-enhancing effect was worth the added possibility of financial crises. This is what I wrote then:

During boom times, the U.S. is able to fund innovative and growing new businesses with financial instruments--venture capital and junk bonds--that barely exist anywhere else. And then when the inevitable bust comes, the U.S. financial system is highly liquid and far more diversified than elsewhere, able to cope with sharp plunges without freezing up.

Har de har har. How stupid could I have been...

In my (weak) defense, I acknowledged in that book the possibility that the pace of innovation would slow, leading to lower real wages for college-educated workers. What's more, I pointed out that in the absence of innovation: will become a lot harder to service all the debt that companies and people took on during the 1990s. Housing prices will slump and perhaps even plummet.

But despite this nod to the potential Black Swan of the financial crisis, I didn't really wrap my mind around the possibility that all this money out there might not get results. The fundamental unpredictability of technology means exactly that--we could summon up all this capital, and not get the big innovation. The big potential innovations such as biotech didn't take off in the post-2000 era, as was expected. As a result, that big pot of hungry money had no outlet except for housing. The innovations didn't happen.

What did happen was a big negative Black Swan--the financial crisis. And a Taleb-type analysis tells us that such negative unexpected events--a sudden acceleration of global warming, global war, a breakdown of the Internet, you name it--are almost guaranteed over a long enough time span.

So here's the thing. What reading Taleb tells me is that as a technological optimist, I need to accept three statements.

1) Unexpected technological breakthroughs are possible. That's good

2) The timing and nature of the breakthroughs cannot be controlled. That's bad

3) Unexpected large bad events are possible as well. That's bad. In fact, we can get bad events which have as big an impact, in the negative direction, as the technological innovations.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Если завтра война

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In God we trust; all others pay cash

We’re certain, for example, that the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 – and, for that matter, probably well beyond – but that conclusion does not tell us whether the stock market will rise or fall.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Crispest" racquets...

Crisp is how you describe that sweet combination of stiff frame, high tension, and soft strings. Pop is the response you get when a crisp racket hits a ball. Snap is how you feel when you pop the ball with a crisp racket. Crackle is what your opponent does when he succumbs to your snap and pop off your crisp racket.
Am I wrong?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dumb Money

In the past few months, we've been riveted and disgusted by the exploits of scamsters like Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford (characters who, if they didn't exist, would have to be invented by Tom Wolfe). It's both easy and convenient to hold them up as the ultimate symbols of the just-ended boom. But we shouldn't. While there was some crime in the mortgage industry, law-abiding, respectable, upstanding citizens caused the overwhelming majority of financial losses suffered thus far. Skeezy money managers and mobbed-up boiler rooms didn't create the economic catastrophe. It was visited on us by firms in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500—companies that trace their origins back to the 1800s, run by graduates of Yale and Harvard. The people who blew up the system weren't anarchists. They were members of the club: central bankers and private-equity honchos, hedge-fund geniuses and Ph.D. economists, CEOs and investment bankers. And the (overwhelmingly legal) con they perpetuated on themselves, their colleagues, their shareholders and creditors, and, ultimately, on us taxpayers makes Madoff's sins look like child's play.

That's one of the central arguments of my book, Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation, which has just been published as an e-book. (You can buy a digital version, for the Kindle or Sony Reader, or an audio version. Readers interested in seeing a PDF of the first chapter or learning about a paper version should send an e-mail to:

My book explains how during the late, great credit bubble, an Era of Cheap Money devolved into an Era of Dumb Money, and then into an Era of Dumber Money. The culture of Wall Street and the rise of the shadow banking system spawned reckless, largely unregulated lending, borrowing, and trading, a financial culture that preferred short-term fees to long-term gains, and that confused liquidity (access to other people's money) with cash on hand. Looking back, the investors who believed the stories told by Madoff and Stanford—that they could deliver steady, positive, market-beating returns in any type of climate, despite the manifest failure of virtually every other money manager to do so—were obviously foolish. But our best financial minds also spun tales and theories with great assurance, making seemingly irrational and unprecedented activity seem completely sensible. And we bought them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Active Corporate Sponsor

A lavish spender, Stanford owns a number of private jets. His companies have been big corporate sponsors of professional sports teams and charitable causes. Stanford and his employees also have contributed heavily to political campaigns over the years. The firm also has spent a great deal on its many offices—and refers to some of them as "temples of finance."
Former brokers say they never understood where the company got all the money to pay for the sponsorships and fancy office digs.

(It's like eating the cake and having it too...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Тоталитарное vs открытое общество

...Нехитрый набор, который позволяет любому тоталитарному режиму от Мао до Халеда Машаля возбуждать доверие в собеседниках, он заключается в том, что надо говорить то, что хочет собеседник. Делать то, что находится за пределами человеческой жестокости, и называть правду о себе чудовищной клеветой. Казалось бы, такая позиция является самоубийственной для западного мира. Но, по счастью, двигателем западного мира, двигателем открытого общества являются не интеллектуалы и даже не политики. Двигателем открытого общества являются наука и экономика. Т.е. тоталитарная ложь устроена так, что она может с легкостью обмануть Хемингуэя, Брехта, Арагона, тем более бюрократов из ООН, которые вместе с «Хамасом» делят деньги на гуманитарную помощь. Но она не может обмануть ни валютного курса, ни объемов ВВП, ни научных открытий.

