Middle Chinese and Old Chinese recitations

There have long been Middle Chinese and Old Chinese reconstructions on paper, but since the Chinese script is not phonetic (although syllabic to a degree), it has been difficult to ascertain pronunciations. If one takes Classical Latin as an example — that is a reconstruction of fairly normal and believable speech of about 2000 years ago if read aloud, yet there is nothing approaching that for Middle Chinese (about >1000 years ago) much less for Old Chinese (>2000 years ago). Recently though, a couple of funny videos cropped up on Youtube showing people making overly academic attempts at reading classical texts using reconstructed archaic pronunications.
(Read the article)

This is hilarious

(Read the article)

Long the leveraged market portfolio?

This guy proposes the use of a 2x leveraged market ETF to “beat” the market in the long term, assuming the market goes up in the long term (that is, the value of the mean path at a much later time is higher, or, perhaps just the marginal expected value is higher at a much later time).

It seems like a nice idea, but something is off. Firstly, these are leveraged portfolios with forced daily rebalancing, so depending on the amount of daily price variability, there is a non-trivial loss of several percent a year on top of costs. If a long-term leveraged position is wanted, one may as well buy the appropriate derivatives that underlie these ETFs, if that can be done.

Secondly, leverage is not free. This WSJ article nails the fixation on returns …

Until recently, public companies, mutual funds and pension funds generally steered clear of such risks. But the lines between risk takers and mainstream investors are blurring. In part, that’s because stock-market returns aren’t what they were a few years back. Between 2000 and 2006, the average annual return on the S&P 500 stock index was 2.5%, down from 28.7% between 1995 and 1999. Using derivatives and borrowed money is one way to try to boost returns.

… but although the return is better, the risk-adjusted return is more useful to look at. With true 2x leverage, only the risk premium is doubled at best, not the total return. On the other hand, if true 2x total return is supplied as they say, the implied leverage, and hence risk, has to be much higher than 2x. That’s something to look out for. Granted, the amount of leverage can be adjusted by weighting with the 1x portfolio.

V I Fabrikant

Note: There has been some confusion about this post. Let me make it very clear — I am NOT Fabrikant, nor do I have any relation to him, or even know of him in any way. I just came across this hilarious correspondence address on the internet. I have NO idea who this guy is, or whether the people commenting below are who they claim to be.

Look at the correspondence address of this Journal of Applied Math article

Utilization of divergent integrals and a new symbolism in contact and crack analysis
VI Fabrikant

Prisoner #167932D, Archambault Jail, Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec, Canada J0N 1H0

Correspondence: Email: [email protected]

Received for publication 15 June 2006. Revision received 1 December 2006.

The main potential function, used for the complete solution of the contact and crack problems for elliptical domains, is presentable as an integral of an expression comprising a logarithm of a distance between two points. These integrals were considered to be impossible to compute, though various derivatives of these integrals were computed in the past. The new symbolism, introduced here, combined with utilization of divergent integrals, allows us to compute these integrals exactly and in a closed form. It also introduces a dramatic simplification in the final expressions and restores some mathematical symmetry and elegance.

You can look up this guy on Wikipedia.

What’s green with lots of numbers?

Uh, I don’t know … the Matrix?

No? Oh it’s money, I see. Except it’s money promised in spam, and spam from the military. How did I get on their list, I wonder. Maybe because of this guy?

To: [me]
From: “Army National Guard”
Subject: What’s green with lots of numbers?
Reply-To: “Army National Guard”
Errors-To: [email protected]
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 06:51:50 CST

That’s right. The universal language of cold, hard cash. How does up to $56,000 sound?

If you’ve checked out the Guard’s “College First” Enlistment Option* and aren’t convinced the Guard can help you get through college – if up to $20,000 for enlisting isn’t enough, then it’s time to up the ante.

You can get up to a $20,000 enlistment bonus, up to $20,000 to repay student loans, more than $4,000 a year for continued schooling, and as much as $12,000 in pay your first year of part-time service. That’s more than $56,000.

But you have to act now.

Up to 100% Tuition Assistance
Leadership Training
Extreme Adventure

* “College First” Enlistment Option not available in all states

Sorry, fellas, but warm, soft direct-deposits from the NSF sounds a lot better, especially because I kind of like my unextreme unadventurous life. And life is the key.