June 16th, 2002


I think I'm in love with this woman at the bingo club....

A transcript of an interesting BBC Q&A by Dr. Helen Fisher

Live Chat Transcript
with Dr Helen Fisher
(15 February 2000)
BBC Host: Thanks for logging on for Body Chemistry's live chat with Dr Helen Fisher. We hope you enjoyed the Body Chemistry series. Tonight, the subject of love. Here is the first question...

Charlie Baker: If I'm questioning whether or not I'm in love am I in love?

Dr. Helen Fisher: Love means different things to different people. But let me list some basic characteristics of romantic love. First, your partner takes on special meaning. They seem to become the centre of your universe. Second, you think about them obsessively, often continually. Third, you focus on tiny little things they said or did and replay these memories. Fourth, you feel real elation when things are going well between you and real despair when you're not getting along.

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Leithner Letter

Chris Leithner is an Australian investment manager. He writes a investment newsletter with value-oriented, Austrian-influenced perspective. I quite enjoy it--here's a sample:


Recession is a dirty word, and that's understandable. But recessions are necessary. People have to sleep, and businesses and households have to rebuild their liquidity. What the Fed is doing now it was doing in the 1970s. It's trying to paper over a recession.

James Grant
Grant's Interest Rate Observer (15 March 1991)

So the U.S. economy will recover soon? Really? It has a massive current account deficit and equally huge household debt, both of which are still rising, record corporate debt, negative private sector saving and an overvalued dollar. All the elements of an overblown economy are still there, unremedied by recession, which seems to indicate that the U.S. hasn't had its recession yet.

Recessions wind back debt and rebuild savings - that's what they're all about. Debt is still climbing in the U.S. and savings are still negative. The U.S. will have a recovery in due course, but not until after it has had its recession, ands that hasn't happened yet. No pain, no gain.

Tyler Kelly, Bribie Island, Queensland
The Australian Financial Review (8 February 2002)

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Movie Physics Reviews

(Below is exactly how I felt about the Matrix. However someone on Slashdot posted this nifty solution...

Neo: But it makes no sense! It takes more energy to feed humans than you could possibly get out of them. It violates the laws of physics.

Morpheus: And when did you learn the laws of physics, Neo?

Neo: In the fourth grade, in Mr. Jameson's....oh. )

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Preparing for financial disaster.


Companies can do much to avoid falling victim to sudden national
financial emergencies. Although the tally of such events is rising,
many businesses remain unprepared for them.

Preparing for a Financial Crisis

Dominic Barton, Roberto Newell, and Gregory Wilson The McKinsey
Quarterly, 2002 Number 2 Risk and resilience

One of globalization's most sweeping effects has been to transform
closed, government-controlled financial systems into free markets open
to foreign investors. Over the past two decades, surging capital flows
have reduced funding costs for corporations and enabled investors to
reap higher risk-adjusted returns. But unfettered capital markets have
a downside: increasingly frequent economic breakdowns, particularly in
emerging economies. More than 65 serious financial crises have erupted
over the past ten years-almost one and a half times the number
recorded during the 1980s.1

Last year alone, Argentina suffered a bank shutdown and a severe
devaluation when it defaulted on its government debt, and a
long-smoldering crisis flared in Turkey after one of the country's
largest banks went under, causing confidence to
crumble. Industrialized countries are also vulnerable, as Sweden found
in 1992, when a real-estate-market bubble burst, plunging banks into
the red and causing the value of the krona to plummet.

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