Тоталитарные режимы в состоянии уморить миллионы человек. Но оказывается, что они не в состоянии их прокормить. Они в состоянии строить ракеты. Но оказывается, что они не в состоянии обеспечить жителей автомобилями. Т.е. они могут позволить себе расстрелять Вавилова, посадить Королева. Но в конечном итоге они не выдерживают научного соревнования с открытым обществом. Потому что основой любого тоталитарного режима является секретность. А секретность противоположна развитию научной мысли.

А во-вторых, при тоталитарном режиме основной инстанцией, которая определяет ценность той или иной научной разработки, является офицер НКВД, а не ученый. И в результате, несмотря на ядерные боеголовки, на ГУЛАГ, даже на единодушную поддержку всей мировой прогрессивной общественности, не важно какого режима – или сталинского Советского Союза, или маоистского Китая, тоталитарные режимы вырождаются...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Adam Smith gets the last laugh

Привет инвестиционным и прочим бизнес-консультантам, которые знают "что-то большее" об экономике и потому дают советы "как делать деньги из воздуха и тратить их на ветер" (например, тратить на новые консультации дяди Берни о том, что "деньги должны работать" или тети Сюзи "относись к миллионам проще, и они к тебе потянутся")
Как оказалось, нет ничего нового в экономической науке или "более сложного", по крайней мере со времен Адама Смита:

“A dwelling-house, as such, contributes nothing to the revenue of its inhabitant,” Smith said in The Wealth of Nations. “If it is lett [sic] to a tenant for rent, as the house itself can produce nothing, the tenant must always pay the rent out of some other revenue.” Therefore Smith concluded that, although a house can make money for its owner if it is rented, “the revenue of the whole body of the people can never be in the smallest degree increased by it”. [281]*

If You Knew Suze Like We Know Suze

Orman is that most modern breed of capitalists, the human-industry, self-mythologizing. "Suze has a unique grasp of the role money plays in our lives, as well as the gift of timing: she tells us exactly what we need to know, precisely when we need to know it." So, at least, claims the jacket copy of one of her books. She addresses her fans either as "my friends" (learned from John McCain, perhaps?) or as "girlfriend." Although she published a comprehensive—and very useful—guide to personal finance in 2001, her first two best-sellers focused on the "emotional roadblocks" to financial freedom. Suze has a lot to say about emotional roadblocks, among other things: "Falling in love is simple—or so it often seems in retrospect"; "Tears are God's way of forgiving you"; "You will never achieve a sense of power over your life until you have power over your money"; and "The stock market is like a pot of soup."
She has less patience for statistics. Although study after study has shown that personal bankruptcies are caused primarily by catastrophic events like divorce, job loss, and, above all, medical bills and that most of us are struggling with a gap between our income growth and the soaring cost of necessities like housing, Suze tends toward psychological causes that invariably blame the victim. Who is struggling these days, according to Suze? "People who grew up without much money and later earn a comfortable living sometimes spend too much to make up for what they didn't get as children. ... People who feel entitled to the good life, or are unconsciously copying a mother or father who lived beyond her or his means. ... If you feel the need to impress people with what you have rather than with who you are, you are at high risk for credit card abuse." This from a woman who spends $500,000 a year chartering private jets and who sells "Cruise With Suze" packages on an Italian luxury liner. (She has also hawked for GM, claiming that leasing a luxury car—you know, the kind that people drive to impress others—is a terrific financial decision: "If you ask me, that's smart money!") No wonder she winks more than Sarah Palin, girlfriend.

X-Fi Titanium Professional Audio SB0888

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Human Error is Greatest Security Flaw

The obvious solution to the problem -- denial of access -- just doesn't work...  The result is that productivity necessitates connectivity, raising security dangers.  The report states, "Human error is overwhelmingly stated as the greatest weakness this year (86%), followed by technology (a distant 63%)."

Spinpoint F2EG

P45 at its Finest

Saturday, January 24, 2009

(c) The Inquirer

The quicker a phone's answered in sales, the slower it's answered in customer services - Brownridge's Law

Monday, January 19, 2009

(c) Pyrrhus

One more such victory and we are lost

Thursday, January 15, 2009

‘Uncle Bernie’ And the Jews

I have never met Madoff, but I have met men of his physical and psychological type: smallish, unathletic in build, wearing expensive yet unflashy clothes, nothing dazzling about them. They manage to seem substantial in an unthreatening, even avuncular way. They appear to be in possession of a deep secret: they have gotten in on the ground floor, they know how the game is played; should they choose, they could put you on to a few good things. They have deciphered the magic of money; they feel no need to brag about it, but clearly they have everything under control. Except, of course, they don't, not really, because one of the things we have learned from the recent economic meltdown is that nobody does...

Черные ящики обычно скрывают в себе пустоту
Сложные объяснения скрывают пустую сущность

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